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Dear Stephen Colbert (an homage and a plea):

9 Dec

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Dear Stephen Colbert or shall I call you “Dreamcrusher™?”

The Boy started watching your show about three years ago and since then he has spent every waking moment wishing away years of his life so that the day when he was old enough to attend a live taping of your show would arrive and he would not only score tickets and play his guitar for you, he would also meet Jack White and ultimately become legend among the 13-17 year-old crowd in Upstate, NY.  (Well, maybe not every waking moment.  There were those times where he went to school, played outside, slept, did chores, breathed oxygen, slept, did homework, ate food, slept and wrote songs.  And slept.)

Impossible?  Not for this kid who once overcame having no Monterey Jack cheese in the house by crafting his own grilled cheese using nothing but domestic Brie, pear slices and day old baguette.  The Boy is a warrior.

Now you may ask “what kind of parent encourages a kid to dream so big?” and to you I reply: “a really lazy and/or disengaged one.”  And in a follow-up question to you, Mr. Colbert: “what kind of grown man wears a white daredevil suit, for any reason, ever?”  (Answer: “Stephen Colbert.  Hell, I would too if it meant taking over for Letterman.  Well played, sir.”)

Nation, (note: if there were a “camera two” of writing, here’s where I would turn and face it.  Sadly, all literature has to offer is the paragraph).

Nation, I’ve watched Mr. Colbert during some sweet, sweet eras of comedy when the jokes practically wrote themselves.  Shooting ducks in barrel, if you will.  Or, if you’re Dick Cheney, shooting anyone, anyone at all, in the face.  I also hung in there during some lean moments like when Mr. Colbert kept musician Michael Stipe on a shelf on the set of The Colbert Report.  I’m sure that Mr. Stipe was thankful for that shelf as rents in Manhattan are out of control and R.E.M. record sales aren’t what they used to be.  For what shelf space costs today you used to be able to get an entire bookcase worth.  I’m not saying that Stephen Colbert is without heart.  He’s just without a big heart.

And so I ask you and your heart, Stephen Colbert, to help make one of The Boy’s dreams come true. (All his other dreams involve Sofia Vergara and a diving board.)

Invite The Boy to appear on your new show.  He will play his guitar and tell jaunty tales of eleventh grade life (and also discuss how Elvis Costello often seems to sing in iambic pentameter so if you wish to invite Mr. Costello to appear at the same time, that’s fine).  He will help himself to all the swag and citrus fruit in the green room and make googly eyes at any female with a pulse.

Mr. Colbert, I’ve paid my dues.  I sat on my behind and watched your show for years.  I’m an American, damn it.  Sitting on our behinds and watching TV is one of the things we do best.  (See also “face-shooting,” and “cage-fighting.”)

You owe me.

You owe The Boy.  (Note: if I could raise one eyebrow, I would do that here.)

Don’t make me get out of my chair, Mr. Colbert.  (Because I won’t.)

But you can at least give The Boy some room on your couch.  (Assuming that your new show will even have a couch.  If it’s just people sitting around on shelves, talking, you may want to invite John Mellencamp as he’s small and somewhat dusty too.)

Imagine how a Colbert Bump could alter the destiny of a teenage boy and then do it anyway.  (He has so little to lose.  I’m his mom, I can say that.)

Mr. Colbert, won’t you help a boy, like The Boy?  Or even the actual Boy?

Do it.  Do it now while you are still popular.

#BumpTheBoy

or via email at: BumpTheBoy@gmail.com

(PS: if you need writers for you new show, try emailing BumpTheBoysMom@gmail.com.  Sounds weird but we all thought a spin-off from The Daily Show wouldn’t make it either.)

Best Wishes~

 

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Dear Spouse: before you met me I was a philosophy major.

5 Jun

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A lawnmower that runs for only 10 minutes (or until it catches fire) is actually the universe’s way of  encouraging you to: take small moments for yourself (and spend them with gaskets and sprockets and wrenches and such); to let go of the desire to “fix this once and for all” while knowing that there can be only one once and no other once but sometimes you might have a “one night only, manager’s special” kind of thing, and, also, to enjoy the spectacle that is life’s rich pageant.

That and I spent all the money we saved for a new lawnmower on downloads like R.E.M.’s 1986 album titled “Lifes Rich Pageant,” and some disco-era stuff by the Stones.

(Don’t be mad.)

STOMACH BUG DELAYS POST BY ACCLAIMED WRITER

17 Apr

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It’s not me.

It’s Spouse and Boy (and maybe the cat- they’re all so hairy).

As for me, I can sit at the kitchen table and discuss vomit and “The Exorcist” and all things projectile while eating a 12 cut slice of pizza.  (Side note: “All Things Projectile-” a new NPR show about rockets and drones and trebuchets and such?)

Also what is “12 cut” pizza anyway?  Do pizza makers not realize that if they take an average-sized pizza and roll over it twelve times they’ll end up with ribbons of pizza?  Conversely, if a shop makes a pizza large enough to cut even ten times they’ll end up making about one pizza per store and be out of business within a week.  Why must I fix all things linguistic?  (Take note, NPR.)

I’m talking to you upstate NY.

But not really.

I’m mostly wiping.  Counters and floors and handles and such.  It’s so exhausting; I can hardly find time to shop online for shoes.  (And dresses and scarves and hats and such.)

I was able to get out and buy a lottery ticket yesterday so there’s that.

Because nothing cures a stomach bug faster than 2.6 million dollars.

Except maybe a Twix bar.

Because life’s too short to not enjoy food when it’s moving in both directions.

You’re welcome.

The Gift of the Magi(c) Pants

9 Dec

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The Boy and I had just finished a rousing match of badminton (versus the colloquial version which is more a non-fingered hand-covering and not so much a sport) and after, I suggested that we go to the high school band concert to hear some tunes and visit the Friends of Music bake sale (it’s for a good cause.  Really.  I eat brownies for the children.)  He had no homework and television programming was dominated by football or some other non-badminton type sport.

Now I know that getting The Boy to return to school once his day is done is difficult.  He has spent entire weekends, in February, without a coat because he left it in his locker and refused to go back and get it.  He once came home from school without shoes.  Shoes.  How does a person (other than the folks at Surfrider Foundation.org) get through their day without shodding?  The world is a dirty, broken glass-infested place just waiting to cut someone.  Basically the world is like east L.A. without Los Lobos.

“When you’re done with work, you don’t go back to the office to hang out,” he says.  “Your time there is over.  You know, like if you had an office.  Or a job,” he continued.  “Why don’t you have a job?”

I stopped his blathering and made him empty the car from my warehouse shopping trip where, armed with a list and coupons, I was able to keep costs down by staying focused.  (Although I couldn’t pass up the acai berry concentrate- it heals everything and was on sale.  I have needed it forever yet never knew it existed.)

Likewise the sweatpants.  A total impulse, but necessary, purchase as the moment I saw them I was reminded that The Boy has yet to bring his gym clothes home since, oh, the first day of school.  (I should have bought the bulk Lysol that was also on sale.  The Boy is a dirty, germ-infested being just waiting to cough on someone.)

The Boy has never owned a pair of sweats.  Maybe because “sweat” is something he avoids (along with chores, socializing and any physical contact with his mother- a hug would kill him- but I digress).

Soft and shapeless, the pants transfixed The Boy from the moment he brought them inside.  “Mother,” he asked, “how was I not previously aware of the splendor and the glory of après-school pants?”  (He has never avoided hyperbole, however.)

Now, as nights reach their absolute longest and badminton games occur in short, but fierce, bursts (no net, no rules, no daylight, stop crying), sweat pants are what The Boy wears after school and for entire weekends at a time, all the time.  He rarely argues and even occasionally inquires about my life (which also has no net).  He sends off lovely emails to his teachers, plays his music at a reasonable volume and sometimes flosses.  It’s as if aliens, nice and polite aliens, take over while he nestles deep within the sweatpants.

Oh, he still litters his room with discarded Kind bar wrappers (which I also should have bought in bulk) and has yet to swap out his gym clothes, but for $13.99 I have a teen who is gentle and sweet (and so not mine).

Until the pants give out.

Perhaps the best preventative action is to not launder the pants too often.

And so we learn from the children.

Missing Cat

15 Nov

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Week One: disbelief.  “I can’t believe that we just opened a brand new 4lb. bag of prescription food.  Do you think it’s safe for humans?”

Week Two: denial.  “I did not just eat an entire Sara Lee pound cake.  Leave me alone, I’m grieving.”

Week Three: discredit.  “He was a good cat.  Not a great one.”

Week Four: acceptance.  “Possible names for a new pet include: Lou Reed, Carlos Danger or Juan Valdez.  I’m definitely leaning Latin here.  Also, maybe we can use the space where the litter box used to be for storage and train the next cat to go strictly outside.”

Four weeks + a day: he’s back and acting as if whatever we do for him will never be good enough.

I missed him.

Sure, you gain an hour, but at what cost?

7 Nov

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“And, really, what good is an hour when you have to come inside early because it’s dark out?” asked The Boy.  (Yes, he begins all his diatribes with “and” because he was raised in a very linguistically conscious environment where his mom started all her sentences with “yes.”  Even when she was going to say no.  Like, “yes, some families do go to Paris for Thanksgiving but we are not the Sarkozy’s.  We go to New Jersey.  Now get in the car.”)  As far as I’m concerned, The Boy doesn’t have to come inside at all seeing as how all he ever wants once he does come in is food and the internet.

Yet, I feel his angst because I know that these past few days have not been easy for him.  His mother (AKA: me, AKA: the driver, the yeller, the candlestick maker) in an attempt to maximize her bonus 60 minutes, tacked so many tiny extra chores onto the morning routine that we ended up leaving the house 3-5 minutes later than usual depending on whether you consulted the clock in the kitchen, the bedroom or the Master Atomic Clock at the US Naval Observatory in Washington D.C., which actually took a little while to find online so I may have lost some time proving that I was correct about the exact time (and, also, learning that there are 84 world time zones) but accuracy is important.  (Especially when I am the one who is right.  Everybody’s got time for that.  Everyone who is too young to drive themselves to school, that is.)

Before we knew it, my extra hour cost The Boy 15 minutes and the tardy count on his report card ticked ever so slightly higher (again) just because I needed to pick up wet towels off the floor or, at least, yell until the person who put the wet towels on the floor came over and picked them up.  Sue me.  Or, if you’re a Macaulay Culkin fan (and please say you’re not) emancipate yourself.  And take those stupid “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” DVD’s with you.  (Oh Joe Pesci, what were you thinking?)

Finally, you want to discuss loss of time?  Let’s talk about Sunday when The Boy spent hours and hours fiddling around with GarageBand and then made me listen to his new song starring The Boy on guitar and vocals, featuring The Boy on drums and bass with special guest appearance by The Boy on background vocals.  And triangle.  Yes, triangle.

Sure, I gained an hour, but right there was 4.5 minutes of my life that I can never get back.

Report Card Day

24 Oct

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If you can find any reason, at all, to celebrate Report Card Day, do it.

A “good sense of humor” comment from the Algebra teacher = happy dance around the kitchen.  (Never mind that statistics is, by far, the wittiest of all maths and that, in most instances, two trains leaving from the North and South will, at best, avoid collision or, at worst, successfully deliver all passengers to their Italian cruise ship.)

So you take that FM radio station GPA (89.2 on your dial) and parade through the house.  Because putting on socks and shoes and parading outside the house is for 90 and above GPAs.

“Coffee is for closers.” ~ from Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet.

Also I refuse to acknowledge that sock weather is here- my last pedicure still looks fabulous.

The Boy is, right now, at the peak of report card pride.  Call the grandparents, friends, aunts and uncles and wait for those $5 and $10 congratulatory cards to roll in because the next few report cards will be a series of rolling hills and valleys followed by the February slump topped off with an end-of-year gain due to improved weather and several teachers on the cusp of retirement.

Besides, a stellar report card is one of the few ways that a fifteen-year-old can make money without having to be driven (by me) somewhere.

But what is Report Card Day really?

When your spouse travels for work, (he says “too much,” I say “you think so?”) the report card is certainly a means for Spouse to track The Boy’s academic progress, and, sadly, a way for him to note some of the smaller elements that make up an education.  Things like attitude and citizenship and…tardiness.

Now, as a mother, I, along with scores of pediatricians, doctors, nutritionists, mental health practitioners and Oprah, have always maintained that sleep is essential for growth.  Sleep is where problem-solving and dreams occur.  It’s where the body can heal and mend and grow.

So Spouse, knowing that, I think that you and I can agree that while The Boy is doing great academically, where he really stands out, where his hard work and dedication shines is in the crazy amount of GROWTH (and healing and mending) he has demonstrated in just one marking period.

PS: we have an appointment with the attendance office on Monday.  Please be on time.

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