How to handle a bad hair day.

Just go to the coffee shop naked. No one will notice your hair.

I considered it. I really did.

I’m pretty sure I have never had a “good” hair day. My hair is neither long nor short, it is neither light nor dark, it is neither straight nor curly. After years of just being blah my hair has given up. It has decided simply to leave me.

So as my chin hairs grow thicker and glossier with each passing day my head hair is following a pattern baldness that makes me question (once again) the level of testosterone in my body. Except it is not really a question. The level is high. High testosterone provides both beard and balding. But at least I can avoid the side effects of those medicines designed to combat low T.

I stood looking into the mirror preparing for my big morning at the coffee shop. I adjusted what might be called a lock of hair on another woman and tried to arrange it in a vague version of a comb-over. My hair was a bit oily. This was not a problem but an opportunity. I had recently purchased my second attempt at a dry shampoo. What better time to try than right now.

The dry shampoo I had in Denver was a powder that I shook onto my head from a bottle like baby powder (which, btw, is now on the list of cancer causing personal products.) This shaking resulted in as much powder on the floor and my clothes as in my hair. The powder that did go in my hair was, not surprisingly, white. When I brushed it through from scalp to ends as instructed I ended up like I was wearing a George Washington wig. So I resembled a woman posing as a man with fake women’s hair. It looked as good as it sounded. After the first attempt at the powder shampoo necessitated an outfit change I got smart and applied the shampoo before I got dressed. That resulted in so much powder on my body that I had to shower to get it off. So I washed my hair. All told the dry shampoo did in fact result in clean hair so I would have to say it worked.

I am sorry to say I forgot this magical product at home. What did I do? Find a quality replacement. Slowly browsing the large collection in the salon (don’t worry it was for Leo, I have been cutting my own hair for 8 years) I opted for a spray version. F the ozone layer. The water I was saving by not showering probably netted out as much environmental benefit as cost. Plus I think they might have fixed those spray cans by now. Truth?

So I stripped down as one does before using dry shampoo. Sure the shower was a six inches away but was I going to be bothered with all that waiting and water and washing and rinsing and then repeating and then drying? Hell no. I had the perfect product for my needs. I gave a tentative spray. It hit my cheek. At least it was the cheek on my face. On my second try I did reach my temple. It was a religious experience. Then I sprayed the other temple. First try! I am super good at this. I paused then decided the top of my head was thinning AND greasy so it deserved a spray too. Done. I waited. Things seemed oddly sticky. Probably I hadn’t used enough. I lifted the can again and instead of short bursts I channeled the ladies taking their beehive hairdos from cotton candy to helmet strength. On I sprayed. Mostly on my head.

I stopped. Things felt oddly cold and wet. Wait that was just Apollo nosing my feet to try get a sample of the shampoo. Not tasty. The hair too seemed weird. It was as sticky as Leo’s slime.

So naked, hair both oily and sticky I weighed my options. Shower or go to the coffee shop naked?

There of course is another option. I could pick yesterday’s clothes from the laundry basket and head to the coffee shop a bit rumpled and look pretty much the same as any other day despite my efforts at beauty.

So dressed and coiffed I headed in to town. The crowd of people were impressed at my dedication.

On a totally unrelated note “No Poo” is in fact an entire line of products. Not just dry shampoo. It features hair spray and curling product. Designed to be used on wet hair. Not that I would have any reason to know that.

We’ve been slimed

Every once in a blue (slime) moon he takes it outside

In a way it is what any parent dreams of. Part science, part art, all passion. When Leo started saving his money to spend on giant bottles of glue I was grateful. Finally a sensory experience beyond the world of Minecraft.

I was so naive.

Shaving cream (stolen from the master bath). Fancy shampoo (stolen from out guest bath). Laundry detergent (stolen from the laundry room). Baking soda (stolen from our pantry). Corn starch (ditto) all combined with the giant glue to create, well, my nightmare.

Leo puts the lime in slime

For months we have been living in our very own episode of “You can’t do that on television.” We feature gloppy measuring cups, glittery fingers, pale blue (or pink, or purple, or white) crud crusted end tables. As much as we have gained in mess we have lost in tupperware. It is not all bad: we have a fresh smelling car, a collaborative activity,  and best of all we have a laughing Leo.

He is standing at the counter now. “Do you hear this?” he asks as he slaps his latest slab onto our dinner plate with a slurping sound. Why yes I do. It is a mess in the making. He thinks I can’t hear it well enough. He brings his creation over to the loveseat where I sit doing the Sunday crossword and sipping room temperature tea. He has me try. It is cool to the touch, it smells like Aveda, it has a subtle glitter, it crackles lightly in my hand. It is, in fact, a full sensory experience. I flop it onto the plate with a satisfying sound. I smile at him and he beams back at me. Perhaps there is something to the slime. And then he is holding it in his hand watching it drip slowly then not so slowly onto our velvet pillow. “I’m sorry Mama.” He reaches across me for my napkin that caught the crumbs of my cookie breakfast. He knocks over the mug that I have balanced on the arm of the loveseat. It covers the dog in tea who jumps off my lap. This quick motion excites the cat who leaps off the counter in pursuit. As Leo picks at the slime with his fingernail and I dab the tea from the rug leaving the dog wet as can be I notice the cat prints.

She is tracking light blue glue on the floor.

This weekend he turned his hand to oobleck which we all remember fondly from kindergarten. “It is a newtonian liquid” He tells me. He is as fuzzy on the definition as oobleck is on its material status but I appreciate the effort.

I have been out for the afternoon at a friend’s movie premiere. Leo has been creating his own masterpiece. His ingredients are neatly packed in their tupperware (the second to last one.) The slime is stretching to fill its dinner plate. The kitchen is covered in corn starch. The floor, the cabinet doors, the inside of the cabinet door, the sink, the faucet.

I call him in.

“Leo, what happened here?” He arrives from the computer room with a crusty cowlick. He raises one eyebrow. We both know what happened here. He looks again. “I cleaned it!” In fact I can see he tried. There are sponge marks streaking the cabinet. After the sixth attempt at cleaning and the seventh time the corn starch has reappeared like the undead he is defeated.

“Maybe oobleck isn’t the best idea.” He tells me, forehead creased with concern.

“Wait…I have it…Slimebeck”. I am thinking of mice, and of men. Leo is less literary. “Oobleck with slime!” What could be better? He asks, fingers sticky with glue, cheek smudged with shaving cream, kitchen corner collecting corn starch.

What indeed, I think looking at Leo, his eyes shining brighter than the glitter in his hair.

Leo’s slime recipe:

  • Select parent’s favorite spatula, best mixing bowl and every measuring cup and spoon in the house.)
  • Start with a whole bunch of glue. (like a WHOLE bunch. Although you are decanting into measuring cup do NOT use the measuring marks.)
  • Spout shaving cream until it is no longer fun (ie, never)
  • Add saline solution to make it too slippery
  • Add baking soda to make it too dry (don’t measure, just shake it out so a third of it ends up in the bowl and 2/3 is on the counter)
  • Add glue to make it too sticky (a fresh measuring cup is necessary here.)
  • Add detergent because it might help (lament addition of detergent. It din’t help)
  • Test stickiness on counter (too sticky)
  • Test stickiness on hands (too sticky but we wont admit it. All we have to do to remove the slime is use more slime to pick up the slime- problem solved)
  • Test stickiness in hair (no comment)
  • Add saline (too slimy)
  • Add glue (be sure to use the remaining clean measuring cup)
  • Add glitter and food coloring (maybe more color- wait too much color- need glue to dilute- which requires saline- then glue- then baking soda)
  • Dig up last tupperware from drawer
  • Declare it the best slime you have ever made
  • Store slime in tupperware
  • Repeat

Parenting Fails

I’m sitting at the counter eating my impossibly small piece of gluten free toast.

In front of me is my journal bulging with papers that have nothing to do with writing, and my planner, filled with orthodontist appointments and PTSA meetings. I am not particularly upbeat. I take a nibble of toast, a sip of water filled with vitamin C (I will NOT get Steve’s cold), and a gulp of tea. I am trying to make things come out evenly like Frances did in my favorite children’s book Bread and Jam for Frances. The tiny toast is a challenge. I don’t know how to make it keep up with my barrel of tea.

Leo walks into the room clad in his too small red fleece robe. His eyes are starry. “Mama!” “Did you know that they publish the lunch schedule ahead of time? So I can pack a lunch on days when I don’t like the meal and know to eat hot lunch when it is good!” Why yes. I did know that. Last week was tragic. He brought in a dry turkey sandwich, oversized seaweed sheets, and a third favorite yogurt on pizza day and was somehow empty handed on orange chicken stir fry day. That sort of thing can just tank a boy.

I thought of the lunch calendar, which I carefully printed out in pre-school when Leo was a pre-reader and has never graced our fridge since. How many homes across America help kids select a delicious lunch? So good in fact that they might actually eat lunch and not arrive home a shaking shell. Lots probably. Poor Leo. He has been left to forage in the fridge forest without proper information. He might as well be a lord, with some flies.

Oliver has already left for school, crunching through the unusual snow in his sneakers. He has no boots at all. Steve ordered some, proud for stepping up and solving a problem in real time, but he ordered size 5. Oliver is a size 7. “Impossible.” Steve told me. “Possible” I told him. “Fact” Oliver told us.  It didn’t matter though because when the bog boots came they were a size five children’s. The miniature size sevens wouldn’t have fit anyway. Oliver doesn’t mind. He rushes out in his single pair of shoes. They will do.

It has been a tough stretch for no nag parenting. The contributions that we have hammered so deep into their brains that they exist in their brain stems have continued. They wake on their own. Gather their things. Tuck their homework (which may or may not be completed, who knows?) into folders. They eat breakfast that they cook for themselves, unload the dishwasher, feed the cat. Those things work. For the most part. But the rest seems to have slipped away.

Just last week I was doing my biannual wipe down of the dining room table and I found this:

Seven years ago. This was clearly “-not Leo”

I have no idea how long it has been there. Writing on paper instead of furniture and walls is something I stopped training them on roughly 7 years ago. Seems we might need to revisit that.

It is not just Leo that needs that lesson. Oliver too seems to be confused about the word permanent in permanent marker. He drew this for us to celebrate our trip to Florida. In October. We remember it fondly. Probably forever.

We have no basement for the boys to trash so instead we have given over our guest room. (Sorry friends). When we made the transition there was a cubby or drawer or slot for each device. Since then, however, there has been saving and spending. At least two more important video game devices have been added to the arsenal. I imagined they would be less messy than legos. I’m not sure. Here is what the desk area that we built from an IKEA expedit (rest in peace) and a piece of maple plywood looks like this morning.

Mixed in with the nerf and the controllers we have apple cores and desiccated pizza.Don’t tell me they aren’t ready for college. Here. Look a little more closely. Or don’t.

Leo is handling the laundry this week. Finally finally we no more have moldy loads taking up residence in the washer. That is a triumph if there ever was one. But the dryer? It is not given the attention it deserves. And if your brother’s clothes hit the floor for the dog to pee on when you are pulling out your own outfit? Bonus.

Leo watches me take my tour. He gathers 15 cheese stick wrappers in his fist and shuts the door to the Video game hole quickly. It’s like his little kid version of hide and seek. If I can’t see it it isn’t there.

Beneath the counter stool he gathers the band aid bits and presses them into the trash. It is full.

Walking past the dining table back to the kitchen his finger traces the sharpie on its apron. “It wasn’t me.” “It says right here: not Leo.”

He gathers the laundry and shoves it into the dryer.

“I’ll fold after school, I promise.”

His face changes like from contrite to disgusted.

“I have to make my lunch. It’s enchilada day.”


[Tweet theme=”basic-white”]The kids room features desiccated pizza. Don’t tell me they aren’t ready for college.[/Tweet]

I must have done something terribly wrong.

This year we decided not to have Thanksgiving with family. Although our relatives forgave us the gathering gods did not.

After a lovely time on Anna Maria Island we headed to Universal and Harry Potter World on turkey day. Leo celebrated appropriately with a giant turkey leg but the rest of us clearly did not give the holiday its proper due because things quickly went downhill from there.

See the enthusiasm?

In an effort to sound like less of an asshole I will just say that Harry Potter world and the Palmers are not the best partners. My claustrophobia kicked into high gear. Our dog kept us from family dinners. Oliver’s motion sickness kept him from rides. Leo made it to the top of several rides only to walk back down disappointed in his lack of bravery. Steve was once again reminded that his family members are decidedly less fun than he is. Instead of enjoying Universal we trudged through crowds spending money on strange bouncy balls and expensive wands. The one ride all four of us completed was the Suess “roller coaster” which I rode with my eyes closed. It was not a triumphant moment.

See my smile?

The next day we went to the water park…ignoring the fact that it was 62 degrees and raining. My boys were troopers, I managed to grin and bear it, but the life guards were total wimps. After climbing up and backing down from several slides Oliver and Leo found one that they liked. Splashing down with grins and giggles I sent them right back up to the top trying to squeeze in some fun before we had to squeegee off. Right before they were going to slide I caught Leo’s laugh and thumbs up at the top of the tower and felt a bit of Universal redemption. I celebrated too soon. The woman in front of them splashed into the 3 foot pool screaming “I can’t swim.” The life guard heaved a sigh and begrudgingly jumped into the water in his bathing suit and sweatshirt. After his fearless rescue he stayed in the heated water. My boys stayed in their wet suits atop the windy tower. We waited. They waited. He shivered. “What’s up?” I asked him after ten minutes. “I am NOT going to lifeguard while wet in this weather.” I looked down at my soaked suit, over at Steve’s wet hair and up at Leo who was still offering me the thumbs up sign. Ten more minutes went by and the head lifeguard arrived and wrapped our hero in a tiny towel. The lifeguard shook more than our dog. He was probably a soccer player. At least when he was dry.

On the flight home we sat in front of a cougher. This tin can full of farts was doing double duty as a petri dish. Arriving at the airport at 1am (3 am EST) we hailed an Uber. While shredding my fingers trying to dig the seatbelt out from under the seats our 8 lb scardey dog BIT (we think) the Uber driver. As Oliver and I struggled the Uber driver reached into the back seat to help. There was a yelp and he quickly pulled his hand away. I asked if the dog had bitten him. I asked to see his hand and he snapped off the overhead light. He didn’t say a word the rest of the ride. The next day we got an email that Steve’s Uber account was suspended. Hopefully this is not the beginning of a horrible law suit. Oliver and Steve both assure me that there was no mark at all on the driver’s hand, but with the way the rest of the week went I am not convinced that all would be well.

The picture does not do it dustice.

Returning home a bit shaken by the possible bite we arrived in modern day Pompeii. While we were away we had arranged to have a crew trowel plaster over a wall in our living room. Before we had departed we moved every single thing out of the room and both adjoining rooms. Halfway through our trip we saw through our Ring video camera wheelbarrows full of lumber being rolled out of our house. I didn’t quite understand why there was so much STUFF leaving our house so I texted the contractor. It turns out they had torn out the entire wall, reframed, and sheetrocked. Without asking us. Without putting plastic up. Without covering the heat ducts.

So there it was. 1:45 in the morning. Dog shaking, us shaken, house covered in sheetrock shake. Toothbrushes, computers, bedding, food inside cabinets this dust had no boundaries. That night I coughed as much as the airplane lady. In the morning we trudged through the house taking pictures and leaving footprints. What is a great credo for camping is a crappy way to finish a vacation.

I hit the phones. Which is not my favorite thing. Locksmiths, window cleaners, duct cleaners, house cleaners, furniture cleaners. We needed everything. Quickly.

In addition to the dust the actual work on the wall was garbage. The trim was the wrong size. The corner bead was cracked. The paint spray went onto furniture and beams. The paint color didn’t match necessitating a full ceiling and two adjacent walls to be re-done. That was a problem for later. Now we needed to get the dust out of our ducts before the heat blew another layer onto our life.

Sergei came to clean one of our furnaces (our heating system is half from 1913 and half from 1977- neither banner years for duct work) and full system. Because of Sergei’s giant hose (absolutely no pun intended)  Steve and I decided to bring the dog with us as we went food shopping and to Home Depot for furnace filters (x1000). Steve and I split up. He returned to the car first and texted me. “The dog shit in the car. Take your time. I am headed back for cleaning supplies.” Sadly I didn’t take his warning seriously. I opened the back hatch of the car manually because it has been having electrical problems. As I did I staggered backwards from the stench. The dog leapt over the back, poop covered paws scrabbling at my sweater. Walking around to the side door I realized that imaging a small turd was not realistic.

It was so much shittier than this looks

This was a shit show. Apollo had clearly had stomach issues (maybe from the bag of treats he ate through that morning.) The poop was everywhere. On the radio knobs, the floor mats, the seats, the console, the steering wheel, the windows. I could continue but you might as well just imagine every part of the car and then imagine it smeared with shit.

In addition to heated seats our car had what I had always considered the best feature of all…cooled seats. Cool air flowed through perforations in the seat back. At least it would have if the tiny holes weren’t each clogged with excrement.

That night I woke at 3am with the worst headache of my life. Whether it was dust or stress barely mattered. It even trumped that time sex made my head explode. In a bad way. The next morning I headed to the chiropractor. I had left the car windows open to air out the poop stink and it had rained overnight for the first time in 65 weeks. I was patting myself on the back for remembering to bring towels to the car BEFORE I sat in water when I pulled the towel hook out of the wall. It fell down with a crumble of plaster adding a small pile of dust to the freshly mopped floor. I stepped over it.

That time I thought I pulled the mini van halen all the way into its spot.

In the parking lot of the chiropractor my normal spot was taken so I pulled into a different row. Halfway in I realized that the row was marked “for compact cars only”. As my parking is not stellar and my car is not compact I decided to reverse and try somewhere else. During that thought process the car seemed to have moved into a terrible angle and I heard myself scrape against the car next to me. Returning to the scene of the crime I couldn’t quite tell if the chip on the driver door of the victim car was from me or not. I left a note anyways. If Uber was going to sue us I might as well bring on an insurance claim for damage that I might not have done.

Perhaps taking responsibility for something that was probably not my fault would start to balance my karmic bank account. It seemed worth a try.

Safer than my computer in these times of trouble. And marginally less dusty.

Returning home I told Steve the story of the side swipe and he, along with Oliver the moral compass of the family, asked me why I left a note.

“It seemed like the right thing to do.” I told him hanging up my coat. Stepping away I realized the hook was still secure in the wall, my feet weren’t leaving footprints in the dust, and I hadn’t coughed in almost 2 hours.

Even still, as I type this post, I made sure to keep my tea far far away from my computer.


Since I don’t seem to trust myself with much these days I’ll leave it to you. Should I title this post:

  1. Greetings from Pompeii
  2. Shitty carma
  3. I had another idea but the health office just called to tell me that Leo vomited at school so I need to go. Right now. And clean up my puke-y kid.

Open mouth insert foot.

I started my day on Twitter searching the #Wednesdaywisdom hashtag. I can’t imagine a better place to feel uplifted in 140 characters than on my least favorite social media site. Despite my specific search I was not looking for affirmation or tips on mindfulness. I wasn’t looking for something to inspire me…but something to mock.

As is so often the case that something turned out to be me.

Today’s tweet of choice.

When people are speaking seriously to me about mental illness or infertility I manage to keep my mouth shut and listen. I have learned not to spill over on top of their words to show understanding. I have learned that for the most part people are looking for sympathy rather than solutions.

Yet when it comes to casual social situations I am much less mindful. (See I need to pay a ton more attention to Wednesdaywisdon.)

I quickly found this helpful pneumonic. THINK. First of all this supposes that don’t use speaking as a way to find out what I think. My inner monologue is crowded by thoughts of eating. There is no time to have rich interior discourse. It is why I blog. I never know what I THINK until I say or write it. Already I am at a disadvantage when applying this particular #WednesdayWisdom.

Here are three things I said at parties four analysis. Writing and remembering them makes me cringe. Somehow though I persist with commenting on things that aren’t quite my business.

This is not the wig. Because there was no wig.

Introduced to a neighbor within two minutes of conversation I asked. Is that a wig?

(T) true. Who knows, that why I was asking.

(H) Helpful. Decidedly not. Although in my addled brain I thought if she WAS living through a medical problem that would result in a wig she might want to talk about it with an inebriated stranger.

(I) Inspiring. Yeah. No.

(N) Necessary. As necessary as that famous fishes bicycle.

(K) Kind. My motivation was to show what a straight shooter I was and give her a chance to chat about something super personal. Is that kind? No.

The outcome? It is NOT a wig. So I pretty much insulted her hair. We have managed to work through it though. Mostly because I try really hard not to speak at all in her presence. Take home: Don’t ask about wigs.

This is not the dress. Or the friend.

Greeting a close friend as she entered a party I was hosting. That dress isn’t the best look on you.

(T) I mean, I thought it was true…but I am not a bastion of fashion. I was wearing jeans and a stained shirt. In fact the same stained shirt I have on as I type this.

(H) Helpful. I mean, I thought it would help her in the future. But since she was arriving at a party presumably without an outfit change it was not particularly useful to her at that moment.

(I) Inspiring. It might inspire her to write a scathing email. (See below)

(N) Necessary. As necessary as a hamburger lunch for a cow.

(K) Kind. As nice as telling an artist that my 5 year old could paint as well as she could.

The outcome? An angry email and a slow healing of an old friendship.

My take home? I learned never to speak about dresses again. At least at the beginning of the party.

This is not the kid. The kid's injuries were much more extensive.
This is not the kid. The kid’s injuries were much more extensive.

Meeting a couple for the first time I found out that the huge red marks on their son’s face was from an accident. Did I offer sympathy? Did I ask after his health? Did I offend a huge portion of the popultation? No, no, yes. I said “I’m glad to hear he fell, I was worried that was a birthmark.

(T) True. I mean, it was what I thought.

(H) Helpful. Maybe it could help bring them into my world of judgment and shallowness.

(I) Inspiring. It might inspire them to move to other side of the kitchen island to avoid the asshole at the party.

(N) Necessary. I had to fill the tasteless joke at the kid’s expense quotient of the party.

(K) Kind. As kind as kicking a puppy. With a birthmark.

The outcome: When the dad didn’t laugh at the joke I tried it a SECOND time on the mom. Then I repeated it to the host describing that I was so out of touch that I had told the story twice before at her party. I haven’t been invited back. Or seen the lovely couple and their young child again. My take away:  I should work on some Gorbachev material.

As someone who spends a ton of time lamenting our collective emphasis on appearance I seem to comment on people’s appearances quite a bit. I think my take away should be more broad. Maybe keep my mouth shut. At least until Gorbachev shows up at a party in a wig with a bad dress one. I will totally tell him that he has shit stuck in his teeth. Because that is (H) helpful.

Maybe I should have searched for #WordlessWednesday instead. And that IS a thing.

Just not usually for me.

What about you? Do you ever step in it?

Here is a link to Emily Post’s Etiquette. I might buy it. And not just to learn how to spell it.


What can go wrong….(moaning about Monday)

Shall. On a Monday.

Monday quote
This is not usually how I feel…

I am not a Monday hater. I see grumpy cat memes and listen to pop songs lamenting another school week and I shrug. At least I used to shrug when I could move my shoulders. Now I just mentally shrug and on good days lets add a knowing chuckle where I am both “with you” and “above you” Monday moaners.

Steve steps it up even more and walks around with a Weekends are Overrated t -shirt on…issuing a challenge to the undercaffeinated. Now that he works from home I am the only one to read his message. I think I have begun to take on my new role. He is the Monday lover leaving me left to loathe it.

On Monday’s my tea is evil.

How do I know?

Because there are steps to my coffee shop morning routine and I have fucked up each of them in some way or another.

  1. Making an entrance. I have three days to write this week before I take two weeks off and I have a two articles and a blog post to get through before 11. I can do this. First I need to open the door to the coffee shop.  It is a bit sticky and I don’t have time to waste with the extra pull or two so I approached it with gusto. It flung wide to greet me and hit me in the face. I immediately made eye contact with the barista who greeted me with an “its definitely Monday.” I am hear enough so I know that her Wednesday is my Friday making my Monday not her Monday. As I try to calculate which relative day of the week has left her laughing at me I trip over one of the metal stools that is protruding from the coffee bar. It wasn’t so bad. It  wasn’t one tenth as bad as the time I knocked over two tables, three computers, and three cell phones spilling my evidently endless tea on all of us. This time it was a little trip. I was still upright! So I held me head high and went to replace the stool in its place getting it tangled in the legs of its brother. Bang. Scrape. Then I was trying to catch two stool with my phone hand and the whole thing collapsed. It was loud. But there were only three customers that had to look up from their work and I was still standing on two feet. I consider that a win. I walk myself over to…
  2. Select my table. The BEST table was available. It is the end two top that nestles into a wall allowing three chairs.
    fashion shot
    My cousin. His bag and coat will have their own chair! Other cousin took this photo
  3. So when my cousin and I aren’t waiting for Elijah we have a designated bag and coat chair. It is a luxury. There is also an outlet. Lastly, and most importantly as I mentioned this table is at the END of a row. So I can slide out with my ass to the wall and a friendly smile to my family. When we are next to strangers not only do I have to pretend not to eavesdrop…but I also have to slide my butt along the edge of their table every time I get up to pee or carry a dangerous drink to and from the counter. So only the wall gets my back side. Pleased with my table choice I hang my backpack on Elijahs chair (jew reference) plug in my laptop (already at 100% but it is part of the ritual so it can’t be stopped) and sit briefly to log onto the correct network. Despite working here five times a week my computer has a love affair with AZ2Net876!. Every day I need to break them up. So my role as spoiler over I am ready to get sustenance. With a smile I turn my ass to the wall and begin to exit my area, but I trip over my power cord taking my laptop with me. I actually manage to catch the thing. Yet another win. I am on my way to the counter to…
  4. Place my order and pay. When I make it to the counter to 6 sympathetic and 2 amused eyes I see my order has already been entered into the POS. Usually this would be good but I am not having the spinach sandwich because, lets say, the spinach hasn’t been a happy ending. I consider eating it to make her happy but decide to correct the order. I stumble over this as I try to enter my email for our “spot on” extra credit. I have always liked extra credit and I am amassing points. It takes me three tries though and I back a way a bit sheepishly. I usually enjoy ordering, having a quick chat with the friendly staff about vagina surgery, or anti depressant medication always makes my morning. Instead I have wasted our time together correcting my order and messing up my email. Back at my table without tripping I sigh at the eleventeen open chrome tabs just as Amina arrives with my tab. I had forgotten to tip or sign. So she checked me out with no tip and brought me my card. I try to insist that I head back up there to tip but she won’t hear of it so I sit down with my tab and my tabs and feel guilty times two. On a normal day I would…
  5. Retrieve my order. This Monday I see my tea at the bar waiting to be picked up. I am not going up to get it because I will spill it. I see its liquid forming a meniscus at the top of the custom cup and it taunts me. “I will be on your chest soon caught by your overlarge, undersupported  breasts. I will dribble down your fingers causing you to whimper and jolt and with the jolt even more of me will be free, discoloring your Dansko Women’s Professional Oiled Leather Clog,Black,38 EU / 7.5-8 B(M) USjaunty green clogs and making a big splash on the floor. When you bend down to wipe me up the whole coffee shop will see your butt crack. Ha! I have you! ” Then I remember that I haven’t tipped AT ALL today let alone 100% and I head to get the tea myself…pulling my computer off the table by tripping over the cord. AGAIN. I set it on the table and back into the server who is bringing me my tea. I spill it down his chest. They insist on making me another one. Then they bring it to me.
    My tea...
    My tea…
  6. Work. I have already abandoned the plan. I was supposed to read and share other people’s work then write one parenting article and one sex article (except in the other order because thats how it works.) Then IF there was time I was going to write a blog post. Instead I am here with you…because it is Monday and nothing is going as it should.

What did you mess up this morning?

Soccer…I hardly know her

pie apples for soccer snack
These are pie apples…my soccer snack apples were even better.
Home made soccer bench
Home made soccer bench

Oliver came across this old post in the note app on my iPhone about soccer in Shelburne. I wrote it on the sideline of the soccer field in the fall of 2013. When we lived in Vermont and my kids did things in groups.  That might be called team sports.


It has been a mercifully long time since I was made aware of just HOW heinous sports gear is. Several years ago I went on a swim goggles strike. If my boys could remember to bring, put on, adjust the strap size, de fog, and remove goggles without screaming bloody murder or futilely demanding my help they can wear them. If not. Then not. It has mostly been a goggle free few years.

This morning is soccer in shelburbia. Things are looking good. First of all our kids have games at the same time. Although several friends have offered sympathy about the fact that I won’t be able to watch both games that is not actually my attitude. I don’t actually watch either game. I park myself in game proximity and turn and chat with whichever other parents,  siblings, or puppies are also happy to be uninvolved spectators. Mostly it is the puppies.

A second stroke of scheduling luck was the time of their mutual games. A reasonable 10am. Late enough to put together the snack I had procrastinated, and early enough to walk to the farmer’s market for lunch afterwards. A lovely Shelburban morning. When Oliver’s school alarm went off at 6:20 and woke three of us we were afforded PLENTY of time to get ready for soccer.

After a quick wallet emptying run to the market to buy organic apples from the local orchard, the best cheddar in the world from the non profit farm, and Vermont Smoke and Cure pepperoni  I returned home to see three happy boys on iPads. The extra neighborhood kid had a good attitude and a soccer uniform.

My boys? One had a good attitude, the other had a uniform.

Turns out that was just for show. Every element of the uniform needed adjustment. Wrong shorts (too short? Who knows) wrong socks. (Too long? Who knows) wrong under layer shirt (wrong color? Can’t even be seen). All if this is adjusted with muttering, sputtering and banging. The muttering becomes louder. He is about to blow.

There it is. The SHIN GUARDS.

“These don’t feel right.” A reasonable sentence, except when it is howled. He is clawing at his calf, twisting his body in agony. He hits the floor, legs too injured by the offensive shin guards to hold him any longer.

Since Steve slept through the alarm and missed the food shopping he gets to go first.

“What if I pull this over here.” Steve asks giving the shin guard a slight adjustment.

No, no, no, it hurts. Dada is hurting me. Dada is making it worse. Dada is HUUUURRRRTTTIIINNNG me.

Now imagine that for 20 minutes.

Steve leaves the mudroom in defeat and tags me in. Soccer socks are on but one is NOT RIGHT.  The kid removes it, turns it inside out and starts again. Do I tell him? This could go either way. I figure I have already opted in so I give it a try.

“Babe, I think that’s inside out.”

No response. Huff. Puff. Tug. Twist.

The Sock Is On.

I stand as if we are departing. Ha!

“What’s this?” He is pointing at the little seam worm that shows when socks are inside out. “Mama! What did you do?” “Maaaammmmaaaa”

He falls to the floor in misery, the sock offering as much torment as the shin guard before us. How can all of this be happening to him?

Meanwhile our 4 hours of prep time afforded by the freaking alarm has evaporated. 2/3 boys are sitting outside ready to go.

“I’ll see you in the van”, I tell the squirming mass.


Five minutes later he emerges limping from the pain of his cleats. His face is red but his eyes are dry.

We arrive at the fields. I send him away and stay at the other game with my shelburbia worthy local snack. I set it up and feel a bit of pleasure as I fan out apples and cheese and smoked meat on three different artisan bread boards. I pull out a vintage dual pump thermos…one with kids cider, the other with not-so-kids cider. I am pleased to have made it to the fields and I am ready to receive the accolades of the other moms as they enjoy the snack. I look up from my camp blanket to the faces of the other team’s parents.

Then I realize.

I have set up on the wrong sideline.

I fall to the ground writhing in upset. “Why? Why? Why did this happen to me? Why did they change the sides of the field?” “I’ll never be able to get all of this stuff over there.” “It hurts!”

Not really.

But I know where he gets it.

Sex Drive…and sex park.

Pulling into the parking space this morning I felt like a teenage boy losing his virginity. I went in and it was too far to the left. On try two I was too far to the right. In and out I went, off rhythm and crooked. Finally I pulled all the way out to start again. This time it worked. Flipping my back pack onto my shoulder and my hair off of my face I met the eye of a woman parked perfectly across from me. I gave a sheepish shrug hoping for a bit of camaraderie, but instead her eyes were wide and cold. She wanted no part of the mess that is my parking.

This reminded me of a piece that I wrote for The Good Men Project this fall.

Small black car
If this were my car I could maybe park it.

I will paste it here in case you don’t want to click the link.

In my family my mom drove. This was a necessary evil. Each time she saw a potential hazard she slammed on the brakes jolting the three of us forward and testing the functionality of the seat belt. She was also constantly worried we had missed a turn. This was before the era of GPS so there was lots of opportunity for confusion.


Despite the mental and physical exhaustion caused by my mother behind the wheel it was better than the alternative. My father was not a rule follower even when it meant breaking the law and risking the lives of his family. It was his way or the highway…particularly on the highway. My dad decided that it was easier to drive a car when you centered the hood of the car the dashed yellow line that ran between lanes. As a result we were a giant, deadly Pacman driving down the Mass Pike, gobbling dashed lines like packman pellets. The blare of horns was constant, just like my mother’s white knuckles.


In 2010 the Institute of Advanced Motorists found that in heterosexual couples men were four times as likely to drive as women. Amanda Marcotte writes in Slate magazine that men consider it emasculating when women take the wheel. I don’t know what my father thought…but I thought it might well extend my life span from 10 minutes to 70 years.


In our family Steve drives. In the early days of our relationship we would defer to each other. We acted as if driving were the desired position and riding was somehow “less than.” So I would “let” him drive and he would thank me and offer a favor later to show his gratitude. It worked quite well for me. As the years went on we just accepted that he would drive. On days that I had been out and about alone I would walk to the drivers side by rote even when we were headed out together. He would always seem pleased. So I would drive us. The kids would express surprise that I was driving while Dada was in the car and I just told them honestly that I didn’t like to drive very much, and Dada did.


I worried a bit that we were perpetuating a commonly held stereotype about gender roles. This concern didn’t prevent me from staying on the passenger side. I would tell them about my childhood where my mother drove all the time and figure they might chalk it up as personal preference not a societal expectation.


Over the years my driving skills dimmed as my night vision got worse and I had less and less practice. Now I am worried about perpetuating another myth…that women are worse drivers than men. Neither Steve nor I have gotten into an accident with another car in the years we have been together. We have had a few dings and dents… I seem to have a vendetta against trash cans near the driveway. I insist they are purposefully placed in my blind-spot. Steve has a particular curb on the way home from hockey that he has driven over three times. He describes it as jagged and jutting, and entirely uncurb-like. We are tied at zero serious accidents.


According to the National Highway Safety administration men cause 6.1 million accidents a year while women are responsible for 4.4 million, perhaps because (according to the Federal Highway Administration ) they drive 40% more than women. A 2014 report from the Insurance Institute of Highway safety takes into account the above numbers to conclude:


“That means men drive about 30 percent more miles than women. Yet, they’re implicated in slightly less than 30 percent of car accidents. Men do cause more accidents, but they are actually less at-risk than women, by a small margin.” This still leaves things a bit murky for me, which allows us to continue this entertaining debate.


There is one area that leaves no room for debate. I am the worst at parking. Not just the worst in my family, but possibly the worst in the world. I can easily spot my car in a lot because it hangs so far out past the other vehicles. After observing this a few dozen times I made a correction and began to pull into spots so far that the parking blocks became one with my front bumper. So I stopped pulling in as far. Which resulted in me hanging out the back again. A study from Ruhr University in Germany indicates that I follow the rule when it comes to parking. Sixty Five men and women were asked to park an Audi A6 pulling forward into an empty parking spot. They found that women took 20% longer than men to position the car, which in the end was less centered in the bay than the cars driven by men.


Recently Steve popped into the coffee shop where I was working for what I thought was a quick hello. When he reached for my car keys I asked him where he was headed. “Just to move the car” he told me. “You are taking up four slots.” I had arrived to an empty parking lot at 8am. Now around lunchtime patrons were headed to the sushi spot next door. The problem with staying between the yellow lines might just be genetic. With no other cars in my way I had pulled forward enough to center the cross hatch of the 4 parking spaces under the belly of the beast. My father would have loved my parking job.

Top Six Ways We Annoy Ourselves and How to Change

  1. We care about whether or not we have clickable headlines. See above.  The mantra for building a following seems to start with great content, move on to clickable headlines and finish with sharable graphics. For years I have focused on the content. Every once in a while I put up a shitty list (ahem) and those get shared. Yet the posts where I leave a little bit of myself on the page are beloved only by my mother.
  2. We let our vegetables rot in the fridge. Even the local, organic, expensive life changing vegetables become black sludge if we ignore them long enough. I’ve found an easy fix for this. Next time you pull out the dripping bag stay with it over the sink, give yourself a soothing “aged organics” spa treatment by rubbing the slime on your hands. Lean in and inhale deeply for a slow count of three. Then exhale. Next time you will get those veggies into the compost before they rot. Or perhaps not bring them home at all. That would be the most efficient choice.
  3. We yell at our children to stop yelling. The volume in the house is increasing. Sometimes with excitement but more often of course they are fighting over screen time. Or seating. Or who owns the green pen. Or really anything at all. For a while we can breathe through the noise. Until finally the only thing left to do is to scream as loudly as they are. What do we scream? “STOP SCREAMING.” Now that is an effective message. Almost as useful as telling someone who is anxious to “relaaaaax.” How not to yell? Leave the house. Kick them out of the house. Get really really good headphones. Which you can buy easily. Isn’t paying for a solution better than thinking of one yourself?
  4. We ruin perfectly good words. I think of Pop Warner and that horrible catchy cheer “Be aggressive B-E aggressive.” Be Authentic. B-E authentic. Authenticity isn’t a writing style. It isn’t something we need cheerleading to find. Except in advertising where we might replace lies with truths (Volvos- they are boxy but they are good) we already are authentic. We are already ourselves. We can’t be anyone else. That is authentic. Also annoying… modifying unique (the most unique) it is binary. One of a kind or not. Using notorious as a synonym for famous. Other than the Notorious BIG people who are notorious have done something BAD. Authenticity requires nothing new. Unique stands alone. Notorious is being famous for being bad, not bad ass. [Tweet theme=”basic-white”]Notorious is being famous for being bad, not bad ass.[/Tweet]
  5. We do stuff that is bad for us, and avoid stuff that is good for us. Things we do do: inhale Lays potato chips, play candy crush, watch the Bachelorette, gossip, and covet Teslas.  Things we don’t do: go running, eat our veggies, meditate, read the canon, watch silent films, feel grateful for what we have. The fix? A desert island with native Kale and the complete set of these.
  6. We start theoretically short correspondence by telling everyone how short the correspondence will be. “Just a quick note to say…” As the reader of the “quick” note I shouldn’t know how to decrease the word count before I have gotten to the content. To fix this don’t write that.

You might not appreciate the post, but at least appreciate that I left off the animated gifs. I hear they increase traffic as well. But I have to stay authentic.

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Darth Vader shares the screen with Grumpy Cat
“Most shared image on the internet”

Ten things I learned on my week off

What do you get when you combine a minor (don’t tell Steve) surgery, a pinched nerve, and a sick kid? Two working adult arms and zero adult working days. Sometimes a week away from life can teach us some very important things.

  1. Oxycodone makes you itchy. If you ever want to see your husband act like an ape just slip him an opiate. It’s pretty funny. It was a live action version of The Itchy and Scratchy Show. Which was even more funny because he had a Simpsons marathon on in the background as he itched and scratched.
  2. I really shouldn’t drive at night. I have been avoiding driving at night for years. Every once in a while I wonder if I have possibly exaggerated my status as a safety hazard. There are times when I allow a preference to become a rule, and it seemed possible that this was one of them. After Steve’s surgery we drove home. I mean I drove home. He lolled next to me itching himself with his good hand and offered turn by turn directions in the style of Garmin, or her cousin Siri. He didn’t once have to recalculate. Despite the impeccable performance of the half human half ape beside me I barely got us home alive. It was like this. Stay between the lines. Just look down at the lines and keep the car between then. Thats it…see the lines. What’s that? Car. Just look at the lines. Car. So many other cars. Wait thats a tree not a car. Thats why it is moving so slowly. Don’t look back at the tree, look down at the line. See the lines. Stay between them. Car. Another car. Tree? No car. All of this is to say I can see almost nothing at night. Cars have lights and are moving. Trees (except those festive ones) don’t have lights and are still. Both can kill you when you are driving as poorly as I do at night. So we will be ubering after the next surgery.
  3. I haven’t hosted the worst 9 year old sleepover. The kid returned with a big smile and a bruised thumb with a not long for this earth nail, a bloody foot and skinned elbow. When I asked him how the sleepover had gone he gave a huge grin. GREAT! He told me showing off his battle scars. “This one is from airhockey, this one is from the treadmill, and this one is from getting the orange off of the fan.” Excuse me? Although we all know the incredible injury risks of air hockey it was the orange fan part that confused me. “Well, it was after we got busted for 12:30 pitch black hide and go seek…then we were hungry so we snuck one at a time to get oranges. Then after we peeled them we needed to break them into section so we threw them at the fan.” “Hm.” I responded. “It didn’t even make a mess.” “Hm.” I responded again. “Ok, so a little mess…and one of my pieces ended in the bottom of the earth.” “Hm.” (Its all purpose people) ” You know so I didn’t want to leave it to rot so I climbed on the top bunk and fished it out of the bottom of the earth. I had turned off the fan light but (name redacted) thought I needed light so he turned it on and then I got a little hurt.” “Hm. Hm. Hm.”
  4. A tired kid speaks the truth. So the next morning (AKA today…Monday…school day) things weren’t so GREAT. He overslept. “Why didn’t you waaaaaake me?” “Hm.” “My thumb hurts.” “Aw.” (Sometimes I mix it up.) “I can’t put my sock on.” “Hm.” Then just shuddering weeping sobs as he limped around the house in one shoe using one hand to gather his things. As the sobbing crested and his face was red and slick with tears I decided to speak more than a syllable. “What is it you need sweetie?” “I don’t know what I need.” He wailed back at me. Isn’t that a truth we can all relate to. “Hm.” I said letting his soggy self melt into my arms.
  5. I can’t write 12 articles a week and like my life or my writing. I don’t think I need to elaborate. But I will. In this week of pain and illness and itchiness I still felt better than trying to squeeze out 1600 words a day. Hm.
  6. I totally dread sneezing. I know you all know how I pee when I sneeze, which has led to me avoiding fabric seats outside of my own home, and screaming out with full lung power to try to vent another way. Since the pinched nerve I have a new problem…each sneeze send an electrical current of pain from neck to finger tip. Which adds injury to insult. You might find me sitting in my own pee, holding my arm, and rocking while humming tunelessly. For a few moments I would be better off in the psych ward.
  7. There are people that don’t like clogs. There are people that don’t like clogs! Take a minute and let that sink in.  I rarely use exclamation points. But listen: there are people that don’t like clogs?!?! A Facebook friend had this as her recent status:

“No matter how many years I live on this Earth I will never get used to seeing people wearing clogs. Exceptions made for medical professionals and Dutch farmers.”

  1. 7b(this is not number one…this is what happens after a quote imbedded in a list when you don’t really know how to work wordpress) In my opinion there are two women on earth that shouldn’t wear clogs…Venus Williams and Alison Janney. The rest of us should learn from the hardest working people on earth….servers and health care personnel. Clogs are the best. They give you height, posture and comfort. You may say they are not stylish, but what is more stylish than being able to stay on your feet without shifting from side to side and counting the minutes until you can get home to take off your shoes? Clog up people. Love your feet.
  2. You need to have strong hands for socks. I know. That sentence doesn’t make sense. I am with you. I used to think getting a tantruming two year old into a snow suit was the worst secondary dressing I could do. Wrong. Putting on my Steve’s socks is the worst. [Tweet theme=”basic-white”]My husband’s socks are tighter than a virgin’s vagina.[/Tweet] I stretched them as far as I could and still couldn’t get them over his instep. He was so surprised. “I never realized my hands were so much stronger than yours.” Obviously he has never struggled to open a jar that he used his vise like grip to close. But second, why would you need strong hands for socks. I get my socks on every day without raising my heartrate. Its not as though they puddle around my ankles like a magnum condom on a minor penis…they stay up. So somehow I have learned that I need strong hands for socks. Or that Steve has strange socks.
  3. Never have a bartender at a party. We went to a lovely holiday party.  The food was great, the company stellar. The host balanced keeping the lights dimmed and the tables bussed with actually visiting with her guests. She was poised and welcoming. Not so the aproned woman who stood behind the bar. She mixed specialty cocktails and poured wine with something between a grimace and a growl. At the beginning of a party it feels posh and polished to have a professional. By the end there is a long line of semi drunk guests getting under her skin while they wait for drinks and forget what they wanted. One of the benefits of house parties is being able to mix your own drink. Make it a double in half the time of the pro. I have made this mistake muself
  4. I can’t work the numbered lists on WordPress. See 1b/7b for example.

What about you? What did you learn this week? Also- what is your position on clogs, bartenders and sleepovers. And are you itchy?