Meatless May, Again. 

It’s that time of year. At least twice a week I get this sort of email: Dear Parent, please send in pictures of your child doing something she loves, something she hates, and something while speaking French and standing on one foot. OR this: Dear Parent, please come in to school for a two hour long presentation/party/celebration on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week and please make sure your child senses NONE of your resentment. And finally,  my favorite: Dear Parent, please purchase 200 pieces of poster board for the endless projects you and your child will fight about over the next five weeks. 

Luckily for me, it’s also Meatless May! And while it’s more of a Mostly Meatless May (meat can happen on weekends if need be), I actually feel like mostly is a pretty good bar, as in – I am mostly a decent mother, I am mostly a good wife, I am mostly a productive writer. 

Everybody gets on board with the meatlessness. My eldest loves it the most because he complains about the lack of variety come dinner time, which is actually how Meatless May was born. Last week he said, “Wow, you really turn into Guy Fieri in May.” I have no idea who that is, but I’ll take it. 

I rescued the veggie Pad Thai after the tofu turned into a gelatinous mush when I followed the recipe and tossed it in cornstarch (never again.) 

Even though know the chickpea omelette looks and sounds pretty revolting, it’s actually a big hit here. You have to ignore the fact that the batter looks like inedible gunge.

Everybody gamely tried the cilantro and basil pesto, even my youngest who believes that if it’s not covered in Nutella, it’s not actually a food.

The herbs are all made possible by M., who built these rockstar vegetable beds for Mother’s Day. 

(Never mind that I told him to build them in a spot which is under the shade of a giant tree and nothing will really grow except for the herbs. Never mind that instead of making me feel like an idiot, he offered to build me something somewhere sunny in the garden.)

I guess I can safely say that I am mostly capable.

Happy Meatless May, peeps.

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Biblio-F#*ked.

Dear School Librarian,

Thank you. I love that my child gets to spend time with you. I love that she picks a book she likes and reads it. I am so happy that she is doing something other than watching crappy tv or begging to play on my phone, or fighting with her sister, really I am. But please, I beg you. If you are going to send a book home with her, please send an invoice along with it, because it is now a well established rule that I end up paying for any and all library books that come into my home. Also, how many books on seahorses are there? Because she has now checked out THREE and lost of all them somewhere in the bowels of this house.

It is that time of year. We are all falling apart. Those of us without any executive function skills are in particularly bad shape. To wit: 

1. I drove a child to a pajama-themed birthday party carrying a Beanie Boo only to learn that the Beanie Boo birthday party was happening at a different date for a different friend. Said child shot me daggers when she saw everyone else in PJS and she was wearing a dress. 

2. When I drove to the Beanie Boo party a week later and saw no other cars in the driveway I quickly checked my phone for the invite only to learn that the party was weeks away. Same child. Same daggers. (I did the same thing a week later.)

3. I left off a best friend for one of my own kids’ parties. I have no business making parties. I especially have no business making parties this time of year. 

4. Children fighting early yesterday morning. Packed two of them into the minivan and drove to the Botanical Gardens. Got miserably lost in the Bronx. Had to park in Fordham overflow. Paid for parking but could not figure out how to get into lot. Drove home. (Same kid. Same daggers.) 

And I just received 4 emails from teachers asking me to come in for end of year events. One of them is over two hours long. I think I am already going to be sick that day. The only way I am going in to school is if I can find those damn library books. 

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Almost perfect, but not quite.

You could say that I lack attention to detail, or that I am easily distracted, but really it’s that I cannot see a project to its completion. I’m not talking about big projects… those I’m sort of okay with. I’m talking about the smaller things, the things that trip us all up every day. 

For example, I can load a dishwasher yet just leave enough dirty cups in the sink to leave everyone wondering what the hell I was thinking. Similarly, I can unload the dishwasher but leave all the cabinets open after I put things away. 

And this morning once again, I seem to have done it. You see, I see nothing wrong with this: I believe this counts. I believe I have done my job. I believe it is very clear what I intended to do, and there’s nothing wrong with someone else having to come along and finish this for me.

Thoughts?

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Up Early

We are jet lagged, or better yet, I am jet lagged. Everyone else in this house is over it but I am clinging to the sleep disruption like an infant. For the most part, I am fine. I enjoy the hours between four and seven — the house is empty, the TV is mine and I can bask in a few hours of super-productivity. The downside kicks in at five p.m. when I have to be physically restrained so as not to maim a child. I am tired and irritable and I can be around nobody. 

Except for Lois. 

That damn cat was so happy to see me when I came home from our two weeks away. I don’t think anybody has ever been that happy to see me and my kids go to sleepaway camp. She has slept on my head for the last few nights, just to make sure I’m here, which isn’t great for my allergies, but I can handle it.

I took her to the vet today for her yearly wellness visit. She’s been with us for over a year, but this was MY first time at the vet. The vet is a friend and usually comes to get Lois and drives her in. This time, however, I shoved Lois into a cat carrier and drove her to New Jersey. 

You may not know this about me but I am a nervous driver. I am an especially nervous driver in New Jersey. First, there is a bridge and I HATE driving over bridges. But in NJ you have to drive sandwiched in between angry trucks and the highway splits and forks with no notice. I inevitably miss all my exits and spend twice as much time in New Jersey as I need to. 

But I did it for Lois. 

She was not happy. She immediately began to cry in the car. This is how sad she looked in her cat carrier: 

 
So, I let her out. That’s right – I made the biggest rookie cat owner mistake and let her roam freely in the minivan while I drove in the rain. In the rain in New Jersey. (Did I mention that the van hit 100,000 miles this week? It did!) Lois kept crying but she did it from under my seat, near my feet, and the whole time I kept thinking: OH MY EFFING GOD. SHE IS GOING TO MAKE A SUDDEN MOVE AND I AM GOING TO DIE. I AM GOING TO DIE IN NEW JERSEY AND SPRINGSTEEN ISN’T EVEN HERE TO SEE IT. 

At some point she moved to the seat next to me and stared at me until I got to our destination. I think she went 20 minutes without blinking. Cats can do shit like that. When we arrived, I shoved her back in the box and took her inside to the vet. They immediately weighed her.  

 Of course, I didn’t quite get that Lois doesn’t have the same relationship with a scale at the doctor’s office that I do. 

“In the box?” I asked. 

Yes, I was told. They weigh the box separately and calculate her weight. 

“What about her collar? There are some heavy tags on there.” 

“Huh?” 

I stopped talking. 

Lois was a rock star at the vet (who in addition to being a friend, happens to be a rock star vet) and I learned from my mistake and kept her in the box on the way home. 

And now I have to go because I have writing to do and I only have a few more hours before bedtime. 

Goodnight. 

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Filed under cats, driving, Jet lag, pets

Yes, It’s a Thing. 

Took three of the kids to the dentist last week for cleanings and checkups. It broke my heart when my ten year old girl had two (small) cavities. It broke my heart because she spends 45 minutes brushing and flossing twice a day. The heartbreak was especially acute because my twelve and fourteen year old boys once again had no cavities. 

I don’t know if my fourteen year old actually brushes his teeth, but I know that something is going on because on most days he smells like a combination of deodorant and mouthwash. As for my twelve year old, it’s less clear. He brushes his teeth at night if I remind him, but I know for a fact that he does not believe that brushing his teeth in the morning is “a thing.” How do I know this? 

Me: “Brush your teeth after breakfast.”

Him: “I don’t think that’s a thing.” 

Me: “What’s not a thing?” 

Him: “Brushing your teeth in the morning.” 

Yup, as far as he is concerned, the morning brushing falls into the same dodgy category as the daily shower, the winter coat and utensils. (I’ll take Things That Exist, But Not For Me, for 500 please, Alex.)

Hence my heartbreak as those two boys high-fived each other in the waiting room while Little Miss Dental Hygiene made an appointment for a follow up. 

The dentist assured me that dental chickens always come home to roost. I’m not so sure. I’m not paranoid or anything, really I’m not. But let’s just say that girls who work hard only to be bested by boys who wing it…. Let’s just say that THAT better not become a thing. 

Unless it already is.   

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Lois.

Meet Lois. 

 The children had been begging for a dog but while I want a dog, I do not want a dog. My youngest is finally in school and the last thing I want is something else to look after. I’ve picked up enough poop, thankyouverymuch.

Enter Lois. Lois was a stray who lived in our yard with her two kittens. A certain child started feeding her, the kids were begging us to make an honest cat out of her, and next thing she knew it, Lois was at the vet and sleeping in a bed. Even though certain people in this house may or may not be allergic to cats, Lois moved in.  

Turns out, the kids are less than pleased with the turn of events. Maybe you should be careful what you wish for. 

“You love her more than us.” 

“She’s your favorite.”

“You never talk to us that way.” 

Wrong. 

Wrong. 

Maybe. I talk to Lois in the same sing-song way I talked to the kids when they were infants — helpless and dependent and grateful for whatever attention I could give them. Because Lois reminds me of them when they loved me unconditionally, when they ate whatever I put in front of them, when they were happy just to see me walk through the door. 

In short, when they liked me. All the time. Before they started yelling at me because I bought the wrong kind of rice. Before they asked me not to speak in front of their friends. (“You may not even make eye contact.”) Before the eye roll. Lois cannot roll her eyes. 

The great Nora Ephron said that it would be wise to get a dog when your children are teenagers because someone will always be happy to see you. 

You could get a dog, or you could get a Lois. 

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On the road again…

Facebookers, I see your happy family vacation pics and I raise you two: cleaning puke off a car seat and watching as two guys try and fix the dent in the car (made when I hit a pole earlier in the week) that is slowly shredding the tire.In my defense, I only ignored the dent because it happened when I was on my way home from the auto repair shop; the right door refused to open because of yes, all the dents. (I am nothing if not consistent.) 

(Big thanks to a certain neighbor and two passers by for helping out with that sitch.)

I have zero to say about the puking. It happens whenever she’s in the car for more than ten minutes. I put her on a bus to camp last week. She puked every day and three times on Wednesday. Needless to say, she is not going back. And that thing you’re about to suggest I try? I’ve tried it.

I romanticize these car trips in the planning. I have visions of singalongs, covered bridges and quirky bookstores. But in reality, one thing happens after another and before you know it you’re buying Febreze in Syracuse.

UPDATE: One week later we are driving home and I got to hold this: #StillWinning

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