Thursday, May 31, 2007

Summer So Far

Yesterday, I vlogged about summer vacation not going quite according to plan:

That isn't even the half of it.

Please, allow me to wax bitchetic for a moment if you will.

I am soooo trying to be that kind of Mom who has summer wrapped up in a Tupperware activity box with pre-cut shapes and glitter pens. I want to bake bread from the slightly overipe bananas on the counter. I want to have made 3 trips to the library already, with an organic cotton sack stuffed with interesting reads that we'll peruse together on pillows on the floor. I want to make a weekly field trip to somewhere totally locally exotic. I want a clean house. Or even just clean hair. But I am sooo failing in these wants so far.

I am fighting this stupid summer cold which just keeps lingering, an refuses to move from my throat so that I sound like I've just smoked a few dozen packs of Camels. I have been to a different doctor every day this week, and I will spare you the details because I'd rather gouge out my eyes with a speculum than discuss those things here, but suffice it to say...well, suffice it.
Hours pass without me getting much done at all except feedings and changings and more changings which only reminds me of my failing in the potty training department which is another goal on my aggressive Summer Tracey To Do List, which is getting longer by the day and more unattainable. I may have to cross off #12, which is master the perfect pitcher of Sangria and #24: Clean Closet.

But setting all of that aside, which I realize is a lot to set logistically aside so you may simply have to peer up from beneath in breathless anticipation, but somehow through all of this mess, I have had a creative breakthrough of sorts. The sort of quiet epiphany that clears its throat as it humbly suggests what should have been obvious from the get-go had I been paying attention to the get or the go.

So I leave you with that nonsensical announcement, because part of the revelation is that nonsensical announcements are pretty much what I do best.

Tupperware craft boxes notwithstanding.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Watch how I pull this althogether in the end

Little known fact about me: I've seen Niel Diamond in concert 31 times.

I've just started reading a most intriguing novel, "Loved Walked In," by Marisa De Los Santos. I am only on page 20 so I don't yet know if it will hold up to the last page, but so far I am completely hooked. It reads like the webcam in my mind. Scary. Like this: If you are not a big believer in signs, then, trust me, we have that in common. If your impatience with people who are forever telling stories containing fairly ordinary coincidence that they interpret (after a pregnant pause) as "a sign" that borders on nausea, I'm right there with you. And if you've noticed that such people almost invariably opt to take as signs only those things that point them in precisely the direction they wanted to go anyway, while ignoring plenty of other seemingly valid sign options, well, my friend, we're three for three.

But then she goes on to describe her personal compilation of signs completely contradicting herself mere seconds beforehand. Which is totally something I would say, but reason that because I admit to doing it, my criticism doesn't apply to me, in fact it makes me even more in touch with the universe because I am so honestly intuitive. I know, I am seriously messed up sometimes.

So I read this passage as I am in the waiting room for the doctor. The cardiologist, as a matter of fact. And the reasons that I see a cardiologist are unknown to me--it is a mysterious cardiac condition that gets more mysterious as the years go by, and for some unexplained reason, I allow this because...I have no valid reason as to why I don't take charge of this situation. Anyway, I haven't seen him in almost a year because in cardiac terms pregnancy equals the plague. Completely hands-off for 40 weeks. No meds. No tests. He didn't want to see me, talk to me nor even receive my co-pay in the mail until I hatched. Fine, I say. So I had honestly forgot that I had an appointment today except for the helpful reminder call I got yesterday. I honestly forgot I had a heart condition anyway as well. But I go in anyway for sport. Here's the dialoge:

Dr. P: Anything new?

Me: No. I had the baby 7 weeks ago.

Dr. P: (Quickly flipping through chart.) How did it go? Any chest pain, shortness of breath?

Me: I honestly can't recall. I think the other miserable symptoms of pregnancy masked any cardiac troubles I may have had.

Dr. P: Ok, let's do a sonogram of your heart.

Me: Why?

Dr. P: Because we haven't done one in a while.

Me: OK. How was my ekg?

Dr. P: It was...(pause) okay. I schedule you for sonogram next week.

And what do I say? Nothing, because I accept the nebulousness of it all. So I get back into the beast of a car and even though the tank wasn't empty I fill up for $78. I flip through the satellite radio which is the greatest thing ever I determine, because the soundtrack of my life plays every day spanning the decades reminding me of memories I'd forgotten. I have a particular penchant for the 70's channel, because invariably, my mother's voice will sing (badly) along to the tunes. As today when I heard Niel Diamond 3 times. She used to love the Niel Diamond. And all of her friends, too. And I could never see the attraction because by the time I was listening to music with a discerning ear, Niel had just released that stupid "Heartlight" song, which even at the sage age of 10, I realized it was a complete sell-out. But over the years, after reacquainting my adult ears with songs like "Solitary Man," I've appreciated Niel in a different light. Today I listened to "Longfellow's Serenade," and "Sweet Caroline," and thought I can see why so many middle-aged women loved him in his prime. Then I thought about what it was like being her kid, and then I thought about Niel Diamond's kid who is Dustin Diamond--"Screech" from "Saved by the Bell,"-- and how that freak has his own reality show now and that's how I sort of consider these video blogs to be in a way, and Oh My God I am Screech, and then I thought about my Mom and her "Jazz Singer" album pressed against her chest like a swooning teenager, and my chest seized a little too and I realized that I doubt if the cardiologist can ever fix my broken heart.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Festivus on Memorial Day

Well, I suppose Neighborpalooza was a relative success. More showed up than I thought, but it was clear that we all live in a bubble--no one has a clue as to whom is living next door. And of course The Grumpy Old Man (next door neighbor who doesn't even give the obligatory nod when passing) did not show, but then I think Neighborpalooza would have resembled Festivus, and we would have had the Airing of Grievances...

Of course, my mothering skills were showcased at their absolute finest as usual. Sean was a tad late to the party as he had to take Stevie to the ER for a broken wrist. 3rd time he's broken this wrist. Mrs. K was sure to point out that she makes her kids wear helmets and wrist guards. Sean said he was, and a condom too, but she didn't see the humor.

Matty fell off the roof of the Little Tikes truck and hit his head on the ground. Amy fell into the bushes and got a black eye. Jingle ran away. Twice. And then after all of this daily chaos, the guy from the corner who was sitting on my chair in my driveway drinking my beer said to me holding Jessica, "So, is this your first?"

A freaking bubble.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


I'm pausing briefly in my preparations to update, because this is just too funny not to...

Yesterday, my husband decided that after living here for over 7 years, we don't know the neighbors well enough. The only contact we have (with the exception of the daily assaults from Mrs. K.) is when they call the police on us or complain that a ball flew into their bushes. Or when we have the Stanley Cup full of champagne on our front lawn at 3 a.m. When the St. Pete Times article came out a few months back and my secret identity was revealed, I think they were a bit surprised, but somehow I don't think it helped our cause. So, in the spirit of neighborliness, Sean decided to hold driveway Happy Hour--"Neighbopalooza"--and invite everyone on the block.

I can't even imagine what this is going to be like.


I told him I would only make pigs in a blanket if I could write a column about this later.

Friday, May 25, 2007

1st Day of Summer

Well, I won half of the battle anyway.

I brought the camera to the last day of school ceremonies this morning. Just without adequate batteries.

So use your imagination and picture my eldest official 6th grade son wearing the last semi-clean uniform shirt with the paint stains from Christmas, and since we couldn't find his uniform pants this morning--a pair of non-regulation khaki's 3 sizes too small and too short. His brother was the one with the rock star hair, shirt untucked with a trail of starry eyed new second grade girls following behind him.

Aren't they cute?

In other news...I guess there isn't much other news. Except I am looking forward to this long weekend of nothing. I did make a rare book store run earlier today and loaded up on all of those heart-wrenching, gut-tearing foreign novels I love so much. I can now say, "Her kiss was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering" in 7 different languages. (Bonus prize if you can tell me what book that came from, and no fair if you Google it.)

So I am cracking a spine of a book and a bottle or 7,!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

No words

Okay, yesterday pretty much sucked. It started out fine, but later in the afternoon it disintegrated in a matter of minutes.

Amy opened the front door and the dog got out. That's a typical occurrence that drives me crazy daily, so it isn't unprecedented. We caught her rather quickly this time, and I took Amy and Jingle back into the house. Matty went to go tell his brother of the capture. About 10 minutes later, I change a load of laundry, and notice that Amy isn't around. Then I notice that the boys are not back yet. So I tear through the house calling Amy's name, searching every room. Nothing. I run outside. I'm calling all of them and still nothing. I find the boys at the pond's edge and my heart sinks and my stomach lunges and still no Amy.

At this moment, Mrs. Kravitz, my neighbor that can make an intolerable moment even more insufferable, comes up and tries to "help." I send her and the boys back to the house to search there because I know Amy will never respond to her outside if she calls.

The seconds crawl by as I run down the street and through back yards calling her name. Other neighbors peer outside. Sweat is pouring down my back and I realize I am shaking.

Finally, Stevie comes from the house and announces he's found her, curled up under a blanket in the baby's crib.

And as I stood there holding on to her for dear life, a thousand fears pulsing through my body, Did she not hear me when I called her? Is her hearing not working right anymore? How will I know? What if she had made it outside?, Mrs. Kravitz said, "You've got so many kids now, you can't keep track of them all."

If I hadn't been holding my precious daughter, I would have punched her in the face.

As a mother, she should have just understood intuitively that that is the absolute lowest a mother can feel. If she was trying to be funny--which I have never known her to do--comic relief at that moment of sheer panic is just plain cruel.

And supplying the 1001st fear is even crueler.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Rambling Sunday nonsense

I should probably make a personal rule not to blog while under the influence, but then I would probably never blog...Besides, it would go against my one woman campaign to bring drinking housewives back in vogue. (If Sean leaves a McPudding legacy, then this can be mine.)

That said, what a weekend, my dear, obscure friends. I am approaching that 6 week mark when the the world is supposed to suddenly right itself again, and I just spent 2 days testing the theory.

I had some big plans to complete about 30 home projects in various states of completion. That albatross of a back bathroom needed to be sanded, painted and reassembled; and our yard looks like that pollution scene from the old PSA commercial from the 70's where the Indian on the horse begins to weep. Tonto is parked at my mailbox.

Anyway, in between all of this, there is the usual feeding, changing, bathing, entertaining and caring for the kids, which takes up more time than I ever allot. But last night I broke away for a girl's night out. We went out to dinner to a restaurant at the beach, and if you think that 14 Catholic school Moms talked about anything wholesome and decent, well, you must have been drinking as much as we were. A sample of the evening's topics:

1) How I found out my best childhood friend was a lesbian.

2) Who are swingers in the neighborhood--categories for old swingers and young ones.

3) Who needs therapy for ironing their pillowcases. (And you do, btw.)

4) Where are the most exotic places you've lost your children?

5) Why phen-phen should have never been removed from the market.

The rest is just too explicit to reveal in this blog.

Sunday rolled around, and we started off so productively...Sean sanded that bathroom so that it was as smooth as Jessie's bottom and cleaned the Lanai as I worked on the front yard. I even went to the gym for the first time in a year and reacquainted myself with the treadmill. It missed me.

I stopped at the grocery store on the way home to pick up dinner fixings and a bottle of wine, and the cashier said this:

Cashier: Can I see some I.D. for the wine, please?

Me: What language are you speaking?

Cashier: English. May I see some I.D. please?

Me: Of course!!! Let me find it...(Searching madly through my purse, hoping she won't change her mind for about 20 minutes under Target receipts, bubblegum wrappers, hair ties and lipstick tubes.)

I thrust that license at her so proudly, and then almost kissed her on the mouth. But instead, I ran home and we drank that bottle of wine in the hot tub for the next 6.5 hours and I actually got a sunburn in a non-maternity bathing suit where the remainder of the incision glue must have come off by now, and I swear that I almost felt human again, singular in body, mind and liver; a perfect way to celebrate my 6 week milestone.

Friday, May 18, 2007

One more for the evidence file of bad motherhood

Dudes, I'm beat.

I've spent the entire week playing catch up, and now it's caught up to me.

Sean's been out of town, and that's always an exhausting circumstance, but I'm just not able to rebound like I used to. But it's finally Friday--thank God--and at least I don't have to make a lunch at 6 am tomorrow morning...

So far Amy has done well with her new sister. She likes her well enough--as much as a 3 year old can like a sleeping, sometimes crying blob--and I was worried that her speech would regress once she was born. That has NOT happened, which is a very good thing, but last night she showed a different sort of protest/regression.

I was changing Jess' diaper on the changing table, and Amy decided she was next. That's fine, I thought, no harm in hoisting this enormous child onto the too small changing pad and making a fuss over her. I took her diaper and tried to put it on, but that wasn't good enough. Instead of her size 6, she wanted the newborn swaddler which seriously can only fit her thigh. No matter how many times I reasoned, demonstrated, refused, and tried anyway, she insisted through her tantrum that that diaper was going on.

I'm just too tired to fight, so I duct-taped it on her.

And you know what? It actually worked.

Score one for the exhausted woman who drove the kids to school in her pajamas today.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Live tomfoolery

In my never-ending pursuit to make a complete fool of myself, I've decided to do so in yet another medium.

Video blogging.

Yep, I vlog now.

Why, Trace? Why??

Actually, I've been experimenting with it for about a month now, but today I finally got properly inspired after my nephew made the astute observation at dinner last night with the dogs barking, kids talking, boys wrestling, phone ringing, baby crying, and me drinking, "This house is so loud."

Yep. It is. Life is loud. Welcome to mine.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Diva math

We just spent 4 grand on Marco Island so I could make $20 in book sales.

But the weekend was a success otherwise. I did sell out of books and we had a great time chilling on the beach for Mother's Day. Here are a couple of examples of fun:

The kids in the pool

The boys on a jet ski

The limo ride to the signing (quite a surprise, I might add)

The signing

What Jessie did through her first weekend at the beach

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mother's Day

Scrambling trying to get ready for the long book signing/birthday/Mother's Day weekend in Naples now...Oh my Lord are my days of packing light long over.

But before I go, I need you to read this.

I don't really ever cross posts between my column and blog too often. It perhaps seems silly, or perhaps you haven't even noticed there is a difference between the two, but I have this strange need to keep them separate. Which is stupid and pointless because neither one is anonymous--it's sort of like this blog is the crazy friend you keep from inviting to parties because although she's way more fun, she would upset the balance of your normal crowd. Or something like that.

Anyway, sometimes writing a column is merely me transcribing the thoughts of the day that I have already written in my head. (Perhaps that explains the quality of many of them.) And then other times, much less frequently, I feel as though there is something that I need to say, but don't quite know what it is--like when you walk into a room and forget why you came in there to begin with.

Tired metaphors aside, this column came about because through no purposeful planning, just accidental coincidence, my Mom's Happy Place beach is in Naples--to the exact one we are spending our weekend. The irony was not lost on me (or Sean) when the original book signing event was proposed months ago, but with everything going on, I guess I didn't let it rise to the surface of understanding.

Until this week when I walked into that room and remembered what it was I wanted to say.

Happy Mother's Day everyone.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Splish Splash

Well, I got the o-kzay to go swimming from the doctor yesterday--the incision still looks like someone brushed rubber cement across it, but it is fine to get wet now. Which is pretty good news since we're spending this long Mother's Day weekend at the beach down on Marco Island after my book signing in Naples on Saturday. It is not even funny how badly I can't wait to get away to a luxury hotel. With a spa. And room service. And a housekeeping staff.

And another diva in the house also got her o-kzay to submerge, so here is Miss Jess after her first bath and 1 month birthday.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A self observation

My cynical nature, which makes me a fun cocktail party guest also makes me a less than ideal Stepford mom.

Just sayin'.

Normal--diva style

On the eve of my one month post-birth check-up, I feel like I'm beginning to approach my version of normal. While many things continue to elude me like submerging in water or making it to dinner not looking like Quasimodo, I have started to re-engage into society.

Friday night we went out to a rather ordinary event, but it was special evening nonetheless as it was the first time in many moons that I've crossed county lines. And although still accompanied by le infant diva, we managed to make it to dinner afterward to a place with cloth napkins and a full bar.

And on Saturday, I cooked. I spent all day in my element over the stove element preparing a thank you feast for just some of the many people who helped ensure Jessica's healthy entry into the world with all of their help over the last several months. It was a wonderful evening, truly.

Yesterday I was pretty much wiped out from the previous evenings, but I didn't strangle the cashier at the grocery store for remarking on how tired I look, so that's progress.

And today's normal agenda will include laundry (of course) and a new gym class for Amy. And while I can't check off reading (hello June book review deadline) and running from the back-to-normal list yet, I did think seriously about doing both, so it almost counts.

Friday, May 04, 2007


No sleep last night. Nada. Nill. None. And I was hoping to have a little bit of energy today to not look so tired at the obligatory social function tonight, but mainly so I could walk up to the open bar on my own accord. Maybe I'll just bring a really long straw...

Happy Cinco de Mayo all.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Where is the label maker?

Back to a kinder and gentler-speaking diva...

Mainly because I've reached a new level of exhaustion. For a variety of reasons--some obvious, some just plain insane--we are in an unprecedented period of re-organization in casa de la diva. Making room for Oscar and the slew of guests that accompanied her began this season, but soon we will be joined by another. Namely in the 6 foot+ college student nephew who is interning with a Tampa professional sports team this summer, and must need to have more schooling if he thinks this house will be anything close to a fun time with an infant, toddler, and bunking with 2 boys that are going to "sweet chin music" him (that's a real wrestling move, btw) every chance they get. Not to mention a postpartum insane woman who will be sending him out for milk and diapers every two hours and saying things like, "D, can you see if Jingle took Amy's pig outside? No, not that pig, the little one. Not that one, either, the one that looks like a rat? But not the smiling rat, the one that looks like he has a head cold."

And so on...Although he will have to learn an entire new vocabulary of Amy-speak and Matty quirks, it will be nice having another set of hands and sweet company around here for a couple of months.

And to add to all of this, new furniture is being delivered today for the boys, and so many things in the cosmos had to shift to make room for such a major endeavor. I can't even count the number of petrified pop-tarts I cleaned out from under the bed yesterday. And I could open a pop-culture museum with the sheer number of McDonald's Happy Meal toys dating back to the early 80's in the toy box.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I apologize ahead of time

Warning: I am feeling feisty tonight. Maybe it's because after months confined to this house, today I finally resumed my Tuesday Nights Out. Although abbreviated and accompanied by a 3 week old to the grocery store, it was still more activity and freedom I've had since Christmas. Maybe it's because I'm 37 now. Maybe because for the first time in ages, I got to choose the car media, and instead of one of Amy's speech DVD's, (not that I don't love to hear her repeat, "le cow" when the language gets mysteriously changed) I chose satellite radio so I could sing at the top of my lungs (badly) "Cracklin' Rosie," The Fray, and Nancy Sinatra within a span of seconds. Whatever the reason, I beg you to bear with me and my foul language, random musings and general saltiness.


Well, I am more than a little pissed. I have been looking forward to this hair appointment for weeks, and it got canceled. And the even worse part is that I have to wait another 10 days for another one. My hair is the longest it's ever been down to my ass and with these grey streaks running down either side, and I do not exaggerate when I say I look exactly like Lily Munster. Not Mortisha Addams, mind you. Lily Munster.

So feeling feisty and a little macabre, I went shopping for some clothes. I need something for Friday that meets the "tropical casual" label Floridians are so fond of using on their invitations while 3 weeks postpartum. And yes, I do mean to brag and I really don't care who knows it, but I fit into a single digit dress, beyotch.

Back at Publix, I was reminded of an idiotic post I made a few months back about not ingesting any other liquid besides water and milk. That plan is officially over, my friends. If it is not caffeinated or alcoholic, there is no room in my diet for it right now. Essentials, people.

So as I loaded the cart with Coke, coffee and beer, I had this conversation at least 17 times--4 in the produce aisle alone:

"Oh what an adorable baby! How old?"

"3 weeks."

"My, and look at all that hair!"

"Yes, she has eyes and ears, too." (I really never know how to respond to the whole hair observation thing.)

"Is she your first?"

"No, my fourth."

Audible gasp followed by long pause.

"I thought you looked tired."

What the f*** is that? These are complete strangers. How do they know my tired face from my coked up face? How do they know those bags under my eyes aren't from a recent WWE Diva match? How do they know it's not just bad mascara? Or bad lighting? Or from after the scrap I got into with the last idiot who said that. I mean, seriously, what the f***?

Okay, I feel better. I think I need to show this much verve in my new video blogging venture which I will share with you as soon as I show this much verve in my new video blogging venture.