Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk on Monday

Take a typical carton of orange juice and leave it alone for at least 24 hours, and you know what happens?  Thanks to the laws of gravity, the pulp sinks down and settles happily at the bottom.  That’s why, every time my 14-year old daughter Melissa picks up a container of orange juice, she shakes it before pouring.

A creature of habit, Melissa had taken to shaking containers before opening no matter what liquid may lurk inside… milk, iced tea, fruit juice, it doesn’t matter. 

So why I am sharing this seemingly mundane information about my daughter?  Well, Melissa’s “shaking” habit sets the stage for our story, which begins innocently enough on a Monday morning.

It’s a day most people like to hate, except the members of my household.  Now don’t get me wrong, we certainly do not embrace the thought of a Monday morning, nor do we jump for joy when setting the alarm clock for 6 am the night before.  However, we do feel a bit more energized after a relaxing weekend, and we’re ready to tackle the challenges the week has to throw at us.  (This positive attitude is usually shattered by Tuesday, mind you.)

On Sunday night, lunches are made, clothes are ironed, and bedtime comes a bit earlier.  In the morning, after my alarm clock rudely warns me to throw off my warm covers, I walk down the hall, enter my daughter’s bedroom and prod her out of bed.  Some mornings are quite productive for her, while others find her still fussing with her hair as the school bus makes its steady approach to our house. 

A couple of weeks ago, Melissa, determined to be on time, had awakened without protest, spent a limited amount of time on her hair, and went down stairs a staggering 20 minutes before her scheduled departure.  Looking forward to eating a leisurely meal, she happily poured herself a bowl of cereal.

As for me, my morning seemed to be going according to plan.  I had showered and dressed, and now stood in the bathroom, blow dryer in hand, trying to coax a curl out of my poker straight hair.  Suddenly I heard a spine chilling scream, and then the sound of footsteps pounding up the stairs.  My visibly upset daughter burst into the bathroom, covered from head to toe with a silky white substance.


Now at this point I opted not to remind her that she is the only person in the house who drinks the organic milk, therefore, no need to hire a private detection to determine who had committed the crime of forgetting to tighten the lid.  Instead, I surveyed the situation, thinking quickly on how I could devise the best way to remove every drop of milk in the five minutes that remained before the bus came, and trying with every ounce of my being not to laugh.

I knew that if my mouth twisted upwards to indicate even the slightest smile, I might lose all of my limbs.

From her reaction, I concluded that the incident had a horrible, tragic effect on:

1. Her hair
2. Her fake Ugg boots (yes, I am happy to admit I will not spend $150 on boots when the fakes work just as well)
3. Did I mention her hair?

Priorities! We tackled the hair first.  I grabbed the blow dryer while she maneuvered the brush, and together we rid each strand of milk.  Panicked, she yelled and whined and fretted and cursed.  By this point, I promised to drive her to school since the bus had come and gone.  With transportation issues out of the way, we turned our attention to her milk-stained fake uggs, with no success, forcing Melissa to take drastic action and, (egads!) wear sneakers, a middle school fashion faux pas.

By the time we climbed into the car, the evidence of the breakfast fiasco had all been wiped clean, and the foul mood that now gripped my offspring remained the only remnant of our eventful morning. 

Later that day, as we busied ourselves with the choreography of dinner, I observed my now calm, happy child. 

“Melissa,” I said quite timidly as I set the forks and knives on the table, “you have to admit, the incident this morning really was funny.”

“I actually got a lot of compliments on my hair today,” she said, laughing at the irony.  

The remainder of the week passed by uneventfully, with the exception of the extra effort made on both our parts to get out of bed and ready on time, lest another shaken container ruin another pair of fake Ugg boots.

The incident will become one for the record books, not so much because of the humor, although that reason does rank quite high.  It will forever stay in my memory because when a carton of milk decided to let loose on my child, she ran up the stairs to that one person in the world who she knew would have the answers, the one person who would stay calm, who would clean her up, who would make things right.  She ran up the stairs…. to me.

Comments and feedback are encouraged and welcome.  For some reason, many people have told me they have left a comment, but it has not appeared.  To leave a comment, click on the arrow next to "comment as", then choose "anonymous".  If you would like to include your name, please leave your name in the body of your post.  Once you have posted your comment and chosen anonymous, then hit publish.  Check the page the make sure your comment appeared.  Thank you!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Waiting at the Bus Stop with Mommy

Pencils?  Check! 
Crayons?  Check! 
Glue?  Check! 
Pink back pack?  Check!

Yes, the first day of kindergarten had arrived, and my six-year old daughter Melissa brimmed with excitement, a precious cherub waiting to embark on her newest adventure.

She skipped along between my husband Bob and me as we made our way to the bus stop, at least 20 minutes early.  I soaked in her emotions, while keeping my own in check.  The anticipation of the first day reigned supreme among the handful of kids who greeted her at the corner.  With camera in hand, I snapped still poses, while my next door neighbor Angelica shot video footage of her son Christopher, who would be in Melissa’s class.

At long last, or all too soon, depending on your perspective, the school bus arrived. We paused for a moment to let the older students climb on first.  Christopher boarded next, jumping the stairs and taking his rightful place amongst the big kids.  Then came Melissa’s turn.  She stopped half way up the steps and, in response to my pleas, turned and gave me one more big smile.  Although the camera lens captured the scene, I need not have bothered taking photos.  The moment has been burned into my memory forever.

The bus pulled away and I stood there, watching, finally allowing my own feelings to swim to the surface.   I dabbed at the tears in my eyes, wondering just how many times I would experience this strange sort of melancholy every time Melissa passed through another milestone in her young life.

The next day, despite our best laid plans, instead of being at the bus 20 minutes early, we were still gulping down breakfast, and running through the house, making sure we had everything we needed for “Kindergarten: Day 2”.  Bob shouted words of encouragement, hoping to motivate us to move faster, yet his effort was all for naught. 

This time, the tears that flowed were Melissa’s as we watched the bus pull away, minus one member of its precious cargo.

“Mommy can drive you to school day,” I said reassuringly as I wrapped her in my warm embrace.

Soon enough, I found myself walking my little kindergartener into the office of her elementary school.   The secretary greeted me with a brusque smile, and asked the reason for the lateness.  

Great, I thought.  They are going to bestow the mother of the year award on me right now.  How am I going to handle 12 years of schooling for this child when I couldn’t even get her out the door on time for the second day of kindergarten?

Before I could answer, the vice principal stepped out from behind her desk and held out her hand, giving my daughter a wide, sweet, calming smile.  “It’s alright sweetie,” she told Melissa.  “I’ll walk you to your class.”

I certainly appreciated her kindness, but walking my daughter to class ranked as the number one, top priority on my to do list at that moment.  I wanted that honor, not some unknown school administrator!

“It’s ok,” I said.  “I don’t mind taking her.”

“Mrs. Weinstein, we really ask that the parents don’t walk the kids to class, it helps them to get used to their new environment,” came her text book reply.

With that, she took my daughter’s hand and off they went.  I stood there in the hallway….frozen…. watching them walk away toward Melissa’s classroom….away from the office….. away from me….

Wait.  What?  NO!  That’s my baby you are taking away!  THAT’S MY BABY!

I wondered if I would ever learn to let her go.

Eight years later, I still wonder.

Melissa, who is now in 8th grade, has no longer granted permission for her mother to accompany her at the bus stop.  The strict rules allow me to walk outside with her and chat for a few minutes, however, as soon as the bus turns the corner and her fellow classmates get any inkling that she might be standing there with (gasp!) her mother, I must retreat back inside the house.

I break this rule quite often, retreating only to our front porch where I stand until I am absolutely, positively sure she is safely on the bus and on her way to school.  This constant rule breaking is often met with scolding from my teenage offspring.

“Mom, the little 6th grader down the block doesn’t even have her mother wait at the bus with her!” she yelled in exasperation. 

I’m not sure why I can’t let her go.  I am gripped with some irrational fear that if I do not actually witness her stepping onto the bus, something will go wrong, she’ll be in harm’s way, and it will be beyond my control to do anything about it.

I try to explain that I worry out of love, which just leads to more exasperation on her part.  She assures me that she is fine, and deep down, I know she is right.

This morning, I tried to follow the rules.  Indeed, I removed myself from the vicinity of the bus stop and went back into the house within the designated time frame.  But the rules couldn’t stop me from watching out the window until I knew she was safe.

Next year, high school beckons, and four years after that, college.  It’s ok though.  I’m going to stow away under the bed in her dorm room.  She won’t even suspect I’m there.

When will I let her go?

The answer is quite simple.  Never.

Comments and feedback are encouraged and welcome.  For some reason, many people have told me they have left a comment, but it has not appeared.  To leave a comment, click on the arrow next to "comment as", then choose "anonymous".  If you would like to include your name, please leave your name in the body of your post.  Once you have posted your comment and chosen anonymous, then hit publish.  Check the page the make sure your comment appeared.  Thank you!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Confessions of a Naïve Step-Mom

Following our nuptials in April of 1994, my husband Bob and I had planned a spectacular 10-day honeymoon in Hawaii.  The only challenge: who would stay with my newly inherited step-daughter Jessica? 

At 18, and only 10 years my junior, Jessica certainly had the maturity and responsibility to stay on her own for a day or two.   However, we both felt 10 days just seemed too long to leave her alone.  Fortunately, my mother-in-law agreed to come in from her home on New York’s Long Island and keep her oldest granddaughter company.  The only caveat, a prior commitment meant she had to return home a day before Bob and I flew back into Philadelphia.  Jessica would be by herself for 24 hours, how bad could that be?

The answer to that question would come a few years later.

While giving our living room bookshelf a much overdo dusting, I came across Jessica’s high school year book.  I put down my sponge, settled on the couch and started flipping through the pages, smiling at images of Jessica and her friends.  It seemed nearly every blank space had been filled in by fellow seniors wishing her well.  Most of the messages were the fairly standard, “Good luck in college”  “Have a great summer”, and “I’ll miss you.”  However, one tiny note scrawled in the corner of the page caught my eye.  

Dear Jessica,
     I will never forget your, “My Parents are on Their Honeymoon” toga party!

We left her alone for one day.  ONE DAY!

Seems I had entered into the mother-daughter relationship with the proverbial “rose colored glasses”.  After my first few dates with Bob, I imagined Jessica and me becoming the best of friends.  “She’ll be the Maid of Honor at our wedding,” I told my friend Fern, who naturally assumed I had become quite delusional.   “Lisa,” she said, bringing me back to reality, “you haven’t even met her yet!”

The truth of the matter is, Jessica did take her place as Maid of Honor on our wedding day, but the journey to that wonderful occasion did not include the bonding that I had imagined.

The first inkling that shattered my skewed view of life as a step-mom came not long after Bob and I got engaged and I had officially moved in.  One Saturday afternoon when I found myself home alone, I noticed that Jessica had left her normally shut tight bedroom door slightly ajar.  I tiptoed into the room, which played host to my step-daughter’s incredible creativity.   Every inch of the four walls were covered with magazine posters of handsome young actors and the latest guitar strumming rock bands, hand crafted paintings, sappy poems, photos with friends demonstrating the silliest of poses, and drawings of the moon and the stars that glowed florescent when one turned off the light.

Impressed, I later told her how much I liked her bedroom.  Apparently, Jessica did not appreciate the compliment.   The next day, a photo of a vicious Doberman pinscher guard dog appeared on a sign taped to her bedroom door, with the following threatening message:  KEEP OUT, THIS MEANS YOU! 

Oh, can you feel the love?!

Poor Bob, forced to play tug of war with the two women in his life.  Jessica privately complained to Bob about me, and I, in turn, kept him at full attention with my rants about her.   Fortunately, my husband had the wisdom to know that the two women he loved would be able to work it out.  And in the end….through the angry tears and shouting matches, we grew to love each other, and work it out we did!

Nearly 18 years later, Jessica is a Washington D.C.-based union lobbyist fighting for the rights of working individuals.  I have watched her evolve into a beautiful, poised, and professional young woman who constantly demonstrates a fierce love for her family and an unwavering commitment to her work.  Today, we laugh about our early years together and my foray into the world of becoming an instant parent to a teenage girl. 

However, those early years with Jessica did help me prepare for the wonderful, daily teen drama and angst brought to me courtesy of my 14-year old love of my life Melissa.

Today, the posters, poems, and pictures now adorn Melissa’s bedroom walls, as she is well on her way to following in the footsteps of the big sister she adores.  As for me, if she ends up anything like Jessica, I know she’ll be perfect!  Two beautiful daughters, what more could a mother want!  

Fortunately, there is one character trait that my girls do not share.  I know that Melissa would never put a sign on her bedroom door warning her little ole mom to KEEP OUT……..


Alright, I’ll admit it, I’m still naïve.

Comments and feedback are encouraged and welcome.  For some reason, many people have told me they have left a comment, but it has not appeared.  To leave a comment, click on the arrow next to "comment as", then choose "anonymous".  If you would like to include your name, please leave your name in the body of your post.  Once you have posted your comment and chosen anonymous, then hit publish.  Check the page the make sure your comment appeared.  Thank you!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Market Research Survey Confirms it …I am Old

Last Saturday afternoon I dropped off my 14-year old daughter Melissa and her friend at the movie theater, which was conveniently situated inside the local mall.  I could have joined them for a sweet romantic comedy, but that would have meant sitting alone on the other side of the theater, lest someone make the connection that Melissa and I are actually related.

So I decided to go with Plan B, a glorious two hours by myself in the mall where I could freely wander into stores that did not have clothes my daughter would wear!

I had gone no farther than the food court, however, when an elderly lady with a clipboard stopped me.  “Excuse me ma'am, could I ask you a few questions?”

Normally, on my busy schedule, if I have to go to the mall it is during my lunch hour on a workday when time is severely limited, or I am with Melissa, who is committed to making sure we leave with bags upon bags of the latest junior fashions.  Time does not usually allow for the luxury of taking a market research survey, but today, I had a couple of hours to kill before the girls emerged from the theater , so I figured, why not?

“Do you purchase paper towels?” Came the first question posed to me by this little old lady who stood no taller than four feet.

“Yes,” I replied.

She smiled with anticipation.  “Oh good,” she said.  “Are you between the ages of 25 and 44?”

I considered lying just to make myself feel better, but what purpose would that serve? 

“No,” I responded, albeit reluctantly.

“Oh, ok,” she said, no longer smiling.  She fumbled through all of the papers on her clip board, looking for another product to pitch.

“Do you buy mozzarella cheese?”

“Sometimes,” I responded, thinking of the relatively few occasions when I have actually taken the time to make a recipe that calls for mozzarella cheese. 

“Oh good,” she said.  “Do you have any children 12 or under living in your house hold.”

“No,” I said.   “My daughter is 14.”

“Oh.”  This time, the smile faded completely as she fretted with the papers on her clipboard once again.  Clearly, she had hoped for much more from me.  She tried yet another pitch.

 “Do you eat cold cereal?”

“Sometimes,” I answered.

“Oh, ok,” she said, thinking that perhaps she could still salvage this interview and make her survey quota.   “Are you sure you don’t have any children under the age of 12?”

Now let me think, hmmm, perhaps they made a mistake on Melissa’s birth certificate.  Maybe I should call her school and tell them my daughter should really be in 6th grade, not 8th.   Or maybe a six year old child has secretly stowed away in my house without my knowledge.

“Yes, I am sure,” I said, starting to lose my patience.

“Oh, ok.  Well, exactly how old are you?”


“Oh, ok.” She fumbled with her papers one more time.  “Do you have an overactive bladder?”


Alas, this had not been the first time the market research company has accosted me in the mall.  Several months ago I had again found myself gloriously alone, on a quest for sensible black pumps comfortable enough to fit a size 10 wide. (I have the world’s largest feet, but I’ll save my shoe challenges for another story.)  While making my way to the closest shoe store, a boy who looked no older than 16 approached me and asked if I purchased feminine protection products.  Now, giving a teenage boy the job of asking middle aged women about their menstrual cycle was, in and of itself, quite unsettling.  Convinced though I was that this violated some kind of child labor law, my curiosity still got the best of me.

A few minutes later, the teenager happily escorted me to the office of the market research company, hidden down a long corridor deep inside the bowels of the mall.  I proceeded to sit in front of a computer and answer a number of multiple choice questions about feminine protection.   I buzzed along, anxious to get this over with and return to shoe shopping.  Then, suddenly, I stopped in my tracks. 
One of the questions asked:
“How do your Maxi Pads make you feel?”
a. Delighted
b. Happy
c. Comfortable
d. All of the above

Are you (insert expletive of your choice) kidding me!  These are Maxi Pads we are talking about, not Godiva chocolate!  

All women whose Maxi Pads make them feel happy, please raise your right hand. 

Yeah.  I thought so. 

Seriously, during a time of the month when we are overtaken by cramps, bloating, moodiness, and weight gain, I don’t think we are looking to our Maxi Pads to make us happy.  Until those dreadful five or so days have passed, let’s face it, there’s not a whole lot that’s going to turn our frown upside down.

For many years, my week of “unhappiness” came every 28 days like clockwork.  These days, not so much.  Sometimes three weeks will pass, sometimes two months.   But it’s ok, I’ve accepted my fate. 

After taking the survey, the research company handed me a whopping $7.  Finally, I could return to my ultimate shoe quest, but first, I kindly asked the teenager, “Can I use your bathroom?”

Yup, it’s that overactive bladder.  Let’s face it, I’m old.

Comments and feedback are encouraged and welcome.  For some reason, many people have told me they have left a comment, but it has not appeared.  To leave a comment, click on the arrow next to "comment as", then choose "anonymous".  If you would like to include your name, please leave your name in the body of your post.  Once you have posted your comment and chosen anonymous, then hit publish.  Check the page the make sure your comment appeared.  Thank you!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Husband Tried to Kill Me (not really)

Several years ago, my husband Bob tried to kill me.  No, he didn’t employ a hired gun from the cast of the Sopranos.  He secretly used a much more subtle, much less noticeable, and yes, much less incriminating method to help me meet my demise. 

I’ll explain.

Step into the time machine with me and travel back to the year 2000.  Bob and I needed a change of scenery, a change of pace, a break from our tedious routine.  So, we arranged for the lucky grandparents to spend a week with their three year old granddaughter Melissa, and hopped a cross country flight to the place where Tony Bennett left his heart.  Yes, The Golden Gate Bridge, Fishermen’s Wharf, old fashioned trolley cars, and the world’s most crooked street welcomed this east coast couple with open arms.

Bob and I immediately embraced San Francisco’s fine dining, beautiful scenery, fascinating history, quaint shopping galleries, and multi-cultural neighborhoods.  However, on the second day of our vacation, I started to feel a bit tired.  A slow growing, throbbing sensation gripped the back of my head until finally, on day three, the pain could no longer be ignored.  Reluctantly, I asked Bob if he had any Tylenol.

Never one to disappoint, Bob pulled out a prescription bottle filled to the brim with pills of assorted shapes and sizes.  A year earlier, he had been diagnosed with diabetes.  Fortunately, Bob took his medication diligently, resulting in normal blood sugar levels with each three month doctor’s visit.  Numerous drugs kept Bob healthy, and he carried them all in one prescription bottle, the contents of which now sat in his hand.  He pulled out two Tylenol and gave them to me.  I gulped then down, gave him a kiss of thanks, and we continued on our merry way.

The next morning dawned with my head still throbbing, so I requested more Tylenol from my husband, a pharmacy at the ready!  This day’s journey began with a trip to the rental car agency where we procured a vehicle that would take us north into wine country, a picturesque area turned brown and arid as a result of an unusual California heat wave.  As the temperature reached upwards of 104 degrees Fahrenheit, my head continued to throb.  The wine tasting didn’t help matters.  I looked at my husband and feebly asked for more Tylenol.  

However, this time, he did not respond to my request, but looked away, afraid to meet my steady gaze. 

“What’s wrong?” I inquired, getting slightly suspicious.

“Oh nothing, nothing really, it’s no big deal,” he said.

“What, just tell me,” I requested.

“Remember, this really isn’t that big a deal,” he insisted.

“Ok, so just tell me!” I demanded.

“Well, you know how I’ve been giving you Tylenol and your headaches have not been getting better?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I replied, stating the obvious.

“Well, it’s because I’ve been giving you glucophage by mistake.”

Now, I should pause here in my little tale to explain that glucophage is a medication given to people with diabetes to help control the amount of sugar in their blood.  If you read the fine print on the prescription bottle, it clearly warns: 

"Do not use to get rid of your non-diabetic wife’s headaches."

So at this point, my rational, logical brain took over and I reacted very calmly.  I immediately concluded that, thanks to ingesting glucaphage, my hours left on the planet were, indeed, numbered.

“YOU GAVE ME WHAT?” I shouted at my frightened husband, who stood quaking in his boots, terrified of my reaction.  “HOW COULD YOU DO THAT?  ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME!”

Needless to say, I lived to tell the tale.  The incident did, however, put a minor kink in our well planned vacation.  Seems Bob had filled his prescription bottle with just the right amount of pills to last during the week we would be away.  Since I had now taken four pills intended for him, we rapidly concluded that he would not have enough to last until we got home.  Forget about what would happen to me for taking diabetes medication I wasn’t supposed to take, we were now more concerned about what would happen to Bob for not taking diabetes medication he was supposed to take.

Fortunately for us, we owned a cat.  No, the cat did not fly across the country to bring Bob his diabetes medication.  But the cat did need to eat every day, and, thankfully, a gracious neighbor had agreed to make sure the feline didn’t starve.  This meant that this same gracious neighbor had a key to our house, and could go in, find Bob’s diabetes medication, and fed ex the pills to our hotel in San Francisco, which she did!

In the end, our neighbor saved the day, and neither one of us met our maker during our trip to San Francisco.  However, I did learn a valuable lesson. Tony Soprano’s got nothing on my Bob!

Comments and feedback are encouraged and welcome.  For some reason, many people have told me they have left a comment, but it has not appeared.  To leave a comment, click on the arrow next to "comment as", then choose "anonymous".  If you would like to include your name, please leave your name in the body of your post.  Once you have posted your comment and chosen anonymous, then hit publish.  Check the page the make sure your comment appeared.  Thank you!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I originally posted this in celebration of Valentine's Day 2012 - now as I prepare to celebrate 19 years of wedded bliss with the man of my dreams on April 23, it seemed only fitting to post it again.  Happy anniversary to my Bobby Bear!! I love you!

How I Met My Husband: The Bunny Suit

Earlier this evening I received a pleasantly surprising phone call from my brother Steven.  Seems my name had been drawn from a basket full of names of people who had helped support an organization called “Hearts for Autism” by entering a raffle drawing for an assortment of goodies.

When the call came, I had been sitting on the sofa in our family room, my hair pulled back in a most unflattering style, sweat pouring from my skin after a spin on the exercise bike.  I wore my classic green sweatpants purchased when dinosaurs walked the planet, and my torn and tattered Beatles Yellow Submarine t-shirt purchased during my pregnancy 15 years ago, a shirt I refuse to part with…for sentimental reasons. 

I turned to my husband Bob and proudly announced that I had just won a basket full of beauty products.  His immediate response, without skipping a beat:  “You don’t need a beauty basket.” 

And that is why I am still so crazy about this guy who came into my life two decades ago, thanks in part to my job at a day care center and my ability to look adorable in a bunny suit.

Ok, I’ll explain.

While in college as an education major, my sister Bev (who is now a successful kindergarten teacher) took a job at a local day care center to get some experience under her belt.  When the center needed some extra part-time help, she approached me with the offer.  Although the job wouldn’t help with my goal of becoming a journalist, I figured it provided a few extra bucks and the chance to cuddle with some adorable toddlers.  Little did I know that day care center would lead to my first position in the real world.

Following my graduation from Temple University with a degree in journalism and public relations, I began the arduous task of scanning the Sunday paper for relevant positions (again, this happened in the prehistoric era, career builder and monster were not even figments of anyone’s imagination yet) sending out resumes, and hoping for that phone call from a company, any company, expressing their interest. 

Surprisingly, my day care experience, not my writing skills, caught the attention of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).  They had a new fund raising program called a Hop-A-Thon, where children in day care centers asked people to donate a penny per hop to support “Jerry’s Kids”.  Since I had worked in a day care center, the MDA felt I’d be perfect for the job!

During my two year tenure at MDA, my supervisor introduced me to Bob Weinstein, a TV director with a local station in Philadelphia.  Bob had been tasked with directing the local portion of the annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon.  I’ll admit, I was smitten, but didn’t think the guy even knew my name.  (A true assumption, I learned years later)  Bob had eight years on me, and a teenage daughter!  What would he ever see in a younger woman like me?

Although I left MDA to move onto greener pastures, I stayed in touch with my former boss.  So it did not come as a total surprise when she called me one day, but the favor she asked threw me for a loop.  A local day care center had won the distinction of raising the most money through the Hop-A-Thon program and had earned an appearance on a local children’s show called “Captain Noah”.  My former boss asked, or should I say, begged me to join the children on the show, dressed in a bunny suit!

I immediately jumped at the opportunity, only because of the slim chance that I might run into Bob while at the TV station.  At this stage in my life, I had been on and off with the same guy for four years, a relationship that had become one of convenience rather than emotion.  Like most women my age, I longed for a long-term relationship that would lead to marriage, children, the house with the white picket fence….you get the picture.

I walked into the TV station lobby not really sure if Bob would even show any sign of recognition.  However, unbeknownst to me, my former boss had told Bob about my crush.  Sure enough, he came through the lobby as I waited to go in, and fortunately, I had not yet donned my bunny suit.  He hugged me and said how great it was too see me.  My hopes were raised a tiny bit…now if only I could get through this performance without my Bob seeing me in a bunny suit.

I joined the toddlers in the studio, floppy ears and all, for the taping of the show.  When the director called it a wrap, I retreated out the door, longing to get back to the dressing room and out of my getup as soon as possible, lest Bob see me in fully bunny regalia.  I had barely walked two feet when another door opened and into the hall walked, you guessed it….Bob Weinstein!  Words to describe how I felt at that moment include, “mortified” “embarrassed” “horrified” and did I mention, “mortified”?

Since that fateful day, I’ve been blessed with my beautiful inherited daughter, Jessica, and my 14-year old love of my life, Melissa.  We’ve been through six different homes, job losses, health scares, and now, a steady phase of stability.   Recently I learned that, when Bob saw me in the bunny suit, he thought I was adorable and sexy.  Over two decades later, as I sit here in my well worn sweat pants and tattered t-shirt, he still thinks I’m adorable and sexy.  Bob, for all that you are, and for all you have given me, I love you!  

My husband Bob and me during a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth - happy 19th anniversary sweet heart, you are the love of my life

If you like my stories, please feel free to tell me in the comments below!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Bathroom Scale

I recently purchased an apparatus that I have avoided for most of my adult life.  It has numbers on it, and most women want to smash it to smithereens.  Yes, you guessed it, I invested in a bathroom scale.

I figured if I am going to make the commitment to eat healthy, logically I should find a way to track my progress.  My old bathroom scale featured the rolling numbers, where you’re never quite sure if the number “0” is lined up properly.  And, as all women know, an improperly lined up “0” could add a few ounces to your weight.  And yes, EVERY OUNCE MATTERS!

I came home from Target and proudly showed my husband Bob and 14-year old daughter Melissa my purchase, a brand new scale that displays your weight using a digitally enhanced number so that people like me with middle aged vision can actually see how much poundage they’ve packed on.

Bob had his doubts about this new contraption’s accuracy.  “Let’s try testing it by weighing something else,” he suggested.

So, Bob dragged a 10 pound bag of kitty litter out of the garage and plopped it on the scale. 

The stupid contraption displayed a zero. 

So….. I went back to the garage and hoisted yet another bag of kitty litter across the family room and into the kitchen where a freshly minted scale sat waiting patiently for us to weigh something….anything.  Now, with two, 10 pounds bags of kitty litter properly placed where human feet would normally go we expected to see the number 20 in the digital screen. 

The stupid contraption still displayed a zero.

We concluded that the scale must need something of more substance in order to prove its accuracy.  We glanced at each other for volunteers.  I shook my head vigorously.  I had made the commitment to purchase the scale, but to actually get on, no way!  The only time I would allow myself to share an intimate moment with this seemingly innocent looking contraption was in the morning, before I ate a thing, and after I shed every single piece of clothing that could add even a fraction of an ounce.  Weigh myself at night?  Absurd!

Fortunately, Bob volunteered to be our official “Scale Guinea Pig”.  Bob has been on the latest weight loss company’s “Starvation Plus Package Plan” for three weeks now, and has not yet tested its effectiveness.  He stepped on the scale, and immediately, the number staring back at us showed he had lost 12 pounds since his last trip to the doctor a month ago. 

“That can’t be right,” he said.  “I must weigh more than that.”

Sigh.  Back to square one.  We needed another volunteer.  

no. No. NO. NO!   

Not me!

Bob and I both looked at Melissa.  Reluctantly, she stepped up to the plate, or up to the scale, as it were.   Again, we waited with baited breath for the contraption to do its calculations.  When the number stared back at us, Melissa insisted it was accurate.  Still, I wasn’t 100 percent sure.

Having depleted all other volunteer options, I took a deep breath and stepped on the darn thing.  The number did not shock me as much as anticipated, although I had secretly hoped it would be less.  Sigh.

So Bob thought his weight would be more, I thought my weight would be less, and Melissa thought her weight was just right. (Are you sensing a Three Bears fairy tale type of story here?)

Fast forward 12 hours.  There I stood, ready to once again set foot on Mr. Scale.  But this time it had been hours since I’d taken my last bite, and no clothes would increase the number staring back at me.  I put one foot on….then the other.  I held my breath…..then looked down. 

Hmmm, I weighed four pounds less than what Mr. Scale had told me the night before. 

That settled it! 


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Monday, February 6, 2012

Honey, Do I Look Fat?

Do.  I.  Look.  Fat. 

These four words, alone, seem meaningless.  But string them all together and they form a sentence that puts the fear of the almighty into the hearts of nearly every man, in every country, on every continent across the globe.

Men would rather give up their 55 inch big screen, HD TV with surround sound than be forced to answer that question.  If given the choice to honestly tell a woman if she looks fat or relinquish 50 yard line seats to the Superbowl, the majority of men will kiss those tickets goodbye.

There are also variations on the question that still cause men to quake in their boots.  These include:

Does this dress make me look fat? 

Does my butt look big in these pants?

And the dreaded,

“Can you tell that I’ve put on weight?”

Men, I share with you these wonderful words of wisdom.  When confronted with any variations of this terrifying question, there is only one response to consider, and it is spelled “N” “O” – NO!   You might also add responses such as:

 “Honey, you always look beautiful”


“Honey, you look terrific in that dress” 

It does not matter if said dress makes your woman resemble a beached whale, you simply have to put a positive spin on your response.  Seriously, your life depends on it.

So, knowing how horrifying it is to be confronted with this question, I wonder why any sane human of the male persuasion would voluntarily enter into this conversation.  But yes, as unbelievable as it may seem, I know of a man who did just that.

My friend Sue (name changed to protect the innocent) had engaged in yet another hectic morning routine.  After she had prodded her kids out of bed, made them breakfast, showered, dressed, and shooed the kids out the door, she finally paused for a moment to wolf down a bowl of Special K before leaving for work.  As she took another spoonful, she noticed her husband Larry (name changed to especially protect the innocent) staring at her.  Of course, paranoia set in.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“Nothing,” he said.  “I was just thinking, you eat really healthy, it’s a wonder you’re not thinner.”


Alas, t’was too late.  The words had already escaped from his lips.   No amount of groveling on Larry’s part could convince Sue that he did not think she looked like an elephant.   His feeble attempts to explain his comment were only met with angry tears.   Fortunately for Larry, Sue had to leave for work…. so he would live to see another day…or least live until 5 pm when his spouse returned home. 

Poor Larry.

After Sue retreated to her car for the long drive to work, she did the only thing she could think of to make her feel better.  She called me.  I’m sorry to say my reaction may not have been the “Girl Code” sympathy she had expected.  Yes, you guessed it, I laughed.

How could I react with humor when my friend had just been through a major trauma, you ask?  Well I’ll tell you.

1. Sue is not fat.
2. Larry is usually, well at least 99 percent of the time, really good to her.
3. It was obvious that Larry must have over dosed on cold medication or some kind of other drug that wrecks havoc with your judgment.  Otherwise, why would he voluntarily enter into such a life threatening situation?

I try to spare my own husband from the horrible fate of having to answer the dreaded “fat” question.  However, on the rare occasion I do put him to the test, he always passes with flying colors!  It also helps that Bob has a very poor memory, a character trait that works to my advantage.  It doesn’t matter how many times I may have worn a particular dress to work, each time he sees it he says, “Wow, you look pretty, is that new?”

You gotta love the guy.  I think I’ll let him keep the TV!

Comments and feedback are encouraged and welcome.  For some reason, many people have told me they have left a comment, but it has not appeared.  To leave a comment, click on the arrow next to "comment as", then choose "anonymous".  If you would like to include your name, please leave your name in the body of your post.  Once you have posted your comment and chosen anonymous, then hit publish.  Check the page the make sure your comment appeared.  Thank you!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Germ Warfare (Cough, Sniff….I have a cold)

My daughter Melissa is learning about the respiratory system in her 8th grade science class, and has made a habit of reciting every step in the unbelievably complicated process that happens when a human being just takes a simple breath.  For me however, all I know is that a breakdown in the respiratory process translates into a trip to the drug store to purchase tissues, throat lozenges, nasal spray, and a decongestant.  Yes, my friends, you guessed it.  I have a cold.

The first stirring of my battle with germ warfare began two days ago on a Thursday morning when I woke up a bit more tired than usual.  You see, on most days I am a self-described morning person.  The hour and a half between 6:30 am and 8am are the most productive time of day.  Two loads of laundry come in and out of the wash, clothes are ironed, lunch is made, dishes are cleaned, Melissa is hugged goodbye (in private of course, lest her bus mates see a public display of affection), breakfast is made, coffee is brewed, and then, after all of that, I sit at the computer and chat with friends on Facebook, all before I leave for work. 

However, when Thursday morning dawned, my sluggishness clearly indicated that something had gone amiss in the ole respiratory process.  Sure, I had the sniffles, but I chalked it up to allergies.  At work I struggled to focus as I counted the hours until my warm bed beckoned, promising a night of peaceful oblivion where any potential cold germs would be washed away by sunrise.

Admittedly, by evening on a typical day, I’ve usually expended most of my energy.  After dinner, I ride my exercise bike, slip on my pajamas then watch TV, go on the computer or read until about 10 pm, my self-imposed bed time.  I know that I could be much more productive during the evening hours, however, I simply have nothing left to give. On Thursday evening however, bedtime came even earlier, at 8:30 pm.  “I’ll feel better in the morning,” I tried to convince myself.

All too soon, my alarm clock rudely blared its wake up warning.  I groaned, rolled onto the floor, stumbled into Melissa’s room, blew my nose (that woke her up) and stood there until she assured me she would not go back to sleep.   Then I crawled back into bed, comfortably snuggled under the cozy blankets, thinking of all of the reasons why I should call in sick.  Unfortunately, logic took over and I soon found myself showered and dressed, behind the wheel of the car on the short drive to work, hoping the hot coffee would help poke a hole in my clogged nasal passages. 

I had another incentive for getting through the day, dinner plans with a dear friend I hadn’t seen for months.  Over our meal, she sympathized with me as I continuously reached for the stack of tissues stuffed into my pocketbook.  Laughter temporarily pushed the congestion aside as we talked of our children, our husbands, our health, our diets, vacations, movies, and books.  We wondered why, as women, we don’t allow ourselves to simply take time for ourselves.  We seem unable to simply pause during our day and relax with a good book, or watch TV.  We’re always thinking, “I should be more productive, I should be doing something more.”  We don’t know how to give ourselves a break.  Sigh.

Well today is Saturday, and my respiratory system is in a state of full disarray.  Knowing I could enjoy the wonders of sleeping beyond the call of the rooster, I popped some night time cold medication last night, which promptly sent me into the land of bad dreams, a state I didn’t awaken from until 10 am.   My husband Bob, displaying his loving nature, decided to pamper me by keeping his distance, lest my germs infect him as well.

So today I will try to allow myself to just be.  Yes, there are dirty dishes piled high in the sink, dirty clothes piled high in the laundry, and dirty tissues piled high next to my bed.  I could be so productive but I’ll give in, I’ll just rest.  In this game of germ warfare, I admit it, I lose.

Comments and feedback are encouraged and welcome.  For some reason, many people have told me they have left a comment, but it has not appeared.  To leave a comment, click on the arrow next to "comment as", then choose "anonymous".  If you would like to include your name, please leave your name in the body of your post.  Once you have posted your comment and chosen anonymous, then hit publish.  Check the page the make sure your comment appeared.  Thank you!!