Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going…

You may have noticed that I have been out of the writing loop for a while. I don’t have a note signed by “Juan Epstein’s mother” to excuse me but I do have reasons for my prolonged absence.

I didn’t give up writing. What I did was I gave up publishing what I had written. Because it wasn’t funny. It was, in fact, very angry. Essays that were meant to address the frivolities of life in what I always hope comes across in a whimsical tone, devolved, instead, into diatribes where I railed against our current President, his administration, the press, the electorate, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

There is enough of that going on in the world, in social media, in the mainstream media, in grocery stores, coffee shops, and workplaces. While I am aware that I do my part to add to the divisiveness on my Facebook page, I didn’t want to add to it here. This is where I try to be more light-hearted. And, really, does it make any difference that I think that this country is headed for disaster, going to hell in a handbasket? It does not.

What I have to say, have said, hasn’t convinced any of my right-wing friends to come around to my way of thinking over on The Facebook, why would anything I have to say here make a difference? It won’t.

Not that the nonsense, the minutiae, of my every day life is important, either, but I have been told that it can be, has been, an amusing diversion in the lives of some of my more dedicated readers. Much to my husband’s chagrin, I have decided to go back to using this space to tell my stories.

Unfortunately for my husband, the much put-upon Fang, my stories often include him and/or our daughter, the lovely and quick-witted, Fangette. And that is a slippery slope.

I tried to remove them from my anecdotes because they wanted to be removed. They tend to take what I write to heart — and they take everything that I say very literally. Bad feelings have been a result of some of the things that I have written about them. And that was never my intention.

They honestly are hilarious, sometimes in a frustrating, pull-your-hair-out sort of way, but hilarious just the same. That is what I had hoped people would see. And plenty of people did see this. Fang and Fangette were not, sadly, part of that population.

It is nearly impossible, though, to remove them, the principal players in my life, from the story of my life. I am going to try, though. Because they have lives, too. Blogless lives. They have no recourse to amend what I have written. That is their argument, and it is a good one; they make a valid point.

In an effort to strike a better balance and to insure a more harmonious home life, I am going to make every effort, when I have to mention them, to be more sensitive to their feelings. And that’s not just because my daughter often threatens me with litigation, but because I truly love them and want to respect their right to privacy.

We shall see if once I have to edit myself more carefully whether or not I will have any topics left that are worth writing about. In the meantime, I would like to thank all of you who have stuck with me. But let me just say this, if all I can come up with to write about are rainbows and unicorns, I am shutting this whole enterprise down. Because that’s just not ME, people!

And, you know, I’ve got to be me. (Just not at the expense of others.)


For the record, my husband is a kind and generous person who goes to work every day, doesn’t drink, smoke, gamble, or have any other heinous habits, unless you count snoring, which I have been told I am guilty of myself. So, there’s that.

He is a good father, at least in my estimation, but I am certain that my daughter would agree. In fact, I know that she wold. I am 100% certain of that, just as I am 100% certain that there is nothing that I could ever do (say, write) that wold make him love me less. Piss him off? Sure. But love me less, not on your life. I’d bet the cat on that one.

As for my daughter, she is a funny, intelligent, independent young woman who makes me proud to call her mine every single damn day. Even on the days when she is driving me crazy. (And there have been a good number of those days!)

She is competent. She is headstrong. She is snarky. She loves animals. Ditto for Beyonce. She hates injustice and intolerance in all its forms. She is both a feminist and a humanist.

She loves a bargain, but is also one of the most generous people you will ever  meet. She is fiercely loyal, both as a daughter and as a friend. I, and countless others, can bear witness to that statement.

How can I not respect the wishes of these two? The answer is simple: I must. Because they would do if for me.

Peace out. (But just for today, tomorrow when and if you tune in, I may have a thing or three to say about the undercelebrated but always relevant legume.)




The “Eleven-dollar Nap”

Recently we, Fang and I, have seen a few movies. We’re not big moviegoers. Sure, we talk about going to the movies a great deal. But then, and mostly because we have to put on pants and, often in this weather, boots, we just don’t go. Pants, as anyone who wears them regularly can tell you, require both zippering and buttoning, boots need lacing. On the weekends, who wants to be bothered with all that dressing? Not us, that’s who.

There are also considerations regarding driving—and parking. Do we want to go to the closest theater, which is located in one of the biggest malls in the country, and have to deal with the parking? Or, should we drive a greater distance to the theater with more ample and convenient parking? What about the second-run theater? No. You have to parallel park on the STREET there! On a Saturday! Sometimes it’s all too much.

Don’t even get me started on the whole concession thing. I like my popcorn with butter. Fang does not. Sometimes Fang does not even want popcorn. I consider that heresy. I like diet soda. Fang does not. We can’t share. It adds up, the snacking does. And, we’re cheap. Twenty-two bucks just to get in to see the movie on top of the cost of the food. That’s not nothing.

These are real concerns for the pathologically cheap and lazy. If by some miracle we have managed to don appropriate attire, there are still other obstacles. There is always an excuse not to spend money, not to leave the house.

So, what’s changed? Well, a few things. First, there’s Facebook. Everyone and their brother is always talking about the latest Superhero movie or some groundbreaking indie that you HAVE to see. Neither Fang nor I is immune to peer pressure, even at our advanced ages.

Second, we have become extremely out of touch with pop culture. We have a twenty-year-old. This, for those of you unfamiliar with these creatures, is an age group that is extremely in touch with pop culture. She is no different, our dear, sweet Fangette. As Fang and I are not about to take to Snapchat or to embrace hip-hop, we chose to seek common ground through other forms of entertainment. Seeing the same movies, discussing them with her, is our way “in” to at least a small part of her world. That’s worth leaving the house for.

Third, when there are no baseball games to watch, Fang and I tend to go our separate ways after dinner. We don’t watch many of the same television shows. He enjoys house flippers and procedural dramas. I am more of a Masterpiece Theatre person. We felt like we weren’t taking full advantage of the time we have to spend together. Simply going to the grocery store as a team wasn’t cutting it.

So, in the spirit of togetherness, we agreed to get our asses out of the house on Saturdays and do something more meaningful than weighing our paper towels options or kvetching about the nerve of some companies to only give you TEN K-cups instead of TWELVE in a box! Fang, for the record, is NOT a fan of THAT!

If you were required, by law, to get a tattoo of the sentence you utter most often, Fang’s would read: “You gotta watch these companies like a hawk, I tell ya!” Mine would be somewhat saucier.

The fact that Fang notices such a thing and that it creams his corn is, for those of us who know him, extremely out of character. Not because he isn’t frugal, he is. No, it’s more  because he has a tendency to be good-natured. He’s a shrug your shoulders and move on kind of fellow. He doesn’t get worked up.

Outside of watching baseball, my husband’s favorite pastime would be napping. If he can work in a Saturday afternoon nap, he has “won” the weekend. If he manages to nap AND watch baseball, it is his equivalent to winning the lottery.

I have to tell you that I was a little surprised when he agreed to embrace my togetherness scheme, to give up his Saturday afternoon nap and join me at the movies. Until, that is, he slipped up, which put me on to his ingenious master plan.

I don’t know how I missed it. The signs were there. I just wasn’t paying attention.

The fact that he insisted on going to a certain movie theater should have been my first clue. Why? Because this is the movie theater with the reclining seats. Reclining seats are conducive to movie-watching, I’ll give you that. But this theater has a host of problems.

The seats are the only thing that make this theater palatable. It’s kind of dingy. The concession stand gives me pause due to the general unkemptness of the lobby. The clientele is slightly trashy; every time we go there we witness some type of altercation, either between patrons or between patrons and staff. You have to basically cross a highway to get from the parking lot. There is nowhere close by to grab a bite to eat.

Still, he kept insisting that we go there. “Let’s go there, hon. I like the seats.” Yeah. He likes the seats. Not because they make movie-watching more enjoyable, but because they make napping easier!

I caught on to the fact that he was napping during a recent showing of “La La Land”. To be fair, I, myself, may have closed my eyes once or twice during that movie, but my husband was out cold and full-on snoring. Loudly. I had to nudge him. And pinch his nose. At least these activities kept me awake.

I had to admit that I admired his ability to fall fast asleep in a crowded movie theater. I had to admit that the movie, despite the hoopla surrounding it, was not as entertaining as I would have liked it to be. I had to give him points for trying and kudos for wanting to hang out with me.

Now I no longer ask him if he wants to go to a movie. Instead, I laughingly inquire whether or not he would like to enjoy an “Eleven-dollar Nap”? He can’t get dressed fast enough. Its a win-win for both of us!













Am I Wearing A ‘Kick Me’ Sign?



Lately I find myself grabbing at the back of my shirt, in search of the “Kick Me!” sign that I am oh, so certain I am going to find there. What other reason could there be for people to feel that it is perfectly reasonable to do just that. Kick me, that is.

I spend far too much time while I am at work wrestling to get my emotions under control. Not bursting into tears, not coming apart at the seams, and not flying off the handle is, in fact, hard work. If you think it isn’t, try it.

I come in from work most afternoons looking like I have been in an actual wrestling match. My hair is all over the place. My feet and hips are aching. My hands are numb. My make-up looks like it was applied by someone who either uses or is in dire need of a seeing eye dog. In short, I look like I feel, which is like I have been kicked around some.

Sometimes I cry on the way home. Sometimes I am on the bus when I burst into tears. Sometimes a kind stranger offers the crazy, crying lady a tissue. Sometimes this restores my faith in humanity.

I dry my eyes. I vow to soldier on. To buck up. To stop acting like a child. To, at the very least, stop crying on the bus.

So what if I work two dead-end jobs? Who cares. At least I have two jobs. At least I can pay my kid’s tuition.

So what if my husband won’t pick me up from my second job and I have to take the bus in the pouring rain. At least there is a bus. At least there is someone on the bus who has the sense to carry tissues. As I signal a “thank you” with my crumpled Kleenex, I tell myself to stop being an ungrateful bitch.

And I try. To be grateful. I really do.

And then something happens that causes me to become unglued. Again.

Tonight it was my kid texting me to stop tagging her “constantly” in Facebook posts; to stop responding to the things she posts. Clearly I don’t understand social media. I thought that was what we were supposed to do. Engage.

Imagine my surprise then when my response of “LOL” to her posting of an article from “The Onion” — a publication near and dear to the both of us — caused her to text me (TEXT ME!) that I needed to “stop tagging her in all sorts of posts and to stop responding to her posts”.

For the record, I tagged her in three posts in five days, one of which was a status update that referred to how I was counting down the days until I would see her again. She responded with hearts. The other two were to draw her attention to things that I thought she would find humorous; I found them humorous. We do, in fact, tend to find the same things funny.

Finals are on the horizon. I know that she has been studying a lot. I was just trying to give her a chuckle or two. It was my way of letting her know that I was on her side, that I was thinking about her. Obviously, in addition to being an ungrateful bitch, I am also an insensitive asshat.

Just before I burst into tears I did manage to dash off a very mature text. It simply said, “Wow”. To her credit, she responded. “Im sry”. Yeah. Okay. Whatever.

I know she is sorry. She probably even thinks that saying it negates the hurtful thing that prompted the apology. It doesn’t.

I’ll get over it. I’ll soldier on. I’ll buck up. I’ll stop acting like a child  (although it would be helpful if people stopped treating me like one).  I’ll even try to stay on top of how much I engage with my daughter on Facebook.

And, once I stop crying,  I’m sure I’ll be able to forgive her. I’m sure I will.

(I know what you’re thinking. I ought to share this on Facebook and “tag” her, but I won’t.)

To be fair, my husband usually does pick me up from work… there was this one night, though… LOL!





The Sophomore Drop-Off: What a Difference a Year Makes

sophomoredropoffIn one week we will, once again, be leaving our daughter—the always delightful Fangette— in the wilds of Vermont where she will attempt, no doubt successfully, to complete her second  year of college. I am not looking forward to it.

What a difference the year has made—for all of us. A  year ago I could hardly wait to be rid of her. In the weeks and months that preceded her departure for college she had become, to put it bluntly (and mildly), a royal pain in the ass. We were both ready, or so I thought, to put four-hundred miles between us.

That I became borderline clinically depressed in the weeks that followed her departure came as a surprise to me. I knew I would miss her. After all, pain in the ass or not, I love my kid. Still, I was wholly unprepared for the level of separation anxiety that I would experience.

I could not go into her room without bursting into tears. The cereal aisle in the grocery store prompted the same response. While I could avoid the aisle, I could not help but spy her favorite cereal in someone else’s cart. Blurry-eyed, I would march down the aisle, pick up the cereal, and include it in one of the many care packages that I would send over the course of those first few harrowing weeks that she was away.

These packages included her favorite foods (butter cookies in the blue tin!), items of clothing that I decided that she should not be without (snazzy socks!), and, of course, blank cards that I would inscribe with heartfelt sentiments (“We love you!”; “We miss you!”; “We’re so proud of you!”). To insure that she at least opened the cards, I resorted to sticking money in them—and notifying her via text that the cards “just might contain a ‘surprise’, LOL!”.

I have no idea if she read them. She never mentioned their contents. Had she not texted a cursory “Thanks for the $20, Mom!” message, I would never have known that they had been opened.

In hindsight I can admit that the packages were not for her. They were for me. They—the cookies, the socks, the cards—were my way of maintaining our connection, a connection which suddenly felt in danger of slipping away.

We visited in October. She came home for short periods in November, December, and March. With each visit I noted a change in my daughter. While I spent our time apart floundering, she used that time more wisely. She flourished.

She did not return for the summer, as I had feared she might, a stranger. Instead, she arrived happy and much more fully formed than I could ever have imagined. Being away certainly softened some of her sharper edges.

I can honestly report that I like her now, just as much as I have loved her always. That being said, I have no idea how I will feel next week when she returns to school. Absent the worries about how she will fare, knowing that she will be fine, will I fare better? Will I be fine?

Time will tell. In the spirit of preparedness I have laid in a supply of sappy cards and put away a few crisp twenties just in case I feel the need to unnecessarily remind her that we love her, that we miss her, and that we are proud of her.