Room to Grow

The following are a sample of text messages between my Mother and me, after my teenage daughter left the country for a community service trip:

Mom: Have you heard from your daughter?  (Tuesday 2pm)

Me: Yes.  Arrived safely. (Tuesday 2:05)

Mom: Did you hear from daughter? (Tuesday 11pm)

Me:  Not since this morning. (Tuesday 11:05pm)

Mom: Did you hear from your daughter? (Wednesday 10am)

Me: Not expecting her to contact me. (Wednesday 10:05 am)

And this exact same pattern kept repeating, at increasingly smaller intervals, until I received the following text:

Mom: Don’t you care about your daughter? (Thursday 11pm)

(Here’s a short disclaimer about my Mom- she is a tad overprotective.  And lets just say, if I ever have to make a parenting decision, I always think, “What would my Mom do?” and then I go about 160 degrees off that and come up with my plan/decision.)

And for the record, I care about my daughter very much.  So much, that I know I need to give her just a little bit of freedom right now.  That is the whole purpose of this trip.  For her to learn to survive without me being her safety net.

Of course I am worried about her well being. The kids are going to go rafting and ziplining and all sorts of activities that required signing about a million waivers.  She is thousands of miles away from me right now.   When I did “Find my iPhone” (yes- I did this) it was bizarre to see all that distance, to see the icons as tiny little dots because they were so far apart.  It was not so bizarre to see the signal coming from a Starbucks- obviously she was observing the local culture in a foreign habitat.  And no- I will probably not have a really sound sleep until she comes home.  But that is part of being a parent- we kind of glide through the sleeping portion of our lives.

Though I worry about her well being, I also worry about her ability to function as an adult.  They don’t turn 18 and get a manual stating- “You’re an adult now.  Here’s the instructions.  FYI- they were written by the same people who write instructions for self-assemble furniture.”  So they need to practice- baby steps, so to speak.  They need to do laundry, and cook food and learn to budget both their money and their time.  They need to problem solve- on their own- without anyone stepping in.  They need to learn how to be self-sufficient.  And they need to do this before they leave home for good.  (At least what we assume is leaving home for good)

While I miss my daughter, I am happy that she is managing without me.  I am hoping that her laundry ends up the same color that it started. I am glad she is managing sharing a room with someone she does not know.  I am happy that she is figuring out the language and cultural differences of a place she has never been.  I am glad that she has not felt the need to call me.  I am thrilled that she has learned how to say Frappuccino in Spanish.  I am hoping above all else that she is realizing what a strong, self-sufficient  person she has become.

Of course, I hope to eventually get an email, or a text, just a hi, or an XO (though my only communication will most likely be a picture from the tour company, of my daughter standing on a table and dancing.)  But in my heart I know she loves me and  I know she feels loved.  And I guess that’s really the job of a parent- to make sure you’re child knows they are loved, whether you’re next door, or a few thousand miles away.

 

 

 

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the U2 Concert…

Coincidence.  That’s the word of the day.  I was going to see U2 last night.  New Jersey Transit was all sorts of messed up, and the Husband was going to be a train behind me. I texted him that it was just so crowded, he should just meet me at the seats.  But in a bizarre coincidence, my husband happened to get on the same car as me, and the exact same part of the car.  The odds of this happening  are…. I don’t know…I have my writing cap on now, not the math one….

After we exit the train and begin walking to the stadium, I heard my name…..I turned around and it was one of my best friends from high school.  We’re friends on Facebook, and we chat, but I haven’t seen her in 30 years.  1987.  The year Joshua Tree came out.  Joshua Tree- the album that was going to be glorified by U2 that very evening.  Coincidence.

So on a night already filled with nostalgia, I was really transported back in time.  For just a little bit, my memory was very clear.  The 80’s just came rushing back.  It was the decade when I graduated High School and College.  Got my first real job.  Became friends with the three most amazing women.  Fell wildly in love.   It was the decade when everything seemed possible.

And as I walked to my seat I looked around.  People were showing ID and buying beer, but the ID was just a formality.  It was clear we were all well past 21.  it was clear that a lot of people were wearing clothes that were old enough to buy a beer.  The crowd was moving a bit slowly, and the conversations centered around tuition bills, and retirements, and arthritis.

But then the stage lights finally started to light red, and we realized there was movement on the stage…..

And the crowd started to sing ” ‘Cause tonight, we can be as one”-

People began swaying, tapping their feet….

Standing and jumping in the air….

And when I looked into the eyes of those around me….

I didn’t see people thinking about retirement….

I saw people as they were in 1987….

Young, full of hope and full of dreams- ready to take on the world.

And as they sang side A- I mean- the first half of that album is almost perfection, filled with songs most will instantly recognize.  But if you’re going to have a tour that is centered around an album, you need to play the flip side.  The songs that you might not necessarily remember.  And the crowd- well, U2 didn’t come on till 9:20, so I’m going to say a lot of the audience hadn’t been up this late recently.  And with the average age being around 47, there were a lot of trips to the bathroom, and some muttered grumblings about the volume…..  and there eyes started to show their age again.

But I looked at the Husband, who I’d met by coincidence tonight, and met due to a coincidence 25 years ago- and I smiled.  It’s wonderful to go back in time for a little bit, to think about places, and things, and people that you may not have thought about for awhile.  I have amazing memories, of love and loss, happiness and sadness, good and bad- and I treasure every one of those moments, because they have made me the person I am today.  I don’t want to go back in time- I don’t wish I could change anything.  I’ve had a pretty great yesterday- today is pretty awesome- and I can’t wait for tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Temperatures: A play in one act

The Setting: Booth in a deli in New York City, 2017

The Players: Mother in Law, Waiter, Son, Daughter in Law

Waiter approaches table, notepad in hand:

Waiter:  Can I get you something to drink?

Mother in Law:  Do you have diet black cherry soda?

Waiter:  Yes.

Mother in Law: In the can?

Waiter: Yes

Mother:  Is the can cold?

Waiter: Yes

Mother in Law: Very cold?  Because I don’t like ice.  I don’t want the soda to be made cold because of ice.  I only want it if its a very cold can.

Waiter:  Yes.  Very cold can.

Waiter begins to walk away

Mother in Law: And make sure you bring me a cup of ice.

Waiter returns with soda, ice, and complimentary bowls of cole slaw and pickles, and quickly leaves.

  Mother in law touches all six pickles in bowl.  Takes one and bites it.

Mother in Law: Blah.  These pickles are warm.  Who serves warm pickles.  Pickles are supposed to be cold.

Son: They always serve them like that.

Mother in law picks up pickle and hands it to son

Mother in law:  That is NOT how a pickle is supposed to feel.

In what seems like 3 hours, but in reality is only 5 minutes, waiter returns with plate of stuffed derma

Mother in law:  Can you bring us a bowl of cold pickles.  Cold.  Like from the refrigerator.  Cold.

Waiter takes bowl of apparently ill tempered pickles.

Mother in Law:  Is the derma hot?  Derma has to be hot.

Son:  Ma, there’s steam coming off it.

Mother in Law:  Fine.  If you’re sure it’s hot enough.

After another eternity seeming 5 minutes, waiter returns with corned beef, pastrami and hopefully cold pickles.  He places food and sprints from table, clearly shattering the table to kitchen speed record

Mother in law touches all the pickles.  But doesn’t take any.

Mother in law: Cold pickles.  But is the pastrami warm?  You know how I like my pastrami warm.

Mother in law rises to use rest room.  Waiter chooses that moment to bus table, taking with him a touched but uneaten bowl of cold pickles.

The End

 

 

 

 

Screwed….

It’s been an eventful 12 hours for me.  The Husband got home from the Dominican Republic last night at about 9.  My daughter got home about the same time from her pre-community service mani/pedi.  Things from husbands trip are literally all over the house.   Daughters things are also in disarray as she finished up packing for her trip.  Her trip which required me to wake up at 2:15.  AM. Because we had to be at the airport at 4.  AM.  And since this is the city that never sleeps, you must give yourself an hour to drive 15 miles.  (FYI- we reached JFK from Manhattan in a record 22 minutes.  Then spent 45 minutes searching for caffeine and tried to bribe retail doughnut establishment into opening early but stale cough drop and forever stamp not enticing enough)  But anyway.  I’m tired and cranky and house is a mess and there is a bag of moldy laundry fresh from Caribbean.

Now look at my featured image.  See that screw?  That lonely screw that looks like its missing its friends?  I found that under the dining room table.  Obviously I looked under the table- but no screws were missing.  I looked under the chairs, turned them over, but alas- everything was intact.   So where does the screw belong?  Who knows.  You see, we share our abode with a cat.  A cat who sees things on the ground and bats them around.  So the screw could literally belong to any piece of furniture in the house.  From any room. I’ve been wandering around my small, sparsely furnished apartment in search of the hole where this screw belongs.  And I can’t find it.

But never fear.  I have a strong premonition that tonight, we will find out where the screw resides.  You see, my Mother in law is coming over tonight- visiting from Florida.  I’m sure she will sit on, or put something on, whatever this screw belongs to.

Please tune in tomorrow for the continuation……

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.