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Dear Skype:

The first time I was asked if I could “Skype,” I believed that I was either being invited into some exclusive club OR being insulted by some bizarre Russian Army; likely the same army that bombards my site with pen1s enlargement pill ads. Imagine my surprise when I learned that you, Skype, were like a phone…ONLY WORSE.

Dutifully, I signed up for you, Skype, because, well, I think I was doing an interview with a cat or something. Or at least, that’s what he sounded like, Skype. If he wasn’t a cat, well, Skype, then you done fucked up.

AGAIN.

Skype

(how I feel when I use Skype)

Because for every word I understood, Skype, there were at least twenty I did not. Twenty to one, Skype. Those are particularly disappointing odds, Skype, especially since I can get the same type of blurry reception from my i(can’t)Phone WITHOUT having to sit on my computer, yelling WHAT!? into my screen.

(which, Skype, let’s be honest, is what happens every time I can’t find one of my dancing cactus videos.)

This weekend, Skype, I was counting on you to Do Better. I knew you had it in you, Skype, and yet, there you were, in the middle of my first non-profit board meeting for Band Back Together, five board members chatting through the miracle of the computer. With artificial flickering disco lights. And frozen pictures. And buzzing words.

Skype, you ruined my call.

Possibly, my life.

Don’t make me pull a John C. Mayer on you, Skype. Just. Don’t. You won’t like it, Skype.

Love,

Aunt Becky

P.S. I’m totally pulling a John C. Mayer on you Skype.

I live in one of those subdivisions that has approximately three different house styles.

It’s an older subdivision, built in the 60′s or 70′s, with the trees to match. I love those trees. In the winter, as the new-fallen snow is caught by the branches, they create something as close to a Norman Rockwell painting as someone like me is gonna get. In the spring, the new buds and fresh leaves remind me that winter, like anything else, doesn’t last forever. In the summer, the curtain of leaves, nearly meeting in the middle of the road, make me giddy with happyness. In the fall, those leaves change to all of the brightest shades of red and orange, a stark contrast against the impossibly blue sky.

Last year, after a particularly riveting night in the ER with a case of Orbital Cellulitis, I blurrily got the mail as we got back home at five in the morning. In it, there was a piece of mail from our city, stating that there was something called the Emerald Ash Boner. Before I went to bed for the first time in twenty-four hours, I chucked heartily that there was an infestation of Boners in my town.

I hadn’t considered that the tree I loved so dearly, sweetly shading my house and occasionally dumping gigantic branches onto my lilacs, was an Ash Tree. In fact, I’d considered that a particularly stupid name for a tree (when I discovered it was, indeed, an Ash Tree) and vowed to make someone somewhere change it to the Ass Tree. It seemed more fitting.

For the next year, I watched in horror as the trees up and down the sides of my road – all Ass Trees – were marked with a hastily spray-painted purple dot. Purple dot = infected. Which isn’t entirely unlike herpes, I suppose.

Every week, I inspected my Ass Tree for that tell-tale purple dot, knowing that my Ass Tree was probably superior to all other Ass Trees and would therefore be immune the Emerald Ass Boner. Clearly.

Three weeks ago, I came home to see the dot. On my precious Ass Tree. The Boner had struck.

Purple Dot of Doom = tree infected = cut down.

Soon, my favorite Ass Tree will be cut down and replaced with a tiny new tree, so small that I’ll neatly be able to fit my hand around it. Certainly, I’ll watch the tree grow and turn into a non-Ass Tree (I think we’re getting maples instead). I’ll happily celebrate the day it grows large enough to provide shade and again when it’s branches are large enough to support the weight of my smallest child. I know there will be lemonade stands underneath it, the new tree will oversee the tending of my rose bed, and it will, someday, shade me with it’s leaves.

But that doesn’t stop me from feeling sad about my very own Ass Tree, who will soon enough, be reduced to a pile of stumps.

Change.

It even happens to Ass Trees.

———

In other news, I have two columns up at The Stir. Please report back to tell me if the comments are hateful. Actually, don’t. I don’t want to know:

Reason Number Eleventy-Five Being A Kid Today Sucks

and

7 Reasons Your Kid’s Summer Birthday Sucks

Also, here: Puberty. UGH.

…today, I will send you to Band Back Together, where we’ve compiled stories about the ten year anniversary of September 11, 2001. You’ll see perspectives from everyone from those who were physically there watching life lost to those who were giving birth to a new life. You’ll even find my story among them.

We’re all answering one simple question: “where were you?”

I hope you’ll join us.

We’re Banding Together for 9/11.

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