Ali just returned from Montreal, where he was on a “work trip.”
I use quotes here because:
- Ali’s work trips – which often involve destinations such as Turks and Caicos and Hawaii – are always the cause for much suspicion, and
- I like to overuse quotes.
Per my request he returned with two Montreal bagels, which sadly tasted identical to Starbucks bagels.
Rest assured I’m not implying Ali forgot to buy my bagels and then purchased them at Starbucks at JFK or anything. Just making an innocent comparison.
Additionally, Ali returned with a Go Pro Camera “for Maya,” which was obviously NOT per my request.
Me: “May I list the reasons that Maya does not need a Go Pro Camera?”
Ali: “No you may not.”
Me: “Will she even know what to do with a Go Pro Camera? I mean, she’s 10. Plus she’s been half-assing her homework lately and isn’t making her bed properly. Pretty sure she doesn’t need to be rewarded at the moment.”
Ali: “Let’s make the camera a reward for doing better in school. She can use it on the weekends.”
I went with this because I’m trying really hard NOT to dictate how Maya should be raised. After all, parenting is supposed to be a joint effort, right?
Unless of course it involves making her meals, washing her clothes, helping her with homework, or being a disciplinarian, in which case I’m definitely a single parent.
So yesterday, with much flourish and excitement, he presented Maya with the camera.
Maya: “Thanks Dad but I don’t need a Go Pro Camera.”
Just as I’d thought. She also didn’t need more than a few bites of her Montreal bagel either, which she quickly deemed bland and chewy.
Which sounds suspiciously like a Starbucks bagel to me…
We recently closed a huge chapter in our lives…and can all breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Every Single Thank You Note Related to Maya’s Birthday Has Been Mailed.
Think I’m being dramatic? I’m really not.
And if you had to follow up to make sure your 10-year-old executed 30 grammatically acceptable thank you notes, you’d understand why.
So this process really shouldn’t have been so hard. Especially since I basically handed Maya all the information on a silver platter.
1. I compiled a list of every gift and the gift giver’s name.
2. I provided the address of every gift giver.
All Maya had to do was create the note, address the envelope, slap a stamp on it, and place it in the outgoing mail.
Here was the problem though: Maya remained in LA on Spring Break for 10 additional days after I returned to NYC for work.
That meant that by default, Ali had to guide this process along.
Which obviously meant that the entire process came to a standstill.
Why, you ask?
How could the process possibly be stalled when I’d provided all the necessary pieces of information in my very detailed, well-formatted, and thorough list?
Well because I FAILED TO LEAVE ALI AND MAYA 30 ENVELOPES.
An of course there isn’t a single store in Los Angeles that sells those.
In conclusion, getting Maya’s thank you notes out the door was as difficult as brainstorming a solution for Ali’s coat.
Since I’m trying to look at the bright side, however, I’m pleased to report that Maya’s notes are in the mailbox and NOT on the floor.
So, there’s that.
I’ve been making a valiant effort to stop micromanaging Maya.
Just last Saturday, for example, I didn’t tell her to just stop eating, when she consumed all of the following in the span of 8 hours:
Cereal – Two bowls at home.
Lamb Sausage – She can never turn down free Farmer’s Market samples.
Sushi – I purchased sushi for our flight to LA but Maya ate a 9 piece California Roll as a snack.
Fresh Mozzarella Antipasto / Salad with Garbanzo Beans – On our flight to LA.
Two Giant Lamb Chops and Mashed Potatoes – Also on our flight to LA.
Salted Caramel Ice Cream – Also on our flight to LA.
Half a Chocolate Chip Cookie – You guessed it…also on our flight to LA.
When our interminable flight to LA finally concluded, Maya’s throwing up began. And throw up she did!
She threw up on 4 separate occasions: all over me, the car, herself, a Shakey’s Pizza parking lot (sorry Shakey’s), all over the car again, on a random road near my in-laws house, and all over their master bedroom. Twice.
Maya just turned 10.
I thought it’s supposed to get easier?
For the past two weeks, Ali’s been traveling “for work.”
Now I know I overuse quotes – and please accept my apologies for that – but I really do believe his lengthy trip had more to do with NYC enduring one of the coldest winters on record than anything else.
I can’t complain however, because while I nearly froze my toes off (despite wearing my Uggs and 2 pairs of socks), I didn’t have to share the master bathroom, obsess about lactose-free milk, or pick Ali’s coat up off the floor.
(Yes, he’s still doing that. And no I can’t believe it either.)
Life wasn’t all fun and games while Ali was away, though, thanks to a ceiling leak, banging pipes (they had to cut a hole in the master bedroom wall), more brown water, a broken washing machine, and perhaps the most challenging of all:
I was single-handedly responsible for keeping Maya entertained.
If you have kid(s) you’ll understand that this was by far the hardest thing I’ve had to do in the past 336 hours.
Yes I realize she was in school for a portion of those 336 hours, but I feel compelled, and more importantly, entitled to include those hours in my calculation anyway.
I won’t bore you with a detailed breakdown of the last two weeks but let’s just say that the sales at the 5th Ave Barnes & Noble have seen quite a spike in recent days, and I made a donation to the New York Public Library because I was just so grateful their children’s collection afforded me approximately 2 hours of question-free time.
In any case, Ali’s flying back in a few hours. Let the jacket throwing commence.
I kicked off my 39th year on this planet at a salon, getting my roots covered.
I wouldn’t call this a gift to myself, but instead a gift to everyone who has to look at my many gray hairs.
While at the salon, whose magazine selection featured nothing but the Kardashian family (I just can’t), I found myself with nothing to do but think. And so think I did. And here’s what I came up with.
I am much happier at 39 than I was at 29.
- I am finally in NYC, where I belong.
- I’m working in a field I love (entertainment), doing work that I love (finance / accounting).
- The older I get, the less I care what other people think about me.
- Material things, which used to mean so much, now have little importance in my world.
- Maya is older and parenting is easier in so many ways.
- I’m in better shape than I was in high school.
In short, I am happy.
Yesterday my super tactful husband said, “Wow, 39 seems almost worse than 40 doesn’t it?”
But as usual, I disagree with him. Because I’ve had 39 years to realize that for me, confidence and happiness seem proportional with age. And so for now the number doesn’t matter so much.
It recently occurred to me that Maya does NOTHING around the house.
After some haphazard reflection, I concluded this is due to two things:
- Maya is lazy.
- I find it easier to do everything myself. To ensure it is done right. The first time.
(I realize #2 above is wrong on about 50 different levels. But it doesn’t make it any less true.)
Anyway, I realized I wasn’t doing Maya any favors when she looked at me in shock and said, “So what you’re saying is that I have to hand wash my plate because the dishwasher is currently running?”
This comment, annoyed the living daylights out of me. I wanted to sit her down and calmly give her the “We all need to help out” speech.
Finding calmness seemed too difficult, however, so instead I channeled my best sarcasm and layered it on:
“Why? Are you going to melt if you actually have to wash a dish? Do you know that when I was a kid I had to set the table, and then clean it off after dinner, ensuring that all dishes were put away, all pots and pans were washed, and the table had been suitably Windexed?”
I knew then, as Maya stared at me with a glazed look on her face, that she could care less what I did or didn’t do as a kid.
I knew then that I should have just washed her dish because she was utilizing her father’s trademarked half-ass fashion and I’d have to do it over.
I knew then that the water all over the floor was a huge liability and would shortly become my problem.
I knew then that she got water inside my rubber kitchen gloves (heaven forbid she gets rough hands, right?), which just drives me BANANAS.
I knew then that ultimately the whole “lesson” was a waste because after she placed her still dirty plate in the drying rack she then announced, “Daddy, you better come wash your dish and fork because the dishwasher is still running and we all have to do our part.”
I should have just washed the plate.
When will I learn?
Let’s remedy that, shall we?
Problem #1: Ali had too many coats for our “walk in” closet. (I’m not kidding when I say he has at least 4 times the number of coats I have.)
Resolution #1: I cleared out a section of Maya’s closet to house his collection.
Problem #2: Ali determined Maya’s closet was “too far” to walk to in order for him to retrieve his coat. (Our apartment is all of 1,200 square feet – NOTHING IS TOO FAR HERE.)
Resolution #2: I purchased a coat rack and set it up next to the front door.
Problem #3: Ali determined that several of his coats were “too heavy” and posed a great risk that the coat rack would fall. So he’s taken to throwing them on the floor.
(Seriously, he comes in to the apartment, takes off his coat, and literally flings it across the living room floor.)
So I think we can all conclude that I’ve been pretty patient. I mean, I really think I deserve high marks not only in “Creative Closet Solutions” but also in “Maintaining Patience When Any Other Wife Would Have Lost Her S@#$.”
And yet, I found the energy to come up with Resolution #3!
Resolution #3: I pulled a muscle shifting the hanging shoe racks to one side of the hallway closet, secured two extremely durable hangers, and hung Ali’s heaviest coats in the hallway closet (a mere 3 yards from the front door).
Guess what Ali did today? He took his coat off the hanger, went to work, came back from work, flung it across the living room floor, glanced at me and said “I need to be reminded that certain coats should be hung in the hallway closet,” and cracked open his laptop.
Resolution: Ali and his coat need to become Delta’s problem. STAT. There is no other resolution.