Friday, January 12, 2018

Do You Hear the People Sing?


The first show I ever saw on Broadway was Cats. It was an excellent starter show for an 80s tween. When the sirens came on, startling the “cats” onstage, I almost went through the roof. Though, to be honest, it isn’t that good of a show. You either have to be really high or really young to really enjoy a show filled with people in actual, legitimate catsuits. I can’t imagine sitting through it stone cold sober now, but at 12? It had me at “meow.”


I know people hate musicals. That the very idea of someone just randomly bursting into song while everyone around them acts like this is perfectly natural is too bizarre to be believed. I get it. But I love them unreservedly.


From Cats, I graduated to more mature fare. I spent all of high school in thrall of both Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera. I had an airbrushed jean jacket with the face of the Phantom on the back that I wore with pride. Not irony. PRIDE. I still think sitting through three hours of what my husband refers to as “ that show about the French revolution where everyone dies” is my idea of heaven. I am not such a snob that I think a touring production is automatically lesser than one in New York City. I saw a Thenardier in Boston who brought down the house and a Marius in Philadelphia who broke my heart. There is something about hearing those striking chords and seeing that giant red flag fly that just destroys me each and every time.


(But, after multiple viewing, I have come up with a few questions about the plot. First, after Valjean agrees to take care of Cosette, he asks Javert for three days to care of the situation. What on earth is he expecting to do in that little time? Kill her? Adopt her off to yet someone else? It probably took him three days just to find Cosette, let alone set up a new life for the kid. Second, why didn’t Thenardier recognize Valjean in the sewers? And third, if Marius sings about all his friends being dead and Cosette sings about living a lonely existence with no one but her father – then who are all the people at their wedding? And what on earth did Marius tell her to get her to agree to get married without her father in attendance? Anyway, back to the blog.)



I was lucky, living on Long Island, the theater was LIRR ride away. Back in the day, you could go to a booth on Times Square and try to get tickets to any show that day for cheap. Now, it’s a huge storefront and it’s all very professional, but back then, you felt like you were really in on a secret. Or at least I did. One day, I was able to get tickets to Miss Saigon. I called my mom on a pay phone and she actually left work early and hopped on a train to meet me in the city. Even more shocking, when she found me, she was happily eating a black and white cookie she had picked up from a random bakery. I could not have been more shocked if she had stopped for a bump of coke.


Think back to all the movies you have seen in your life. Thousands, right? And some have been great, some good, some terrible, but how many created indelible memories, moments that you will take with you to your grave? I have had those moments at the theater.


The moment the gunshot rings out in Miss Saigon.


The moment the witch takes flight in Wicked.


The moment in Once when she doesn’t tell him that she loves him.  


To me, that’s the power of a musical. It can create a moment so visceral, so real, that you feel like you are completely alone, but can only truly be experienced with two thousand complete strangers. I’ve seen show stopping numbers that made me want to get out of my seat and dance. I haven’t seen many shows, a few dozen, tops, but the ones I have seen resonate. Not all. I’ve seen some crappy shows, ones that had unmemorable music or actors, and I will never see a production of Annie again as long as I shall live, but the good ones that are always touring, or the revivals that keep popping back up again, those shows have legs for a reason. It’s because they can take you out of your life, your body, even, and transport you to another world where you can sing about racist puppets, telekinetic children, suicide, AIDS, murder, religion, or any number of odd things and it all makes perfect sense.


(Though some shows age better than others. Go watch West Side Story and try not to cringe. I listened to Rent recently and realized that Benny, advocate of fair housing prices and new business is not exactly a villain and that maybe the people singing about not paying rent in the most expensive city in the world may be the actual villains instead.)    

You don’t even necessarily have to see it in a theater to love a musical. I know its almost blasphemy to say a movie is better than the original production (much like saying a book is better than a movie), but let’s be clear – Grease is the word for a reason. It is a cultural touchstone – to this day, you can still see Pink Ladies on Halloween. And Sandy’s carnival ensemble, while completely impractical for anything excluding cat burglary, is iconic. “Tell me about it, stud.” Come one, just reading that, you know exactly how long to pause at that comma. And I bet every single person reading this blog has seen The Sound of Music at least once. You all know who tried to put Baby in a corner and why the Reverend doesn’t believe in dancing. And if you say you don’t, then you are my husband, who for some reason, seemed to have been raised in void of 80s and 90s pop culture.


I have so many more shows to see. Hamilton, obviously. I mean, I could sell my car for good seats, but then I’m not sure how I’d pay for my divorce. Both my kids are obsessed with In the Heights, but the only production I can find this year is playing three states away on a weekend when we are already triple booked (yet, I’m still trying to figure out how to make it work.) And while Dear Evan Hansen looks phenomenal, I’m not sure I can deal with two hours of that particular subject matter. For now, I’ll see whatever I can that come to Philly and raise my kids on a steady diet of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Andrew Lloyd Webber and hope for the best.  

Friday, January 5, 2018

The B is Back


I’ve abstained from blogging for a very long time.
A year and a half, to be exact.
Not for a lack of anything to say – ask my husband, I have not stopped talking. It was more like no one wanting to hear it. Not personally. Nationally. It’s hard to knock celebrity award shows when the Hollywood Advent Pervert Calendar is a living, breathing thing. It’s hard to blog when anything longer than two paragraphs is now considered a “long form” article because Twitter has condensed all of our thoughts into a character count. I’m not a mommy blog. I’m not a political activist, armchair sports analysist, or anyone particular with anything in particular to say. And after the last two years of politics, first the endless election cycle then living through year one of the Mad King, snarking about pop culture seemed as useful as dancing about architecture. 
Who cares what I think about a fictional female Doctor when actual health care is being turned on its head? Who cares about what books I read while the constitution is trod upon? How many posts did I think about, even write about, only to toss when something of actual value happened in the world? Reading the room meant realizing that the Internet had gone mean and rabid. The meek we had always hoped would inherit the earth turned into trolls who tried to destroy it. Being a woman with an opinion meant opening myself to being called words that even Carlin didn’t use on television. Was it worth it? Was posting something dumb and goofy that maybe 10 people would read on a good day a valuable use of my ever-diminishing “free time”? Was I just shouting into a hurricane, throat hoarse, unable to be heard?

Dunno.

However, what I do know is that I missed it. A lot. 
I am a much better writer than speaker. When I talk, I tend toward aphasia. I will stop mid-sentence, while the word I was about to say pops like a bubble out of existence. I try to remember the word and I have to get the shape of it, the sound of it, even the length of it correct before it will pop back into the sentence where it belongs. I say “um” and “ah” a lot. My vocabulary is limited. But when I write – well, the words flow much faster and have more meaning. I’m not saying I’m Shakespeare, but I’m not two monkeys banging on a keyboard either.
If you want to read what I have to say, that’s fantastic. If you don’t, I understand that too. It’s all good. I won’t take it personally. But I don’t just want to write it, I want to talk about it. I want comments, questions, I want a discussion. I want to remember what it felt like to talk about anything other than politics, climate change, and gross men doing gross things to women. I don't want to bring sexy back (and I'd really rather send Justin Timberlake away), but I want to remember what it feels like to write something on a regular basis that amuses, entertains, or interests people. Maybe I'll find an audience. Maybe a black hole symbolizing a complete lack of interest. Who knows? 
Let's find out together.   

Friday, September 16, 2016

Death by Dander

So I decided to commit murder this week.

Sure, admitting it outright on the Internet seems like a poor way to set up an alibi, but in my defense, I don’t actually think anyone is really going to die. The victim may be a bit stuffy, and maybe get a bit wheezy, but in general, a handful of over-the-counter meds and a strong door lock will probably be all the protection necessary to survive and live a long and healthy life.  

Whom am I trying to kill? My husband.

Why am I trying to kill him? My children asked me too. My son has spent years asking me in more roundabout ways and then actually spent quite a bit of time online researching the different ways in which my husband could be killed. My daughter doubled down and said that if her brother could kill Daddy, then she wanted to do it too.  

How am I trying to kill him? Slowly. Very slowly. One day at a time, a little bit by little bit so that he barely even notices.

Where will the crime take place? At home. Less fuss and muss and much easier to clean up in the quiet of the night.

What is the murder weapon? Cats.

Yes, my friends, I am killing my husband with cats. Two of them. And yes, getting pets when you have a family member who is allergic may seem like cruel and unusual punishment – but it’s not like I slipped them in through the back door when he wasn’t looking. There were multiple conversations about why we were getting pets, who was going to look after the pets, and what we were going to name the pets. I was firm that there would be two of them because I think it is mean to have a singular pet. Everyone should have someone to cuddle with and pets are no exception. Plus, I have two kids, so one for each.

Honestly, the names took the longest time. My husband wanted Starsky and Hutch. I wanted Statler and Waldorf. My son wanted Luke and Leia and my daughter wanted Xander and Willow. Multiple Hamilton characters were paired together. Peanut Butter and Jelly was rejected outright but Chewie and Han had some legs. For a short period of time, I was convinced Sparks McGee and Fluffer Nutter were the winning combo. Farty McFartFace was considered, but no one could come up with comparable joke for the second cat. Finally, one day on vacation in the Pocono mountains, while riding a boat around Lake Wallenpaupak, my brother-in-law had enough. “What about Kipp and Epply?” he asked. For those unfamiliar that would be two out of the three islands on the very lake on which we rocked. “Humph.” My entire family sat, stunned with the ease at which the answer had been presented. Winner!

So, one hot Saturday, I took Bubbles with me to the local Petco, where they present shelter animals for adoption. We were going to preview the selection so that the kids didn’t fall in love with something that bit or spit or had an extra tail or a gunshot wound. (You laugh, but my mother has brought home animals that fit those descriptions not once but three times.) And there, just waiting for us, were the atrociously named Mother Hen and Love Chicken. Some people really don’t take naming seriously. I dutifully filled out a questionnaire with such suspicious questions as “How do you discipline a cat?” and “Where will your cat sleep?” I wrote my best guesses (You don’t and wherever it wants), paid the nominal fee, and within an hour was the new servant of two cat masters.

My mother was prouder of the cat adoptions than she was the birth of her grandchildren. She has already given me cat beds, cat blankets, cat food, cat litter, cat magazines, cat books, cat calendars, and cat grooming supplies. The kids argued over who got to sleep with the cats until they realized cats are nocturnal and “sleep” was an adjective that does not describe listening to two kamikaze kittens race around the room knocking everything over, jumping up and down all night long and essentially behaving like crack addicts. My husband has already been spotting trying to get the damn things to sleep on his chest and I have amused myself by getting them bags of Halloween toys from the dollar store. There really is nothing like watching a cat roll blood-shot eyeballs around the floor to get into the holiday spirit.

The cats seem to appreciate their new home. There was little to no period of adjustment. From the moment we let them out of the cat carrier, they have followed us around the house happily. While they aren’t quite lap cats, they are lap-adjacent. Kipp, the three-month old kitten enjoys the rocket approach to locomotion and is already being referred to as the Sniper, as he is able to silently smack right into your ankles like a furry bullet when you least expect it. He’s a fast little beast and as he is too young for a collar, enjoys stealth maneuvers. Epply has a bell on her collar, which makes her easy to hear, but she also is the more vocal of the two and likes to meow or purr for attention. They also seem to be able to either pick locks or walk through walls because we keep closing bedroom doors at night and keep finding them inside the closed rooms come morning. Last night, I awoke to find a cat purring happily three inches from my face. The marital bedroom was supposed to be cat-free. No fur. No dander. No middle of the night barfing or coughing up of hairballs. An allergen-free space where my husband could breathe freely. But no, there was Eppily taking a bath right between the two of us while her son kept falling off the windowsills with loud crashes.


So yes, technically, getting cats with an allergic husband is probably not the best way to show my love for him. But it could be worse. I could have gotten a dog.   

Friday, August 5, 2016

Breaking the Curse

I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

I didn’t like it.

It actually breaks my heart to say that. I think J.K. Rowling is a master storyteller. I just think no one needed to tell this particular story.

Before I monologue about the current book, let me touch upon the series as a whole. Mistakes were made; the biggest mistake being the final chapter of the final book. Albus Severus is a dumb name. Does Ginny not have any dead family member she could have memorialized (cough Fred cough)? Couldn’t they have given them middle names that were family-based and allowed them the freedom to be their own people with original first names? I always felt that Harry should have understood that. I also think killing Fred was an enormous mistake. A far better story arc would have been killing Percy, newly returned to the family. His sacrifice, for the brothers who distrusted him the most, would have absolved him of all his sins. Instead, he comes back in the nick of time to watch Fred die in the most unflattering way possible. It is the most unnecessary death in the series. I’d even sub in Arthur Weasley – at least he would have died protecting his family and Molly had proven that she was more than strong enough to carry on without him, even though his loss would have broken her heart. Her sons, including the newly returned Percy, would have rallied around her admirably.

But, here we are, 17 years later once again and I’m still not happy.

The play reads like fan fiction. There, I said it. 


HERE THERE BE SPOILERS.

BIG.

HONKING.

SPOILERS.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.


The big bad is Voldemort’s daughter? Really? REALLY? What is this, a Spanish telenova? Did Voldemort seem like he was the type to take lovers? Even with Bellatrix basically throwing herself on his wand, I’m pretty sure his phoenix feather was not rising to the occasion.

The problem with having children grow up is that all the wonders of childhood have to fade away in the face of cold, hard reality. I like to believe that after the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry hid away in 12 Grimmauld Place with Kreacher to come to grips with all that he had survived. I’ll stipulate that he did eventually become an Auror, but only after trying a few other paths first. I believe that Hermione would have gotten hired into the Ministry of Magic version of the mailroom and feverishly worked her way up to the top. And I agree with the fact that Harry and Ginny would have gotten married. But Ron and Hermione? Not so much. Sure, they would have dated, but her insane drive to succeed would have been at odds with his working at Weasley Wizard Wheezes, helping to fill the Fred-shaped hole in George’s life (which should be a Percy-shaped hole, but I digress.) I think they would have eventually broken up, had an awkward patch, and then returned to being good friends.

Basically, they would have become adults in a world that was peaceful and quiet. No bad guys to fight. While Dark Magic still existed, it would have been the type that Harry could hunt down during work hours and still be home in time for evening tea. In short, they would grew up to be boring. And that’s okay. They lived happily ever after. After seven books, eight movies, and countless pages on Pottermore, I think they earned that much.  

But now, I have to live in a world where the delicate father/son relationship enjoyed by Harry and Dumbledore becomes overbaked, overdone, and overly dramatic. We had hundreds of pages to mourn Cedric Diggory. We did not need another story based around a character that was best memorialized as being “the spare.” He really wasn’t that interesting the first time around and proves to be even less so as a MacGuffin. All these years, all the ideas she could have turned into stories and this is the one Rowling chose? Dumbledore wept. (Oh yes, in this book Dumbledore is so akin to a god that his name is used as one. Kill me now.)

By far the largest disappointment is that this is a play and not a book. What made the entire series so wonderful were all the details. The books were rich bowls of cream that needed to be savored because there were so many small ingredients that added to the story. The play is soy milk. It will substitute in a pinch, but no one ever really craves it. They just drink it because it’s the only thing left in the fridge.  

Details that are missing include, say, the rest of the goddamn Potter children! This is Hogwarts! Any fan can name a handful of minor characters off the top of their heads. Superfans, like my nutter of a daughter, can name dozens and show you how their minor actions, reactions, and behaviors added to the overall story in some way. In the play, we get mention of James and Lily Potter with a few throwaway lines, but little more. And where are all the cousins? Friends of the family, such as Teddy and Victoire? I realize I sound ridiculous here, but a man they refer to as Uncle Neville is a professor at the school and he doesn’t even get a line. NOT ONE LINE!

May I be super nitpicky for a moment? Why is there still even a Slytherin house? Every single bad wizard or witch came out of Slytherin. During the Battle of Hogwarts, the entire house was sent away because they couldn’t be trusted. Voldemort was the heir of Slytherin! Just sort people in three houses and be done with it. Get rid of the common room and turn it into a pool. Or rename it and try to give it a new reputation. But the whole concept of the (stupidly named) Potter child being put into the (stupidly) still existing Slythering is, let’s be crystal clear, stupid.

Also, my daughter wanted to know if Albus and Scorpius were gay. Um, maybe? Or not? There was definitely subtext, but not any plain text, so I said I wasn’t sure, but for now they are just really good friends.  


I hope now that Rowling has gotten the Potter universe out of her system for good and can move on to make good art that focuses on different mediums. While her Robert Galbraith books aren’t perfect, I am looking forward to the next one and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them looks like a lot of fun. Until then, I hope that she leaves well enough alone. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

And the Thunder Rolls

I just wanted to let you all know that the nominations for Parent of the Year are no longer necessary and that I am, without dispute, the hands-down winner of that most dubious award.

Whatever dumb shit you did, said, or attempted in the Olympic marathon that is parenting will pale in comparison to what I did to my daughter this week.

I sent her to sleep away camp.

Oh sure, it’s good for her. It teachers her independence and bravery, forces her to make friends and try new things, and according to a new article published this week, will actually help her earn higher scores on her SATs.

However,

Let me set the scene for you. My daughter refuses to open her bedroom windows. Ever. No matter the temperature, the weather forecast, and the time of year, she will not yield. If we open the windows while she is sleeping, she will most assuredly wake up and close them again. The sounds of nature are blocked at all costs. Not only does she have a fan to create white noise, but she also plays music all night long on top of it. As an infant in her crib, the very first thing she learned how to do was to smack her fat little foot into the music box attached to the slats to make it play. We could hear through the baby monitor every time she awoke because it was always followed by music. To this day, she has never slept without some form of music playing, whether it was a lullaby on repeat or Kidz Bop on her iPod.

The sound of the sea against the sand? The lake water lapping at the dock? Hates it. Rain pattering against the windows? Hates. It.

Why?

My daughter is deathly afraid of thunderstorms. She panics at the first sign of dark clouds and will start to cry at the first roll of thunder. If we are home, then she can stay relatively calm, but will opt to sleep under her brother’s bunk bed because she is worried about trees falling on her head. This is a kid who must see the weather report before any outdoor activity. In our house, our favorite weather people are spoken about as if they are our closest friends. “What did Adam [Joseph] say today?” Or, “What did JC [Severe Weather NJ] post?” I have multiple weather apps on my phone and when a storm approaches, my phone practically explodes with vibrations, noises, and alerts as multiple news outlets provide up-to-the moment updates on lightning strikes, rain levels, etc. We have found that knowing ahead of time helps her control her fear, because it allows her to control her location. Otherwise, she becomes the textbook example of a panic attack. Think I am exaggerating, feel free to ask any of my friends and family who have witnessed her losing her ever loving mind when a storm approaches.

How does this lead into my Parent of the Year award?

Because she spent her first night of camp out in the open while a thunderstorm raged around her.

I could not possibly have created a worse set of circumstances for her if I tried. When we took the tour of camp, and even when we dropped her off, the tent looked perfectly acceptable. Hot as hell, but I assumed there was some sort of flap that came up or down to allow air to enter. Well, I was right, in a way, in that the ENTIRE tent basically is lifted up and away so that the structure consists of nothing more than a ceiling, four poles, and a few beds covered in mosquito netting. Just going to sleep in that must have been an act of courage. The sounds of all those leaves, and animals, and wind must have been torture for her.

Then, in the middle of the night, when she had probably finally fallen into some sort of exhausted slumber, the first rumble of thunder hit. My daughter has superb hearing. Whisper the word “cookie” and she will come running from three rooms away. Say her name and she appears, like Voldemort, because she is desperately nosy and must always know what is being said about her. So trust me when I say that that when God knocked down a pin in his cosmic bowling game, my kid was wide awake. Out in the open. Surrounded by strangers. In the middle of a thunderstorm that she was not even aware was coming.  

I’m honestly surprised I didn’t get a call at 4am asking us to come get her.

When the second storm moved in 18 hours later, at the end of what must have been a very long first day, my husband and I watched the radar like it was our job. Was it going to hit her location? Sadly, the answer was yes. This time, the girls were all safely ensconced in the dining hall having a dance party. But they still had to walk back to their tents afterward, the pathways all mud and puddles, the bugs out in full force, using flashlights and head lamps to light the way. To go to sleep in a stifling tent, with absolutely no air flow, with wet feet and pants bottoms, hoping that yet ANOTHER storm didn’t rear its ugly head.

And still no phone call. 

See, the problem with the camps is that we can see her and contact her, but she can’t do the same to us. I can stalk her on camp Facebook page, which regularly posts pictures, and I can send her a daily e-mail that is printed out for her to read, but she cannot reply. I have no idea how she is holding up this week. I found out about the “floating tents” via Facebook. Did she enjoy getting chased by a counselor in a dragon costume? Or being blindfolded while she tried to untie a stuffed animal from a pole? Does she like making dragon snot? It’s all a mystery. I can follow what she is doing, but have no idea what she is thinking. The only thing I know is that she is still alive and even that is suspect since I haven’t seen her in any pictures since Wednesday.

She comes home today after another night of rain. Either she is cured of her fear or she will never go outside again. Regardless of which way the wind blows (as it were), I’m pretty sure her therapy bills for this week alone will rival those of her college tuition.


I’ll take my trophy now, thank you very much. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Adventure of a Lifetime

I’m too old for this shit.

That is what I said to myself as I unlocked my front door at 5am on a Monday morning after staying out all night at a concert.

Bubbles and Boobs were going to set out on yet another adventure. We couldn’t acquire tickets to Coldplay, her favorite band when they played in Philly, a stone’s throw from our homes, but she was able to get us two tickets for the Meadowlands up in North Jersey. (I refuse to call it Met Life Stadium. There is no romance in bank-named locations.) Worried about the traffic in that area, we decided to take the train. Drive 45 minutes to the train, ride for almost two hours, transfer trains, ride another 20 minutes and viola – we have arrived. We did, however, find it troubling that no one was on the trains with us. I mean, this was a sold out concert in a stadium that easily holds 50,000 people (that is lowballing the 82,000 max capacity due to certain sections being closed because they were behind the stage.) And the train from Secaucus to the Meadowlands was empty. Weird, right?
Upon exiting, we turn to the conductor and ask, “Coldplay is tonight, right?”

This man turned to us and says, “No, that was last night and tomorrow night. Tonight is soccer."

Dead. Silence.

Bubbles looks at me. I look at her. The conductor looks at both of us like we are idiots.

“Really?” I ask, in a dumbfounded, oh shit, voice.

“Nah.” He says, cracking himself up. Bastard.

Turns out, we were just really early and most people don’t show up ‘til right before the big act hits the stage. Upon arriving at security, the friendly guard checked our ticket. His face dropped. He looked at me and said, “This ticket is for last night’s show.”

“Really?” I ask, in a dumbfounded, oh shit, voice.

He turns to the guard standing next to him. “Check it out.” She nods, turns to us and says, “This ticket says the 16th. You had tickets for last night’s show.”

“REALLY?” Bubbles and I ask in unison.

“Nah.” They laugh, cracking themselves up. Bastards.

So there we were, four hours early, in 100-degree heat, with the average bottle of water going for $5 and seats five rows from the top. We were the concert equivalent of the early bird special. We were, in short, old.

We made do by making fun of other people. Yup. I’m like that. Never fear, body shapes themselves were off limits. I have no right to make fun of anyone on that score. But clothing choices? Totally up for mockery. Harem pants. A guy in a monkey outfit. Rompers! (Bubbles was for, I was against.) Women in super high heels were perplexing to us, as were the men in jeans and long-sleeves. (Much later in the evening, spied with our exhausted eyes a woman wearing a full length winter puffy coat. With sandals.)

Eventually, we scaled the stairs and made it to our perch. The show itself was fantastic. Bubbles is a huge fan, I am a casual fan, and both of us were very pleased with what we saw. I don’t know much about Chris Martin, but the man is in phenomenal shape. He ran up and down that stadium floor as if it were inches instead of yards, without every missing a beat in his songs. Every attendee was given wristbands that acted like coordinated glow sticks throughout the night. Michael J. Fox showed up to play Johnny B. Goode on the guitar and it was phenomenal. Overall, a great show.

But then we had to get home.

All those people we were worried weren’t on our train earlier? Yeah, we found them all. And then some. And then some more. Tens of thousands of people were herded like cattle into a huge pen to try to get on the train out of the Meadowlands. According to the crowd, we were actually experiencing the best case scenario in that we weren’t surrounded by tens of thousands of angry, drunk, freezing cold football fans but instead, mellow Millennial concert-goers. But it was hot, sticky, smelly, and chaotic. I reached a new level of friendship with Bubbles as we decided holding hands was really the only way to ensure we didn’t get separated.

Almost two hours after the concert ended, we finally made it to Secaucus. Thirty. Hungry. Sweaty. An hour after that, our train to Hamilton finally arrived. Still thirty. Still hungry. Even sweatier. Two hours after that, we finally arrived in Hamilton. I downed a bottle of hot water like it was a gift from God. After another 45 minutes of driving, we arrived in our town and into the only diner open at that ungodly hour. We snarfed down turkey clubs, drank copious amounts of liquids, and tried to ignore the episode of Law & Order screaming at us from the TV.

Finally, as the sun started to rise in the sky, I made my way into my house, into a hot shower, and into my bed.


Bubbles, the valiant warrior, actually made it through an entire day of parenting on two hours of sleep. I slept through til lunch and just hoped the kids didn’t kill each other while I snored. It was a long night, a great concert and a phenomenal story. But seriously, I’m way too old to do that again any time soon. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Room Where It Happened



I believe that many people underestimate the necessity of being able to read a room.  My mother, famously, is unable to do so. For example, the day I delivered my second child, I was in really bad shape. Not good. Dicey, I’d even go so far as to say. My son was whisked to the baby nursey while I stayed in recovery for a very long time. To this day, my husband and I do not know the length of time between delivering my son and actually meeting him for the first time and our best guess is several hours. I tell this part of the story not for sympathy, but to set the scene. So, I’m finally, finally being wheeled into a room. Finally, finally, I’m going to see the tiny little being that I made. My husband was walking alongside the gurney and my parents are hovering outside the door of the hospital room. I look like Death has come knocking and may still be lingering to see if anyone is home. (My MIL had a picture of me taken about an hour later, so trust me when I say, the only thing missing from my ensemble was a toe tag.)

And as I am being wheeled past, my mother turns to my husband, and says, “So, how’s work?”  

Honest to God, that actually happened.

The Internet is the room right now and the tone of it is hurt, sad, vengeful, and stupid. While my goal is to write a weekly blog that is entertaining, there aren’t a lot of laughs in the world right now. Every day, there is another terrorist attack, another shooting, another Trump story. We are splitting hairs over which lives matter most, who counts as a good guy vs. a bad guy, and what is actually a weapon. Let me give you a hint about that last one – if it can kill you, then it is a weapon. If you are using it to kill someone else, then it is a weapon. Good? Good.

Every time a celebrity dies, the world rushes as one to social media to be the first to say rest in peace. Now we are rushing to offer our thoughts and prayers. To what end? We are all, in some way, affected by the tragedies buffeting our nation and our world right now. I have never been to France, but I’ve been to Virginia Tech. We all bemoan what is happening, but what the hell are we doing about it? And if your answer is playing Pokemon Go, then good for you. If your answer is doing anything that involves being loving and kind and wonderful to the human race, then good for you. You are part of the solution. But if you are the dipshit coming up with hateful memes and splitting hairs about which guns, exactly, are the ones doing the shooting, then you, sir or madam, may go to Hell.

I want to talk about my severe case of Hamilaria. Or how my youngest SIL is trying to kill my husband with a kitten named Yoda. Or how I have embraced the concept of taking the summer off of errands and activities so much that my kids have dubbed me “Summer Mommy” and say I am much more fun than the regular one. I want to be lighthearted and silly, but it would be like introducing a fart joke into the Scottish play.


So, please, for the love of all things holey and stinky, can we PLEASE go a week without flying a flag at half-mast? I really want to put my happy pants on again.