Something bad…and then something good

This past weekend my daughter went into New York City to visit a friend. On the way back, on the train, there was an incident. She texted me that the train had stopped about 50 miles from our station with no message from the conductor on what happened or how long it would be.

“Wait it out”, I said, “I’m sure you’ll be moving soon.”

An hour later she texted me, “They made us get off the train. There was a jumper.”

A jumper. I got a pit in my stomach. A jumper. I wrote back some words of encouragement and she said she’d write me with what she was planning on doing. A few minutes later she’d found someone to share an Uber with to our station.

Usually I wouldn’t think twice about this and I’d be happy she had a solve. But it’s Covid and everything is skewed in my brain. Who are they? Is it safe? Blah blah blah…. on and on and on. But I know her. She’s been so careful and she’s so smart – I told myself to back off (backing off is NOT in my DNA btw) and let her figure it out.

Another hour later she texted me her ETA and I said I’d be there to pick her up. I got there early and sat in the car. While I waited in the car I started thinking about the sad soul that died. And, as per usual, instead of thinking a happy thought or distracting myself – I went down a deep rabbit hole. It’s like my superpower.

Those of us that take mass transit often are used to the signs on the platform. They usually say something like, “You are not alone” or “If you need to talk, we are here.”

I started googling statistics and learned that more than half of train accidents involve a suicide. And that over 60% of engineers will have an incident during their careers. Heartbreaking all around.

By the time Kera got there I was totally wound up.

She texted me that she was here and that she saw my car and was headed over. I got my shit together. Put on Pop2K on the radio and opened the window to get some fresh air. My only saving grace during my sad deep dive was that I hadn’t cried. Points for that! No red eyes to cover up.

Although her catching me crying would have been nothing new. My kids and husband have both walked in on me many times in the middle of a good cry about, you name it, Syria, childhood hunger, poverty and said,”uhhhh are you ok?” What a silly question. When have I been ok??

Here’s the good part.

As she walked to the car I noticed that she wasn’t alone. There were two older ladies with her. Kera said,” Mom the two women I rode with want to meet you.”

Then these two, sweet women proceeded to tell me that they wanted, needed, to meet the mother of this wonder girl that had helped them. They were going to Philadelphia – hadn’t traveled this way before – and had no idea of what to do when the train shut down. They said there were just standing on the platform in a daze when Kera approached them. They had never Uber’d before. They didn’t know how that worked but knew instantly that they could trust this girl. They called her a blessing. Called her an answer to a prayer and many other gushy things. And I did what I think any respectable mother would do. I started sobbing uncontrollably. From the look on their faces – they weren’t expecting that.

None of what they said was a surprise and Kera was probably mortified by the scene I caused – but here’s the thing. I was in my hole of sadness and they pulled me right out. Catapulted me right out. I told them how grateful I was for their kind words and how much I had needed to hear something good and positive. We said our goodbyes and I asked Kera what their story was.

Two sisters, part of a big family from Belize. They’d just had a death in the family and were traveling from New York City to Philly to be with everyone.

I took a deep breath as we drove home.

I’m so glad for them that Kera found them. And I’m so glad for Kera that she has another story to tell from that day. The story that has some bad, but also some good.

Kera and her new pals

Chicken Wings vs. Vick’s

Oh what a week! Our whole family has been fighting a cold/allergy/tuberculosis type of cough. This post could have easily been called Phlegm Tales but that’s just gross.
IF I were to write about phlegm I’d tell you that after hacking up a lunge for a couple of days your entire face gets congested. The whole thing.
My baby girl was totally covered in it all weekend. Usually I sequester my kids in their rooms like prisoners when they’re sick, but I felt so bad for her. Nothing can really help you, you have to let it run its course. But I did what my mom would have done for me. I ignored all the warnings on the jar of Vick’s and put some in boiling water and let her steam it in. Does it help? Yes. Is it toxic? Maybe. But you get a good nights sleep – so there’s that.

My baby boy has a bit of a cough thing too, but his cure is much different. See photos below of both for proof. His healing comes from a pile of chicken wings. People are different. What can you say.

And I know that talking about how busy you are is the new black, but I’ve been really busy!!

I did however take time to marvel at this woman who I’ve never seen before on my commute. She got on. Found a seat. Put away her 4 bags/coats etc. and then took out a full-on make-up bag. Not a travel bag, no no, a folding tri-fold bag with all her essentials in it. She then spent the next 65 minutes applying make-up. I had kind of noticed it the other day, but I was dozing in and out of reality trying to stay awake. Today I noticed. Today I was alert. Today I set a timer on my phone. 3 different concealers before the base coat even went on. 3! Then there was a highlighter type thing around her eyes and corners of her mouth. Followed by powder (loose applied with a big brush). The actual color portion of the application was really cool too. I couldn’t see all the little details, but I did see the dark liner, bronzer used as blush and hot pink lipstick. Hot pink lipstick! It totally inspired me to put on more lip gloss. I’m not embarrassed to say that I took a small pic of her. Pretend it’s not creepy that I did that and take a look below.

To round off the strange pictures I thought you’d like to see what I had for dinner on Tuesday night. Deconstructed taco. Which is basically like all the stuff that falls out of your taco at the end and, if you are like me, you think it tastes so much better than the actual taco. If you don’t agree, no worries, go on with your whole, intact taco you communist.

Just kidding. Communists don’t eat tacos. Happy almost Friday to you all.

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‘Tis the season

For grumpy commuters to make tourists feel like crap. Lighten up would ya?

So she didn’t run down the escalator like a lunatic even though there was plenty of time.

So she brought a complicated snack (ok meal) on the train.

So she’s carrying a big gulp from the Radio City Christmas show.

So she’s talking full volume to her equally loud friend while she knits/needles/threads a Christmas thingie.

Leave them be. Stop glaring behind and looking. Stop making Tsk Tsk noises. Go to the quiet train with your judgy judgements.

They got all gussied up and enjoyed a day in the big city. Don’t be bitter because you worked all day while they enjoyed The Rockettes. Don’t ya see the festive pin on their coats?

Go back to trolling FB. It’s ok. They won’t be on your morning train.

Bless their crafty hearts.

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Wha???

Conversation on the train platform today. You guess which one is me.

A: “I can’t believe this train is late again”

B: “Oh it’s not late. It’s right here”

A: “What? Where? There’s no train on this station” Laughs “I see empty tracks! ”

B: “Oh sorry, I’m still asleep. I meant the train stops at this station, so it’ll be here” ….”Eventually”

A: “Oh right. That’s ok. I sleep standing up all the time.”

End of discussion.
Meeting of the minds concludes as the train pulls in.
NYC.
You can just blend right in with all the other weirdos.

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Come on!

How could all of these people have left work exactly the same time as me? Don’t they know I wanted to get home early today?
People. They’re a bitch sometimes.

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Pee

So my new job is really great – I had forgotten what it was like to be the new toy in town. It’s fun. Really fun.
New people, new challenges, I’m even getting used to the commute – all in all a great way to start the year.
BUT! There is a but.
Not a great big but, just a little one. Here it is…
All I obsess about as soon as I get off my train is pee. Sorry. It’s gross. I’m disgusted just thinking about telling you about it. And please know, I am not that girl. I can’t deal with bathroom humor or bathroom anything. If I saw a shrink I’m sure we’d talk about all the bodily functions that I’m grossed out by. Even when I had my babies… When normal mothers readily stick their noses, fingers, etc in all kinds of places -I had issues. I did it. But I was tortured by it.
Anyway. Back to my point. All I smell when I step off the train is pee. I don’t know where it comes from. I don’t want to know. But it’s the scent that follows me up from the train and down one whole block. One long, stinky block. There’s a rush of relief when it ends at Pearl Street. Thank goodness for Pearl Street, it’s exactly like it sounds. Clean, cool, shiny and pretty. I try to hold my breath for that long block before Pearl but I can’t. Eventually I have to breath. I’ve developed a system where I bury half my face in a scarf. If I could wear one of those surgical masks without feeling like a freak, I would. Those overpopulated countries in Asia have all the luck. Everyone wears one there.
And what am I going to do in the summer when my scarf won’t be there to save me?? What shocks me as much as the smell is that I don’t think other people are bothered. They don’t wrap themselves up like a mummy – terrified of accidental inhalation. Some of the lunatics even have coffee and breakfast while walking on that block, the pee block. Wtf?? Could I walk down another block? I’ve tried. The side streets are just as bad.
Are you reading this and thinking, “what am I reading? what is wrong with this girl?”. Well let me tell you, there is a lot wrong with me. But in this particular case, the problem is that I have a supersonic sense of smell (and hearing, but that’s a different story). I have visceral reactions to smell. I can’t overcome a stinky place/people/things. It stays with me like a layer of dust or a cloud of that clings to me.
On a positive note, a good smell can change my whole day. It can make me happy, excited, or relaxed. I may not love diaper duty, but a baby’s head can make my day! I’m a weirdo. I know it. But I can’t help it. Like Lady Gaga said – I was born this way.

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Paris to Brussels to Paris

You thought I was done talking about the trip? Silly.

We took a day trip to Belgium. ‘Cause that’s how we roll in Europe. Wanna go to England for tea, should we drive to Italy for the week end? Just normal Parisian stuff you think about when having your double espresso and chocolate crepe. Actually if you’re a real Parisian you have your espresso with a cigarette.

So we hopped a Metro, and then hopped a train, and got another stamp on our passport.  It’s what you do on a Wednesday. Sorry, got carried away.

We realized a few things quickly when we got to Brussels.

1st – everyone that lives there looks like they stepped out of a young, hip music video

2nd – all those Belgium left on the first train to Paris, no worries, plenty of Japanese tourists around to show us the way

3rd – it only takes 11.6 minutes to run smack into the Manneken Pis and grab a waffle

4th – even in its home country, I don’t like Belgium beer. zo en zo

Here’s a few more pics from our adventure. Tomorrow I’ll start talking about normal shit again. Maybe.