Thrilled to announce that my column, “When Do I Get to Slumber?” is up on the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop page – it’s an excerpt from the parenting collection, Martinis & Motherhood – available on Amazon!.
Click here for the Erma page to read the full column.
Click here to order your copy of Martinis & Motherhood!
I had the house to myself yesterday so I made a video.
I am writing to you with actual pen and paper because I keep waiting for you to return my calls and texts and I can’t figure out why you won’t respond.
What went wrong with our relationship, Scott? Did I ask for too many changes? Was I too picky, or did you just get bored?
I heard horror stories of construction projects going unfinished and contractors disappearing, but Scott, I never dreamt it could happen to us.
I look back fondly on our first meeting. I remember I got your number from my friend Natalie. My husband and I needed a kitchen remodel and she said we would “just love you.”
And we did love you, Scott. We did. I could tell immediately that you shared our vision for our new kitchen. You were so enthused and eager to please.You didn’t care that we wanted to convert from electric to gas. You weren’t put off by our request to add a window. You said all the right things.
Remember how we shopped for granite? I can still picture you in the store (oddly in slow motion) sharing your expertise and wisely talking us out of the “cheap stuff.”
The first few months of demo and constructions went so well. But then, something changed. Something went awry. I should have picked up on the signs. When the wrong cabinets were delivered you didn’t apologize and offer to fix the problem. No, you implied that they were exactly what I ordered.
Really Scott? Any idiot could tell the difference between Caramel and Honey Spice. Did you think I was a fool? Did you think I just wouldn’t notice?
My mother needed her Christmas card list updated because – well there’s no gentle way to put it – because her friends keep dying. Since I printed her address labels the year after my dad died, the maintenance of her Christmas card list is a job that now belongs to me.
I thought it would make things more simple if I printed up a paper version of the labels and sent it to my mom so she could make her corrections and mail it back to me.
But no, she insisted we do it by phone. This morning she called with her changes. I held my copy of the printed labels while my mother held hers, and we proceeded to discuss each and every one of the 45 names listed, whether they needed changing or not.
Mother: Mrs. John Bonham, yes that’s right because John died two years ago so it is correct it’s just her. And okay Mrs. Richard Burke, that’s good, that’s still correct. Mrs. Jill Carlin, yes that’s fine.
Me: Mother, can you just tell me the ones that aren’t correct? Perhaps that would make things go quicker?
Mother: Oh, okay, you prefer to do it that way?
Me: Yes, yes I would.
I’ve signed on to do book reviews for the New York Journal of Books. Here is my first! It’s on Aasif Mandvi’s essay collection, No Land’s Man
Perhaps you know Aasif Mandvi from The Daily Show. I didn’t, however. Because I rarely watch The Daily Show. I know I shouldn’t admit that. It make me unhip. I always intend to watch it, but then I forget. Anyway, I had never heard of this guy before. Which is probably good because that made me unbiased, right?
Let me know what you think. By the way, writing in the third person is hard, it turns out.
No Land’s Man by Aasif Mandvi
If you are looking for behind-the-scenes dish about The Daily Show, you won’t find it in Aasif Mandvi’s collection of essays, No Land’s Man. But what you’ll find instead are fascinating and funny tales about Mandvi’s childhood, South Asian family, and acting career—all told with rich description and an engaging, self-deprecating humor.
Mandvi, the “Senior Muslim Correspondent” for The Daily Show, begins his story with the realization that even though he had just completed a one-man show, “Sakina’s Restaurant,” about being an immigrant in America, the experience left him with a greater desire for more self-exploration.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Is it time for the holidays already? No. It’s Bulky Item Trash Pick-up week!
I can hardly contain my excitement whenever I receive the postcard from the rubbish company announcing that we can put our oversized trash items at the curb and they will magically be picked up. No questions asked. No extra fee. What a wonderful thing!
It’s so satisfying getting rid of old stuff. I find it truly liberating whenever I purge these unwanted items from my home. I like to put on my gardening gloves and drag to the curb those miscellaneous pieces of lumber, errant cement blocks, and rusted pieces of patio furniture that have been stacked up next to the trash cans. And something about them being labeled as “Bulky Trash” makes them even more repellent.
Go away bulky trash! I banish you from our home!
I look forward to this week for another reason too. I am, apparently, a bit of a scavenger. Okay, some might call me a dumpster diver. Whatever. Guilty as charged.
Your dad called me at work and said that you said I forgot to teach you how to do laundry. Perhaps you think it was some sort of parental failing on my part, but actually it was intentional. I washed your clothes for the past eighteen years so you could spend your time on more important things like studying, resume building, and improving your social ranking on the Kardashian app.
But since you are leaving for the dorms tomorrow, it’s time to learn. Here is a simple set of instructions.
1. First, check the label of anything expensive or fancy to see if it needs to be dry-cleaned. Set garment aside. On second thought, forget that. You can’t afford dry-cleaning. Why did we even buy something that’s dry-clean only? Let’s donate it and take the tax write off. We need the money to pay for that college.
2. Next, separate DARKS from WHITES. Okay, go ahead and say it, I’ll just wait. “That’s so racist!” Hah! That never gets old. You kids are so clever. Now back to it. Blues, greys, blacks, purples go in one dark pile. Reds, oranges, and pinks go in another. That’s your RED pile. White’s go in a separate pile – a separate but unequal pile. Why are they unequal? Because they need bleach. But we’ll get to that later.
7A – Wake and have breakfast with bleary-eyed Kid #1 who has not seen this hour, or any time close to it, since school ended two weeks earlier.
8A – Drop Kid #1 at Girl Scout sponsored nature park clean up. Speed off in car leaving behind giant cloud of dust and pretend that I don’t hear other mom’s last minute request for “extra hands.”
8:30A – Return home and get breakfast for Kid #2 and Kid #3, dog and cat.
9:20A – Drop DVD rentals at video store including dreadful one kids insisted upon starring a fangless, yet still sullen, Robert Pattinson. Regret wasting $5.00 yet delight in “I told you so” afterglow.
I’m not a psychologist, pediatrician, or child development expert, but I do have three kids, one of whom is almost an adult. Over the years I’ve read a ton of parenting books, often desperate for insight or answers. But what I found is that most parenting advice is just trite hooey. I mean, if we could all magically just nod off and “sleep when our baby sleeps” or “find ways to make time for ourselves,” then we wouldn’t be seeking advice in the first place.
I’ve made my own discoveries along the way. Here are a few practical pieces of advice, things experts won’t tell you.
1) You don’t need to videotape every second.
Sometimes it’s nice to simply enjoy a school performance, soccer game, or birthday party without the burden of videotaping. Besides, it’s better to videotape every day moments like your kids playing dress-up, building a fort, or having a conversation with their grandparents. They’ll mean a lot more to you in twenty years than some barely watchable clip of your kid standing behind 100 other kids singing, “Wacky Weather.” Oh, and don’t bother getting cutaways and insert shots thinking you’re going to edit the video later. Trust me, it ain’t gonna happen.
2) Don’t volunteer during hectic months.
Arrive early at back-to-school night so you can have your choice of party signups. Pick the lesser holiday parties, like Valentines Day, Columbus Day, or even Arbor Day. Don’t be stupid and sign up for the “Winter Holiday” party, because when December 18th rolls around and you haven’t started your “Winter Holiday” shopping, and your older daughter has a “Winter Holiday” choral performance that night, and your son needs help studying for his semester finals, the last thing you need is to suddenly remember that you signed up to bake twenty-five cupcakes for the fourth grade “Winter Holiday” Party. Continue reading