Tag Archives: family

Why I (Presently) Don’t Work Full Time

20 Sep

the capn

I wrote such a stellar resume and cover letter in response to a recent job listing that any prospective employer would feel foolish for even considering anyone else for this position.  And you know I mean it because I used lots of italics.

All active verbs and adjectives were prodded into action: I excel and complete things at both a high level and at a granular one.  I am not only an expert, I am also adroit, proficient and highly-skilled.  I use words like “proficient” and “adroit.”  I am a team player who enjoys working alone (especially if the uniforms are off the rack).  I am self-motivated yet capable of spacing out in front of a box of Cap’n Crunch while contemplating the contraction “Cap’n.”  I know what a contraction is, damn it, and I’m pretty certain that “Cap’n” is a fine one.

I am the greatest ________ who ever lived and I am willing to work for only a fraction of my worth.

So what’s stopping them from hiring me?  (PS: do I really want to work for a company who doesn’t have their uniforms tailored?)


Toner is what’s preventing me from fulfilling, nay, exceeding my potential by getting hired, being promoted (more than once) and taking over the company.  Toner.

Toner and The Boy.  (Which really does sound like a bad TV-cop show.)

The Boy, who, for who knows how long, has covered the walls of his room with downloaded pictures of Zooey Deschanel, Sophia Vergara and Tina Fey.  (I really should go in there occasionally.  If only to retrieve all the cutlery that he has also been stashing under the bed for who knows how long.)  It’s a teen version of “binders of women” on those walls- without the creepiness.

And I understand where he’s coming from: the shiny hair, the bangs, the curves and the general loveliness.  (Although he says that in Tina Fey’s case she represents smart and quick-witted women everywhere.)

It’s just that for as long as The Boy has been printing, he has also been putting empty toner cartridges in the place where full cartridges used to be.  And you know I’m mad because, again, italics.

(Side note: should you get an interview and decide that you no longer want the job, say, because the morning commute is eastbound and the early sun can damage fine skin, do what others have done: during the interview, drop random words into your answers then flee leaving the employers feeling, what I like to call, “dazzled and confused.”  Beginners will often start by referencing more popular words like “the Google,” “the Netflix” or “Sanford and the Son” while more seasoned interviewees know that the fun lies in making references that only your friends will understand.  Phrases like: “the Dufresnes study, as presented by Mr. Hedberg, puts forth that humans have limited patience.”  Or, “Robert Lee has been instrumental in introducing Asian philosophies to today’s workforce.”  The less they get, the more they will insist that the office cannot run without you.  That’s my theory.)

So, to answer your question, Spouse, The Boy is the reason I don’t have the perfect job today.  He used up all my toner and now I’ve lost all my mojo.

“Missing Her Mojo:” How one mother’s search for employment leads to an entire bedroom makeover.  (On Lifetime this Fall.)

Dear FA&S Reader

30 Jan

blog image eggplant sub

Dear FA&S Reader:

Thank you for stopping by our table at the Pizza King to say hello.  Even nicer was how you acknowledged Spouse and Boy and apologized for interrupting our dinner.  But the best part, by far, was when you quoted my work by reading some of your favorite passages aloud.  Loud.  With raw emotion (and volume):

“Next thing you know, your mom…wants to congratulate you on your pregnancy and find out why you couldn’t call to tell her- that she had to find out while on-line at the Food King is a sin.”  (March 14, 2012)

“If you give your mom a bagel, she’ll want a gated community to go with it.”  (May 10, 2012)

“I had the best childhood ever.  No complaints.”  (I never wrote that.)

And while during dinner at the Pizza King was not the first time I have been approached by a “fan,” it was the first time I have ever spoken to one while scarfing down an eggplant parm sub: it was messy.  In my defense, I was hungry and no one invited you over anyway.

Dear FA&S Reader, what I mean to say is this:

You have my home number, my cell number and my email address.

If I am at the Pizza King I really am unable to take your calls.

The Boy is fine, Spouse is fine, we’re all fine.  Fine, fine, fine.

I’ll call you tomorrow, alright?

Oh- and thanks for reading, Ma.  It’s your job.

Artistic License

28 Mar

Here’s the truth behind last week’s post titled “When this whole world starts getting me down”:

I did clean the window screens and windows and,

I did freak out over being the only person who gets anything done around here because I am the only person who gets anything done anywhere.  Also, yes to drama queen.

After that I was forced to utilize my artistic license in order to better cope with reality:

I was stranded on the roof while husband was at the hardware store but eventually he came home.  With a cactus plant.  “It was only $3!” he said.

I did not witness a gentle rain storm wash through the valley.  Instead, I feared for my life as a storm rolled over me and, in an over the top attempt at survival, I flattened myself across a span of roof so that my body was below lightning rod level.  I still have shingle grit embedded on my face.

Apparently I don’t truly know any Drifters songs because I kept confusing “Under the Boardwalk” with “Up on the Roof.”  It’s just that “oh when the sun beats down and burns the tar up on the roof and your shoes get so hot you wish your tired feet were fire-proof” sounds way more like someone up on a roof than someone “down by the sea.”  And what’s with all the prepositions in Drifters song titles?  No wonder I was confused.

My arms remain the weakest part of my body but I vowed to begin strength training- if I survived.

My neighbor did come over and help me down once I screamed over the  seemingly constant yipping of her dogs.  And even then she didn’t come right away.

Also she did not bring lemonade.

Oh, she brought a beverage alright.  Not immediately because she was watching Dr. Oz who recommends drinking the juice of three lemons and three limes for an instant energy boost.  So she ran three lemons and three limes through her juicer and gave me that to drink.  I tossed it back and felt nothing but the enamel on my teeth erode.

Shortly thereafter the school bus pulled up and deposited the boy.  When I told him of my misadventure and let him know that his bedroom window was where I got locked out, he replied that “he never asked for air anyway.”

It’s good that I have an artistic license and not a carry permit (like Mr. Nugent).

Why I eschew fame

14 Mar

Elle and I walk on Thursdays.  Elle is also a recovering actress so walking off memories of bad theater, monologues written by undiscovered playwrights and competing with Maggie Gyllenhaal for a role is our form of AA (Actor’s Anonymous) minus the opening prayer and without actually being a friend of Bill W.  We’d both rather be friends of Martin S. or Quentin T.

As we powered our way over the hills, we talked about how our decision not to become famous has worked out better for us and our families.  We were having this discussion while trying to remember how long our  unemployment benefit extensions last.

“Imagine,” one of us said, “that you had Chinese for dinner last night and, without thinking, woke up and took the dog out.”

“Next thing you know, your mom is calling because she saw a picture of you (walking the dog) in the tabloids and she wants to congratulate you on your pregnancy and find out why you couldn’t call to tell her- that she had to find out while on line at the Food King is a sin.”

Reason #1: famous people cannot opt for the Kung Pao bloat whenever they are too tired to make dinner.

Reason #2: famous people probably have to call their mothers more than regular people.  Or pay someone to do mom’s grocery shopping.

Finally, mom asks when you had your eggs frozen because you never even mentioned it and also to remind you that “after a certain age, everyone’s ass looks like Epcot.  Even Drew Barrymore has dimples.  Of course, her’s are on her face, but still.”

Reason #3: even Epcot is famous.

I think I can

1 Mar

This has been the boy’s practice for a while: he brings graded papers home from school, hands over a giant tattered pile of them and says: “I think I did bad on my math test” to which I reply: “you think, or you know?”

Because I’ll tell you what I know: Mom does not tolerate imprecise language.

Besides, Bambi eyes, dulcet tones and disorganization garner only so much sympathy before I become mad and frustrated at his ability to stall and his inability to be direct.

Haven’t I raised him steadfastly enough to know that if there’s a problem, I’m going to out it and address it?  For example, if he gets off the school bus with clouds of stink billowing around him and the little kindergarteners are straining their heads out the windows gasping for air, I’m going to say: “you reek, go put on deodorant,” and if he snarls back at me (he will) I will add: “and drink a glass of water too, you’re acting like a dehydrated idiot.”  Problem recognized and resolved.

So if you failed the math test, tell me you failed the math test.  I will ask (stupidly) why you failed the math test and you will answer (sincerely) that you failed the math test because you didn’t get enough right to pass the math test.

Then we can settle down and do all the proper, nurturing parenting stuff and maybe have a cookie (if one us made cookies.  Hint: not me.)

So when you came home on Monday and mentioned the math test, I should have looked at your paper because your grade was given as a fraction.  You hate fractions.  You struggled through an entire unit on fractions, made everyone around you hate fractions and there was no way you were going to decipher a fraction just to learn that you should hate algebraic equations now too.

You were completely within your rights when you gave me the Bambi eyes.

Son, I hope that one of your English vocab words for this week is “chagrin.”  I can help with that.

P.S. 15/20=75.

Over the River and through the Wood

22 Feb

To grandmother’s house we go.  Why?  Because my husband and I think it’s important for our son to maintain a relationship with his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  And it is.  It’s so vital, in fact, my husband says he will think all about it while the boy and I actually drive it- 500 miles in two days.  He’s a real trouper, that spouse.

In some ways it’s good that the spouse stayed home.  Like when I stress ate, for example.  With my family around, not only is stress eating a given, it is fully supported and encouraged via a cornucopia of day-old baked goods sitting on the counter waiting to sustain a person until dinner at 3:45PM.

So when I stress ate the cheese Danish, the apple pie and the sprinkles- no ice cream- just sprinkles, the last thing I needed was my husband “supporting” me with words like: “you don’t even eat candy on Halloween and now you’re in the corner scarfing down Skittles like they’re a bowl of flax seeds,” or “I’m certain that your folks have pictures of our kid somewhere in the house- did you check the closet?  That’s a pretty big closet, maybe they decided to decorate it.  With pictures.  Of our son.  Now let’s put those cream puffs away, shall we?”

His support can be so cloying, I just want a milkshake.

Also without the spouse, traveling was pleasant for most of the trip.  Almost the entire ride went well until late yesterday when, with 15 miles to go, the boy turned on me.  Tired, hungry, stiff and bored, he declared that: he was tired of being in the car, our entire iTunes playlist needed to be chucked, school was a waste of time, I was a mouth breather and he missed Dad.

Well, I missed the spouse too.  Not because I needed someone to turn down the music, defend my large adenoids, note which artists were inappropriate (Beastie Boys, Eminem) or tell me that I drive too fast, too slow, too crazily or too vengefully.  Nor because I missed having someone slam on a brake pedal that doesn’t exist, or claw at the air like the brother who lives in Verdi’s “Il Trovatore.”

I missed the spouse because, in an attempt to make me feel better about my family, I know that he would say that the three pounds I gained (in two days) ended up in all the right places.  And I needed to hear it.  He’s a real trouper, that spouse.

5 scenes from my life that David Lynch can use in a future project

7 Feb


When our Dad got really mad he would write words in the air.  Using proper punctuation, indentations and grammar, he crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s and the madder he got, the more swirly and expansive his cursive became.  When he was totally furious, his writing looked like the Preamble to the Constitution.  That’s when we hid.

When the nuns from my brother’s Catholic school called to tell my parents that he stole the “Body of Christ” wafers from the altar, my Dad sky-wrote a freaking novel.  Side note: who steals wafers that taste like neither body nor Christ?


My fifth grade teacher (Ms. Shannon) was young, skinny and pale.  I sat by her desk just so I could look at the tiny translucent blue veins on her eyelids.   Every day, from math through social studies, Ms. Shannon perched on her desk and, holding each Dorito by an edge, methodically licked off the zesty, red coating before throwing the chip into the trash.  By the end of the day, her wastebasket was full of naked tortilla chips.  I didn’t learn a thing that year.


My Aunt often begins a conversation while the television is on and the volume is off.  If she doesn’t like your answer she turns the volume up.  It’s like having the Neilson ratings right in the house and it’s an excellent way to ascertain your relative’s political leanings.  Say “I think my son’s friend is gay,” and the volume shoots to 14.  “My son’s friend is a girl,” 15.  Mention Obama and the TV shuts down as she whisks you to the garage to tell you how “it’s not nice to say things like that at a family party.”  She may even throw in a “your Uncle is old and we have no idea what this kind of talk can do to him” for effect.


I went to elementary school with Athena Kukalakis.  She had a trick knee and a sister named Jane.  Thanks to Athena Kukalakis, I learned that a randomly exploding joint is a get- out- of- class- free card, particularly when accompanied by a doctor’s note.  I also learned that naming your first kid after the Greek Goddess of Wisdom can create hostility between siblings; Athena and Jane often had fistfights right on the playground: I call it the Lesser Baldwin/Lesser Mandrell Syndrome.


We’ve all had: a neighbor who no one knew what he did for a living, a place where bad children were left, at night, with no food or water and a kid who rode his bike (without permission) at the front of town parades and never got in trouble.  To that end, I offer: Nutsy Kurkle, Draeger Woods and Billy Bike*.

* I know that Billy Bike sounds more Adam Sandler than David Lynch.  But you can’t change history.  (You can, however, use it in your blog.)

Happy Thanksgiving?

23 Nov

Last time I traveled and did the whole extended family Thanksgiving thing, I was accused of delaying dessert to get attention.

If you know my brother, you know that this harebrained idea is not a stretch for him.

It’s because I chew slowly- I always have.  Perfect strangers have leaned across restaurant tables to commend me on my rumination techniques (Key West, April, 2010.  These same strangers also said that my son was amazing because he had a conversation with his parents over dinner instead of just sitting there and rolling his eyes.  P.S. The strangers were aware of our conversation only because we had just flown in and the boy’s ears were clogged so he spent the entire meal YELLING… no one was spared, not even the strangers.  Which is why I consider them to be perfect.

Possessing only one stomach means that, unlike cows, I am unable to digest grass.  I do believe, however, that if cows were limited to one stomach, they would be chagrined at their ability to convert burritos to energy compared to me.

My brother, however, views my chewing as yet another attempt by his former over the top, drama- loving teenage sister at controlling the destiny of our entire family.  Note: yes, I once threw myself on my teenage bed and sobbed at the unfairness of life, the beauty of the sun, the pain of a breakup and my curfew.  Okay, more than once.  But, really, the issue was my destiny and no one else’s.  Besides, who’s the one who spent months traveling around with the Grateful Dead causing our parents to harass the remaining kids to “get good grades and please, for crying out loud, STAY in school where we can find you.  We have enough to worry about with your brother eating grilled cheese sandwiches from parking lots.”  If anyone was guilty of attention-seeking, it was him.

In case he hasn’t noticed, we’re grown ups now.  And I don’t care if my brother has dessert, sets fire to dessert or skips dessert completely- truthfully, it wouldn’t kill him to miss a dessert (or seven).

And so I will not travel on Thursday.  I will not disrupt my brother’s eating schedule/football viewing.  I will, instead, finish my meal as I have always done, just as the guys begin to eat what are now considered “leftovers” while dirtying another set of clean dishes to eat more of the foods that they just finished eating.

I’ll be upstairs crying over the dryness of dishpan hands, the unfair distribution of metabolic qualities and the beauty of it all.

Actual length of our discussion: 59 minutes

11 Nov

When we recently set the clocks to standard time, my husband accused me of being “An Hour Squanderer” because I took a perfectly good hour- an hour that we could have spent planting garlic, stacking wood or making the love (Sure.  I would have gone for making the love but I stopped listening before he got to “garlic”) and, instead, wasted it by:

sleeping: 36 minutes

talking on the phone: 12 minutes

reading a WSJ article about the new Tom Waits CD (an even more insulting waste of time because “Tom Waits hasn’t been interesting in 20 years”): 10 minutes

enjoying a Reese’s peanut butter cup: 1 minute


feeling bad about it (it was early.  In my defense, it felt like 9:30AM): 1 minute.

It’s all that Halloween candy lying around.  After it sits on the counter for a while, it begins to take on the role of fruit bowl and one feels virtuous in selecting a piece (or seven).

I counter spouse’s assertion and contend that I am a “Time Warrior” due to my ability to recognize time wasters and circumvent them.

Like just there- in the previous paragraph.  I could have used way more words to describe how having a 13-year-old who dawdles then hurries when getting ready for school in the morning ultimately takes longer which is why I must yell a full 5 minutes before we have to leave (for a full 5 minutes), or how being married to a guy who insists on arriving early for everything- not just concerts- but flights, dentist appointments and surgery too, ends up wasting time because we inevitably sit in some nondescript holding tank where I am forced to sigh and mutter- a lot.  And fidget.  Captain Punctual’s rigidity often results in my having to fidget as if I will never, ever be comfortable again all because I could have been home pairing socks instead of sitting here.  (Mind you, I don’t pair socks.  We go by thickness in our house.  But still.)

So I saved 157 words (see above) and said what needed to be said and I was succinct: “this sucks.”  Two words.  A time saver.  Brought to you by “The Time Warrior.”

P.S.: You’re welcome.

Does this sound right to you?

17 Sep

I have always believed that my childhood was average.

In the summer we had corn for dinner.  Boiled and dotted with margarine, corn on the cob.  As much as you wanted and nothing else.

Also watermelon.  Cubed, seeded and chilled.  After a dusty day of playing, a dinner of ice cold water melon was not as strange as it sounds.  As much as you wanted and nothing else.  Although it is harder to fill up on watermelon than it is corn.

One of us kids had to hit the side of the television to make the picture work.  Eventually we would argue about whose turn it was to get up and hit the TV and then mom would yell and send us all to our rooms where we did not have our own TVs- some of us didn’t have our own rooms either.

We played with coal.  Pieces that, in my mom’s opinion, had a certain something that deemed them too special for the furnace.  Exceptional pieces stayed on the shelf; those were the pieces we weren’t allowed to touch- the “show towels” of coal if you will.    FYI: coal is really sharp.

Before a visit from our grandparents we had to clean the house like crazy and then disappear.  You could tell they were visiting though, because mom was frazzled and dad was really, really quiet.  Grandma kept wanting to run on up to JCPenney and grandpa spat tobacco juice into the coffee can he always carried.

Sounds right to me.

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