Friday, September 18, 2015

Name This Disorder

So my cousin on my dad’s side, “R,” is a freshman at 'Hahvahd' [that’s how Bostonians say it] and ever since my dad found out R was going to Harvard, he’s been borderline obsessed with the kid. It’s getting pretty creepy. 

All summer long, all my dad could talk about was R getting ready for Harvard. My dad would email me R’s football stats (he’s on a full football scholarship, and is also an extremely good student), send me videos of him lifting weights (WTF???!?), etc. Meanwhile, my dad wouldn’t ask a damn thing about Ethan or Jeff. He would ask how Sophie was doing in softball and I would share and then try to say something about Ethan’s game and he would completely cut me off.

THEN, in late August when R started at Harvard, my dad literally sent me a photo of his school ID (which my dad obviously told R to take a picture of and message him with it). And my Dad text me, “Someday Sophie could have her picture on this type of school ID.” And I wrote back, “Yep, or Ethan, you know the son that doesn’t exist.” 

Okay, I only said the first part.

I mean, it was just getting weird. Here’s what you have to understand. I have 9 cousins on my dad’s side. My dad barely mentions ANY of them except when one of them is doing something life-changing or “cool” like when my one cousin got a job working for a sports network which meant he got to travel all over the world to incredible locations for golf tournaments, etc. And of course my dad says he found that job for my cousin T but I find that hard to believe as my dad is always trying to take credit for things he didn’t actually have anything to do with. 

Like, you know, raising me. 

Just the other day, I was THIS CLOSE to telling my dad to FUCK OFF because he literally called to tell me a story about the MINUTE details of R’s schedule and what time he has to wake up to go lift weights (5:30am) and how hard he is studying and you know what? He would not be able to tell you a g-damn thing about MY LIFE or MY schedule or my day to day (I’m up at 6 every day dad and raised a kid completely on my own for 8 years and when she was a newborn, there was nobody to share middle of the night feedings with AND I had to get up the next day and go to work and I was so sleep deprived that one time I drove off from the gas station with the hose still in my gas tank [true story]). And then, in that same conversation, I told my dad about my husband’s new job. 

Jeffrey was recruited for a new position and it’s very nerve-wracking but exciting to us and he will be making a higher steady income which is great but he is also leaving a job he did for 7 years. “Oh that’s nice,” my dad says. Because you know, it’s not impressive enough for him. My husband is not a judge, he does not work for the largest firm in his industry, he does not travel the world, and we do not live in Ladue or Clayton - i.e. the only two places my dad deems “worthy” enough of living if you are stuck in the state of “Misery” that is Missouri.

And when I tried to tell my dad about how Ethan got on a Select basketball team; he had to try out and he made the team, and we’re all very excited for him - my dad goes “Oh I don’t know what that is” and changed the subject, despite me trying to explain to him why this was a big deal, and a proud moment, in my 11-year old’s life.

The last thing you have to understand is that my dad and my cousin R aren’t even particularly close. That is to say, it’s not like my dad is his godfather or had any influence in his life growing up. No, it’s more like when my dad popped into Pittsburgh to visit family, he would stay with his brother because his brother is rich and has a big house and R would be there and would be friendly and would say, “Hi Uncle Tommy, it’s nice to see you” because he is a polite kid raised by good parents and my dad may have asked him a question or two about school and football and then didn’t really hear what he had to say because he didn’t give a shit and then turned back to my aunt and uncle telling some lame-ass story that made my dad feel a lot more important than he actually is.

In other words, my dad has never been all that interested in his nephew or what he was doing, aside from saying, “he’s a nice, handsome, smart kid” UNTIL THE KID GOT INTO HARVARD. 

And now my dad is obsessed. 

So name that disorder. When an alcoholic uncle is obsessed with his ivy-league schooled nephew. 

Come on, give it a try. You guys are a lot funnier than I am. 

PS - Here’s the last post I wrote about my dad, which was after my wedding, in case you’re not familiar with my dad and you are thinking “Who the hell is this guy??!” (Warning: it doesn’t get much better).

Friday, September 11, 2015

Ethan is 11!

We celebrated last night at Red Robin (Ethan's choice) with me, Jeff, Sophie, Marcy, Marcy's parents, Marcy's sister Danielle (whom I really like), her husband (first time I've met him - he's a workaholic), and their son Noah (who is adorable). It went well and it was nice:)

Ethan never really asks for anything other than gift cards and cash, and he didn't seem TOO disappointed that we didn't get him an orange lamborghini (his dream car).

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Things My Daughter Says

So last night I’m laying with Sophie before bed and she says, “It’s so hard not having a Mommy and Daddy who live in the same house.”
My heart breaks a bit and I tell her, “I know, and I’m sorry; I didn’t plan it this way.” 
Sophie: Yeah, I know. Plus, you’re happier now, right?
Me: Yep. And Daddy is too. 
Sophie: Besides, if you and Daddy didn’t break up, he wouldn’t have met TT.
Me: Right. And then there would be no Sutton. No Jeff. No Ethan….

She’s nearly 11 and has never known us living in the same house, but obviously it still hurts. :(

Friday, August 28, 2015

Reconfiguring Spaces - Small Bedrooms

I almost feel like this is turning into an HGTV blog, sheesh. 

Anyway, Sophie really, really wanted a desk in her room but her room is SOOO tiny that we needed to reconfigure in order to make room. Well I don’t have any good pictures of her room before, except this one:
Her bed is a full and it has a big headboard and footboard. She also had a dresser and bookshelf, bins in her closet, and really the bed took up the majority of the 9x9 room; there was hardly any space at all. So, we reconfigured. 

First, I took off the closet doors. Then I moved the bins out of her closet and instead put the dresser in there. Then I added beads. 

We took the headboard and footboard off the bed and repositioned it, placing the bookshelf at the end, on the wall next to the closet. 
We moved the bins to the long wall opposite of the bed and now she uses the top as a little shelf. 
Then Grandma and Papa bought this beautiful feminine desk for her, which fits nicely in the room but doesn’t overcrowd. 

*I’m* happy because I didn’t have to spend any money or buy her a new bed or new bedding or anything; all it took was some moving around. Score!

Sophie is happy because she loves her new room and does her homework at that desk; she is getting to the age where she is wanting some more privacy so will sometimes be in her room with the door closed doing god only knows what, and Jeff is happy because Sophie’s papers aren’t sprawled out all over our square dining table anymore!

Win, win. 

It’s good to have fairy wish-granting grandparents:)

Look Who's Here!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


I feel very “off” today. My anxiety is high; my nerves are making me jittery. Last night I was up til midnight because I couldn’t sleep because I was nervous for today – Sophie’s first day of fifth grade. How did my baby grow up so fast? How did I get so old?

I had a couple of glasses of wine last night but it’s not like I drank the whole bottle or anything.

My left hand is tingly – left hand only; in my fingertips. It wasn’t like that when I woke up; it just started on my way into the office. I had to get allergy shots this morning and I told the nurses that and mentioned that my mom had had a stroke and the one nurse started telling me to do the things for stroke signs – stand up straight (does one side slouch/fall/slump?), stick tongue out (is it straight?), etc. but I was like, “I know I’m not having a stroke. But if I go completely numb on one side or if I start slurring my words, I will call 9-1-1.”

I’m not normally a hypochondriac. But I’m just a bottle of nerves because I even wrote down Jeff’s phone number for two of my co-workers, just in case.

Maybe it’s just nerves+PMS+tiredness. I just feel…weird.

This makes me smile though:

(Technically Ethan’s first day is tomorrow but I had to get the photo opp while I could) 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Questions of the Universe

Why does Sophie want a loft bed + desk in her very tiny room (7x8?) when 2 years ago we traded in her twin bed for a full (my old one from childhood that my parents still had) (they keep everything) (sophie is also using my dresser from when I was a BABY) and then in about 2-3 more years she’ll probably want to move into the big, purple basement room; that is if Jeff and I haven’t taken it over by then because my parents (or one of them) are living in our “master” bedroom. And also how do I find one that fits her room that doesn’t cost $3k and is sturdy enough not to fall over? And is not TOO little girl since I’m not fucking changing her room every damn year. And then if she goes down to a twin bed, I have to buy all new fucking bedding.

Why do I have an allergy-related summer cold and can’t breathe through my nose and forgot to take my Sudafed and this sickness made “family day” Saturday a bust because Ethan woke up with the same thing (though he bounced back much faster than me) and I slept 70% of Saturday and ended up sending Sophie to her dad’s but it gave me and Ethan a chance to “bond” Sunday as I let Sophie go to her cousins and me and Ethan went to a late brunch – just us – and then the three of us (me, Ethan, Jeff) saw the new Mission Impossible movie in the theater. And now Jeff thinks he’s getting what I have which means he’ll be a total baby about it because he’s a man.

Why do Ethan and Sophie both have the teachers that have the reputation for being “mean” and how are they going into fifth grade and how is it middle school next year and am I old enough to have fifth graders and Sophie doesn’t want to go to school because she is terrified of fire drills and they have them like twice a month; some they know about and some are ‘surprises’ and will the teacher this year be compassionate about Sophie’s anxiety like last year’s doll of a teacher or will she be mean and like “knock it off, get it together”? And also the only girl that we know so far that is in Sophie’s class is a girl named D. that’s friends with Sophie’s friend Lexi (the one with the odd parents) and Sophie says she’s a bully.

Why aren’t Jeff and I rich and living in a bigger house in a nicer neighborhood? Do I even care about a big house? No I’d rather go on vacation but seriously by most standards, we should be rich (if you just look at our combined income). I mentioned this to Jeff while we were out to eat last night while Sophie was doing soccer practice:
“Uh, we’re not rich because we’re both drinking and eating out and we’re about to spend $50 bucks on dinner and then after Sophie goes to bed we’re going to smoke cigarettes and cigars and drink a $12 bottle of wine and sip from a $30 bottle of Grandma [Grand Marnier]”
Oh yeah, that’s why.

Why am I two years away from turning 40 and still getting zits during “that time of the month”? Why am I paying a fortune for Proactiv when I still get zits but not as many and it’s the only thing that really works?

How can a silly little summer cold COMPLETELY wipe me out and Summar has to deal with exhaustion PLUS pain every single day and still actually live and see doctors and do support groups and swim therapy and take care of the kids?? It makes me REALLY, truly feel for her.

WHAT exactly are these people in Ferguson, MO protesting??

Does anybody trust Hilary Clinton and does anybody think she could POSSIBLY have ANY inkling of what it’s like to be “middle class” considering she and Bill are worth, what? $30 Billion and yet she claims they left the White House “broke” which is so fucking preposterous it’s hilarious.
(Why can’t I spell “preposterous”?)
Anyone who votes for Hilary Clinton just because she is a woman is as stupid as anybody who doesn’t vote for her just because she’s a woman.

WHY am I talking politics?

WHEN will this sickness go away, and when can I go back to bed and WHY on Earth does the school have meet the teacher and supply drop off from 3pm to 4pm because apparently NO PARENTS WORK.

I need to sign off now.


Thursday, August 06, 2015

Book Funk

I’ve been in a major book funk lately. I can’t decide what I want to read; I add a bunch to my Amazon “wish list” or Goodreads “to read” list and then when I go back and start reading the reviews and I find a couple of 1 or 2 stars, I discard the book from the list thinking, I don’t want to waste my time reading something I won’t enjoy. I scour my Goodreads for books my friends are reading that have similar interests to mine, yet still I remain uninspired. Nothing is really “speaking” to me. I don’t even know WHAT I want or what I’m looking for, I just know I haven’t found it recently.

As a matter of fact, I’ve given up on quite a few books lately – I can’t finish them, I can’t get through them. I know it’s time to give up on a book when I’d rather scroll through Facebook than pick up my Kindle (Red Flag!). I go back to my favorite authors but I’ve already read most of what my favorite authors have written. Sometimes I consult the New York Times best sellers list and alternately think “Well if everyone else is reading it, it must be good” and “Well people are idiots, what do they know?”

For example, I really like the author Jon Krakauer. My favorite by him was “Into thin Air,” about the 1996 Mt. Everest disaster. “Into the Wild” was ok. I started reading “Under the Banner of Heaven” which is about Mormon fundamentalists but then I got bored.

Then I tried Amy Sedaris’ “I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence” because I’ve already read everything by her brother David. But the first quarter of that book was how to host a party and it was mildly entertaining and humorous but I don’t cook or entertain because I wouldn’t even have enough friends to put together anything that could resemble a party.

Now I’m reading a fiction book called “Edgewise” that I borrowed for free via my Amazon Prime account and let me just tell you that I am glad it is a free book. Already I’m rolling my eyes and I’m bored. It’s about a privileged white girl who is a 40-year old unmarried middle school teacher who has started cutting herself after her long-time boyfriend up and moved to LA and boohoohoo I have no husband and no family. She breaks down at work and is forced to go to the only mental health day program that she can afford, and she is in the minority, ethnicity-wise. There she gets a crush on her counselor and battles with the tough-as-nails, big brash Black girl. Gee, do you think they are going to end up being friends and learn something from each other? SPARE ME. Last night I was 19% through the book and I almost threw it through the window when I read this line, about the main chick and her dad eating a picnic lunch together: “While they ate they chatted, mostly about politics: global warming, family planning, the worldwide AIDS epidemic, the kind of topics that had dominated their dinner-table discussions and about which her father had sharp opinions made sharper by reiteration.” REALLY? I’m not sure why that made me so mad but it just seemed so, “HEY LOOK HOW INTELLIGENT MY CHARACTERS ARE. THEY DISCUSS THE WORLD PROBLEMS OVER A PICNIC LUNCH IN THE PARK.” Not real. NOT that people can’t have intelligent conversations, or discuss serious topics. It just seemed SO out of place after the dad was just telling the daughter about the new woman he was dating. (I’m almost 40 and my dad has been divorced from my mom for 35 years and I STILL don’t ask him a damn thing about his dating life).

So, I need a book. A REALLY good book. One that I will want to keep turning the page. I like memoirs, nothing that will make me fall into a puddle of tears but I can handle some hardness (I prefer realism actually), nothing about anyone dying of cancer please and thank you, true medical mysteries, true-crime stories, awesome fiction, ghost stories/psychological thrillers, dystopian young adult fiction, true adventure/survivor stories, no sappy romances, and no vampires or zombies.

What I REALLY love about Goodreads is that if I am good about adding the books I’ve read, I can then go back to my account and consult my list to see what I have read, what I rated them, what authors I like that I forgot about, etc. Amazon will show me my prior orders, and I can sort by digital orders, but I have to go year by year. I’m always scared I’m going to buy a book I’ve already read, but forgot about, or read a long time ago. Just the other day I was scrolling through my wish list and kept going back to this one book, reading the summary again, checking out the ratings; then I went to Goodreads and typed in the title and turns out I read it and rated it like 3 or 4 stars. NO wonder I kept coming back to that book on my wish list – it sounded like something I’d enjoy, and I DID.

So then I just went to Amazon again and somehow stumbled on a way to search ALL Kindle orders from all time, and I searched for “What Alice Forgot” because I thought I had read it but no, I had read “Still Alice” and was getting the books confused, so I bought it.

By the way, you can find me on Goodreads here.

PLEASE help, I still need more recommendations; I’m desperate.


So our neighbors and good friends are now separated and apparently headed toward divorce. I will refer to them here simply as “Husband” and “Wife.” I am devastated for several reasons.

First of all, they were “just like us.” Meaning, he had a son, she had a daughter; and they met when the kids were 7. Husband and Wife are about Jeff’s age and their kids are grown now (in their 20s). They’ve been married for 20 years (20 years!). Well now that they are separated of course now I don’t want them to be “just like us.”

Second of all, it’s always sad when people break up. And it’s especially hard when there is no clear side. Most people end up losing friends through divorce and typically it comes down to “who you’ve known the longest.” Technically, Jeff has known Wife the longest because they actually grew up in the same area. But it is currently Husband that is confiding in him about what is going on. And to be honest, the couple’s lives are completely entangled; they have all the same friends. (Which isn’t unusual considering how long they’ve been together).

Third of all, they were literally our only couple friend that ever asked us to do anything; we would often ‘double date’ and dine together, drink together, party together, boat together, etc. So that is my selfish reason to be devastated. Them breaking up changes the entire neighborhood dynamic and our social lives. Please don’t think I’m being crass here or completely cold-hearted; but this is an aspect that I’ve thought about.

Wife and I wouldn’t normally hang out just us girls though we have gone to get our nails done together, cooked dinner together (uh, I hand over ingredients while she puts everything together as I don’t cook but she does). And we weren’t talking-on-the-phone friends but we were hang-out friends, do you know what I mean? So I’m not surprised that she didn’t confide in me – knowing full well if she did it would go to Jeff and then to Husband, but she hasn’t responded to my texts either since she ‘disappeared.’ Well, she didn’t literally disappear – here is what we (me and Jeff) know:

Okay so we’ve spent significant time with Husband and Wife this summer and while they quibble and quabble (I think I just made that word up, but I like it), it was nothing unusual or severe. In other words, when you’re at the river, and there is a lot of drinking involved and not enough eating to soak up that drinking and you are ‘stuck’ on a 20ft boat [first-world problem], and there are lots of other drunk assholes all around you that you call friends but can turn imbeciles when intoxicated, there are bound to be arguments, emotional melt-downs and hurt feelings. But again, none of it was dramatic – nobody threw anyone else off the ‘ship’ or anything like that, do you know what I mean?

So then two Saturdays ago there was a big annual trivia night to raise money for our pool (silent auction, etc). We had the kids though mostly – well Ethan went back to his mom’s around Sophie’s bedtime and Jeff and I could hear everyone hootin’ and hollering while we sat in the sunroom and watched TV. (The subdivision pool is literally just outside of our backyard, which is AWESOME). APPARENTLY, after I went to bed, MY husband went down to the pool and closed it down with the rest of the unsightly crew. Kylie swam and swam and there was drama from the other drunk neighborhood idiots and Husband and Wife were both drunk but both still able to stand and weren’t acting anything out of the ordinary for a late Saturday night party, etc.

The VERY next day, Wife tells Neighborhood Guy “I’m getting my own apartment.” Then she took the sports car, left her work car, and texted Husband, “I’m spending the night at BFF’s house.” (meaning HER BFF’s house).

Uh, say what?!? My head was spinning. To us on the outside, it seems like everything was fine; trivia was typical; then boom – Wife up and leaves Husband high and dry, just like that. Of course, there is ALWAYS so much more going on in a marriage than people let outsiders see. Second of all, unless you are completely wasted and in the boonies, wives don’t spend the night at their girlfriend’s houses instead of coming home to their husbands. Or vice versa. Am I right? If Jeff said, “I’m just going to crash at ____’s” I would say “Get your ass in a cab NOW.” (Actually Jamie did pull that crap when we were married and he was still living with me and seeing TT – don’t even get me started…Anyway, because of that, I knew the drill).

As it turns out, Husband had already suspected and then accused Wife of cheating on him and Wife did not deny it. All signs seem to point in that direction, that is for sure. And Husband really truly does love Wife and wants her to stay but Wife CLEARLY had made up her mind a while back (She hasn’t been home in two weeks, except to pick up more of her things. NOBODY gets an apartment THAT FAST. IF she even has an apartment, or maybe she is staying with her lover, who we know NOTHING about). (Also, I hate the word ‘lover’). Apparently the second time Husband asked Wife if she was cheating, she admitted it (according to Husband’s story, which may or may not be accurate).

BUT, before you start feeling too bad for Husband whose (allegedly?) cheating Wife left him for another man, here is a BIG, HUGE secret that WE (me and Jeff) JUST found out about because Husband confided this secret to Jeff about a week ago (a week post-Wife left). Four years ago, Husband slept with….

…wait for it….

Wife’s BFF!!!

YES, the SAME BFF who Wife said she was spending the night with/at when she left Husband! Wife HAS NO IDEA this ever happened (and I’m not supposed to know it either because Husband is hiding it from me because he doesn’t want me to see him like that; only as the victim). [Talk about mind games being played all over the place – and it gets worse!]

And it’s SO WEIRD because I know BFF; and Wife and Husband and BFF hang out together, GO ON VACTIONS TOGETHER, go to the river together; she comes to the pool with us, etc. and Jeff and I had NO CLUE that anything had ever happened between Husband and BFF.

So NOW, Husband is thinking with his uh, ‘manly part’ and not his brain or his heart and is basically acting like a rebellious teenager – ie going out with his/their friends (guy friends) to bars and picking up women and he went on a date with a 55 year old chick (he’s only 50) and Jeff said, “DUDE, you’re doing it ALL WRONG! You should go YOUNGER, like I did [with Farrell]” – ha!

So after relaying this story to one of MY BFF’s, we reflected on the very differing reactions of males and females in this type of situation. A woman would be scouring the internet, doing drive-bys and breaking into her husband’s email and phone accounts in an attempt to find out who-the-hell-has-he-been-sleeping-with-she-must-be-a-fucking-whore. Meanwhile, the husband is getting drunk and getting laid. Who is having more fun? Who is being more productive? Your answer to each of those questions may be the same, or different, and is totally a matter of perspective.

Sheesh. How’s that for some drama? I feel like I’m on a fucking white trash soap opera.