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).

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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.”

Yes.

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…

BEING AN EMPTY NESTER IS FREAKING AWESOME!!!

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.

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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

powerball

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.

A Letter To My Daughter’s Dance Teachers

Dear P&T;

While I try to wrap my head around the news of your retirement, while I let it sit and I become used to the notion, I think of how much you have impacted my child’s life these past 12 years.

I know I’m not a hardcore dance mom. I can’t tell you the difference between a horn pipe and a slip jig (just kidding…one is heavy shoe and one is light, umm, right?). I couldn’t name many of the judges and didn’t even know there was an online irish dance forum until 2013 (that’s an exaggeration…it was 2011). But I do know what I know, and that is you have had a tremendous effect on our child’s life.

You were such a huge part of her childhood. You helped raise her. She is the person she is because of you. You have taught her so much in the years she has been under your wing. I can’t thank you enough for giving such a huge part of your life to make such a difference in her life.

We chose you, not only because you are amazing teachers, but amazing men. You are strong in character and superb role models. The manner in which you have conducted yourselves the past few years, most especially this past year, speaks volumes of who you are. I couldn’t be more proud to call you my child’s dance teachers. You have taught her to rise above, to always be kind, while others were less than so.

So, here we are, just days after your announcement and I wanted you to know what you have done for our child.

You have given her confidence and courage. Taught her about teamwork and commitment. You have introduced her to lifelong friends. Taught her about disappointment and how to pick herself up and dust herself off.

You have given her the gift of true sportsmanship and compassion. You have taught her how to take care of herself, be passionate and disciplined. You have shown her respect and how to respect. She has learned how to push herself to her limit, to persevere, and not give up.

All of these things, and more, are skills she will take with her throughout her lifetime. The memories you helped to create will be told time and time again to her own children (Future Irish Dancers of America?).

I cannot begin to make you understand how much we will miss having you so close within our lives. I will think of you often when she competes, dances across the kitchen floor and ties up her ghillies. You will always have a special place in all of our hearts.

Please enjoy the next phase of your lives, and always remember the lives you have touched during your long, wonderful career. You should be very proud. We love you.

Gratefully yours,

Maureen

 

Hello, I’m Not Dead.

images-3I’m here, I’m here! I haven’t contracted the Bubonic plague or fallen off the Brooklyn Bridge (I did walk across the Brooklyn Bridge once so it could have happened). Nothing earth-shattering occurred to cause me to stop writing and communicating to all of you. I swear it.

So, what DID happen to me, then? I mean, it has been nearly a lifetime since I’ve last published a post (in case you are dying to know, that lifetime ago was August 8th).

I’m going to be straight with you, you know, shoot from the hip (do we know what that even means?):

I cannot chew gum and walk at the same time

That’s about it. After I went back to work full-time, I swear it was like someone took a sledge hammer to my life.

Or the proverbial Mac Truck drove right down the middle of me. Leaving my guts all over the sidewalk.

On that sidewalk are also dirty toilets, a sink full of dishes and two weeks’ worth of laundry. Never mind what that thing is growing inside my refrigerator. I suppose it could be The Kid’s science project, but I’m afraid to ask. Because I have a sneaking suspicion it isn’t. Call it intuition.

When I get home from work, and after I make dinner (yes, I do that. It takes the last hair of energy I have left but we do have to eat and take-out every night will only put about 50 pounds on me a minute. And besides they say it is bad for you and I can’t do that to my family. Although, so is my cooking, so…), I leave enough DNA on the couch I can actually be cloned. (Not a bad idea. I hope she does windows.)

June CleaverI have a lot of respect for women who can do it all…raise a family, keep the house in order, all that crap…while working at the same time. You are rock stars and make the rest of us look like slugs. Thank you for that.

I am here to say I have started to peel myself off the leather davenport, so worry no more. It took a couple of months, but I’ve devised a plan to get myself back among the living and do what I love most — write.

Who am I kidding? I’m not a planner. There is no plan. How about I just refer to it as “I’m Getting Off My Lazy Ass and Doing Something?” Works for me.

Writ'ers Block

Maybe this has been my problem all along?

I’m back and I’m on a mission. As soon as the blood finds it’s way to my brain and I actually know what I’m going to write about. I suppose I have also been in Writer’s Block Hell. It’s a place.

Next, I’ll tackle the toilets. Maybe. So what shall I name her? You know, my clone?