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.)

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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 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.

The Great Boot Shortage

NaBloPoMo14DayTwentyFourGiven that she will be living out this winter (and, if all goes well, the next several winters) in Vermont, we decided that it might be a good idea to send Fangette back after Thanksgiving break with a pair of snow boots. We try to be good parents, at least where foul weather gear is involved. Plus, we want her to be able to get to class. I don’t want to hear any bullshit about how she couldn’t make it through the snow because she only has “cute” boots. She needed something more utilitarian than cute.

About a month ago I asked her to choose a pair from the L.L. Bean website. We went back and forth about it. God love her, she was trying to save me money. I told her that I didn’t care about saving a few bucks on a pair of boots that carried a Lifetime Guarantee. I just wanted her to be feet to be warm and dry.

She kept dragging her heels. I kept hounding her. Finally, she agreed that we would go to the local L.L. Bean store when she was home from school this week. (Having never owned a pair of L.L. Bean boots, she wanted to try them on in person.) It wasn’t a bad idea. I didn’t think that waiting until the end of November would be a big deal.

Do I even need to tell you that it was a very big deal? Of course it was. Would you like to know why? Because L.L. Bean has almost NO boots left in their inventory — not in the store, not online, not in the catalog. It’s not even officially winter yet! When do these outdoorsy types purchase their snow boots? August?

The gentleman who was doing his level best to put my daughter into a pair of snow boots today informed us that she could have her boot of choice if she was willing to wait until the end of February — February of 2015. He told me that “the great boot shortage” occurs every year. He said this as if it was something that every little schoolboy should know. (Obviously the outdoorsy types DO know this.)

What I wanted to know, not being an outdoorsy type my own self, was how a company as reputable as I’ve always found L.L. Bean to be did not solve their annual limited inventory problem by, oh, I don’t know, manufacturing MORE boots? His answer? All of L.L. Bean’s boots are made in America.

Seriously. This was his answer. I was about to point out to him that he might want to keep that information under his crushable waterproof hiking hat, but he wasn’t finished. He went on to proudly explain to me that all L.L. Bean boots are hand sewn right here in America. In an effort to appeal to my obvious patriotism, he asked me if I wanted L.L. Bean to farm out the hand-sewing of their boots to, say, China?

Without missing a beat I arched my brow and said, “Would that solve the problem?” Flustered, he sputtered something like “Maybe.” I let him know that I understood that this would create other problems for his company, but I wondered aloud if, perhaps, the solution to the annual dearth of available winter boots for a company widely known for such a product, might not lie in shipping the work overseas, but, rather, in hiring enough workers right here in the good old USA to keep up with the demand for said fine product?

He went on to tell me that the company had just recently hired 125 workers. No doubt this is just the type of management decision that will be responsible for the buttload of boots that will enter the marketplace in late February of 2015, but it won’t help anyone now — and by anyone I really mean us “late to the party” decidedly NON-outdoorsy types. I told him that they should have hired 250 workers back in July. This is when he decided to check something in the back room.

I’m no Economist, but this idea seems like it should have occurred to someone at L.L. Bean before I had to come up with it today. Me, the waitress. Me, the consumer. Me, who knows little to nothing about how business works. I’m just a woman who puts on an apron and serves food to idiots all day.

As many of you may know, I’ve been looking to change careers. I’m toying with the idea of writing to the folks at L.L. Bean — offering them my services. Clearly they are in need of someone who will help them to effectively use the American worker and, in turn, make “The Great Boot Shortage of 2014” the last of its kind.


Let me just mention that my daughter did acquire a pair of boots. They were not the color she wanted. They were not the height she wanted. They were also almost twice the price of the basic boots that were her first choice. We had a coupon, though, so that was good. Also good? I will probably own a pair of slightly used 10″ sheepskin-lined white snow boots next July — because that’s when I will, no doubt, have to buy her the ones she really wanted this year. Unless, of course, L.L. Bean hires me. Fingers crossed, shoppers!

Slamming Doors

NaBlaPoMo14DaySeventeenThanksgiving is almost upon us. And you all know what that means. Well, for some it means lots of cooking, cleaning, and preparing for the onslaught of friends and family. For me it means lots of cooking, cleaning, and preparing for the return of my college student. One kid may not seem like an “onslaught”, but I’m quite sure it will have the feel of one.

Fangette will, no doubt, barge through the door and shatter the peace and quiet that her father, the long-suffering Fang, and I have cultivated in her absence. There will be a lot more noise around here. That’s for sure. I, for one, can’t wait.

It’s amazing how much I miss hearing doors slam shut — Fang and I have a tendency to open and close them quietly. Fangette, on the other hand, has always seemed to operate under the opinion that a door is not truly closed unless it has been slammed nearly off of its hinges. She throws open doors to announce her presence (think “Kramer” of Seinfeld fame).

There have been times when other people have been present for Fangette’s comings and goings. I can’t tell you how many times I was asked by one of them if my daughter was angry. “Angry?”, I would ask quizzically. “Why would she be angry?” Most normal people, befuddled by Fangette’s method of entering and exiting the premises, would look at me like I was crazy (or deaf) and follow up with something along the lines of “Well, she’s slamming all the doors!” I would just shrug and roll my eyes — my way of saying, “Yeah. I know. It’s just her way.”

And it is just that — “her way”. I tried to instill in her the proper methods of entrance and egress when she was a small child. Really, I did. These lessons just never took hold. I just gave up. We all have our quirks, I told myself. The “door thing” would be hers.

I thought that she might change her ways when she went to college. I wondered if others would notice it, find it annoying, and shame her into opening and closing doors in a more subtle fashion. She was still flying in and out of doors when we visited her last month.

Perhaps no one has noticed. It’s entirely possible that if they have noticed they’ve been too polite (or too shocked) to mention it. Or, maybe they just plain don’t care.

I don’t know. What I do know is that next week she’ll be back home to slam our doors. And it will be music to my ears.



I am sharing this video with this post because I love Jackson Browne, because there is a reference to “slamming doors” in this song, but, really, it’s because I’d like Fangette to “Stay”, you know, just a little bit longer.