Mother/Daughter Look-a-Likes: Can’t Tell Them Apart!

Jun 28 2016

Everywhere my daughter and I go, people can’t tell us apart. That’s why we have a history of taking twinsy pics; to blow people’s minds that we’re actually mother/daughter.

We took some yesterday, in fact, just for you. See if you can figure out who’s who!

Good luck, friends.

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You’re never going to believe this, but we’re 25 years apart in age. FOR REALS.

I know, right??

Minds. Blown.

You’re welcome, The Internets! It’s like the blue dress all over again.

With love,

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P.S. If you’re not done being shocked and amazed, here are some of our other Twinsie Pics…

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P.P.S. In unrelated news, MY KID IS THE BEST SPORT EVER. The End.

My Husband Is A Better Encourager Than Your Husband

Jun 22 2016

Greg is an encourager, which isn’t at all what I was going to write today. I was writing, instead, an apology for my Christian faith, but I’ve only gotten to the part where I used to buy books on demon possession and stuff them in my heathen friends’ couches so they’d discover them later and be coerced by abject terror to follow Jesus. “Planting seeds,” I called it, and I ROCKED it, man.

But that story’s not finished, and I can’t write something called An Apology for My Christian Faith, or a Declaration of a Faith That’s Wild and Free, or GODAMMIT; I’M GONNA FOLLOW JESUS unless I get the words right in my own head and heart first, so that’s going to have to wait a bit.

So I’m going to tell you about what an encouragement Greg is to me, but first I have to tell you I have a new bike.

A new bike!

Which isn’t new ’cause I don’t really do new, but is new to me, so, like “Beth Woolsey New” which is as good it gets around here.

My new bike looks like this if we paint it in watercolor, which we’re totally doing because I’ve been playing with my Waterlogue app to avoid writing my apology:

Preset Style = Travelogue Format = 10" (Giant) Format Margin = None Format Border = Straight Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Heavy Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = Natural Paint Lightness = Auto Paint Intensity = More Water = Orange Juice Water Edges = Medium Water Bleed = Average Brush = Fine Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Medium Paper = Buff Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Medium Options Faces = Enhance Faces

 

Also, it looks like this:

Painted in Waterlogue

And like this:

Painted in Waterlogue

And like this:

Painted in Waterlogue

(Psst… this isn’t a Waterlogue sponsored post, ’cause I don’t do sponsored posts, FYI.)

Back to Greg being an encourager!

I bought a bike! And I love it! It has an electrical assist I can engage when I ride up the giant hill to my house and also whenever I want to pretend I’m 87 and too old to peddle. And it’s enormous and bulky enough to haul a kid AND groceries on the back both of which I now do regularly because COOL BIKE.

In fact, I love my new bike so much I’ve decided to take it on our annual central Oregon vacation this week. And, while some husbands might discourage their wives from packing a huge, unwieldy, motorized bike on vacation — what with the 5 children and the service dog and the piles of luggage and mountains of groceries that attend our holidays with us — Greg said, and I quote, “There’s no way — NO WAY — that enormous thing is going to fit in our car.”

Isn’t that cute??

“No worries,” I said. “We can get a bike rack!”

“Too huge for a bike rack, Beth,” he replied. “There’s no way.”

Aw. He’s the adorablest! I heart him to the moon, friends!

“Car top carrier, it is!” said I.

“Read. My. Lips,” said he. “NO. Way. On God’s green earth, there is NO WAY are we taking that thing.”

I was beginning to sense some reluctance, however small, so I called my dad, and HE WAS SUPPORTIVE, TOO! “Greg’s right, Beth; that’s ridiculous. There’s no way to bring that thing on a 4-hour road trip.”

The men in my life, friends! They get me! I say I want something and then they get all tense and RIDICULE MY ABILITY TO MAKE IT HAPPEN… which lets me know they must WANT me to bring my bike VERY MUCH since expressing contempt and derision for my ideas is the fastest, most efficient way to get me to do anything. They’re SUPER SUPPORTIVE, in other words, and ensuring all my dreams come true.

The internet is all about telling other people how much better our lives are than theirs, so I figure it’s OK that I put down my Christian faith essay tonight to write, instead, about how much more encouraging my husband is than yours.

In conclusion, #FinallyDoingTheInternetRight!

With lots of love,

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The Day I Peed My Shoe. Yesterday, Actually. Yesterday, I Peed My Shoe.

Jun 20 2016

Once upon a time, I wet my shoe.

Not the pretty kind of “wetting my shoe” that’s an adorable misleading statement where I say, “I wet my shoe,” but then I’m all, “J/K! I got my shoe wet with the garden hose while watering the garden. Gotcha!” You know what I mean? Like when you drop a pea on the floor and say, “I peed the floor,” and your nine-year-olds think you’re HILARIOUS and your teenage daughter rolls All the Eyes in All the World and goes, “Stop, Mom. Just stop.”

Nope, this is not that; in this situation, I wet my shoe with my very own urine because — and here’s where I offer as true an explanation as I know — at my core, I am a gigantic dork. A gigantic, shoe-wetting dork.
Now, to be fair to my sweet self, this incident wasn’t actually as bad as the time last fall when I wet my office, about which I haven’t written because I’m loathe to be the girl who pooped my closet AND the girl who peed my office. I mean, how much believable pottying-on-oneself can one actually do? At some point, people will necessarily question my credibility, right? In our current shame-based culture where we can’t even share our lovely lunch pictures on the Facebook (while being simultaneously chided to treasure the little things) without being accused of the overshare, I was afraid I Couldn’t Take It. Losing even more credibility AND being re-accused of over-sharing? HOW WILL I ENDURE THE SHAME?

So I didn’t.

I left the office-peeing story untold.

And it shall remain untold for now, because I have a more pressing matter to address, which is the wetting of my shoe, about which I felt a similar measure of shame to the wetting of my office, until I remembered this afternoon that I HAVE no shame. I lost it long ago, as well as my dignity. I also realized that being absent the credible makes one incredible, and I was all, “INCREDIBLE ME can SO TELL THIS STORY.”

Which is why I’m here to let you know that once upon a time, I wet my shoe.

Yesterday.

Once upon a time yesterday, I wet my shoe.

While on my way home from the Grace in the Grime Spiritual Formation Retreat, I wet my shoe.

In a port-a-potty, I wet my shoe.

After bragging at the retreat how good I am at the “hover, aim and pee splash-free” maneuver — because this is the kind of thing one always discusses at a spiritual formation retreat, yes? — I wet my shoe.

I hovered, indeed, but then I missed, and it cascaded off the seat, creating a waterfall effect off the rim, which is how I wet my shoe. Which I failed to feel at first, so I REALLY wet my shoe.

The night after I told lovely retreat ladies in the hot tub overlooking the Pacific Ocean at sunset about Peeing My Office and about the shame which kept me from telling all of you, I wet my shoe.

Probably because Jesus was giving me more opportunities to be Authentically Me, I wet my shoe. We must, after all, credit Jesus with All the Gifts and Give Thanks in All Things, and I clearly have the spiritual gift of Soiling Myself, so Thank You, Jesus!

I wrote the ladies just now, in fact, and I shall share with you, too, for the sake of expedience and friendship and OBEDIENCE TO GOD, as you will see…

Ladies. Ladies. Ladies.

I need to tell you something.

I WET MY SHOE ON THE WAY HOME FROM THE BEACH YESTERDAY.

I WET it. With PEE. I am writing about it currently, but I feel that Jesus, who is mean and vindictive (not really) (I think) FORCED ME TO PEE MY SHOE because I neglected to tell the story in the fall about peeing my office. Do we think it’s a COINCIDENCE that I confessed that story to you in the hot tub on SATURDAY and then on SUNDAY I peed my shoe? THAT IS NOT COINCIDENCE, friends; it’s obviously my spiritual gift to pee and poop All the Things — I mean, HOW MANY TIMES DOES JESUS NEED TO SHOW ME THIS BEFORE I ACCEPT IT AS TRUTH?? — and then write about those things. I REJECTED my spiritual gift last fall after the incident that combined tights with that lady-pee-device and my consistently poor judgement, and then I hid my light under a bushel AND TOLD NO ONE WHAT I HAD DONE. Except a few friends at work. And also some people on my back patio when we drank whiskey one night. And also the people at the writing retreat. And also all of you ladies in the hot tub. But, other than, like, a few dozen people, I TOLD NO ONE, so Jesus made me wet my shoe to get my attention. Because Jesus is WILY and PERSISTENTLY IN PURSUIT OF HELPING US FIND AND ACCEPT OURSELVES AND OUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS. (Psst… one part of that may actually be true.)

Anyway — I’ll write more on the blog, but just wanted to let you know — NOT GONNA HIDE WHO GOD AUTHENTICALLY CALLED ME TO BE! HEART INTELLIGENCE! WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!

Also, friendly word of advice… maybe aim REALLY GOOD in port-a-potties so your pee doesn’t cascade off the rim of the toilet, over which you’re hovering, and create a waterfall that gushes into your Dansko clog, which is uniquely shaped to capture every bit of the ever-flowing stream. I mean… up to you to accept or reject my advice, of course… you do you… but I thought I’d mention it in case it helps.

In conclusion, I once peed my shoe. Yesterday, actually. Thanks be to God.

Sincerely,

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P.S. I stole the Danskos pic from the Danksos site and am using it without permission. FREE ADVERTISING FOR DANSKO! I figure they won’t mind. I mean, who DOESN’T want to know Dansko clogs are easy to pee into? <<<SELLING POINT.

P.P.S. I’m finishing this (rudely) while at dinner with Greg and our friends, John and BJ, and I told them I can’t talk yet because I’m writing about peeing my shoe. Greg said, “Again?” And John said, “I peed both of mine today.” In extra conclusion, I like John better than Greg. The End.

More Hope Than Certainty

Jun 14 2016

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It’s 55°F outside and windy on the wild west coast where I sit in my flip-flops and parka, wrapped in the blanket I stole from the beach house, and write and write – by hand because I spilled coffee on my laptop AGAIN – and listen to the waves crash relentlessly, endlessly, while the sun and clouds fight for control of the sky.

I’m deliciously warm except for my nose and ears and fingertips and toes, which are ice, and I’m outside alone except for the teenager chasing her rainbow kite down the shore because it escaped her grasp and made the dash for freedom.

It would be more practical to sit inside where the temperature is controlled and the wind wouldn’t play with my paper and my hair. Surely I would be more practical there, too. And more productive. But my soul is one of the Wild Things and makes decisions sometimes for my body – when I listen – and She couldn’t sit inside today where She felt trapped by walls and ceiling. No, She longed to be set free today, so I’m taking Her where She wants to go and letting Her use my pen, which is always risky because my soul loves Jesus to the moon, and loves people, and says fuck a lot, so I never quite know where She’ll take us, my pen and I, if I give her free rein, but I am always interested to find out, and I’m more and more willing to let Her lead to these days. She loves well when I let her. Even me.

I woke up Sunday morning with Things to Do. Graduation Things for my high school senior. Packing Things for the retreats I’m running this week. One thousand things to finish by noon, and boxes and bags to throw in my fancy blue Pontiac with the cloth seats so I could book it for the coast where I hoped I’d beat my retreat guests, scheduled to arrive simultaneously with me.  I had, in other words, Things to Do and no time to Be.

Then I read Sunday morning’s news.

Orlando.
Shooting.
50 dead.
LGBTQ.
Biggest Mass Shooting in U.S. History.

The To Do’s faded away. My Soul sat us down. We bowed our heads and prayed:

“No.
“No.
“No.
“No.
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
“No.
“No.
“Nope.
“No.”

We continued for quite some time. Days now, actually, the only variations, “Oh, Jesus, no,” and all the Goddamnits.

I thought maybe we should say something out loud, but the Soul said it wasn’t time for us yet, and Practical Me agreed that writing ALL the Goddamnits would take more time than we had at hand.

“AND,” Soul said…, “AND remember how we’re learning to not always tell others’ stories FOR them, Beth? Remember how we’re learning to tell stories WITH them?”

She’s right, of course. We are trying to learn this, my Soul and I. Trying hard to use our words to champion the vulnerable and marginalized, like our LGBTQ neighbors and friends, without speaking FOR them and rob their voices and co-opt their perspectives. Trying to learn to be good allies and friends. Trying to grieve our collective tragedies and losses while recognizing the particular and profound grief and suffering the targets of these attacks – the LGBT community – experience.

So I sat at the coast with new and old friends, in the wind and watching waves, and I scrolled through Facebook, where my friend, Geoff, who is a humanitarian at heart and by trade, who is a musician, who is kind and tall and handsome and gay and brave and a survivor, wrote this:

“Despite my sadness, I have great hope today, because at last night’s vigil I witnessed, once again, the community come together and show that, in responding to hate, our weapon of choice is more love. We greet with open hands those whose fists clench against us, we sing and joke and cheer when some would silence us, we assemble with lights and flags of all colours when some want us to disappear. The more we are persecuted the more deeply and widely our love spreads: for one another, our neighbors, and even our enemies. We say, You are invited to this party, too; there’s room here under our rainbow. We will not let you stereotype and demonize another minority in our name, either. And this is why, though we suffered terrible losses, we are winning.”
-Geoff Rempel-

“Can I quote you?” I asked Geoff.

“Of course,” he wrote, “if you wish, though I wrote those words with more hope than certainty.”

More hope than certainty.

More hope than certainty.

I love this. ^^^

Imagine a world with more hope than certainty.

More hope in love as a weapon than the certainty that our neighbors are evil.

More hope that we can find each other in the darkness than certainty we are two divided.

More hope in inclusion and invitations to dance and celebrate together than the certainty that the “other” is out to get us.

Yes. More hope than certainty. This is how I write, too, Geoff – with more hope than certainty. And how I live. And how I breathe. And how I love.

With more hope than certainty.

Always and forever.

This is, after all, what it means to be compassionately human and to live on after tragedies; to keep seeking change, and to act as if Love really does win in the end.

I keep seeing that rainbow kite tumbling down the beach. Free.

With love,

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Bewilder. Be Wilder. And Aslan is on the Move.

Jun 7 2016

I thought I could handle an unlidded coffee cup. I thought I could, so I filled it to the brim, my old, stainless steel mug that holds a whoppin’ lot of coffee, which God knows I need in the morning. And I decided not to affix the black, screw-on lid. Just for a moment, you understand. Just long enough to get the coffee back to my desk where I’d add the lid and avert the crisis.

Of course, you can see the foreshadowing, and you know this is the part in the horror movie when you scream at the angelic teenager with waist long hair and perfect skin as she foolishly makes her way across the darkened yard to the tool shed, “DO NOT INVESTIGATE THAT NOISE,” you yell, because you’ve seen this scenario before, “DO NOT OPEN THAT CREAKY SHED DOOR,” and so you already know I knocked all 16 ounces of coffee over because that girl will always, ALWAYS go into the shed and get her head lopped off by the ax. It will always happen. It was predestined before the dawn of time. Which is why the coffee tsunami washed over the desk and onto my keyboard and sloshed to the floor, and I spent the next 30 minutes sopping up the spill and trying to wick coffee from between the keys this morning. A typical morning, actually; mess and madness to think I can do adult things like drink without a lid.

I’m sitting outside on the back patio now. It’s evening and hot for our valley in temperate Oregon. My eyelids are sweaty, my legs are scratchy, and I’m content to watch my grubby nine-year-old on the rickety swing, going as high as he can in a pendulum rhythm over the patchy grass. I’m in my pajamas and the wind is blowing wildly off the hill, whipping my hair and stinging my face.

The wind rushes around me, unrestrained and uninterested in moderation, fulfilled in its intensity, and I keep thinking about the word bewilder. Bewilder, which means to baffle, mystify, bemuse and perplex. Bewilder, which keeps running through my head as “be wilder,” instead. Be wilder. Be WILDER. The wind rushes around me unbridled, unchecked, and I’m jealous of its freedom and its ease with itself, envious that it knows who it is and the role it plays in the universe and does so without wondering if its strength and force and power are too much, too loud, too bold, or too free. Bewildered is what I so often feel, and like I must fight the fetters and chains that tell me to be more quiet, more appropriate, more complacent, less mouthy. But, oh, be wilder is where I long to be, like the wind. Be WILDER and free.

I laid in bed last night with a kid who’s reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for the first time, after fighting and fighting me on it. “There’s NOTHING in this house to read,” he said while Narnia sat on the shelf waiting for him to find the back of the wardrobe and feel the pine needles on his face and discover the lamppost and meet the faun. I knew it was there; I’ve visited before — over and over, actually — but he would hear none of it until I tired of his whining and made him read the first three chapters. “If you hate it after that,” I said, “I’ll stop bugging you about it,” by which I meant I’d continue bugging him about it after I took a teeny, tiny break. But he read those chapters and couldn’t put it down, so I was triumphant, and last night he whispered so no one else would hear — a secret just for those of us who’ve lived in Narnia — “Mom. Listen. This is IMPORTANT. Aslan is on the move.” 

ID-100250898Aslan is on the move, he said. And I whispered back, “Aslan IS on the move, Cai. Perhaps he’s already landed!” And, while Cai continued to read with huge, wide eyes because magic was happening right in front of him, I smiled and wept silently because magic was happening in front of me, too. The magic of a child in Narnia, yes, absolutely, and also the reminder that Good is on the move on behalf of the oppressed; that we live in troubled times but endless winter isn’t endless, after all.

Aslan is on the move, and he’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.

Be wilder. I hear it on the wind.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course Aslan isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

We live in troubled times, and we’re troubled inside, too. Longing and longing to be free. And to fight for good. And to be wilder. But we spill coffee and make terrific messes and slog through the mundane and feel stuck, too. Like it’s all madness and mess and endless winter.

And I needed the reminder more than I can say.

Aslan is on the move.

With Love,

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“Will the others see you too?” asked Lucy.
“Certainly not at first,” said Aslan. “Later on, it depends.”
“But they won’t believe me!” said Lucy.
“It doesn’t matter.”

………

“Lion” image credit tiverylucky via freedigitalphotos.net

But First, Tacos

Jun 2 2016

Things you should know:

  1. I’m still alive, and
  2. I’m missing writing here,
  3. but one kid had surgery,
  4. and one kid has mono,
  5. and one kid, who’s in the special education class, told another kid in the special education class that she was taking out a hit on him because he didn’t let her help him with science, and everyone knows when someone doesn’t let you help with science the only reasonable solution is to threaten that person with death.
  6. Also, one kid has a tiny concussion. And maybe mono, too. But probably just the concussion. I told him if he has mono like his sister, I’ll spank him, so he decided not to have it, after all.
  7. I won’t actually spank him; partly because it turns out I’m not a spanker, and partly because he’s hard to catch, even with a concussion.
  8. Also-also, one kid is graduating high school Saturday, so we are preparing to Fake Having a Clean House for the party. The struggle is real.
  9. Also-also-also, my Coma Friend had a heart attack last week, which she did not technically do at me or to me, but it was still unacceptable and uncalled for. She has apologized, so we can forgive her, but we are writing it into the Friendship Contract that she shall not have another. On the bright side, I got a free night’s lodging at the hospital.
  10. This morning, I threw away my mostly-consumed tub of Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Chocolate Fudge frosting (aka, COPING MECHANISM) because I do NOT need to eat ANY MORE of that crap at night while reading Meljean Brooks’ steampunk romance novels,
  11. BUT DO NOT WORRY because this evening I dug that tub of processed sugar out of the bathroom garbage and am finishing it now.

All of these things are happening, and also more things — All of the Things, really — and we may get to them in the coming days, but first, tacos.

First, tacos, because I feel they are emblematic of All the Things and particularly emblematic of the last two weeks.

I saw this in my Facebook feed:

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“Start typing @m [in the comments] and the first person that pops up has to buy you tacos (no cheating)”

I thought, “Ooooh. I love tacos. I could TOTALLY USE tacos right now. I could stuff, like, A DOZEN FEELINGS about illnesses and momming and busy-ness and heart attacks with a plate of tacos. I would EAT THE HECK out of those tacos!”

So I did it, friends. I typed “@m” in the comments while I thought, “I wonder which of my friends will have to buy me tacos?! Maybe Melissa. Or Mindy. Or Monica. Or Mary Ellen. These are all friends I see regularly. These are all friends who have, in the past, bought me actual, literal tacos. These are all friends who, if I’m pathetic enough, will buy me tacos AND margaritas. This is a WIN!” Which is when I saw my results…

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… and the Universe cackled at me because the Universe sucks sometimes. “You know who’s going to buy you tacos, Beth?” the Universe laughed, “NO ONE IS WHO. You are ALL ALONE and TACOLESS.”

I wish I had a happy ending to this post, but the Universe stole it.

Waving in the (tacoless) dark anyway,
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P.S. One of the kids just stole the rest of my frosting.

P.P.S. I can’t get it back, though, because she’s been known to threaten to take hits out on people.

P.P.P.S. Actually, I think I will go get it back. If I have to die, doing it for chocolate frosting feels like a worthy way to go.

How to Get Kids to Pick Up Quickly and Enthusiastically

May 19 2016

I asked my boys to tidy their room, which was a disaster, and, because they’re smart, capable, 9-year-old children who don’t need to have everything explained to them anymore in excruciating detail, I gave them two basic directions, as follows:

  1. When you are finished picking up your room, gentlemen, I should be able to both see and walk upon the floor.
  2. Your things should be organized in such a manner that you can easily find everything. I’m sure I don’t need to mention that you can certainly not find everything — including the shoes, jackets, books, homework folders, etc. that you cannot find ANY of the school mornings — if you shove it all underneath your bed or in the closet. Correct? I do not need to point this out? That there needs to be a better system? No? You get it? OK. OK, then, boys. Full speed ahead.

They finished in 10 minutes.

They have NEVER finished cleaning ANYTHING in 10 minutes, but there they were, tumbling down the stairs in holey socks with giant smiles, proclaiming completion.

I clarified.

Me: I can see AND walk on the floor?

Them: Yep!

Me: And not just a teeny, tiny sliver of the floor?

Them: Nope!

Me: And you have organized your belongings?

Them: Yep!

Me: ALL of your belongings or SOME of your belongings?

Them: ALL!

Me: And I will find how many items shoved under your bed?

Them: None!

Me: And you have completed this entire task in 10 minutes?

Them: Yep!

Me: And it’s SO complete that you feel good about me inspecting it?

Them: Yes!

Me: Now?

Them: Let’s go!

We trooped up the stairs for inspection, and I patted myself on the back on the way because friends — friends — if you give your children FREEDOM to complete tasks THEIR WAY, and you DO NOT INSIST ON YOUR OWN, they finish jobs QUICKLY and ENTHUSIASTICALLY, and it’s a MIRACLE. I should write a Parenting Book! I have finally figured it out!

Also, here is their system:

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As they say, “A clear path for walking and all of our belongings at our fingertips!” There is nothing under the bed anymore, and, in fact, nothing left in the closet, either, because they pulled everything out of it. Everything. To create their New System of Organization.

I asked where they got such a terrible, terrible idea, and they said — I kid you not — “We learned it from watching you.”

In conclusion, bless their hearts. Bless their punky, butt-nuggetty hearts.

Keepin’ it real,

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P.S. Their room still looks like that because they pointed out there’s WAY less vacuuming this way, and “it’s likely to smother all the bugs.” I’m having trouble arguing with their logic. Well played, boys; well played.