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Kids, This is What You Can Get Me for X-Mas #giftguide

I’ve been reading all these gift giving guides, and I decided I’d write one of my own for my children to reference. Here you go, Kids:

1. A REFRAIN FROM ASKING “Where is a clean mask?” when we are harried and rushing out the door on the way to school in the morning. I am sweating, frazzled, clomping around in my work heels, and basically hating life when you do that. We have a name for this person I become: the angry chicken, because I am squawking with my beak. Don’t make me the chicken.

2. A DUMPSTER FOR ANY SMALL TOYS, including Hatchimals (these are crazy, tiny animals that you peel out of a gross plastic egg like they are “hatching.”) These toys are not only killer weapons when I step on them in the middle of the night in the dark, but they are also dog chokers. Not to mention, Hatchimals are fun for like one minute, when you see what they look like after they hatch, and then they’re not so fun. Kind of like giving birth and seeing the baby, and then it’s just “meh.” KIDDING!

Hatchimals

3. A WEEK AWAY TO A RETREAT: I just want to be sent someplace where I can journal, sleep, get daily therapy, go on walks, and do nothing. I might enjoy something cult-like, where I sit by a fire with some freaks, and we bond while making S’mores and someone with a man bun (maybe the cult leader) is playing guitar.

4. “MOMMY MAKEOVER” PLASTIC SURGERY: Hey, I won’t be offended if you guys pay for it. Just get me the gift card, and I will go for that Mommy Makeover. I will never spend my mortgage or cable money on it, guys, so dump your piggy banks and get Mommy the help she needs. This is, after all, your fault I look like this.

5. A YEAR OF PACKED LUNCHES (can be frozen): I hate packing lunches, because now that peanut butter is not allowed (#nutallergies), I have no sandwiches to make. PB&J was my go-to sammie, and really the only one you guys eat. Not to mention, a jar of Skippy can last for like 20 lunches: basic economics. Now, I have to rifle around the snack drawers, find cutlery for the yogurts, add in a freezer pack to keep it cold (and you often leave it in your backpack overnight, so I have to dive in the freezer and find a new one), and feel bad that you went to school with six bags of chips for lunch.

6. A NEW REMOTE CONTROL: The one in the basement, the one I use on the elliptical, is covered in sticky ice cream and God knows what. No matter how much I sanitize it, it’s sticky and maybe more foul than the ones in hotel rooms that I put a Ziploc bag over before I touch them. I want a back-up…one you do not touch.

7. GIVE ME MY BED BACK: I love you in my bed (sometimes), but the fact that my bed is now called “our bed” is an issue. And, I found a sour patch candy in the sheets the other night, and your old blankie kinda smells, so I can only face one way in the bed–away from it. I might like to sleep alone, so I can read, stretch out, and feel okay sleeping on my right AND my left side.

Her side of “our” bed

Well, that should be a good start, kids. And it doesn’t require a lot of shopping! So, make like Santa, and get to it. I’ve been “Good” this year…

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Revisiting Being a Stay-at-Home Parent

I am revisiting being a stay-at-home mom since the pandemic and brazenly quitting my job. I haven’t done this since 2007, and I have to say it’s interesting? Well, first off, looking for a job, particularly now, is fairly rotten. I hit up all the job sites, like Indeed and Glassdoor, in addition to going to actual websites of places I might like to work, and I have not had much success. It takes forever, and you have to enter a lot of search filters, leaving you eventually tired, exasperated and cross-eyed. Plus, I don’t even know what I want to do. I clicked on a wide array of positions, including being a Door Dash delivery person, an online social media designer, a development director, and a reporter. I freaked out that I’d get murdered with being a delivery person, so I opted out of that search.

But, then, I stumbled upon what may be my real talent and niche: Camp Counselor Philanthropist! Since school has yet to begin here in our town (first full day is October 13 #brutal), I started Camp Alex: Endless Summer. It’s essentially impossible for working parents now when kids are home all day, so I am helping them out while simultaneously entertaining my own children by having them over for camp. Win-win!

Here’s a look at Camp Alex. First, we have Puppy School, in which the dogs do math and get grades. The kids do “drop-off,” bringing the dogs upstairs with treats, and I do “pick-up.” At this time, I am versed on how well they behaved. For example, today, Poppy got an A+ and Winnie struggled with some addition and got a B+

Didn’t make Honor Roll

Around noon, we have lunchtime, which consists of whatever I can find in my fridge that they might like: edamame, french fries, grilled cheese and gummies.

Healthy!
Questionable

Next, we have play time on the trampoline and on the slide. One of their favorite games, which I created a long time ago as a disciplinary method, is “The Crab.” It’s really quite simple: find some tongs, and chase them around with the tongs biting at their ankles (gently, of course) and their knees. This is the crab! They absolutely love it, and it only costs a pair of tongs! Cheap, officious and fun. Next, we have pool time, in the baby pool, and finally quiet time with puzzles and crafts.

It’s interesting how we fall into things and unknown talents, like me being a camp counselor, during difficult times. I’m making the most of my staying at home during COVID, because I know it could be short lived. I don’t miss being in the office cubicle even one bit. The paycheck? Er, well, that’s another thing. For now, though, these kids laughing is a pretty good payoff.

My kindness rock garden

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The Storm Before the Calm

 

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Jim Carrey as Fire Marshall Bill

Have you ever had a Fire Marshall Bill moment when you suddenly just want to exit left abruptly and there’s no stopping you? I had one of those moments yesterday when I was out with several friends. In fact, my insistence that I jettison myself from the scene ASAP was noted by one, who even called me Fireman Bill! Here is what I looked like:

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So here was the scene. I’m sitting there trying to drink this heinous, fluorescent yellow Chardonnay that tasted like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and I suddenly came to the conclusion that I must go home. I wasn’t sure why I felt this way, until I actually got home and had a full meltdown while walking my dogs that I didn’t want to live here on Cape Cod anymore. I am not sure what came over me.

It reminded me of those times in New York City when I’d ride the subway and just start crying. To me, that was sort of a regular thing. And, really, it didn’t seem problematic,(LOLing) because there were so many other people around and no one seemed to notice! One minute, I’d be subway surfing and balancing while holding onto the dirty pole with two fingers, and the next I’d be sitting down and crying, staring at the floor.

Well, one time, someone did notice. It was this guy sitting across from me. He gave me an empathetic side smile and handed me a book, his book, and got off the train. By the time I registered what had happened, he was gone. It was a yellow business book, called Time is Money, and on the inside of the cover, he wrote: “Nice Things Happen.” I’ll never forget that.

It’s true.

So, back to me gripping and walking my dogs last night, I ran into a neighbor. I don’t know her well, but we have kids who are similar ages. She told me she was struggling, (maybe I was looking haggard and obvious?), and I was so appreciative! In fact, so much so, that I think I was legit like yelling positive affirmations about parenting to a mother from across the street at Volume 50. Me: No, totally, I get it! I do! We must get together! I am here for you!

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Anyway, I walked on and started to legit bawl that I wanted to move! I didn’t know how I could stay here anymore. I was carrying two doggie bags of poop, holding one dog leash in one hand and one in the other, and hunched over. I  was like, “How did this happen? I am not from Cape Cod. How have I been here so long! I need to go!” The poop bags were a metaphor.

BUT!

I woke up, and things are a lot nicer today.

I did some writing, went for a run, and I turned off the music on my iPhone. I walked past the beach and stopped to take these photos, thinking how insane I was to be crying that I was forced to live here. Where I live is beautiful, and I’m so lucky to be here!

Okay, now I’m not trying to be that person who tags all of her social media photos with #Blessed #whywelivehere, ’cause that’s just annoying. It’s almost as annoying as #goodtimes #goodfriends.

But sometimes you have a Fire Marshall Bill moment! And then you cry and put out the fire.

And what’s left is calm.