One Hot Sunday

There is a circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno that is a garbage dump built on a swamp fully heated by the flames one would expect there, and the poor bastards that earned this circle as their eternity have to go on about the day’s business pretending everything is all hunky-dory even though the air is too thick to breathe, and they’re drenched in a never-ending stream of toxic sweat.

No, wait. That’s New Jersey in a heat wave. My bad.

If you ever wanted to try Bikram yoga, now is the time. Hear me out. They’re not really running the heaters in the studio; they’re opening the windows. You’re already warmed up when you get there. It’s nicer in the studio than it is outside. And best of all, practically nobody is there. It’s like a semi-private lesson.

Here’s your picture:

Soft-serve ice cream is the stuff of my childhood. Where I grew up, it was only available at Dairy Queen. That was a special treat for us, as the only DQ was seasonal and on the total other side of town from us. I remember one time going there with my family and then going over to the park with our ice cream cones where, for some reason, there was an elephant.

The crowd went wild, indeed.

Wednesday between shows our theater owner stationed ice cream trucks in front of all their theaters and gave us free ice cream. It was quite possibly the best chocolate-dipped soft-serve cone I’ve ever had in my life.

I did not miss the elephant.

Here’s some stuff you should read:

Detroit declared the largest municipal bankruptcy in history this week. Less prominently reported was a study released by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund declaring a 47% Adult Illiteracy Rate in Detroit.

Yes, that says “47% ADULT ILLITERACY RATE IN DETROIT”. Did anybody else just get really pissed off and throw up a little?

Kimberly Witham in Wired: Martha Stewart Roadkill Mashups Put a Fly in the Design-Porn Soup . It explains why her husband Walter is often known to say things like, “I have a dead baby deeer in my freezer,” and why, when I come across those beautiful tiny bird casualties at Secaucus Junction I am simultaneously sorry, and grateful, that I don’t live closer to them.

Her kids are more bored than your kids: She’s a Maineac.

Elizabeth Sims on driving stoned and How to Write Scared.

Howard Stern speechless? Yep. 6-year-old Aaralyn screams her original song “Zombie Skin” on America’s Got Talent.

Now, does anyone have any proven rituals to keep a 30-year-old central air system alive another season? I’m unwilling to sacrifice a puggle, but other than that, I’m open.

Gosh, it’s hot:

Happy Sunday.


What Have I Done For Me Lately?

Before I moved in with CC and the kids, the only meat I ate was fish. I hadn’t had a cold cut in probably fifteen years. Suddenly I was living with six carnivores and if I didn’t want to get eaten, I needed to learn how to at least purchase meat, if not cook it.

Cold cuts for school lunches are the one thing we don’t buy on our weekly hot date. We save that for Monday night since Monday (being our day off) is throw-money-at-the-kids-so-they-can-eat-crap-at-school day. Usually CC gets the lunchmeat, because he knows me and the deli counter, and because he’s a good man.

My grocery store has an electronic ordering thing for the deli, which is how I prefer to do it. It prevents me from completely melting down and leaving without lunchmeat. I don’t have to speak to anyone. I can browse the menu at my leisure without the line behind me getting all Jersey, without having to reveal that I am not of Italian descent and do not know the differences between salamis. But when the deli counter is slammed, they shut that system down.

Second cat from the right.

But the other night , at 8pm CC was still with #4 at the long and far away softball game (freezing his ass off, I might add) while I had earlier been at #5’s short and nearby baseball game (with blankets, because I had frozen my own ass off the night before and knew better). Unless I was going to be a complete jerk, I had to get the lunchmeat.

I walked in, saw the line at the deli counter, saw the electronic system shut down,  heaved a sigh, took a number and got on line.

Usually three people work the counter; only two were on. I realized that one of them was my least favorite employee of all time. You have one somewhere too, don’t you? The one employee you’ll go out of your way to not have to deal with? If they’re at the gas station, you will drive on fumes and pay ten cents per gallon more to avoid them; if they are at the genius bar, you will walk out and skip that appointment you booked three weeks ago because it was the first available; if they are your barista you know there’s no point in ordering what you really want and you just get black coffee.

Mine is Short-Attention-Span, Slow-Moving Woman at the deli counter. Let’s call her Debi. Because it’s all she would be able to remember were she named Deborah. I met her when CC was out of town last year and quickly learned that whenever she waits on me I end up cutting my order short and getting more expensive prepackaged crap from the aisle around the corner. I can’t take it. For a task that’s already so daunting to me, she makes it like herding cats in quicksand. Except way less amusing.

So I pull a move that makes me worthy of my New Jersey residency status. Debi calls my number and I turn to the woman next to me and tell her she can go ahead because I have a lot to order.

She’s quite surprised at my generosity. Giving up your place on line is really more of an Indiana thing than a Jersey thing. We swap our little numbers because there are still like fifteen people behind us.

Meanwhile, the other employee, Regularly Efficient Man, goes to the back to get a hunk of turkey. He is gone a long time. There then begins a conversation between the two women currently being waited on.

Nice Jersey Lady #1: I had a good spot in front of the TV and then somebody decided he was out of ice cream!

Nice Jersey Lady #2: Oh yeah, it’s a good night tonight! I’m DVR-ing it.

{Exchange related to some TV show I’ve never watched}.

I’m thinking that being out of ice cream is a perfectly good reason to go to the store. I’m thinking in fact that it was mere hours ago that I went out just for cookies. For me. That I ate by myself in the car. It takes me a minute to realize they’re including me in the conversation. My offer to trade places has broken the ice. They mistakenly believe me altruistic when the truth is that I was trying to fix it so the other guy waits on me.

I smile blankly and stay silent.

Nice Jersey Lady #1, rolling her eyes knowingly: My husband doesn’t know the inside of a grocery store.

Nice Jersey Lady #2, in sympathy: Oh no. Never. The one time my husband went to Costco he was hungry and nearly bought the whole store out.

I smile uncomfortably again because they are staring at me and it seems to be my turn to complain about my husband.

Me: I’m lucky. My husband usually does all of this.

I gesture in the general direction of the entire grocery store.

Their mouths drop open.

Me: He’s still at the softball game, so I had to come.

Their mouths drop open further.

Meanwhile, Debi has asked the woman I let in front of me no less than four times how much of this ham she wants (3/4 of a pound. Surprisingly, the answer is the same every time). Regularly Efficient Man finally returns with the turkey. I am very, very afraid that my plan has not worked; he’s been gone a really long time.

Nice Jersey Lady #1: My God, I thought you were back there plucking the feathers off of that bird!

Even with the plucking, he still finishes before Debi. Only by seconds though. I step up to him before Debi can call my new number.

Nice Jersey Lady #2: Thank you again, so much!

Nice Jersey Lady #1: That was such a nice thing that you did, letting her go ahead. There should be more people like you.

I am quite sure that there are far more people like me than she realized.

What good turns have you done lately? Who’s the service person you go out of your way to avoid?

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.