11 days

Until we drop our girl off at college – but whose counting? Oh yeah. I am. Every day. 

I’m assuming every parent in all of time has had this exact same feeling. It’s a mixture of sheer excitement for the things she’ll be doing and people she’ll be meeting, and sheer terror for the things she’ll be doing and the people she’ll be meeting. Let’s face it, she can learn everything she needs to know on the Internet and more importantly – people are horrible. Just kidding….ahem.

Plus…how is this little munchin supposed to go to college? 

 
You’d think we would be spending every second with her before she leaves but that’s not exactly how it’s working. Because that’s just what she’s doing – she’s  working. A lot. And then there’s her very full dance card. You’ll be shocked to hear this but a 17yr old would much rather do nothing with a friend then something with her mother! Outrageous right? 

We did kidnap her today for a few hours.    

 It was awesome.

I know this isn’t about me. But I’m so sad for me!!! Aren’t you sad for me too?

Ok ok. Let’s focus on the positive! Parents weekend is in October.

Me caveman

I’m at the airport getting ready to board a flight for another week-long event. My team, from varying parts of the country, are also leaving today. In the olden days, like early 2015, I would have sent an email out wishing them safe travels. But late last year we started doing something different. During an event with lots of moving parts, we created a text group with everyone on site so we could easily communicate to each other. It was a crazy train of messages and updates. Those waking up early for 5am activities would take pictures and give us their feedback in realtime. Those on the front line registering people who were missing a name badge, gift bag, etc could send one quick note and get it resolved by the time they finished talking to that person. It was everything from “Break-out sessions are ending early, tell the hotel to be ready” to “the CEO is heading out now.” Unless you’re an event planner with a type-A-need-to-know-everything personality, this can drive you crazy. It’s a lot of info all the time.

At the end of that event, like always, we were all wiped out. Mentally and physically. Staying awake just long enough to board our flights/trains home and then pass out for a week. But there was also a bit of sadness to leave the team. When those texts stoped, I missed them! Crazy right? And I don’t think I was the only one. Don’t get me wrong – we’re thrilled to leave and be home with our families and friends, but there is something about the frenzy of being together on site that is a lot of fun.

We’re a mobile team. We are all over the place. We have to be. Texting has become the connector and unifier. And honestly, I feel like it’s more effective that half the meetings I have.

I get to see what’s happening at events I can’t attend. I hear about issues/challenges immediately. I also hear about the successes – and it’s good to celebrate in the moment.

Something else has happened since then. We started texting as a team outside of the big events too. Holidays. Kid and fur kid photos. Big moments and not so big moments outside of work (like making your first avocado toast at home or a daughter graduating).

As a manager, my hardest job is to make us all feel like we are in it together. That we’ve got each other’s backs and we are all rooting for each other’s success, not failure. Managing via text isn’t all I do – we still have the good old 1:1s, reviews and team meetings. But I do think that in between those corporate connection points, these little touch points matter.

I hope my team would agree. Maybe this is all in my head and it’s just another management torture device – but I hope not. And I know that this wouldn’t work for every job or every group. We aren’t 9 to 5. Our workday sometimes (ok always) goes into the weekend, or a holiday. None of the folks on my team have been with their kids or their own mothers on Mother’s Day in the past 3 years. That’s not me complaining – that’s just facts. It’s our job.

I read an article the other day that talked about emoji’s being the death of modern writing. It said we are basically falling back to hieroglyphics. Moving away from the words of Shakespeare and other great writers to the basic, caveman expressions of joy/love/sadness etc. Maybe. And maybe some things are ok in shorthand. Maybe even better.

I love long letters. I love good books. And there’s nothing I like more than having a talk with someone face to face. But I don’t like long work emails. I don’t like long meetings, and I don’t get to see some people face to face for weeks – months sometimes. A quick text. An emoji. A meme. It may seem casual, but it works for us. It’s efficient. 

In fact this whole blog could have reduced to 🙏🏼👍🏼✈️👌🏼

😉

See what I mean?

Here’s some of my team through bitmoji and a day in the life via text….

   
    
   
   
  

Hello old friend

Because it’s been a really tough few weeks in the world and I think you needed laugh.

Because this is what I looked like the summer before I went to college and I’m feeling nostalgic with my oldest going away in the fall.

Because even though that outfit seems pretty simple, I spent HOURS thinking about it.

Because those earrings were as heavy as they looked.

Because those shoulder pads didn’t even come with that shirt – I added them!

Because I was rocking a matte lipstick way before the Kardashians (thanks to Wet n Wild).

Because that hairstyle needed those sunglasses.

And mainly because I probably still own and wear some version of this outfit.

That’s why I’m sharing this picture that my sister found of me….hold on to your 80’s cause here I am!

  

 

Dear Jack

This is your mom. You know, the one who birthed you. Remember me? Sometimes I make you dinner – but most times I buy you dinner. Does that ring a bell? Oh I know! I’m the one who talks to herself all day saying things like, ” lights out!” “wash your face” and the classic, “you can’t wear those shorts again”. Yep. That’s me.

Ok so I know summer is in full swing and you have lots of plans. Which, btw, I love. You don’t know this but our calendars are synced – so every morning I get a reminder of your “to do” list. Today was:

  1. 20 sit-ups
  2. find rope swing place
  3. go to pool
  4. edit video

Whenever it pops up I’m inspired to make my own list – but it wouldn’t be as fun. It would be something like:

  1. defrizz hair
  2. drink 4 cups of coffee and have a carb
  3. go to meeting
  4. go to next meeting

Not that great.

I’m so happy you and your friends are out on your bikes everyday. You’ve found a way to get to the pool and to most of your friends’ houses without going on major roads – thank you for that. I love your intense desire for independence and adventure. I hope you are always always like this. Yes, I know it’s a dangerous world with dangerous people – but you aren’t afraid and so that makes me less afraid.

And now that we have some summer days under out belt, I have some new rules:

  • Your phone is meant primarily for…get ready for this…communicating via voice or text. When you are gone for hours and I write you a text in all caps – that means I’m worried for your life. Please write back. PLEASE. Thank you.
  • Stop carrying things while you’re riding a bike – it’s dangerous. This goes for basketballs, money, a tripod, etc. Please put these things in the empty backpack that’s on your back meant exactly for this purpose.
  • Icees and slushies are not food. If it’s neon blue or green – it doesn’t count as a meal.
  • Get back to the house while it’s still light means I want  you home before it’s dark – it doesn’t mean that you should ride your bike at night with your phone flashlight on. Nice try.
  • Remember I have eyes everywhere. So make good choices. (also your sister follows your snapchats and she is even more protective of you then me so you’ll have to deal with that).

So, to close…Go. Explore. Have fun. Be safe. Keep sending me pics of your day – I live for those photos.  And for god’s sake, text me back!

xoxo   

    
 

GoT Speak

Sorry about the acronym. Do you watch Game of Thrones (GoT)? You don’t? Why? Are you reading or parenting or something? You need to watch.

For those of you who do watch, maybe you’ll agree with me here. Not since Breaking Bad has a show had this much impact on my daily language (Yo Mista White…). I basically have either emojis or GoT dialogue in my head all day.

My gut reaction when new people introduce themselves to me is to say ,” a girl has no name.” Or how about when I sneak an extra cookie from the cookie jar and say to myself,” shame…shame…shame…” as I walk back to the couch.  Or when I say, “You know nothing Jon Snow” in my head every time I’m mad at my husband. Seriously. That’s not normal.

Last night my son, who is almost finished with 6th grade, showed me what he got from school that day. He’d won an award for physical fitness. In our house, we show-off all good grades, artwork, etc. on our bulletin board in the kitchen. We’ve done it with both kids since they were little. Usually they both mildly object but deep down I know they love it.

That said, I knew this award meant more to him then a good grade. He prides himself on keeping active and fit and I knew he was so thrilled to get this in front of his friends.

But then I noticed something…

 
A tear. A little corner was ripped off and then taped back.

“What happened to it?” I asked.

“This kid grabbed it from me and tore it.” he said matter-of-factly.

“What? Why? When? Where was the teacher? Who was it? What’s his name?” I could not contain my anger.

In that moment I completely channeled my inner Cersei from GoT. Even though she’s mostly evil and unequivocally messed up – I wished in that moment that I had the The Mountain next to me and I could have said,” I choose violence.”

Because I did. I do.

For those who don’t watch the show – this week, in a pivotal scene, after those lines are uttered – a man’s head is basically popped off like a bottle cap.

Terrible. Awful. Why would that be what pops in my head?

This world is violent enough and it’s the last thing that I should be thinking about, but oh would I love to have a moment with that little twerp. His parents are probably wolves.

This is when my husband would turn to me and say his favorite one liner (his own),” When did you get so angry?”

To which I always say,” You alright! I learned it by watching you!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog dump

I got called out. Last night we were all sitting around talking about things (end of high school, end of school year, politics, The whip and nae nae, etc), and my daughter quietly turned to me and said, “Mom, why can’t I see any of your blog posts pop up on my Facebook anymore?”…. Why? Oh. That’s easy. Because I don’t write them. LOL. Ahem. Got a problem with that? Then they all started.

“Why don’t you write?”

“Are you done with the blog?”

“Do you need ideas?”

No. No thank you. Ideas I have. Infact, that may be the problem. I have too much stuff to write about. I can’t organize it all. It doesn’t all go together. It’s a mishmash of opinions/thoughts/experiences. It’s good stuff, it’s bad stuff, it’s all over the place. It’s a schizophrenic mix of events during the past few weeks that I’m afraid I can’t prioritize.  Look, even me describing it is a hot mess. But I’ll try. I’m warning you all now. There’s stuff in here that is really really great, and stuff that’s really really meh. But I have no time or patience to separate those things…so here you go.

I hated Disney. There. I said it. It’s been weighing heavily on my mind. We had a really good event there. It wasn’t crowded. The weather was amazing. My family loved it. The service levels at the resort are bananas good, the people are super friendly- but guess what – not my thing. I even met and hugged Mickey himself and felt…nothing. I guess I’m dead inside.

I did not hate my 20th wedding anniversary. 20 years. Same dude. #goodlife

I turned 44. Here’s where I stand. I have a shitload of white hair. My lady bits are having some issues (you’re welcome for the overshare), looks like I have to be a normal human and see a doctor more often.  I’m grateful for the very deep relationship with my manicure/pedicure gals. Nothing feels warmer than me walking in and all of them smiling and saying, “hello Neha! Mani/pedi/wax?” Yes. Yes. And really yes. I’m also happy to have friends who are still around even though I talk to them less than I write this blog. I’m thankful for all the usual stuff too (kids, family, job, yada yada).

I’m obsessed with Seinfeld, again. This may be bad news for my obsession with Everybody Loves Raymond, I’ll let you know.

God grant me the serenity to accept my family and friends who love Trump. In my mind I imagine even Oprah has friends and family like that – and what would she do? Would she look down on them? No way. She would openly embrace them and love them. For they know not what they do. I’m gonna be like Oprah. Forever.

I am sick of talking about how busy I am. I’m done. I can’t hear myself anymore. If I were listening to me I’d tell me to shut-up. Enough. What am I? The Queen of Sheba? No. Not. I’m riduclous. I will find something else to talk about. Starting tomorrow….I’ve got a lot to do today.

We went to a wonderful, beautiful wedding. I love weddings. I love all of it. I find nothing cheesy or boring about weddings. This is the great mystery of my life. I love weddings but I also loved eloping. Go figure. Maybe I like OTHER people’s weddings. Anyway – it was beautiful and fun and touching. Mazel tov to Keith and Danielle (and Cora the cutie!).

Guess what? The day after that wedding I went to another wedding…err.. wedding celebration. Two lovebirds who found each other later in life but make every day and every moment count. The love story of Marcello and Lorraine gives me serious feels, as my son would say. They are joyful and generous. As I get older I no longer find humor in marriage sarcasm. I love couples who love. Openly and happily. During one of our book club meetings a few months ago (Babes with Books lives!), a new member described her dating life with her then boyfriend by saying,”we spent the next two years falling in love before he proposed.” Come on! That’s some beautiful stuff right there. I told you I’m getting old and soft. One more thing to share about this day…during the time that Marcello and Lorraine were falling in love in Italy, he took a photo that captured a special moment in their courtship. That day, that beautiful photo memory ended up on their wedding cake as a surprise to the couple. Tears flowed from both the bride and the groom. No hiding that kind of emotion and love.

Work is going well. My team and I have lots of fun together. Atleast I think we do. Am I one of those people that think their team likes to hang out with them when deep inside they are all miserable and unhappy and would much rather be anywhere but with me? I dunno. I’m going to start a group chat with them and find out.

My daughter went to senior prom. My son got his blackbelt. It was the best weekend ever.

I’m wearing color, and I don’t mean grey. Or is it gray. I don’t know how long it’ll last and I still like wearing all black – but I get a lot less slack this way. People like it when you mask your inner darkness with chunky yellow jewelry. If I were an evil super villian I’d get away with it all just by wearing a light, flowery shirt. Just an fyi.

Beyoncé. Lemonade. Everyday. When you’re talking to me, just know that’s what’s going on in my head.

Have you had enough? I’ll try to be better..I still have more to tell you…it’s just that I’m so busy🙂

The year of marriage 

Forget the Year of the Monkey. 2016 is the year of I Do’s. 

We have exactly 4 weddings to go to this year. And we know and love exactly 3 other couples who have gone off and gotten hitched! And now, over the weekend, another lovely couple in the family has gotten engaged. I’m overwhelmed with happiness for all these people in love. 

And of course  all this love gets me thinking of my own engagement and marriage – because after all – I am human and I come back to how this impacts me. I can’t help it. 

So  I’m reminiscing and looking at my engagement and wedding rings and then I notice how dirty they are. At the same time, a Dawn commercial comes on. The one that talks about how they use Dawn to save the oil covered birds…if you watch a lot of TV like I do, you know exactly what I mean. The rest of you, put down your book and YouTube it.

Anyway it got me thinking. We have Dawn… If it can clean oil slick covered baby birds – it can clean my rings! And you know what? It did! 

Eureka!

  
Look at all the dirt coming off! 

Gross and interesting right?? 

How did I get from reminiscing about proposals and marriage to grime and dirt? I dunno. But that’s where I went. 

So this is my advice to all newly engaged/newly married members of my family. Eventually the ring gets dirty. And it’s good dirt. It’s cooking dinner dirt. It’s helping with homework projects dirt. It’s years of not caring about your ring dirt. But  it all cleans away. And you still have all the romance, the excitement and love of that ring underneath. 

Here’s wishing you years of dirt and happiness. 

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