back to school

Aahhh, These Summer Mornings

Just me, my flowers, the occasional spider to watch the sunrise.

Just me, my flowers, the occasional spider to watch the sunrise.

Seems peaceful, doesn’t it?  Especially before I boot the laptop, read about the day’s atrocities and most current buffoonery of Trump.

Not this morning.  Yesterday was long and busy.  We’ve reached the portion of the summer where my anxiety begins to rise, knowing before I can weep Nerd Child will be waving goodbye, headed North to school, and I’ll be back to twelve trains a day shuffling Art Child back and forth.  Ridiculous, we still have weeks, but there you have it.  With Facebook friends all over the country and world, I’m already seeing the obligatory first day of school pics.  There should be a way to block those until Labor Day, don’t you think?

With so many guests this summer, I’ve gotten behind on keeping the apartment neat and organized.  Small space, lots of people in and out, packing, unpacking, beach bags galore and the general sloth of long hot days. Time to start getting it together, so I’m not in a complete panic in another two weeks.

Too late!

Man Child’s girlfriend, Miss Music, was here last week, came for a week after her band finished its tour.  Fun.  Except one morning, she was sitting on the couch with Art Child, turned to me and said, “Did you see that?”

“See what?”

A mouse.

In my apartment.

IN my apartment.

In MY apartment.

Sweet mother of fuck, nooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In my many, many years of NY living, I’ve never had a mouse in my apartment.  There was evidence of them in our last apartment before we moved in, so we filled every crack and hole we could find, and then put down glue traps just in case.  Big Senile Dog promptly got a glue trap stuck to his nose and each paw.  Good times.

I grew up near the water in Brooklyn, huge wharf rats could be seen regularly on the streets.  Yucky, but outside.  There was also a large population of feral cats, so mice weren’t such a thing, between the cats and the rats I’m guessing mice didn’t have a chance. I see rats all the time on the subway tracks.  Again, meh.  Part of NY life.

Back to the other morning.  We didn’t see anything, but we bought a few traps and put them down, Little Incredibly Dumb Dog only got 3 of them stuck to her, and they were much easier to remove than they had been for the big dog, because she’s used to being held to be groomed, and she’s got long hair.  Plus, not as dumb as I’d expect, she steered clear of them afterwards. Zero interest in the mouse itself.

No further mouse sightings, until a couple of nights ago, eating dinner and holy shit!  I saw a shadow fly over the living room floor.  That was no migraine floater.  The plan was to go shopping yesterday to restock on cleaning supplies and toiletries, both for the apartment and for Nerd Child to take to school.  Needless to say I picked up more mouse traps.

Got home, tore apart the living room, dining area, and kitchen, filled every hole around every pipe we could find, and laid 16 mouse traps.  When I say we, I mean Husband and Nerd Child, while Art Child and I steered clear and washed our hands every time those guys touched another trap.  I am not taking any chances.  I know, they’re a fact of life in NY, in most places, I guess, hence the city mouse/country mouse stories, but they’ve never been a fact in my personal space and I am not ok with sharing.  This apartment is crowded enough, thankyouverymuch. Nerd Child reminded me I’m against the death penalty.  Nope, only for two legged creatures.  Twitchy four legged ones need to be erased. Period.

You know how high my anxiety levels are now, right?  In case I needed a bit more, tonight is that open mic night reading.

So I got up, made coffee, went on the terrace, sat for a bit, and then prepared to sit at my desk.  One of the glue traps under the radiator worked.  But the critter was still alive, and had gotten two of my electrical cords stuck with it.  I woke Husband, went back to hiding on the terrace.  I was heroic enough to dispose of the whole thing, after it was bagged.

Yes, I took a pic of the mouse actually stuck to the trap, but I just can't bear looking at it again.

Yes, I took a pic of the mouse actually stuck to the trap, but I just can’t bear looking at it again.

The day has to go up from here, right?

Chugga Chugga Chugging Along

Blur of colors, faces, and heat inside the train.

Blur of colors, faces, and heat inside the train.

No more denying, this year has begun.  I know, for most the year begins in January, but for me, as a parent and summer worshiper, the year begins in September along with the public school year in New York.  Nerd Child went back to school first, Art Child began last week, and Man Child left for Italy two days ago.

Art Child has begun high school.  I think the fact alone confirms I’m in my dotage, but in case it’s questionable, I’ll assure you I feel it. By the end of last week–three days of school–I had taken approximately 43,000 trains and climbed 9 billion subway steps bringing her to and from.  By Friday, she and I both fell asleep on the couch before dinner, and she was already trying to fight off some kind of virus/cold.

Surely I'm trapped inside this cement mixer.

Surely I’m trapped inside this cement mixer.

Ahh, the stresses of mamahood.  Man Child will be away for six months.  Very exciting for him, and quite strange for me.  Before he left, I guess he was feeling a bit nostalgic, because he was talking about and requesting the dishes that were staples when he was younger.  I made a huge batch of basic tomato sauce, we had spaghetti one night, baked ziti another, he made a simple (and delicious) rice and beans with roasted chicken, and he and Mother-In-Law baked an early birthday present of Dominican Cake for me–guayaba filling, of course.  The apartment felt very quiet once he left; he’s a young man with great energy, both of my boys laugh easy and often, and by yesterday morning I was already missing the seemingly constant simmer of something on the stove.  I still had a container of sauce left, was feeling a little nostalgic myself–not to mention envious of the foods and flavors Man Child will certainly be experiencing, so Art Child and I went to the store to purchase an eggplant.

Between time constraints, dietary restrictions, generally fewer people at the table, and a shrinking capacity for standing, most of what I cook these days is a healthier and quicker variation of the dishes I used to prepare. But what the hell, one old-school dinner to kick off the start of the new school year.  I purged the eggplant.  Purging is slicing, salting, and weighing down the slices to draw the bitterness out–then rinse, pat, and begin your dish.

Eggplant Parmigiana


I season the flour with a little garlic powder (granulated, not the stuff that gives clouds of garlic dust) and fresh ground black pepper.  Some people add their seasonings to the egg, but I find it adheres better to whatever you’re coating when in the flour, instead of sinking to the bottom of the bowl.

After a light flouring, a quick dip in the egg/water mix.

After a light flouring, a quick dip in the egg/water mix.

Then into a panko/parmigiana mix.

Then into a panko/parmigiana mix.

Use your hands and get your fingers dirty.  Panko crumbs make for a lighter, crisper coating than regular breadcrumbs, but need a little help to make sure you get a nice mix on each slice, not just the grated cheese.

Fry (yes, I said it, fry) in olive oil.  Not a super light extra virgin, something heavier that will hold up.

Fry (yes, I said it, fry) in olive oil. Not a super light extra virgin, something heavier that will hold up.

I like to get them a nice gold color, about 2 minutes on each side.  Yes, my stove is dirty, I have no shame. Probably what tipped the scales to have me make this–it needed to be cleaned anyway.

I had one zucchini in the fridge, so I dredged it and added it to the eggplant.

I had one zucchini in the fridge, so I dredged it and added it to the eggplant.

As they finish, layer the slices on a paper towel lined and layered plate to absorb excess grease. Now try not to eat all the eggplant before you make the casserole.

A little sauce on the bottom of your casserole/baking dish.

A little sauce on the bottom of your casserole/baking dish.

Good quality cheese is everything, and fresh mozzarella is so much better than the dry, yellow, pre-packaged stuff.

Good quality cheese is everything, and fresh mozzarella is so much better than the dry pre-packaged stuff.


Start layering.  Eggplant, mozzarella, sauce, and then a little fresh grated parmigiana or romano.  I prefer romano for this step.


Repeat the layers two or three times, depending on the depth of your dish.  There should be enough sauce so every bite has some, but too much will leave the whole thing kind of gloppy and you won’t taste the eggplant at the end.

Bake.  Not for too long, everything is pretty much cooked already.  350 or 375° for twenty minutes covered with foil, then uncover and bake another 10 minutes.  Done.



Wait, Come Back!

How does he manage to end the bottle of shampoo exactly when he's leaving?

How does he manage to end the bottle of shampoo exactly when he’s leaving?

Oh Summer, why do you always end so quickly?  Not quite over yet, but Nerd Child goes back to school tomorrow.  At this point I’ll be lucky to squeeze in one more beach day.  This is our ninth year of watching at least one of the boys pack for the beginning of the school year, and yet it never, ever gets easier. And this is a big year.  Art Child is going into high school, Nerd Child is in his last year of high school, and Man Child won’t be in school at all.  Almost three months past and still a huge thought, that my oldest is a college graduate.

Once August begins, posts from friends in other parts of the country begin creeping into my newsfeed, showing me back to school pictures and advertisements.  For the first week or so, I resent it–in New York we’re only halfway through.  But by the third week, I’m in countdown mode, insomnia increasing even as I remember soon enough sleeping late won’t be an option; knowing it’s only a matter of time before I’m frantically filling out paperwork, asking for the eighth time if he’s sure he packed enough shampoo to last him until Thanksgiving.   You’d think he was headed to Antarctica instead of New England, with no readily available drugstores.

I should be happy and excited for all of them.  Art Child is going to a school that seems like it will be a good fit for her, a small and welcoming community. Not an art school, but she can and will continue with her Saturday art classes. Man Child will be home for about a week, and then he’s off to Europe for several months, with a job and housing lined up.  Nerd Child is poised for an excellent year, and there’s no reason to think he won’t have at least a couple of great options for college once it’s all said and done.

Sure I’ll have a little more room when the amps clear out.


I’d say I won’t find picks underfoot constantly, but that’d be a lie.  Those things multiply like Legos.

on the floor

on the floor

on the table....

on the table….

He should have begun packing this morning, but instead he headed downtown to the super sekrit, super awesome word-of-mouth-only luthier who made his guitar in order to get it adjusted.

Now he’s home, and should be packing. I should be yelling at him to pack. I should be reminding him to keep working on his application essays. But he’s playing, and I’m listening.


Hasta Luego, Summer

Yes, I really do miss this.

It never gets any fucking easier.

And so it goes.

Hello Fringelings!  Lots of life since I last posted.  Still adjusting to life without Big Senile Dog, Little Incredibly Dumb Dog is continuing to have a hard time, searching for her buddy.

I just said goodbye to Nerd Child.  You’d think with the years all this would get easier, wrapping up summer, saying goodbye to the boys, school starting up again…but it doesn’t.  For me, anyway.  Some people say the first year is the hardest, but I disagree because after the first year, you know just how much you’re going to miss them. Supporting each boy’s desire and decision to go to boarding school wasn’t easy, but the school Man Child attended was great for him, and the school Nerd Child is attending has him happier than I ever knew was possible to be in high school. This is a big year in Fringeland.  Man Child is in his senior year of college, Nerd Child is a junior in high school (though they don’t call it junior year in his school, all the boarding schools have strange and individual terms for the grades), and Art Child…Art Child begins eighth grade tomorrow.

Eighth grade means insanity here in New York.  High school admissions.  For those unfamiliar with the pomp and circumstance of city schools, entering high school isn’t limited to the “usual” adolescent stress of worrying about getting lost in new hallways and remembering where your locker is.  It’s a process.  There is no zoned high school for us, so even limiting the choices to public schools, there are tours and applications and interviews, portfolios and auditions.  Because being a young teen and parenting in the city isn’t stressful enough.  So yesterday, in preparation, I approached the crate.  Then I spent an hour and a half sorting through and tossing out all the junk we no longer need.  I thought I did this after Nerd Child’s high school admission rounds were finished, but apparently not.  From what I found, I hadn’t tossed anything since I cleared out after Man Child’s college admissions.

The Crate

The Crate

This is my super system for school admissions.  Sure, the savvy moms use Excel spreadsheets and apps, but I’ve got a crate.  The above pic is what’s left after clearing out.  The latest high school books from the Department of Education, a notebook I’ve used for notes and tracking since I began this fun eight years ago, a notebook from Nerd Child’s high school process (excellent tips that are still applicable from the admissions counselor of his middle school), and acceptance letters and packages (those I could find, anyway. I know several are missing).  Because mama pride.  All this experience, I’m more relaxed, right?  Nope.  This will be the first time everything is riding on the public school admissions, and Art Child would like an arts-focused school, so much will be new again.  Three different kids, interests, and abilities means different school choices. Crap!!!!

New Yorkers, of course, believe this is the best and only valid way to have their kids in the best schools, and have the best college options later.  Oh bullshit.  Colleges around the world–even those “top,” Ivy League colleges–are filled with kids who didn’t go to the “top” NYC schools.  And I’m having an ongoing panic attack thinking of many of those not top NY public schools that kiddos are assigned to when they don’t make their choice schools.  Can’t I just go back to the beach and stay there, eyes closed and iPod in my ears?  I may not have done anything fabulous or gone on vacation, but I will miss this summer.

I did have a couple of pieces of good news last week.  *drumroll please*  The larger apartment came through.  Oh. my. God.  I have no idea how we’re going to get it habitable and still have enough money to eat this year, no idea how we’re going to get packed and moved without the boys here to help without my back literally breaking, but it’s going to happen.  Even if I have a stroke from the price quotes I’m hearing for painting and floor installation, it will happen.  Even if  they don’t fix the toilet that’s currently doubling as a fountain, it will happen.  And luxury of luxuries, a second toilet, a little half bathroom.  Two!  I’m so thrilled by this the first second third thing I did was go up and scrub that toilet.  The first was sweeping, the second was bathe Little Incredibly Dumb Dog, who was gray and sneezing after spending a few hours up there with me.  The thought of moving into an apartment that won’t immediately be covered in a layer of dog fur is…strange.  Maybe not bad, but strange. (the little one doesn’t shed)

Another bit of good news.  I had applied to be a mentee through the WoMentoring Project, and received an email from the agent I applied to for mentoring, and yes!  I/Astonishing was chosen.  What, specifically, will this mean for me and Astonishing?  No fucking clue, but it won’t be bad, and could potentially be fantastic.  Actually, being chosen is already fantastic.  Funny, because when I wrote the essay for the application, I was thinking about all my application essay experience–writing parent essays for kiddos’ school admissions.  And I’ve written many, many of those, each school has their own special set of essay questions. Hmmm, if I never earn a dollar for my fiction, maybe someone will pay me a dollar for admission essays.  (Kidding of course, that would be unethical.)

Last week Mrs Smitholini and I celebrated thirty years of friendship.  I suggested matching tattoos, but for some reason Mr S didn’t care for that idea.  So we went to see Wicked.  Just Mrs S and I, like two grownups, a perfect show to celebrate friendship.

So as the season gets ready to change, changes in Fringeland.  Good stuff, nerve-wracking stuff, life.


One of those days, yanno?  Can’t quite get myself going.  I’m certain much of it is because I was sure yesterday was Thursday and woke up thinking, “At least it’s Friday.”  Surprise for me, it’s only Wednesday.

The girl saw the puzzle doctor yesterday, not so much fun.

Man Child went back to school.   We’re going to miss him, but I know he was more than ready.  For a last hoorah, he made bear claws with Flower Child.

Why yes, they do taste as good as they look.

Why yes, they do taste as good as they look.

One last dinner, I made a stir fry.  Actually two, one for the vegetarians and one for the flesh eaters.

IMG_0518 IMG_0519In between writing projects, I feel a little bit adrift.  This is fine, I’m not ready to start a new WIP (though there is a little seedling of an idea trying to put down roots).  It’s good to rest and recharge before getting lost in a new world.  The only problem is it leaves me looking around at my real world, noticing the dust on the furniture, the stains in the sinks, and the fucking freezing temperature outside.

I would like something tangible to look forward to.  I have to think about what it can be.  Something realistic and within my control.  Any ideas?

In the meantime, I give you my latest attempt to capture the moon.  This batch seemed more fuzzy than the last batch, but I’m fascinated, trying to figure out what the green splotch is.

Is the green thing a star?  Planet?

Is the green thing a star? Planet?

Sorting through the moon photos put this song in my mind, and it doesn’t want to leave.  I figure if I post it here, I’ll pass it on.


Shhh, Chasing Sanity

English: Hide an seek Spotted amongst the hedg...

English: Hide an seek Spotted amongst the hedgerow beside a footpath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well here we are.  Fall, again.  Nerd Child is back to school, Flower Child goes back on Monday, and Man Child is fully immersed in his year up North.  Yeah, yeah, technically the season doesn’t begin until the 21st, but I needed a jacket when I walked the beasts last night, and it isn’t much warmer this morning.

Today was my last day to sleep in.  Luckily, Big Senile Dog was on the case and woke me up early.  Just because.  Fine.  Got up, made coffee, went to sit on my terrace with my WIP, and he began barking again.  This time to let me know Little Incredibly Stupid Dog had peed all over the floor.  Out of paper towels.  FYI for the fringelings, it takes an entire box of tissues to clean up the pee of an 11 pound dog.

I’d like to say my posts have been sporadic over the past couple of months because I’ve been busy having a fabulous time and upgrading my life.  Nope.

I’d like to say posts will be more regular now that it’s back to school season in Fringeland.  Probably not.

The  WIP I’ve been talking about, Astonishing?  To work on it, I have to tap into my inner muck.  The stuff I like to stomp down and pretend isn’t there.  You know, so I get out of bed in the morning and do things like make coffee and clean up dog pee.  Despite the slow progress, I think I’ve got the bones of a good book.  Honest.  Distorted for maximum impact, wrapped up in fiction, and tied with the bow of story, of course.

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche (Photo credit: ulterior epicure)

Honest in a different way than Mrs Fringe, where I try to serve each platter of honesty spiced with enough humor to make it palatable for the amuse-bouches that equal blog reading.

Switching gears between the two is hard as hell.

When this summer began I was feeling, dare I say it? hopeful.  This was not going to be a summer of death, I was going to relax, destress, and take concrete steps to make changes in my life.  Let myself feel and plan.  What the fuck was I thinking?  I want my layer of numb back, please.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been poked by that little thing I like to call reality.   I’ve been grateful to have Astonishing.  For me, it is a refuge, my pretend world where I can take the shit that is too often life and manipulate it, tweak the character’s actions, reactions, and responses until I get a result I’m ok with.  Something satisfying.

Tricky, this.  This tapping into enough real to create honest fiction, while trying to get back a nice fat layer of numb.

Maybe tonight while I’m out at Friday Night Madness they’ll have some numb on tap.


I can do a lot of dreaming looking at this photo, how about you? ~Mrs F

I can do a lot of dreaming looking at this photo, how about you? ~Mrs F

Late August.  Time for the annual panic, “oh no, the school year’s about to start.”  I’ve been walking around saying this summer has felt particularly odd because of the cool weather.  Lies.

Summer is just never long enough for me.  If it isn’t cool temps, it’s temps that are too hot, or too rainy, or too many obligations or too many deaths.  Just not enough, which is an old and familiar song for me.  The theme of much of my writing, the guilty chorus that whispers about my parenting, the peek at my word count at the end of each day’s writing session, the ever ready want of more.

The other day I went with Nerd Child and Flower Child to my godson’s Eagle Scout ceremony.  Induction?  I don’t know, scouts aren’t a big thing here in Manhattan.  My suburban friends reassure me that scouting exists here in the city, but I’ve never met any beyond a small, half hearted cub scout group when Man Child was in 1st grade, disbanded by Christmas.

Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges

Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges (Photo credit: honus)


It was very sweet–though I know better than to use the word sweet in relation to an almost seventeen year old boy– and made me feel old and nostalgic.  We took the train to Brooklyn and the Scout’s grandmother, where I sat with my kids on her couch in the living room I spent hours in as a teenager.  Not too many people from my past have stayed in Brooklyn, let alone the same house, so it was very alternate reality feeling.  We met up with a friend and traveled the rest of the way to Long Island.  There I saw more friends, and watched my kids goof around with theirs, and felt the absence of a good friend’s son who passed away last summer.

Obviously more goes into the Eagle Scout thing than I understand, Godson and parents were very, very proud. Local politicians and reps attended and gave brief speeches and congratulations.  A snapshot of a lovely moment.

I also missed Man Child.  Between boarding school and college he’s been away a lot, and I did get to see him this summer, but he’s already back in the dorm.  This is the first time he hasn’t come home to be “home” over a break, and it’s damned weird.

Kind of maudlin today, aren’t I?  Did get to the beach with Flower Child yesterday, which felt good, but didn’t quite recharge me in the way I had hoped.  A family of three, two parents and a little girl of about 4 years old settled next to us.  I couldn’t believe the amount of shit they had with them for two hours at the beach.  Six towels, two large shade umbrellas, three huge bags of toys, sunscreen, and snacks: three people.  The little girl was covered neck to calves in one of those bathing suit/lycra sun coverall things.  I swear Flower Child and I saw bathing suits that looked just like it in the museum last year, what women wore at the turn of the twentieth century. This was not a fair skinned family, but you would think they were albino (am I politically incorrect, is there a more current term?) with the amount of sunscreen they slathered on.  I’m not going to mention their little disagreement with the lifeguards about the safety of their sweet pea, and the rule against life jackets/swimmies in the ocean.  I know it seems counterintuitive to the Backyard Pool crowd, but really.  Big waves, riptides, small children, you don’t want them at all out of reach and where they can’t safely stand.

I know we’re all so much safer than previous generations, fewer kids will find themselves in the dermatologist’s office with a skin cancer diagnosis, but widespread Vitamin D deficiencies weren’t a thing when I was using baby oil and iodine instead of SPF 8000, either.

Listened to Creedance Clearwater Revival on the way home, remembered when that was my favorite beach music.  When I had to turn the tape over it was time to flip and freckle my other side.  I used to work odd hours, at the time I lived in South Brooklyn and worked in either Manhattan or downtown Brooklyn.  In the summer, if I was working overnights I’d leave work and head straight for the beach, get a few hours of sleep and sun before heading home to eat, nap, and go back to work.  Swing shifts, I’d get up early, get on the train and go back to sleep on the beach, leaving just enough time to shower before work.   Thinking a lot about those days as I work on Astonishing, tapping into those old work experiences and certainties that I would, when I was ready, be a published author.

It’s ok, you can laugh, there was no internet then to tell me that isn’t how it works.

Pursuit of Personhood

Pursuit of Happiness

Pursuit of Happiness (Photo credit: changyang1230)

January 2nd and I haven’t given up, woot!

Back to life today, for me and most of the other parents of school-aged children.  Took Flower Child to school this morning, and Husband just took Nerd Child to catch the bus back to boarding school.  Man Child is still home, but will be setting off any day for an internship in something I can’t spell, related to theater.

The Christmas tree is gone, the wreath gone, but the ribbons, bells, and fallen pine needles remain to remind me I’m still going to be me and behind on housework no matter my intentions.

I am not, however, going to say I’m getting back to my usual routine.  First of all, my routine is a great big fail. A huge to-do list, and each day I begin by trying to do more than is added.  That hasn’t been working so well. I’ll just try to accomplish the things that are most necessary, like clean underwear. Does anything else matter?

Little Incredibly Dumb Dog needs a bath. Really, really needs a bath. And yet, still smooshable. Especially if you don’t breathe in through your nose while smooshing. See how easy it is to drop something down to the bottom of the list?

On New Year’s Eve, I rejoined a writer’s forum I used to belong to. Couldn’t remember my old username, and I’m fairly certain I was using a different email then, but that’s ok. A fresh commitment.  I like having a connection to other writers, keeps me motivated, accountable (sort of), and humble. There are a lot of excellent writers out there,  producing and submitting.  And then, I didn’t cry.  True, I sniveled a bit, and indulged in a large glass of Baileys, but I’m quite certain there were no auditory sobs.

This morning I did something I haven’t done in too long. I started a new short story. I did not give in to the temptation of spending my writing time fiddling with the short story I’ve been fiddling with for 6000 years.  Don’t I have two full length WIPs? Yes, yes I do. But I felt the need for something fresh. And I like it.  Just a beginning, still needs a middle, an end, and about a thousand hours of editing, but I like it. I am woman. I can do this.

Once upon a time #2

Once upon a time #2 (Photo credit: Andrea Marutti)

Wake Up!…Your Early Morning Call

Kate Bush - Hounds Of Love

Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love (Photo credit: Piano Piano!)

A little Kate Bush playing on the iPod in an attempt to prod myself along.  Not sure what today’s sin is, but it feels appropriate to have that background voice proclaiming “guilty, guilty, guilty!”

I’m about 5 hours late for my usual blogging time.  On a good day, I have 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours to myself before anyone else wakes up. My most productive time of day since I had children, though I’m not a morning person by nature.

English: Alarm clock Polski: Budzik

English: Alarm clock Polski: Budzik (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s my time to work out, check my (non-Mrs Fringe) Facebook acct, read and answer emails, and now blog.  Hmm, either I’m over-scheduled for that time slot, or there’s something very wrong with my time management skills cause I haven’t been getting half of those things done since Man Child and Nerd Child left, and Flower Child began school.

It used to be two hours of focused time, but Flower Child’s new school is further away than the old one, so we need to leave the house earlier.  For those who don’t live in NY, getting kiddos off to school is different than most of the rest of the country (if you’re an at home mom, different again if you’re getting yourself off to a paying job no matter where you are).  Yes, we NY mamas also get up, get the kids up and fed, make lunch, meds for the med needs kiddo (s), and all that other fun morning trauma, but we have to get ourselves dressed, no waving to the school bus driver in our pj’s. Somewhere in here I also walk the beasts.

A man and his son dancing to the band in Times...

A man and his son dancing to the band in Times Square station (Photo credit: wwward0)

Then walk to the train, down and down the subway steps, catch the train, ride a few stops, up and up the train steps, walk from the train to the school, and then get ourselves home; to be repeated at pick up time. Most days, I’m grateful my days of carrying a stroller up and down those steps are over.  When Flower Child isn’t well and needs assistance, I’m wishing I still had it.

This morning I went grocery shopping after dropping her off (Trader Joe’s is my best friend). Husband even came to pick me up, so a morning that started off behind schedule picked up nicely. Started cooking the Doggie Gumbo for the week, unloading the groceries, and the phone rang. Mother in Law needed Husband to help her get Father in Law to the ER.

Just another morning in Fringe World.  I really need to work on my schedule, but for now, I’m going to put Jig of Life on for the 8th time, and dance around the empty apartment.

“I put this moment…………………here.”

Steel Drowned

Steel Drowned (Photo credit: NeoGaboX)

Yo, Mrs Fringe–Put the Card Away!

So said the bank.


20120708-OSEC-LSC-0447 (Photo credit: USDAgov)

The twin entwined with the anxiety of Man Child and Nerd Child getting ready to leave for school is shopping.  I don’t love to shop, and the calculations involved make my stomach roll, so I try to minimize the amount of time and days spent shopping by getting as much done as I can in just a few days of whirlwind excursions, clutching my list, a pencil, and a highlighter.

Man Child doesn’t need much this year. But Nerd Child, oh-oh-oh. He’s been in dress code for the past three years, so he owned very little in the way of “regular” clothes and shoes.

shop or hang , that is the question

shop or hang , that is the question (Photo credit: gandhiji40)

He’s headed to an environment with snowier, colder winters, so obviously, more significant boots are required. Then there’s all the stuff needed to outfit a dorm room.

Yesterday, he and I shopped.  We did well, got just about everything he needed in terms of clothes–all on sale, whee!!, and came home.  A couple of hours later, we decided to make a family excursion of shopping for winter boots. Borrowed Father-In-Law’s car and headed out. Found boots for him, rain boots for the girl to replace the ones that have been leaking, even got a pair of rain shoes for myself, then another store for a suitcase. Then back to the first store after comparing prices to pick up a duffle bag.

After all this, we were starving, it was late, so we splurged and went out for dinner. We don’t do this often, and it’s fun when we do. The waitress was absolutely one of the nicest ones we’ve ever had, so sweet to Flower Child I wanted to wiggle with joy.  The check came, we gave her the debit card.  She came back and said something I didn’t quite catch to Husband, ending with “not going through.” He smiled and told her it’s a debit card, not credit.  She said she had tried it twice.

Now, I know we spent a lot yesterday. But, we’re pretty careful people. For all the spending, we hadn’t blown the budget, and had checked what was in the account and calculated what we could/should spend. In walks Mama Guilt.  Mama Guilt didn’t just sit next to me, but sat on my lap and drank the last of my iced tea, one eyebrow raised all the while, “What, you couldn’t have had water?” Then she started tapping her foot against the box of shoes I had purchased for myself. “You’ve been perfectly fine with wet toes for the last forty thousand years. You had to buy rain shoes for yourself?”

Ridiculous, my glass of unsweetened iced tea, and my shoes, had nothing to do with the debit card problem.  In fact, Husband called the bank immediately to find out what the problem was. Turns out the bank had noticed we spent a lot more dollars than we ever do, so they put a hold on the account to make sure it was really us.  A good thing, in a rational mind.  My mind, however, is still lecturing–you still have basic school supplies to purchase…

Money money money

Money money money (Photo credit: jainaj)

And the damn card is probably going to spontaneously combust when we get Nerd Child his new glasses.