Dear Husband….

The Husband has spent the past few days in the Caribbean, celebrating the 50th birthdays of four of his friends.  I’m going to allow you a rare glimpse into our personal lives by sharing our email correspondence.

TO: Husband

FROM: Wife

Hi!  Hope you are having a great time.  It has not been same around here without you.

Going to sleep was different- it was funny sleeping under the covers- I missed playing tug of war with them in middle of night.  I think I figured out your secret though….after you pull them you roll on top of them so I can’t possibly dislodge you….But the jig is up- expect a better comforter grabbing competitor when you get back!!!! LOL

It was also odd not to be wakened by your sexy voice, asking…”Are you eating breakfast?  What’s for breakfast?  Do we have bananas?”  And as you’re eating breakfast, the age old question…”What’s for lunch?  And have you thought about what you’re ordering for dinner tonight?  Maybe we should pull up the menu so we can plan a food strategy….”  And speaking of food- the dog actually ate all her food….she never does that when you’re around……

It was lonely when I was doing a face mask and a hair mask.  No one entered the bathroom saying…”Ooh- what’s that brown stuff on your face?  Does that stuff really work on your hair?  Is this really relaxing for you?  Have you thought about breakfast tomorrow?”  I needed to turn up the music to drown out my sorrow….

TTYL

TO:  Wife

FROM: Husband

All good.  Went snorkeling today.  I wasn’t allowed to dive for some reason.   Food is awesome.  All inclusive and they always have a food spot open.  Amazing. Oh well.  BTW- did I pack underwear?  FYI- Told you that you can’t survive without me.

TO: Husband

FROM: Wife

Did you check outside pocket of suitcase?

TO: Wife

FROM: Husband

Got it.  Thanks.  I’ll be home soon!  Miss me?

 

 

Sunday Wrap Up

I’m trying something new today.  I’m not always inspired to write new content on the weekends, but I like the idea of trying to post every day.  So I’m toying with writing a weekly wrap up- citing the best and worst of things that I saw/read/listened/ate in the past week.  If I continue to do this, I promise I will learn how to include links.  I’m just not in a learning mood today.  I also don’t like summaries- I hate when they give too much of the plot away, so you just get my rating system- which is 0-5. I also don’t take pictures of my food- I eat it.  Maybe I’ll eventually post a picture of empty plate.

Best

  1. Pasquale Jones- dinner- Pork shank for 2.  Possibly the best pork dish I’ve ever had.  {4.5}
  2. Trivia Night at Gramercy Ale House- fun {3.5}
  3. “A Dolls House- Part 2”- live theater- Golden Theater- NYC-   Spectacular.  Acting first rate.  Play was brilliant.  {4.9}
  4. Cups and Cones ice cream.  Creamy, delicious, interesting flavors.  Loved the ginger. {4}
  5. Ilili Box- dinner/lunch- spiced chicken wrap (moist chicken, good wrap bread, spiced perfectly), Brussel sprouts (roasted, walnuts and grapes- and you even feel healthy) green lemonade  (yummy) {4.2}
  6. “Standard Deviation” by Katherine Heany. (fiction)  Book made me laugh out loud- and that doesn’t happen often. {4.5}

In the Middle

  1. Gallagher’s Steak House -restaurant- Staff wonderful.  Had 10 ounce filet from lunch special (which is great deal, and filet was excellent) But not all the steaks were as good- and while it is a nice place- you can do better for steak in NYC {3}

The Worst

  1. “The Sunshine Sisters” by Jane Green.  I used to love Jane Green, and looked forward to her books.  Now, I feel like she takes a weighty topic, but then surrounds it with schlock.  Writing more depressing than depressing premise.  {1.5}
  2. “Beatriz at Dinner” (movie)- Starts off with interesting premise.  Falls apart in the middle. {2.8}

 

This is a work in progress- sometimes I need to put something on the page and then work it out. I sometimes get stuck in my head and worry too much about the details. I hope to figure out a better way to present these ideas.

It All Started with Playboy

Spoiler alert.  This is not about porn, nor is it written in the style that I refer to as humor-  In rare form- I am actually seeking input.  

A friend of mine received a subscription to Playboy.  It was addressed to Mrs. John Doe.  She jokingly told my friends and me about this and we had a good laugh.

Except I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this.  And not as a joke.

Wisdom and insight are the two most valuable things that come along with wonky eyesight and achy joints.  I think of myself as someone who is fairly intuitive- I get a feeling, and I’m usually right.  I believe this gift (and curse) comes from watching many years of Columbo and Monk.  And for the past few months, by internal radar has been pinging.  Something about this subscription seems off (apart from the obvious).

Why did she receive a fully paid subscription?

A joke?  She is very mannerly and ladylike.  If this was a joke, it would be especially cruel given the type of persona she exhibits.

A free magazine subscription?  While I’ve received Good Housekeeping for free, I can’t imagine Playboy being a” just wait, there’s more” addition to something once purchased.

A mistake? Well- someone paid for it.  That requires a credit card.

Her husband ordered it? Perhaps.  But who pays for porn anymore?  Isn’t that why the internet was invented?  Free porn?

And the way the subscription was addressed: Mrs. John Doe– that’s the part that was irking me.

Why did the address label say this?

So of course, being the trusting soul that I am, I came to the conclusion:

Her husband is having an affair.  Probably long term.  He told the affairee that he would leave his wife once their youngest went off to college.  September came, and he stayed with his wife.  The subscription started in December.  This is her way of letting the wife know that something is amiss.

And yes.  I have been struggling with this since December.  I am basing everything on a feeling.  So yes, part of me is a bit obsessive and crazy (a big part)….but still…..

And to answer the next question swirling around in your head- do I trust the husband? And my answer is no.  I’ve always wondered if he had a roving eye.  But to be fair, she is my best friend from college, and though we communicate several times a week, I don’t see them that often.  I’m just basing this on a feeling- the fact that he fits a profile in my head of a guy who would cheat.

I have not told my friend these suspicions.  Obviously- I have absolutely no proof.  I could be wrong (though that happens so rarely).  And yet…….

So does one’s spidey sense get stronger with age?  It there something beyond madness to my thinking?  Am I crazy? (I mean about this one specific thing- we don’t have to do an entire personality profile)  Or do I just need another hobby?

The Tale of a Husband Packing- a play in 1 act

The Setting:  A living room in NYC

The Players: A Husband and Wife (for this performance, played by me and the Husband)

The Premise:  Husband is packing for a weekend jaunt with his posse, four of whom turn 50 this year.

H: Which suitcase should I use?  Medium or small?

W:  Small

H: But the stuff doesn’t fit in the small.

W: OK.  Use the medium.

H: How much underwear should I bring?

W: One for every day plus an emergency pair.  

H: Should I bring linen pants?

W: Are there any restaurants with dress code?

H: How would I know? (husband is cluelessly throwing clothes into suitcase-in hope that wife will take pity on him and help)

H: Do you know where my dive card is?

W: Is it in your dive bag?

H:  Why would my dive card be in my dive bag?

W: OK.  Check your ski bag.

H: Not funny.  I can’t scuba without my dive card.

(Wife stands up, looks in pocket of dive bag.  Amazingly finds dive card, log book and 15$ Belize currency)

W: Voila.

(Husband is holding mask and breathing tube, looking at them quizzically.)

H:  Do you know how to connect the tube to the mask?

(wife takes the apparatus from husband)

W: Is your insurance paid up?

H: What?

(wife correctly puts mask thing together)

W: Nothing.  Here you go.

H: Cool.  I didn’t realize you had to take that piece out and slide it in there.  How did you know that?

(husband continues to throw random sporting things in suitcase)

H: Should I pack my inhaler or carry on?

W: I think you should carry on.  You know, if you have trouble breathing while you’re mid air and all.

(husband is browsing through box of travel size toiletries)

H: What’s the difference between facial moisturizer and facial cleanser?

W: You have two masters degrees, right?

H: What?

W: You clean your face with cleanser, and moisturize with moisturizer.

H: Do I use moisturizer?

W: Bring it in case you get sun or wind burn.

H: So I use it after the cleanser?

(husband puts toiletry bag in suitcase.  struggles with closing suitcase)

H: I hate the zipper on this suitcase.  It’s in such an awkward spot.

W: I promise you- all suitcases have zippers in pretty much the same way 

(wife effortlessly zips suitcase)

H: Have you seen my headphones?

W: Gym bag?

Husband is finally packed- suitcase, tennis racket and tote by front door.

H: How are you going to survive without me?

THE END

 

 

Community Service?

My daughter is going to Central America next week for a community service experience.  According to the itinerary, they will spend an hour painting a school (for which she was required to watch a two hour video on how not to waste paint) and an hour working in a day camp (and was required to watch a 3 hour video on what a child is).  I’m imagining a meaningful college essay on how this experience changed her life.

The summer of  2017 totally changed my life.  I was fortunate enough to get my parents to pay exorbitant amounts of money to send me on the most awesome adventure community service experience.  I learned so much about painting- I painted an entire  half of a wall.  And the kids were so cute.  My background in French really helped out when teaching Spanish speaking children English.

Preparing for the trip was also life changing.  I learned a lot about my mother when I told her I hadn’t actually looked at the packing list.  Oh how we laughed 4 days before the trip when we realized I needed 60 items out of the 75 things required.  And the joy as we measured out suitcases and backpacks and realized that none of them met the size requirements.  I’ve never had such an intense bonding experience with her.  Money truly can buy happiness.

I also learned so much about health issues.  The pills you need to swallow to protect you from typhoid are sort of big.  I realized that if I stuck the horse pill in a jar of jam, and ate the jar, you don’t even realize you’re swallowing a pill.  I was also glad that anti-diarrhea medicine really does work, and is not just an advertising ploy to get us to buy it.

Though the community service time was extensive, we managed to get in some fun time.  We squeezed in surfing and rafting and zip lining and hiking and swimming.  But I was there for the life changing experience of helping others………

You see- this essay is just writing itself.  I’ll give you an update when I read her journal  have a meaningful mother/daughter conversation with her in three weeks.  For now, I’m glad to be a proud member of Amazon Prime.

 

 

 

 

Sorry- 35 and Older Only

A few weeks ago I read that a new club would be opening in NYC.  The theme is 70’s ,80’s and 90’s music- the clientele is 35+.  Though I’m not much of a dancer, I find this concept highly desirable.  It will be nice to go somewhere and recognize all the songs, to see dances that neither whip or nay nay.  It got me to thinking- what else would benefit from an age make-over?

Fitness classes.  In my normal Sunday body conditioning class, we’ve already sort of done this.  The over 40’s end up on the left side of the room-what we refer to as the geriatric section.  When the instructor is particularly grueling, it’s nice to have lined faces to grimace along with as we realize we can’t do 100 burpees.  It really provides motivation too- hey, if that old guy can do it, so can this old girl.

Book stores.  Now I enjoy zombie/vampire/dystopian books as much as the next guy, but sometimes I’d like to find interesting books on the first floor. Not the fifth floor. In the corner. Under the dust.

Drug stores.  I would like to go into a store that has all the anti-aging products in one section.  The other things the store could sell would be hair dye, heavy moisturizer, (frankly, products that moisturize everything), orthotics, gingko biloba, and bifolcals.  The store should also have a sign listing the most commonly bought items by the 35+ community  just in case we forget what we came in for.  And forgot our shopping list.

Clothing stores.  I would like to enter one that doesn’t play music at levels akin to the eruption of Krakatoa. ( Sometimes, for fun, I go up to an employee and silently mouth the words of what I want.  I enjoy seeing them scream “WHAAAAAT” over and over again.)

Restaurants.  I think that an awesome centerpiece would be one containing attractive flashlights.  It might look nicer than 6 people pulling out their cell phones.  Perhaps print the offerings on both sides of the menu.  This way you have the option of reading the menu of the person sitting opposite you.

Theaters.  I would like to purchase inexpensive mezzanine seats in a theater that doesn’t have stairs that feel as if I’m scaling Everest while wearing heels.

These are just a few thoughts off the top of my head.  As much as I love watching the vitality and exuberance of the Millennial generation, sometimes I’d like to mingle with the boomers and the gen exers .  They usually have higher credit limits.

 

 

 

Outlaws: A Cautionary Tale

Yesterday was Father’s Day.  In honor of the day, the husband, the daughter and I went out to dinner with my parents and my Father-in-law.   I then posted a picture of my daughter with her two grandfathers on Facebook, much to the dismay of my divorced mother in-law. Evenings such as this are always thought provoking, and now, blog worthy.  So in the spirit of my recent lists,you will be relieved to know, I now have the honor of adding- how to be a good parent-in-law.

In no particular order:

  1. When your grandchild is born, suggest that you should co-parent, because you know exactly how things should be done
  2. Do  continue to buy your child underwear. Everyone wants Mom to purchase their boxers, briefs and thongs
  3. Ask them how much money they make and how much their mortgage is.  Pout when they say it’s none of your business.
  4. If your child marries someone that is a different religion, make sure you supply them with all the cultural doo-dads your religion uses.  I’m sure your son/daughter in-law wants to learn Yiddish.
  5. Rearrange the things in their home.  They love to see you reorganizing their bathroom cabinets.
  6. If your child and their spouse are going through a rough patch, make sure to ask for a house key, because you will be moving in when the offending spouse moves out.
  7. If you are divorced from your child’s other parent, get mad every time your child sees your ex.  Nothing spells family harmony like Facebook comments.
  8. Talk about all your child’s exes, and how great they were.  This should be accompanied by sighs.
  9. When dining at the home of your son/daughter in-law, make appreciative comments like, “Oh.  This is an interesting way to make steak.”
  10. Give your opinion on literally everything.  Back it up with “But you don’t need to listen to me.  What do I know?”

Families are a wonderful thing.  Cherish these moments.  It can only make you closer. Alas, I don’t think I will have the pleasure of becoming a mother in-law.  For some reason, my daughter doesn’t want in-laws  to be married.

 

Pre-Marital Counseling: Renovation

I am sort of obsessed with HGTV.  I an awed by the creativity and thought process of the design professionals.  They are able to see a vision in their head, and then make that idea come to life.  I am also intrigued by the interpersonal dynamic of the couples purchasing a home.  I like to see how they interact, compromise, and get through difficult situations.  Because of this,  I feel that pre-marriage counseling should be in the form of a home show.

It would start with the host/real estate agent giving the engaged couple some fake money in order to purchase a house.  The catch is- they give them 10% less than what houses can be purchased for in their desired neighborhood that match their exact criteria.   We then move on to Stage 1- short answers.

Step 1:What type of house does the couple want?  If they’re both  craftsman, they can move on to step 2.  If not:  Can a sleek contemporary marry a cozy Victorian?  Will she go crazy when he uses her doily as a dust rag?  Will he go crazy when his marble console table is overrun with frog statues?  Can a two story colonial be content with a ranch?

Step 2 Closet space.  Has one partner already claimed the master closet?  Has the other partner commented more than once about the number of shoes owned?

Step 3 Open concept.  How does partner A react when B says…”I know this looks like its a load bearing wall, but just imagine if this wall didn’t exist.  Look how open it would be!  How much could it cost to take down this wall?”

Step 4 The backyard.  Partner A says “How hard could it be to maintain a five acre, sloping yard?  Look how much room for entertaining.”  What does B think about mowing a hill?  And entertaining large crowds?

Step 5 Color.  “OMG look at that gorgeous shade of yellow in the living room!  I’ve always dreamt about living in a room that looks like the sun” says A.  B, dressed in black, thinks what?

So now the couple has completed the first stage of pre-marital counseling.  If they still want to get married, we move them onto Stage 2- the practical exam.

Step 1 Begin by making the couple share a single vanity bathroom for a week.  Frankly, if they can survive sharing a sink , they can face any obstacle life throws at them.

Step 2 Then let them renovate the bathroom together.  Have them remove toilet and trail toilet excess throughout house.  Have one partner accidentally break tub, the only thing they were keeping from the bathroom.  Let them miscalculate how much tile they need, and after laying it down, let them realize they are lacking tiles to complete job.  Then tell them tiles are now backordered for 8 weeks.

Step 3 Let them hire a contractor to fix kitchen.  Have contractor work for a week, enough time to take everything out, then have contractor not come back for two weeks.

This would be the end of stage two.  If the couple survived this, they are lucky enough to make it to Stage 3-timed reading.

Purchase five items of assemble yourself furniture, including a bookshelf that must be secured to a wall.  Leave them in middle of floor. Place instructions in front of them.  Give them one hour to complete.  Use of internet or phone a friend not allowed.

I firmly believe this form of pre-marital counseling would help you decide if your partner is indeed your soul mate.  If you could make it through this, you can survive anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to be a Good Empty Nester

My friend asked me the other day if I wanted to go to the ballet with her.  In November.  And I said “Sure.  What day is good for you?”  And she replied.  “Any day.  I’m an empty nester now.  I have nothing but open days on my calendar.”  And I decided she was handling empty nesthood so well, I would transcribe a “How-To” list of what an empty nester needs to do.

  1. Every time you make a plan, remind people how you have an empty calendar.  They’ll appreciate how much you really want to see them.
  2. Make sure to find the Facebook Parents page of your child’s new college.  Befriend all the other Parents and make plans to visit your kids every weekend.  The kids will love that.
  3. Remind your spouse that you only married them for their ability to create children.
  4. Remind the cashier at the market that you’re buying less food because your children have moved on.
  5. Befriend the post office worker who mails your care packages.  I’m sure they would love to have lunch with you.
  6. Make every day “throw back Thursday”.  Go into the photo archives and repost special moments of your children’s lives.  And don’t forget to tag them.
  7. Hang outside of playgrounds.  Tell all the parents about how quickly the children grow up.  And they should cherish every moment.  When security escorts you out because you are not with a child, start crying and explain your children no longer want to hang out with you.
  8. Trace your kids cell phone and randomly text them citing the location they’re at- “Hey, how’s Joe’s Pub?  Are you talking to a nice boy/girl?”
  9. Friend all of your child’s new friends on facebook/Instagram or whatever.  It’s a great way to remain a part of their lives
  10. Take out your children’s mementos from wherever you have stored them.  That shriveled blankie really does make an awesome table runner.

You’re welcome.

 

 

Some Stuff Can’t be Washed Away

“Mommmmeeeeeeee- I neeeeeeeeeeed youuuuuuuuu.”  Some of you may be familiar with this plea- echoed in a tone that resembles the sound my cat makes when she is stuck in the drawer under the bed- high pitched and screechy.  Being the great Mom that I am, I scurried to her room to find out which of my numerous skills was required at this moment.  When I entered the room I noticed it was disheveled- and this is not how my daughter rolls- she likes things orderly.  In one hand she held a case, the other held a backpack.  “There’s ink all over everything.  And the caps were on.  But something leaked.  And my backpack is all sticky.” she exclaimed.  I immediately went into triage mode- assessing the damage.  I took out all the contents of the bag- luckily, the only casualty was the backpack and case.  I asked her what she wore, and saw that her t-shirt remained unscathed.  “Can you clean my backpack?  Is it salvageable?  I took the  pack into the bathroom, and my first though was- “Of course it leaks today.  There’s only 8 more days of classes left.”  And then I washed out the backpack- icee blue highlighter ink covering my sink.  And as I methodically cleaned it, I thought about my daughter.  She looked on the edge- like the exploding highlighter was the very last straw.

I returned to her room and sat on her bed.

Me: “Throw out the highlighter.  That’s what caused the leak.”

Daughter: “How do you know?”

Me:” Well, it rinsed out completely.  Ink wouldn’t do that.  And I saw the color.  It was clearly highlighter blue.”

Daughter:  “But I need that highlighter……”

Now I know how many school supplies we buy.  And I know she has a whole drawer of writing tools, including blue highlighters.

Me:  “What’s wrong?”

Daughter: “Everything.”

Me: “Can we narrow that down?”

Daughter: “UUUGGGHHHH.  I have at least one thing every day this month.  Every day.  So many tests.  So many projects.  I just did a algebra practice and there was a short answer problem I had no idea how to do.  No idea.  What good is a 95 in math if I can’t answer a regents problem?  What if I screw up the regents and it lowers my math grade? And I don’t have anything to wear when I do Nora for English project.  And I need to practice the guitar piece with X and Y and none of our schedules coincide.  And why do I have 7 friends that turn 16 in June?  Couldn’t they have spread out their birthdays.  And I don’t know what to wear for Gov ball.  I mean- look at my date book- look at my to do list….”

And she pushed her computer in front of my face, and saw the typed evidence of an overfull life.  She’s a planner- she had carefully articulated times to do things- but there was no getting around it- she had too much to do, and too little time.

Me: “Sorry Dude.  The month of June is going to suck.”

Now before you call me Mommy Dearest, or call the parenting police- hear me out.

Me: ” Yes, your life is busy.  High school is way harder than it should be.  Life is so much harder than it should be.  And you’re faced with a whole pile of crap.  But what are your options?  You can choose not to study or do your projects/homework.  But that will take away all your hard work from the past 9 months.  You don’t have to play in the tennis tournament- but is that going to make you feel better?  Life is overwhelming- even if you plan everything out.  You do the best you can.  That’s all you can do.  And I’m here if you need a shoulder to cry on, or if you just need to scream.  Just stay hydrated.  Try to sleep.  You will survive June- maybe a little wounded- but you will survive.”

And I kissed the top of her head and handed her a glass of water.

She wiped a tear from her eye and blew her nose.  Sipped the water.

Daughter: “Ok.  I got this.” And she smiled.

We’re halfway through June.  Classes ended on Monday, and she finished all the homework and projects.  She found an outfit for Gov Ball, she played in the tennis tourney (made it to the semi’s and lost a tough 3 set match).  One exam is down, 4 to go.  Two sweet sixteen’s down, 5 to go.  She actually looked at the packing list for her upcoming community service trip, though she did not write down what she needs to purchase.  She’s planned and organized and a bit sleep deprived- but she’s getting it done.

And the point?  The point is life is not easy.  Sometimes there is way too much to do.  And sure, you can eliminate things, say no to things- but are these things you are going to regret?  It would be easy to say- “Don’t go to the parties.”- but is that realistic?

I’ve taught my daughter the skills of time management.  I’ve explained to her the importance of breaking down projects into smaller sections, and allocating them over a period of time, and she actually listened to me and does just that.  I’ve stressed that perfection isn’t the goal, but working to the best of your ability is.  And I told her I am always there for her- not to do things for her (except maybe washing her backpack) but to support her with my words and my heart.