Saturday, October 4, 2014

So Anyway

How many years ago did I stop speaking here?
And why?

It's been a while and for a lot of solid reasons. Kids getting older, the world of bloggers getting closer (and weirder), and then there was the whole thing of writing for other people. Anyway, anyhow, I missed this. Well, I miss at least the way that this was meant to be: a daily tell, a therapeutic wee story, just that. Nothing more.

I remember when some other writers would tell me that the teenage years would come with a vengeance. I miss those voices now as of course it turns out they were right. I miss the notes from strangers whose lives I followed and cared about. I miss that naked, anonymous camaraderie.

I need it now.

Anyway, putting the pen to paper. Yo.



Monday, November 14, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Take the Ride?

Let me begin by saying that this was a roller coaster kind of a day -- well, if a roller coaster only went downhill. For miles. For endless screaming miles. Into wet rain and then lava. And mud. Today was like a roller coaster into mud, very muddy, grumpy, bitchy, horrible muddy mud.

It started out with me finally scoring the new Iphone because I must tell that girl Siri to do my bidding. I'm not yet sure what kind of bidding I will have her do because Apple has yet to invent an actual assistant/housekeeper/cook/driver but if I can get her to say "I love you Picket" at least once a day, I'll be happy. I held it in my hand, all the possibility of me and she, and I was at the top of the tracks, butterfly-tummied happy with  the horizon unbroken (and well organized) in front of me.

Within 20 minutes, I got the second speeding ticket of my entire life. A big fat speeding ticket -- $240. In one of those sneaky bullshit traps where the speed limit drops 20mph JUST BECAUSE OF A TUNNEL. Me and my fellow felons waited there while they ran our numbers. I rolled up the window because well I WAS SITTING IN A TUNNEL and I then I rolled it down because I thought that might look suspicious. I can't explain this, but even though I haven't come close to committing a crime (in about 20 years), I kept thinking he would find a warrant out for me or something. It's sort of the same way I feel when I walk into a church: I'm just waiting for the bolt.

I make it home but not in time to see my daughter's classroom play because I am crawling at a speedy 15 miles per hour which pisses me off to no end because I believe my bladder is shrinking at the same rate that my ass is expanding. And I am pretty sure that cop is following me. But beside my need to pee, I am supposed to be at the "play" to take pictures for a friend who already knew she couldn't make it. So I'm bummed. And bursting.

Once home, I start the rushed process of syncing the phone and getting Siri to make something for me for lunch and before I can exhale, R comes through the door and I realize my minutes of brilliant thinking are numbered. She has another school project. The GFYO and his playdate are soon MIA so phone calls happen and I speed off to find them and sure enough, there they are examining rocks or poop or something not 20 yards from our house. Waste of gas.

Playdate? Oh crap. It dawns on me that B has a game today about FOREVER away and that means we need to get in the car in about 45 minutes. I write a desperate email for a ride, but B is a now a no show too. Something buzzes. Buzzes again. Buzzes. WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? I think, checking the oven, the car, the smoke detector until I realize it's the new phone with it's new tone.

She's at school, working at Homework Club and I remind her of the game and that she should come home and that I am trying to score her a ride because her brother has a friend over and --

"Did you get the phone?" she texts.

"Yeah. And a speeding ticket."

She instantly forgets about the "come home" part and the "game part" and is probably blabbing all over Homework Club about her criminal mom, and sure enough, before I hang up the back pack I just tripped over, I am hustling to her school to race her home so the other soccer mom can give her a lift. I am livid and lecture her about time management and obligations and not being the only person in this family and I hit the brake because I am pretty sure I am gunning it and god knows, can you imagine? B is apologetic. She changes in the car, only needs her uniform shirt. She is very fast, I think, when she wants to be.

We wait. We wait. We wait.

Phone rings and naturally that terrifies me because it is a new ringtone and I lurch like I've been tasered and bash my knee on the coffee table, the funny bone part of my knee. "Answer it," I half moan to B, half wail.

"Uh huh," she says, "OK. OK. Yeah, no, no problem. Yeah, here she is."

Doctors appointments, homework club, a new winter soccer schedule and me and that other lovely mom decide that FOREVER is too far away today and after all and what not and good grief and after ten more seconds of commiseration, we decide everything is alright after all: it's just one game. We'll do better next time.

It is not alright for B. She races up the stairs the way twelve year old girls do, punctuating each step with a syllable meant to scar me for life -- "soc - cer - is - the - thing - I - love - the - most - mom - m - m - m" and then she slams her door which I have decided is a language girls are born fluent in. I understand it, that's for sure, and frankly, I kind of regret the lack of doors in my open downstairs.

Thankfully, the GFYO, the playdate and R have run away to the playground and are surely finding dead birds or something gross or whacking each other in the heads with hockey sticks. It's all good. I sit down on the couch with the phone I have suddenly come to resent and I try to change the ringtones to cheer me up.

"Mom?!!" whimpers a voice from upstairs. "Mom?"

Sure enough, B has locked herself in her room with that excellent slam. I debate whether to get there right away or let her sweat it out and I half-smile for the first time since I signed my money away at the Apple store.

I let her out. We talk about the play I missed. She acts out the funniest parts for me and just as the day begins to dip into the black of our new clock, the playdate and R come in. "You need to look at Kipp," says R. "Like now," she says.

He's slugging through the dusk and the backyard, his hand to his forehead, a bloody-less zombie. Giant egg on his forehead. Blue, black, green and I hand him an ice pack, relieved the thing is lurching out and not inward, check his eyeballs, and he says, "Can Playdate stay for dinner?"

R asks if she can go the mall to get her teeth whitened.

B asks Siri, "Who's your mama, Siri?"

I pull the giant, padded bar over my lap. I slam it in. I pull my hair back into a pony tail, because away we go. I bought the ticket. I'm gonna take this goddamn ride, but don't judge me if I am not whipping my arms up in joy all the time. I mean. C'mon. Sometimes this ride blows.

You wanna go again? I do. I will.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Overheard on Halloween

I have an axe in my candy bowl and play spooky music out the window.
I wear a mask and hide in wait. With beer.
(Beer's for me, duh.) (Or anyone brave enough to ask.) ( Holla Beth!)

Anyhoo, here's a snippet of Halloween in Small Town, which is perhaps one of the few in MA that enjoyed it without snow:

"I am a grown-up dressed up to look like a kid because I am a grown up who wants candy but actually I am a kid. Do you like my mustache?"
(Yes. No. Yes? No, omigod! Kid, you're confusing me.)

"MOMMA! Dis yady as an axe!"
It's okay, say his parents. (I take the mask off -- I'm just a mom, I say.)
"I don cahr!"
It's okay, really! say his parents.
"I dohn wan dat yady's cahndy!" (I give some to his sister.)
"I'll take his."

"Are you B's mom?" (Yeah. Look at you! What are you?)
"Pretty Little Liars" (Five minute conversation ensues about whodunnit.)

"Love the music." (Do you rock? I say)
"Wuddayouthink?"  (Take two, kid.)

"It's just me!" (No it isn't.)
"No it is, it's me!" (No. It is not you.)
"IT'S ME  -- YOU KNOW ME!" (No I don't -- you're too scary.)
Rips mask off.
"It's me!" (Oooo, now I know you.)
"You're funny, I think."  (You think?)
"Can I have some candy?" (No.)  


It's been a long time since I laughed so much.You should laugh too...

(PS: the kid got the candy.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

An Open Letter To Toilet Paper

Dear Toilet Paper,


It is obvious you despise me.

You are never around when I need you! But when my kids do, or my husband?
Good god, man, I coming running with you.
We race off together and shove you through the crack in the door.

I always felt like we were a team.

Lately, not so much.
I think you are saving your succulent tissue for other bathrooms, because hell bells! You are never in mine.

I call to my kids, to my husband, to the random dog walker on the street: "BRING ME SOME TOILET PAPER!"

I thought you would do some kind of inanimate magic like stuff and roll yourself to the lazy Short Drunk People or The Kid, or even me. But no.

But no...

You're too busy sopping up the mess that the GFYO left from a spilt cranberry on the rug because goddammit, I forgot to get paper towel.

Alright, okay. I can wait until someone misses me enough.
I'll try to do a better job of making sure you are where you need to be. Just like the paper towels.

In the meantime, can you quit it with those gross cartoon bears?
No one needs to think about tissue stuck to ass.
And those women who keep talking about being "clean in the bathroom?"

Gross.

Just tell me that you're on sale, alright?

Meanwhile, I'll be drip drying in the loo.
Which is also disgusting.

Enough.

Love,

Picket

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm Missing It


When my kids were little, I was never alone.

Despite the obvious fact that they were with me all the time, there was also this "thing" that happened: all the other grown-up people who were with their kids wanted to hang out. With me.

I miss those days.
Our baby group days.

My kid, she was kinda aggressive. She was the giant toddler who would roll over the mini toddler to get to the blocks. I think she tried to wrestle one kid to the ground once; I remember pulling her off, apologizing. I think I brought beer once. They never kicked me out.

"She is just bigger than the rest," they said.
"Holy fucking hell," I said.
"My other kid is really sweet and nice and oh shit I have to go pick her up..."

Then I was pregnant. Again.
Baby groups die when you get pregnant. No one likes an unknown.

Plus -- you have another baby, and it's a miracle if anyone gets fed other than him.
Baby groups?
Yeah, right: forget it.

I miss 'em though, the baby groups. It seems like lately my life is just the Three Short Drunks and no others. I manage more paperwork for them than I ever did as publicist. I drive carpools, but I wave to the parents/my friends from the car. The kids sit in the back mostly and I play DJ.

"Does your mom know this song?" I say.

Is she happy, I think. Does she wish I came to the door rather than my kid? Does she want to talk, or is she as tired as I am? Does she want to make a play date -- with me?

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I miss the days when I was knee knee deep in poopy diapers and strollers I couldn't fold and worries about crawling and sitting up and reading and "socialization." It was easier than to talk about parenting. It was easier than to group up in the morning before naps.

I miss the days when we would get together to figure it all out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sometimes

-- I think that the man in the blue car with the OCD wants me to bash his window in

-- I think the Big Gut guy might die when I'm around
-- I want to save somebody!

-- I am pretty sure my bed is the best place to be
-- (I can't leave it.)

-- I should call.
-- I should call or email or send a fucking smoke signal.
-- I have nothing to say.
-- I say too much.

-- I wonder if I was meant to be a mother.
-- my kids wish I wasn't theirs.
-- my husband wishes he married for mommy.

-- I look at the Small Town through the bright light of an October day from the barrel of my car's front window and I see the buildings like my old buildings, like my facade of childhood, and I think I can reach through the window and just touch it
-- when I drive down these streets in October, I see our station wagons and my soccer uniform
-- I can see my mother

-- I wonder if deja vu can be a constant kind of thing

-- I write
-- I write for no purpose other than writing

-- You will decide which is which

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Be Still My (mother of a) Tweener Heart

Seventh grade. Seventh grade. Seventh goddamn grade.


I say it over and over and over again, like some kind of multi syllabic mantra, like if I say it enough times it will become more real or maybe disappear or both. I say it because B is in it and this makes me equal parts queasy and proud and scared.

This school year has already brought the great ice breaker of adolescence conventially known as the Bar Mitzvah (and the Bat Mitzvah, to be fair). Sock-clad dance floor dancing is the closest most girls have gotten to most boys and mazel tov! It works. Every kid grows up just a little bit more after one of those awesome bashes.

Today, however, on (ironically?) the Rosh Hashanah school holiday, B was invited to another kind of party, though if she knew I called it that, she would roll her eyes with such dramatic effect, you might think she was having a seizure. It was "just a bunch of kids hanging out" for fuck's sake -- I'm adding the fuck's sake part because it was quite obvious she was thinking it; she is my daughter afterall. Anyhoo...

Naturally, I called the mom my sister to see if I should call the mom of the Boy who was hosting the par.. whatever, the thing.
Email her, she said. Play it cool.
I did. I felt like such a nerd, such a newbie.
She didn't email me back.

I decided to let B go anyway, because I was driving she and her friend to this Boy's house and I figured I would scope it out, and also because I knew almost all the other kids going and their moms and had consulted with one. But in the car ride there, I started to worry that I might be making the Number One mistake of parenting a barely just twelve year old girl or any girl really or any kid and oh my god I have no business being a parent and I should just turn this car right around and go force her to play with American Girl dolls or Polly Pockets or some such shit and, "mom?" she said.

"Uhhuh," I panted.

"Olivia thinks its awesome that you like that LMFAO song."

"I do," giggled Olivia.

Seventh grade, seventh grade, I kept saying, chanting it, barely breathing...

When I was in seventh grade I was a new girl in a new school. A new, very tiny school: there were less than 50 kids in my entire class. Within a month, I was finding random gifts in my locker: a watch, a twenty dollar bill, a brass locket. Within two months, I learned all the bad words I had yet to learn while riding the 40 minute bus ride home. Within three months, I was "going out" with a boy whose name was so preppy you would not believe it if I used it as the name for a preppy boy in a novel I may or may not be writing. Within six months, we broke up. We broke up after having never held hands or going anywhere together ever, but we talked on the phone and that counted for something. By the end of the year, I had my eye on a Cute Boy from a rival school.

The driveway was loaded with the detritus of New England childhood -- a basketball hoop, some old boogie boards and a stash of bikes and lacrosse sticks. And kids. There were some on scooters, one on a skateboard, a few tossing a football. B and her BFF jumped out -- thanks mom! thank you! -- and there they were.

There they were. Seventh graders, all gangly, all kinds of shapes and sizes, all unnervingly eyeing each other, adjusting baseball hats, pulling t-shirts into place. Doing what they do, what, in fact, they need to do.

"I'll text you mom," she said. "Thanks mom."

In the months that followed 9/11, I developed this intense anxiety about overhead planes. Nearly asleep, maybe even soundly, if I heard one, I would compulsively leap from bed and check the window: was it crashing? Was it crashing on us? Sitting on the couch, cooking dinner, driving the car: I checked every time. I've peered out more windows more times than most creepy old dudes do. It ended when I met a flight attendant who told me that "by the time you hear the sound of the engine, the plane is miles past you, miles and miles beyond. You wouldn't hear the plane that hit you."

It was the science and the utter lack of cosmic control -- together! -- that cured me.

I keep thinking about that now: is this what parenting is also gonna be like for me from now on? Leaping to the window, screeching on the brakes to double check -- check her, myself, her friends? Will I spend the next few years wondering if I should hold tighter to the arm of the couch, or lurch from my seat to hold her back? Do I worry about the sound of the engine or the lack of it's sound?

She texts me tonight from her BF's house where she is having a very "spontaneous" sleepover that I'm sure they'd been planning all day but where I need to go to drop off some clothes. She gives me her list and signs of with this message:

"Thanks Mommy. Can you bring my blue blankie?"

For now, I'm just listening to that and to her and the mantra, of course.

Seventh grade, seventh grade, fuckinga seventh grade.