Category Archives: city life

15 Tips to Help Moms Survive Life in Suburbia

15 Rules to Survive Life in the Suburbs #humor #mom #funny #suburbia #suburbsNearly a decade ago, I moved to the suburbs from NYC (it’s the sole reason I started my blog).  In that time I’ve learned some pretty important things to ensure my survival, nay, my sanity.

If my ‘burb sent out a handbook it would look something like this. Feel free to use it as a mini-survival guide. Good luck and in the words of that guy on Hill Street Blues, ‘Hey, let’s be careful out there.’

  1. All children must be signed up for multiple sports and extracurricular activities, to ensure that no family can plan anything on a Saturday until their kids are too old to want to spend Saturday’s with their family.
  2. Do NOT be alarmed if you try to enter the wrong minivan or SUV, this is common. Try to lessen the confusion by putting fun stickers on your back windshield representing each of your children performing their favorite activity.
  3. You can paint your house one of 477 shades of tan.  Other colors will be categorically denied, so don’t even try it!
  4. If your child has strep or hand foot and mouth, be aware that the entire town will know about it before you get his/her prescription filled. PS this same urgency in passing news applies to affairs as well!
  5. As a suburban mom you are expected to start some kind of craft business immediately. Your choices are: hair accessories, jewelry, embellished clothing, or things you can print on card stock — anything else must be cleared through the Chamber of Commerce.
  6. If you already have a job, you are expected to purchase these crafted goods, in bulk, at the myriad of local holiday boutiques that celebrate everything from Ramadan to Flag Day.  Like PTA meetings, being absent is frowned upon.
  7. If you do not find a grocery store or Starbucks within one mile of your current position, you’re lost and have entered an inferior neighborhood! Please stay calm and return to your suburb immediately.
  8. You are required to join a gym.  There, you must take spin classes with disco lighting, pretzel yourself into a reformer, and learn the art-form that is Zumba.
  9. You will be expected to pressure clean anything and everything from your sidewalk to your dog. Be prepared.
  10. Make sure your dog is cute, as neighbors will constantly stop to pet it. Be warned, the same neighbors will turn you in to the association the first time Rufus barks after 9PM. (Don’t name your dog Rufus)
  11. Make an immediate trip to lululemon/Athetica/GapBody/Target … and pick up workout/athletic/golf/tennis gear that’s trendier than simply wearing sweatpants.  Wear these goods at least 50 -100% of the time; in the winter, simply wear your athletic gear with Uggs.
  12. You will need to attend a mind-numbing amount of birthday lunches/dinners for ladies turning anywhere from 30-50.  Get there early, as who you sit next to (or don’t sit next to) can make or break your day.
  13. Cut back on sex ASAP, as you will find yourself in conversations where moms discuss their infrequent, and unsatisfying sex life regularly — at lunches, parties, dinners, play-dates.
  14. And stop giving blow-jobs! People in the ‘burbs are only expected to give them on birthdays and anniversaries (it’s one of the perks).
  15. Living in the ‘burbs is a little like reading Us Weekly: Everything is sensationalized. It’s fun to discuss “who wore it best,” but not as much fun as playing Fashion Police. You will find yourself looking for cellulite/wrinkles on young skinny moms. And gossip is treated as gospel.

I hope this helps you fit into the suburban life you’ve chosen.  Maybe I’ll see you at the next boutique sale — I’ll be selling picture frames with random findings glued on to them!

COME JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK, AND TWITTER, OR  SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES

BE AWESOME, SHARE THIS POST

BE “AWESOMER,” TAKE ME SHOE SHOPPING!

You’ll Love: Top 5 Reasons Moms Should NOT Take Sex Advice From Magazines

The 6 Types of Women You NEVER Wanna Get Stuck With

 

 

Glum to Glam Mom Makeover | The Jenny Isenman Show

How many moms are stuck in the “Mom Uniform” rut: Grabbing the first pair of comfy sweats/jeans, throwing on a quickie tank/sweater, tying your hair in a pony, slapping on a little gloss, and darting out the door?

The answer: Too many.

Which is why I’ve made a conscious effort NOT to fall into that “mom trap.” OK I’ll admit, I have donned workout wear simply to get out the door when I had no intention of coming within 100 yards of a gym or treadmill. I’m only slightly ashamed of that trick, as I feel it makes me seem motivated, gives me an excuse for not putting together a trendy outfit, and I look a hell of a lot better than I would if I’d actually worked up a sweat! We’ll call it workout glam!

Listen, I’ve given up many things since becoming a mom: perky boobs, solo trips to the restroom, an enormous amount of hair (I had no idea how much hair I would lose after pregnancies) … but the one thing I refuse to give up is being glam.

If that means my stilettos dig deeper and deeper into that weird rubber mulch you find at new playgrounds, so be it. I don’t care if someone has to siphon me out of that veritable quicksand, that little bit of glam is all I have left!

This week, on my show, I get to be the expert! Yes, I impart some of my favorite tips to get a little extra glam (don’t worry, no stilettos are involved). I simply tell you how to enhance your look and glam yourself up, whether you’re “snack mom” at a soccer game or you’re spending Saturday night out with the hubs.

I’ve listed my absolute favorite products below to coincide with the video and my best tips. ENJOY! PS you’ll get to see all my phases of trying to emulate hair-styles of the celebs from “The Dorothy Hamill” to …

 

1. A girl’s best friend – “Chicken Cutlets” AKA boob enhancers.  These are great whether you want to go up a size or fill in volume loss and sagging … plus they bounce baby!
Takeouts silicone bra inserts ($48 Bare Necessities)

 

 

2. Loooooong lashes – Kim K is not the only one who likes the look of falsies! Lashes enhancing is a must. Yes, I’ve written out how to apply the fakes, but for a quick and easy “I’m a mom, I don’t have time to glue lashes on, ” fix — try Too Faced Better than False Lashes system ($35 Sephora). OK, you’ll need to make 3 passes, but the extra 15 seconds is worth it.

 

3. A good foundation is the key to many things (younger looking skin, included). My best secret EVER: Purchase the Temptu foundation ($25 Sears) that’s used for airbrush make up machines and apply it with a regular makeup brush or your fingers. It’s amazing because it’s meant to spread super thin via airbrush, plus it’s silicone based, which means it won’t clog pores, and lasts all day. You used to only be able to get it at professional makeup artist stores and sites, but now they’re selling it at Sear! Makeup and a power-drill in the same place, how convenient! 

 

4.  Accentuate the positives – a quick highlighter at the top of the cheekbone (like seen in the video) can help make you look more glowy and alert, even if you were up with the baby half the night! I love Moon Beam by Benefit ($26 Sephora)

 5.  Hair enhancements – EVERY celeb has these, whether it’s a clip on set of bangs, some strips of color, a braid to accentuate their whimsical side, or extra mane for length or volume. I loooove the clip-ins because they don’t damage your hair and they’re shockingly easy to do! I recommend the virgin human hair. I got mine at Aztig, Sheila (the owner) specializes in extensions.  She can ship them to be matched and cut by your stylist of she can do a color match for you with photographs.

We Swore We Would be Fun Parents | What Happened?

I am EXACTLY the parent I swore I would never be.  Are you?

I’ve journaled all my life and I very distinctly remember writing things that sounded somewhat like this: When you’re a mom always be fun. NEVER make your kids eat vegetables. Let them have soda whenever they want, stay up until Johnny Carson is over, and stay home from school to play Atari, Mr. Mouth, and Parcheesi, at least once a week.

As I hit high school… Continue reading

Do you Speak Starbucks or are you Committing a Caffeinated Crime | CSI Starbucks

The gore is almost too extreme to look at. BTW this was full before the incident!

When you walk into a Starbucks it’s a little like entering another country.  Some of the language is “Italianish” and the rest is completely fabricated, yet universally understood by all it’s regular patrons.

Like any new country, when you visit Starbucks for the first time you might be overwhelmed by the cultural gap and the obvious language barrier.

You see, Starbucks drinkers have an acute understanding of this made up ordering system, the terminology, how to conjugate the verbs, and the proper phrasing of the request i.e. size first, then special requirements, then drink type.

The baristas, or should I call them caffeination interpreters, are trained to do far more than make a cappuccino.  My barista knows the make, model, and color of my car.  When he sees it drive up, he starts my drink.  He deduces that if I’m wearing golf or workout clothes I will require my usual to be iced  has the appropriate drink ready by the time I hit the door.

He is keenly aware of my standard approach speed and if I seem to be ambling he’ll throw in an extra shot.

But sometimes, even I, a citizen with a green card – or should I say gold card – am shocked by how intricate requests can get.  I think some of these drinkers actually believe they’ve learned another language and take an odd pride in this false sense of intelligence.

Today the woman in front of me ordered a tall 2 splenda – extra dry – machiatto – with extra foam – on the fly.

Extra dry? Really? “What is extra dry… just beans?  Or does the dryness have something to do with the foam?”

Caffeination interpreter:  “No the consistency of the foam is directly correlated to the frothiness.”

Why do I feel like I’m having a conversation with NASA?

And yet, who am I to talk? I know that a standard latte is made at 160°, which would be bad enough, except that I also know that I prefer mine at 140°.

My barista, who writes Jenny from the blog on every cup, actually figured this out while analyzing my drinking habits.

Caffeination interpreter:  “I’ve noticed you seem to wait about 8 minutes for your coffee to cool. I think the problem is an over sensitive pallet and I suggest you drop the temp about 20 degrees fahrenheit.”

“Shit, I think in Celcius.  I like to pretend I’m European… like Madonna and Gwennie P.

Caffeination interpreter: “There’s no reason to get smart with me.  I’m hypothesizing about your needs, I’ll investigate further.”

Soon coffee analyzation and Starbucks interpretation will be something you can major in, like criminal justice.  At the very least Bravo will make it into a show, “CSI Starbucks.”

There is nothing to see here.

“Everyone step away from the mocha, CSI Starbucks unit (Coffee Scene Investigation) is here.”

“There is nothing to see here, please disperse.”

“What’s seems to be the problem, ma’am?”

Disgruntled Customer:  “My mocha is not rich enough, and it’s too wet. I specifically said grande, 18 pump, extra fat, mildly damp, 157° Mochachokeonitccino with extra whip that is dolloped in the shape of a pygmy monkey.”

The area around the cup is taped off and a bit is spilled into a petri dish and run out of the store to a mobile CSI van.

The maverick of the team fearlessly swipes his finger through the java then smells and licks it, as if it’s cocaine. “One more lick for good measure and an extra jolt,” he says as he rubs some across his gums.

“Well your first problem is this is only 16 pumps. It’s also a mere 142°, which if my calculations are correct mean 7 minutes ago when it was made it was 155° and not a degree more. Your other problem was in the call. The cashier/Mayor should know not to call a whip sculpted in the shape of anything other than the Starbuck’s mermaid goddess on our logo, who we in the biz affectionately call Flo.”

Disgruntled Customer: “Like flow of the coffee or the ocean?”

“Ma’am, I’m not at liberty to discuss Flo with civilians.  Let’s just leave it at that.”

“Look, we’re gonna take this downtown to the Captain, but just for the record Cappy Joe, or Cuppa Joe as we like to call him, is the best. He’ll have this coffee and a full report back to you by day’s end. Please enjoy a maximum of 2 hours free internet access in the mean time.”

“And don’t forget to try one of our new hot breakfast sandwiches.”

Enter your email address: 

Delivered by FeedBurner 

Is it just me or does money seem tight these days?

I don’t know about you guys, but I have watched my investments plummet.  it’s probably just me.  I must have made bad choices.  Reeling from the tech fallout of 2002, I cautiously invested in low risk things like bonds, and solid proven companies like GE and CitiBank.  What was I thinking?

Oddly, I also assumed that my husband would receive his weekly commission based paychecks well, weekly.  I appear to have been wrong on both counts. The constant chatter I hear on line at the supermarket, where people are pulling coupons out of their Chanel bags to save a buck on T.P. (one ply), makes me think, “maybe I‘m not alone.”

I want to know when I started to sound desperate and entitled?  Was it when I complained that I have to make my own coffee? Or when in an attempt to avoid such a dreadful task, I offered my barista a BJ in return for a Grande latte?

You know Sally Struthers once said, that a child in a third world country could live on the price of just one cup of coffee a day.  There’s probably a Starbucks like every 8 huts in Ethiopia, but how can I buy them coffee everyday when I can’t afford my own?  Oh, the irony.  You know Sally also said, “Stop calling my husband Meathead, Daddy.“ so I don’t know why I’m letting her make me feel guilty in the first place.

Here in the first world — America, there are people who struggle everyday of their lives and in the face of that I still manage to be upset that my husband and I haven’t exchanged gifts this year.

In an attempt to be frugal and responsible I recently returned $200 worth of “barely” used makeup and creams to Sephora.  Look, we all know that stuff looks perfect in the blinding color melting lights of the store and not so perfect in the natural lighting of … reality.

That was a resourceful plan.  Unfortunately,  I couldn’t use the credit to buy groceries or vaccines, so I did the next best thing and prudently bought myself new creams and make-up that probably won’t look good in reality either.  I may have, in a hopeless attempt to feign normalcy, wrapped those items and given them to my husband to give me for Valentine’s day.  Don’t judge, the manager said I could bring back anything that was barely used.  Under that premise, I’m going to try to return my diaphragm to Walgreens tomorrow.

As is obvious, I am using as many creative saving outlets as possible.  Yesterday, I caught myself thriftily gazing upon my husband’s pile of dry cleaning and wondering how much of it a little spritz, elbow grease, and a strong wind couldn‘t fix.  That thought gave me quite a chuckle and then I spit on the stains, rubbed them together, and blew them with my hair dryer.  It worked… I may have discovered the “Ancient Chinese Secret.“  Let‘s keep that one between us.  I’m using the money I saved to stave off my barista for couple weeks.

This morning I went so far as to wrap a barely read book for Ryan’s book exchange.  Actually, that one kinda falls under laziness.  A big sorry to the recipient, I think the one time we read it, Ryan had hand foot mouth, but I’m sure the dog hair tumbleweeds and pet dander in my house just scrubbed those germs right off.

PS  I am still negotiating with said barista.  He countered my offer with a week of free Grandes with extra whip (wink wink).  To which I replied, “Make them Ventis, and we got a deal.”  He drives a hard bargain, but I am confident that I am coming out ahead on this one, pun always intended.

For notifications of new posts, enter your email address:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Believe The Hype: I’m contributing to a new book!

Here is some of the early hype on the book.  I am excited to be a part of it and like they say at the Oscars, “Thrilled to be in such great company.”  I expect you all to buy at least 10 copies.  What?  Don’t worry about the economy, I’ll sign them and then you can sell them on eBay for a profit.  It’s a sounder investment than CitiBank.  See the wheels are always turning.

Excerpt from the Beth Feldman creator of the site:  ROLEMOMMY.com:

“Okay…so I admit I am the worst person in the world to keep secrets. So I’m going to let the cat of the bag. I’m working on my next book and am so beyond excited about how great it’s going to be. It’s called C:// Mom Run and it’s going to be a humor anthology featuring essays from some of the funniest mom authors, syndicated columnists and bloggers that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know over the past few years. While you may have heard of a few of them, what I can tell you is that these women are the Nora Ephron’s of our time. Every single one of them will share a story from their lives that some mom in our country (and probably abroad) will be able to totally relate to and laugh their sides off…”

Excerpt from Plain White Publishing:

We recently signed on with Beth Feldman of RoleMommy.com to create a series of books by bloggers, and this is our first –

C:// Mom Run: Side-Splitting Essays from the World’s Most Harried Blogging Moms.

We sent this cover idea to the contributors, and have been falling off of our chairs each time a new comment comes in! Please let us know what you think, too. Seriously.

Fun! (Although is it just me, or are her boobs FAR too a) high and b)
perky?) :)  Jenna McCarthy

Also there is a stop setting? Damn! Where’s mine? Can’t wait. The cover is very cute :) Ciaran Blumenfeld Twitter: @momfluential

Think cover gal is wise to be wearing flats…they go famously with her ensemble, and harried in heels is a recipe for disaster!
LOVE the cover…great design, Beth!
Cheryl http://Twinfatuation.blogspot.com

Beth, I don’t know that I gave you permission to use a picture of me… but I love it. I hope the other girls aren’t too jealous that I made the cover. Maybe The bent hangers jutting out of my head will make them less envious. Don’t hate, those things really hurt. Though they get great XM reception. Jenny From the Blog

BAAAAA! That’s great! It’s no wonder we’re so harried when we have no arms with which to accomplish anything! Have you ever tried changing a diaper with your feet or typing with your nose? Actually I have tried that last one. Don’t ask. Wine was involved. Dawn Meehan

I had two colicky babies whom I held for upwards of six hours a day. I was so good at doing things without the use of both hands, I could have gotten a job with the Big Apple Circus – except they don’t let newborns on the trapeze. Typing with your nose? I’d like to see that. Jen Singer

Haven’t tried all of that — but I HAVE played the piano with my elbow. No wine involved. :) And blindfolded. Sherry Shealy Martschink

Rosie from the Jetsons…..anyone??? anyone??? Nancy Friedman

I guess I’m late to realize she has no arms, which might be the least of her problems. Though I can barely get by with the 4 arms I have. Yea, I have 4 arms wanna make something of it? I suggest you back off. The kids in elementary school learned real fast not to pick on the 4 armed girl, for obvious reasons. Jenny From the Blog

For notifications of new posts, enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Enter your email address:

Delivered by

target="_blank">FeedBurner

A Trip To The Zoo, I Mean The Cardiologist

In the ongoing saga of low blood pressure I found myself at the cardiologist 4 times last week.

Day One:  Upon arriving it does not take a carni age guesser to know that I am at least a hundred years younger than the rest of the crowd.  I am also in the minority that is not connected to an iv or oxygen tank.

The truth is, I happen to be in a rush and would selfishly love to be the first in.  Selflessly, I don’t want to go in before any one of these people who could clearly use a once over and someone to check for a pulse.  As I am unsettled by this thought, a woman drags herself in the door and up to the window, “I am having chest pains unlike anything I  have ever felt.  I don’t have an appointment, but can I see my Doctor?”  As it turns out she takes my appointment and thankfully so, as poor Estelle is sitting across from me clutching her heart and breathing erratically.   I proactively position myself directly parallel so that I can catch her if necessary.

Nurse:  “Morty”

As they come out calling for other people, I’m thinking please call in Estelle before she codes.

Nurse 2:  “Phil”

Nurse 1:  “Estelle”

Nurse 2:  “Bea”

Nurse 1:  “Saul”

The receptionist who is joking with all the patients as if it might be there last day, pokes her head out, “Mr. Dale are you gonna give me any more trouble today young man?  Oh, and Mrs. Isenman, he’s getting to you.“

“I’ve been here over an hour is that normal?“

“Nope, he’s usually right on time, but there was a problem with the patient before you and we’ve already had an ambulance here once this morning and it‘s only 10 0‘clock“

Nurse 3:  “Joan”

Mark calls to see how the appointment went.
“I’m still waiting.“

“Oh, you are?  Are you filling out all the medical forms or are you just waiting to be called?“

“No Mark, they’re ready for me, I’m just so thrown by these forms.  So many tough questions, like my name and my age.  Then there are some real zingers like my SSN.  It’s like taking the SAT’s all over again.  They’re begging me to finish up and I’m trying to convince them that I’m eligible for the untimed version.

Nurse 2:  “Sandy”

Look I know he’s trying.  I know he was hoping I would be out so he could check it off his ‘things to remember list,’ and I know he asked that ridiculous question because he wants to seem caring, but I can’t help myself sometimes.

Nurse 1:  “Jenny”

By now the hypoglycemia that they found last week during my 5 hr. glucose test is acting up and the nurse goes to get me an apple juice, that they have for “such occasions.”  “Thanks, but really there’s no need to make such a fuss.”  Did I really say fuss?  See what an hour and a half out there did to me?  “By the way how is Estelle?”

Nurse:  “Who?”

The cardiologist Dr. Seth was, thank goodness, is not what I was expecting.  He was a referral from my, ‘roll your own’ Jamaican Doctor and I was thinking Seth might just be his first name, and that he may or may not have a surf board and that he may or may not have a medical license.  Luckily, he is Arcaad Seth, an Indian gentleman.  Look, I saw “Slumdog,” so I have a birds eye view into his upbringing.  As it turns out my sympathy for his being  part of a panhandling ring of blind singers does little for our deeper connection.  He roboticly set me up for a series of tests to “rule out the possibilities” and sternly warns me not to drive much saying, “You could hit a school bus filled with children.“

“Thank you for that.  Just telling me would not have been enough.  Did the past 30 minutes with me not give you any indication that I have some excessive worrying issues?  Maybe when I was telling you that when I yawn sometimes it feels like the blood gets stuck in my neck, and you snickered under your breath, like I was insane?

Wow, and that was just day one.  Stay Tuned.

For notifications of new posts, enter your email address:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Good Housekeeping Gives Suburban Jungle It’s Seal Of Approval…finally

Below is an article from Goodhousekeeping.com
Notice who’s representin’ the Suburban Mom?  Yours truly.  “Props to me”… wait I sound too urban for my title.  “Oh, with respect to my most recent publicity, I gladly accept your accolades.”  That’s better.
Jen Singer, whoever you are, you are my new BFF 4-ever and I don’t say that often, thank g-d.
Urban, Suburban and Rural Mom Blogs Worth the Trip
March 4, 2009 at 12:59 PM by Jen Singer | comment

HorseshoesI’ve said it before: My mini-van is where toys go to die. Also, mittens, empty water bottles and shin guards. While my experience might be decidedly suburban, I’ll bet most moms could relate to it no matter where they live.

That’s why I like to check out what’s happening with mom bloggers who live in various places across our fine country, suburban, yes, but also urban and rural. Here are three of the best:

Suburban Jungle (http://www.suburbanjungle.net/) Jenny Isenman, a.k.a. “Jenny from the Blog,” says she finds “the humor in the everyday and it keeps me sane. That and I live in a one story house. So every time I jump, I consider it an opportunity to clean up the toys in the yard.” She writes about life in suburbia, and how she feels she needs an > English-to-Starbucks dictionary. She confesses she’s been addicted to sleep as long as she can remember, so you can imagine what she felt like when her toddler asked her at 2 a.m.: “If a dragon falls in a fire what would happen?” (She decided the dragon would be fine thanks to its thick skin.) Whether it’s her friend’s botched Botox (“the phenomenon I call the “Evil Eyebrow”), or her kids’ penchant for words that describe bodily functions (“their Beavis and Butthead phase”), Jenny from the Blog reports from the jungle that is suburbia.

City Mama ( http://citymama.typepad.com/citymama/) Stefania Pomponi Butler’s blog says the writer/producer/blogger “lives in Silicon Valley, California with her husband (and his pile of laundry), their two impossibly cute (and very loud) girls, and about 2,649 plastic horses.” Recently, she warned some Internet bullies that their moms are on Facebook, and she even threw a virtual shower for fellow blogger, Tanis Miller. Stefania, who’s “always cooking something up,” writes often about culinary issues, offering up recipes, reviews and advice on everything from great sauce pans to the perfect pear. She blogged about a photo shoot she did in L.A. which involved “strangers sticking their hands down the front of my shirt.” Ah, the glamour of a City Mama.

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman ( http://thepioneerwoman.com/) Ree Drummond is a “thirty-something ranch wife, mother of four” who writes about her “decade-long transition from spoiled city girl to domestic country wife.” My favorite part is the pictures of horses and cowboys in chaps, but there’s so much more to Ree’s blog, most of it in photos. There are shots of her family rustling the cattle (or whatever it’s called) with captions like, “I remember a day when this little girl was shorter than the calves.” She calls her husband the “Marlboro man,” and reports “There are no spas in the country.” Which is why her daughter made her own avocado facial. Her photography is wonderful, filled with endless blue skies and close-ups of unsuspecting cows. Most of all, it’s a portal to a whole different life than we have in the suburbs, a life where, Ree says, “Getting up at 4:00 a.m. can’t be high on the list of desired summer activities for the kids on our ranch, but it is what it is.”

Photo Credit: PeskyMonkey/iStock

For notifications of new posts, enter your email address:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Do You Believe in Psychics or Just Plain Irony?

So, I was at a party about 8 months ago where there was a psychic.  She was one of those weird holistic ones.  As opposed to the normal “businessy” type you so often see.  Anyway, she had me pick from a tray of stones and then she asked me for family birthdays.  I was determined not to make any kind of give-away face or gesture and sat there staunch and stiff, talking robotic and trying to appear blank.  Which I’m sure just made it seem like I had to poop.

If I go to a party and get drunk with a bunch of girls, and the host in good fun hires a fortune teller to give her guests a 2 minute reading, I am going to make her work for it.  My stupid gaze is luckily unnoticed because she quickly goes into a weird semi-seizure like trance as she stares at the stars, hoping for one to blink her some kind of Morse code and reveal my true self to her.  She pauses and pauses, shimmies and shakes,  and flutters her eyeballs back into her skull.  Finally, ahhhh the epiphany, “I see… networking.”  “Really?  Networking?   You see networking?  No fame?  No travel?  No windfall? None of that, you see networking?”  “Well I’m sorry that’s what I see, and lots of it.”

Now of course I am racking my brain to think of the networking I do on a daily basis, okay a weekly basis, okay monthly?  I did recommend my cleaning lady to a neighbor recently, but I never called her back with the number.  Does that count?
I don’t even network with my friends.  I check my machine and there are messages from college that I haven’t gotten yet.  They say things like: “There’s gonna be a frat party after we go to the RATT, so come, okay, What-everrr.”

Seriously, anyone who has had the pleasure of awaiting my return call can attest to it.  My machine actually says leave your message and someone in the family will call you back…probably Buddy (the dog) and the truth is he used to call people back in a timely manner, before he went deaf.  Now he has a lot of trouble working the TTY system…cause he’s also arthritic.

Anyway, I continued to prod.
“Will I have a writing career?”
“I don’t know, but if you do it comes from networking.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, networking, and please send the next person, cause you’re taking all my time and thus inhibiting my ability to NETWORK! Oh and here’s my card.”

So, I waited like a vulture for each reading to end, making the person on the block highly uncomfortable.  I know you’re thinking, “I want to party with Jenny.”  I asked around, and people got stuff like, “You’re bored with your day to day routine.” and “I see you were close with your mother growing up.”  She even told one girl she was pregnant. But to me she said those 3 quizzical syllables, net-work-ing. I came home and woke Mark to tell him how dead on she was with her reading for him and the kids, and that she knew Ally was pregnant.  “What do you think networking means?”

He said, “It means you’re an idiot.  Ally is showing.  These “mind readers” take one look at you and than say the most generic things possible… everyone networks.  She probably told 10 people that.”  “Nope, you’re wrong.  I know because I made it my duty to stop enjoying the party, and hamper  others from doing the same by grilling them about their personal readings.”  “All I m saying is, I am so surprised a smart person like you falls for this.  You really think some random woman, from the big city of Pembroke Pines, Florida, who works the party circuit, has the gift of seeing into the future?”

About a month later I and I started my blog and started getting feedback from companies and groups.  I  have found that literally all I do, outside of my mothering and housewife gig, is network.  I’ve joined 107 groups on facebook, 3 women entrepreneur networks, and 237 bloglog communities. I write personal messages to editors, bloggers, mothers, and reviewers.  Then I annoy the crap out of all of them by mass emailing on a daily basis.

About a week ago I looked at Mark and said “Remember that fortune teller?  She said all she saw was networking and look at me.   She was right.  How crazy is that?”  “Jenny, you are not seriously thinking that because you now network she was right?  She could have said that to anyone… maybe it’s simply ironic.  Or maybe it’s a self fulfilling prophecy that you started networking?”  “Are you suggesting that because this woman said that I would network, that I dropped my enjoyable shopping and sleeping habits to spend all my free time getting fat in front of a computer?

Wow that shlub from Pembroke Pines Florida sure has some serious power of persuasion.  Lucky she didn’t say we would get a divorce.  I’d be looking for a good lawyer right about now.  Oh, the irony in Mark calling me naive for believing in such foolishness.  The psychic told me I would come across a disbeliever… see, she was clairvoyant.

The Traditional New York City Pedicure

So I am finally getting a long overdue pedicure. This current span has been about 2 months or 68 days, but who’s counting? I like to let the nails grow unattractively long in the true spirit of martyrdom. Then I wear sandals and constantly draw attention to how badly I need a pedicure, by saying things like “How badly do I need a pedicure?”

The trick is to go as infrequently as possible and only surrender when your nails split and a jagged edge pulls threads in your sheets, thereby making a 3 AM roll over feel like chewing on metal. Most importantly do not, under any circumstance, remove the polish. This way you have undeniable proof of your hectic schedule. It implies that your “me time” is so sparse that you don’t even have enough to simply wet a cotton ball.

Today I arrived with the red so far at the tip it looked as if I was starting a new trend in French pedicure. Sarabeth, whose real name is Choi Jae Hua, or Yi Hae-Won or something else I can’t pronounce, looks at my feet with a “Tsk.” “I know it’s been a long time,” I say with the joy of squeezing in one last sympathizer. Then she looks up at me and asks if I am aware there is a Pokemon sticker on the bottom of my foot. “Oh, my son was looking for that, if only it were so easy to find my keys.” She then asks if it’s okay to remove it. “Well if you can’t work around it.” I’m not sure if she can hear me; my chair is set on high-multifunction-10. Its “Human Hand” technology is loudly knocking me out of my seat while it heats my tush, vibrates my thighs, froths milk for my cappuccino, and sorts my mail.

I lie, well shimmy, back trying to enjoy my favorite part, the massage. I can’t seem to relax. I am so keenly aware of every left over scrub granule that is kneaded into my legs. Worse, I can sense her daydreaming of the family she has left behind and I’m sure she’s totally resenting me for not shaving, detesting America for making her touch feet, and cursing her boss for making today “$20 Tuesday.” I finally start to relax as she coincidentally realizes she has massaged long enough. She halts to do the required Korean calf knocking, which she follows with the “Ten Toe Pop” event. She’s seems let down when she can’t get a good snap out of the last two toes (not unlike that annoying handshake of the mid-nineties).

“Okay, pick you color” she says pointing to the wall. I can’t decide between “After Sex” or a hue one shade darker, “3 Bottles of Whine.” I don’t understand why all the colors are sexual innuendos. In the end I go with “Popped Cherry,” which is a medium shade of…well, you get the picture. I spend most of the polish application staring at the tranquil paintings of nude women relaxing on furniture. The woman in the painting across from me appears to be giving herself a breast exam on a plush sofa.

I decided to heighten my relaxation by purchasing a 10 minute massage. I swiftly wriggle myself into the pretzel seat after viewing a short video demonstration by Cirque De Soleil. Then she literally beats the tension out of me. “Excuse me Sarabeth, that knot you’re trying to knead out, I think that’s bone.” She ignores me as she does not recognize the sound of her own name. No matter, she manages to pummel it smooth regardless. Then she grabs my wrists, pulls my arms back and relentlessly yanks trying to crack my shoulder blades. She ends with vigorous karate chopping to the back of my neck. Sarabeth then signals someone, and an EMT rushes in with the Jaws of Life to free me from the chair. I walk away totally relaxed, one arm carelessly dangling from the socket. No worries. I’m sure it’s nothing an good orthopedist can’t fix. Why do my attempts at tension release always seem to stress me out?

If this post made you laugh, please subscribe to the blog or bookmark it.

Weekly Column 4: The Specialist

Every time I take one of my children to see a specialist I am reminded of my first time going to see one with Jake when he was about 4½ months old. Jake, who was 5 weeks premature, cried for the first 4months 13days 16hrs 32min of his life (straight). He would only sleep in an upright position and we found that his car seat was the best option. We would keep it in the Snap n’ Go and park him into bed every night.

When he finally cut back on the tears, it was like walking off a tarmac and into a library- I could think again. I noticed his head looked a little flat and took him to a pediatric neurologist. Dr. Gore or Dr. Bore as I prefer to call her, examined Jake for plagiocephaly, or “flathead,” to see if he should be fitted for a helmet. Yes…that’s correct, a helmet. Looking back on our visit, it seems all of her comments were excessively vague and rather benign, but somehow she managed to coax me into a state of agitation.

Dr. Bore is one of those people who is impressed with her own brilliance, and likes to speak unexcitedly as she tries to overwhelm you with her superior knowledge. Silently, Dr. Bore waited as I changed and then undressed Jake, never uttering a word until I was safely sitting in my chair. This reminded me of the way my father behaved when he had some horrific news to impart which could be something as tragic as selling the family car. “Jenny, are you sitting down?” As if I might faint upon hearing such horror.

With Dr. Bore, however, I sensed the silence was not some kind of soap-opera-esque melodrama. It was more like: I-do-not-waste-breath-on-distracted-ears kind of silence. I literally sat there with fingers crossed trying to remember the rules governing such situations. Do you cross both hands for extra luck? No, no I think one cancels the other out, right? And does that make it zero luck, or does it skip right to bad luck? Oh man, now what do I do? Of course, my toes! I uncomfortably fidget, contorting my fingers into a series of svengali half-crosses in what seems to be verging on an epileptic seizure to erase the obsessive thoughts echoing throughout my head. Speak lady so I can stop torturing myself!

After a long exaggerated sigh, Dr. Snore begins to expound on the two theories as to why his head is flat. The first being a severe complication in which the skull plates prematurely fuse causing the brain to grow out in any way possible- the side, the top, the nose…which could not only lead to deformity, but brain damage as well.

I am about to cry. Why is she speaking volumes on this subject? Just say, this is not the case with your son.  JUST SAY THAT! I get frustrated with my vain attempts at telepathy, and interrupt her.

“Do you have any reason to believe that’s his diagnosis?”

“I’m just going through the possibilities, please allow me to continue.”

Oh, I’m sorry my desire to rule out a gruesome existence for my son has gotten in the way of your neurology-for-dummies lecture. Please don’t let my nervous breakdown shorten your diatribe. The sound of the paper bag I’m breathing into helps to drown out her voice until I hear, “…and the second and most likely possibility is called positional flatness. This is caused by spending too much time sleeping or being on ones back.

Hello? Is anyone home? I told you he spent the last 4 months sleeping in his car seat; doesn’t that ring a bell? Why do specialists always insist on discussing the horrible and unlikely option first? I should probably just go now, but I decide to prolong this torture…

“Well you’ve seen a lot of heads, is his severe?”

“Look his head is flat. I’m not going to tell you that something flat is round. Its flat.”

Gee thanks Magellan. Do you get the impression I have a 5th grade education? What tipped you off the finger crossing fiasco?

She goes on to check his tone and development. All that anguish and I get to stay longer for a freebie, what a perk.

“He has poor muscle tone, he doesn’t roll he doesn’t tilt, he doesn’t grab…what does he do?”

“Raspberries.”

“Hmm…tsk, tsk…just keep an eye on him for the next couple months.”

Really, I should do that? Cause us uneducated folk we like to kick our kids out of the nest at say …I don’t know…5months. “Fly free little birdie, and go earn some money it’s time to pay Momma back.” But if you think we should wait…

If you like Suburban Jungle please subscribe and forward it to friends.

Weekly Column 3: A Dog’s Life

Buddy, my dog, my first born, is 15. I got him my sophomore year and as my dad says getting him was the best purchase this shopahollic ever made.He put up with the craziness of college, people coming and going at all hours often blowing odd substances in his face.

He endured the lean years when I boycotted toys because he ate and pooped them all out.Unfazed, he adorably brought me pieces of slobbery lint and coughed them up in front of me wagging his tail so that I would try to throw one.Then he would retrieve it (though wet lint doesn’t travel far) as if it was the best ball in the world and enthusiastically continue the cycle.

He survived eating an entire bag of blowpops which came out the other end like taffy that had to be pulled and pulled, by hand to get out.A job I handed off to my then roommate as I was late for work.I should say SHE survived that one.(Seeing as she is currently my closest friend, she barely holds a grudge.Though she hasn’t been able to look at a piece of gum since.)

He out-lived his long time love; a very attractive and preppy bean bag pillow who he constantly abused after sex, by biting her and swinging her vigorously from side to side.Then he would ignore her till their next rendezvous.Hmm… sounds like one of my exes. One fateful day he bit too hard and when he swung her, she profusely bled itty-bitty styrofoam balls.For weeks he somberly attempted to meet for trysts but she was a shell of the booty call she once was, and eventually we buried her… in the trash.He tried to date other pillows but I think for him, they could never compare.

He withstood living with my dad who for a month forced him to wear a girly Israeli flag bandana that read SHALOM.My dad would take him to dog-runs hoping to attract the right king of bitch.Unfortunately, Buddy technically male, but snipped at birth, had some tendencies and enjoyed other dogs balls a little too much.But, my dad never wavered in his love, saying only, “As long as he’s Jewish.”

He won over my husband who raised with cats, swore Buddy would never move in with us, only to find himself as in love as anyone else whose path Buddy ever crossed. And when he moved to NYC he adapted to the concept of grassless pooping and even got used to the salt lined streets that sent him into a crying limp until I could find a patch of snow to pack up under his paw for relief.

He tolerated my son Jake who quickly stole the limelight making our once Golden Child feel like a dog for the very first time. He took it in such stride that he became body guard to this little human that was pulling his tail and trying to ride him like a pony.In 2006 he had a proper Bark Mitzvah with brunch, candle-lighting and thirty in attendance.(Picture included).He barked through his haftorah so beautifully that had Randy Jackson been there he would have said “Yo, Dog, dat was the bomb.”

Now he is 106 and pees and poops so much that I spent a month cutting a gorgeous 20×16 shag rug.Everyday razoring out another chunk till it was a sorry 2×3 backdoor mat.He pants like a sex caller throughout the night, and requires being let out what feels like every 27 minutes.He trips out the door without fail and then spryly bounces back in like this perfect beautiful puppy. In moments of spunkiness he laps my pool table like a greyhound over and over and over and over.He is deaf and mostly blind though he can still read lips.He walks on a tilt because of a herniated hip and often completely loses footing as his legs uncontrollably spread eagle beneath him.And if you are carrying food he’ll take your arm off to get it.Unless you say “easy,” then his jaw quivers so gently, he could remove a tic tac without touching skin.

Every morning when I wake the first thing I do is look at him asleep so sweet, like horse that has fallen sideways.Then I look at his stomach for rise and fall.I am morbidly hoping that he has gone peacefully in his sleep so that I will never be confronted with the other option.My father asked where I will have him buried when he goes.A pet cemetery is too creepy.The truth is I’m one of those crazy people who think, maybe I could just have him stuffed.Not like eyes open greeting you at the front door kind of stuffed.You know asleep in a ball chin on paws kind of thing.But then I imagine my cleaning lady having to dust him and like Rosie from the Jetsons raising him over her head to vacuum underneath and I think maybe just an urn will do. It’s a dog’s life … I’m glad he shared it with us!