The Getaway Part III – The Conclusion

If you need to catch up, click here for Part I, and click here for Part II.


Needless to say, we didn’t go to Fire Island. The idea of us walking in the dark in a place we’ve never been to didn’t really appeal to either of us. Lord knows I love food, but I didn’t need to work that hard for it. Ocean or not.

DH remembered a restaurant someone recommended…an over-priced italian place right on the sound. We decided that sounded like a nice place to celebrate our anniversary dinner, so he called to make a reservation.

Unfortunately, the only open spot was at eight, but at that point we were pretty happy with anything so we took it.

Since we had so much time to kill, we decided to go into town to see if we could find a cute place where we could have a cocktail on the sidewalk. Well, not ON the sidewalk exactly. That would be weird and probably illegal or something.

We quickly settled on a trendy little spot (with some tables outside) with THE BEST margarita with muddled cucumber. Don’t knock it ’till you try it. I raved so much about it, the server actually got the bartender to write down the recipe for me.

But I totally digressed there.

When the maitre de showed us our street-side table, I noticed a woman leaning over the fence/wall, right where we were going to sit. I maneuvered myself around her bobbing and weaving body and sat pretty much right under her. I didn’t ask her to move because I don’t like confrontation. I was fine with her hair hanging down into my plate. Really, I was.

At first I thought she had an impairment. A disability of some sort. But then the stench of alcohol permeating from her pores was so intense I almost didn’t have to order a drink because I was beginning to catch a buzz off her breath.

After about five minutes, the man she was with was able to finally pry her off the wall/fence and into a waiting car. Just in time too. My blood alcohol level had most likely reached .08%. And that was before I ordered a drink.

We slowly drank our cocktails, but somehow we still had some time to kill. We stopped into a liquor store and picked up a bottle of wine to share for a nightcap later on our private balcony, then ducked into a dollar store to purchase a couple of wine glasses, and headed off to dinner.

img_0556It was dark when we pulled into the parking lot, but the restaurant was lit up like a Christmas tree. It was beautiful. There was a wedding going on and the atmosphere was lively. The way I like it.

DH spoke to the hostess and explained it was our anniversary and asked for a table out on the back deck. We were led outside to a table “on the rail” except the rail was a solid concrete seawall that came to my neck.img_0544

I know there was salt water on the other side because we were told so. I just couldn’t see it. Unless I stood on tippy toe. Even then it was so dark out, I would not even have known there was water out there save for the working lighthouse a mile or two out.

DH ordered a beer, I the house wine. My wine tasted like swill. I had barium better than that. Somehow I was mistakenly under the impression that the house wine in a fancy italian restaurant would be good.

Not sure where I got that idea from.

For dinner, I had the clams as an appetizer and the spaghetti and meatballs as an entree. Simple, sure. But I wanted something comforting for some reason. Besides, we were in an italian restaurant. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to order?

Needless to say, half the clams wound up in my napkin. They were so chewy, if I didn’t actually take them from the shell myself, I would have thought I ordered cow balls.

And the meatballs? My Irish grandmother made better. I made better and I don’t even make meatballs. As for the sauce, I was pretty sure it was taken right out of Chef Boyardee’s kitchen.

Sorry, Chef B.

We had a nice time though. It’s about the company, not the meal. We laughed it off. Anyway, it seemed to be par for the course that weekend.

After we got back to the hotel, we uncorked our bottle and sat on our plastic adirondack chairs on our private terrace, and sipped wine out of our dollar store glasses while overlooking our little piece of water.

But it doesn’t end there.

On the other side of the shore, there was a building. We didn’t know what it was because it was dark, but we did see a couple of cars pull into the parking lot and turn off the headlights while their vehicles were still in motion.

We immediately went into Magnum PI mode. Trying to crack a crime that may or may not have been happening. A couple of dark figures got out of their cars and walked into the shadows. Was it a drug bust? Disposing of a body? A heist?

Most likely just a couple of kids sharing a joint, but it was fun to imagine something sinister.

Fast forward to the next morning (because you don’t need to know the in-between…wink wink). That long-awaited spa-like shower I was looking forward to taking was not to be.

The faucet was broken. The water temperature couldn’t be regulated nor would it turn off once it was turned on. The water was hot and getting hotter by the minute.

Well, there was always breakfast.

After we got dressed, we made our way down to the 5×6 foot lobby to eat.

img_0561On our way down, we saw a lady come out of the front door with a package of Pop Tarts. I turned and made a joke to DH about it.

When we entered and made our way to the “buffet,” we saw that our choices were stale bagels, three types of cereal, and frozen Leggo My Eggo waffles.

I was desperately searching for the Pop Tarts that suddenly didn’t seem so bad, but the early bird catches the worm, and I lost out.

I settled on the bagel and cranberry juice when what I really wanted was a diner and a stack of pancakes. DH had the same but with a cup of coffee.

We took our Top Shelf breakfast back up to our balcony. Across the way, where the night before the Crime of the Century was going down, we saw was actually a fire training center.img_0564

Yes, a building on “mock” fire with firemen trying to put it out with big hoses, and all the works. It was cool, but just the topper to the end of our weekend.

As we were leaving, DH told me how much he enjoyed our little room. Anyone who knows him, knows he is not a traveller and especially abhors hotels. His comment was worthy of a heart attack, but made me happy nonetheless.

Long of the short, but long story…I discovered that Long Island does not mean The Hamptons. After all that it was a great anniversary celebration, Hamptons or not.


Cheers from our Dollar Store wine glasses!

The Getaway Part II – The Upgrade

If you missed Part I, click here and come back. I’ll wait…

Are you caught up? Now where was I? Oh right (ants on the sill in case you forgot).

So, surprisingly we weren’t upset. Typically this would be something that would set one or the other off. But we were here to have fun and enjoy each other’s company, so basically we would have laughed off a natural disaster. Well, maybe not a tsunami. Those things scare the hell out of me.

The 1950s girl looked at us in disbelief when we walked through the lobby door. I almost felt sorry for her sitting there in her poodle skirt. I just really wish she was wearing saddle shoes. I love saddle shoes. I actually had a pair in 1979. Let’s just say, they didn’t make me a lot of friends.

I let DH talk to her because I am not a fan of confrontation. So I went outside to take pictures of the parking lot. When I came back in I heard her say she was giving us the best room in the house. The one that typically costs $320 a night but we were getting at no additional cost. You know, for our troubles.

Mind you, there was not a room to be found on the Island of Long and so far, in the last fifteen minutes we were able to move to three separate rooms in one hotel with no problem. Just an observation.

Moving along.

We walked up the rusty, I mean rustic stairs for the second time and made a hard left to a locked gate at the end of the walkway that looked more like Leavenworth and less like our own private terrace.

Of course, we couldn’t make the key work so I stood there and watched over our bags while DH traipsed back to the lobby.

I tried desperately to avoid eye contact with our new neighbors who were sitting on the other side of their large plate glass window by keeping my gaze out over the parking lot. I was getting to know that parking lot pretty intimately. Just so you know, there were exactly 78 parking spots.

The broken key was just operator error, but I can only imagine the look of terror on 1950s girl’s face when DH walked in that lobby again. Maybe I should have gone with him. That could have been the entertainment for the night.


Ignore the smoke stacks. What smoke stacks? I don’t see any smoke stacks.

When we got through the gate and turned the corner of the balcony, what to our wondering eyes should appear?


No, not the kind that gets stuck in a sink. But the kind where boats live. And docks. And seagulls. We had a view of the bay, and it was lovely.


The Vanity/VCR/Alarm Clock All-In-One Station. Where else can you get one of these gems?

We turned to unlock the door to the “best room in the house.” And stepped into, umm, I’m not sure what we expected, but that room was not $320 a night for the decor.

It seemed all the lampshades had the same disease. And the carpet had seen more dirt than, well, earth. But we had water. A view of the water trumps all else. Pretty much most of the time.

Believe it or not, it was clean (except the carpet — just so you know, I didn’t take my shoes off). It actually smelled nice, and the hubs liked it. He is not a fan of hotels, so I’m still getting over the shock. Seriously. I needed a little bit of smelling salts to make me come to.

You can just barely make out the rain showerhead. I always wanted one of those.

It had a rain shower showerhead. I always wanted one of those. Too bad the next day was not “wash my hair” day.

It had an amazing updated bathroom. The shower was big enough for a foursome and the tile was new (observation #27 – only renovation in probably thirty years).

It looked nice even with the old coffee pot half filled with sludge water, that sat on top of a mini fridge that had probably been there since the Nixon administration (observation #28 – a fridge in the bathroom is weird, and so is a coffee pot especially since poo can splash out from the toilet into your coffee but I digress).

After we looked out over the water for a bit, we realized we had some time to kill before dinner. We thought we would go into town, grab a cocktail and mosey on to the restaurant.

What were our dinner plans, you ask? We had reservations on Fire Island. All I wanted was to have dinner looking out over the waves since I didn’t get to the ocean this past summer and I really needed my fix. The only place I found on the Internet was in a little section on Fire Island called “Cherry Grove.”

Which was a gay community unbeknownst to us (we found out quite accidentally). Not that it mattered, but DH, when we realized, quickly figured out why the nice lady who answered the phone hesitated when he said, “my WIFE and I are celebrating an anniversary…”

“So, how do you think we’ll get there,” asked DH, the sensible one who plans everything from vacation to which foot gets dressed in a sock first.

After doing a bit of research, I found that there aren’t any paved roads on Fire Island. No paved roads means no cars pretty much.

If left to my own devices, I would have thrown caution to the wind. But a little voice (DH’s) inside my head said we should probably check things out further.

So, I called a water taxi company. After the lady who answered the phone very exuberantly exclaimed, “OH MY GOD, WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO?” she told me that we would have to walk from the parking lot (Robert Moses parking lot — surely you’ve heard of it — it is right up the street from Jones Beach according to Google Maps) to the lighthouse.

See that lighthouse way bottom left corner? Robert Moses is to the left of that. WAY to the left.

See that lighthouse way bottom left corner? Robert Moses is to the left of that. WAY to the left.

“How long is that walk?” I ask. Her reply was “a half an hour.” Then we’d have to catch a water taxi from there that would take an hour, plus pay approximately $44 round trip.

Phew. This story is getting long. Maybe I should stop here and write Part III – Dinner and Beyond. Besides, I’m tired and I have to work tomorrow. Darn work, always gets in the way of a good story.

Stay tuned once more. Just once more, I promise.


The Getaway Part I

When DH and I got married twenty-four years ago, we didn’t have a formal honeymoon. We couldn’t afford one because four months earlier we decided to spend the money we saved for our wedding as a down payment on a house.

Good idea? I think so. A house lasts way more than a five hour wedding and is the smartest thing a young couple can do, but I digress. (FYI – we were lucky because our parents helped foot the bill for the reception, which was awesome by the way)

In other words, we were house poor.

After the last guest left our wedding reception, DH looked over at me and said, “wanna go to Cape Cod for a few days? We can use some of our wedding money to pay for it.”

Of course, who am I to turn down a spontaneous vacation? I am not a planner by nature so this fit my personality to a “T.”

We didn’t have the internet to help us, so we basically got up the next day, threw a packed suitcase in the trunk of our car, and with map in hand, drove the three hours or so it took to get to the Cape. We hoped there would be hotels with vacancies. If not, there was always the car.

The first night we chose a sketchy looking “hotel” that was right off the main road on the Cape. It was one of those one-level motor inns. I’m sure our little stay didn’t cost more than $50.

The floor was uneven (when I say “uneven” I mean there should have been a railing installed on the wall to hold on to so guests wouldn’t run the risk of falling and injuring themselves), the bedding…umm, let’s just say the Red Light District has seen better linens. And I believe I saw a cockroach scurry across the bathroom floor.

We got better at choosing places to stay each evening during the week, with ants replacing cockroaches. And polyester blend replacing plain, old polyester.

We laughed it off and filed the experience away in our memory banks under “Shit Not To Do.”

This past weekend was our anniversary. DH wanted to look at a motorcycle that was for sale on Long Island so we decided to turn it into an impromptu weekend getaway. This time we had about forty-eight hours to (somewhat) plan it out.

Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea. We couldn’t find a single hotel room anywhere.

Except one. And we soon understood why. Suddenly the memory of that first night on our honeymoon came rushing back (what good is a memory bank when you only deposit but never withdrawal).


The best part…this sign.

When we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed the sign right away. It was a throw-back from another era.

Inside the tiny lobby, there were model cars of Thunderbirds and Corvettes. The furniture had a bit of an old, retro feel to it as well, and the clerk was dressed in a costume from the 1950s.

I looked at the girl and said, “oh, so this place is supposed to make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time on purpose.”


Except we suspected that perhaps it was just an excuse to not do any kind of renovation at all. You know, since 1956.

After we checked in, she informed us that breakfast was from 7-10am. Awesome. We asked where it would be served.

“Oh, here. In the lobby,” she replied.

DH and I looked behind us. “Umm, here?” Yes, here. There probably was enough room for approximately 4.5 people to stand comfortably in the lobby but whatever works.

img_0539After we made our way up the “rustic” (aka RUSTY) set of stairs that led to the upper balcony, we located the door to our room and opened it with a real key.

The room was a bit old all right but no “retro” furniture to be found. Our suspicions were starting to prove correct.

img_6479Aside from the peeling paint on the wall and broken lampshades hanging above the bed, the sink in the bathroom was clogged and water stood to the rim.

DH called the nice 1950’s lady and she apologized and ran a new key up to us for the room two doors down.

Room #2 wasn’t perfect either, but surprisingly it smelled clean. And it was a place to lay our head for the night. This time around we were too old to have the option of sleeping in the car. So, it would have to do.

I walked over to the window to check out the view of the parking lot, and noticed two tiny ants crawling around on the sill. I gave them a little smack and decided I would keep that little tidbit under my hat. No need to upset the mister.

“What did you just hit?” he asked.

“Oh, nothing really. Just a little ant.”

That little ant turned into about 300 within five nanoseconds. Apparently I disturbed the nest when I tried to kill their brother.

Without giving it a second thought, we picked up our bags and headed for the lobby. When the 1950s girl saw us, she took a deep breath and said, “oh no, what’s the matter now?”

Stayed tuned for Part II — “The Upgrade.”

Running Around Naked With Scissors

60ccf2df6085019eb4bc1636128d0296Two weeks ago, we dropped The Kid off at college. As we were leaving, DH teared up, The Kid teared up because DH teared up and I teared up a little. Okay. That’s a lie. I cried. A lot.

We left her behind in her new place. The place she will call home for the next four years. A place where she will lay her head every night. A place that may be unfamiliar now, but in time, will become familiar.

I was worried as all mothers do, about many things. Will she be homesick? Will she meet new friends right away? Will she like her roommates? Will she like college in general? Will she be safe?

Will she miss her parents so much that she cries herself to sleep? How about her dog? Will she miss him? Her bedroom?

These thoughts ran through my head on the drive home. These thoughts gave me anxiety throughout the evening, keeping me from a peaceful sleep.

And then it happened. It happened almost immediately. I started receiving pictures of her and her new friends. She was smiling, happy, carefree and worry free.

And my heart lost the heaviness it was feeling for the last 24 hours. Then it got even better.

I received this text from her: “I’m not homesick at all! I’m having the best time!”

I took a deep breath. The first deep breath in hours.

I shrugged my shoulders, said to myself that our job was done, and welcomed our new status with open arms.

And I’m gonna be honest…


DH and I are getting to know each other again. The couple we were before our child. Before the stress and worry of raising a person.

We can run around the house naked if we want. And I do. DH doesn’t because he thinks the neighbors can see. But I say, it serves them right for looking in our window. One look at me running around naked in my present physical condition, and they will learn their lesson. They will learn a big lesson. And fast.

S-E-X (it does sound less naughty when you spell it out, doesn’t it?) somehow got better. Before we would plan it out, triple-dead lock our door, spend twenty minutes hanging up sound proofing material (I caught my parents a couple of times when I was a kid, and believe me it is nothing you can ever unsee).

During it all with one ear open to hear if The Kid got up to go to the bathroom or was yelling out for one of us. By the time we got down to it, the mood had usually passed. (I’m joking about the sound proofing, but I’m not sure why I didn’t think about it at the time.)

Hmm, let’s see…what else?

Dinners are less of a hassle because I don’t feel the need to have to actually cook a nutritious meal for my kid every night. Her room stays clean. And there aren’t thirty-two pairs of shoes at the back door by Thursday.

I can take my bra off at the end of the day or not wear one at all if I’m hanging around the house on the weekend without hearing these words, “mom, my friends are coming over.”

There is nothing worse than putting those babies back in the cage. I have apologized to my breasts more times than I care to admit. There should be a law about how many hours we are allowed keep the girls bound up each day. But I digress.


I may not be hanging from the rafters yet, but it could happen.

We can just get up and go and do what we want when we want without worrying what The Kid wants to do or is doing. We see friends more often. Laugh more often. Spend more quality time together.

Do I look forward to seeing her next month at Parent’s Weekend? You betcha. Am I looking forward to spending almost a month with her when she comes home for winter break? Hells yeah. Do I miss her? Very much so.

Do I look forward to her emptying the dishwasher because I dislike that chore more than scrubbing the toilet? Can I get a ‘HECK YA!!!”

Do I love being her mom and cherish the last eighteen years? Without a doubt. I wouldn’t change a thing.

But it was time. It was time for her. And it was time for us.

Children are only meant to be with us for a short period of time. They are not meant for us to keep.

We are here to teach them how to grow into respectable, functioning adults. To be able to contribute to society. To be well-adjusted people who can raise some kids of their own.

It’s her time to be independent. It’s our time to be ourselves again.

So, to all you parents who are raising kids and are wondering how you will do when your offspring fly the coop? It’s okay. You will be okay.

Welcome it, embrace it, love it. It’s freaking awesome. Except when you have to empty the dishwasher.


It’s Gonna Suck Until It Doesn’t

imagesDH and I are going to be empty nesters. We will be coming home to an empty house within the next 48 hours. After eighteen years of tears, laughs, fights, hugs, hard lessons, and all that parenting involves, our job will be done.

It is the night before we leave to take our only child to college. Tonight will be the last night she spends in her own bed. The last dinner we’ll have as a family in our home, at our table. Tomorrow morning will be the last time I get to make her dairy-free pancakes.

Well, until that first break. I do realize she’ll be back. But you know what I mean.

It’s been a revolving door all weekend with The Kid’s friends coming to say goodbye to each other. Some of these kids I have known since birth, some since the age of five when she befriended them in Kindergarten, and some only the last four or five years. But it all feels the same. It sucks. And I’m trying with everything I have not to cry and blubber like a big fat baby.

Don’t get me wrong. I am excited for The Kid and her friends. I look forward to seeing what the future brings them. I know they are going to have the time of their lives.

It’s still going to suck. For me. These first few weeks, they are going to suck. I know they will.

But then, I hear from some well-versed empty nesters, that once they are gone, and you get used to them being gone, it’s not so bad.

For some, it’s more than “not bad” but down right awesome. Every once in a while I will catch a glimpse of some empty nesting friends on Facebook and it looks like they are having the time of their lives.

A few weeks ago, The Kid visited with my family down south for a week and a half, so we got a good taste of what it would be like.

I have to admit that we had a great time. We didn’t feel (as) worried, or stressed. We were at ease. It was like before we had a child. And it was kind of nice.

Because let’s face it, as wonderful and rewarding as it is to have children, it’s stressful as hell. I don’t care how many offspring you have.

Will I sob as I turn to leave her behind in a place that is completely foreign to her? Will I bawl like a two-year-old in the car during our three hour drive home? Will I cry every time I walk by her “empty” room the first few days?

You betcha.

Then after I get all that out and get used to the idea, I think I.m going to be alright.

It’s still gonna suck though. This initial feeling. And I’m not looking forward to it.

UnknownSo, stay tuned. Who knows, you might actually get to see a picture of me hanging from the rafters.


You Say You Want to Go to College? Be Prepared to Give Them Your Blood.

Pint of BloodI am not a connoisseur of higher education. I barely made it out of high school, so the idea of college for me never even entered my mind.

With that being said, I know college thirty years ago is not the same as college now. Not only has the price of college gone up dramatically since the mid-80s (500% — I looked it up) but it has gotten extremely competitive.

I’m surprised they don’t ask for your first born. But I’m sure that’s coming.

It starts with taking your sophomore/junior on the college rounds. Making a list, checking out schools, going on tours. You spend hours, days, nights driving, flying, staying in hotels. (Never mind the cost of all that. No offense, but I know an island I would rather have spent my money on going to that includes palm trees and Pina Coladas served on silver platters by cabana boys. But I digress.)

You get the typical spiel — they are all the same — from each school.

They cover what your ACT/SAT scores need to be, make sure you’re well rounded — GPA, job, extracurricular activities, community service, sports. Blah blah and more blah.

And you better make sure you show a real interest. What does that mean? Go on a tour or two. Or three. Call them, email them, send them a love letter, be in their face. Literally.

But guess what? It isn’t enough.

The Kid goes to a public school where she is getting an awesome education. One of the top high schools in the state.

Her class is extraordinarily smart. The Kid is smart. She gets good grades. I will say, her GPA suffered a bit because of her head injury at the beginning of the year, but she still meets the criteria. She takes extremely difficult AP classes and works hard.

She is community service girl, does sports, competes in dance, belongs to several clubs at school.

She meets all of the requirements and even exceeds some, for every single school she applied to.

But guess what? It’s not enough.

We let her apply to eight schools. She wanted ten, but we had to stop the madness somewhere. In my opinion, eight is ridiculous but we allowed it nonetheless.

Within the first couple of months, she heard from five of the eight. She got in each one with no problem. She received some merit scholarships and was even accepted into honors programs.

But none of these schools were her top choice. No. The top choice we would have to wait for. How long? Another three nail biting, sleepless months.

So, the day is coming up. We’re all a nervous wreck. Stress dreams fill our heads at night (yes, me too because you want your kid to be happy even though you know she’ll be just fine no matter where she winds up).

You wake up, check the college portal and find she’s been waitlisted. Tears ensue and dreams get crushed.

You say to your kid, “but, you met all the requirements. You wrote a kick ass essay, you gave them what they asked for.”

It wasn’t enough.

I am finding out it’s not just her. The smartest kids in her class, and friends she knows from outside of school, are not getting into their “dream” schools. These kids are no slouchers.

Kids who exceed 4.0 GPAs. Kids who excelled at and even got perfect scores on their SATs and/or ACTs. Kids that are the top ten in their class. Kids that work, do community service, sports, meet and exceed all the requirements necessary.

What the hell is going on?  Like I said, I am no connoisseur when it comes to higher education, but I don’t need to be to know it’s out of control.

I was talking to a friend whose oldest is about ready to graduate from college. They went through this process four years ago and she says it has changed even from just that short time ago.

These schools need to chill. Seriously. They need to stop with the 50-60+ grand per YEAR sticker prices, so kids can actually afford to get an education.

They need to stop with the ridiculously high demands they put on these children, so kids can stop stressing out and enjoy their childhood instead of starting to build their resume at the tender age of five.

I get that schools need to be competitive. I really do understand the need for that. But at what expense? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it a bit excessive?

All I have to say is, I’m happy we have only one child. I don’t have the strength, energy or heart (or pocketbook) to do this again.

I hope my grandchildren don’t have to go through this. I hope something happens to force these schools to take it down a notch. The world would be a much better place. Then I could grow my nails back. And sleep again.

What I Would Do With 1.3 Billion Dollars


NOT the winning ticket

I bought a Powerball ticket the other day for the first time in my life. I’m not a gambler by nature. I hate wasting my money in those slot machines. So this is a big thing for me.

When I was a new mother, my husband sent me away for a much needed break to a casino with some friends, and I stayed up until 4am. All I won were some bags under my eyes and a hangover.

I nearly bit all my nails off the one time I played roulette. When I talked myself into buying a roll of quarters, I hung on to them in case I needed money for a parking spot. Or for the machines at the laundromat even though I had my own washer and dryer at home.

I don’t know when the first drawing for the Powerball was or how much it was for, but I missed it. But that’s okay because I don’t think I knew there even was a Powerball. Then someone at work told me how big it grew because no one had won it.

Of course, I acted like I knew what they were talking about, and then proceeded to walk myself right on over to the Starbucks in the building, broke down and spent two bucks on a ticket.

I thought, “Hmm, who knows? Maybe I’ll have beginner’s luck.”  Although the odds are against me. Or anyone for that matter because not only did I not have the winning ticket (can you believe only six numbers were off?) but apparently no one else did either. Which brought the pot up to $1.3 billion.

First, let me tell you what your odds are. Or better yet, what you have a better chance of happening to you:

  1. Getting struck by lightning while drowning
  2. Being killed by an asteroid
  3. And my favorite: Having a vending machine fall on you

It’s been established that you stand a better chance of dying in a freak and rare accident than winning the Powerball.

So why partake? Because you just never know. And the investment is pretty low.

Anyway, what would I do if I won 1.3 billion dollars?

  1. For starters, I would pay the guy in the house behind us to stop running his damned wood chipper on Sunday mornings. He can’t possibly need small pieces of chopped up wood that badly.
  2. I would give money to my church. Mainly because I haven’t been in a couple years and that old Catholic guilt is rearing its ugly head even though I’m no longer Catholic.
  3. I would see a therapist about that old Catholic guilt.
  4. I would finally replace the carpet on our staircase. I’m pretty sure Mauve went out in the early 90s.
  5. I will give to every charity that did not cold call me during dinner time.
  6. I would buy a house with an in-law set up for that maid and cook I’ve always dreamed of.

Obviously, I could go on. But it would take a novel to list all the ways to spend 1.3 billion dollars.

So, am I going to play the Powerball this week? Yea, probably. Because my need to be included in everything far exceeds my need to hang on to two measely dollars.

Oh, but what I could buy with two dollars…

Another Cliche Filled Blog Post About New Beginnings

don't be afraid to live
I write this as I lie here nursing a hangover. Too many white chocolate martinis will do that to a person. I guess New Year’s Eve of 2009 taught me nothing.

It is now 2016. More than half the decade is behind us. This year I turn 49, have my 30th high school reunion and will be the mother of a college student.

Can you believe three gray hairs sprouted out of my head during the making of that last paragraph? It’s true.

It is also the year when if you write 2015 on your check you can easily change the 5 to a 6 (creds go to my 17 year old for pointing that out), but that’s just an extra perk.

Anyway, a few months ago I had one of those episodes where the breath gets sucked right out of your lungs, you start to sweat ice and your heart races at 783 beats per minute.

No, I didn’t get hit in the gut with a baseball. Or remembered that I forgot to DVR last night’s Grey’s Anatomy (yes, I am that obsessed). It was much worse than that.

I suddenly came to the realization that my life is half over (actually if I’m going to be accurate, midway probably came about five years ago but let’s not say that out loud).

I wasn’t freaked out that my life is more than half over. I was more terrified of the fact that there is so much I still need and want to do in my life. Somehow those first 48 years blew by with ne’er a stiff breeze.

bucket listI have experienced some wonderful things. I fell in love, became a mother and went to Ireland. I have a good life. I am generally happy. But is that enough? I realized my bucket is still pretty full. And having a full bucket is not the same as having a full glass or full belly. It isn’t satisfying.

What is in my bucket? Besides Clorox and hot water on cleaning day? I want to go to Italy, make love under the stars (ok so I did that once but I was 20 and drunk so it doesn’t count), and write a novel. Just to name a few.

I also want to be healthier (I understand that should be on the resolutions list but I’m lazy), volunteer more of my time to my community and fill my weekends with more than television and Candy Crush.

So, I have proclaimed 2016 to be my year (right along with about 10 million of you). What makes 2106 any different and special from the other years? I mean, I have been making myself Queen since 1995 and have done nothing but fallen off the throne halfway through January time and time again.

Because I realized my life is half over and there is literally no more time to f*ck around.

Life is fleeting and can change in an instant. I don’t want to be on my deathbed with regrets that I didn’t live my life to the best of my ability. That I didn’t accomplish the things that are important to me, or at least gave them a good fight.

So, welcome 2016. You are my year. I can’t wait to get started. Right after I take a shower.


Our Family Christmas Letter – Volume 3

Merry Christmas Eve! Yes, I realize it’s Christmas eve and just getting my letter out. Procrastination is #12 on my list of New Year’s resolutions. Don’t worry, it will be broken by January 2nd, along with giving up wine and eating more greens.

Can you believe it’s December Christmas Eve already? I swear I feel like I just put away that pain in my ass village yesterday and here I am again. Hauling shit out of the basement like I’m some kind of Martha Stewart or something. Except I’m clearly not Martha Stewart by my decorating skills. I’ve been using the same crap decorations I’ve had for the last 23 years. Recycling at it’s finest, people.

Do you find that as you get older, it’s just the same year after year? The same routine, the same lights, the same fake cranberry wreath hanging from your foyer mirror. It gets so monotonous and exhausting. I truly see why the elderly just throw one of those pre-lit ceramic trees in the window, plug it in, and call it a day.

Now that that’s out of the way, I was reflecting on the past year. So much has happened. Okay, that’s a lie. Not a lot has happened. Well, maybe a little. Enough to make a killer interesting, sit on the edge of your seat letter? Well, no. But here is it anyway. You’re welcome.

I suppose the biggest news coming from our household is this whole process of college shopping and applying. Look, I didn’t go to college. But I have friends who did and I do not recall any of the crap fun stuff that goes on today.

I swear, if your kid isn’t class president, maintain a 4.99 grade point average, is the leader of every single club in school plus not only participate in 12 different sports but excel to the point where some professional league is knocking on your door, then you can forget about getting a juicy scholarship. Or even getting in. The College Application. The place where dreams go to die.

Although we only have one kid and this should be a walk in the park, I have to tell you I really want our money to be our money again. I don’t mean to complain, but it started with diapers on Day One and the monetary bleeding just keeps on coming. It’s a wound that doesn’t heal. So, although becoming Empty Nesters sounds really great in concept, we still will be broke because four years of college in the 21st century equals one large house, two vacations a year and a boat.

All joking aside, we are proud of our little crotch apple. Wherever she goes will be wonderful. I’m looking forward to taking over her walk-in closet. What shall I turn it into? I mean, since I won’t have the money to buy any clothes.

Let’s see, what else is new? Oh how could I forget? We got a dog! A big, sloppy, hairy german shepherd. And when I say “hairy” I mean hair everywhere, in every crevice, on every surface. Just think Christmas tree needles on Crack. Except Christmas tree needles smell nice. It’s really DH’s dog but that’s okay. The hair is for everyone and we love him nonetheless.

There was a little trip to Ireland! No, really. This time I mean it. Well, it was just me and a friend.  The Kid was supposed to go because it was for a dance competition but she wound up getting another concussion (kids should not be allowed to play sports without bubble wrap taped to their head) and didn’t want to miss any more school (yes, she came out of my hoo-haa because I was there and saw it — go figure).

Anyway, that place is beautiful and green. Luckily, green is my favorite color so it worked out. The people are amazing and patient. I think everyone should go to Ireland to learn a thing or two. Although I went and learned and came home and my good patience lasted approximately 4 days (okay, that’s an exaggeration — it ended as soon as the guy in the seat next to me kept taking over my arm rest).

I started working a real live job this year. Which means I don’t have time for cleaning or shopping or making dinner or any of those things I didn’t do anyway. Except now I just have an excuse.

It’s fun being out in the world with people and talking and using my brain that I thought was past the point of no return and having to get showered and dressed before 5p.m. It took me about 3-months to learn how to walk in heels again without teetering over, and another 3 months for the bruises to disappear from my toenail beds but all is well. I can walk in heels like a pro now. As long as there is a wall nearby.

That pretty much sums it up. We are all happy and healthy to which I am eternally grateful. Cheers to a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you next year.

10 Reasons Why I have a Love/Hate Relationship with Christmas

I have the best memories of Christmas growing up in my house. My parents didn’t have a lot of money but they were sure to make every holiday special.

They made decorating a family affair, with the Jackson 5 Christmas album at full blast on the hi-fi (no, younger generation, I did not mean wifi) and showering us with second hand Salvation Army toys washed in bleach. As we got older and the financial situation got better, bleached toys turned into Atari and Jordache jeans.

Then I got married and became a mother myself. I continued the tradition (minus the Salvation Army and bleach) with my child.

Then suddenly, it wasn’t as fun anymore. Fisher Price turned into Abercrombie which turned into Lilly Pulitzer. The cost per item substantially went up.

But that’s not why I’m stressed. I’m just saying having a teenage girl is costly. Don’t know where she gets that from. I grew up in Cal-pros and homemade polyester bell bottoms. But I digress.

I find as I get older, I lose the energy for it. I love Christmas. Don’t get me wrong. I love the carols, the lights on the houses, the festivities, the cheer, the eggnog. I love it all.

I love it all except what I don’t love. So I am here to tell you these are a few of my least favorite things:

  1. Sending Christmas cards – Choosing a perfect good enough picture, sending it to Costco via the inter webs, putting them in envelopes, licking them closed, printing the labels and stamping them is too daunting a task. And if you don’t have someone’s address? It sits on the corner in the “to-do” pile until next year because you are too lazy to go look it up.
  2. Decorating and Un-decorating – I love to go Christmas tree shopping. I love putting on the ornaments. But that’s where it stops. Because inevitably there are some lights that won’t work, I will break a favorite ornament and run out of extension cords. I find if I don’t have a nice stiff glass of spiked eggnog within arm’s reach, I just can’t get through it. And then putting it away is an entire weekend and makes me wonder what the point was. That requires much more eggnog but can be dangerous with the fifty trips down into the basement. I could fall and die. Which wouldn’t be the worst thing because then I wouldn’t have to do this again.
  3. Gift Buying – I love the gift giving part of it. Just can’t someone else do the work? With half a million nieces and nephews and cousins and now another generation in the world, my brain is overloaded with who I have to buy what for. There will never be an end. Well, until I die. If I drink too much eggnog during my un-decorating weekend, that could happen.
  4. Teachers, troop leaders, dance teachers, pastors, co-workers, neighbors, friends, bus drivers, UPS person, mailman, garbage man – Oh, did I already cover the gift part? Well, let me revisit. There are only so many $5 gift cards we can give from Dunkin’ Donuts.
  5. Parties – No, I like parties. How’d that get on my list?
  6. Elf on a Shelf – I remember when this guy was a thing before it was a thing. I acquired him years ago and he lasted precisely one-half a season. Now I just get tortured by seeing pictures of His Creepiness posted on Facebook. Well, unless you do something completely inappropriate with him like posing him with Barbie in a compromising position or have him hanging out of a wine bottle looking completely schnokered. Also, I feel like he follows me with his eyes.
  7. Crowds Every-freaking-Where – You cannot go to the mall without spending half a day looking for a parking spot. Then when you finally find one in the next town over and walk two miles to get inside, you are pushed and shoved until are bruised and feel like you’ve fought in a battle. The body heat alone is enough to send a peri-menopausal woman into orbit. You wait in line for whatever it was you settled for because they ran out of what you really wanted three weeks ago and will not be reordering. Even the internet is crowded.
  8. Wrapping – We spend hours, and I mean HOURS wrapping that crap up. We make it as pretty as possible with tissue paper, wrapping, bows and tags. Our backs hurt from leaning over for hours. And then we run out of tape. Where was that eggnog?
  9. It’s over in 3.6 seconds – After a month of decorating, cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping, bruising and sweating, it’s over in a nanosecond. Those pretty, perfect packages ripped to shreds by greedy, anxious children (and some adults I know).
  10. The gift that keeps on giving – That credit card bill that comes in the mail a month later after all the festivities have died and the decorations have been boxed up and put away with the moth balls. You sit there with your mouth hanging to the floor and swear next year will be different but you just kid yourself…you know it won’t be because let’s face it, we love Christmas.

So, Merry Christmas everyone. Here’s to working lights and extension cords galore. Go pour yourself some eggnog and take a deep breath. It will all be over soon.