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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Wait for it….

“I can’t believe he hasn’t called back yet.” My father says, his voice slow and heavy with the weight of his misery. “I’ve left multiple messages.”

I have as well but this doctor is notoriously bad at returning calls and his staff, one overwhelmed woman with an edge of defensive indignation is possibly worse. Yet for two years my father has been under their haphazard care. We should have found another doctor by now, but my father is kind of haphazard himself.

“I’ll try again,” I say, hoping to get some answers but really just wanting to get off the phone and get something done. It’s been 28 minutes on this road with little if any progress. Really it’s been 20 years.

“Okay, but wait…” he stalls, hoping to drag out a little more time with me. “I’ve got these papers we should talk about…”

I hear some shuffling and the phone drops.

“Ow!”He yelps from a distance and I hear more scurrying about. I make an effort not to roll my eyes while compulsively unraveling my third piece of gum. It’s better than the ice cream tub calling my name.

This doctor has one last carrot he’s been swinging over my father’s head to ease his chronic pain. It’s a new experimental drug; one that’s supposed to be even more effective than morphine. He brought it up in October, scheduled the trial a few weeks later then abruptly canceled it. Now three months of hemming, hawing and wait, wait, wait has left my father as wilted as the carrot. Still, he’s chomping at the bit, always looking for the thing that’s going to save him. I wish I believed something could save him.

“Dad,” I call out, even though I know it’s useless. Still, I’m slow to learn that nothing about him or our conversations can be rushed.

“Okay?” I ask after a few minutes when labored, exasperated breaths signal his return.

“No,” Is his immediate response, then “Yes. No. Yes. Hold on, I need to…”

“Dad!” I cut in before he leaves me hanging again, “I’m going to call him now. I’ll call you back,” I say and quickly hang up.

With one breath doubling as a stress reliever and a confidence builder, I go to dial the doctor on his personal cell. Even though he has been irresponsible returning calls and giving information, I’m still embarrassed about using the personal number he gave me awhile back. It makes me angry. Why can’t people just do what they’re supposed to do?

Amazingly he answers on the third ring. Although he is clearly not happy to hear from me, after months of runaround, I finally nail him down to a day for the trial. Right before we hang up I think to ask the name of the drug. I can’t believe in all this time I never asked.  But I actually can. Managing my father’s life is like throwing a sheaf of paper into the air. You just deal with the ones that fall in your lap first.

“I’m blanking on the technical name…” The doctor pauses and struggles until finally it hits him. I kind of wish I could hit him. “It’s Zinconosomething. Just look up Snail pain relief.”

“Snail pain relief.” I repeat and shake my head disbelieving.  Of course.

The Universe always knows when I need a good laugh.

Yeah, it's true.

Yeah, it’s true. Click if you want to read about it.

Exposure. And my moment in the sun

My house was as clean as it was going to be, but of course I was a wreck. Why did I agree to do an interview for the Today Show? Why?!

Well first off, it’s the TODAY SHOW! Not to discount my crucial role as the Tornado in my fourth grade production of the Wizard of Oz, but I never had any opportunity to feel famous for a minute. As nervous as I was, I wanted my minute.

A car pulled up to my house and a young cameraman and another producer got out. Neither looked like Kathy Lee or Hoda.  Damn.

“Mommy, we’re going to be on TV!” My middle son chirped, green eyes bright.

His excitement was adorable and I smiled at him until he said, “Now you’ll make more money, right?”

Hmm. Not as adorable.

But who had time for childish nonsense? I was going to be on television! So it was for writing an article about dressing my kids inappropriately in winter. Whatevs.

The camera guy set up, and finally a bright light stared me in the face.“Ready?” he asked.

Uh no. I’ve made a mistake. A big mistake. Definitely not. No way.

“Great!” He smiled, sporting an adorable dimple, “I’m going to ask you questions but don’t look at the camera or me when you answer. Look to the side.” He pointed to where the other producer stood.

“Um, I’ll try,” I said but when I started answering questions, I’m pretty sure I looked like I had tourrets since I kept twitching to keep myself from turning toward the sound of his voice. Still I babbled on, as I generally do, smiling too much, even playing to the camera. All of a sudden I was a 20 year-old flirt in a 44 year-old face that didn’t even have enough sense to put on any makeup.

Why didn’t I put on makeup??! I was so not ready for my close up.

Typically just saying my name aloud to a group gives me heart palpitations. The last time I put myself in a high pressure situation was at the Algonquin Writers’ Conference to pitch my novel to editors. There I felt like I was going to throw up, but right now I couldn’t seem to shut up.

Apparently I had become an attention whore.

On Monday I was happy enough to have a piece in the Washington Post on the bizarre trend of boys wearing shorts in the winter and when it started getting traction, I was thrilled. Then the editor at the Post emailed me that the piece was going viral. I never really understood exactly what that meant until the TODAY show called for an interview, even writing a copycat article citing me. Citing me!!

‘You’re famous!” a friend from another state texted after one of her friends unknowingly shared my article with her. And really I felt a little famous, lunching and taking calls, prepping for my interview and freaking out with friends.

My mouth hung in a perpetual state of fascination and for days my fingers also seemed stunned because I couldn’t write a word. I was too busy chatting and laughing, checking stats and appreciating my moment. I couldn’t focus on anything but my shining self.

By Friday, the article had run its course and the interview had aired. Even though I cringed watching and listening to myself – all 20 seconds of me – I’m proud that I did it and wrote it, and that my words sparked a conversation that led to a segment on a national television show.

It’s been a whirl, but I am happy to be yesterday’s news; once again in my chair in front of my computer, a blank page staring back at me.

It’s time to start again.

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Next time girl. I’ve got ice cream.

Especially if I hope to ever meet Kathy Lee and Hoda.



Resolutions For My Children

This year I didn’t make any resolutions. Frankly I didn’t need the pressure, and really I’m working every day on improvement – okay, most days – okay, days where the stars align, the kids do as I say, there’s plenty of ice cream and it’s sunny out. What?! It happens.

I would however like my children to make some changes that would improve my life much more than any resolution I could possibly make for myself. Boys, are you listening? BOYS! Sigh. Well, that brings me to their first resolution…

Listen up! Why do I have to say, “I put your clothes in your room” for you to come up to me not five minutes later and innocently ask, “Where are my clothes?”  And how many times do I have to rip devices from hands, snap close books or shut off shows? Just take a second, look my way and say, “Okay mom, got it.” And seriously do I have to ask you to do the recyclables five times? Five! Why?Why?Why?Why?Why? Annoying, isn’t it?

Give me a minute. Okay, seriously, stop counting to 60. I really mean let me finish what I’m doing no matter how long it takes, a minute or a half hour. Like right now, extremely persistent 7 year-old who absolutely must play a game with me right this very second. Kid, please, we just played cards and Mario and I got you a snack and had a serious conversation about how you were going to set up your Legos, but now you need to just give me a minute.

Time for bed. When I’m done for the day, I am truly done. I’m not kidding. I don’t want any more requests for snacks, drinks, one more show or let’s have a heart to heart about which animal is truly your favorite. I want bed. I want it for you. I want it for me. I want it now. So go the fudgecakes to sleep.

Trust yourself. It can be the hardest thing to do, especially with a bunch of peer eyes staring you down, pressuring you into submission. But you’re good and smart and you know what’s right, so listen to yourself. I promise you’ll make plenty of mistakes on your own. There’s no need to make your friend’s mistakes as well. Trust me.

Just Stop. “Mom! He did this! Mom! He did it first! Mom! He’s bothering me!…” Guys, I don’t know how to express, first, how annoying you annoying each other can be for me and second, how the brothers you’re going out of your way to torture are really and truly your best friends in this life. No one will have your back like they will. No one will know you like they will. No one will really be there for you like they will.  So give each other a break (not the arm kind), and throw each other a kind word instead of under the bus.

And just to cover my bases, please also resolve to never drink and drive, sky dive, move to another country, marry someone I don’t like or join the circus. And even though I intend to never make resolutions again, I now plan to make a list for you guys every year. It’s my last resolution!

Luckily, you know how well I do with those.

Happiest 2015! xoxo Ice Scream Mama, Papa and the Sugar Babies.

Happiest 2015! xoxo
Ice Scream Mama, Papa and the Sugar Babies.


*Hey, if you have a moment, please give a quick click and check out my first essay up on Mamalode called Surviving the Supermarket. If I were to make any resolution it would be to never take all three of my boys with me to the supermarket ever again.