Here is the image I would like to project for my homestudy interview tomorrow.

The lady drives down our driveway in a sturdy, practical car noting the idyllic image of my horses grazing in the front pasture. We usher her in and have a civilized discussion. She does a safety audit of the house and is impressed by our throughness and thoughfulness. As she leaves she can’t wait to get back to the office and write up an enthusiastic report.

Here’s how it will probably really go.

She drives a fussy little sports car that she decided to take for a spin since there is a warm spell. The ground is thawing and my driveway is pure mud. Somehow she gets down the driveway without getting stuck, breaking an axle, or wrecking as she watches the horses bite and kick at each other. We answer the door and Riley runs under her feet. We sit down and both cats decide to make her feel welcome by lying on her papers. When they are banished, Riley takes out his frustration by slapping Snowball on the butt. This makes her furious so she chases him into the bedroom, barking all the way. The bird thinks this is great and screams loudly to encourage even more chaos. Riley is so upset by this time that he goes into the bedroom and pees on the bed. Of course we don’t discover that until we are doing the safety inspection. During the interview the husband states authoritatively something that I have never heard before in my life (and something so off the wall that as of this writing I can’t even begin to imagine what it might be.) As she leaves she finds my muddy totally feral barn cat with the chronic respiratory infection sitting on top of her car and sneezing all over it. She leaves determined to save a child from having to live in this madhouse.

I got a text message from my SIL today wishing me good luck. I texted back that we were practicing being normal. She sent back a message saying that she was sending extra good luck for the husband if “normal” was our goal.