I’d rather be the hammer than the nail

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Everything is connected. All the time. Don’t you think? Let me explain. My husband and I snuck off to see the movie Wild on Friday night. It was the first book I read when I joined my book club a few years ago. Great book. Great movie. Great book club. But this isn’t about the movie or the book club. This is about the soundtrack to the movie. I need to back up a few years.

In 2010 my husband turned the big 4-0. He only wanted one thing to celebrate – a trip to Munich, Germany for Octoberfest. Turned out that 2010 was a celebratory year for that event (I can’t remember if it was 150 years or 100 years). Either way it was a big year for them too. So we went, and it was a blast. Him and I are really good travel companions (not in an Amazing Race kind of way, but in a relaxed House Hunters International kind of way). We stayed about a mile from the fairgrounds and headed there the first night we arrived. It was out of control and amazing. Crowded. Loud. Did I mention crowded? Our favorite haus introduced us to all kinds of characters (we were almost lured into a tricky situation but that’s another story). We had a blast. A couple of notes for those who have never been. There are a lot of Italians there. A lot. Molto. Also, John Denver is their God. Everywhere you go – in every tent – every 5 minutes – they play Take me home, country roads. The entire place stops and all the Italians and all the brauhaus servers sing along holding hands. True story. I’m off the rails. Back to why everything is connected.

By the third night we were pretty much done with all the fest fun. My husband suggested we find a small, local pub off the beaten track and spend the evening there instead. And because he has a tracking device for such places, we found one on the other side of town. Quiet. Small. Almost empty. Dark. Perfect. We settled in with our beers, ordered some food and chatted with the two other people in there. Did you know Germans are very friendly? Did you know Germans in a bar with beers are even friendlier? They are. After about an hour of hanging out there, the doors to the pub flew open and an entire oompah band walked in. Have you ever seen an oompah band? Sorry I’m asking so many questions. Oompah bands aren’t petite. Here’s what they kinda looked liked.

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Imagine this group with those instruments walking into a small, dark, pub – you notice. Turns out that the oompah band are regulars here. And they don’t just put their instruments down and relax, oh no. They play. They play loud. By the time they got there, we were ready for some excitement and my husband started hooting and hollering as he often does and recording them with his phone. We bought them beers. We sang along. It was great fun. At the end of the night they played Simon and Garfunkel’s El Condor Pasa. My husband leaped out of his seat and started yelling and screaming. What can I say? He likes Simon and Garfunkel – and we were so happy not to be hearing John Denver. They played really well and I thought I knew the song but couldn’t remember. My husband turned to me and said,” you know, I’d rather be a hammer than the nail…yes I would, yes I would.” I nodded and smiled. Oh yeah, I said, sure I remember. Truthfully I had no idea.

Days after we got home from the trip we would play that song and even John Denver to remind us of the trip. We even made the kids listen, showed them all the videos. Eventually the videos got deleted, because unless our kids in them – they really don’t seem to make the cut.

A few months after the trip we were still thinking/talking/singing about our time away. My husband decided to Youtube videos of Octoberfest one night – that’s how desperate we were to relive our time. He watched videos of all the differnt brauhaus fun. Then he typed in El Candor Pasa Oompah band. And the first video that popped up was the one he clicked. He turned it up. It ended. He watched it again. Turned it up louder. It was a dark video of an oompah band playing the song in a small pub. No way. He called me over. He said, “do you recognize this?” He played the video and it looked kind of familiar – but it was so dark, I couldn’t make it out. Then he turned it up and pointed to the corner of the room – where there was a dude recording a video of the band and hooting and hollering. NO!! It couldn’t be!! But it was. Someone else from that bar had recorded the band too – and in the background was my husband holding up a phone and yelling. You couldn’t really make out his face, it was blurry – but it was him! Come on!! That’s fantastical no? I feel my kids rolling their eyes somewhere out there in the universe. We’ve told them the story a few million times. It’s a good story.

Ok I’m getting excited again. Back to the movie. Told you it wasn’t really a review. The soundtrack is amazing. It’s the one thing that kept my husband awake the whole time. And I know he liked the movie, even though he kept tapping me and asking,” when does it get WILD?” every few minutes. He’s hysterical.  I’ll ask one last question. What song do you think they played all throughout the movie? Yep. That’s the one.

Everything is connected, even if it involves oompah bands and book clubs.

Back to School Blurb

I love Facebook for many many reasons. Birthday love. Vacation pics galore. Inappropriate overshares. I love it all. I especially love the beginning of school. I love all the happy, shiny faces with their new backpacks and lunch boxes heading into the new school year. I only have one picture of me that resembles anything close to a back-to-school shot growing up. I’m not sure where it is. In a grocery bag in a closet somewhere, I think.

That’s not said with any judgement or vilification, my mother or father literally drove me to school from 1st through 12th grade (I don’t think I went to Kindergarten. Is that legal?). Of all the things I never did growing up (like eat mustard, cream cheese or sour cream), I never rode a school bus. I mean I did on school trips and things – but never in the morning or back home. I’m not sure why my parents decided to do this and I’ve never asked why. Although they were over protective about weird things and then completely carefree about other things. Example, I wasn’t allowed to watch most American horror movies because there were bad words and boobs and yet Bollywood with it’s love to violence and rape was a green light in our house. Confusing no?

So I never rode a big yellow bus. But don’t you worry. I learned all the bad words and met all the bad friends anyway. I just did it at the lunch table. Eating my peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich on my Brick Oven bread. If you were nice to me I’d let you share my snack, oh wait, there was no snack. Just a sandwich and a thermos full of OJ. In high school I started buying my lunch. Actually I bought crackers and milk and pocketed the money for other things. Food wasn’t as important as the new U2 cd coming out. I know better now.

Happy back to school to all you kiddos. Enjoy the gluten-free, organically grown/fed/butchered lunch that probably cost more than my outfit. Hope there’s square pizza and fried tater tots in your future!

checking in…

So whatcha been up to? Hope you’ve been having some Christmas fun.  Here’s what we’ve been doing – non sequitur.

  • Started my Christmas shopping in September hoping to get ahead of the game, but the game won. I am still not done and it’s 2 days after Christmas.
  • Went to the ER the day before Christmas Eve (long scary story with a happy ending, all is good).
  • Made 12 dozen cookies. 12. Dozen. 144 cookies. Know what I learned? Even after making 144 cookies I still want to eat cookies.
  • Headed to NYC on Christmas Eve and came home with tons of great gifts and happy memories (and saw a truly ugly sweater, thanks Aunt Stacy).
  • Hosted a neighborhood gathering at our house a day after finishing my first week at a new job. It sounds stressful but it was so much fun. It was the perfect way to kick off our holiday fun – and I learned how to make eggnog. And I also learned that you can only drink about 2 cups of eggnog before wanting to throw-up!
  • Had some killer Chinese food on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Fa ra ra ra ra, ra, ra,ra ra.
  • Decided to cave in and get the kids a trampoline for Christmas. Look for future posts titled, “Why did we buy a trampoline?” and “Were we nuts when we bought the kids a trampoline? Yes!”.
  • Dropping off my girl for a session of winter camp today, sniff…sniff. It’s only 4 days but I really don’t like it when she’s gone.
  • Went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Don’t listen to all those Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a sweet, visual, musical movie. Does it have anything to do with the short story? Nope. But it does make you want to visit Greenland and Iceland – so there’s that.
  • Only watched A Christmas Story 3 to 8 times, much less than last year.
  • Santa brought our son some more inappropriate Xbox games. What can you do, that Santa is a crazy mofo.
  • My girl wanted a saxophone for Christmas and we decided to go for it. Instead of buying it outright (incase she changes her mind like the guitar. or the ukulele. or the harmonica. or the…) we decided to rent it from a music and arts store. What happened next was a tragedy of errors that resulted in us going to that store 4 times. I have only one thing to say to the 8 dudes that work there,” dudes, wearing a skinny tie and having a hipster beard only makes you look smart if you aren’t completely incompetent and stupid. You morons.” Sorry. That is all.
  • After we drop off my daughter at camp, we head directly to my parents house for Christmas Part Deux. Time to push aside the figgy pudding and make room for the garam masala.

To go with the bullets that make no linear sense – here’s some random photos from the past few days! I’m sorry the boy has no shirt on – but that’s how he rolls in the house. Just keepin’ it real. xoxo

 

Here’s me wrapped up in a blanket reading my new cookbook (Pioneer Woman!) and my son looking like an angel playing a killing game. I have guilt. Can you tell?

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Can you guess which plate of food is mine? Hint: it’s the one that burns going down.

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Even in her “ugly” sweater she looks beautiful!

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Here’s my two favorite men. I think next year they can switch places in the picture :-).

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She loved her saxophone, no thanks to the dopes at the music store. Sorry.

 

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This is my kids exchanging gifts they bought for each other. Is there anything better than that?

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Tess McGill Moment

Day one of my new gig. Here’s the view from my office.

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I almost broke out into my favorite Carly Simon song, the one from “Working Girl”. The one I think about every time I see the Staten Island Ferry cause I’m a dork. Anyway all went well and I didn’t get fired. The commute wasn’t that bad and my family did just fine back home. 

On the other hand, I’m exhausted. So I’ll keep this short and sweet. Gotta get up tomorrow and do it again!

All so they can play chopsticks at a dinner party when they’re grown-up

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Two years ago my husband found an old-school, Russian piano teacher. He did this how he does everything. Complete tunnel vision until objective is achieved. There’s no giving up in parenting!  The first year was a comedy of errors full of Three’s Company type of misunderstandings due to her very thick accent (which my son calls her volume).  I’d sit in the other room and hear a lot of, “Svweetee..vould you try zat again?” “what? oh. try it again? ok.” …..”zank you” “what? oh. you’re welcome”.  She’s like the nicer, gentler, Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle.

It’s gotten better. But every summer we take a couple of months off.  To give the kids a break. To give Tatyana a break. And let’s be honest, to give me a break. But summer is officially over when she walks in at 6pm on a Tuesday night. Homework, projects, parent-teacher meetings all follow quickly after.

I snuck in the room tonight and recorded the below. This is what I will hear from 6pm to 7pm every Tuesday until next June. Help me.

Gaga does Gorga?

It’s been a busy week and I have had no time/energy/ambition to post. I’ve spent a large chunk of time in my car commuting back and forth for work – in fact I’ll be on the road again today!

I usually listen to Howard Stern in my car. If he’s on repeats I listen to CNN or NPR. If nothing’s happening there, I listen to 1010 WINS (those of you in the NY Tri-State area will know what this is. AM radio at it’s best). When I’m tired of hearing about the traffic on the GWB I give in and switch to a music station. Music isn’t always my go-to (my daughter and husband are screaming at the screen right now) – sorry.

During one of those music moments this week I heard Lady Gaga’s new song, Applause...

http://wifemothereventplanner.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/01-applause.mp3

I’m not crazy about it. You know why? It sounds an awful lot like another song. A song by one of my horrible reality show Housewives. Last year, in the New Jersey edition, Melissa Gorga came out with this hot mess called On Display...

http://wifemothereventplanner.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/01-on-display-main.mp3

If you brave it through both songs, and it’s hard to do, you’ll notice they are very much alike. The main is chorus is the same!! No? Is it me? Have I just been trapped in my car for too long?

Please stay tuned.

oh hi. It’s me. Remember? Did ya even notice I wasn’t writing for a bit? Like a long bit?

I had some technical issues. Technically I decided to spend all my free time sleeping instead of writing this blog.

In defense of me, I have been sick.  Is it a cold? Allergies? Who knows, and I’m certainly not going to a doctor to find out.   To add to the fun, life has been a tailspin of activity.

But things are slowly unwinding. School is almost over. All major religious rights-of-passage celebrations have come to an end (for now).  Work is still insane, but lately it’s taken a turn for interesting, which makes me less likely to daydream about being a coal miner (seriously. have you ever thought about it? Aside from the life threatening aspect – it sounds perfect. Solitary. repetitive. One singular goal. No need to shower in the morning. That’s my kinda job).

May was a blur, but it’s June 1st. Time to get back on the blogging horse.  I can’t make any promises, I have to be honest. I’ve enjoyed sleeping.

Here’s some random pictures that could and should have been blog posts but I was in deep REM mode instead.

This post would have been titled: 17 years of marriage yo!  See, child brides do make it work sometimes.

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I would have called this post: I-know-you’re-obsessed-with-karate-and-doing-a-perfect-split-but-I’d-really-like-grandkids-someday-so-please-be-careful

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The below photo was taken by my girl at a concert that she’d  been waiting to go to for months. All her favorite bands were going to be there. It started at 1pm in an outdoor venue by the water. The day before the concert we found out that all the bands that she wanted to hear weren’t even coming on until 9pm. On a Sunday night. And the concert wouldn’t end until closer to 11:30pm. On a Sunday night. What happened next cleanly, swiftly and neatly explains how different my husband and I are, not just in parenting, but also down to our core.

When she told us her sad tale, my reaction was,” bummer. guess you’ll be missing all those bands since we’ll be picking you up at 7.”  My husband’s reaction was,” ok. So I’ll buy a ticket and go to the concert with you so you don’t have to miss those bands.”  WTF?

This post would have been called – Lucky Duck

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