Monday, November 25, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
This is exactly what I told the car people to do, but for some reason they took the liberty of hooking my car up to the FREE 27 POINT DIAGNOSTIC ROBOT (note: I did not ask for the robot) and shortly thereafter came into the waiting room with the lugubrious mien of someone about to inform me that my car had rectal cancer. Because apparently my car also had a (something something) leak, which was important because the (something) fed water to cool the engine (something something), not to mention that the (something) was missing four (somethings) requiring the whole works to be replaced, not to mention that steering (something) was totally jacked up and in sum, my car was destined to explode into a thousand fiery pieces unless I shelled out $3,500 to get all that stuff fixed.
THREE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED AMERICAN DOLLARS.
Leave aside the fact that I just came in to get my tire changed. Also leave aside the fact that we bought this car used (though in excellent shape), so the total of the repairs proposed was more than a third of the price we paid for the car itself. Finally, apologies for the totally hackneyed "girls don't know nothing about cars" routine that I am personifying here--lots of ladies know a lot of stuff about cars, including how to change their own flat tires, but please forgive my stereotypical hand-fluttering in the face of impending automotive maintenance because I really, really know nothing about cars, INCLUDING HOW TO DRIVE ONE until about four years ago.
The mechanic left me with the price quote in that I'll let you have a minute to compose yourself way, saying that if I wanted to get everything fixed I would probably need a loaner to drive home so he would go ahead and get that for me. (He then added, with a tone of infinite largesse, that the loaner would be provided to me free of charge.) After unfreezing myself, I went to chase after the guy, because given that I had detected absolutely no problems with the driving and reliability of the car aside from, you know, the flat tire for which I came in, so barring any immediate safety concerns I would at least like some time to look over the diagnostic report and get a quote from a second car repair company.
Ten minutes later, he returned with the loaner. I told him that I'd like to hold off on repairs until we could get a second opinion. He looked at me for a beat, then called to the back workshop, where I assume my car was being fed through an MRI. "Yeah, the customer wants to hold off on the repairs. Uh huh. Oh. Really? Wow. Did you already...oh. OK." He turned to me. "They already started working on it. They took the water pump off the (something something) already."
"Already? Can they...you know, put it back?" More phone conferrals. The mechanic then told me that they could indeed put it back, but that I was lucky because they hadn't taken the (something) off the (something) yet, because (something something) antifreeze everywhere!
"I would like my car back please."
Any hour later, it was returned to me, with the new tire, which was the only thing I wanted changed in the first place. The following morning, Joe took the car to a AAA down the street from us, where they hooked the car up to a FREE 36 POINT DIAGNOSTIC ROBOT--nine more points than the other robot!--and found very little wrong with the car at all. (Joe brought the service list and the quote from the first place so he would know what to ask them to check extra carefully.) They replaced some of the missing (something somethings--like some kind of a bolt) and swapped out another (something that was dirty), but in all the bill totalled $500, which, while still a lot for a car that I wasn't intending to have serviced at all, is a far cry from the $3,500 that I was originally quoted.
And now here's the question for you. How much of it was bad luck of the draw at that first car place, and how much of it do you think is the fact that I (know-nothing-about-cars lady) took the car in to the first place, and Joe (know-little-about-cars-but-looks-like-he-does man) took the car in to the second place? Unfortunate happenstance, opportunism, or a little of both?
(Aside re: the post title. I love NPR as much as the next PBS-pledge-drive-canvas-tote-lugging-to-the-farmer's-market liberal, but there are two shows that I could never, ever get behind despite the fact that everyone else loves them dearly. One is "Car Talk." Those braying Boston accents! Why not just sharpen a pencil in my ear? And the second is "A Prairie Home Companion." Not only is it aggressively folksy, but it actually isn't funny at all, and you get the sense that the people in the audience will just laugh at anything just to show each other how cultured and good-humored they are. Bah!)
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Cal left his pumpkin at home by accident, so when I went to drop it off at his classroom (ordinarily in such cases I leave the forgotten item at the front desk and someone from the office ferries it upstairs to the classroom so as to minimize disruption--however, in this case the pumpkin was gigantic and when I offered to carry it up myself they happily left the hoisting to me) I kind of got roped into coming back in later that afternoon to help Cal's teacher with the activity. Honestly, my first instinct when the teacher asked me if I could be an extra set of adult hands (in the setting of 26 fourth graders wielding a variety of hollowed out gourds and serrated blades) was to beg off because look man, I'm busy. But that response was a reflex, ingrained from years and years of having to say no to stuff. Because I actually wasn't busy that day. And having the time to do things like this in the kids' classroom was precisely the reason that I went part-time in the first place.
Which brings me to the topic for today, which I have deliberately been shying away from because the kind of honesty with which I want to discuss this is precisely the kind of thing that causes fistfights to break out in the comments section of The New York Times "Motherlode" blog. (Leaving aside the truly questionable decision to call a parenting series "Motherlode," because random puns aside, parenting is only for ladies, y'all!)
Joe and I agree that since I have made the move to go part-time at work, the quality of our home life has never been better. The benefits are obvious--I have more time to spend with each kid, I am more connected with what they are doing at school and at home, we can actually schedule doctors and dentist and teacher appointments, we are all eating better, acting out less...the list goes on and on. And there are moments every single day when I think, "Thank god we finally decided to do this." The mornings I spend with Nina after the boys are off at school. Time that I get to carve out to spend with Mack alone, which I hardly ever had a chance to do before. Having time for actual conversations with Cal, who for all his idiosyncrasies as a young child is actually turning out to be a pretty cool and funny kid. These are the obvious good things. These are the things that make it clear that the decision to dial back at work was worthwhile.
But of course these are the things that just make parenting in general a joy, and between these clearly treasured moments are the interstices, the webbing, the connective tissue that binds the important bits in a dense fiber of the banal. Because for every morning I spend with Nina watching the sun rise over the Chattahoochee there is of course an entire day of chasing down lost shoes and changing diapers and washing clothes, cleaning up one mess in the kitchen while Nina is creating the next mess because allowing her to create the next mess is the only way I can buy time to clean up the first mess. For every special afternoon with Mack there is the endless run of school pickups, school dropoffs, making sure that lunchboxes are packed and thermoses are not lost at school, corralling shoes and socks and sweatshirts and more socks, items which surely must walk around at night after we're asleep because otherwise there's no explanation for how they spread out and hide all over the house. And for every pumpkin carving activity I do at the kids' school, there is an hour of sweeping up sticky pumpkin seeds, picking up strips of newspaper and magazines that have glued themselves to the linoleum with bioglue, and wiping down desk after desk with antibacterial wipes and hoping to god that the janitorial staff at night come equipped with mops. (Though to be clear: I was more than happy to help, and Cal's teacher was a brave, brave man to even consider staging the mass class pumpkin carve-a-thon without a second adult around. We could have probably used another two or three adults, to be honest.)
It is in these moments, with the brooms or with the wet rags or running in and out of the supermarket or picking up the dropped (well, hurled) sippy cup again for the five hundredth time that I think: It doesn't have to be me doing this. This does not involved an advanced degree, or special training. ANYONE could do this. Or, perhaps more precisely to the point: I took a 40% pay cut in order to wash dishes and do laundry? DOES NOT COMPUTE.
(This is the part where people start polishing their pitchforks. Hey, you missed a spot!)
Look, I know that it's not the special advanced skill with which I drive to carpool or wash the dishes or make the school lunches that the time worthwhile--it's the fact that I'm doing it for my kids that makes it special. I get that. And I also get that, with parenthood, the amazing moments are not in the majority--that it is, in fact, the intermittent and punctuated nature of the awesome moments that make you get up each day and do all the non-awesome stuff over and over and over again. And that's probably true about most things in life, though I'm beginning to find that there's something different about spending a full day parenting rather than a full day being a doctor: it feels less special.
(And here is where you start jabbing the pitchforks. Jab on, gentle village people! Miss ye not the tender essential organs!)
And when I say "special," I don't mean to say that my kids aren't special, or that my parenting them isn't special. It's just that in the mundane moments, it feels like anyone could be doing this. I didn't need to go to college or medical school or spend five years in residency training to do that stuff. My educational background, or training, or the years I spent before I had kids doesn't inform my daily parenting in any meaningful way. It's just me, doing what millions and millions or other people are also doing at the exact same time--probably I'm not even doing as good a job as many of them are, because HAVE YOU SEEN PINTEREST? Just me, momming it up like a character in a Sunny Delight commercial, part of the hoarde, one of a type, a piece of a marketing demographic. And that's the part that doesn't feel special.
And the thing that bothers me is that I never considered myself someone who needed to feel special, or who cared about status. I don't make people call me "doctor," I don't wear my diplomas around my neck on a giant chain, and I think I've worked most of my professional life to try to put aside whatever ego may manifest in my persona because quite simply I don't think it serves any purpose. But obviously it must have mattered to me more than I thought, because while I recognize the luxury of spending more time with my children, and for all my whining I have plenty of help in keeping this family going; I still sometimes think, this is it? THIS is what I miss work two days a week to do?
Because at work, it sometimes seems like the significance of what you're doing is obvious. That the answer to the question, "What did you do today?" could be succinctly summed up by saying: I'm a doctor, I take care of patients. Boom. Instant credibility. Credibility to whom, unclear--perhaps it's just to justify things to myself. But on the days that I'm "off" with the kids...
But then how come it took up the whole damn day?
Obviously this is something I'm still working out in my brain, and clearly part of it is that there are societal indicators of what is considered "important work" that I have allowed to imprint on me (despite the fact that I obviously know that raising my children is important work, therefore the need to take more time to do it right). Also obvious to me is that this probably reflects poorly on my personality in some way--some sort of egomaniacal needs that are not being met by the quotidian tasks of parenting three young children being chief among my deficiencies. But I am curious, particularly after reading this article in the Times a few months ago--does this experience of "status loss" or this sense of becoming unmoored from part of your identity ring true for anyone else who decided to take one step back from a career that has in many ways defined them?
Monday, October 21, 2013
But what I was thinking about today was not September 11th, but September 12th, 2001. I was a third-year medical student on my pediatric urology rotation, and while I don't quite remember the details of what we had originally scheduled to do that morning--maybe it was clinic, maybe we were supposed to round on the patients that were all hurriedly discharged the day before--but obviously whatever plans we had were truncated or canceled. We had no patients from "Ground Zero" yet (this, of course, was well before the days that it would be referred to as "Ground Zero," most people I knew who were working on site seemed to refer to it as "The Pit"); most who survived to get to a hospital were mostly concentrated downtown. So we had almost nothing to do that day, and somehow, that was one of the worst feelings of all. So what happened that morning of September 12th was this: the two senior residents on the pediatric urology service took me and my co-medical student out for breakfast, at a shoebox-sized greasy spoon diner near the hospital.
It was really a very odd morning. I know that it must have obviously been strange the nation over, but if you lived in New York in the immediate aftermath of September 11th you will understand what I mean when I mention this particular strange disconnect of knowing that the entire world had just imploded right in front of you, feeling with equal certainty that we were all probably going to die, and yet looking out the window and seeing that everything, at least up in Washington Heights, looked exactly the same. Like: out there, on the street, where it always stood, was the bagel cart. With bagels on it. And you'd look at the bagels, and then think about what you had just seen, which was the two largest buildings in the city crumbling to dust literally as we watched, and something would just break inside your brain, because how do those two things exist in the same world? Because on one hand, September 11th happened, and then on the other hand, here we were on September 12th, alive, at a diner...eating eggs. Everything looked and felt and smelled and tasted the same as it did two days ago, but also, at every table and booth, people were reading a copy of The New York Times with the most gigantic headline that I can remember seeing in my lifetime.
It was really...very disorienting.
Now that I'm much older, I so appreciate the simple mercies of those senior residents, and the implicitly understood comfort that they knew they could convey in that small act of taking us out for breakfast. I also know, having been a resident, that even these small gestures were not so small--I know now how little money residents make and I know now how young residents really are, even though, as a third-year medical student, I felt at that time that there was something adult and comforting about them and if they said that we were going to be OK and so we should order and extra plate of hash browns for the table, well then, I guess we would be OK. I know now that they must have been as scared as I was. I know now that they were trying to help me feel better, and in doing so, help themselves feel better, because...well, that's how it works.
And that's pretty much what I came away with today, in sudden flash of memory as commonplace and pocket-sized as the events around it were explosive and consuming. That sometimes bad things happen, and you can't really fix them; but in small ways, you try to fix them anyway.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Now, with Nina eating table food and me being somewhat more firmly entrenched in the trappings of adulthood, I try to cook most of our dinners. This has been a process--I think early on I equated any form of domesticity with being somehow regressive, and only more recently have I come to realize that cooking out of necessity (if still not quite for pleasure) did not detract from my feminist street cred. Still though, I tend towards the one-pot type recipes, and almost always make things that can freeze well. My current method is to make twice as much as we will eat for an average dinner, and then freeze the other half for an easy main course either on nights that I'm working late--this used to be at least 4 out of the 5 nights of the week, but now with decreasing my work hours is now down to 2 or 3 nights--or for nights that I'm just too lazy to cook something fresh.
We are fairly lucky in that our kids will eat mostly anything, and though I don't necessarily think that we did anything special we did introduce many foods and spices fairly early before they knew any better. Thus they now regularly eat Indian food, Japanese food, Persian food (and obviously Mexican, Chinese and Italian food, a.k.a the ethnic fast food trifecta) without batting an eye. That said, while they will happily eat a chicken tikka masala and a nabeyaki udon, if the kids had their druthers creepy suburban food almost always wins. I could make the most magnificent meal from the pages of Gourmet (and not saying that I do, but I COULD) and given the choice they would almost always prefer things like mashed potatoes, hot dogs, tuna casserole, or that Pillsbury bread from a tube. (Full disclosure: I also love the bread from a tube.)
However, I have found a stable of recipes that they really do like, that are relatively easy to make, and don't make me feel like a suburban Stepford wife in post-atomic America when I serve them. All these recipes freeze well (I recommend these containers for freezing and reheating if you want a bunch of different sizes, though if you just want the big containers these in the 64oz. size are also great and will hold enough to feed all five of us), are kid-friendly, have a lot of stealth vegetable capability, and as an added plus are mostly of the "one big pot" variety.
So. The food.
Garlicky black pepper shrimp and black-eyed peas from Gourmet Magazine
Don't let the fact that it comes from Gourmet freak you out, like it freaked me out. This recipe is super easy and quick to make and tastes much more sophisticated than you'd think it would for how little work it takes. I usually serve this with rice, though I guess pasta would be OK too. It's a little spicy (black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes could be modified to your kids' palate) but per Cal it's spicy "in a good way." It's better fresh, of course--the shrimp tend to get a little overcooked when you heat it up for the second time--but it still tastes delicious as long as you're not too fussy about the shrimp texture during Rerun Dinner.
It's basically a better tasting version of sweet and sour chicken without the frightening orange gel. I usually serve it with white rice and steamed broccoli. In the interest of crisping up the skin easier I usually forgo the drumsticks and just get chicken thighs (they lay flatter in the pan--I have no idea how in the picture above they browned those drumsticks so evenly on all sides but it is clearly beyond my ability) and make sure I include a good amount of sauce when I freeze these so I have enough to drip on top of the rice.
Winter Minestrone from The Barefoot Contessa
I know, duh, vegetable soup. But this recipe is a good one, if you can get past how aggravating Ina Garten is with Jeffery away for the weekend so that she has no choice but to throw a fabulous party in her giant empty house populated only with fresh picked hydrangeas from the Farmer's Market, her sparkling Hamptons gadflys and well-dressed gay couples. (Guh. Ina Garten.) I like to keep a variety of soup around all the time as an easy lunch or side, and this is a good one because the basic recipe aside, it is very customizable. I like to add zucchini and substitute kale for the spinach because I think it holds up a little better. I know it's for kids but don't skip the white wine in the soup--it's only a little bit and it makes the flavor much more complex and thus legitimizes the effort of making vegetable soup instead of just heating up a can of the stuff, which I am certainly known to do as well. I freeze leftover soup in these jars--each one ends up holding just enough for three kids, or alternately two adults. (The jars are cheaper at Ace Hardware, by the way, if you happen to live close enough to one to make the trip worth it.) Helpful hint for filling jars with soup: get one of these things. It is shaped like a cow rectum but man it is helpful and cuts down on the mess.
I guess a lot of kids are like this but if Nina had her way, all she'd eat would be various forms of starch. Crackers and bread and cereal and pasta and rice. I like this recipe because it's a good way to get some protein into her too, and also she loves it. Plus, it's so cute and easy, particularly if you get that store-bought pie crust. I cut circles of the crust using the rim of a plastic pint glass (like you would drink a Guinness out of), and it fits just perfectly in the muffin tins. The first time I made ham and spinach mini-quiches, and the second time I did rotisserie chicken and broccoli. A little shredded cheese on top makes a nice crust--put on broil for the last few seconds to get it nice and bubbly, but don't walk away from it when it's on broil or it will incinerate. ASK ME HOW I KNOW.
I found this recipe from Food.com but really a recipe is not stricly necessary, since you can fill the quiches with whatever you want--just check it the first time to figure out the number of eggs to fill up the crusts and how hot to get the oven. (Short answer: 6-7 eggs for 12 muffin-sized mini quiches, 350-400 degrees.) I freeze them in little containers about 4 quiches per, and they heat up nicely in the microwave or toaster oven.
Clay Pot Rice from Food and Wine Magazine
Braised Short Ribs from The Pioneer Woman
I know some people hate Ree Drummond's aggressive folksiness, but eh, whatever, I think it's fine, and clearly it is working for her (see: major media empire, etc.). And lots of her recipes are a hit with my kids, though probably because they all involve a ton of butter and bacon fat and heavy cream. Again, whatever. All in moderation. This recipe is great in how good it will taste for the small amount of active cooking time, and how much like meat it will make your house smell. SO MEATY. Cut the meat with some mashed potatoes and some green beans, and there's your dinner and leftovers for the week.
The short ribs are a little pricey I admit, so this is not an every week or even an every other week kind of recipe, but again, it freezes well, and it's even fancy enough for guests if, unlike us, you actually have friends over to your house. One modification that I've made for our family meals (and I know this sounds nuts but just stay with me) is that I'll add a can of beans to the broth right before it goes into the oven, just to add a little extra fiber and protein. Cannellini or butter beans are good. It makes the whole thing look very "rustic," to use a culinary buzzword, and slightly less like a giant pile of flesh. Anyway, you know what they say about beans: they're good for your heart.
Fish Stew from Simplyrecipes.com
Anyhoo. Those are just a few main courses that are in rotation around here. How about on your end? What vaguely nutritive freezer-friendly meals do you make often to make workday dinners look less like the inside of a Domino's box? And yes, of course we also do the biweekly spaghetti night / taco night / fish or chicken tenders with fries night, but ain't no one need me to share a recipe for that.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Usually we take these kinds of occasions to carve out some special time with Mack, if not just for the simple reason of heading off middle-child syndrome as distracting him from the cold reality that he has not been invited to boat and fish and tube and whatnot on the resplendent banks of Lake Wanahanapeepaw (note: not a real lake), and is, in fact, missing out on some serious fun.
Anyway. It's a beautiful weekend but as I am on call we couldn't go anywhere too far. So we went here, to the Big Trees Forest Preserve in Sandy Springs.
Mack wanted to collect some leaves for a project he's planning (I don't actually know what the project is--and I don't think that he knows exactly either, though I'm fairly certain that it will involve a lot of Scotch tape) and it's such a gorgeous time of year that I figured that something outdoorsy and wholesome was just the ticket. I originally wanted to go to the Chatahoochee River Natural Recreation Area, but of course because of the government shutdown most areas run by the National Parks Department are closed. Not that I'm complaining about it--though most visible, the shuttering of the national parks and monuments may be lower on the list of Very Important Things things the government shutdown is affecting--but I'm just pointing out that maybe in a few weeks, we'll bypass the municipal nature preserve and try something on a grander scale.
Smaller scale may have been a blessing in disguise anyway, as even the maximum loop entailing a mile and a half of easy trails can start to feel awfully long when carrying a large-ish 15 month-old (Nina can walk pretty well now, but on that kind of uneven ground she tends to fall a lot) (see also: muddy) (see also: persistent fear of snakes--my preoccupation, not hers) and felt even longer during the last leg of the hike when lugging around 40+ pounds of Big Mack. By the end I was starting to get paranoid--I assumed the trail was configured in a loop, but the longer we walked the less sure of where we were going, and there were no signs indicating EXIT or TRAIL HEAD THIS WAY or 500 FEET TO THE NEAREST CHICK-FIL-A.
I also started to get concerned that it was slightly inadvisable that we went that deep into the nature preserve in the first place--I'm on backup call for the hospital, so while one of my partners was already in house and though I checked in with him before leaving the house to determine that the chances of concurrent emergent-to-the-OR catastrophe was sufficiently minuscule, I did have a vision when I thought we were maybe-lost of being stat-paged to the hospital because, OMG TWO RUPTURED TRIPLE As AT THE SAME TIME, and having to rapidly extract myself from the middle of the damn forest using only my wits and by, like, feeling which side of the tree the moss was growing on. (To be fair, the preserve area is actually quite small, so it's not like I was on call and decided to go hiking in the middle of the Moab Desert or anything. We never even fully lost audio confirmation on the loudspeaker-amplified event in the parking lot of the Ford dealership next door. But still it's more dramatic if I don't tell you that part so forget I said anything.)
Anyway, we knew we had finally made it all the way back around when we saw the bright blue port-a-potty in the parking lot. Some of the trail had apparently washed out due to the heavier than average (some might say biblical) rains the latter part of this summer, and we had to scale an erosion-melted slope to re-enter civilization. At this point we had joined forces with another family who was similarly lost (they were not outdoorsy-types either and admitted that the only reason they were doing anything even remotely wholesome was because the dad had to attend a bachelor party later in the day and felt that he should pre-atone for the damage he was about to incur on his body), and I had recanted on all my earlier sentiments about the weather and the leaves and was basically like, "Fuck nature, let's go to Taco Bell."
AND WE DID.
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
I've been getting my hair cut at a Supercuts equivalent for the past few years, mostly for convenience (well, scratch "mostly" and substitute "totally") because when time was the tightest, even the act of taking time to get my hair trimmed seemed hopelessly self-indulgent. So, basically I would just wait as long as possible between trims, and when it started getting to true Yoko Ono circa 1974 territory I would wander into a Supercuts, demand that they cut off some of the bottom hair parts, wander out 10 minutes and some half-hearted snips later, immediately put my hair in a ponytail and forget about the existence of hair until the next time I got Yoko-ed.
Anyway. I decided today that it was finally time to have an actual hairstyle again (my hair for the last five years has been less a "style" than variations on the theme of "Hair, comma, Lots") and made an appointment at an actual salon. I explained to the stylist the particular challenges of my hair: namely, it is coarse, tends towards frizzy, spends a lot of time squashed under a scrub cap, and I wanted it to at least be long enough to still put up in a ponytail but otherwise wanted to spend little to no time styling it. I also said (and perhaps this was inadvisable) that I didn't really care what she did to it--well, I cared, but that I would defer to her best judgement, since my only request was that she make my head look better and had no further suggestions beyond that. The stylist nodded and fingered and mm-hmmed attentively. Then she asked me: "Have you ever had bangs?"
I said that of course I had had bangs when I was much younger (Asian Lady Law, look in the handbook), but that I'd grown them out in college and hadn't had them since.
"Do you want to try them again?" She asked.
I considered. On one hand, I think bangs are probably a pain in the ass. The upkeep. The frequent trims. The hair in the face. The inevitable scrub hat mashing. But then on the other hand, if I had bangs, maybe it would bring me one step closer to my spirit animal, April Ludgate.
(You notice I did not say "Aubrey Plaza," because the point is that while I want to look good, I want to care approximately as much about my style as April Ludgate, which is to say: not at all.)
Anyway, I let her cut the bangs, along with the rest of my hair, and I think I'm not precisely sure how I feel about them yet. On one hand, I definitely have a hair style now (like, my hair is not just in the random fluffy shape that it takes when hair is allowed to roam independently on my scalp), but I'm not sure that I love the style, nor am I convinced that it doesn't look like a wig, and having bangs again is going to take getting used to. For one, the hairdresser said I had to "retrain my part," whatever that means. And also, the constant feeling of hair on my forehead is still pretty annoying. I didn't really want to include a photo (for vanity reasons of course: end of the day, no makeup, not dressed cute or ANYTHING) but I realize talking about getting a haircut and not including a photo is kind of a cocktease, so here you go. Please keep in mind all of the above and that this was taken under horrible fluorescent lighting in an elementary school hallway after Parent-Teacher conference and before pickup from Nerd Club...uh, Lego Robotics Team.
Of course, there are benefits. The last time I had bangs, my sophomore year of college, the bangs could hide my forehead acne. And now they can cover my forehead wrinkles. Maturity, you guys!