The suck-it-up gene

The other day some very smart ladies and I had a quick workday lunch.  We talked about world peace, how to save the economy, the usual stuff we tackle when we get together….ah hem.  But then the conversation moved to the men in our lives. Our very significant others.

I was rehashing/retelling a short story about my husband’s complete lack of “suck-it-up”.  It’s like he’s missing the gene.  He’s a good man and I love him to bits – but that boy cannot make a bad situation better.  He’s better at spotlighting or highlighting or magnifying that bad situation.  To be fair – if you asked him – he’d say I was a “head-in-the-clouds” Pollyanna.  And I am. It takes a lot for me to think badly about something or someone. I go with the flow. He’s like a big, tall building blocking the flow.

The reason I fell for the guy is that he’s always been decisive and determined. And in all honestly, loads of good things have happened to us because he won’t stand for things going wrong.  Better dinners, easier weekends, stronger kids, etc. He’s got a mission. All the time. When that mission goes astray – he’s upset and not afraid to show it.

Not me –  I meander. I stroll. If something goes wrong, my first instinct is to see the positive from it. It’s very Asian of me. It’s not always a good thing and it’s exhausting.

You know that fight or flight instinct? I would always flight.  In other words, if aliens landed tomorrow, I would not be the gal joining the rebellion and fighting back. I’d be the one thinking,”gee, maybe the world will be better post invasion.” or “I wonder what they eat?”.

So he may be missing the gene, but I’m knee-deep in it.  I’m not sure which one is better.

Is a fair weather fan better than no fan at all?


(Doesn’t that title remind you of something Carrie would start her column off with on Sex and The City?  No? Just me?  Ok then….)

Although we live in Phillies country – we are Yankees fans all the way.  I mean…. we’re all the way once they get to the playoffs, or series, or bowl or whatever.  I married one of the few men in the world who is not a sports fanatic (he saves his obsessive behavior for music and technology).

When we had kids, he taught them all the important things:  Bruce Springsteen is a god, Elton John/Bernie Taupin are the best singer/song writer collaboration, the sound system in a car/house/yard/bar makes or breaks a good time, etc.

My girl was 12 before she knew who A-Rod was, and that was only because I had talked about his break-up with Cameron Diaz.  I was rooting for them.  Although I’m always rooting for Cameron, I have a soft spot for her.

Anyway – when my son was born, things started changing.  He loves all things baseball, basketball, football, he’s all over it. He wears only “sporty” clothes (no jeans or khakis, incase a freestyle game breaks out on the playground at recess).

So, to be fair-minded parents who don’t just hurl our own likes and dislikes on the kids – we became kinda-sorta fans of many different sports teams.  In the end, the only one that stuck were the Bronx Bombers.

Last summer, we took our kids to their (and my) first Yankee game.  It was super exciting.  The new stadium is beautiful – and the food!  Why didn’t anyone tell me about the food!!  Peanuts and Cracker Jack?  No way!  How about garlic fries with chipotle aioli …. how about double dark chocolate milk shakes with malted whipped cream…how about IPA’s from all over the East Coast?!!  Baseball rocks.

The game was good too.  Who played against them that night?  It was Baltimore, or Boston, or Birmingham I think.  It was a B name for sure.  Who won?  Hard to remember all those details.

Back to the initial question – is a fair weather fan better than no fan at all?  What if I told you we bought ridiculously expensive sporting attire to wear to the game?  Would that help our fandom?

Say Uncle!!

My mom is one of 5 – she’s the second oldest.  When I was little, I was basically an only child for 11 long, glorious years.  It was dreamy.   But I was a spoiled brat.  You need to know.

One of the people who had the biggest hand in turning me into this brat was my older uncle.  He’s always the life of the party.  I don’t ever remember him not laughing – or not trying to make other people laugh.  This picture would not be possible if I was standing next to anyone else.

He was (and is) so cool.  He ate dinner at 11pm every night (the height of coolness right?)  His house was full of noise.  It was loud and fun.  My house was always quiet and full of people reading.  I loved his house.

Here’s my favorite story of his awesomeness:  When I was 6 or maybe 7, we all went to India for a wedding (actually we went everywhere together.  There was never an outing with just 2 or 3 people.  It was always a caravan of 8-9 adults and me.  That’s how we rolled).  My grandparents still owned the apartment my mom grew up in.  They hadn’t updated any of the original features – think no AC and no tv.  Their neighbors, however, had completely gutted the place.  They had all the “Western” goodies.  Being the über brat that I was, I asked why the neighbors had a tv and we didn’t.  Although – full disclosure –  I didn’t ask…. it was  more like an annoying whine or a fitful tantrum.  My parents immediately started the “you have no idea how luck you are” lecture, wagging finger and all.

My uncle….no lecture.  Know what he did?  He went out and bought a tv.  Twice the size of the neighbor’s tv.  Who’s better than him? Nobody. This episode may also explain my massive tv addiction, but who cares!

This is one of my favorite pictures of us. Take your eyes off my smashing outfit and notice the war like conditions of the subway stop where this picture was taken.  What was happening in Queens!

It’s not that I don’t trust you…it’s just that I don’t trust you

Look at him.  Sweet, kind,polite, funny – and oh yeah, a liar.  Ok that’s too harsh.  He fibs. He bends truths. Not about big things – but that’s because he’s 8 and there are no big things to fib about ( like money or drugs or honor or something). His talent is half-hearted truths. He’s like a good defense attorney, finding an escape clause in every rule.

To combat this talent/dark passenger (for all you Dexter fans) – we rely on one simple truth, we require proof.  You cleaned your room – let me see.  You washed your hair – let me smell you.  You get the point.

One day, hopefully in the near future, I won’t have to do Columbo mothering. Until then, he’ll be treated like the delinquent he has the full-blown potential to be.

We’re gonna need a bigger boat, or a better vacation

I’m not the only freak in my marriage.  Here’s proof.  Last year, my kids and I got bamboozled into what we thought was a vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.  It was actually the Jaws” tour.

Brody’s house? Saw it.  The beach that the Kinter boy’s raft washed up on?  Went there.  The docks where Quint took the Orca out to kill the fish with Brody and Hooper?  Spent an afternoon there.  Oh well – my kids will need something to tell their future therapist, this is good enough.

Why should we have to suffer alone….below are a few of the stops on the tour.

   happy naive family gets off the ferry expecting vacation

 the aforementioned docks…

. Town Hall where Brody fought to shut the beach down    Something happened here, but I can’t remember

Cast/crew stayed here during filming (yep, stayed there)

  Jaws bridge – spot where the shark went from the ocean to the bay (or something).  Apparently everyone jumps off it. That’s my girl jumping off – squeezing in some fun.

Let me know if you’d like to go, I’ve got a very willing guide.

Event Planning 101

This picture was taken at The Ritz in Denver.  It was a sample wedding setting.  I thought it was hideous.  Almost painfully ugly.

I walked by it and snapped a pic so I could make fun of it later, in detail.  About a second after I had taken the picture, two women walked by and said, “omg, that is stunning!”  While we were there that night – at least 5 other women commented on how great it looked.  Maybe I had better taste then them.  Maybe they didn’t really know what style was…or maybe I just needed to calm down.

I keep this picture on my phone to remind myself that just because I think it, doesn’t make it true.  It’s my opinion, a preference – not bible.  Amen.

Cake for breakfast

 You know those families that have dinner every night at 6?  That has never been us.  My husband walks in the door at 7:30pm on most nights – if we’re lucky.  When the kids were younger we lived even further from his job.  He’d leave at 6am and walk in the door at 9pm.  If someone had a birthday during the week – cake for breakfast was the only way to celebrate.  Since then we’ve done it whether we needed to or not.

I guess the other option would have been to not have cake at all – but that’s just crazy.  What are we, savages?

ps – that shirt fit him the night before this picture was taken.  Also – she requested the store bought cake – I swear.

Yes, it happened 13 years ago – Yes, I’ll stop talking about it soon

I had my daughter at 26.  Are you off the floor?  Have you recovered?  I know in most parts of the world this is totally normal – but in the Tri-state area, we were freaks (did I tell you we got married at 24?)

Here’s another zinger – we planned it that way.  Let me clarify.  We wanted to start a family early – we just didn’t realize it would happen instantaneously because I’m a fertile mertile.

We were thrilled, scared, happy and a little crazy.  So while all our friends went out to paint the town red, we stayed in and painted a hallway yellow – and called it a nursery.

The first few months after she was born were a blur.   I was not the earth mother I thought I would be (breastfeeding? no thanks!)  But eventually I got my mojo back, shook off the mild depression and decided to leave the apartment.

We lived just a few blocks away from a small neighborhood park .   I decided to pack up the baby and go for a walk.

I had grand plans.  The baby was too small to play so I would sit on a bench, maybe connect with some other moms, offer parenting tips, etc..

I took a spot in the middle of all the action, a ton of kids playing, a bunch of women sitting around – perfect.  Then, one of the other “moms” turned to me and said, “How long have you been watching the baby?” “Is the family nice?”.  Hmm?   Excuse me?  Oh.  OH.  It took me a few seconds to figure it out –  like a scene in a horror movie where the camera pans wide and you suddenly see the big picture.  I was in a sea of nannies – and I fit right in.

Any normal human being would have corrected them and gone on with their lives.  Not this human.  I was so stunned and shocked that I just played along for an hour and never went back.

The baby and her nanny

Bridezillas? Not so much

When my son was born, I took a break from the corporate event world and planned weddings for 3 years.  I had a blast.  In my head I was Colin Cowie or Preston Bailey – in reality I was probably just a short, Indian bossy girl running around in black, but whatever.

I’ve done small, inexpensive gatherings and large scale multi-day marriages that have reached the half million dollar mark.  I’ve done gothic weddings where the bridal party wore metal chains (the bride wore military boots) and traditional weddings with a 2-hour mass prior to the vows.  Not one of these gals – not one – was difficult.  I’m not sure where they find those women on that show with that name but I think it’s all bogus.

I loved planning weddings, still do.  But I love going to weddings too.  I’m a pretty glass half-full kinda gal – always have been.  But weddings are the ultimate optimistic venture.  A full day devoted to the hope that these two people were meant to be together.  We know the reality, we know a ton of marriages won’t make it.  It’s one of the only “suspension of disbelief” ceremonies we still have.  We go.  We cry.  We laugh.  We eat cake.  We buy in.

Those gals on bridezillas?  Those are bitchy women who got married. The wedding had nothing to do with it.  I bet they are also wifezillas, sisterzillas, friendzillas, etc.

I feel protective of that day and all those who are brave enough to take the gamble.

Full disclosure – I eloped on a lake in East Hampton.  But we can talk about that some other time.

A cat and her boy….

Fact: I did not grow up with pets.  Another fact: I never wanted them.  But this isn’t about me, not all of it anyway.  This is about my baby and about his baby.  Have you ever seen an 8-year-old boy in love?  I have.  Lexi is the family cat (see all the sacrifices I’ve made in my life?).   Every morning, after he reluctantly gets out of bed and dressed for school – my baby goes to the cat and snuggles.  For like 10 minutes.  He cuddles with her – cooing sweet nothings to her in a soft, singsong voice.  He strokes her head and chin while telling me how pretty she is and I get lost in the whole thing….and then he asks me the same question every day, “ don’t you just LOVE her Mom?”  And I do what every good mother does, I lie.

Don’t hate me.  I’m the gal that doesn’t want to pet your dog when we’re walking by each other on the street.  The one that understands and appreciates your deep connection to your cat/hamster/tortoise  – but just doesn’t want any part of it.  I know, I have problems.

It’s just that I can’t bring myself to explain that to my little man, who thinks Lexi is the sun and the moon.  The same boy who can make fart sounds with 5 or 6 body parts, the same boy that screams every night because “he has to take too many showers”.  But when it comes to his cat, he is a lovey dovey softie, just like his father…and his sister.

Signed,  weirdo-mom-with-no-pet-lovin’-abilities

p.s. – ignore the untamed, uncombed, wilding hair on my boy

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