I came home from an early run to find this in our very narrow driveway.For some reason, I keep referring to this as a skip, which nobody else seems to understand. It’s smaller than average because the driveway was designed for a Model-T and anything larger would get stuck. (Which I learned the hard way…)
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After months of waiting, crying in the building department, and all but offering myself up to the gods of Yonkers (because, surely there is more than one), we finally got our construction permit. Still, we weren’t starting anytime soon. Our contractor told us we’d have to wait a few weeks while he finished up the job he took when we got delayed.
And then, in a text, he told us he could start in 48 hours. (I’m trying to ignore the nagging feeling that this guy may not have been the best choice, but I’m keeping that to myself for now.)
Here’s what I learned:
1. It helps to have a pogrom (or three) in your DNA. Polish ancestry means one thing if you’re Jewish: You can pack in a flash, even when there aren’t Cossacks at the door. As I used my great-grandmother’s linen tablecloths to wrap my dishes (once the newspaper ran out), I had enough time to hum the entire score of Fiddler. Good times.
2. Jet lag is AWESOME when you have stuff to do! Turns out, keeping my watch on NY time during our trip may have kept me awake the entire time, but it didn’t ensure that I’d come home on local time. (Who knew?) So, I hopped out of bed at 3.45 AM and got cracking on packing the kitchen and tossing anything that does not bring me pleasure. (This was a good thing. Because M is no fan of throwing out anything and believes this whole de-cluttering movement is nothing more than an excuse to buy more shit, I usually have to toss things under cover of darkness.)
3. I was put on this earth to answer the question: How many glass jars can one person own?
4. I apparently also have a thing for egg cups.
5. M has a thing for free water bottles. The shittier the bottle, the more we have. If you happen to need one, there will be a box of them in front of our house as of 4AM. (shhh.)
I’ve been awake for over a week and I have miles to go.
If Marie Kondo calls, I’ll be throwing out egg cups.
I got a little braggy on Instagram and posted a picture of my chard recently. My punishment for my garden-bragging is usually the ridicule of my children, who do not particularly enjoy seeing the pictures. They reserve a special disdain for my most favorite hashtag. #IGrewDinner
This week I got a different kind of comeuppance. I noticed the chard was brown and patchy. More watering didn’t help, so I took pictures of the leaves and that night, while sleep eluded me (here we go again), I went down the rabbit hole of my gardening blogs . (As luck would have it I stumbled onto a Seattle Times article, no comment.)
It turns out the brown spots were caused by flies, specifically, beet leaf miners. The little flies lay their eggs on the leaves of the plant, in my case, chard. Then the eggs hatch into green maggots which feed inside the leaves and then poop everywhere. The brown blotches were poop, squeezed inside the leaves. Maggot poop, to be exact.
When the boys were younger and came home with lice, I ran to the drugstore, bought a shaver and sheared their heads down the the scalp. I basically did the same thing with the chard. I chopped the plants down to their nubs, shoved the infested leaves in a bag, and called it a day.
Ok kids. You win.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.