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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Accepting rejection and eating the cookie crumbles

I was trying to corral the kids into the kitchen for lunch when I heard the shuffle of heavy feet and the clank of metal on my front porch. I glanced out the front door window in time to see my mailman already trudging back down my walkway to his truck. A large manila envelope jutted conspicuously from my box.

I paid it little mind. There were kids ignoring me and grilled cheese burning; the yellow already darkening into a nice crisp brown that no one would eat but me. Removing it, I slid another slice of cheese onto a fresh piece of bread and placed it in the toaster. I had already used the skillet to make eggs this morning; there would be no buttery pan-fried grilled cheese until I did the dishes.

As I absently peeled and sliced apples, placing the scoffed at skin in my mouth, I wondered about the package. Had I ordered something from the Gap? Amazon? I couldn’t remember. I did order cookies, but that came in a box from UPS. What could it…


It was what I had been waiting for, for over a month. Only, I knew before even opening it that it wouldn’t be what I had hoped. The envelope was too thick. In fact, if it had been good news there wouldn’t be an envelope shoved in my mailbox at all. It would be a phone call.

I finished making the kids’ lunch; ignoring their whiny pleas for more milk and attention and anxiously retrieved the package. It held the weight of hundreds of pages of devotion and hard work, of many late nights and early mornings blissfully obsessed.

Normally, I’d leave the envelope on the dining room table and stare it down for a few hours; building up the negativity in my head, making it real, understanding it, while still somehow holding out the hope in my heart that it wasn’t true. That it was in fact just protocol to return a manuscript along with a glowing letter of acceptance.

Impulsively, I ripped open the package. Then, breathing deeply, I gave myself a minute to process.

It was exactly as I expected. Rejection.

I had a flashback of my younger self in the exact same position. Different house, less wrinkles, eyes wider, but yes, me, holding another heavy yellow envelope to the same unfortunate end.

I sighed with disappointment, and then sucked it in and up.

“Anyone want more grilled cheese?” I asked, returning to my real life; the noisy kitchen, the dishes in the sink. Who needs legitimacy and acceptance? Who needs dreams realized? I was needed right here and right now.

Three animated little faces completely ignored me.

“Um, boys?

I watched them chewing their sandwiches, talking over one another, my youngest practically standing on his chair in his inability to contain his energy. It was like I didn’t even exist.

It was too much.

“Who wants cookies?” I blurted out suddenly and all three faces snapped to attention.

“Cookies!” They chanted merrily and my youngest ran over to hug around my legs. My other boys joined in and soon we were one clump of bodies jumping gleefully.

Finally, I was feeling some love.

And it was a good thing because I was about to cry.


The boy who cried boo boo

I see the number for the school displayed on my cell, and it immediately triggers a small spike of anxiety.  Quickly I detach my feet from my spin bike and hurry from the class. Once outside the dark, loud room, I answer, and a familiar voice greets me.

“Hi. It’s Nurse Judy.” Of course. I knew it.

“Everything’s all right.” She continues. It’s part of school nurse etiquette to say everything is alright within the first five seconds.

I am both relieved and annoyed. It’s the third time this week that my middle son’s visits to the nurse have elicited a call home.

“I have your son here. He’s complaining of a headache.” The resignation in her voice is second only to my own.

Last week, it was a stomach ache. The week before that his elbow hurt, an old cut on his finger bothered him and his loose tooth was “so annoying”.

He’s always been somewhat sensory, and in kindergarten and first grades often spent lunches at the nurse. He didn’t like all the noise. The smells would make him nauseous. There were random daily visits as well, and I knew that his brain just needed a little break. So it was Nurse Judy or the bathroom.  And although I don’t know how often he makes trips to the bathroom, I won’t be surprised the day Nurse Judy calls recommending a pediatric urologist.

By second grade, Nurse Judy and I were speaking far less often, and I had dreams of a well-adjusted child who might someday eat foods that were a color other than white. As it turns out, my enthusiasm was a bit premature. Now halfway through third grade, it seems we’ve taken some steps backwards and they’ve led right back to Nurse Judy’s office.

What to do, what to do with the boy who cries boo boo?

Sometimes, I worry that I’m quick to push aside his complaints, but then he comes home begging for a play date and asking for macaroni and cheese, and I think, “Aha!” I was right. Still, I’ve all too often watched a kid zoom around like a happy monkey all day only to spend the night with a high fever and vomit. With kids, it can be hard to tell.

Just last week, his frequent nurse visits and random nighttime complaints, often a subtle warning for the next day’s nurse’s call, finally wore away at my mommy worry and guilt, resulting in a day off from school and a visit to the pediatrician.

“What’s wrong?” The doctor asked.

Both my son and I looked at each other, my boy barely repressing his amused smile.

“Well, he has a headache.” I said, secretly trying to inflict some pain by shooting daggers at him.

“But not all the time.” My son interjected happily.

“And a stomachache.”  I said.

“But much less now.” He chimed in again.

“He complained of a sore throat this morning.” I added, feeling stupid.

“Yeah, and sometimes my legs hurt, and my cut on my finger really kills!” He waved his finger dramatically.

Oh no. The doctor looked at us like Mrs. Munchausen and baby Hypochondriac.  “I see.” He said, and I could see that he did.

After a strep test that I made my son get because he hates it but also because someone in his class had strep and I’ve seen it present as a stomachache, headache and sore throat came back negative, we skipped out of there and headed straight to Dunkin Donuts.

His smiling eyes twinkled as he chomped down on his rainbow tie-dyed donut, and I watched him with a mixture of adoration and pride. Yes, I had been conned. He wasn’t physically sick, but mental health is equally important.

Apparently, this was just the medicine my kid needed.

I'm sick.

I’m sick. Really.

Doctor Love

I always favored women doctors, especially for women things. I mean, who’s really going to understand a yeast infection? Or birth? Someone with a penis or a vagina? It’s hard to argue the obvious. But nine years ago, when I moved to my new town four months pregnant, I needed an Ob/Gyn stat, and it seemed the name that fell from everyone’s lips was Dr. David Goodman.

“Dr. Goodman is amazing,” gushed my realtor.

“I love Dr. Goodman.” The woman from the nursery school practically swooned.

I wished David was a Danielle but I decided not to argue a multiple source recommendation and made an appointment.

I expected Dr. Goodman to be kind and experienced. I didn’t expect him to be young and charismatic. A little too charismatic, causing my mother upon meeting him to flutter and remark. “Oh, that Dr. Goodman is quite good-looking.”

She wasn’t wrong. For an Ob/Gyn doctor he wasn’t all that bad, and for a hormone infused pregnant lady, that was pretty good. We chatted easily, and he casually threw flirty compliments my way which made me glow, although I let people think it was the pregnancy.

Of course, I now understood part of Dr. Goodman’s wide appeal, but there were problems. There was no way I could have this man patting down my breasts while talking casually about the weather. And an internal? No sirree, not if I could find another doctor in the practice to see at those times, which I did. Clearly, Dr. Goodman and I were dating. I certainly wasn’t going to give away the goods without a nice bottle of wine, which I couldn’t have for another five months.

So I continued to see him on appointments where we listened to my baby’s heart beat and we chatted about movies and local restaurants I imagined he wanted to take me to. It was all so lovely. I began to look forward to every appointment. Maybe a little too much.

The morning I went into labor, I called him at a little after 5am with contractions fast approaching 5 minutes apart. He was at the gym. Of course.

“Don’t worry about it, baby.” He said, totally cool. “Just wait till they’re three minutes, then head to the hospital.”

He called me baby.

I couldn’t breathe. I started to pant. Oh yeah, I was having a contraction, but still, I knew that after the baby was born, I would have to break things off.

It made me sad.  He was a good doctor, but it was all getting a little too awkward, for me at least. For him, it was just another one of his babies having a baby.

He wasn’t on call when I delivered, and for my six week check-up I made my appointment with Dr. Jeanine in the practice.

We were over, but I avoided seeing him at the office for fear he’d ask me why I’d left him.

What could I say?

“I like you, but I don’t feel comfortable with your hand between my legs?”

Sneaking out seemed the best option.

Not long after, he left the practice to start his own. I’m sure many women followed.

But not me.

Dr. Jeanine and I are still seeing each other.

Hi, what can I do for you today?  photo cred:

‘Oh, you’re not feeling well? Maybe I can help.’

                                                                                                                                         photo cred:

Your breast way to age

“Um, what’s this you ordered?”

I heard my husband’s voice lifted in curiosity from the other room and immediately knew what he was asking about.

“Why do your breasts need a pillow?” He asked with brows raised, walking in holding a package looking both baffled and intrigued.

“Wait.” He stopped himself and me before I could answer. “It’s for your mother, right?”

I was about to nod yes, but he didn’t need me to and continued his conversation with himself. “I knew it.” He studied the golden package, turning it over in his hands. The picture showed a woman with a device that looked like a small baby carrier; straps over the shoulders and a small hour glass shaped pillow running down thru the breast area.

“What is it for?”  His eyes held the confusion of men everywhere trying desperately to understand women things.

Again, I opened my mouth to explain, but he put an end to the one sided conversation by tossing the package back on the table and rolling his eyes. “Forget it. I don’t want to know.”

He was right. He didn’t want to know. Only my mother could find a pillow intended to support the breasts during sleep to keep them from pushing up and creating wrinkles in the sensitive décolleté area. If you don’t know what that is, it’s the area of skin under the neck and above the breast, generally exposed to sun and prone to wrinkles and discoloration as we age. Apparently, just having breasts and sleeping promotes these wrinkles as well.

Luckily my mother has the great and powerful Dr. Oz to inform her of all these miracles to help reduce her lines and leave her forever young. Remember when the end all be all of TV host promotion revolved around Oprah sharing her favorite things? Ah, simpler times.

Now Oz promotes everything from HCG injection diets to Oil of Oregano, Green coffee bean extract, Garcinia Cambogia, the Breast Pillow and a million other supplements, ingredients, foods and lifestyle choices. He’s got a hand on your heart, on your waist and even up your pants. He is all over you and all your health and vanity needs.

What beauty wisdom my mom doesn’t receive from Oz is made up from 3am infomercials promising to erase wrinkles in seconds. I try to tell her if maybe she stopped worrying and slept more it would do the same job.

But what do I know. Until recently, I thought decollate was a kind of vintage looking art work, but I then I found out that was decoupage. My bad.

So what was this pillow doing at my house anyway? Turns out, my mother is as notoriously bad at internet shopping as she is good at finding miracle anti-aging products. So, from time to time, she tells me what she wants and I order it for her on-line.

Oz reveals the secrets. I find them on Amazon. My mother basks in her youthful glow.

But if you ask my husband, it should all remain a mystery.

Oh, it exists.

Oh, it exists.





Getting Bent Over Bending Over

I think the sales rep winced when he saw us out of the corner of his eye. I can’t be sure because by the time we made our way over, he was all smiles and handshakes. I don’t blame him. I mean, how many times can you show the same people the same stuff? I’ll get back to you on that one.

In our defense, we have never redone our kitchen before and the options are endless. We spend nights surfing the websites, comparing prices and reading reviews for brands like GE, Thermador and Viking.

We waffled over a microwave in the island. We flipped back and forth between a range top with a double wall oven verse a nice full range. We looked at 36 inch fridge, but then our eyes widened at the 42inch and completely bugged out of our heads at the 48inch.

We made every decision half a dozen times and then changed our minds at least half a dozen more. Finally we strode into PC Richards feeling confident that we knew exactly what we wanted, and would up buying something entirely different.

Two days later, we returned everything and was back at square crazy.

We hosted pow-wows at our house. Brother-in-laws debated the merits of one brand over another. Uncles drew layouts for cleaner designs. A friend said everyone doing their kitchens now got double ovens built in the wall. Everyone had an opinion and no one was afraid to share.

The wall oven was one of our biggest points of indecision. Aesthetically I favored the straight range. My husband favored an extra oven for the same money. We were at an appliance impasse. We needed some professional help.

“You should probably consider the double wall oven,” said the designer who was working up a layout for us. “You know, because in a few years it’ll be easier for your back.”

What? Oh no she didn’t.

“Uh, did you just try to sell the double oven on the deterioration of my body?

Sounds of shuffling and backtracking. “Um, ha ha. No, I mean. Uh…”

Yeah. That’s what I thought.

“Really? You really went there? Wow.”

Add some awkward stammering. “No. Ha ha. I just meant, in the next decade.”

Okay, 30 year-old designer was pissing me off. “Yeah, I’m sure I won’t be able to bend over in my 50’s. You’re probably right.”

“No. I mean, ha ha…”

We both did the fake laugh thing while she pulled her very big foot out of her mouth. She should really wait till she gets the job before insulting me.

“Okay, let’s move on, unless you want to suggest any wheelchair ramps I should be installing?”

More awkward giggles on her part. “Oh of course not, you’re in very good shape.”

Oh yeah, who’s bending over now, sweetheart.

I hung up and had my decision.

I would get the range. It provided extra counter space, a more open layout and subtly commented on my obvious youthful agility.

I planned to be shaking and baking for a long time.

Now, can we talk tiles?

Oh, I'm hot for you, baby.

I’m hot for you babe.