You Move Too Fast

Just kickin' down the cobble stones

Just kickin’ down the cobble stones

Feeling groovy yet?

Last week was hectic for me.  Lots of running back and forth combined with crappy weather. The cherry on top involved the delays and rerouting of the train Saturday morning while I tried to get Art Child to her art class.  On time was blown by the time the train arrived, it was a scramble and bonus cab fare to get her there before her class left for their field trip. Luckily it started snowing after I did my shopping, so by the time I walked into the lobby of my building, the handles of the grocery bag tore off.  I didn’t really need the entire dozen eggs, did I?

I declared yesterday a day of rest.  For me, anyway.  Prepped breakfast the night before, and Husband ordered and picked up a birthday cake for Man Child’s girlfriend.  Also, the night before.  If you haven’t ever had Dominican cake, I recommend it highly.  Extra heavy, often sold in terms of how many pounds (as opposed to inches) and yet delicious.

Over the top in every way, but worth it.

Over the top in every way, and so worth it.

These can be found and purchased in certain neighborhood bakeries, but the best ones come from an abuelita’s kitchen.  The drawback to this is they often aren’t available in the summer–these little inner city kitchens get hot, and you’re getting whatever decorations and colors they feel are appropriate.  Oh yeah, sometimes they don’t have anything to contain it.


Did I mention the icing is not so much frosting as it is meringue?

Did I mention the icing is not so much frosting as it is meringue?

Yup, Husband walked in Saturday night with a 7 pound, 26″ round frilled and frosted cake. No box. I don’t have a container large enough.  I checked the cake domes, my Tupperware cupcake transporter-thingie, I even checked the Thanksgiving roasting pan. Needless to say, it sat on Husband’s desk overnight, and I encouraged an early cake cutting in the morning.  “Hurry up and finish your hash browns, Miss Music–it’s time for your cake!”  

The best part is the guayaba in between the layers. Some misguided souls think pineapple is an acceptable alternative.  Trust Mama Fringe, guava is the way to go.

I stayed in pj’s for most of the day, consumed enough sugar to get me off the couch and down to the laundry room–did only enough laundry to be sure clean underwear can be found this week. A perfectly slow Sunday crowned by the divine absurdism of Shameless.  Appropriate, no?

What Was I Saying?

I swear I had a post in my head ready to go, just needed to sit down and type it up.  Now that I’m at the keyboard, I can’t remember one word of what I intended to blog about.

Long and busy days here, though I’m not sure what I’ve been so busy with.  Not much fun happening, behind on laundry and the fridge is alarmingly empty.  Must be mid-summer.  Art Child has been busy with her art intensive, and I’ve been trekking all over the borough for drop off and pick up.  The other day, I had to meet her in the East Village.  A fun neighborhood, one of the few left in Manhattan that still feels like New York, art, artists, small businesses.  We weren’t in the fun part, but I got a couple of photos.

Rainbow brownstone

Rainbow brownstone

Love this, and I'm not the only one.

Love this, and I’m not the only one.

What better place for a small theater than an abandoned Catholic school?

What better place for a small theater than an abandoned Catholic school?

Some neighborhoods still have interesting graffiti

Some neighborhoods still have interesting graffiti

Hi there.

Hi there.

To get to that area from my apartment is kind of a haul, required train transfers and many flights of stairs to get from one station to another without leaving the subway and having to pay another fare.  By the time we got home my back was on fire.  I was just starting to relax into one of the back meds when I heard that siren call, “Mom, the toilet’s overflowing!”

Does everyone else have low flow toilets now also?  Low flow saves a lot of water, theoretically.  Unless you try to flush more than one square of toilet paper.  Because that requires many flushes, and often an overflow.  I don’t know what the heck happened, but this was more stopped up than I’ve seen in years.  And I couldn’t lift the damned pail to force water down.  The good news, Nerd Child got a complete plumbing in NYC lesson.  The bad news, the many hours it took to clear the clog.

The whole thing earned me a day at the beach, no?  Maybe.

Nice view of the new World Trade Center on our way to the Holland Tunnel.

Nice view of the new World Trade Center on our way to the Holland Tunnel.

Oh, I went.  With Husband and Art Child, so we went to one of the NJ beaches, supposed to be cleaner and nicer.

In the parking lot, some lovely plantings around.

IMG_1613 IMG_1615


It was going to be a perfect beach day.

IMG_1616 IMG_1621 IMG_1622 IMG_1624

It just didn’t quite work out the way I hoped.

When we got our stuff spread out and settled, a cloud settled on top of us and the wind increased.

IMG_1636 IMG_1640Then we realized the family next to us was the Loud Family.  The cloud will pass, right?  Those kids will go back in the water, right?

So I took a little walk with my camera.

IMG_1631 IMG_1632

The cloud passed and those kids did go off somewhere.  Then we realized it was the mother–who did not wander off again–who was making the most noise.  Then another cloud came.

But okay, the family left, yay!  Everywhere else the sky looked blue.  Surely this massive gray cloud above us was going to move off any moment.

IMG_1639 IMG_1641

It started to move off, then it came back.  And the Louder and Larger Family settled right next to us, complete with screaming children and mother spraying sunscreen in futility against the wind.  Thanks, my sandwich was missing something.

Story of my fucking life.

Story of my fucking life.


Gray Morning Adventures

Well timed, it should be pouring when I pick up Art Child.

Well timed, it should be pouring when I pick up Art Child.

Since it’s the most intimate of relationships, that between myself and the ever growing circle of people I’ve never met who read here, I thought I’d share my morning.  I think it’s the Benadryl, lowering my inhibitions.

I needed to get my legs waxed.  I have one woman that I use and have used for years, I’ve followed her to three different shady nail salons at this point.  Great for her, not good for me is that she’s the least kept secret in the neighborhood.  And always booked on Fridays.  My plan was to go yesterday, but the girl was home sick.  Now, did I really have to do this today? It’s cool and gloomy, I won’t be putting shorts on in the next three days.  But yes, I had to do it today because I have to believe the rain will stop and the temperature will rise any minute now.  I’ll be honest, it’s been a while since I last went.  I don’t want to say how long, but the odds are “Summertime and The Living is Easy” was playing on my iPod.  Don’t judge, getting waxed is a luxury in my budget, why stretch the dollars when my legs are encased in socks, jeans, and snow or rain boots?

A new place opened across from the grocery store.  Much higher end than the “salons” I generally frequent, but I was certain they’d be able to take me right away.  Excellent, I figured I could bring my little cart, get waxed, and then go straight to the store for dinner ingredients.  And beer, because Friday Night Madness.  Since they’re new, maybe they’d even have a special discount.  Which they did offer, a free eyebrow wax your first time in, as long as you’re getting something else waxed too. I don’t generally get my eyebrows waxed.  A couple of times a year I go to the threading place, $7 takes care of it.  But, free!

Along with the contrast of bright lighting, clean corners, and elegant bottles of lotion, their wax was different.  Fancy.  A lovely color, and the woman peeled it off without needing to use strips of cloth.  Cool.  Friendly gal, chatting away as she worked, asked me questions, “complimented” me on how ungorilla-like (paraphrasing here) my legs were considering the amount of time since my last wax, told me all about the benefits of this special wax and lotions of more complicated than it needs to be process they use. I wanted to tell her to relax.  I’m not about to become a regular, but I wouldn’t forget to tip her.  My upper face started feeling a little weird.  At first I didn’t notice beyond the normal hey, someone just plastered hot wax on your skin! But by the time she was finished, I felt like I was having to push my eyelids open.  Hmm, mirror time. Yes indeed, big welty hives around my eyes, across my forehead, and starting to go down the side of my face.

“I think I’m having an allergic reaction.”  I kind of couldn’t believe I had to say this, since she was, yanno, looking at me.

“Oh? Oh no.  It’s just sometimes if it’s been a long time since you’ve been waxed, the body releases histamines, causing a few hives.”

What the fuck, is she Mel Brooks?  Anyone else remember History of the World, Part I?

Clerk:  Occupation?

Comicus:  Stand-up philosopher

Clerk:  What?

Comicus:  Stand-up philosopher.  I coalesce the vapors of human experience into a viable and meaningful comprehension.

Clerk:  Oh, a bullshit artist!

I could have run straight home, but it hadn’t begun to rain yet and I was right across the street from the grocery store, so I did my shopping, kind of amused by people noticing and not commenting but staring at the welts on my face.  To complete the perfect morning, it was a long, long line.  There was a baby/toddler in a grocery cart next to me, cute little girl.  She stared too, so I smiled at her in the hopes that my face wasn’t so scary she would begin crying.  Her response in a really loud and clear voice, “I did kaki.”

Maybe she was offering it for my next wax.

All I know is it isn’t even one in the afternoon, and I’m thinking about a beautiful moon I saw the other night, wondering if it’s bedtime.

Yup, I am still trying to capture a good moon photo.  :)

Yup, I am still trying to capture a good moon photo. 🙂

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Last night I got another request for the full manuscript from an agent I queried.    She made one of the loveliest statements I’ve ever received about my writing (sent the opening with the query), and if my back wasn’t still broken I’d have done a happy dance.  She wanted a file type (you know, the dot whatever) that isn’t my computer’s default, but hey, no problem–Man Child showed me how to do that last month.  I kept reading.  She wanted my full bio, too.  Errrr.

I went from feeling like this

New Moon, New Day, New Season

New Moon, New Day, New Season

To this

the remnants of the rebel fleet escape the exp...

the remnants of the rebel fleet escape the exploding death star II (Photo credit: lamont_cranston)

Let me say oof, to go along with that errr.  I don’t have a bio.  Not just that I didn’t have one prepared, I really don’t have anything to say.  Average downward mobile gal, unremarkable life of trying to figure out how to pay the bills each month, extraordinary kiddos, dog poop picker upper with a vivid imagination.  None of which is relevant to me as a writer, or the story of ASTONISHING.  No alcoholism, no magic (good or bad), move along, please, these are not the splendid boobs you’re looking for.

According to the inimitable Janet Reid, patron saint of wanna be writers everywhere, this is not something to worry about.  But I’m a querying wanna be–by definition I’m worrying.

I wrote two sentences having to do with my life in cyberspace as Mrs Fringe.  Maybe I threw something in about dog poop.



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Don’t Make Me Laugh

Seriously, it hurts.  But I couldn’t stop myself from laughing a few times this morning.  This is what I woke up to.

Feel like baking this morning?

Feel like baking this morning?

The other night I made banana pancakes for dinner.  Well actually, I made the batter and got them started, and then had Nerd Child make the majority, because I couldn’t stand upright to flip them.  I also couldn’t reach to put the ingredients away, and haven’t paid enough attention to notice said ingredients were still on the counter.

Dumb freakin dogs.  Why?  I swear I feed those bozos every day, twice a day, and then they get treats multiple times per day in addition.  5:15 in the morning, I could barely walk, there was no way I could bend to sweep and wash the floors.  And by no way, I mean physically no way. Over the years I’ve noticed the severity of many illnesses and injuries are contextual.  In other words, if I had options, I’d have said I physically couldn’t get Flower Child to/from school the last couple of days.  But there’s no choice, so in fact, I could and have done it, albeit slowly and painfully.  But this?  Even the thought of attracting roaches couldn’t get me to bend and stretch in the ways necessary to clean this up.  Luckily Husband woke up when he heard me cursing, and got most of it.

Big Senile Dog went to his bed and kept his eyes away from mine, pretending he had nothing to do with it.  Mmm hmm.

Who me?  This isn't flour, it's umm, coke, yeah, it's coke.  The pugs down the hall threw this party and...

Who me? This isn’t flour, it’s umm, coke, yeah, it’s coke. The pugs down the hall threw this party and…

Ok.  Now I’m on the couch, feet up and coffee in hand.  Open my email and find a rejection for a query.  Not just any rejection, but one that was so nice, personal, and friendly, I thought it was a request.  Took me two times reading it through to realize it was, in fact, a rejection.  I don’t think I’ve ever met this agent, it isn’t likely I wouldn’t remember, but maybe I have, the note seemed that friendly.  Or maybe he follows Mrs Fringe.

I don’t know why it struck me as funny, but it did.  Maybe it’s part of always being braced for “the worst,” as I go through the query process.  Silly, because I have never experienced “the worst.”  No one has ever responded to a query of mine in a way that was rude, disparaging, or questioned my abilities.  And while I haven’t received any offers (yet!), I’m doing pretty well in terms of requests for more material.

This was turning out to be a banner day, and it wasn’t even 6am.  Sometimes you really do have to laugh.

An hour later, Flower Child is awake and getting ready.  And continuing a running conversation.  The one where she tells me bits and pieces of her interactions at school.  I’m continuing to pretend it’s possible to get socks on without bending.

“And you know what else he asked me.”

“Hmm, what did he ask you?”

“Is it true that white people don’t get cold?  Why did he ask me that, what should I tell him?”

See what I mean about the universe conspiring, and having to laugh?

Dear Spring,

A view of a vineyard just before the spring cy...

A view of a vineyard just before the spring cycle of the growing season kicks in with budbreak. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Where are you?  It’s been much too long since we last saw each other.

I’m hoping you’re about to show up for a leisurely visit.  Though I can’t decide if it will be a surprise or not.  You’re overdue, but Winter has been here for so long I suspect he will never leave.  I tried getting a restraining order, but I’ve yet to find a judge willing to sign it. This rat bastard has his icy fists punching through every pothole, frozen toes doing the tango up and down my spine, and a steel wool beard that has turned my skin into stucco.  And that’s just the physical.

The constant sub freezing temps have done a number on my psyche.  I’ve even gone back to my yoga routine, in an effort to get myself to feel better.  No, of course I’m not contorting myself into a mangled pretzel just to catch Summer’s eye.  Maybe it is true that part of me is concerned I won’t fit in my overpriced bathing suit that’s only two years old, but honestly, that’s just a byproduct.  I’m doing it for me, because Winter has sucked the soul out of me.  Not only that, he’s been playing footsies with the 1 train.  At least 50% of the rides I’ve taken since November that train has been a mess of frozen tracks.  Late to arrive, slow to move, stopping between stations, evicting passengers for no apparent reason, and sometimes not showing up at all.

I’d rather be with you, Spring.  Truly.  At least until beach season.

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Dumb Dogs

Innocent, I tell ya--and dumber than a box of rocks.

Innocent, I tell ya–and dumber than a box of rocks.

Everyone talks about how smart dogs are.  I don’t get it, and I’m a dog lover.  I know, I know, your dog is brilliant, it’s just my dog.  I’ve had multiple dogs over the years, and between friends’ dogs and dog walking, have known many, many others very well.  Mixed breeds, “designer” breeds (aka mutts), rescue dogs, purebreds.

I think my understanding of “smart” is too limited, I only comprehend it as it applies to people.  And as intelligence is applied to people, dogs aren’t very smart.  They’re cute, loving, protective, smooshable, eager to please, but not intelligent.

Some dogs care a lot about pleasing their owners, keeping us happy.  These are often the dogs considered the smartest, because they learn the most commands.  Then there are the food motivated dogs, who will do anything in the hopes of a treat.  Food motivated dogs are also among the dumbest, because they will eat anything that could be food, once held food, might once have sat in the same garbage bag as food.

Yesterday I was walking a dog, and we stopped for a light.  Dog starts rooting in a snowbank.  Fine, lots of dogs have fun with the snow, like to roll in it, burrow their snouts in it, eat it.  The light changes, we cross the street.  Get to the other side, and I notice the dog has something out of his mouth.  Hmmm. I pay attention, especially if I know the dog is one likely to eat stuff off of the street, but it does occasionally happen.  Is that his collar, did it come off?  No, collar is still on.  My general rule of thumb is not to stick my hand into any dog’s mouth if it isn’t my dog.  Dogs really don’t like it when you stick your hand in their mouth.  I don’t care how friendly the dog is.  If he/she thinks you’re trying to pull a tasty prize out of their mouth, they’re likely to bite.  Because they’re dogs.  I’m paid to pick up dog shit and give the dog some exercise, some company and petting, maybe food and water, not offer myself as a chew toy.

I determine this thing hanging from the dog’s mouth is definitely a strap of some sort, with a small metal loop at the end.  Looks like the kind of thing used to attach babies’ children’s mittens.  Crap.  Can’t let the dog eat a strap.  And metal!  I tell the dog to drop it, leave it, try offering a treat instead.  No dice.  What the hell is this dog doing?  He isn’t chewing or biting, he’s…sucking.  Yes, the dog was sucking on the pacifier at the other end of the strap.  Sigh.


Pacifier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yeah, yeah, got it all away from Einstein and threw it away safely.

Then last night, Little Incredibly Dumb Dog started acting even weirder than usual.  Jumping and barking on Man Child (she’s decided he’s the one who should take care of her needs).  We see no problem, she seems ok, then curls up and goes to sleep.  Fifteen minutes later she’s squatting on the living room floor.  Umm, NO!  I pick her up and bring her to the pad.  By the second nugget the problem was apparent.

Flower Child has very, very long hair.  She doesn’t want any hairs in her brush, ever.  This leaves me finding hairs wherever she might have been when she picked up the brush.  She does try to remember to throw it away, but sometimes, well, sometimes.  Little Incredibly Dumb Dog thinks anything produced by any of our bodies is delicious.  She races to the bedroom when Flower Child wakes up each the morning, to steal those yummy used tissues out of the bag next to the bed.

So that left my little fluff ball, working hard to only semi-successfully evacuate a gut full of doggie gumbo and knitted by her intestinal tract hair.  Yes, yes, I helped her, all better now.  Emergency bath of her back end.

Tell me again how smart these beasts are.

No Dog Poop

No Dog Poop (Photo credit: Sweet One)

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Comma Coma

Like a gazillion little commas.

Like a gazillion little commas.

Since finishing the draft of Astonishing, I’ve been worthless.  Seriously, it sucked it all out of me.  I know there is editing to do, revising to do, but I’ve yet to even sit and do a read through.  And there is always editing/revisions to be done.  If nothing else (ha!) I’ve got to address those pesky commas.

They know I adore them, know I won’t notice until later, so they sneak in, get fruitful and multiply between the pages of text.  Each one a little love note to my fevered writing brain, slow down and think.  Some say our mutual love is unnatural, I say we’re misunderstood.  I want to keep each and every one, stop trying to get between us!  Unless you’re an agent with interest and publishers in mind in which case ptooey i will stomp out those little marks like roaches revise the text into one long stream of consciousness

My love of this pedestrian punctuation is so great, Man Child penned an ode to us:


There are others who would like to get between my love and I, citing disdain for my little Oxfordian friend, who toss around slanderous words like redundancy.  Jealous, they’re all just jealous, wishing they had the freedom of intimacy, the long history we share.

If you couldn’t tell from my ramblings, my sleep has been a bit off for the past few days.  Friday night I was snoring by 9:30.  Unfortunately that left me wide awake at 3:30 Saturday morning.  I thought by last night, I would be able to not only get a normal night’s sleep, I would get to sleep in this morning–MLK day, Flower Child has no school.  And then I could be productive today, do my read through, maybe even make notes for when I’m ready to begin revisions.  But no, my phone rang at 5:30.  “Hello.  Hello!”  No one there.  Crap.  Then I had to pee.  Double crap.  Once I get up, I’m up, doesn’t matter if I had 2 hours or 8 hours of sleep.  For the record, it wasn’t the phone ringing, it was my alarm.  I forgot to turn it off, it’s set to go off automatically on weekday mornings.

Maybe I will be able to read through today.  Maybe not.  I’ve been thinking this could be the perfect opportunity to get back to a regular Yoga routine.  It would be, if I didn’t have the motivation of a slug.

One of the things I like about waking early is seeing the sun rise.  My apartment faces east, a beautiful way to have my first (or second) cup of coffee, on the terrace.  I’ll share today’s.

Are you ready?

Are you ready?

Looks like a promise of a good day, no?

Looks like a promise of a good day, no?


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Rubbish Wars

[Garbage carts protected by police during a st...

[Garbage carts protected by police during a strike, New York City] (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

Life in an apartment building has its own rules mores entertainment.

If you’re unfamiliar, each floor has its own little garbage room (used to be the incinerator room until incinerators were banned), with a closed chute behind a door.  Some, like in my current building, have an actual little room, with shelves for recycle items, others just have a door concealing the chute.  Shove your garbage bag down the chute where it drops to the bottom, compacted into huge garbage bags that are then brought outside by building staff for the sanitation workers–who, by the way, work a physically demanding, thankless yet SO important job, spend their days being honked and cursed at by the same people who left their old entertainment unit on the street to be lifted, broken up, and taken away.  Like magic, except it isn’t.

In any case, back to the garbage room.  Sometimes they get a bit messy.  Or even dirty.  Something drops, an elderly person can’t muscle their bag into the minuscule chute, someone *gasp* puts a bottle on the shelf that’s supposed to be for paper recycle, the recycle piles up because the porters are busy outside with snow removal/salting the sidewalks so no one busts a hip…yanno, atrocities like that.  At this time of year in my building there’s a serious backdraft in the chute itself, so every time you open the little door  bits of detritus fly out and scratch your eyes.  Sometimes a few pieces of whatever from someone else’s floor/garbage even escape and flutter to the floor of your garbage room.  Can you imagine?  What is this world coming to?

Shock of the Hour

Shock of the Hour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s the thing about living in an apartment building, living in a densely populated city.  You have to be polite.  Accepting.  Tolerant.  Don’t let your kids run screaming up and down the halls, it’s just rude.  Don’t jump up and down and bang on the walls.  People live over you, under you, on either side.  Don’t behave as if the hallway is your front yard.  It isn’t.  No matter how considerate your neighbors may be, there are still things you have to suck up and deal with.  Some of your neighbors will be musicians, singers.  You’re going to hear them practicing.  This could be nice, could be a time when you aren’t feeling well and wish you could nap, could be absolutely awful yowling that makes you wish for the music of a cat in heat, it’s life.  Sometimes you’re going to smell cooking that makes you wonder what the fuck are they eating in there?  Sometimes you’re going to hear the screeching of a cat in heat, or a dog barking.  Other people’s children.  The competition of three tvs on different channels in different languages blaring because they’re all in the apartments of senior citizens with fading hearing who don’t like their hearing aids.  The stench of what has to be the worst skunk weed in the world.  The annoying yapping of someone saying a long, protracted goodbye to their guest, or catching up with another neighbor right outside your front door–Bonus points when that makes your dogs nervous and they start barking so said neighbor can now complain about your barking beasts.  All of these things are life in the big city.

But then, one neighbor, two neighbors, well, they forget it’s life in the city.  And start thinking they’re in the suburbs, president of the homeowners association, ready to take a ruler and measure everyone’s grass.  So they leave a note on the door of the garbage room, “Dear Neighbors, let’s keep this floor clean.  There was a piece of paper on the floor inside the garbage room this morning .  Clean up after yourself.”  Then someone else chimes in, adding to the original note, “I agree!”

Now the  porters have to stop and scrape tape carefully off the door from where the note was hung, so a round of complaints about scratched paint doesn’t begin.  This is a large building, there’s always something that needs to be done, fixed, or cleaned, and the guys that work here do a pretty good job.  Next day, a new note, handwriting getting shakier, you can feel the moral outrage building,  “There are LEAVES on the floor, clean up your garbage!” Hmmm, maybe someone’s kids aren’t coming to visit for Christmas.  Those leaves could be from something thrown out on this floor, or they could be from an entirely different floor, blown out of the chute when the door was opened.  Next day, there’s soil on the floor of the garbage room, and yet another note.  At this point, I’m guessing the soil was spilled purposely.  The whole thing is incredibly obnoxious.  Maybe soil thrower’s kids ARE coming home for Christmas, and now they have to entertain grandchildren.  Who knows?

Another day, another very small whatever on the floor of the garbage room.  Maybe something fell off the recycle shelf, since the building employees have been doing outside work to deal with the snow and ice.  Another note, red pen this time–I guess now the note leaver means business, less passive, more aggressive.  And they stapled the found trash to the top of the note.  Which means they picked it up and brought it into their home, found a stapler and a red pen to complete their self assigned mission.  Someone else jotted a message in response.

Raffle tickets, symbol of moral turpitude everywhere.

Raffle tickets, symbol of moral turpitude everywhere.

If I get involved, I’m going to get a rectangle of astroturf and put a white picket fence around it for the shared hallway side of my front door.  The dogs will likely pee on the turf, but hey I’d be beautifying our floor, right?


Bad Influence: A Feel Good Moment


friends (Photo credit: ROSS HONG KONG)

You may be surprised to learn this, but I don’t have a lot of friends.  I know, I know, it’s shocking.  But the friends that I have, I’ve had for a long time.

Two of my oldest friends are a married couple I’ll call Mr and Mrs Smitholini.  We met in Brooklyn, long before they were godparents to my children, before I was godmother to theirs, before they were Mr and Mrs.  Mrs Smitholini and I hit it off as soon as we met.  Me and Mr Smitholini?  Not quite as instant a friendship.

Mr Smitholini is old school.  One of those guys who was born old school–before it was skool.   He thought I was a bad influence on the future Mrs Smitholini, with my peasant skirts, tie-die jeans, and loose, wanton ways.  “Whaddya mean ya write poetry?  I’ll give ya a poem.”  We had fun, though–when we weren’t each trying to convince the other (s)he was being a bad influence on (the future) Mrs Smitholini.  A lot of fun.  I have two other friends I’ve known longer than Mr and Mrs S.  We’ve all spent a lot of time together over the years.  I was maid of honor at two of their weddings, they were bridesmaids at each other’s.  I, of course, was the hussy who got married in Vegas–no bridesmaids.  A lot of laughter over the years–most of it completely sober, too!  And yes, tears.  Weddings, funerals, christenings, baby showers, wedding showers, Sunday dinners, painting each other’s homes, changing diapers on each other’s children and general tomfoolery.

Admit it, ladies.  There’s nothing like the relationships you have with your long term girlfriends.  Gab, gossip, and gorilla warfare over a pot of tea.  Or perhaps in the very, very distant past, banana daqueris.  But we won’t talk about that night.

There’s this amazing, mushy joy in seeing our children play, hang out together, and enjoy each other, as well as their “aunts and uncles.”

The four of us (Mr and Mrs S, Husband and I) are friends.  Not just got used to each other’s Mr/Mrs, but friends.  Mr Smitholini and I each saw what Mrs Smitholini saw in the other one.  So I’ve counted him as one of my friends for many years already.  And the Mrs?  I can’t imagine life without her.  We’ve lived close, we’ve lived far, our lives have changed.  Day to day for each of us is busier, we no longer spend hours on the phone every single day, but she’s still the first one I call.  We don’t get to see each other in person on a regular basis anymore, but when we do, it’s like we were together the day before.

Some of our running jokes have changed over the years.  At this point, Mr S busts my balls asking when I’m going to dye my hair (if I look old, well, that makes him…not as young–Mrs S has excellent, youthful genes that have produced remarkably few gray hairs), and I tell him I’ll go platinum blonde as soon as he gets plugs.

Husband and Flower Child and I went away this weekend.  We went North again, our timing as impeccable as ever, we missed the fall foliage, but what the hell, right?  Mr and Mrs Smitholini said they would join us.  We planned to meet at the motel, no plan to arrive at the same time.  Halfway up, we were caught in a major traffic jam.  Mr S called.  They were also stuck in a major traffic jam.  What road are you on?  Same road.  Where are you?  Turns out we were 2/10s of a mile behind them, same lane.  We had stopped for dinner, they had stopped for coffee and donuts.  We were wishing we had coffee and donuts.  They moved into the  lane next to us.  And shared.

Want one?

Want one?

Yup, Mrs Smitholini  passed the box out her passenger side window into Husband’s driver side window.  Turns out Mr Smitholini was right all those years ago.  I have been a bad influence on her.  She would never have done such a thing when we met, way back when.

What could have been a miserable trip filled with why-did-we-do-this, and we-should-have-left-earlier/later/yesterday never was instead a road trip of laughter, courtesy of our cell phones and mutual bad timing.

When we got to the motel, Mr and Mrs S went upstairs before us.  We got to our room, they were standing in the doorway.  The desk clerk had mixed up our room keys.  So while they waited for us to get upstairs, Mr S closed the window in the room so Flower Child wouldn’t be cold.  We swapped keys, and then had a midnight snack together, courtesy of Mr S.  Sparkling wine, red wine, cheese, crackers, other assorted goodies.  And then we laughed until 2AM.  The only time I’m awake for anything other than insomnia at 2am (in the past 15 years) is when I’m with Mrs Smitholini.  Maybe we’ve had it wrong all these years, and she’s a bad influence on me.