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.
I think I have mentioned before that years ago I wanted to be famous. For what? I don’t really know considering that I am not athletic and I can’t sing or act or do anything artsy like that.
But people have always told me that I have a nice smile and that I am lucky to be tall. So in my late twenties, that got me believing that maybe I could be a model!
OK. So, maybe more like a plus-size model with a casual look considering there is nothing unique or exotic about my alarmingly gargantuan muddy brown eyes, my very small lips and my upturned nose. Let’s not forget thinning hair, with split ends and “lovely” lady lumps in all the wrong places. Even in my late-20's. (Things were only going to get worse after kids, BTW. Sigh.)
All that aside though, I thought – let’s just give it a try – I see some models that aren’t skinny Crawford material. Maybe I could model for an ad for depression meds, or a diet program or something with a more natural fit for me. Ya know...kind of work my way onto the scene.
Now as you read on, remember these were the days before selfies and vlogging and YouTube and Snapchat and everything else that can put your face in front of millions, if you so choose, right from the palm of your hand.
OK. So it is 1990-whatever and I went to a open call at a NY agency for plus-size models. I walked into the room wearing a black dress, heels and my biggest model-like smile. They looked at me for four-point-five-seconds and said “you’re too thin.” Holy shit! Come again – what?! No one ever said that about me. Not even when I was like, a toddler.
Well now! Since they didn’t say I was hideous, I took this as my opportunity to gain a little weight before going back and trying again and decided to just eat everything on the face of the earth.
Feeling good and plump and even a little pretty, I went back months later and many pounds heavier.
When I walked in, I saw the same people at the casting table and was flattered that they remembered me. The one woman looked at my headshot (which was an untouched selfie, printed out at a local CVS. It was poorly lit and looked like something on the cutting room floor of a bad 80's porn. I had no experience on my resume. Well, except for modeling as a hand model for my cousin when she was taking an entry-level art class in college. Yea, um, so not a professional grade portfolio here).
They all looked at their papers and at each other and I swear the one guy even rolled his eyes. The woman with a lips so puffy it looked like she just got punched in the face and I wasn't even sure they would part when she spoke, looked at me and mumbled...or, um said “Sorry, you are too short.”
Fucking great! Couldn’t they have told me THAT first? So now I was 15 pounds overweight and not on any road to being famous. And what the hell could I do about being too short?!
Oh fuck them. Humph. I don't think Hollywood could handle me anyway.
I walked out of the building and headed back home with a plan to eat ice cream while wearing stilettos.
Adam can be so sweet and kind to people. On his way to work alone, he makes three stops within the week to socialize with and over tip the newspaper lady, the coffee cart kid and the shoe shine guy. So it amazes me that he can get so pissed off at something, and literally have a public meltdown. Ever see a 41-year-old tantrum? It ain’t pretty. Especially if you are the one that needs to clean it up.
Adam has literally created a list of places in our town that we are no longer aloud to frequent for a variety of reasons. Whether it is Dunkin' Donuts (or as Adam says "Dunkin' Do-not") because the people there always rush Adam to order, or the bagel place because they delivered the wrong drinks and then blamed it on us placing the wrong drink order, or the local pharmacy because the lines are too long, or the pizza place because it charges too much PLUS adds a dollar delivery fee - you cross Adam once and you are on the "never again list".
The latest offender is the local grocery store. Adam has always maintained that they were over-priced, under staffed and their produce sucked. He would tell anyone in town his opinion of the store and as he did, he face would literally change. It would get all contorted and angry and I was certain one day, his eyebrows were just going to fly off the top of his head by how much he raised them while bugging out his eyes. Now hearing that, and knowing we aren’t even in the store and he is pissed off, imagine what went down when we were actually there. Ugh!
So...we needed a few last minute items for a party and while Adam hated it, this grocery place was the most convenient. I convinced Adam that this would be the last time we went into the store. And while I offered to run in alone, Adam, going against my request, decided to come into the store with me.
He stomped down every aisle, remarking how expensive and dirty things were and manhandling the fruit and vegetables with a vengeance. I really tried my best to separate myself from him (this really was embarrassing). But as we needed to check out, I had to make my way back next to him.
Typical us, even though we came into the store only needing a few things - our cart was full as we pulled up to the register. I thought Adam's head was going to blow up when he saw me strolling over to the checkout with my packed carriage. As the lady was ringing things through and putting them into their bags, Adam huffed over every scan. Finally, when all was done and our club member discount was applied, the cashier read us our total. And Adam fucking flipped out.
He started screaming that the place was a rip off and we weren’t going to take any of our bags. He yelled this while picking up two yellow plastic bags in each hand and holding them over his head like a demented King Kong. He then threw the two bags back into the carriage, and spun around on his heel and went to storm off.
And like a scene out of a movie with Kevin James and Adam Sandler, he went over to the giant cage of bouncey-balls and kicked it and the Entire. Fucking. Thing. Fell. Over.
Balls of every colors and size were bouncing around him. He looked like he was being attacked by a lot of plastic orbs. I guess in an effort to protect himself - or to let go of some more anger – he started kicking balls that were in the way and so now they were hitting into the window and bouncing off other cash registers. Everyone in the place was still. Horrified. (Or scared of getting a ball to the face. Ouch!)
Adam walked out the automatic door with a swoosh. The girls and I were still standing in the checkout aisle. Frozen. Mouths agape. I didn’t want to look at anyone.
Ella yelled “Dad...??!!!”
I looked at her like “why are you admitting that he is your father?” and then I turned to the cashier to apologize.
As I started to leave, Ella and Vanessa scrambled around behind me trying to pick up the balls that were now lightly bouncing to a stop.
I slid into the car next to Adam after I loaded the trunk. He didn’t say a word as we pulled out of the parking lot and drove right past a giant red bouncy ball that had made its way out of the store.
I have said a million times that I am a bad driver. I will admit it to anyone. Even my 12 and 9-year-old kids, who don’t know how to drive, know that I really can’t drive. I am distracted and an air-head. I forget certain rules and I will concentrate more on belting out the words to a song rather than the rules of the road. I am always getting pulled over for doing something...but all fairly common stuff. Like parking where I shouldn’t, driving a little too fast, forgetting to use my blinker, or going down a one-way street. OK, the last one isn’t so common but honestly it could have happened to anyone. It was a very tiny street on a very dark day in a very quiet neighborhood. It probably would have gone unnoticed if the street wasn’t alongside of a local town fire station and the cop hadn’t been sitting outside for some reason. Ugh. Really!?
I don’t always try and get out of tickets either. I have two thoughts on this. The first, I probably was doing something wrong and therefore should get in trouble. The second is that it is realllly going to piss me off if I flirt my ass off – and I still get a ticket. What would that say about me? Or at the very least, my flirting skills!? On this occasion, however, I didn’t need to rely on my flirting – my daughter and her friends had it down.
It was Ella’s birthday and I was taking her and five of her friend’s home from a Hibachi dinner. Seeing that I knew I’d be driving a packed car of tweens home to our house for a sleepover, I didn’t have anything to drink. (How Mom of me, right?!)
The kids however were intoxicated on sugar from a shit-ton of Diet Coke. Capitalizing on the fun vibe of the car, I turned up Rhianna. We were all singing at the top of our lungs when I saw the familiar red and blue lights behind me. I turned down the radio - “Girls. OK. It seems I have gotten pulled over. Shhhhhh for a few minutes.”
The officer knocked on the passenger side of the car window. Ella’s friend rolled it down. Umm, so what if she was wearing sunglasses at night.
He asked me if I knew why I was stopped. (WHY do they always ask me this?! If I knew – wouldn’t I have NOT done it?! What the hell?) I told him I didn’t know but whatever it was – I was sorry.
He told me that I didn’t stop fully at the stop sign. He asked why. (Again, really?! What is this – a driving test?!) I was honest “Well. We were jamming out to Rhi-Rhi and I guess I didn’t realize that I didn’t fully stop”. And then I smiled (and then I did a mental head-slap..."Rhi Rhi"? Really? Do I think I am 20?! Ugh.)
He smiled back. God. He was adorable. Ella’s friend in the front seat was looking at him over the sunglasses she had slid down to the tip of her nose. Was she giving him sexy eyes at this age?! Yikes. The girls in the backseat then all started to chime in signing “Disturbia” while he turned on his heel and told me he’d be right back.
The girls started squealing when he left. They were gushing about how cute he was and how sweet he seemed. One girl asked me how old I thought he was – considering she was 11 and he had to be at least 25, I smacked down on whatever she was thinking right away.
While we were waiting for cop cutie to come back, I asked the girls how many of them ever got pulled over with their moms, to you know, stop worrying about being a total degenerate parent. And I was relieved when they all raised their hands and started laughing. One girl even said, “my mom tries to get out of a ticket by flirting”. Ha! Suburban Moms are crazy as hell and all the same. I liked confirming that.
I told them that I would tell their Moms what happened - really looking out for myself so that they had the right story. I was certain that if the girls told their parents that I had been pulled over, there would be something lost in translation and it would sound like it was for a reason far worse than was it was.
The cop came back and gave me a paper with a “warning” on it. He said it looked like I had my hands full and he’d give me a break. I loved him. The girls loved him. We asked him back to the house for cake (as I visualized him popping out of one) but naturally, he knew better than to go for that.
As I was tucking my “warning” away to hide it from Adam (like, he wouldn’t hear about this) the red and blue lights from the sirens were still projecting their light into my car. The girls found this a perfect time to take a bunch of selfies, their faces colored in red and blue hues in the backseat.
I didn’t think much of it until one of the girls said “I just posted to Instaaaaaa!” And now it was impossible to cover up. Hashtag - ‘not a party until we get pulled over’ - was trending all over town.
The only good thing here.....this surely must get me out of carpool pick-up for a while. Right?!
I have worked for my boss for years. And over the course of that time she has seen me look my best, worst, professional, causal and ever sport a few questionable workplace/summer Friday outfits.
She has also seen me at my thinnest (pre-kids) my heaviest (literally ready to have the baby in the office kitchen) and my happy in-between (Blaming my FUPA on my kids, when it is really a just the result of too much pizza, bagels and wine). Whatever.
When she, a few years older than me, and way more polished and proper and about two sizes thinner, came to me with a dilemma about a formal event and the need for an evening dress, I was at the ready to help.
On one hand, her coming to me wasn't a surprise -- colleagues have made remarks that I don't wear the same outfit twice. And I am pretty proud of my closets and owning over 100 pair of shoes. So it is my rep to have A LOT of clothes and thereby, options. But, to be honest, while I was flattered – I was surprised she was asking me at all to possibly lend her something.
“So, do you have anything?” she asked.
“Um, sure! Yes!” And I did. I had dresses from a size 8 to 18 without a doubt. But…there was one thing that was tugging at me.
“Of course, you can borrow anything” I said “But well, you know you are, um, well, um…”
She helped by attempting to figure out my concern “what? Is it because you are curvier than me?”
And I hesitated before I responded to my boss and thought about the years of us working together and her knowing me well and was like, fuck it and said, “well yes, that is true. But I was actually going to say that I am more slutty than you.”
“Yes I thought of that” she said.
Well, as long as I put that out there - let's bring out the high-slit, low-cut, Spanx mandated gowns. Maybe while we are trying out dresses - I can teach her how to do the limbo in stilettos.
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.