At one of my jobs, I was a part of a pretty important pitch team. And while I knew my section of the presentation inside and out, I was still nervous about presenting. I sat with other colleagues as we waited to be called into the meeting room for our turn. As the moments ticked on, I was getting more and more jittery. And I wasn't the only one – everyone had their own way to pass the time: someone was pacing, another reading over his notes, someone else chugging water (I swear she had three bottles in two minutes.), and someone else kept showing us memes from Facebook. Seeing - and likely feeling - the stress, our boss encouraged us to stand up and stretch. In the large lobby we were tucked over in a corner and fairly hidden away. Our small group of four, wearing our suits and smart dresses, gathered around our boss. She took a deep breath in and channeling her own mellow – yet empowerment method - she popped into her "power pose". Her arms were stiff in the air in a “V” shape, opposite to her legs in the same shape but upside down. Her head was back towards the sky, her eyes were closed, and in a soothing, breathy voice she was telling us to feel confident and strong. Like I also do when I am in exercise groups with my eyes closed, I opened just one eye and looked around to see if everyone else was in the power pose. Everyone was – but I just wasn’t feeling it. I quietly sat down and reached into my purse and fished around for a medicine bottle. When I pulled it out, everyone heard the rattle and looked over. All I said while twisting the lid was that “yoga moves and breathing was one way to deal with stress, but this was mine.” And I popped a Xanax without regret or hesitation.
Adam and I took advantage of his work travels when I met him at a hotel in DC hotel on a rainy Friday afternoon. With both of us already having seen the city, the crappy weather, and not having the kids with us, we decided to stay in for the night to raid the minibar, get room service and watch a little porn. We were married just long enough that that order of events was acceptable – get drunk and full first. After eating steaks and sweets and drinking a full bottle of red wine while wearing the hotel provided robes, we flipped through the X-rated movie menu. Remember this is a time that was years before iPhone and iPads, where dirty movies – and a ton of other stuff - are now more privately available any time of day. On our mission circa 2001, we made our selection and we both got ready to get it goin’ on. Before the non-plot could thicken and before anyone even got naked on screen, the movie cut off. We found the remote to put it back on again. Same thing happened. Being a $20 movie, we debated only for a moment about calling the front desk to get someone from IT to help us. Believing that they never put the movie titles on the bill – isn’t that what they tell you! - we figured we wouldn’t have to say what movie we were watching when the screen went black. But they did know. There was an evident awkward pause from my end of the phone, when I heard the woman at the front desk say that she wanted to confirm it was “Robin Head” that was giving us trouble. OMG. This whole situation was trouble! She said she’d send someone up to check my box. God – this was just getting more worse and awkward with the unintended sexual puns and random people coming into our room to make sure we had access to dirty movies. When the IT guy finally got to our room, I was surprised when Adam ran into the bathroom like a girl with the fluffy cotton robe flying behind him. What the hell?! He is just leaving me standing here to look like a lady of the night? The IT guy knowingly smiled at me when I opened the door. I tied my robe a little tighter just for effect; it kind of felt like this could be the start to our very own porno with a threesome storyline. But nothing sexual here. The IT guy and I talked about the city while he fixed the problem and Adam remained in the bathroom (eyeroll!). When the guy finally left, Adam emerged and undeterred we ordered the movie again. Yes!! It was playing through the cut-off point from before. It was only after mutual goals were achieved that Adam unabashedly brought up that we waited almost 40-minutes to fix the problem for just 5-minutes of video that brought about the reward. Good thing it’s a 24-hour movie rental…maybe we’ll see 7-minutes next time.
I love to eat. If I need to be on a diet, I can totally cut back - even starve if I have to. But when I am allowing myself to eat – I do. I love the three C’s: carbs, chocolate and cheese. Which all impact the three H’s: hips, heart and happiness. I am a tall, full-figured woman with a little more in a lot of places (except my boobs – they are like speedbumps on my curvy highway. Sigh). But sometimes I am embarrassed of how much I can actually consume. And in this one instance, it’s not embarrassing but brilliant. I think, anyway.
Around the holiday season many baskets of cookies, food, fruit and the like get delivered to offices. In my field, they are usually sent from vendors, freelancers, media partners, even clients. For the most part, they are addressed to one person on the team or in the agency. That person normally takes a little bit for themselves and brings the rest to the breakroom, which by mid-December looks like an exploding cornucopia of excusable calories.
One year I got a tower of goodies from a local bakery. The gift was about six boxes tall and each one got smaller in size as they stacked up to an enormous red bow. Our receptionist Janell, brought me my delivery and handed me the card that went along with it. I deliberately read it out loud “To Nicole & Team – Thanks for all of your hard work and efforts! You are amazing and Nicole is a great lead on the account”. I smiled and looked up at Janell; she told me that it was a nice card – I agreed.
I tore into the bottom box and took out an apple and a pear, from other boxes I took a sleeve of chocolate chip cookies and one with vanilla cookies filled with jam, a package of chocolate covered raisins and a little bag of almonds. I then brought the rest of the boxes into the kitchen to be devoured shortly after placing them on the table.
I spent the next few days eating my treats. Yes. I ate it all. Don’t judge. I had the card hanging up on my corkboard behind my desk. One of my better friends at the company walked in and remarked on the nice note and asked who it was from, because she noticed, it wasn’t actually signed. I started to laugh.
“It’s from me.”, I answered.
“You wrote that card?” she asked
“Yup.” I waited for her to figure things out a little further.
It clicked. “Did you send yourself that delivery”?
“Yup!” I said laughing. “I sure did. I do think I am doing a great job and I am a great leader and I wanted a giant tower of food that I could dive into first.”
“Oh my God! You’re insane!”
“Yea well I left you a sleeve of cookies, a bag of nuts and a mini-muffin on your chair.”
“Oh my God! You’re the best!”
“I know! Wait until you see the wine I sent myself!”
You know when you are a parent and you are wondering what your kid will be when they grow-up? When they do something smart in school, you think there is hope! They might be something great! Then they will do something stupid like put a bucket on their head and bang into walls and you think, crap – there is no chance for this kid. They might be clever and answer a worksheet question literally. Like, saying “1895” when asked what ended in 1896. Technically, this is not wrong! Or they ask you a question so simply frightening like “why do I have eyes?” and you are again wondering if you should just spend their college fund on a family vacation. Vanessa’s latest question, or rhetorical question, or observation – whatever you want to call it - had me wondering what the future holds for my little hot mess. Here’s the scenario:
I am watching a movie. Vanessa is in the room with me but she is playing waitress. Two things are wrong here from my end – while the movie is in her background, it’s still probably not something she should be watching. And well, I keep asking her to fill my wine. Don’t judge. I’ll tip her.
As she is walking back into the kitchen with her tray in one hand, apron around her waist and my wine bottle in the other, she stops to look at the TV which is now featuring a scene in a strip club. The music is loud, the girls are gorgeous and truly impressive as they defy gravity swinging around their dance poles in moves that would hurt my back, make me dizzy or look like a total ass even trying to pull it off (imagine a curvy women with a soft core twirling around a pole while on tip-toes trying to swirl down into a sexy ground pose but rather gaining too much speed on the swirl so that she is curling around the pole and sliding to the ground like a snake shot with a tranquilizer. Very hot). But Vanessa sees something else in her mind – she has high hopes when she asks “Mommy! Isn’t she pretty? Can I do that when I grow-up?”
Well…stripper or waitress seems possible today but maybe she’ll do something great that will make it seem like a doctor or teacher could be possible too! I guess I can start filling an empty wine jug with singles and also keep buying savings bonds until her path is clear. I’ll be ready for anything – and so will she.
I am a pretty anal-retentive person…I might even have a touch of OCD. I never really had it looked into because well, I have a host of other crazy behaviors that probably need more focus than being annoyingly organized and regimented. In this instance, my routine is about the end of the work day. Each night before leaving I do the “day’s end” lap . I walk to the printer to check that I have gotten all of my print-outs (especially the personal ones like coloring pages for Vanessa, softball schedules for Ella or online shopping receipts for me). I stop at the bathroom and then go through the kitchen to fill a water bottle for the ride home. Finally, I head back to my desk to pick-up my parking pass, car keys and purse. On this particular day, I was ready to by-pass the printer to go straight to the bathroom since I had so much water throughout the day. But because I am this person of habit, I started the norm with an overly full bladder. Tapping my foot and doing a little dance to keep from peeing my pants, I waited for what seemed like forever for the printer to finish printing all of my documents. I couldn’t even fathom going over the water cooler with having to go to the bathroom on my mind. After practically pulling the last page of my print-out from the copier, I broke routine and ran on the tips of my pink high-heeled shoes to the bathroom. On a mission, I pushed open the door like a sailor on his first time home to his bride. I chose the first stall because it was closest and barley even locked the door behind me before I had one hand yanking down my pants to take position. Now – I know that the cleaning people come each night and I know the asses of my fellow co-workers but I still find the need to hover over the bowl – no skin to porcelain contact. With the pressure of the bladder bursting open, my stream was as solid and fierce as water from a fire hose. I was a bit embarrassed of how loud it was when I realized someone was in the stall next to me. As I moved just slightly to collect some toilet-paper, albeit while I was still engaged in going, my body shifted and my big ol’ rear moved away from the bowl. I suddenly heard the sound of my pee hitting the water change to my pee hitting the floor. I moved back into a target-right position and when finished, I bent down to clean up the little puddle on the floor. It was then that I actually saw the feet in the next stall. I know those manicured toes peeking out from the sensible beige shoes. It was my boss. And there were little droplets of my pee on the side of her shoe! Yikes!! I stood there with my face frozen. In fact, I think I stopped breathing. When I heard her flush, I started silently mouthing the words “fuck” over and over and praying that she’d leave the bathroom pronto so I didn’t have to meet her at the sink. Once I heard the bathroom door open and assumed she walked out, I used my foot to press down the handle to flush and instantly regretted having on pretty unique shoes - if she saw them it would be telltale that I was the offender. Just to be safe, I never wore those same shoes again. And neither did she. Her, for better reason.
I had a feeling I would be a bad mom when I went stood in front of the glass in the maternity ward looking more at my reflection than at the newborn babies that were before me. I was kind of pissed that everyone let me walk the halls like I looked – my hair was a total mess, I had dark bags under my eyes, I didn’t care to put on a bra and so my nipples were uncomfortably evident under the sheet-like material of the hospital gown. Although, for once in my life I didn’t really mind that because I finally had a decent set of boobs thanks for my newly engorged breasts. After I stood for a moment trying to fix my hair and wipe running mascara from under my eyes using my reflection in the glass window, I began to realize how ridiculous I must look to the nurses. I was being quite vein. So I started to look beyond myself and was now focused on all of the babies in their plastic bassinets. Among the sea of what looked like a lot of burritos with tiny heads thanks to swaddling, I found my daughter and couldn’t stop staring at her. While cooing to her, I was in mid-motion of putting my two hands together to make both halves of a heart when the nurse lightly knocked on the window and simultaneously pointed to the bassinet two over from the baby I was talking to and mouthed the words “that one is yours”. Awesome. I was bonding with some other baby. Could I be a good mother, even if I didn’t know who I was supposed to mother? Only time would tell. And this blog. This blog says a lot of my parenting. Yikes. That other baby in the bassinet really dodged the bullet.
Every Friday we go to a local restaurant for dinner. We like this place because it is one large room with a bar and dining tables - so it is kinda like we are at a bar with our kids. Don't judge. It works for us. And lots of other families in our town go here, because the joint is usually packed with underage kids and parents holding on to a dream.
Last week, Vanessa asked if she could bring a friend to dinner. I went back and forth in deciding because I wanted my kid to have fun but, like a modern Mom, I also wanted a couple of glasses of wine and did not want to drive someone else's child home from the bar. Er, Um, restaurant.
((OK let's pause for one second. Is it weird that I didn't say that I consider this weekly when our little family goes to this place and I might drive with MY child? I have some messed up standards.))
So Vanessa's 9-year-old friend joined us. And I nursed one glass of wine with plans to snuggle up on the couch later that night with several others. Adam on the other hand was drinking like a pirate and was about four beers in when he started to become annoying.
When he said something particularly off-color, the words just slipped out of my mouth and I yelled at him - "You are a douche."
And as Vanessa and her friend exchanged crayons to color their kid's menu placemats, she looked at me and said without expression "Mom! That is a bad word."
For which I quickly replied after tsking, "Babe, I don't think your friend knows that is a curse word." And I believed that. I believed that other parents didn't say shit like this in front of their kids. So I tried to recover and jokingly said "so, just be cool, ok."
And without ever looking up from her iPhone, my older one snarked "Mom, you are never cool."
Fair enough. So very fair. Aren't douches outdated anyway?
I like arranging play dates for my kids because quite honestly, it keeps them out of my way. I can relax and watch TV while they stay occupied. So when other moms thank me for having their kids over for nearly eight hours, I want to say thank you to them for the privilege and resulting freedom.
The other day however, I regretted making plans to have Vanessa’s friend over because my friend called and wanted to bring me to an open house. Hmmmm…..I wanted a play date for me! What to do…..??? Oh I know! I’ll pick up Vanessa’s friend, bring her to the open house and just head back home – I won’t make a big thing of it and really, this little girl is a very good kid; I totally trust she’d be fine.
When my friend came out to the car, she was surprised to see that I had another kid in tow but didn’t seem to mind- she was just excited to show me her possible new home! Before we went into the house I gave the girls the speech about being on their best behavior – no running, no loud talking, no touching things. Well of course that was near impossible when the girls saw the giant bucket of Halloween candy in the (very large and pretty!) front foyer.
Their hands were wrist deep before the Real Estate agent rounded the corner. I gave them the eyes – you know – “mom eyes” with pursed lips and they took their handfuls of candy and shoved them in their coat pockets. I’d like to say they didn’t take any candy – but that would be something a kid with a disciplining family would do – not my kid.
Their stash was too much for their little pockets and several Hershey kisses fell onto the floor. As I heard the agent coming towards us, I kicked several pieces of candy under the closet door with the thought to get them before we left. Yes, it would have made sense to pick them up but in the moment, side swiping them with my big foot felt a quicker way to get rid of the fallen sweets.
We walked through the house and the girls were relatively good – I only had to remind them once not to jump on the bed and I had to inform them that yes, it was a tub and no, definitely not OK to go in while wearing sneakers – so get out of it.
Like I do in almost any home I ever visit – friends, family, and now strangers – I peeked in medicine cabinets, changed the way the toilet paper was hanging on the roll if it was going “over” and straightened pictures and lampshades. At a friend’s house, I sometimes even rip the warning tags off throw pillows. I know – it is kind of over the line considering it is not my home. It’s a sickness. Yes. I don’t disagree. Sometimes, I will turn the decorative pillows in way so that at least you can’t see the offending tag. I take this route if I am with other people in a room don’t want to show off my crazy.
Today, I wondered what excuse would hold up when I was left alone in the master bedroom with a bed full of decorative throw pillows. They were all pretty in their rich brown and blue colored patterns and yet these horrifying tags were erratically popping out of a sea of coordinated colors. ACK!! I was practically sweating when my friend left the room. I could hear that the kids were still in a random bedroom as I stood there just starting at the king size bed.
I didn’t blink for what felt like two minutes when finally – I couldn’t take it. I leaned over and started tearing tags off the pillows with a fierce tug that sliced the labels from the seams. I was moving at lighting pace, yet challenged as I was trying to be gentle enough to keep everything in place. There has to be 15 pillows on this bed and I was motoring through the tag removal; my pony tail was swinging wildly about my face and by the eighth pillow, I was grunting and my hand was cramping taking more than one swift move for the tag to rip free.
It was trying. I was winding down. I gave in. I jumped on the bed like the squirrel on Chevy Chase's back in "Christmas Vacation" (Yay for those of you who know exactly what I am talking about). If someone walked in and didn’t know me – they might think I was the realtor or home owner by the way I was working the place. And clearly, it would be weird for me to be some stranger plucking tags. Rip! Rip! Rip! They were all flying off now!! Exhilaration!!
I heard it then. I heard the rip of one of the final pulls on one of the last pillows. As the sound pierced through the quiet room, I froze. In the silence, I heard my heavy breathing as I looked at the bed that now had a pile of warning labels scattered about the top of the comforter – which I should have taken seriously. I looked at the pillow I was holding and sure enough, I had ripped it.
I heard my friend coming back my way. I turned around in a circle like a small, panicked child looking for a hiding place at the start of the count for hide-n-seek. I didn’t know what to do and with a split second of a thought – I jumped on the bed to stuff the torn pillow between the wall and the headboard. I launched on the bed with more intensity than necessary and landed with a loud “umph”. I reached up over the wooden headboard and shoved the pillow far enough down that it looked like it could have naturally landed there for some reason. And with a million other pillows still on the bed, I was certain by the time someone found this one – this day would be long gone. My friend walked in as I was sitting up on the bed and shoving handfuls of tags in my coat pocket.
“Comfy bed”, was all I said and I left the room in quick-step and headed towards the front door.
After leaving the house we were driving down the road...I felt like everyone in the car had pockets that were full of some part of this home – candy for the kids, tags for me – I have no idea what my friend had. She was looking in the bathroom for a while – if she had a pocketful of mini-soaps, I’d say it would really round out this story.
But it was instead certain that she had done nothing offending when she yelled out, “Shit! We forgot to pick the chocolates the kids dropped up off the closet floor!”
“Yes! We suck.” I said. “And so I really think that you should never, ever call about that house. Like, ever.”
Adam and I were packing for our anniversary weekend getaway to Newport, RI. Naturally I was throwing 9 million things and like, eight pairs of shoes for four days, in to a suitcase that Adam would eventually wind up rearranging like a Tetris puzzle mastermind. ((Eye roll)).
While he loved the satisfaction of getting everything I had over-packed to fit into our luggage, he went on and on ((and on!)) complaining about how I always had too much shit and took up too much room in the suitcase.
((Another eye roll)). I mean come on....after over 17 years together, you would think this wouldn't come as a surprise or even be a topic of conversation. Get with it, man.
Ella happened to be sitting in the room watching Adam struggle with packing while I ignored his huffing and moved on to loading up my toiletry bag, when he turned to her and said "Ella, take a lesson from this and if you go on a trip, especially with a guy you like, don't over-pack like your mother. It is totally unnecessary. There are some women who travel with just a small bag or even one single backpack".
The way he said it....the way he dramatized "one (pause) single (pause) backpack" totally pissed me off and I couldn't help myself.
I turned around towards them with face cream in one hand and mascara primer in the other and said to him, "Yea, well, those who can do that also have hairy pussies and smell like granola".
Adam then looked at me and said quite appropriately "you're disgusting", while Ella yelled at the same time "Mooooom! That is so gross!"
I looked at Adam and then looked looked at her and asked "Ella how do you know what that word means?"
She turned back to me and responded, "What? Granola? I hate the way that tastes. It is nasty."
Hahaha. Yup. Okay. That works.
NEVER use a shovel to get snow off your windshield.
Even if your bullshit ice scraper is small and useless and doesn’t seem to work.
Or even if it seems like you are jusssssst grazing the glass with the lightest touch of the shovel's metal edge.
When using a snow shovel to clear (practically brush!) the front window so that you can see while driving, it apparently can make some sort of fracture in the windshield that is invisible to the naked eye.
And so if, while you are driving, a littttttttle ice droplet happens to fall from a tree branch onto your windshield – the entire thing might very well crack and send the break splintering like a spider web across the glass.
So be advised. Apparently, shoveling your car is not a good idea.
Collection of comic strips that illustrate the madness of my life - career, marriage, motherhood...me!
Click on any of the categories above or the "previous" link at the end of the page to see some moments that have stripped me of my sanity.