Saying Yes to Motherhood With Teens

11.10.14

It’s 11pm and I’m finally getting around to posting something. I haven’t had time for much lately. We had Jane’s birthday and then Jane’s birthday party complete with her dad not singing and strumming a guitar.

We’ve celebrated my Mom and Stepfather’s Birthdays, we’ve taken ISEE’s and completed the first three high school applications for Alexander. Jane’s volleyball season and Alexander’s football seasons are wrapped up and we’re looking tennis and basketball square in the time consuming eye.

During all of this I’ve said yes to everything. I’ve said yes to every ride request, yes to every party and yes each morning that Alexander requested I bring him In N Out for lunch.

I’ve said yes because Jane is just weeks away from getting her driver’s license and I won’t have 45 minutes to be stuck in traffic with her anymore. I won’t get to hear about her day in the quiet warmth of the car. I’ve said yes because Alexander is months away from starting high school himself and the sting of the very longs days is still fresh. I know that I’ll miss him. I flirted with terrible sadness when Jane started high school. The days are just too long.

I’ve said yes to everything my kids have asked me for because their requests are reasonable and every yes gives us time together; five minutes here, twenty minutes there. I’m spoiling my kids, indulging them with time. I can’t imagine a scenario where I’ll regret this.

When they were babies spending enormous blocks of time with them was the most natural thing in the world. Some days I needed them more than they needed me. We’re a blink away from no one needing much from me anymore so it’s yes to everything and my days are long and interrupted. I like to be asleep by 10 and certainly have little interest in blogging at 11 but tonight I said yes to my husband as well and was baking a pie at quarter of ten.

It feels good. Giving to my trio regenerates me and I’m not a selfless woman by nature. There’s just something magical about this family of mine. Maybe a little less blogging and a little more saying yes.

My Family is Weirder Than Your Family

09.7.14

My Mom and Doc are in New York City for her BFFs from Kindergarten’s 50th anniversary surprise party. This means that Mom and her BFF have been friends for approximately 900 years, give or take a few.

In any event, My Mom’s been texting and emailing pictures of her trip as she goes.

First they had a snafu with the packing.

wire hair terrier suitcase

Then they arrived in the city, fortunately without the dog in the suitcase. I received an email with the subject line “NY after dark” and this photo was the only content.

new york city garbage

My aunt was copied too and she replied with her view at twilight, which is actually quite lovely.

maine at twilight

My cousin hijacked it all demanding that we all fight cancer.

fight cancer

And then we all chatted about how buying pepper spray is way more effective than a breast self exam.

Mom is super excited that Russ and Daughters is expanding

Russ and Daughters

But really? Ugh, pickled herring and smoked trout have got to be root causes of the diaspora. That place is 90% disgusting with a little lox thrown in to placate people like me.

So basically they’re just like every other retired Jewish couple from LA. One of which loves to visit New York for no good reason and the other to revisit her childhood which seldom went past 18th street. Right up until this point we’re a family like yours. We visit old friends, notice trash, dote on our animals, laugh at pinkwashing and eat food that isn’t very good but brings back memories.

Then I get this picture. There’s no explanation. There’s nothing about Doc losing his mind. There’s no mention of a half a century working in hospitals. There’s no attempt at logic. There is just my Step Father getting acupuncture from a blindfolded man on the street.

And there I am left wondering. Did they trick me into thinking they are normal? Could this be normal? There’s a storefront so they can’t be the only patients, can they?

 

Trunx Free Photo Storage Offer & Giveaway

01.22.14

I’m looking at pictures of my kids from 2008 on my cell phone right now. I’d forgotten about these quick pictures that I took, uploaded to Facebook and then ignored for the past 6 or so years. I’ve just imported them to Trunx and in a few minutes my Instagram photos will be there too.

trunx instagram api

trunx instagram upload

I’m maniacal about backing up photos of my family. Some of them live on the hard drive of my computer and they are all copied onto two standalone hard drives (in case one fails), further I have quite a few photos and videos saved to flickr and an account with Carbonite that I will never let expire. I don’t have a huge selections of photos on Flickr because it takes me a minute to remember the privacy settings and anything that takes extra time from me is not something I’ll use by default.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine that’s working with Trunx asked me to download the app and take a look at what it does. She said we’d get together and talk about it after the fact. So I downloaded Trunx, gave it permission to store my photos and sat back in delight and watched the past 7 years appear in a beautiful timeline organized by date. I was able to scroll through and delete a few photos (how many pictures of my car’s thermometer reading “perfect weather” have I taken?). I can even delete them by group.

trunx tag photos

I can also tag my photos so that I can find all my car thermometers in one place or (perhaps more importantly) so I can find all my photos of Jane, Alexander, Mr. G or the four of us easily. This can be handy when it’s time for class projects (notice how “adult” I am for not railing against class projects that require photo printing?).

Perhaps most importantly for the bulk of parents out there is that Trunx is private by default. We are all guilty of oversharing (myself included) and with Trunx every image is private by default but you can easily share with friends and family without worrying about their friends and family seeing your babies on their social networks.

trunx app timeline

I get that not everyone is thinking much about privacy (waving hello to the NSA! It’s boring over here) but our kids are. At Jane’s high school when kids are accepted to college they do two things: first off they wear jeans to school (it’s against dress code but when you’ve scored early admissions they let it slide for a day) and second off they put their names on Facebook. Yes, really. When kids are Juniors in High School one of the first things they do is take their names off of all the social networks because they know that normal teen antics may hurt them.

While my community has learned to make baby videos go viral my children have learned to shut down their sharing. 

Privacy is the new black.

Until the end of February Trunx is running a promotion where everything you upload is stored free (like forever). There is no limit to the storage you can get for photos uploaded before the end of next month. Now, with that being said some of you will wait until March and then be all “Wah! Where’s my free storage???” And I’ll put my hand on my hip and be all, “I told you so.” But of course one of you will be able to add free photos for a full year, you just need to enter this giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ladders, Work, Birthdays and Tanzanian Guests

11.7.11

I hardly had a chance to blog last week, I hardly had a moment to brush my teeth. I don’t have a lifestyle where I do a whole lot of hurrying around, this is part by design and part ineptitude. I am not the sort of woman who enjoys juggling too many things.

Case in point, Jane’s birthday.

I had a 10am meeting in a part of town where there is horrendous traffic. When you live outside of Los Angeles you can’t comprehend what we mean by horrendous. It can take 20 minutes to drive a mile or two or the streets could be wide open and you’d drive five minutes. It’s impossible to know so I leave early and bring a book.

I drop the kids off to school and exactly one hour to come home, take a shower and pack the car with $300 of returns to the Container Store. I don’t know why I even go to the Container Store, I wander the aisles until some sort of hormone kicks in (serotonin, dopamine?) and all of a sudden I think I’m someone else so I’m flinging shelf organizers, drawer separators and gift wrap into my cart. None of these items stand the remotest chance of being used, ever.

After dropping the kids off I race around the house making beds, cleaning counters and generally tidying up. I hop in the shower, blow dry and dab on a bit of makeup. I open up the car and start loading up the haul from the Container Store into the trunk and back seat. Realizing that I’ve loaded the car with a gazillion things without breaking a sweat or mussing my hair makes me feel like a conqueror so I smugly walk into the house grab my handbag, slam the front door and sit down in the car.

I adjust the mirrors, put my foot on the brake and press the start button. Nothing happens. I press a little more firmly on the brake and look at the dashboard where it says “Key Not Detected”. I panic, unpanic, panic again and start digging through my purse for my keys. Sometimes you have to touch the fob to the start button, there’s no rhyme or reason to it. After digging and then finally dumping the purse out on the passenger seat I realize that the keys are absolutely NOT in my purse.

I dash to the front door, as if my sprint will make it more likely to be unlocked. No such luck, the door is firmly locked. I walk around the house hoping that the kids left a back door open. No. A window? No. I remove all the screens from the house all the while watching the time on my iPhone. I don’t want to be late for this appointment. It’s a job I actually want. I try lifting the windows out as if I were washing them, apparently this maneuver works only from inside the house.

There is a ladder in the shed. I get the ladder and hope that the sliding glass door on the balcony has been left open. After extending the ladder and propping it up against the railing I have a clear moment and recognize that the most likely scenario includes me wearing diapers for a second time in my life. I call and cancel my appointment and try to decide what to do next.

After trying to unscrew the dog door I sit down and face fact. I live in a suburban fortress. I’d have called the neighbor for a spare key except we’d just put in new hardware and no one has a key yet.

I pull out my iPhone and call a locksmith. They will be there in thirty minutes and cannot guarantee there will be no damage to the door. The new hardware was not inexpensive, this is not an option. Having reached total frustration at 10.30 in the morning I call my husband and ask him to have someone bring me a key.

MR. G: I can’t just have someone go and bring you a key.

ME: Why? Don’t you have an intern, or a PA, or a messenger? I don’t give a shit who pays for it, just get me a key.

MR. G: [ignoring me a little] Did you try the back door?

ME: Would I be calling you if I hadn’t tried the back door?

MR. G: Did you check the windows?

ME: You’re such an asshole. Do you think that you’re the first call I’d make? Obviously I’m calling you last because there is no other way into the house. And now, you are singlehandedly ruining Jane’s birthday. She won’t have a cake and it’s all because you hate us.

He might have said something else. Something about relevance and insanity but I was done listening. I confirmed that he was jumping in his car Right This Second and bringing me a key and I did what any reasonable woman would do on a hot and sunny Southern California day.

I stripped down to my underwear, shielded my face from the sun and laid poolside with just the cat, dog and Howard Stern to keep me company. Twenty minutes later Mr. G was honking in the driveway and I was getting dressed to grab my key and go.

Between 11.15 and 3 I managed to return stuff to the Container Store, grab a quick salad to go, have a cut and blow dry all while eating the salad with chopsticks and not one little bit of hair. I popped into Tiffany & Co. and bought Jane a necklace and then drove across town to get the kids from school.

Before homework was complete Stacey, Sanjay, Mama Lucy, Leah and Gideon arrived and our three day celebration began.

It’s fair to say that I’m not the type of woman who can gracefully pile too much on her plate.

Neighborhoods, Deaths and Fear

10.28.11

This week our neighbor died. We used to live exactly across the street from him but now we live around the corner. He was one of the first people to know our children and I had the privilege of watching his children turn into adults.

He daughter was our babysitter, and his son was the produce manager at my local market, his wife teaches at the kids’ school and it brings me joy to see her each day. During the last eleven years I looked forward to bumping into my neighbor, we would have nice chats about our families. I always left him feeling a little lighter, happier.

He died unexpectedly, there was no illness or injury that I know of. His widow has asked for privacy and I want to respect that.

I bought an African Violet and a condolence card. I left both of these things on her front doorstep, but only after keeping them in my house for almost two days.

For two days the African Violet sat by my front door and the card was next to it. The card was empty, now that I  think about it I may have forgotten to remove the price tag from the plant. I thought about what to write. “With love from,” didn’t seem like enough but too much seemed like too much in an totally inexplicable way.

I decided to write a note to the three of them and tell them how their father and husband had touched my life. Handwriting is extraordinarily difficult for me as arthritis has taken much of the function from the first two fingers on my right hand.

Part of me hopes that the Violet lives as long as her grief, another part of me hopes she smashes it into the bottom of a trash can.

So now I’m crying and trying to write and trying to not make a mistake because I only have one condolence card and condolence cards are among the most horrible of all cards. They say too much and they say the wrong thing.

I was sad that my neighbor died, no doubt. I love the family he left behind, but we weren’t very close, he and I. What was scary, what terrified me (and perhaps others) was that he died at the wrong time. He was supposed to be there for his daughter’s wedding and his son’s graduations. He was supposed to grow old with his wife and tend to their grandchildren. He was supposed to be in the driveway when I walked the dog and we were supposed to chat too long making us both very late. He was supposed to always be there as that nice but quiet man with the really great family.

There’s this hole in the neighborhood and I don’t have very good words to describe it.