Dad

After a courageous and lengthy battle with cancer, my dad passed away on January 11th, 2018. I have had so many thoughts and emotions about my dad, his illness, and his death, and I’ve just skimmed the surface in the eulogy (below) that I delivered at his funeral on January 16th.

 

I want to begin by thanking my Mom for taking care of my Dad for all these years. I can’t even begin to imagine what went on behind the scenes, but even just making sure that he got to his appointments, that he took his medicine, and that he ate and drank enough was no small feat, and then you also conducted research to find him the best treatment available all over the country, and kept in touch with and questioned his doctors constantly. You nursed Dad back to health after multiple surgeries and setbacks, and you are most of the reason that we had him for as long as we did.

When my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 11.5 years ago, we were told he would probably not live more than one year. Matt and I had only been married for a little over a year at that point, and we didn’t have any children yet. Upon learning of my Dad’s diagnosis, I decided that I wanted to have a baby. Although my dad was already a grandfather, I felt an urgency to see him in the role of grandfather to a child of mine, and I hoped that he would live long enough for some of his personality to rub off on that child. That child is Caroline, and my Dad lived long enough to not only be a major presence in her life, but in the lives of Will (whose name he called out and whose hand he squeezed hard last week, in the midst of his delirium) and James as well. He loved each one of them so much, and they are the beneficiaries of my Dad’s gentle and comforting nature, his abounding patience, his keen interest, and his sense of humor.

I missed my dad for years before he was gone; not because he changed much, but because I knew he would be leaving us. I began taking notes about him so that I wouldn’t forget anything, and I’ll tell you some of the things that were significant for me to remember.

Family was a matter of paramount importance to him, and he wanted us to be together always. When his father, Benjamin, was dying, he called my father into his hospital room and said, “Stay with Henry,” my uncle, and he called Henry into his hospital room to say, “Stay with Julian.” That was a lesson my Dad passed down to us: stay with the family. This past week, we were all together as much as possible, and we will continue to be together, and my Dad would be happy about that.

My Dad served in the Navy as Lieutenant, Junior Grade , and loved stories centered around the sea, particularly Billy Budd, Robinson Crusoe, Captains Courageous, and Mutiny on the Bounty. He used old-fashioned words like “dungarees” “salve” and “sanguine.” He called aluminum foil “tin foil” and so do I. He tied his shoelaces like a child: two loops first, then a knot. He loved and appreciated nature, and was always awed the brightness of green trees against the grey sky right before it rained. Whenever we would go to Florida he would remind us how amazing it was that we could be in New York in the morning and Florida by lunchtime.

My Dad was a man of integrity who always strove to do the right thing, even if that thing were difficult to do. He was a man on whose advice and dependability you could constantly rely. He was gentle, patient, and almost never raised his voice. I can’t recall his ever being angry with me except for one time and I deserved it. He made me feel comfortable and supported, and he was always interested in what I had to say, even the most mundane things. He was a true renaissance man, someone who was equal parts business and creativity. He made the most stunning and professional-level pottery as a hobby, and we are proud to display it in our home. He was a successful entrepreneur, and managed to not offend anyone with whom he was negotiating. He was a consummate diplomat and peacekeeper, both at home and in his professional life. Most of all, there was something magical about him, such that everyone who met him loved him immediately and forever.

One of my favorite things about my Dad was his sense of humor. At a very traditional Japanese restaurant, after taking a look at the indecipherable menu, he asked the waiter, deadpan, for a roll with butter. He once said to one of our family’s dogs, ‘‘I like you, Buddy, because you don’t have any of my credit cards.’’ When he and my Mom were shopping for a sofa bed, he told me that one of the brand’s motto’s was ‘‘For people you want to come back again.’’ My Dad joked that there should be another brand whose motto would be ‘‘For people you don’t.’’ I asked which sofa he would choose and he just smiled.

My Dad often used his sense of humor to diffuse tension. When I took him to the hospital for a test a few years ago, he walked up to the check-in desk and said to the woman behind it, before she had even asked him a question: “Julian Jadow.  J-A-D as in David-O-W, 12/19/1930, four children, six grandchildren. Not allergic to latex. And they say I have a likelihood of falling but it hasn’t happened yet.” He liked to tell people in the medical profession that he had something called ‘‘micturational syncope’’ and then wait eagerly with a twinkle in his eye to see their reaction. I think he was testing them to see if they knew what it was and how to spell it. Once, during a hospital stay, he got a flyer which said that for Hanukkah the chaplain and music therapy team could pay him a visit to brighten his room with songs, prayers, and joy. I read this flyer to him and he asked “How do you get them to not visit?” Although he greatly respected and cherished all of his doctors, he liked to poke fun at them to keep things light. He would report, “She doesn’t see anything in the liver. But I’m not so sure she knows where the liver is.”

Over the course of his life, my Dad was a hero on multiple occasions. When my Mom choked at home (several times) my Dad performed the Heimlich maneuver on her. He once pulled a little girl who couldn’t swim out of the deep end of a swimming pool when her parents didn’t see her jump in. And as for me…watching my Dad tolerate much of his pain unmedicated over the last few years, especially after he suffered compression fractures in his back as a result of radiation, encouraged me to do the same with my migraines. He changed my life, just by being stoic. What’s more, being able to rid my body of excess toxins also enabled me to have a third child, something I had always wanted. Without my Dad, there would be no James.

I don’t know what my Dad was like at home during his numerous treatments, but to me he rarely complained. He was brave and tough, and he didn’t like to think of himself as sick. He would say, “I may drop dead at any minute, but I’m not sick.” Anytime he answered the phone, even right after major surgery, he would clear his throat before saying hello so that his voice would sound strong. He didn’t want people to think of him as weak, and he would say of his cane, as he was using it to walk, “I don’t need my cane, it just gives me confidence.” When he said that, it reminded me of my grandmother, his mother, who would always tell people, as she aged, “I can’t walk, but I can dance.”

Up until two weeks ago, my Dad answered his phone whenever I called, and we could still have real conversations. Then he got too tired too talk. And then he drifted away. I will miss calling him everyday on my walk to school to pick up the kids. I will miss his presence at family gatherings. I will miss his comforting and supportive nature. We lost a great man. I hope he knows how much he was loved, admired, respected, and appreciated, and how totally unforgettable he is. We could have relied on him for anything. I feel extremely lucky to have had him as a father.

When I think back to that time over a decade ago, when we were first given bad news, all I wanted was for my dad to survive. I guess you could say I felt Dayenu, or It would have been enough. And then I wanted to get pregnant, so that Matt and I could give my dad just one grandchild from us. And I did. Dayenu. And then we made my Dad a grandfather again. Dayenu. And then again. Dayenu. And after all these years, last week I was told that my Dad had only a few days to live and I thought, “Not Dayenu.” When it comes to a loved one, it’s never enough. I know that, with respect to my father, I got everything I asked for and more. But we still weren’t ready. It wasn’t enough.

I imagine that one of the biggest fears, when facing death, is that people will forget about you; that life will continue on without you and that you won’t only cease to exist but that, in the act of people’s forgetting, it will be as if you never existed at all. Dad, I want to assure you that we won’t forget you. We will talk of you often, we will think of you always, we will look at your picture, we will cry, and we will laugh. We all love you so much. They said one year, Dad, and you gave us 11. You are our own personal Hanukkah miracle, and I am so grateful for that.

Right Now

Vintage clock

I’ve been reflecting a lot about the passage of time. The main reason for this preoccupation, I think, is that my children are hitting various milestones that underscore their ages and, with that, I can’t help but think about how little time I have left with them under my roof. My oldest child, age 10, was assigned a date for her Bat Mitzvah. My middle child, age 8, has a mouthful of braces and will be going to sleep away camp for the first time in June. And my youngest, 18-months-old, is starting school next fall.

It’s not just the major milestones that have me focused on my children’s rapid maturation. It’s the daily reminders as well—how my 10-year-old is suddenly so particular about what clothes she’ll wear; how my 8-year-old won’t come over to me in public when he’s with his friends, but instead will give me just the tiniest tilt of his head to let me know that he sees me; how my toddler is swiftly growing out of all of his clothes, diapers and toys. Wasn’t it just last week that this toddler was a tiny baby in my arms, with fuzzy, chick-like hair, gripping my finger hard, with his entire fist, as if to say, “Mommy, I will never let you go”? Weren’t they all just that tiny? And yet, here I am, a few short years later, with two big kids who will no longer hold my hand in public, and sometimes not even at home. They have, in fact, started to let me go. And it’s sad.

Aside from my children’s rapid growth, there are other indications that time is swiftly passing. My husband, whom I met when I was 22 and he 23, turned 40 this year, and we also celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. My sister, whom my parents adopted when I was in college, is in college herself now, as are three of my nieces and nephews, and my other nephew is applying to medical school. My parents have become grandparents and, as they age, it is becoming clear that they need me just as much as I need them.

I know why it’s distressing that my parents are aging. But why do I feel uneasy about the fact that my nieces, nephews and sister are in college and (almost) graduate school? Why am I so sad that my children are growing up? After all, isn’t that what they’re supposed to do? They should be separating from me, despite the fact that it hurts like hell, so much so that I can’t help but take it personally.

The answer is twofold. In part, it’s nostalgia. I’m sad because I can’t get the past back. I will never again hold my newborn baby in my arms. I will never again celebrate my child’s first spoken word, first steps, or first taste of real food. Even though I’ve had those experiences and enjoyed them tremendously, the fact that I won’t have them again feels like a terrible sense of loss.

The other part is that seeing those around me age has forced me to confront my own aging. It’s impossible to say, “My daughter has a Bat Mitzvah date!” without thinking, “Wait, I’m old enough to have a child who’s becoming a Bat Mitzvah?” It’s hard to think about sending a child off to sleep away camp without thinking about sending that child off to college. And every now and then, when I’m chasing my toddler around, a thought pops into my head that I hadn’t until right this minute allowed to become fully conscious, because I didn’t like its message: This wasn’t as hard a decade ago.

So what is the point of all this? The point is that I’ve become acutely aware of how little time there is for each of us, even in the best case scenario, and how quickly that time passes. I’m now starting to wonder if I will have regrets when I’m old, and what those regrets might be. I’m wondering if I’m doing enough with my allotted time, or if I’m squandering this gift. I’m wondering if, when I’m old and gray, I’ll say to myself, “That was it?” I’m wondering if there’s anything I can do to prevent myself from ever feeling that way.

I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer. I don’t mean to be sanctimonious. I will continue to be the realistic (some may say cynical), sarcastic, ranter that I’ve always been. But I will keep thinking about these issues. I will try to be more careful with my mindset–I shouldn’t be saying, “I can’t wait for winter break!” or “I wish it were summer!”– and with my actions. Given the choice between spending time with a loved one or scrolling through some social media site, I need to choose the loved one. I want to choose the loved one. I need to try to use my time in the most effective, most fulfilling, way possible. I think that’s the best that I, or anyone, can do.

 

 

 

No Guns in Australia?!

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I watch a lot of House Hunters International before bed because I find it to be soothing and I like seeing how people live in other parts of the world. Over time, however, the format of the show has become predictable, so I did my own version that’s slightly different from what you would see on HGTV. I know this isn’t even close to what real scripts look like! Please forgive the formatting.

 

ACT 1

NARRATOR: Mallory and Ted have left Johnsonville, a small town in Wyoming, to make a fresh start in Sydney, Australia.

TED: Hi, I’m Ted, and I work in online advertising. I’d always wanted to live abroad, and suddenly the opportunity presented itself.

MALLORY: What actually happened was that a producer from House Hunters called Ted’s office and asked his boss if they could transfer an employee to Sydney so that House Hunters could film them looking for a house. Ted can do his job from anywhere, so his boss said ok. Oh, and I’m Mallory. Obviously.

TED: I was ready to never see another snowflake again.

MALLORY: I hate warm weather. And poisonous ocean creatures. Sunscreen gives me hives.

TED: Ocean life thrills me.

MALLORY: You won’t feel that way when a cone snail shoots a poison dart into your big toe and you die a slow and painful death. Ted.

Cut to Ted’s face. He has a plastered-on fake smile that looks awkward.

TED (weakly): We’re so excited.

NARRATOR: Ted and Mallory may have a tough time finding a house that fits all of their requirements, in part because the housing market in Sydney has recently become very competitive, but also because Ted and Mallory seem to have nothing in common. Ted wants to live in the center of the city, so they can “enjoy all the nightlife that Sydney has to offer.” Ted seems to have forgotten that he and Mallory have five children.

MALLORY (to the camera): It’s hilarious that he thinks we have time to enjoy anything.

NARRATOR: Today, Mallory and Ted are meeting with their relocation expert, Amber. Amber is inappropriately dressed for an HGTV show.

AMBER: So guys, tell me what you’re looking for in a house.

Cut to Ted being interviewed privately.

TED: Amber is hot!

Cut back to the group.

TED: We have five children—

MALLORY: Oh, he does remember.

TED: — so we ideally want six bedrooms, three bathrooms and a large garden for the kids to play in. And we have a dog (it’s a prerequisite for being on the show) so we need the garden to be fenced in. Plus, we’d like an in-ground pool and room for a swing set. Do you think we can get all that in the center of the city?

Amber looks at Ted like he just might be the dumbest American she’s ever met.

MALLORY: I want an American-style house: open concept, updated kitchen and baths, and stainless steel appliances. The fridge has to be American-sized. And I don’t want a pool because I don’t want to have to worry about the kids’ safety in the backyard.

[In the background, a huge snake dangles from a tree branch and then drops to the ground].

TED: I’m looking for a more traditional Australian home, like Queen Ann style.

MALLORY: Do you even know what that means? Ted.

AMBER: Anything else I should be looking for? [under her breath] A divorce lawyer, maybe?

MALLORY: I’m vegan. I should have mentioned that earlier. I always do. I’d like space in the backyard for a vegetable garden.

TED: And I don’t eat vegetables, only livestock and food products derived from livestock. I’d like room for a chicken coop so I can collect eggs and then eventually eat the chickens.

MALLORY (looking disgusted): I also need good Internet access for my online business. And I’m thinking of opening a llama rehabilitation clinic on the property, so we’ll need room for that as well.

AMBER: And what are we thinking for the budget?

MALLORY and TED: No more than $1,000 per month.

Cut to Amber being interviewed privately.

AMBER: It’s going to be quite a challenge to find a six-bedroom house for $1,000 per month. Plus, Mallory and Ted are looking for such different things. But I’m confident that I’ll be able to find them something.

NARRATOR: First up, their relocation expert takes them to see a house suitable for Ted.

TED: Amber, do you know if this house faces South? I may have forgotten to mention that I don’t want a house that’s South-facing. It’s a Sri Lankan superstition.

AMBER: I didn’t realize you were Sri Lankan.

MALLORY: He’s not.

AMBER: Well, anyway, this house features 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. It doesn’t have a pool, but there’s room for a pool. Maybe you could arrange with the landlord to have one put in.

MALLORY: What’s the price? And is there room for my garden? I’m vegan. Did I mention that?

AMBER: The rent is $1,200 US dollars per month.

MALLORY AND TED: Ooooh, that’s a bit over our budget.

They tour the house. A huge tarantula is glowering in the corner of one of the bedrooms, and you can hear the sound of some type of animal scratching around in the ceiling.

MALLORY (looking worriedly at the ceiling): Any idea what that sound is?

AMBER (casually): Probably just a wombat.

MALLORY: Are they dangerous?

AMBER: Not always.

TED: The kids would have to share bedrooms in this house. Jane is not going to like that. We promised her her own room.

MALLORY: Maybe we should just go back to Johnsonville?

TED (whispering to Mallory): We signed a contract with the production company, remember? We have to buy a house and live here for at least three months.

Amber clears her throat.

TED (to the group): I like the style of the house. It’s a typical Sydney home, and it feels cozy and comfortable.

MALLORY: Cozy is not the word I’d like to be using to describe a house for seven people. Plus, the refrigerator is barely big enough for two people. And the bathrooms definitely need to be updated. I really don’t want to do any work.

TED: I don’t mind doing a little work. We could put our own stamp on the house, really make it our own.

AMBER: Keep in mind that it’s a rental, so you won’t be able to do any work without the landlord’s approval.

Mallory smiles triumphantly at the camera.

TED: Oh wait, one more thing. I have an extensive gun collection that’s being sent from Johnsonville, and I’ll need a room in the house to display it.

AMBER: I’m afraid that won’t be possible, Ted.

TED: Why not?

AMBER: Because we have sensible gun laws in Australia, passed in response to a mass shooting in Tasmania in 1996. Since then, the number and rate of homicides has fallen markedly.

TED (to Mallory): I don’t think I can do this, babe.

END OF ACT 1

*                                                          *                                                          *

ACT 2

NARRATOR: Mallory and Ted have left Johnsonville, a small town in Wyoming, to make a fresh start in Sydney, Australia. So far, their relocation expert has shown them a Queen Ann style home for Ted. But Mallory thought the refrigerator was too small, and she wasn’t crazy about sharing the house with a wombat. So next up, they’re seeing a house that’s more in line with what Mallory asked for.

MALLORY (looking at the enormous house with awe): This house is how much??

AMBER: It’s $3,000 US dollars per month.

Mallory and Ted exchange a look.

AMBER: I know it’s over your budget, but I think you should give this house a chance. It has everything you’re looking for.

MALLORY: Room for a llama rehabilitation center?

AMBER: Sure.

Mallory and Ted walk around the house.

MALLORY: I feel like we’re back in the U.S. This place is huge!

TED: True. But I don’t see the point in moving halfway around the world to live in a house we could have back in Wyoming.

MALLORY: You’re right. We should move back.

An emu runs through the kitchen. Ted screams and jumps into Amber’s arms. She holds him like a baby.

MALLORY: Ted!

TED: What?! Oh. Right.

Ted climbs down from Amber’s arms and smooths his shirt, looking embarrassed.

MALLORY: I think this house is perfect, except for the budget.

TED: It’s way over budget. But everyone can have their own bedroom, and we have space in the garden for vegetables, a llama rehabilitation center, and a chicken coop.

MALLORY: I wonder if llamas and chickens get along.

TED: I don’t think llamas get along with anything. Don’t they spit?

Ted leans over a plant in the garden to get a better look.

AMBER: Don’t touch that plant!!!

Ted jumps back.

TED: What is it?

AMBER: It’s spurge. Just touching it can kill you. Oh, and there’s a gigantic huntsman spider hiding under its leaves. Do you see it?

Ted looks and sees a spider that’s at least 14 inches across. It would take a car to kill it.

AMBER: The huntsman spider stalks its prey, rather than spinning a web as a trap.

MALLORY (to Ted): Why are we here again? We can’t even bring our guns! So many things to kill and no way to kill them.

TED: Maybe we should go back to Johnsonville and get a tiny house instead?

MALLORY: Oh hell no.

END OF SHOW

 

 

Anna Doesn’t Want To

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Now that I’ve changed the title of my site, you may be wondering what it is, exactly, that I don’t want to do. The answer is EVERYTHING. Just kidding. Sort of.

Maybe it’s best explained like this: every day, there are so many little things that I have to do that just plain stink. And in addition to the daily little things, there are big things coming down the pike that cause me to brood constantly. Picture a luggage carousel in my head, but instead of a piece of luggage coming out from behind the wall, a dreaded thought comes out, screaming, “Death!” or “College Applications!” or “Visiting Day!” or “Your Babies Are Not Babies Anymore!” or “Bat Mitzvah DJ!” or “Diet!” and oy vey, oy vey, oy vey, oy vey.

I tried to find a way to explain all of this without sounding ungrateful or overly anxious. I failed. So let me just say this: I know that these complaints are first world complaints, and I’m sorry if that offends you. I really believe that we must try to laugh our way through life, to the extent possible, or we will die from drowning in a pool of our own tears. Plus, if we only allowed the one person in the world with the most horrific list of complaints to complain, then you would no longer be allowed to complain about anything either, and then what would we all talk about all day long? A girl has got to vent, am I right?

So now that we’ve dispensed with “ungrateful” (I knock wood and implore and pray and ask forgiveness all day long), we should address The Scarlet Letter: A for Anxiety. I know that I’m anxious, and I think everyone is anxious to some extent. Have you read the news? Do you have children? Parents? Friends? Do you have a mortgage? Any other debt? Do you, or might you one day, have health problems? You’re anxious. Oh well. People survive with, and even thrive on, anxiety. And it’s kind of endearing when I won’t take a cab uptown on the FDR because the lanes are narrow, windy, and very close to the water. Right? RIGHT???

Now, you might be thinking, Silly Anna. You should focus more on the things that you do like to do every day. You should try to feel more #grateful and #blessed. This is excellent advice, thank you. I will try. I do try. In the meantime, I am also trying to be happy with myself just as I am; we can’t all be the same, and it’s unhealthy to be constantly unsatisfied with the way you actually are. Or so I’ve been told. By every therapist in NYC. Just kidding. Sort of.

Finally, the concept of “Anna Doesn’t Want To” encompasses much more than just the complaints on this list. Many of the topics I like to write about, whether it’s a strange interaction with someone or a tradition that seems meaningless, capture things that I don’t really want to be involved in, and I like to show the humorous side to them.

So with all of that being said, here is the list of “little” and “big” things that I don’t want to do. The very thought of doing these things makes me want to hide in my bed with Netflix and a bowl of microwaved M&Ms (trust me).

  • Help my kids with their homeworkAfter a long day of being a mom, which, for those of you who are wondering, entails being a nurse, firefighter, short order cook, housekeeper, bed and breakfast owner, plumber, electrician, COO, event planner, cable company repair woman, teacher, pharmacist, camp counselor, personal shopper, nutritionist, social worker, mediator, personal assistant, and engineer, to name a few, you know what I don’t want to do? Convert mixed numbers into whole numbers or improper fractions or whatever the hell it is that they’re supposed to be doing. What is an integer, anyway? Isn’t it just a number? Can’t they just say “number”? Geez.
  • Dress like an adult. Sometimes people can’t believe that I have three kids, and it’s not because my skin is smooth or because there are no circles under my eyes. It’s because I dress like I’m in college. Sorry. I like to be comfortable. And what are heels anyway? They are instruments of medieval torture, that’s what.
  • Act like an adult. I spend my whole life trying to avoid “adulting.” OMG. Am I a Millennial? I sound like one. Yet another thing to worry about. No offense, Millennials. You guys are awesome. I just can’t be one of you because my peer group will reject me.
  • Confront people. Very hard for me. Usually I will only do this if I feel that one of my children is being threatened in some way. But you should know that most of the time I feel unsatisfied by the way I have been treated. LOL. Not.
  • Say no. Also very hard for me. Basically, if you need a kidney, I’m the person to ask. (Note: not a legally binding offer).
  • Take risks. I’m sure skydiving is quite the rush, but I prefer my feet (in Toms, of course) on the ground.
  • Be in pain. Some people have really high thresholds for pain. I am the opposite of those people. Plus, since I’m a worrier and a Googler, everything is serious. Pain in my right side? Let’s see…*typing*…pain in the upper right quadrant…Gallstones! Hepatosplenomegaly! Primary biliary cirrhosis!
  • Push myself physically. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again: there are Navy Seals, and then there are those of us who tire from resetting the cable box. Thank God for Navy Seals. Seriously.
  • Drown (especially inside a plane or a car). I bought one of those devices for our car that has a blade for cutting through your seat belt on one end, and a tiny, pointy hammer on the other end that you can use to break your window if your car is submerged. I even watched the YouTube tutorial video. I almost drowned sitting at my computer. I hold my breath when we drive over water or alongside water. I am a lunatic. Please send help.
  • Look in the mirror right after getting my hair and makeup done.  What am I going to see? Could be anything from Texas beauty pageant queen (not the winner) to recovering heroin addict.
  • Watch the news. I am practically speechless when it comes to the news. Suffice it to say, on many fronts, enough is enough.
  • Discipline someone else’s child. Please, can they play at your apartment?
  • Criticize anyone, even if they’ve asked for my opinion. I am so sensitive that I can’t help but imagine being the recipient of the criticism. Don’t ask me if you look fat, or if I like your shoes, or if your necklace is too flashy. I will lie to you.
  • Get in a car, plane, subway or boat. You know when you’re on a plane, and the flight attendants come around offering drinks and snacks, and some people watch movies or read? While they’re doing those things, I’m flying the plane with my mind while thinking, “HOW CAN YOU ALL BE EATING AT A TIME LIKE THIS???”
  • Go to a crowded place. Yes, I know where I live.
  • Drive. You know a car is a deadly machine, right? Even if your goal is just to get to the mall.
  • Fail. Yeah yeah, we’re supposed to fail. But still.
  • Apologize. So hard. So awkward. So necessary.
  • See my kids get hurt (physically or emotionally). I get sick to my stomach when athletes get hurt, so imagine when my own kids get hurt. A few years ago, my daughter fractured her arm at gymnastics. I wasn’t there when it happened, and when she got home she really wasn’t in much pain. But the next day she didn’t eat breakfast and she didn’t bicker with her brother, so I knew something was wrong. When the doctor said her arm was probably fractured, I had to excuse myself to the bathroom because I thought I was going to throw up and faint. Twice. Please, can the kids play at your apartment? I will send you all of my doctors’ phone numbers. Some of them haven’t even met me yet.
  • Diet. I just love you, food, you naughty siren.
  • Throw up. Ugggggggggggggggggggh. Remember in college when you would throw up at midnight and still stay out until 3 a.m.? Yeah…not so much anymore.
  • Get lice. I had a “comb out” over the summer because one of my children had one egg in his/her hair, and I lost half a head of my hair. I literally can’t afford to get it again. I will kill you in your sleep if you give it to me. Just kidding. Sort of. Note: if someone actually kills you in your sleep, none of your heirs, legal representatives, successors or assigns can use this post as evidence that it was me. I am trying to be funny. Not actually threatening anyone.
  • Go to bed late. I have to wake up when our toddler wakes up, and I’m scared of feeling tired because my mother was a big proponent of sleep and would let me go into school late if I had been up late doing work the night before. This signaled to me that not getting enough sleep was REALLY bad.
  • Look at my “to do” list. It’s oppressively long and filled with things I either don’t want to do or don’t know how to do.
  • Have a fire in my building. Did you know that if you live in a post-war building, it is probably “non-combustible” and the fire isn’t supposed to be able to spread? Therefore, if there’s a fire in your building, you’re supposed to stay put. In a building that’s on fire. When we lived on the 28th floor of a non-combustible building around 10 years ago, there was a fire on the ground level of the building and you can’t imagine how quickly the smoke made its way up to us. We ran down the stairs, baby in tow, and had to go to the hospital for smoke inhalation. The firefighters thought we were insane for leaving our apartment. For months after the fire, I stopped at every firehouse I came across to ask if we did the wrong thing by fleeing, and every firefighter said we should have stayed. But it’s hard to convince yourself not to run when your building is aflame. Anyway, having to make that judgment call again is not something I look forward to. Note: I am not a firefighter or a fire expert, so don’t take my advice.
  • Choke. Or have anyone around me choke. I took the choking/CPR class, but still. So easy to save a life, and yet so hard.
  • Have the “how babies are made” talk with my kids. Ok, technically I’ve done this already, but I think I left them with more questions than answers. Can’t they just Google it???
  • Be fashionable. There is almost nothing I care less about in this world than fashion. Clearly.
  • Revise our family’s schedule. If someone is running 17 seconds behind on a Wednesday afternoon, the rest of our week is ruined. Making a single change would cause a domino effect that would likely result in an asteroid hitting the Earth. Luckily we have Navy Seals to protect us.
  • Do things just because “everyone” is. I am very stubborn about this. I guess I don’t want to look like a follower? I will dig in my heels and glue them to the ground, even if it means missing out on something great. You know the idiom “cutting off your nose to spite your face”? That.
  • Host a holiday. So. Many. Crumbs.
  • Get ready for bed. I just want to collapse on my bed. Is that too much to ask? Of course it is, because first I have to floss and brush and wash and put on some kind of cream (pat, don’t rub) and spray my nose and brush my appliance (for TMJD, natch) and put on lash lengthener and fertilize my hair (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, that’s very nice for you), and pee seven times and then ruminate on EVERY SINGLE DETAIL OF THE DAY AND ALL THE DAYS LEADING UP TO THAT DAY.
  • Remove body hair. I know, ew. What a pain, though, seriously. And, yes, I see the irony in the fact that I’m fertilizing my head while removing hair from my body.
  • Return clothes I ordered online. Even though they make it “so easy” to return everything.
  • Nudge. Contrary to popular belief, the nudger likes to nudge almost as much as the nudgee likes to be nudged. No one thinks “Change the light bulbs!” is sexy.
  • Be awake before the sun rises. Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy??? Note: I hate you, daylight savings. Even if you claim to give us more light in the morning, you are the ruiner of dreams. Literally and symbolically.
  • Clean up vomit. Nooooooooooooooo. I just retched a little thinking about it.
  • Deal with idiots. For example, I was trying to schedule a doctor’s appointment for a Monday morning, and the receptionist told me that the doctor had had availability “last Monday.” In the past. Dear Lord, why do you test me with these people? What is my path? I am so confused.
So, that is my itty bitty list of things I don’t want to do. Now that you’ve read it, you might be wondering what I do want to do. I’m still trying to figure that out.
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What are some of the things that you don’t want to do? Does the very knowledge of their existence make you cranky? How do you combat that crankiness? Do you meditate? Eat kale?

My Vacation with the Obamas and Amy Schumer

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Disclaimer: The title of this post is misleading and some parts of the story are grossly exaggerated. Also…it’s hard to spell exaggerated.

So there we were, on beautiful Martha’s Vineyard with some dear friends and their children. On the third night of our vacation, the adults went into Oak Bluffs for dinner while the kids were at night camp (the other word for night camp is Heaven). As Jayme pulled the car up to the restaurant to let the ladies out to secure the table, we were greeted by the unfamiliar sight of a police officer directing cars not to stop right out front. It must have taken us too long to unload (I’m not a spry 25-year-old anymore, jeez!), because the officer approached the car quickly, purposefully and concernedly. Natalie and I scurried into the restaurant while the guys went to park the car, and the hostess took us to our table. The table next to us was empty and the table next to that had two brawny men eating fried chicken and mashed potatoes (so what if I notice everyone’s food?). One of the men had an earpiece with that curly old-fashioned telephone cord coming out of it (what are those called anyway? Also, can’t they come up with something more discreet? Like an earpiece drone?), and they both had special pins on their lapels. I said to Natalie, “Someone important is in here.” I know. GENIUS. Scotland Yard, here I come. We looked around and didn’t see anyone we recognized. Then Natalie said, “I bet it’s the Obamas. That’s probably why we weren’t allowed to stop the car in front of the restaurant.” So, it turns out she’s the genius. But I’m taking credit for it. So, after I figured out that it was the Obamas (see what I did there?) we tossed around a few conspiracy theories: the security guards were just decoys, and the Obamas were actually eating somewhere else, etc. When the waitress came over, Jayme asked, “Is he eating here tonight?” She confirmed that he was. “Where?” we asked. “On the back patio.” We ordered our food and spent the rest of the evening having completely forgotten about who we might see and not at all craning our necks every time someone walked in from the back of the restaurant. As we were finishing up our entrees, Barak and Michelle walked into the main dining room, greeted all of the diners by name, lamented the shitty situation that we Americans are now faced with, and then sat down at our table for dessert. Barak had the crème brûlée special (he let me taste it and it was delicious), and Michelle and I split the banana cream pie (also delicious). They were, unsurprisingly, lovely company, and it was one of the best meals of my life. So that’s how we had dinner with the Obamas. Sadly, I don’t have a photo to prove it.

A couple of days later, Jayme was going on a boat tour of the island with his cousin who lives here year round. He asked if we wanted to join, and my husband and older son said yes, but I chose to stay home with Natalie and my daughter and have a girls’ day. I’m so glad we decided to do that, because my husband and Jayme ended up spending the afternoon with Amy Schumer and then I died of jealousy. I’m writing this blog post from the hereafter. I tried really hard to be positive and grateful about how great our day was, but let’s be honest: no amount of positivity and gratefulness can make up for the fact that I could have easily met Amy Schumer and become her best friend. None. Sorry. So here’s what happened. My husband, son, Jayme and his three boys finished the boat tour and went to grab lunch at a general store. Sitting on the porch, eating pizza like a regular old person, was Amy Schumer (I’m going to keep using her full name to emphasize the enormity of this missed opportunity for me, and because I feel like it). When Jayme went inside to get some food, his 3-year-old tripped and fell on the deck, and Amy Schumer got up and helped him. When Jayme came out and heard what had happened, he went over to Amy Schumer and thanked her for helping his son. Her reply, “I saved his life!,” was typical Amy Schumer (in the best way). Then, she hung out with the husbands and kids for an hour and taught the kids how to write jokes and drink beer. She even tested out some of her new material on the guys. While all this was going on, I was a few miles away with wonderful company, but eating a shitty lunch and getting treated badly by a waitress for no reason. But, yes, I’m happy that I didn’t go on the boat ride because clearly it was an uneventful day that no one will remember.

Once I heard about the encounter with Amy Schumer, I told the story about 100 times to anyone who would listen. Finally, my 8-year-old asked me, “Do you love me more than Amy Schumer?” “Yes,” I replied. “Good, just checking,” he said. And that was my cue to stop telling the story. P.S. I only love him more than Amy Schumer some of the time. I just didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

So that’s the story of my vacation with the Obamas and Amy Schumer. I wonder if they remember the stories differently?

Friday Musings–8/4/17

 

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Hello! It’s Friday and I’m feeling a little bit lazy, so instead of writing a blog post, I’m just making a bullet point list of my recent musings. Maybe “Friday Musings” will become a tradition. Happy weekend!

  • Mama called the doctor and the doctor said, “Your kids seem confused. Maybe you should consider investing in a life tutor?”
  • I want to be the kind of mother who takes her kids to explore new neighborhoods and visit museums that we haven’t been to, but it’s so much easier to just see a movie near our apartment in a theater that has those reservable, reclining seats. The other mothers are my heroes.
  • “Hey GXW2165. When you almost ran me over in the crosswalk, I bet you didn’t count on the fact that I would be pretty good at recalling letters and numbers.”
  • Has anyone ever gotten hurt from an untied shoelace? (Pooh, pooh, pooh).
  • The wheels on the bus are made of cancer-causing rubber/The horn on the bus goes beep beep beep (unless you live in the city, in which case you can’t honk because you’ll get a $250 fine)./The wipers on the bus go, “Is this acid rain? It tastes funny.”/The driver on the bus goes, “If you see something, say something.”/The grandmas on the bus go, “Give me your seat!”/The babies on the bus go, “Is this organic? Gluten-free? Sustainable?”/The mommies on the bus go, “Ummm…yeah, it’s ummm…it’s all those things. Yeah…organic. Like you said.”
  • A shirt is not a napkin.
  • Yoga, and seitan, and vegans, oh my!