Last Sunday we woke up to a fridge so empty that even I – who eats the most random and disgusting of combinations – couldn’t find a thing to eat.
Since sending Ali to the grocery store has proven to be an exercise in answering 1,000 questions about products on the grocery list and their exact location on the grocery store shelf, fielding several phone calls about how something simply does not exist, and then lamenting missing items upon return, I decided to hit the grocery store solo.
And 5 steps later I learned exactly what freezing rain is.
At this point I realized I had to make a decision. Continue walking the ¾ of a mile to the store and risk breaking my neck? Or just be hungry. And deal with a hungry (and therefore cranky) Ali and Maya as well.
Obviously I had no choice but to go with Option A.
20 minutes later I nearly jumped for joy when I safely reached Trader Joe’s. I quickly bought whatever I could carry, congratulated myself on missing the usual weekend TJ-chaos, and headed home.
But my congratulatory mood was a bit premature because when I was no more than 5 minutes from our front door, I slipped on ice, fell on my @#$, and watched as Maya’s coveted hash browns rolled down the street.
The worst part of the whole situation wasn’t that my groceries were all over the filthy NYC streets, or that my beautiful new messenger bag was soaking wet, or that I felt like the world’s biggest idiot because every time I tried to stand up I slipped again.
No, the worst part was that the man walking his dog in front of me, and the guy two feet behind me couldn’t have cared less that I’d fallen and couldn’t get up. Forget offering me a hand, or even calling out a “Are you okay?” They didn’t even glance over twice.
I think it’s safe to say that chivalry is officially dead.
When I was growing up New Year’s Eve was always a non-event.
I know I’ve already discussed how it went each year but can we rehash for a second?
- At 7:30pm we’d bake up a Boboli for dinner.
- At 8:00pm we’d chill a bottle of Martinelli’s in preparation for midnight.
- At 8:30pm we’d settle in for a long evening of John Hughes movies on TBS, interspersed with CNN’s coverage of the Times Square scene.
- At 8:32pm I’d promise myself – yet again – that one day I would move to NYC and be witness to the ball dropping on New Year’s Eve.
- At 10:15pm we’d all be fast asleep on the couch. (With the exception of my brother, who’d take advantage of the lack of supervision by doing something Terribly Bad and Not Allowed.)
Now that I live in NYC you’d think that my dream of celebrating in Times Square would finally come true. This is not the case. Why?
Because it’s flipping cold.
Here’s what we did instead. We enjoyed an Early Bird Dinner, walked around the corner, took the following picture of the Times Square madness, and then caught a cab, went home, and turned the heater on high.
Best New Year’s Eve ever.
For the first time since I began writing this blog, I didn’t put up a post for more than two weeks.
This means that I didn’t stick with The Schedule.
It nearly killed me to not stick with The Schedule. Because without Order and Routine and Schedule, who am I really?
(Aside from the obvious answer of Ali.)
Anyway, my work hours have been so crazy that I brought home non-organic grapes and let Maya wear mismatched socks to school.
Ali even resorted to “cooking” one night, when I didn’t get home prior to the dinner hour.
He utilized the new pans I finally bought (thank you for your speedy delivery Macys.com – now we can hopefully stop slowly dying of lead poisoning) and made two sunny-side up eggs.
Which led me to institute the following:
Rule #579- “When one makes a sunny-side up egg, one must clean up the greasy frying pan, the greasy stove, and the greasy spatula. Otherwise, one may not make a sunny-side up egg.”
Rule #580- “One may not, under any circumstances, utilize a metal utensil on the brand new non-stick pans. Ever.”
Aside from instituting new kitchen rules, I have lots of real work to catch up on. But I decided that today, on Christmas, there will be no work.
Instead, I will continue my pattern of ignoring Maya so I can put up a post. Even one that really has no point.
Because I can think of no better trade-off than to ignore my family in honor of The Schedule.
We’ll just call it a little gift to myself.
The questions were killing me:
- How much TV can I watch?
- What can I eat if I’m still hungry?
- What should I wear today?
- What should I wear tomorrow?
I had no choice but to let go of my controlling ways and invite a little autonomy into The System.
Beginning with Maya’s favorite topic: dessert.
Me: “You can have dessert 3 times a week, whichever days you choose. Try not to eat things that contain Blue #1 and Red #40. Aside from that it’s totally your decision, okay?”
Maya: “Really? OKAY!”
While Maya was beside herself with her newfound freedom, letting go didn’t mean I didn’t still have my concerns:
- Was dessert 3 times a week too little?
- Was it too much?
- Would Maya lie to me and pretend she didn’t have dessert when she really did?
- Was she going to become obsessed?
- Was I becoming obsessed that she’d become obsessed?
I had no answers, but I knew I had to let go. So I did.
And guess what? The questions stopped!
I patted myself on the back for being a pioneer in the field of child-rearing. I was a forward-thinker! Maya was well on her way to becoming well-adjusted! The System was working!
But it’s been a few weeks and new questions are being posed:
- Does one Hershey’s kiss count as one dessert?
- No? Well then how many do?
- If I don’t use all 3 days in one week, can I carry over my days into a new week?
- Are sugar covered pretzels a snack or a dessert?
So obviously I’m not a pioneer. I’m not a forward-thinker. The System has failed. I need to hire someone to answer Maya’s questions. Maya will still need therapy. And I probably will too.
Back to square one.
Picture this “hypothetical” scenario:
You leave work to pick up your hypothetical 8-year-old.
You speed walk 30 blocks and 5 avenues, in 34 degree weather, instead of taking the subway.
You do this because the subway was delayed underground the day before and it nearly made you late for after school pick up.
And the thought of being late for after school pick up puts shivers down your spine.
Aside from several new blisters (thanks Tory B.) and a rather strange interaction with a fellow pedestrian who appeared to be offended by the fact you were multitasking (apparently speaking to your mother on the phone is a crime), you get to school without incident.
You even get to school with time to spare and rejoice your hypothetical kid isn’t the last one there.
You’re ready for a hug or a happy “Hi Mama!”
Instead your kid could care less you’re there. Her first question is “What’s for dinner?”
It’s then you realize she’s more like her father than you originally thought.
She hands you her backpack, her latest art project (you’re guessing this is a misshapen turkey but don’t want to vocalize this thought in case you’re completely off base), her lunch box, her hat, and her umbrella.
As you juggle these items, in addition to your own purse, laptop, gloves, and coat, she trots off towards the school exit without a care in the world.
It’s then you realize, she is a clone of her father.
You get home.
You unload the 15 pounds of stuff you’re carrying.
You see your hypothetical husband and you wait for a happy “Hi Hypothetical Person! How was your day?”
Your husband looks up from his computer for a second to say hello. Then he goes back to work.
A second later he looks up again and asks, “What’s for dinner?”
And that’s when you realize you wish you were back at work.
Where people appreciate you.
And don’t ask you what’s for dinner.
I have many things to be thankful for this year:
First and foremost, Ali survived Sunday’s Arctic blast.
And although it was rather touch and go for a few moments, I survived Maya’s horrifically bad mood on Sunday.
Oh, and Ali organized our collection of paper bags under the kitchen sink.
Talk about an unexpected surprise.
We’ve also eaten some fairly decent food lately, none of which had to be cooked or cleaned up by me.
And most importantly? We are in New York. And I’m not sure about the rest of my family but I Love It Here.
Thankful is an understatement.
Last Friday night – right after concluding a very long work week and right before collapsing in bed at 9:30 pm – Maya asked me to pick up orange juice so she could have it at breakfast.*
Because clearly her weekend consumption of Vitamin C should top my list of priorities.
Which it apparently does. As evidenced by the fact that I woke up on Saturday morning, bright and early, with one thing in mind: Must. Get. Maya. Orange. Juice.
As the lines at the NYC Trader Joe’s have been known to form OUTSIDE the store, I threw any sense of fashion out the window as I put on whatever I saw first.
Time was obviously of the essence.
I got to Trader Joe’s one minute after it opened and secured – are you ready for this? – the very last freshly squeezed orange juice. The last one!
And then, when I turned around triumphantly, another, even more amazing thing happened. The nicest person in the world stopped to tell me that she:
- Is a fan of my blog.
- Enjoys my random posts.
- Liked my jacket.
- Thinks I am a good mother.
- Is glad we moved to NYC.
Sorry you had to see me in the state you did M. (Ali thought you might not want to be named!), but thank YOU for making me feel (for five minutes at least) that I exist for reasons other than to supply Maya with sugary drinks. You made my weekend.