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I'm leaving for a week-long business trip today, so John and I took the kids to my mom's after schlepping Bryce to a friend's birthday party on Friday night, and had a late dinner date. This week's activity level made it feel like four weeks rolled into one, and while I shoveled down chips and margaritas, I vented about work and the insanity therein. At one point I used the phrase, "not fair" and John pointed out that the job I've (for the most part) loved and enjoyed for the past year has become a source of frustration and the target of my claims of injustice coincidentally ever since the incident of the incompetent doctor and some ensuing news that I do indeed have a (most likely benign) parotid tumor that does indeed have to be surgically removed regardless of whether or not it's benign. "And it's not fair that you have to have major surgery for this walnut-sized tumor in your neck, and it's not fair that there's a 20% chance it's malignant, and it's not fair that you have no choice in how to treat or get rid of it, and it's not fair that your life will have to be put on hold while you deal with it. It's really not fair."

"No," I said, "I don't think about the tumor as something 'fair' or 'not fair' - or at least not consciously." And then I sat there like a kid figuring out algebra after months of staring at equations. "Wow," I was really intrigued by this now, "I didn't even really realize I was using the 'it's not fair' phrase about anything while I've been rambling about work. I usually hate that mentality, and I definitely wouldn't outwardly use that phrase about a tumor...because when - or for whom - would a tumor or a major surgery be 'fair'?"

I'd rather call work unfair - there are people involved, and predictable sets of expectations, and someone specific I can blame for my frustration. That's healthy, right? I think I'll go with that. After all, I'm closer to my tumor than I am to any of my co-workers anyway.

I went with my parents to take the kids to a "Renaissance Faire" yesterday. It was hot, and the kids were constantly whining about seeing the cave again and buying a sword and wanting ice cream or their legs being tired. We walked into the maze and Quinn ducked into a small opening and disappeared, then refused to answer when we called for him and subsequently panicked. I scolded him and ruined the fun by yelling every time he walked more than two steps ahead of me after that. Another precocious and freakishly maze-talented kid showed us the way out of the maze but only after telling the kids he'd show them a short cut and the "tall adults" could just meet them at the exit, followed by more screams of "NOOOO" from me. On the way out, my parents agreed to buy the kids swords and Bryce naturally went for the one as tall as his own body, and then threw a fit when my mom tried to convince him to get the smaller one. The sword salesman intervened and showed the kids the "test" for proper sword size (tip of sword under arm, arm stretched out, grab the handle - if you can't reach the handle, the sword is too long), then gave them a speech about brotherhood: "You train with your brother, you practice with your brother, but you do not SLAY your brother. If your brother were slain, there would be no one to protect you in battle." The kids were mesmerized, and now if you ask them, "what do we do with our brothers?" they'll say, "Train and practice, but we don't SLAY our brother, because we need him there to protect us in battle." Utilitarianism: the new brotherly love.