Since my last post…
- Ali returned from L.A., flew to D.C., came home to inform me that I have brittle hair and need to do something about it, and then left for Boston.
- The Takeaway: Pantene isn’t cutting it anymore – my hair is in a bad place. And my husband still needs to learn to filter.
- Maya had a holiday party with 3 of her friends. I put together cute holiday gift bags (if I do say so myself) complete with matching earmuffs, matching T-shirts, holiday pens, erasers, and more. It’s been 5 days and Maya’s gift bag is still sitting in the living room, mostly untouched. And when I dropped Maya at school this morning we spied a pair of the aforementioned earmuffs abandoned and headed for the lost and found.
- The Takeaway: My gift bags clearly made a huge impression. On me.
- Since nobody else wanted to venture out into the cold to hit the grocery store this weekend (I needed help carrying the bags), I took a stand and decided not to go at all. Thus our fridge is currently empty except for one banana, ketchup, mustard, jam, M&Ms, and frozen fish sticks. (And milk of course. We always have milk as you know.)
- The Takeaway: I’m very much regretting my “stand” and will continue to regret it as dinner approaches.
- The Takeaway 2: I inevitably suffer when I try to make others suffer.
Ali is returning from Boston tonight, to a home with no food, a daughter who has no appreciation, and to a wife who has brittle hair.
I almost feel sorry for him.
When we return from a trip of any kind, there are two Very Pressing Matters that need to be addressed ASAP:
#1. How do we ensure that there be milk for Ali’s tea and cereal? And not just any milk, but lactose-free organic 2% milk.
(Although 1% will also do in a pinch. Because Ali is low-maintenance like that.)
#2. How can I minimize the amount of time that Ali’s suitcase will block the front door? Because:
- It WILL block the front door. For at least 24 hours.
- My subtle hints to unpack will go unnoticed.
- My not-so-subtle hints to unpack will go unnoticed.
- I will lose my @#$% and the suitcase will finally be partially emptied (of course).
- I will lose my @#$% again and the suitcase will be 97% emptied (it’s never FULLY emptied, just FYI).
- The suitcase will eventually be rolled back into a closet. At which point I will cringe because I will be picturing the 1 billion strains being transferred from the filthy suitcase wheels to my Swiffered floors.
Anyway, since I left for Los Angeles after Ali did, I proactively resolved Pressing Matter #1 by making sure to purchase and place an unopened container of the approved variety of milk in the fridge for my husband.
Unfortunately, we are going on 36 hours and Pressing Matter #2 is still pending, as evidenced by the fact that I’m still staring at, and climbing over, Ali’s suitcase.
I’m about to lose my @#$% AGAIN (a new record for me).
Which means things will get done. But which also means that my floors are about to be bacteria ridden….
I guess one can’t expect it all?
My mom’s OCD has been in full force lately, and I’m definitely seeing the brunt of it.
For example, just this past week alone my mom went ballistic and accused me of:
- Dropping cereal all over the kitchen when I was pouring it into my bowl.
- Dropping cereal on the dining table and on the floor under my chair because I wasn’t focused while eating.
- Eating cereal with too much sugar (obviously my dad took me to the grocery store).
- Eating three bowls of the offensively sugary cereal in a span of ten minutes.
- Leaving the cereal box on the dining table. Along with my bowl. And a splash of milk for good measure.
My mom’s theory is that I’m either misbehaving because I’m high on sugar (27 grams of sugar at breakfast will do that to you) or because I’m getting older and testing those boundaries again.
The correct answer is: none of the above.
The truth is that I do (or don’t do) things because I’m straight up lazy in most aspects, with the exception of striving to find ways to get my dad to let me do things my mom won’t approve of.
In any case, this latest escapade provided my mom with some much needed motivation to invent “new consequences” for my cereal (and other) offenses.
And these consequences go way beyond taking away TV time or library visits.
No, she’s become far more creative than that!
My mom’s latest punishment is having me write essays about why I did “X” and why I won’t do “X” again, and what the consequences will be if I do.
So far I’ve had to write two essays. One about how I won’t ever be rude to a family member on FaceTime again, and I’m forgetting what the other one was at the moment, but it likely had to do with me forgetting to do something.
Suffice to say that I hate writing essays.
One essay that I wouldn’t mind writing, however, is “How Ultimately She’s Just Hurting Herself Because It’s Her Hard Earned Money That’ll Be Paying My Therapist.”
About 10 days ago, when I found myself pushing my Trader Joe’s shopping cart with one finger, it occurred to me that I fear germs a bit more than the average person.
If I’m being honest, this thought also occurred to me when, on our flight back from London last month, I utilized the plastic bag my earphones came in to fasten my seatbelt.
I think the turning point, however, was when I considered using hand sanitizer to clean my mechanical pencil. It was then that I realized I needed to learn to be one with germs.
So I tried to stop using my sleeve to open doors (Success rate = 72%), picked up Maya’s backpack without fear (I’m lying), and even ate at restaurants without first reviewing their restaurant grade (Truth: I spotted one “B” grade at Kati Roll Co. and went to Le Pain Quotidien instead).
And so it should come as no surprise that 48 hours into my decision to embrace bacteria, I got food poisoning from what I previously considered one of the best pieces of snapper I’d ever consumed.
The snapper knocked me out for approximately 72 hours straight. I lost about 10 pounds and gained several more gray hairs.
I recovered, however, and told myself it was an isolated event.
And 36 hours after that I came down with a fever, cough, and sore throat.
I recovered and told myself it was NOT an isolated event. And then I went back to using my sleeves, my hand sanitizer, and I will obviously never, ever again order seafood on a Monday.
The experiment is over.
Approximately 2 years ago I purchased two new lamps for our master bedroom.
I made this purchase in an effort to make our hideously old-fashioned master look marginally better to potential renters.
(In case you weren’t aware, home décor is NOT my strong point).
The lamps (Ralph Lauren by way of HomeGoods) looked pretty good, but every time I passed by them I thought, “I really need to remove the price tag.”
I thought about this:
- As a potential renter came back to our place for a second look.
- As that particular renter came back to sign a lease.
- As we (or rather, I) packed up the lamps for the move from LA to NYC.
- As we (or rather, I) unpacked the lamps in our NYC apartment.
- As we (I’ll spare you) packed the lamps again for a move across the city to our new apartment.
- As we unpacked the lamps in our current NYC apartment.
- As we filed a claim with the movers for breaking one lamp.
- As we placed the newly mismatched lamp on Ali’s side of the bed, and threw what was deemed my broken lamp into the trash.
- As I walk by the lone remaining lamp in our new NYC apartment.
- As I wrote this really meaningless post.
Now that there’s only one lamp I’m hoping I can find the energy to cut off one HomeGoods tag, as opposed to the two that somehow seemed like an insurmountable task.
In the meantime we’re just keeping things classy.
While in London, I made an effort to detox my NYC exhaust-ridden lungs by taking daily walks in the crisp English air.
And while repairing my lungs, I also tried to become a better person by listening to podcasts about everything from “How to Raise a Successful Child” to “The 8-Hour Diet.”
(Yes, 8 hours. We’ll revisit that on another day.)
One fine multitasking day, I listened to a TED talk delineating the reasons it’s important NOT to multitask.
- People are 1,000% happier when they are focusing on ONE specific task (Sorry I don’t recall the exact percentage as I was multitasking).
- People are far more successful when they focus on ONE specific task (These people must have an army of nannies).
- People are for more irritated when they focus on multiple tasks (True. But if I wasn’t doing multiple tasks I’d be thinking of how I was capable of doing multiple tasks, and I’d be irritated I wasn’t utilizing my time wisely).
I decided to put the podcast into practice:
I stopped in Hyde Park, took out my earphones, and decided to focus on the lake and ONLY the lake for an entire 5 minutes.
My thought process:
- Wow, the swans are so quietly synchronized. Pretty.
- Must be nice to be a swan – I bet they aren’t trying to unlock the keys to success.
- And exercise isn’t something they have to attempt to work in to their day! No 8-hour-diet for them.
- But seriously, how much can one swim around all day without getting bored?
- I wonder if it’s been 5 minutes yet?
So in case you are still reading this nonsense, here is my takeaway:
A focused life would be great.
But until someone figures out how to import the European workweek and gets Maya to stop asking me super important questions like “Should I have frozen yogurt from 16 Handles or Tasti-D-Lite today?” I’m thinking that the multitasking is here to stay.
Our vacation has been (almost) all about Maya for two reasons:
- To appease my conscience that I pretty much ignored her this year in favor of my career.
- So that I could say, to her future therapist, “But we spent SO quality time together. Even our vacations! I’m not sure where I went wrong?”
Truth #1 is that the only thing Maya wants (besides rolls of Scotch Tape) is time and attention.
Truth #2 is that giving Maya time and attention is the HARDEST thing in the world.
And yet, during this trip at least, I think I’ve been doing a pretty decent job of it.
London: We played cards, Boggle, colored, and I selflessly spent hours waiting in the hot sun as she played in the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.
Dublin: Ali and I headed here – without Maya – because I’ve heard that absence makes the heart grow fonder and I wanted to be fully prepared for round 2.
London: After working up additional courage in Dublin I once again gave Maya my undivided attention all over London – parks, restaurants, and the library. We even cooked dinner together (Truth #3: I lost it when she dropped an entire tub of sour cream on the kitchen floor).
Paris: Here’s where things got crazy – I was so inspired by my progress that I decided to leave my laptop behind before climbing on the Eurostar.
Maya was in shock. “But Mama, we are going to Paris for 2 whole days. You really aren’t going to take your laptop?”
I really didn’t. And somehow I didn’t miss it either. Instead we had hot chocolate and eclairs with friends at the Laduree, went swimming in our hotel pool, and rode ridiculously expensive rides at a fair ($10 for 5 minutes on a gigantic swing PER PERSON – how do people afford to live in Paris?).
We are now back in London where my conscience feels suitably appeased.
Which brings us to Truth #4: I think we are both looking forward to a little alone time.