Spring Cleaning with Sissy Spacek

This happens every April, I feel like Sissy Spacek in Carrie. All she had to say was, “I’m not leaving until I have a good time,” but then she killed everybody, so she kind of had to leave. Oh yeah, Spoiler Alert – too late – I suck, especially because that’s not even the part that I relate to. It’s the part where she’s mildly on the verge of a nervous breakdown and shuts all the doors and turns the fire hoses on full blast.

Then she was thinking, “What do mean you’re not helping with clean up?” Now that’s my idea of getting people to step up. If I dressed up in a bloody gown, looked all crazy-eyed and hosed down the slackers, I bet my boys would put their dirty laundry in the hamper every – fucking – day.

Speaking of hoses, I’m doing some internal Spring cleaning as well, in the form of a juice detox. I know, sounds awful, right? It starts with The Last Infusion, and if this is a Jesus reference, then my husband is Mary Magdalene, as in he’s doing the detox with me. He’ll probably crucify me before it’s over because he can’t drink alcohol, or eat fun food and we start on his birthday of all days. That’s the kind of woman he married: prove your love by cleaning that liver!

I contemplated posting until after the treatment because anything can happen in the next 72 hours to steal that thunder: stepping in dog diarrhea, being flattened by a falling crane, waiting for an overzealous Jehovah’s Witness to go away or worst of all, epic fail. But I pictured the Sissy Spacek asking me, “What are you waiting for,” and stopped procrastinating.

Lately, the possibility of failure is a dread worse than being the target of a feces-flinging monkey. Of course, people encourage me to think positive, but I reason that somebody has to fail just like somebody has to be a “flying poo” victim. It’s just the law of chance, or Murphy’s monkey, or my incessant volunteering – whatever. Like most bloggers, if shit happens – there’s something to write about. I’m not Tom Petty, but even the losers get lucky sometimes.

Regardless of the outcome, whether it’s the treatment, the detox, or even new Alien movie, I’ve decided I’m going to roast in the sun this summer. I don’t care if I get as dark as Wesley Snipes – I’m going to take Blade’s advice and “Say No to sunblock” because I hate shellacking myself with that funky stuff. I plan on toting the free umbrella some jewelry store gave me, even though it makes me look like Chinese Mary Poppins. Perhaps you deem that statement as racist because I’m not Chinese but excuse you, the umbrella is.

Ever since I read about heat therapy for cancer, I’ve been wanting to roast myself like a turkey. Then my son had a pet-sitting gig with a Bearded Dragon and when I saw her in her tank, baking under the lamps, I just wanted to shrink myself and join that crazy looking lizard on her hot rock. My son and my husband, the geniuses that they are, decided to dump 20 live crickets in the tank and watch the lizard get all Godzilla-like. Eventually, she pooped in the tank because that’s what happens when your buffet bounces around while you eat it.

Who’s gonna clean that up?

Bearded Sissy Spacek.

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A Serene Place to Scarf Christmas Cookies

It’s 2017 and this is what I discovered: that my sons have a Nerf gun arsenal that makes Sarah Connor look like Hillary Clinton.

By the way, I’m convinced that Hillary Clinton is a robot. She’s gone rogue with a lust for power, but she lost the election – so the victory fireworks that would have inevitably melted her face, a la Raiders of the Lost Arc style has yet to happen. But it will. Just think about it. I’m not far off here.

But enough about Westworld meets politics. It gives me great pleasure to announce that the theme for 2017 is – space. Not Star Trek space but Place Space. As in, “this is my happy place, get the fuck out.”

On New Year’s day, I took the boys to the new World Trade Center to visit The Oculus. Among the many reasons I could’ve come up with for going on this adventure, the main reason was we needed to get out of the house. The subways were running uncharacteristically on schedule and that was a good sign as any. Plus, we had to work off the three tins of Christmas cookies we ate over the holidays.

In a nutshell, I had discovered long ago that Grand Central Terminal was my Happy Place. It’s where you would find me if I needed to think and recharge – like after my quarterly getting-fired from the family business, or a dateless Friday night, or trying to remember where I left the keys to my apartment – you would find me there, people watching.

All those people arriving from somewhere, going somewhere, meeting other people they haven’t seen in months – it’s a buzz that can be best described as serenity.

Plus, there’s Antennae Man. He’s this old black dude, dressed in 80’s punk rock black leather with a Kilt and a tin foil hat shaped like an….antennae. He’s awesome.

The new Path train terminal at the World Trade Center has yet to have its own Antennae Man, but really, who cares? It’s trains to New Jersey. Still, I was curious to see if it had the same serenity as Grand Central.

It didn’t.

To be honest, it’s just a huge mall. Inside a whale carcass. About the only interesting feature is the “Eataly” food market on the top floor. Food so insanely good looking and just as insanely priced, it’s pure toture walking the boys through it on an empty stomach (for the record, boys are like dogs – they’re perpetually hungry).

There’s also no place to sit except for the window sills by H&M. That’s where we parked our butts and scarfed down the Christmas cookies I brought from home because I’m low-budget like that. We watched a new mom and dad fussing with an extremely fat baby who was having a fit being Baby-Bjorned to his mother. She was probably about 90 lbs and the baby was at least 15 lbs with an additional three pounds of clothing and from the looks of it, they should’ve just stuck his fat ass into the all-terrain stroller they blocked the aisle with. But no, the $1,200 stroller was for the mountains of shopping bags – and mommy would carry Baby Anvil home and break her back.

So the moral of the story is, serenity is lost because people are clueless.

 

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Mummy on the N Train

On an Astoria-bound N train at 10:35 am on a Monday morning:

She was probably around 65 years old but she could’ve been a reanimated mummy. Skin so wrinkled and hardened, her face was like a walnut tucked into a shawl, albeit a colorful shawl, because nothing else would flatter the single tooth in her head more. Her happiness was obvious – untouchable, even. Who knows if it had something to do with her demeanor or perhaps she was just happy being with her unemployed-looking son. I assume he was unemployed because he was wearing a hoodie with cannabis leaves stamped all over it and he was doting on his toddler with the expertise of a nanny, especially when he snapped an elastic headband on the child’s head.

Because they appeared Indian, I was tempted to ask him if he knew the botanical significance the hoodie was promoting but then decided not to, because Hell, that could be the reason his mother looked so full of bliss. After all, weed isn’t restricted to those dressed in reggae regalia. If Harold and Kumar could show that Asians make hip and geeky potheads, why not mummy granny?

So, she may have been high, but she sat with an expression that was more than stoned – it was beyond cheerful, beyond peace. As if she knew all there is to know about everything and didn’t give two chickpeas whether it was true or not. She could care less that her son dressed like an Indian Joey Buttafuoco, that her grandchild looked like a boy with a blue-flowered headband. Even the single decaying tooth in her head was ready to fall out any day – so what? Pudding. The only other person who may or may not be high and this happy is Gary Busey (I’m gonna have to put that werewolf movie he was in on our Netflix queue – I think it was called Silver Bullet? Or had something to do with a silver bullet – or I may be having a Gary Busey moment here…).

The point is, never in my life, had I ever looked upon such a weathered and ancient soul and saw it as a goal. I sincerely thought – could I have that? Could I grow that old and aesthetically-not-giving-a-shit and obtain that shell of immunity? Of course, I might stick with lotion because I really hate being itchy, but all the other solvents – would be thrown out the window. Forget deodorant and shampoo – fuck Fluoride and teeth whiteners. What kind of person meets a friend for lunch and compares her teeth to the whiteness of a napkin because her “friend” told her to? The same kind of dumbass who asks if her teeth are white enough!

Actually, I could be that dumbass but I’m lucky that my friends don’t offer Rachel Ray solutions at the tip of their fingers. If I said aloud, “My eczema is flaring up,” Rachel Ray disciples would suggest a homemade remedy along the lines of olive oil and squirrel feces, but ask any one of my best friends and they’d suggest I try weed in any obtainable form, because obviously, my problem is that I’ve stopped drinking beer – another side effect of chemo, apparently.

My husband has even offered to make me Funny Brownies, but considering how much the boys love brownies, it seems like a dysfunctional-family-sitcom-episode waiting to happen. On the other hand, it could be an experience of a lifetime. Something I could look back on in another twenty-years. And I’d smile through every thirsty pore in my aging face, riding on a Queens bound N train with my fully grown weirdos.

gary-busey

…and what does this even mean?

 

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Mr. Spock and Dance Belts

Trying to define the difference between smart and intelligent with my boys is like much like discussing the difference between jiggle and bounce. For the latter, I actually had a conversation with my ballet studying son, that he had to wear a dance belt to keep his balls from bouncing around. For those who don’t know what a dance belt is, it’s basically a jock-strap, a thong, a Brazilian bikini bottom but – for dancers. Boy dancers.

With tears in his eyes, he pleaded – no, screamed as loud as he could, “It goes up my butt – I HATE it. You don’t understand!”

I wish I could’ve told him that, of course, I understand. Because, no woman, especially at my age,  ever escaped some kind of moment where an uncomfortable thing went up her butt. But…that would be opening up a ten gallon tin of worms with that boy. Instead, I tried to explain how women have to wear (or should wear) sports bras to keep their boobs from bouncing – but he just couldn’t see how watermelons compared to eggs, so I finally told him: if he didn’t wear a dance belt, he’d forever have a tiny penis.

And that was the end of that.

By the way, boys will drop any argument when you talk facts about penises (I did Google the plural for penis and was sad to discover that it wasn’t penii).

Also, since I ordered his dance belt online, I get hit with dance belt ads, basically pictures of men’s crotches whenever I Google or go on Facebook. I don’t know about you, but I have to look over my shoulder when I’m simultaneously reading posts on family vacations next to a picture of balls stuffed in a canvas cup.

But let’s get back to failing miserably at conversing with my boys.

After they figured out that balls bounce and fat bellies jiggle, we moved on to the difference between smart and intelligent.To the boys’ unsophisticated mind, smart and intelligent is the same thing and so, I put it to them like this: an intelligent person is someone who could have a conversation with Mr. Spock.

I have no idea how they got it because they’ve never watched Star Trek, and by that I mean cheesy Star Trek – the only true Star Trek because everything after that is just – Mudd. Besides, the boys are Star Wars fans and I, for one, think the Trekkies and (whatever Star Wars fanatics are called) should not mix.

If I may add, Star Wars is smart, Star Trek – is intelligent.

After my comment, my Libra-boy asked me right away if Mr. Spock would find him intelligent and I said, “meh.”

Still, he continued to daydream of how that conversation would go. While he fathomed that Mr. Spock would enlighten him on lasers and teleportation, I moved on to pondering what the wages were for the Enterprise crew. Eventually, it lead me to conclude that intelligent people never get…paid.

Think about it – you were never lead to believe that anyone – anyone – on the U.S.S. Enterprise got a paycheck. No one ever talked about craving pancakes or…going home. They were always in space or on some fucked up planet, which coincidentally, always had oxygen, otherwise, worker’s comp – sheesh!

If they did get paid, then definitely, Bones made the most money. I’m sure Jim was broke after paying all his alien child support. As for Spock, I’m sorry, it’s just wrong to pay a Vulcan – they seem opposed to cash, don’t you think? Could you picture Mr. Spock at Best Buy or shopping for ear muffs? It’s just wrong.

By the end of Libra-boy’s pretend conversation with Mr. Spock, I gauged his IQ somewhere around sausage. It’s okay. With the way things are today, intelligence is a curse.

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 2.43.26 PM

 

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To The Pandemic Volunteer

A friend showed me a pen she received as a gift – it said, “Stop me before I volunteer again.”

“It’s a reminder,” she explained but its ineffectiveness was obvious as we realized, this was the second parent association we’re on together as volunteers.

As I handed back the pen, I sighed and already it sounded like a threat of resignation. But really, who am I kidding? We’re volunteeraholics. She probably signed up with that damned pen.

Every pandemic volunteer knows what I’m talking about. We call ourselves suckers, targets, 3D losers and we compare our tasks like they’re death sentences.

After serving my time on one thing, I say it’ll be the last and even tell my husband that I’ll take his advice and stop signing up for shit. But the truth is, volunteer work never ends. If it does, it ends badly because slaves don’t get fired.

Yes, I just compared volunteer work to slavery. If you think about it, there’s only one difference – gratification. No reasonable person would volunteer unless they enjoyed the work. They sign up year after year because it’s gratifying and good for the soul. Those are the volunteer gigs where you’re surrounded by like-minded, hard-working, good-willed people and they really are a life experience. Every once in while though, you’ll come across a douchebag who is a slave master and that can fuck with your head.

If that happens, you have to tell yourself that the only jackass who should be tolerated is one that signs your paycheck. Otherwise, walk. You need the aggravation like you need hemorrhoids. I have a friend who sorely needs to take this advice – not the friend with the pen – someone else who stayed on even after everybody left.

Now she’ll have to learn the same lesson I learned the hard way – don’t fill a void. If an organization needs you to fill an important role, the last thing you should do is stick around to find out why because I can tell you why. That role is vacant because the last person was a mistreated mule that most likely died under a pile of bullshit.

But for the rest, I toast my fellow volunteeraholics. You may not always be recognized or appreciated for that matter, but you’ve made a difference, a contribution that is far more valuable than money.

So – Thank You. Thank you, very much.

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A Parent’s Guide To Middle School

We need a new scapegoat. Our classic villains were once American Indians, then Nazi’s, the Russians, followed by Wall Street tycoons and finally, terrorists. But we can no longer target a particular race if we want to be politically correct. So I suggest we target politicians.

They’re the perfect villain. They lie, steal and generally ruin everything – even corruption.

Case in point – Middle School.

I knew the day would come when my child would be entering Middle School. I also knew, no matter what, there was going to be a tremendous suck factor.

The choices were, walk to our neighborhood middle school and hope to squeeze in with 2,000 other students in a building meant for half that – or go to school on the moon.

They must have a space shuttle that goes there, right?

Of course, I’m kidding – I know we euthanized all the astronauts. But I kid you not, my son’s commute to school is further than his father’s commute to work.

That’s the reality today – to get to sixth grade, kids will have to travel to Cuba because no one had the insight that Middle School would need a place to exist anywhere near their preceding school.

Did I mention they built a new elementary school smack in the middle of two other elementary schools and are in the process of building another elementary school nearby?

Let’s not even get into full day Pre-K. Like we need to send a four-year old to school all day only to offer him nothing when he passes the fifth grade.

Maybe because middle schoolers aren’t small and cute anymore, they’ve been banished to a place far, far away.

Out of sight, out of mind – and I get to take mine there.

We chose his Middle School because it’s a brand new building, the teachers are young and enthusiastic and so far he loves it. But every morning since he started, I’ve been religiously offering incense to our shrine. I figured if anybody’s going to look over my son, it’ll be my father’s spirit. My dad, the man who thought the best way to teach me how to swim was to strand me in the deep end of the beach.

I can imagine what he’d say about the situation, “Just let him go – if he gets lost, what’s the worst that could happen? He’ll crap his pants? Run into those topless women in Times Square? Better make sure he has some singles.”

And I want to just LET GO. But I know my son has a tendency to get “preoccupied.” It takes him ten minutes to put on a pair of socks, for crying out loud. He takes out a pair from the drawer and within a minute, he’ll forget where he left them. Then he’ll suddenly feel compelled to comment on baldness and completely forget to put on the other sock.

And I’m supposed to unleash this puppy on the subway?

So we’ll be giving him his own mobile phone to call us when there’s trouble. Some kids his age already had their own phone since fifth grade, but it wasn’t our intention to give him one until he grew underarm hair.

He’s got the odor – that’s close enough.

Maybe that was the plan all along – throw us to the wolves so we’d be forced to buy multiple phones and cars. Mind you, the cars we have already, have no place to park. The phones we’re trying to add are running out of available numbers – and we have five known area codes. By the time we figure it out, we’ll be buried in litter and dog poo and talking to the ghost of Christmas Future.

And I’ll bet he’s a politician.

 

 

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Layover Brooklyn

After obtaining her idNYC, my mom went on a sightseeing spree. She visted four boroughs in four days collecting her free memberships like an urban senior Zelda.

For a week she was texting me pictures of giraffes and sculptures and I had to figure out where she was. I think she got the idea from that Free Range Chicken in those Geico commercials.

Along the way, she devised a bright idea to take us on a journey of her favorites. Not one, not two – but three jewels of Brooklyn within the time frame of a layover. Crazy right?

First of all, Brooklyn is big and before you can even get to the edge of it, you have to go through most of Manhattan. That’s already too long of a subway ride. Then – there’s a million stops once you get into Brooklyn – it’s like a train in the Twilight Zone – it never gets to your station (cue cheesy music).

Still, we managed and began at the Brooklyn Museum, followed by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden with a grand finale of Coney Island.

With 15 minutes to kill before opening, we enjoyed eating onigiri (Japanese rice balls) while watching the water works at the Brooklyn Museum. It’s amazing the effect water has on people, especially kids who are insanely unfocused. It must be like watching synchronized spitting. It’s more interesting than Teen Titans – not as noisy either.

Inside, we had time enough to go through the “Rise of the Sneaker Culture” and got caught for an hour playing pinball, video games and foosball in theThe FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade. Who knew? That was worth the suggested admission right there because my guys could easily blow $50 for half an hour of arcade mania.

We entered the Brooklyn Botanic Garden from the Eastern Parkway entrance and went directly to the Japanese Garden. It was serenity beyond measure. Well, visually. By the time we got there, an outdoor concert in the adjacent parking lot was booming very annoying music. Not appropriate music, but a monotone, rap-reggae-what-the-fuck-are-they-singin’-about music that even annoyed the Koi fish.

To keep our visit to two hours, we skipped the Lily Pool Terrace. Probably regretful, still we saw the Cherry Esplande, Rose Garden, Rock Garden, Herb Garden and though we wished we had more time, we made it through the Discovery Zone. When they begged to play the xylophone that magically can’t play a wrong note for yet another hour, we simply said, “Guess you don’t want Nathan’s hot dogs!”

They clutched their empty bellies like an alien was busting out and busted out the Flatbush avenue exit towards the Q train.

A half hour later, we beelined towards Nathan’s Famous on Surf Avenue. Who thought that six dogs, two fries, hot wings, three medium Root Beers and a large Coney Island Lager would cost only…sixty-two dollars!

Or that the boys would actually eat all of that (minus the lager, of course).

What amazed me the most was that the cashier knew to pour me a large beer. And that it was less than eight bucks.

It was the biggest bill for one item of the day.

A whole seven dollars and fifty cents. That was treated by my mom.

The senior citizen.

With an idNYC card.

And that’s Zoltar.

Zoltar

 

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Black And White Is Not Just A Cookie

Apparently, we can’t get rid of our cable because there’s nothing good on Netflix Instant Play. Everything we want to see is still on an archaic DVD, which we reduced to four per month plan because my thumb-head husband tends to leave the movie sitting around for two weeks before watching it.

He must think it’s wine. But no matter how long it sits, a crappy movie is still going to be a waste of time.

Since we’ve gone through every episode of “Family Guy” and “Bob’s Burgers” I suggested watching “The Twilight Zone” – it turned out to be the original series – in black and white.

After the opening scene, Zuki asked, “When is he going to open the door and go into color?”

“This is not the Wizard of Oz, buddy. It stays black and white.”

He crossed his arms over his chest and sunk back into his chair. “This sucks.”

By the third episode, both boys “appreciated” the show and it’s integrity. It was about the story, not the actors or the set or the special effects.

I never realized how much the actors sweat on the show. Good old fashioned sweat – not spray on.

Alas, the intelligence of the show was too much for them. When they couldn’t figure out what Rod Sterling had to do with the show – or what he was saying for that matter – they asked if they could watch something else.

And turned on “Family Guy”.

They will probably never go near a black and white movie or TV show again. If they do, their brain will automatically go into zombie mode because everything they watch on the screen now is over-stimulated. In high definition. With scenes and action for people with a three minute attention span.

The only thing they’ll ever desire in black and white – is a cookie.

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Need Some Help Here

I was searching for inspirational dinner music when my 10 year old requested Eminem.

Eminem?

Where did we go wrong?

It’s my husband’s fault.

He’s too forgiving when it comes to policing the quality of ethnically fused products that we don’t know much about like Rap music, Chi-Mex food, Keanu Reeves and Jello shots made by an adult-baby on Halloween.

Not only will he take Jello shots, he’ll insist – insist – that I do one or five of them, too.

Clearly, I should judge his parental judgements. After all, we had a 10 year old Wolverine and an eight year old Deadpool to bring home.

Ergo, I need some help here.

When the same 10 year old who requested Eminem dinner music, asked that I define the word “ergo,” my reply was that it was the same as therefore.

My example went, “The idiot wouldn’t stop his daredevil stunts, ergo, he wound up in the emergency room.”

Then he asked, “Does that mean he’s dead?”

“What? No – it means,”therefore, he’s in the emergency room!”

“Yeah, but is Ergo dead?”

Literally, my jaw dropped. As in, my mouth fell open – not as in, “Literally, I don’t know how to use the word literally.”

It occurred to me that one day – one of these days – I will take this boy of mine to Glasgow, Scotland. I’ll bet you, my bottom dollar, that he – full blooded Glaswegians – and my husband – will be in full fledged conversation.

They’ll completely understand each other.

Drink each other under the table, too.

And my head will (not) literally be spinning because I’m not Linda Blair, feeling I’ve spent the night with AWADDs (Aliens With A.D.D.) talking Scotch bubbles.

Ergo, this girl is still working on her career.

For the record, I did concede and told my 10 year old that Ergo was, indeed, dead.

His answer was, “Good. He sounds a lot like Samu.”

Need Some Help

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Post Mother’s Day

Before you become a mother, the only mother you really had to care about for Mother’s Day was – your own mother. After you join the team, however, you have to wish every mother and their mother’s mother a happy Mother’s Day.

How many times could I use the word mother in a paragraph? Eight, apparently.

So what do mothers do on their “special” day?

After taking an unofficial consensus, most moms cleaned the house with one hand. The other hand was either holding a beverage or a barbecued drumstick.

But seriously, cleaning was top on the list. What mom has time to battle other moms for brunch and have to pay for it to boot? And breakfast in bed? Not after seeing my boys attempt to make pancakes! Just add water, my ass.

As for gifts, my ADD son gave me his card a week early – lest he forget. Sure enough, on the actual day – he forgot.

My third grader showed me the progress of his card starting Friday and finally attached it with a Dove chocolate bar before handing it to me on Sunday morning.

Every 20 minutes or so, he’d check on the status of the chocolate bar.

“Did you open it yet?”

“No.”

“Well – when are you going to eat it?”

“I don’t know – when I crave chocolate, probably.”

His leg started shaking the nervous twitch he does when he’s excited and his voice quivered as he asked me, “Is it going to be today?”

Alas, I told him I’d share the chocolate bar with him when we were alone, just the two of us. God forbid I should give a piece to his big brother, after all it was bought with his own allowance.

We spent the rest of the day sorting through old clothes – putting away the winter gear and filling the donation bag with the items that were too small for the baby of the family. It occurred to me that I was pulling out shorts sized 8 for “the baby.” For my big boy, we’re putting away his father’s hand-me-downs.

Where is the time going?

Before I know it, I’ll be that mom who gets treated to brunch on Mother’s Day – by her own children. For now, I’ll just savor every bite of my special chocolate bar.

Chocolate small

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