Huh? (A Valentine’s Day Post)

We’re leaving for work, going out of the house through the garage. It’s cold. CC is wearing a ski cap that covers his ears. I have on the purple fox earmuffs he gave me for Christmas, a gift selection he made without fully considering the ramifications of having to appear next to me in public when I wear them.

The button that opens the garage door is mounted high on the wall. My hands are full and I’ve been having physical therapy on my shoulder since before Christmas and still can’t reach overhead some days.

Me: I can’t hit the button.

CC: Do you want a water?

Me: Do I have a flyswatter?

CC: A water! Do you want a water?

Me: I have a water right here.

I wiggle my water bottle at him. But only at waist level, cause I can’t lift it higher. At this point he practically runs into the garage door, realizes I didn’t hit the button and goes back to push it. We get in the car.

Me: I have a water and I would be willing to share it with you.

CC: You’re in love with the shipwreck of me?

Me: No! I have a water and I would be willing to share it with you!

CC: Oh, good. ‘Cause that was sounding like a Loudin Wainwright song right there.

Me: A Tom Waits bong in midair? Huh, I guess it does kind of sound like Tom Waits. I like that house.

CC: A light mouse?

I point to a house we’re passing in our neighborhood.

CC: Yeah, I like that one too. I really like that tudor behind it though. I’ve always had a fondness for tudors.

I look at him sideways.

Me: Does this mean you’re sleeping with Lucia Roga?

CC: What? No, I’m not sleeping with My Sharona.

Me: No, Lucia Roga! The math tutor?

CC: Why, does she live there?

Me: Tudor? Tutor?

CC: I didn’t know she lives there. That’s ironic.

He smirks. I smack him. I hate it when he turns my own joke back on me.

I flip on the seatwarmers and, as I always do, I sing their theme song. Which I made up. Which goes to the tune of the orginal Transformers cartoon theme song. And also steals most of its lyrics from it.

Me: Ass-warmers! More than meets the eye!

CC: That doesn’t make any sense.

Me: What?

CC: You always sing that song and it doesn’t make any sense.

Me: I’ve been singing the seat warmer theme song since we got this car four years ago and you’ve never known what it is?

CC: Yeah. Because it doesn’t make any sense.

Me, incredulous: It’s the Transformers theme song. You know, the cartoon?

CC: Oh. Now I get it.

Me: I can’t believe you’re just now telling me you never got that. Is this part of your newfound commitment to us improving our communication?

CC: Yeah. Remember when you said back there in the bathroom, ‘I look crazy!’ and I agreed with you? That saved me like twenty minutes trying to argue with you that you don’t look crazy. And you do look crazy, so it’s honest.

Me: Asswarmers! More than meets the eye!

CC: I can see the monkeys, jumping from tree to tree in your eyes.

I adjust my earmuffs.

Me: I can’t hear you. I have foxes in my ears.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

image by cellar_door_films via WANA commons
image by cellar_door_films via WANA commons

If You Would Like to Break Into My House. . .

If I really get on a roll writing today, a bunch of things won’t get done.

That’s been the theme of the last six months for me. It seems like CC and I had a month’s reprieve from being in production at the same time (read: a shitload of overtime for both of us) and then it kicked back up for him.

Huh. I just checked the calendar and there’s no “seeming” about it, that’s actually how it happened. Nice to know I’m not crazy. About that, anyway.

He’s been out of town a lot. Like, for weeks at a time. Many. Weeks. I’ve been running the household.

I can hear many of you married moms going, “So?” or “I wish my husband would go out of town!” and the like. Well this is a very risky post for me, not only because I am revealing online the absence of my husband

-I interrupt this post to inform you that I am, indeed, armed, and while I’m not as good a shot as him, I am decent enough and I use a bigger gun

-but it’s also risky because I am revealing the fact that my husband does everything to run the household. If the women in my town knew exactly how amazing he is, they’d be plotting against me, five kids or no five kids.

He does all your typical man stuff. But he also cooks and cleans and does laundry and makes the kids’ lunches and lets me sleep in. He can sew, and he can wire the furnace into a generator when the power goes out. He has power tools and one of his greatest joys is teaching the girls how to use them. He grocery shops, which I totally suck at.

And most of this year, he’s been working like ninety jobs’ worth of hours out of town and I am trying to fill his shoes here at home, and every day I sit down at my computer and think, if I really get on a roll writing today, a bunch of stuff won’t get done. Because while my husband can get a tasty meal for seven on the table in twenty minutes, it takes me half a week of planning to make that happen. If I don’t plan to run this household, I’m screwed. Or they are, depending on how you look at it. Not a damn piece of it comes naturally to me.

Like, I made cookies. Chocolate Chip and a few White Chocolate Chip. They were really good too, because I added cinnamon. Because I add cinnamon to everything. The kids were not impressed, but I knew that when they got hungry enough they would eat them. Particularly since there wasn’t much else to eat in the house. The next day I was outside engaged in a life and death struggle with the power washer  power washing the house. The puggles were on the couch at the window watching me. They disappeared. I figured they just didn’t like water aimed at their faces through the window. But actually they were gettin’ busy.

What was wrong with these four?


That’s two dozen cookies that you don’t see because they’re in dog bellies.

I like what you did with the cinnamon







I feel guilty enough for both of us.

Here are some other highlights from this week:

I never restocked the refrigerator after we had to dump everything from the power being out for a week. We’re still eating out of the pantry.

I entirely forgot to pick up two of my children from school on Thursday. Never even entered my mind.

I managed to get an entire month behind in paying my babysitter. I may have to take out a loan to get current.

We now have to bring the dogs with us on our upcoming road trip and board them when we get in Indiana, about a 12 hour drive, because I couldn’t get all the details squared away in time. Though in my defense, Jack had a strong hand in it by spontaneously developing an upper respiratory infection the night before he was supposed to get shots.

What’s that? Road trip? Indiana? Why, yes! Which is why again I say if I really get on a roll writing today, a bunch of stuff won’t get done. There’s a lot to get done to prep five kids and two dogs and me to head out. We can’t wait! We get to see my whole famdamnily, and CC has Thanksgiving Day off  so I get to retrieve him and bring him back to my mom’s.

Maybe when I get back I can restock the refrigerator.


Meanwhile, back in New Jersey and New York, cleanup efforts continue. I got to see a former co-worker of mine yesterday who lives on Long Beach. We saw pictures and videos of the sea busting through his foundation, of the water rising up to the ceiling. His neighbor drowned in her home. And though he lost nearly everything he owned, including all the years of custom work he had done on his place, he said he sees so much good coming out of it. Before, he said, nobody would speak much to each other on the street. He only knew a few of his neighbors. Now everybody knows each other, they ask how they’re doing; they pitch in and help out.

More train lines are back up and running. Oddly, it made my commute worse, as there are now no trains between 10:14pm and midnight to where I’m going. I’m sure there’s a valid reason for it. I mean, the freaking land that many of the tracks are on washed away. The people along those lines were scrambling every day to try and find a way into work, and many of them still are. A friend of mine who also commutes explained it to his little boy like this: You know how you have your toy trains on your train table? And sometimes the tracks get moved and you have to put them back so the trains will run? Well, here, the train table washed away. He said his mouth dropped open.

And say what you will about Snookie, but she and her guidos/ettes raised a million bucks for their shore town. She was also at the telethon we performed on, early in the morning, answering phones. In Snookie-shoes.

Keep those positive stories coming. We all need them. I opened up the Sunday paper last week and just wept.

By the way? The gas rationing thing totally worked. Granted, getting more stations on line with power and more gasoline helped. But in a week we went from waiting in a line after midnight for two and half hours to no lines.


Here are your links:

So my babysitter (the one I owe all the money to) informed me that I really should investigate whether there was a seatbelt law for dogs because she saw something posted at the pet store.

She has sugar gliders. I love her.

Me: That’s stupid. I’m not getting freaking seatbelts for the puggles.

Her: Yeah but I heard it’s like a $250 fine if you get pulled over.

Me: If we get pulled over I’ll have #4 shove them down inside a sleeping bag.

I dutifully googled and the first hit I got was this article: Christie Says No ‘Stupid’ Seat Belt Law For Dogs In New Jersey

I love it when I quote Chris Christie without even realizing it.

This is funny. REALLY funny. The Hater’s Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalogue. Thanks Michelle for the link.

From the Star-Ledger: New Jersey’s Unsung Heroes of Hurricane Sandy

I just spent an hour looking for an article about gratitude that conveyed what I feel about it (that’s the equivalent of two loads of laundry started, for those of you playing along at home). I found it: Giving Thanks from Woman’s Day.

And let’s close this Sunday post out with a link I found on The Bloggess to a 1984 video clip from the Today Show about a toaster possessed by Satan. It Makes Good Toast.


PS: If you are, in fact, going to break into my house, could you please throw a load of towels in the washer? They’re going to moulder while I’m gone. Help yourself to the lemons in the fridge. There’s like, forty in there. Lemons are unfazed by power outages. They’re lonely.

Happy Sunday.


In the Neighborhood

I wrote this post back in February when I was in production for Superstar. I didn’t finish writing it back then; finding peace in ambiguity wasn’t high on my skills list in the middle of tech. But it’s been on my mind lately because I keep passing the intersection where this happened.

New York has different vibes in different neighborhoods, and those vibes are time-of-day dependent. I work in midtown, which is packed full of office people during the day and tourists at night. I’m rarely there past 11pm. This week the show is putting me up at a hotel because we have a short turnaround during tech rehearsals. Last night I walked out after midnight into a very different vibe in the neighborhood. One that I can’t quite shake.

I was walking to my hotel and came upon two young guys with skateboards. I watched them move very slowly out into the street; they were looking intently at something in the road. I followed their gaze and saw a man lying in the bike lane, unconscious, next to a taxi, liquid spilling out on the ground away from him.

I asked one of them, “Did he get hit or is he drunk?”

(In case you haven’t been here, you totally talk to strangers in New York. It’s just what you do.)

“I dunno,” the young guy said. He looked really worried. The cabbie was standing over the unconscious man. His cell phone was in his hand, but he didn’t seem to be calling anyone.

“Has he called 911?”

“I doubt it,” the guy said. We were two blocks from a police station and about an avenue over from a hospital.

I moved closer. Other people, take-charge type people, suddenly appeared. A woman picked up the unconscious man’s cell phone from the ground and started looking for a contact that said home. A man asked the cabbie what happened as he pulled his own Blackberry out and dialed 911. The cabbie said the man hailed him and he hit him while he was stopping.

I saw that the liquid spilling out on the ground wasn’t urine as I had assumed, but Snapple. A broken Snapple bottle peeking out of a plastic Duane Reade bag.

An old man came up next to me and said, “Is he a doctor?” referring to the take-charge man on the phone. “I think he’s a doctor,” he said.

It was pretty to think so. Comforting enough for me that I decided to walk away though I didn’t feel good about it. But I wasn’t going to add much to the scene. The take-charge type people were there and I had half a brain cell left and I needed it to find my hotel.

The old man said to me, “New York. Always something happens here. You be careful,” and he smiled at me and we went off different directions.

That Richard Thompson song Did She Jump Or Was She Pushed was running through my head and I was wondering if the unconscious man was going to be okay when another voice interrupted me.

“Hey, you don’t know where the Hudson Hotel is, do you?”

A friendly guy in a suit. The only kind of strangers in New York I don’t usually talk to. Especially when we’re walking the same direction and that’s my fricking hotel that he’s asking directions to.

“Um, yeah, it’s just up here another street and then almost to the next avenue. You go left,” I said, and then I slowed my pace, hoping he’d pass me by.

“The weather said it’s supposed to be sixty-seven degrees tomorrow,” he said, matching my pace.


I made some small talk back over my shoulder as I changed tactics and sped ahead. I hoped he’d lose sight of me. I had the extra assurance of knowing that there is no name on the outside of the Hudson Hotel. One of those swanky New York things that had always annoyed me up until this moment. You go in an unmarked entrance and up an escalator to get to the lobby.

CC was working early mornings and should have been sleeping at this time, but I hadn’t talked to him all day and the events of the evening had me raw and edgy. I hit speed dial 2 on my phone and it rang and rang and rang. I got his voice mail. I hung up and resisted the impulse to look over my shoulder to see if the suit was still right behind me. I tried to pick out his footsteps. Tried to judge how close he was. I was all twitchy.

And here’s why I love my husband. He called me back all sleepy even though he had to get up in like three hours and when I said Hey I just saw a guy that had been hit by a cab he stayed on the phone with me til I got to my room. Because he gets it. He knows from experience how messed up your head can get during production. He also knows the neighborhoods, how they change at different hours. How at some point in your city life you will probably walk away from someone on the street who may or may not be dying because help is on the way, and you are not it.

And because I get it- how when you’re the spouse at home while your other is away in production,  you worry- I didn’t mention the suit. I stayed on the phone with CC not talking much, me listening to him try to stay awake, him listening to me trying to get to my room.

Before I hit the elevator I allowed myself a shot across the lobby and saw that the suit wasn’t there. Me, in the clear. There never was anything to see here. All in my overextended imagination.

Imagine that.

In my room, I said goodbye to my husband and took off my work boots. I cracked the window above my bed and let the sounds of the city spill in across the windowsill, down the wall and onto the pillows.

The words of the old man came back to me: New York. Always something happens here. You be careful.