I’ll Get You Karma, and Your Little Dog, Too.

The biggest problem in my marriage is this: once a month (or thereabouts), M knocks over a giant glass of water which rests on his nightstand. The water douses everything around it. While this is happening, I usually play dead — so that I do not have to get up and help him mop up the water with whatever he can find lying around. I do not play dead because I am mean-spirited, or even lazy. I play dead because if I open my eyes, I will be awake for the night.

I am not a sleeper. If something wakes me up in the middle of the night (which I define as anywhere between 11.30 and everything that comes after it), I do not go back to sleep. I go thorough stages of resistance and acceptance and usually end up on the coach downstairs, watching TV, reading, or listening to a podcast. I know that I am not alone, and therefore, I won’t bore you with any more of the details of my sleeplessness.

Last night I tempted fate. As we headed to sleep, I said to M — I really hope you knock your water over tonight, because that is the only way you’ll throw out all the piles of random paper shit you have next to your bed. I do not exaggerate about these piles. It looks like a small mountain range of random magazines, bills, circulars, printouts and whatever else he can find in the house. Nobody touches the piles because M knows the contents of each one and can tell if we’ve been messing around. The only way those piles disappear is when they are soaked beyond saving.

Hence, I have come to rely on the monthly spillage.

Last night at three, I heard a CRASH. Then I heard, “OH SHIT.” I played dead. Very dead. Minutes later, spillage mopped, M falls back to sleep.

I have been up ever since.

I got some writing and editing done. I gardened by moonlight (really, I did! It’s awesome! You should all try it!) and I even gave myself a manicure (a lot less successful, but what can you do?) But when M woke up, I was in no mood for him. I yelled at him for taking a leisurely shower (Seriously? Fifteen minutes on a weekday?) and just about everything else. His face looked like it did in the early days of our marriage when I was mad at him, and expected him to know EXACTLY WHY I was mad, but refused to tell him. It goes without saying that his lack of inherent knowledge only made me madder.

We are about to hit our 20 year mark, and if I don’t get some sleep, our marriage may very well come full circle.

(Here is his nightstand AFTER it has been cleaned up. It is somewhat disconcerting to see that M sleeps with a hammer next to his bed. Also, I am very confused about the canoe escape pamphlet. Maybe I should be more helpful in the middle of the night.)

3 Comments

Filed under Sleep, Sleeplessness, Karma, Marriage

Coffee + Seltzer =

May is hard. May is happy and sunny and here in NYC it’s even gotten warm (thank heavens, because I was on the verge of a complete and utter weather-related breakdown, the likes of which I hadn’t experiences since I did time in Seattle). But it’s not necessarily an easy month. In addition to the onset of seasonal allergies (please send help, there is Mack truck parked in my sinuses), there’s a lot to do, which for me means there’s a lot to forget, a ton to let slip through the cracks, a mountain to overlook. You see where I’m going…

One day, after a doctor’s appointment I’d failed to calendar and a kid-related deadline I didn’t make (am I beating a dead horse?), I stumbled upon this bottle of loveliness:

I love coffee. I love seltzer. What could possibly be better than a combo of the two? Standing near the checkout of my local market, I felt a little like the guy (or girl) who fell upon peanut butter and chocolate or ketchup and just about everything. I immediately texted a picture to my friend R, who is a coffee drinker and a seltzer aficionado. She was unimpressed. Undeterred, I bought a bottle and drank it on line and texted R immediately: It was delish — like a not-too-sweet caffeinated cream soda, with giant bubbles. Plus, it’s limited edition, which means soon it will disappear, so I am compelled to down as much of it as I can while it is on the shelf.

I have bought a bottle every day since then. Sometimes two. It’s May. I need it.

People in my neighborhood market: I see you looking at me. I feel your judgy eyes on me. I hear you thinking, “Who on earth would buy that revolting looking beverage?” Me, that’s who. And I’ll buy a second while I’m here in case I’m done with this one by the time I check out.

Happy May, people. Do whatever you need to.

7 Comments

Filed under New York City, Uncategorized

Get your own knife rack, people.

We are planning a kitchen remodel. Recently, I was sitting in our kitchen with some of my teenage son’s friends. They were asking questions about the new kitchen.

“Is it gonna be white?” One asked.

“Yeah,” said another. “All our moms have white kitchens. White kitchens are nice and bright, but this kitchen is homey.” He spread his arms out wide, as if presenting my kitchen to me for the very first time.

By homey, I think he meant dark and outdated. But I just smiled and refilled the giant snack bowls they had depleted.

But they were not done.

“I mean, this is a really comfy kitchen,” one said, lifting an empty snack bowl and emptying the crumbs into his mouth before I had a chance to pour more popcorn in it.

Comfy?

“Yeah, like there’s just weird stuff happening,” he explained, wiping his mouth. “I mean – look at all those knives on your wall. My mom would never like that.” He pointed to the knife rack in our kitchen. “She likes stuff you can’t see.”

“Yeah, I mean what IS that?” Another giggled.

“And all the jars.” This conversation now had a life of its own.

“Jars?”

“Yeah, I mean my mom likes a clear counter, but you don’t care. You have stuff everywhere!”

“All the jars!” The first said. “And none of them match!”

Hmmm. It was true. None of the jars did match. There were also bottles of oil and little (mismatched) jars of salts everywhere. I do love oil and salt.

“And look,” said a third who had just walked in. “I mean, there’s a brush over there.” He pointed to a brush on a crowded shelf. It had long since lost its handle, but it was a good brush.

“And all these random cards!” He pointed to three decks of cards, none of them complete, and all in piles, their boxes long gone. They were on the shelf with the brush, some vitamins, a dying fish, a cupcake-shaped eraser, cat snacks and some mechanical pencils.

“Our moms would go nuts! But not you! You don’t care.”

I was rendered speechless.

It passed.

“Rest assured, boys.” I told them. “Whatever color this kitchen may be, you can count on me to have cluttered counters and random stuff on my shelves.”

“What about the knife rack?” One asked.

“The rack stays,” I said.

They smiled and nodded at each other.

Then I refilled the snack bowls again.

3 Comments

Filed under Kitchen, remodel, knife rack,, Uncategorized

Naked runners and second place in-shape moms, unite!

I went to the gym today because I slipped on ice at the bottom of our driveway and was too sore to run. I got on an exercise machine and within minutes one of the guys who works at the gym was next to me, looking very sheepish.

“Hey,” I said, taking out an earbud. My politics podcast would have to wait.

“So… we are doing this photo shoot,” he mumbled. “And we’re looking for all kinds of people. I was wondering if you could help out because we are looking for (wait for it) … an in-shape mom.”

I smiled demurely (what, this old thing?) and acted as though this was the oddest thing I’d ever heard, which it kind of was.

Huffing and puffing on that damn stair thing, I thought about it for a minute. Surely, there were other moms around, more in-shape moms, moms who have to wear real bras and not the kind you slip over your head and can buy at Old Navy for 6.99, moms who did upper body work (I rarely do), moms with core muscles (nope). If I’m anything, I’m a runner, and as a character in my book says: Nobody really wants to see a runner naked.

And here’s another thing — an in-shape mom? What is that anyway and why does it sound so creepy? It may have been a case of not wanting to join a club that would have me as a member, but all I could think of were mom-jeans, soccer-moms, mom-hairdos, and the mother of all mom-items, the MINIVAN.

I spent a while protesting too much and then the gym guy interrupted. “We’re really stuck. The mom who was supposed to do it had to cancel.”

“The who?” I yelled over the podcast still playing in my left ear. “Really? There’s another, more in-shape mom than me??” I looked around the gym in an exaggerated manner, my hand over my eyes, as if looking off into the distance for another mother in better shape. Suddenly, I was Jane Fonda. (I have just dated myself in ways unimaginable. Who should I have said – Gal Gadot???)

“Um…” The poor guy. What was he to do?

“I can’t make it anyway,” I said. I was nobody’s sloppy seconds. (I wasn’t lying. It was smack in the middle of teaching.)

I finished huffing and puffing and went home to my eldest child, who is now old enough to have a man-cold. Feeling out of sorts about the whole encounter, I made myself something to eat. Please don’t judge, but this is what I ate:

My friend, R., thinks it’s revolting, but quinoa with ketchup is my favorite dish. Frankly, there are few meals that cannot be improved a squodge of ketchup, but this one is spectacular and cheers me up without fail.

Besides, It’s the official dinner of second place in-shape moms everywhere.

1 Comment

Filed under running, Uncategorized

Drip, Drip…

I wouldn’t necessarily call it a resolution, but this year I told myself I’d take one picture a week – specifically, a picture which encapsulates the kind of week I’ve had. Last week I wanted to post a cute picture of the minivan as we returned from our road trip to the Great White North, but I didn’t know which picture to post. I had a few choices:

1. The pic of the new brakes I had to put on the minivan before we left. (Not myself, but by Bruce, my well-named and flawless mechanic.)

2. The pic of the fresh dent I put in the back of the van when pulling out my driveway as we were leaving.

3. The pic of the heating vents in the ceiling of the minivan dripping onto our heads as we drove through Quebec.

4. The pic of the tire pressure light which goes on each time the temp drops below 20 degrees. That light all but imploded as we dropped to -25 in Montreal.

In the end I couldn’t bear to post a pic of the minivan – I hardly want to encourage it. Instead, this week’s pic comes from M – in yet another attempt to subtly remind me to replace the toilet paper.

As I have already made clear, I do not believe in replacing the toilet paper. Other things in which I don’t believe: those crappy little snack-size ziploc bags and the half sheets of paper towel.

Consequently, we have all thawed out from our week in the Great White North; even the minivan. It is now 30 degrees in NY and it feels like Maui. Aloha!

2 Comments

Filed under Canada, driving, Minivans, New York City, Road trip, toilet paper, Uncategorized

Grinding… and the Corners of My Mind.

“It looks like you’re grinding your teeth at night,” said my dentist.

“I assure you,” I said, knowingly. “I am not sleeping long enough or soundly enough to do any grinding of any sort.”

“Anything on your mind?” He asked, ignoring me. I thought about unpacking the corners of my mind right then and there in the dentist’s office, but I have an entirely different doctor for that, so I sat back in the chair and got fitted for a night-guard.

As if being a forty-something retainer wearer wasn’t enough, I am now a forty-something retainer and night-guard wearer. I apparently must look too damn hot when I’m going to bed, because the forces of the universe are working to make me look less and less appealing at bedtime. Bring it on, people. Bring it on.

I asked M if I’m grinding my teeth. “No, but I do,” he said. “That’s why I wear that extra thick retainer.” My first thought: This man and I are MADE FOR EACH OTHER. My second thought: How did I not know that? I cannot imagine how I didn’t pick up on his nighttime teeth activities, what with a seven year old and a cat between us in bed. I made a note to be more attentive. I made another note to move the seven year old. The cat stays.

While at the orthodontist with the seven year old (palate expander) and the thirteen year old (Braces, round two. Jealous?), I learned that the thirteen year old may not have brushed his lower gums in about two years. The orthodontist suggested he have his teeth cleaned every three months while in braces, rather than every six months, which is all our insurance covers.

I looked at the thirteen year old. “Listen buddy,” I said. “I don’t have time for this shit. You can either fork out for the extra cleanings, or you can start brushing your lower mouth.”

“Does this mean I also have to start brushing in the morning?” He asked. He and I have gone back and forth on whether or not morning brushing is actually a thing.

“Yes,” I said. “It does.” He just shrugged and smiled at the bewildered orthodontist, who I could feel judging me.

It’s no wonder I’m grinding.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Can you please take a picture of someone else and say it’s me? (Or, how to panic about your author photo)

The good news is I wrote a book. The bad news is the publisher wants a photo of me. 

I hate photos of me. I have always hated photos of me. I don’t mind looking in the mirror, but show me just about anything other than a photo of me. I think I had kids just to get out of the picture and behind the camera. In fact, I would rather go to the dentist while simultaneously having a flu shot AND a pap smear than have my picture taken.

Needless to say, I don’t have any pictures of me around the house that I’d want to use. We are not an official pictures type of family. The only recent professional photos we have are from the boys’ bar mitzvahs, and I learned a few things from those:

1) if you want to look good in a picture, keep your young, dewy, nubile children out of it; and

2) parents who spend their time worrying about what their kids will look like in the picture, will often end up looking like something the cat dragged in, peed on, then dragged back out again. 

Desperate, I reached out to some friends in the know and found a photographer to come to the house and take pictures of me. 

“Please tell me you are not coming alone,” I said to him. “I am going to need serious hair and makeup help.” The photographer offered to bring a hair and makeup person. 

“Also a trowel and a bucket of spackle,” I added. I think he thought I was kidding. 

Then I went online and Googled: How to take a good author picture. I gathered a few tips:

1. Avoid loud prints. Given that I have pretty much spent 30 years avoiding all prints of any kind, one point for me! 

2. Stick with navy, grey or black: DONE, DONE AND DONE.

How hard could this be? 

3. Think of your most natural setting. 

What now? 

My most natural setting? Did the photographer really want to climb in the minivan and snap a picture of me yelling over music I have not chosen, while holding trash for children who can not hold trash for a second longer than they have to? 

Or, did he want to come over at seven AM to find me in the kitchen, sleep mask shoved up in my hair, bra-less, clad head to toe in sweat-material,  feeding children who may or may not eat what I’ve made because the egg is not crispy enough, these pancakes taste different, and what did you put in this smoothie? 

I am thinking about a friend whose author picture is in front of a beautiful wallpapered wall. Being a white-wall person, I don’t have any pretty papered walls. Being a white wall person also means that none of my walls are white anymore – they’re more of a smudgy, shmutzy grey. 

Who wants to to see that? And how do I find a clutter free corner of my house? 

This is all too much. Maybe if I tell the photographer I am having a root canal and a pap smear tomorrow, he will give me more time. If that doesn’t work, I have decided to wear a navy mou-mou, stand in front of my vegetable garden and have my picture taken with the cats.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing, photography