Who knew the highly anticipated camp phone calls could be such a blow to a relationship? Oh well, when my baby is 1500 miles away from home, and I get a few minutes to talk — It’s every man, ahem mom, for herself!
It’s sleepaway camp time and everyone is getting their calls from the kiddos. I’ve found a pattern, in that I desperately want to strangle my husband after each call. Luckily for me (and not so much my husband), I’m apparently not alone.
Look, us moms are ready. We’ve stayed up until the wee hours waiting for the pictures to download — sometimes hitting “refresh” every minute, (and by minute I mean second) as they download one at a time. We’ve studied them like highly trained CIA agents, analyzing their smiles, their friends, their body language. Continue reading →
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.”
This weekend my story, “Kanye, Miley, Serena: Talking to Your Kids About Celebrity Faux Pas” was the top story at iVillage. From Miley pole dancing to Sienna’s serial cheating to Vanessa Hudgens’s nude pics, celebs sometimes make poor choices. How do we, as parents, make sure our children don’t emulate their role models? Read article.
Alright, please don’t take that as a sexual reference, it means exactly what it says. My gecko is cleaner than yours… so, don’t challenge him to a clean competition, ‘cause he’ll win.
As it turns out living in Florida is like living in a remake of Jurassic Park, on a smaller scale. Like the miniature Stonehenge, for all you Spinal Tap fans. The bugs are the size of softballs and the reptile life runs rampant… through my house. Anyone who has been to Florida knows that lizards cross the roads and sidewalks with the frequency of jay-walkers in NYC.
Up north, where I am originally from, you might be lucky enough to see a majestic deer or cute little baby bunnies bouncing through your yard, but here you see the kind of things that eat cute little baby bunnies. What I am shocked at, is how used to it I have become. So much so, that I showered with a gecko the other day. Please, all you sickos, clearly there was no funny business, though I did loofah his back for him. He was just hanging out on the wall and rather than go get the cup to catch and release him, I simply went about my normal showering process. You know, lather, rinse, repeat.
It gave me a little chuckle, but what really made me laugh was when I told my son that evening about the shower scene and he said that he too showered with the same lizard an hour before. He of course played with the little guy, which makes me question whether soap ever made it to any of my son’s parts at all. Though I’m sure the gecko got a thorough cleaning and is certainly missing his tail. I said, “We must have the cleanest gecko ever,” which actually sent us into hysterics.
When my husband got home, we relayed our tale to which he said, “Yeah I showered with him this morning.” I don’t know what this says about my family. Are we all too lazy to remove a lizard? Are we a bit promiscuous, taking showers with any Tom, Dick, or Lizard that enters the stall? or Have we become so accustomed to them, that we are part of their ecosystem? Like Jane Goodall and those chimps.
I do know that if you come to my house, you’ll see a shiny lizard that smells like grapefruit conditioner and prefers air drying over being briskly toweled off. Well, Jake would know more about that.
Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I think we need to take a break. Sure, I love the way you and your friends with oversized heads eat breakfast with my family and entertain us with your theme parks, but you ask for so much in return.
I pay a near fortune to see you, then you woo my daughter into expensive princess attire and offer pricey oversized turkey legs, costly Pooh shaped popsicles, and expensive embroidered hats with ears… that don’t really translate in the real world.I’m sorry, that sounded like I was blaming you for the economy.I’m sure you and Minnie have a ton of Disney stock options, so I know you’re feelin’ it as well.
According to the latest statistics, me and 1/3 of other American families are cancelling trips this summer and taking a “stay-cation” instead.I know you’re angry.The last time you waved at me and said, “See ya real soon,” you thought it would be sooner.I’m thankful you only have 4 fingers, because I know what you’d be waving at me now.
This summer, like most Americans, I will be visiting (Chez Pa Tio).I will take a portion of the money I’m saving and recreate much of the awe and wonder you provide, without ever leaving town.
I will save $60 on those mandatory Mickey mist sprayers, and have my family stand in the general vicinity of wet neighborhood dogs when they shake.Each night my husband and I will wrap ourselves in twinkle lights, and then we’ll run by the kids really fast and call it Space Mountain.Then we’ll slow down and call it the Light Parade.Who knows, we could wear them to bed and call it Pleasure Island.
I will cook pancakes in your likeness.Then I’ll have my neighbor with an abnormally large head come over and eat them with us.I’m sure my family will be none the wiser, as his head is really big.Have a great summer now, ya hear.
Jenny from the Blog
This was written for the new site saleHOP.com. I am now the feature writer for this awesome site. Wahoo! Here is a little info on it so you can be one of the first “in the know.”
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They provide bargain hunters with a better way to find items they need at any sale or event occurring in their local area; while providing sellers an affordable and effective way to attract shoppers; in a comprehensive and feature rich website that provides a safe and fun environment.
This one is tough for me to write.While finding the irony in the situation, the neurotic part of me still gets a pit thinking about it.My children had a sleep over at my Father and Step Mother’s house this weekend.Like any overly anxious mom, I am not capable of total relaxation when they are away because I am unapprised of their minute to minute safety status and whereabouts.
To make matters worse a sleepover at their house is like a carnival.They go from arcades to movies to the beach to the boat to Dunkin’ Donuts often in a 4hr span.Getting in touch with them in near impossible and guessing which activity they are doing, even harder.What if my parents make a bad decision?What if they feed them food that is not cut small enough or let them ride the escalator at the mall alone…in their flip-flops!?What if they don’t account for the beach’s undertow?What if they lose them, step on them, dehydrate them, don’t apply enough sunblock?!These types of things worry me, actually all types of things worry me, down to the pillow placement on their beds and if my son, who sleeps in my antiquated brass bed, will get a limb or worse, his head stuck in the unregulation sized slats.That being said, I had a lovely dinner with my husband and a glass of champagne, or two, or a bottle lessens the concerns.The next day we went to pick up the kids and stayed for a BBQ.It was at said BBQ that the offense occurred.We were having desert, fresh fruit and Redi whip.Like butter, cheese or chocolate, whipped cream makes anything edible.My children, having control of the whipped cream can, joyfully and excessively sprayed it in heaping mounds, masking the fruit below.Squirt, squirt…air.
My step mother grabbed the can walked towards the trash then stopped as if a light bulb went off above her head.“Who wants to suck out the air and talk funny?” she said with the enthusiasm of an eight year old.
“Um the preteens that hang out by the dumpsters in the grocery store parking lots, maybe.”
“That’s not helium in there, that’sa whippet.”;”>Whippet:Slang term for the inhalant drug “Nitrous Oxide.”Use causes a momentary lightheadedness due to a depletion of oxygen to the brain.In worst cases can lead to brain damage, and SSD (Sudden Sniffing Death). People also risk falling and getting a concussion.
“I’ve never done it, I just remember hearing something about it.”
“I remember hearing something about hypodermic needles on the beach, but I’m not going to play Doctor with them.”
I was trying to play it off, but my heart was pounding.In my minimal experience with whippets, I remember falling on my dorm room bed, giggling and most likely killing enough brain cells to forget the SAT words I had spent the previous year trying so desperately to drill into my head.
I have no idea what that rush would do to a 4 and 7 year old, and THANK G-D no one was finding out!Ahhh, something new to add to the list… fear of grandparents offering my children recreational drugs.A new concern, a fear I would have never imagined and I imagine some far fetched scenarios.
In all seriousness, I will use this as a warning.Take a moment to make sure your parents know that sucking the air out of whipped cream cans, computer dusting cans (Dusting), and air-horns is very dangerous and should never be used as a game.It seems so obvious to us, but intelligent people who were not teenagers beyond the 80’s may have no idea.
Figuring out that your parents knew as little about raising children as you do is a mind altering experience.
I spend much of my time in disbelief that I am the mom of two amazing kids, because I often feel like a kid myself. How did this happen? When did this happen? Just yesterday I was getting my license, graduating college, moving to my first apartment… and somehow I am an adult with a home and children. Children that come to me in the middle of the night with growing pains, and nightmares — looking to be comforted. I’m mothering by the seat of my pants.
How is it that I am winging it and my mother seemed to know everything? I walk around sputtering a slew of medical advice I got from this woman who was so thoroughly competent and mature at 35, they may have even let her practice medicine in some states, like West Virginia.
Was Dr. Mom wrong? Was she all knowing or just a teenager, stuck in a “mommy” body, spouting the information imparted by her mother before her? If your tongue has a green tint, do you not need to make a BM? If you get stung by a bee does toothpaste not soothe the sting? It all made perfect sense when I was 8.
I took these practices as gospel, logging the protocol in my “future motherhood file,” for safekeeping. I filled my arsenal with pertinent and sometimes even magical remedies, only to find myself at 35 in a CPR and safety class being jeered by the instructor, the “movie star” hot instructor.
Because I am mentally no more than 21, I was secretly praying he was a stripper, hoping his snug manly fireman’s uniform would Velcro straight off to the sound of some cheesy disco accompaniment.Don’t think I didn’t whisper, “bow chicka bow wow,” to get the ball rolling.
I attempted to impress him with the vast medical knowledge I had learned from the omnipotent Dr. Mom.
“Butter for burns?” He laughed. “Coke Syrup? for a belly ache?“
“Who taught you this stuff?” He prodded and not in a flirty teasing way.
Apparently, my medical knowledge was archaic. Not only did it make me seem old, it made me seem Amish.
I was about as sexy to this strapping buck as the Snapple Lady. There it is, that four letter word that is so hideous so heinous… L-A-D-Y. To this stud I was just some “lady.” My mom was just like me… some kid who was a “lady” to everyone else.Some of those brilliant treatments she made up on the fly and the others she just relayed as I did, hoping to sound as if she knew what she was talking about.She believed what she was told as a child, because her mom, another “Lady,” of maybe 25, told her it was so.
My entire foundation crumbled in 3 hours and a snack break. Realizing your mother was no more prepared or mature than you are is a shocking and mind altering epiphany. It’s like trying to figure out what was here before the world. If you think about it too much your head may spontaneously combust.
My mind was swimming. I tuned out the sexy EMT, well muted him, to think this through. Have I found the key to motherhood? Is it not in the actual knowledge but in the belief? My ultimate goal as a parent is for my children to be safe and secure. Is that not what my mother, the witch doctor, did for me? Having trust and faith in her knowledge was a necessary part of making me feel safe and secure.
Maybe we don’t need to know everything or be ultra mature to be good parents. Maybe the answers we have are enough.
My epiphany was making me hyperventilate .I considered throwing myself to the ground, grabbing my throat and kicking resuscitation Annie out of the way. Look, sometimes you take it any way you can get it.
I considered not posting this because so many people witnessed it happening.I wasn’t sure if there was anyone left to read about it.Because there is some pertinent information, I decided it was worth sharing. I have discovered the quickest way to make people despise and hiss at you.If this is something you may be interested in… read on.
Bring a cranky child with less than five hours sleep under her belt, to the grocery store.It’s a brilliant plan for anyone with too many friends or any kind of social interaction disorder.
She began our trip like a giddy drunk:a little unstable, but cheerful and capricious.I may have even gotten an, “I love you man… I mean Mom,” accompanied by a hearty chest bump.Well, her chest, my knee.But, like most drunks, the second you shove them in to the seat of the shopping cart they get belligerent.
Cindy our favorite check out girl made the tragic mistake of saying, “Hello my sweet Ryan,” When we arrived.Her “Sweet Ryan” responded with bared teeth and an ominous growl.
“How could you Cindy?”I snarled.I should have done a 180 then and there, but I selfishly decided that it was more important that my family have their precious food than maintain any good will towards neighbors.
By the meat counter Ryan lost it when I pulled the number out of the number machine.When I felt her eyes bore a chasm through my forehead, I succumbed and allowed her to pull out 10 more numbers…much to the dismay of the deli staff.
By the time we hit produce she had spiraled out of control.I said something so horrifying, it left her no choice but to unleash an Earth shattering scream of disapproval.The grapes looked old, but I now realize, I should have kept that scary tidbit to myself.
I also affronted her by pushing the cart too slowly.When I sped up she hit her back on the cart which was adding insult to injury, actually injury to insult.Semantics aside, it was unforgivable and ohhh, did I feel her justifiable fury.
As I waited for her head to stop spinning, I decided to spare the customers the migraines they were acquiring and spare myself the gossip that was developing.I grabbed a few essentials and made a beeline for the checkout line.Cindy’s line was the shortest.I reluctantly got in it and shot her a scowl, letting her know I had not forgotten the cruel injustice she showed my child when we arrived.Ryan continued to sulk, which triggered the woman in front of me to say, “Aww, Poor thing. She’s so cute.”
I took one look at her blood shot eyes as she was rolling them at me for some unknown wrongdoing and simply said, “She can be cuter.”
As I approached the end of the belt, Cindy looked at me with the sad pouty face adults make when imitating crying children.
“Hello Jenny,” she said in a not your day, kind of way
“Don’t even go there Cindy, you chipper woman or I will knock that annoying pout clean off your face,”I barked in a stint of misplaced frustration. Okay, I didn’t say that, but I did give her the, “talk to the hand” gesture.No, I didn’t do that either.I said, “hello Cindy,” but I said it in an Indian accent, so she would be oddly confused.
Next time I choose feeding my family over my daughter’s surly mood, I will remind myself that, there is a reason Mc Donald’s is making the youth of America fat. Then I will head to the nearest drive-thru.
I must bid my breastfeeding boobs adieu. Being that I haven’t seen them in almost 4 years, I usually don’t give them much thought. I actually have more pressing things to worry about. I have to feed and water the kids, clean up puppy accidents, that usually come to my attention after I‘ve stepped in them. Oh yeah, and I’m trying to get that whole writing career thing off the ground. However, as vasectomy talk fills the air, I am realizing they will permanently be a thing of the past, and G-d they were hot.
I am not your average gal with an average chest who pumps up some bazongas during and after pregnancy and then gracefully watches them deflate. I am like training bra, well, heroine chic as I prefer to call it. But, those post pregnancy tits, wow. I remember walking around my NYC apartment, frost on the windows, two below, in a bikini top and sweats. Pausing at every reflective surface to catch a glimpse of those puppies…mirrors, artwork, maybe a spoon, freshly shined shoes.
I’m going to put a picture of my breastfeeding boobs on my counter. You know, next to the pictures of the people and animals I miss. The type of pictures you blow a kiss to when you walk by. To be honest, I also talk to those pictures, though I can’t imagine talking to my boobs. However, I’ve have been known to do stranger things. Those of you who have followed my blog for a while will remember a pretty heated conversation I had with some South African oranges.
If I were to converse with my inflated tatas of yore, I would say, “I miss you guys. I miss the way you enhanced even a tank top. The way you filled out a bra and indiscreetly peaked out of a strapless dress. I especially miss the way you looked in a thin sweater. I don’t miss the way you nearly exploded at the sound of a baby, any baby, and embarrassingly soaked puddles into my clothes at the most inopportune times.” Ahh, the bitter sweet memories, the good times and the bad. They will stay with me until I finally give in and get a boob job
People will walk into my house and see a close up of my rack and say, “What is that picture of?”
“Oh, that? Those are my just my boobs. See, and there’s my Granddaddy and my dog. Oh, how I miss them.”
Saturday was Jake’s Little League Kids vs. Dads game. I arrived late, kind of excited to see Mark at bat. There is something sexy about seeing your husband hit a bomb. Of course the other side of the coin is seeing him strike out or bumble some ball on the ground, which would drastically undermine his appeal.
On my way to the game, however, in no way did I think he would end up assessing my appeal. One of the kids was with his mom, and she was reluctantly talked into playing to represent her family. My son was in the middle of striking her out when I thought, that looks fun. Not the striking out part, but to be a kid for a few minutes, to hold a bat, to cross home plate. How often do us moms get that chance?
“I want next up.” Did I say that out loud? I did.
“Come on we need more players,” one of the dads screamed, probably imagining how amusing it would be to watch me try to hit Jake‘s wild pitches.
I rolled up my dark wash, bell-bottom Hudsons, and kicked off my heels. Yes, I wore heels to the field. Strappy thong wedges, considered perfectly acceptable “baseball mom” attire by the Weston Area Little League official handbook.
“In all my years of coaching I’ve never had a player show up in bellbottoms,” the coach said as I approached the plate.
For the dads, this was just a friendly game. The dads are the ones lobbing the ball around at all the practices, hitting to the different positions, throwing pop-ups and grounders, while me and the moms are relegated to the bleachers to tend to our other children, like pioneer wives. No one wants the moms on the field, but G-d do I always want to be out there.
It felt so nostalgic to walk to the plate. I got into my stance, which I remembered without hesitation. No expectations from any of the dads, just how I like it. First my practice swing. Can I still do it?
“Wow, nice swing,” the dad who invited me to play said in shock. “Guys, you better back it up.“
That’s right. My intimidating swing made a bunch of 7 and 8 year olds move back. Yes, I can still swing, but can I hit? I wanted so badly not to make an ass of myself. Not just not to make an ass of myself, but to be impressive. To let my son see that all his athleticism was not genetically encoded directly from his dad’s DNA, and to show a bunch of middle aged dads that the sarcastic girl who comes to the game in heels can get down and dirty.
Ah, thank G-d I made contact. A solid respectable line drive, Wahoo!. It was clearly unexpected. I got claps, and a “Wow” and when I went to back to the stands my father in law added, “I see where Jake gets his swing, but why didn’t you slide into second? Afraid to get your jeans dirty?”
Okay, I should quit now before I become a one hit wonder.But, it’s fun being a dad. I need more of this feeling.
On my second at bat, I was hoping to improve on my first – and I did. I whaled it. My teammates just started to laugh and the coach yelled, “She’s a ringer.” I took my spot next to Jake who was now playing first. I got a little hug, which was huge –he rarely hugs the other runners as they step onto his base, but he was proud. I played it off like “Yeah your mom’s the bomb,” but really I wasn’t so smug.
What happened next is almost too embarrassing to write about, but that’s what I do right? I was playing second, the atmosphere was light, but in my mind I was still auditioning for a walk on position with the Yankees. A hard grounder was about to whiz by. It was clearly out of reach, but maybe, just maybe… The truth is that ball could have been hit 2 bases away and I still would have run for it. Obviously, I have some competitive issues, which I will be sure to revisit in therapy.
As shocked as each Dad was today, they hadn‘t seen anything yet. I have to stop that ball, it’s coming hard, and if I don’t it will fly past me into the outfield and some 8 year old will get on base. I threw myself face first into the dirt, with my arm stretched long. My hip thudded against the hard ground, and there was a second where all eyes were frozen on my display. I stood up slowly, as I had injured my hip, and grabbed the ball out of my glove. Some dirt and pebbles may have trickled out of my mouth and hair, but I had the ball.
The stunned coach on first base let out a “Whoa. I didn‘t see that coming.” You didn’t see the intense barefoot mom diving to catch a ball in a friendly game against elementary school kids? Well, I am nothing if not highly unpredictable.
I brushed myself off, as I had let my pants get dirty. I thought this would be an amusing time to stop for a lip gloss reapplication.
I looked over at Mark who, though he knows about my unrelenting spirit, was in as much shock as the other guys at my last maneuver.
Jake may be more inherently athletic, but let me tell you something, he could learn a thing or two from his mom’s unrelenting, unyielding determination. He might also take note to of her misplaced intensity and yearning to relive childhood moments. These guys must have thought I was insane, but I took comfort in the knowledge that they would pick me if we ever happened to be in gym class together.
“And the parents win! Game ball has to go Jake’s mom.”
Mark walked over pulled me close and gave me a manly pat on the rear. “Nice job babe. I knew you would hit it, but I had no idea you would start throwing yourself all over the field.”
Thanks guys. I’ll be seein’ ya… from the bleachers.
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I had a night away this weekend, a night away. It has been 6 months, almost to the day, since the last time I had a night away. Yes, I am on the half year excursion plan. Twice a year I take the long ride from Weston to Fort Lauderdale, or South Beach, or Naples and spend a single night with as much day wrapped around both sides as my parents or in-laws will allow. We couldn’t go far, and because I was looking for optimum veg time, proximity was second only to my first criteria – NO KIDS.
Yes, I said it … NO KIDS. I had to find a close hotel that was kid free during spring break, when every cold frostbitten family packs up their 2.5 children, takes their pets to the kennel, and comes to Florida hoping to thaw out. I, on the other hand, needed to chill out and the best place seemed to be this boutiquey hotel on Lauderdale Beach called The Atlantic. The pool was off-putting to children, a long and narrow rectangle with no slides or falls. The décor was very hip, mod in an Ian Schrager, “don’t touch that kid, it will break” kinda way. I would avoid a place like this at all costs with my kids, as it blared “BORING” to anyone under sixteen. I banked on other families’ sense of “funless” to be on par with my own.
Wearing my too teeny bikini, I immediately found the pool and within moments I was donning an ipod, reading my book and sipping champagne. Totally enthralled with my book, I must not have noticed the influx of people at my tiny boutique pool. But then I heard someone scream, “Marco!” and though I am in South Florida where a name like Marco is not so uncommon, I could tell this was not some adult woman calling her adult husband to come put sunblock on her back.
“What the fuck was that?” I asked Mark, like I had just heard a gunshot. “A kid,” he nonchalantly replied, like my gunshot was just some car backfiring. I looked up and, Lo and behold, it wasn’t just one kid it was a whole pack of them. Maybe five ranging in age from about 4 to 10. I shuddered as the largest one, who was undeniably their bossy leader, demanded another pool game that had them screaming answers to random questions, and swimming all over my tiny boring lap pool.
Leader: “WHAT‘S YOUR FAVORITE SHOW?”
Kid 1: “WHAT?”
Kid 2: “She said what’s your favorite show,” the little one repeated shaking in fear.
Kid 1: “OH, I’LL GIVE YOU A HINT, IT’S TWO WORDS.”
Why are they screaming? They’re 5 feet apart.
Leader: “TOTAL DRAMA ISLAND.”
Kid 1: “I SAID 2 WORDS!”
Kid 3: “I think I know what it is. Can I guess?”
Leader: “NO! GIVE ME ANOTHER HINT.”
Kid 1: “FINE IT STARTS WITH AN I.”
Leader: “INDIANA JONES?”
Kid 1: “YOU SAID A SHOW NOT A MOVIE.“
Leader: “GIVE ME ANOTHER HINT.”
Kid 1: “NONANA NOPE NOPE…NOPE NOPE.”
Oh, come on, give her another hint already.
Kid 1: “I. C. AND IT’S ABOUT THE INTERNET.”
Leader: “WHAT IS IT? I DON”T KNOW.”
Kid 1: “WELL, I’M NOT GONNA TELL YOU TILL YOU GET IT.”
iCarly, iCarly, don’t suggest the game if you suck at it. I mean hello?
Leader: “UMMM, I GIVE UP.”
Kid 1: “I CARLY!”
I knew it.
Leader: “THAT’S CHEATING. MAHHHHHHHM MOM! HE CHEATED HE SAID IT WAS TWO WORDS AND iCARLY IS JUST……..”
Had this really happened? Had my ipod faded into the background and the passage of my book still not registered after reading it 3 times over? I was actually angry. I am so capable of tuning my own kids out, why was I not able to use this skill on someone else’s?
My penthouse suite, which was graciously extended to me when I explained my bi-annual excursion plan, wouldn’t be ready for hours. I watched as kid 4 goaded kids 2 and 3 by bobbing up and down chanting “DIVE!” every time his head cleared the water. I guess he hoped this would annoy them. I gave the parents a sideways glance to let them know that it was working on me, but they pretended not to notice.
Then it dawned on me. I am the crotchety lady that shushes other peoples kids. Maybe it was all the trips to the cardiologist, maybe my patience had been worn paper thin trying to get my own children to listen to me for half second. Each “Can you do it for me?” “Not now, Mommy.“ “No way, Jose.“ scratching one more layer from the surface. One would think, out of politeness, I would be less overtly bothered by other people’s children, but the truth is I have to save that rigorous acting job for when mine send me over the edge. So as my son would say to my daughter, “Too bad, so sad.”
The bobbing continued and noodles burst across the pool like fireworks. This is the reason they invented adult swim… and boutique hotels. While frantically searching for someone with a whistle, I noticed the other adults. Why were they so calm? Why weren’t they shooting looks at the over-permissive parents like I was? Were they not being over-permissive? —allowing their children to have so much fun around the pool on vacation?
Then it hit me…the hot tub. The one refuge that still belongs to us serious adults. With my book in hand I crossed the trendy stretch only to find another pack; they were multiplying faster than I could count, and now they had infiltrated the sacred whirlpool area. An area that actually has an age requirement. It was so unnatural, like seeing raccoons scavenging during the day, it was just wrong. Two kids watched the third one diving to the bottom against the current of the jets, kicking his feet all the while.
I thought, can I tell these kids to scram? But wait, aren’t I supposed to be representing the next generation of parents? The cool parents. Not our parents or their parents’ generations who would have scoffed before entry and sent the kids running for the hills. We “hip parents” have a rep to protect, right? We’re like kids ourselves. In fact, if you hadn’t met our children you would think we were too young, too fun, too awesome to be “parents.”
I told myself, say something funny and endearing thereby shattering their vision of adults as naysayers and fun-enders. So, after carefully choosing my words I let my tension go, eased into the whirlpool and said, “Could you please stop splashing, it’s getting my book all wet. I don’t know if you guys should even be in here.” I turned to pat my book with my towel and when I turned around they were gone. “Awesome, shmawesome.”
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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.
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