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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7 Costume Ideas for the Apathetic Halloweenster

My kids don’t get it – I hate Halloween. The memories I have of it are mostly…terrifying. Like that terrifyingly boring movie “Purge,” Halloween, in my time, meant dressing up in a costume enough to qualify for free candy – without being a clear target. The thugs, of course, wore their usual attire, to take off with your loot after they drenched you in raw eggs and Nair.

Like bachelor parties in Miami, bad things happen when you go all out on Halloween. Either you wake up with vague memories of doing jello shots with some serial killer or you realize the hard way that booze and prosthetic glue do not mix well.

That’s why simple is best – but not boring. This is New York, after all. Cat ears and a tail? A witch hat? Puh-leeze. People wear weirder stuff than that on any given day. Don’t look like a city mom wannabe!

Halloween is the one time, I wish I were a guy. If I were a middle-age rotund guy, I’d dress up like a woman every year. Contour my Moobs into a push up bra, flare skirt with boxer shorts showing off my hairy legs. Pumps. Red lipstick – and a tramp stamp.

I’d make my wife walk with me – no, have lunch with me – at the Thai restaurant on the corner of Queens Boulevard. Window seat.

But I’m not a guy – so it’s back to the drawing board.

Before kids, I could fit into outfits. Comic book characters. Bad ass women with guns, sneers and a belly button that wasn’t stretched into a smiley face. Now? Every accessory only emphasizes how tired I look.

Wigs give my eyes tremendous bags. Make up makes me resemble my dad and any outfit that’s not black, makes me seem like an emergency room escapee.

I stick with natural hair, dressed in black – no masks or black lipstick. Think, beer interference.

Oh yeah, and no boobs either. Wish I had those, too. If I had huge hooters, I’d tape a line of cotton across it, like one of those cocaine movies I can’t remember because I’ve never done coke. And I was probably hammered when I watched it – who makes movies about coke heads, anyway? You can’t understand them. Heroine addicts are way more fun to watch.

But back to the apathetic Halloweenster – my fifth grader is slowly becoming one. Compared to my half-assed costume ideas, his takes the slacker costume of the year. For the Halloween party, he was supposed to be Nick Fury of the Avengers. Since he rubbed off his goatee, he was to respond, “What’s in your wallet,” to the question, “Who are you supposed to be?”

To make matters worse, he lost his patch and because he was wearing an Iron Maiden t-shirt, people asked if he was supposed to be the singer from Journey.

Yeah, I don’t get that either.

On Halloween, the school paraded around the neighborhood in full Halloween spirit – and he was just too cool for it. While it’s okay to wear a Captain America helmet playing the drums, he couldn’t understand that it means nothing on it’s own. And no, a blue striped polo shirt nowhere near resembles the Captain’s uniform. “So I’ll go as nothing!” He said.

“I got it,” said Daddy, “how about wear the school uniform and go as a student.”

Eventually, we got him to dress as street clothes Rocky Balboa: fedora, gold chain, leather jacket and the piece de resistance: a blue punchball.

“If anybody asks who you are,” I coached him, “just say, Yo! Adrian!

He contemplated practicing his line but the slacker in him chose this excuse: “I can’t do an Italian accent, mom – I’ll sound Japanese.”

To him that made sense. Like Iron Maiden Steve Perry.

My advice, get yourself a long black coat – one that flares like a cape. Dress in black. After that, it’s just a matter of accessories. Of course, you’ll be a villain but who wants to be a good guy – they all wear tights.

  1. Heart shaped eye patch & sword: Stayne (Alice in Wonderland)
  2.  Sunglasses and boots: Matrix
  3. Horns and British accent: Loki
  4. Short white wig and black nail polish: Roy Batty (Blade Runner)
  5. Vampire teeth and padded butt cheeks: Underworld
  6. Clown make up and a stuffed crow: Eric Draven
  7. Split ends and a glowing ball: Balthazar (Sorcerer’s Apprentice)
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The Boys of Summer

The air conditioner in our bedroom is a noisy piece of crap. Every time it kicked on, it woke me up. So, counting on a mild August night, I turned it off and hoped the fan setting was enough. In five minutes, the room was boiling. A far cry from the luxurious accommodation of our weekend in Philly. As I labored for sleep, I remembered walking past a woman on her cell phone saying, “Well, sure but it’s hot as fuck out here!”

The bed started to feel like a fresh pizza. Finally, my feet hit a cool spot that just might remain cool enough to drift back to sleep when the door creaked open.

“Mama?” Said a little voice.

“Go back to bed.” I said.

“My head hurts.”

“That’s ’cause you should be asleep.” I said, and groaned because the cool spot was now – hot.

“And I’m thirsty,” continued the little pecker-head, as he proceeded to climb into my bed.

My limbs were groggy as I ushered him out to the bathroom and when I turned on the light, I was astonished.

Samu must’ve grown three inches in his sleep!

Suddenly, I’m overcome by a wave of melancholia. Or terror. Either they’re growing overnight or it’s an invasion of the body snatchers. But I realize it’s really him and not an alien who busted out of an eggplant when he filled his cup with water – dumped it – filled it again – dumped it again – filled it again and took just two tiny sips.

“I don’t want summer vacation to be over,” he whimpered.

It hit me, too. “Yeah, we had a lot of fun this summer – didn’t we?”

My mind took a brief inventory: Track & Field, Golf, Baseball sleepover and let’s not forget sunburn. Nothing like walking the streets of Philly with Daddy looking like a leper.

Samu and I shuffled our way back to his bed. My steps just as heavy and sad as his. Our fun in the sun – was done.

For me, it was more than that. This summer just might be the last when my boys are “boys”. Next year, Zuki will likely be the same height as me. And Samu – should at least have a butt that’ll hold a pair of swim trunks bigger than 3T.

In the dark, I could hear his tears hit the pillow. I could tell he wanted to sing the theme song he created combining the “Titanic” and “Lord of the Rings”. He’d been humming it all summer when he was sad – when he lost an eyeball for his Mixel, when the frog at the beach got plucked by a seagull.

But his big brother was snoring away. And, that kind of ruined it.

“How’s your head?” I asked as he held my hand.

He sighed deeply and answered, “I want to go back to the hotel in Philadelphia.”

I did, too. The air conditioner was quiet.

Boys of Summer

 

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Roots, Radicals, Reese’s Pieces

As a full time mom, I get to chaperone a lot of the school field trips for my boys’ class. I get a kick out of them. While getting to know my son’s classmates and teachers is a huge perk, the real bonus is in watching them act like monkeys who escaped from the zoo.

Recently, we went to the Queens County farm, where they took a “Colonial Kitchen” workshop in a farmhouse. During the presentation, these 4th graders learned about life in the Colonial days – how children did chores all day, ate after all the adults were finished, married early, caught on fire easily and hardly had sugar.

No sugar?!

Kids and their priorities. They were put to work during the workshop, cutting the farm’s fresh vegetables, making cornbread with molasses (remember, no sugar), churning butter from cream. When it was all done, only two kids actually finished their cups of soup – the rest preferred to finish off their 30 oz bottle of Gatorade and barbecue flavored chips.

You only live once, I suppose. Fresh food isn’t a novelty to them when we have three supermarkets in a five block radius who all sell organic produce.

Damned kids – I thought the soup was delicious and had two helpings – screw them. Then again, it was a mere five degrees outside and the class voted to go see the frozen cow while the soup cooked. Dumb cow.

In the end, what I learned was – I could never work on a farm. But somebody has to. Somebody has to know how to grow potatoes. I mean out of the 28 kids in the class, only one knew that flint rock and steel was a way to start a fire. And he wasn’t even a scout.

It’s sad when you think about it, how little city folk know about surviving and how even less they can pass on to their kids. I could teach my kids how to get anywhere by subway but outdoors, I couldn’t guide them to the North Star unless there was a huge white arrow pointed to it. But at least I know it’s crucial to find it if you’re lost.

These kids? Well, the instructor asked the students what sweeter they thought replaced sugar in Colonial days, as a hint she said it starts with an M and rhymes with glasses. All the kids searched the furthest corner of their 4’x5′ brain and one kid stuck up his arm like he was having a stroke.

“Peanut butter!”

I clawed at my face and thought, we’re all gonna die.

See - Men do belong in the kitchen

See – Men do belong in the kitchen

 

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Gathered Here Today

My good friend, I heard of your loss and I’m deeply sorry. Sometimes we see it coming – many times we don’t but either way, we’re never quite prepared. It is the ultimate Suck.

How do people carry on, you ask yourself. Don’t they know who they’ve lost?

It is strange – to see life continue when for you, it has split between the time with and the time thereafter. But if anything is to be gained, it’s the awakening. That by departing, they illuminate everyone else. All those who are still here. And it makes you want to remind them that every, single day is important.

Cherish it and replace the sorrow with it for now. The void will inevitably come.

I remember, weeks after I lost my sister, you called me up and coaxed me out of my cave. Gathering the dregs that we tooled around with, we poured our memories into our beers and drank until we ran out of money. That’s what I remember of thirteen years ago – not the tears, but the laughter that fought them and the friends who were there when the dust settled.

There hasn’t been a day gone by that I don’t think of her – and I suspect the same fate awaits you with your brother.

He was the backbone to your uniqueness – the bolt in that swan on your bowler hat. He supported your gigs, even when everyone else was at home watching the season premiere of Sex In The City. He scared off your trick or treaters as the scary Cat in the Hat.

What a guy.

You and your family are in our thoughts, bro.

Here is the light, and there you go…

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Zuke, I Am Your Grandfather

Were my dad alive for his birthday today, he’d be eighty years old. I wish he was here just to stump my boys mathematically – they couldn’t fathom it – eighty years. Just the other day, Zuki asked me if I was alive in 1812.

I asked him if he was serious.

Then he asked me if I was almost a hundred years old.

I told him yes just to stop the conversation because I knew he would never do the math.

Although my dad and Samu only spent a year and a half together on Earth, Samu sometimes says he misses him. Since I doubt he has that extraordinary of a memory, I’m assuming he’s missing the potential of pilfering another grandparent out of money.

To Samu’s credit, he does remember something about “Gigi” – that he would lie on the daybed to take a nap. That’s about it. I told him how my dad used to praise him for neatly putting his shoes away before entering the house. It was a rather “obsessive-compulsive” action for a one year old to take and little did I know it would get much, much worse – but that’s another story.

Zuki, of course wanted a story of his grandfather praising him.

So, I recounted a time when Zuki accidentally turned on the oven cleaner and almost set the house on fire. My father clearly called him a little rascal.

How is that praise?

Because since his stroke, he never made any sense. He’d call me “Machi” and he’d call everyone else “Pachi” – but “rascal” – was reserved just for his grandson.

He didn’t look disappointed with that story – he didn’t seem affected at all. In that way, he reminds me of my dad. The punchline was always way over their heads. My dad would laugh at a joke a good ten minutes later, while Zuki made you explain it until he turned into a gay fish.

And there are other ways: the way it takes forever for them to get to the point, the way they are remotely fascinated with the military, the movies and accessories.The way they they take forever to leave, which is how my dad was dubbed “The Prince” by my mom. Naturally, Zuki is “Prince 2.”

Samu is “The Princess” but again – that’s another story.

My mother thinks my comparisons are fixated, delusional bullshit based on a father complex. Perhaps she’s right. We all see what we want to see – or in this case – who we want to see. Maybe Zuki is just like me but I see my father because I don’t want to see myself.

Does that make me Zuki’s grandfather? There has to be a punchline in there somewhere.

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