Archive for the ‘
Moving to Los Angeles ’ Category
Monday, November 19th, 2012
Okay, I have said before that I’m terrified of spiders. I’m especially terrified of my children getting bit by one. We live in the hills in Los Angeles. We are with the wild. We caught a possum. We had roof rats. And there are spiders everywhere.
When we first moved out here, I asked exterminators to come to our house. Phil intercepted them. Here’s an excerpt.
“Um, why the f—k is Pest Control here? They said you booked them to spray for black widows. I told them to leave. Call me.”
I happened to be 7-months pregnant so perhaps I was a tad
Fast forward to now. As in, last night. Phil was outside grilling. Fia was playing near him.
“Hey honey,” he yells. “I don’t want to freak you out, but I want to show you something.”
Keep in mind, I’m not pregnant. Which means I’m my normal incredibly levelheaded and stable self. BUT I DON’T WANT TO LIVE WITH SPIDERS.
I walk outside holding Emmett.
He points to a drain pipe about 6-inches from where Fia had been sitting.
“That’s what a black widow looks like,” he says calmly, and points to one with that telltale red hourglass on its belly.
Shockingly, I didn’t freak the f-ck out. Maybe because he shot me a look, like, not in front of the kids, like I did during a recent Fia freakout.
“Okay,” I said, trying to remain calm. “What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to kill it, but I wanted you to see what it looked like so we are aware of them.”
Really, just aware? I’m ready to bomb our place with a mix of comet, bleach and ammonia.
I walk into the kitchen with both kids and pour a glass of wine.
He comes in (post-killing) and tells me not to make a big deal about it in front of Fia.
“I don’t want her to be scared of spiders,” he says. Fair enough. (Lord knows, we’re both pissed at what her favorite TV show has made her frightened of…)
We eat dinner, put the kids to bed, and I begin Googling. Okay, I did come across a website that makes me think it could have been a brown widow. And they are not as venomous as their black cousins. Though it could have been the smaller brown female, which is still considered a black widow and can be deadly though it is rare for someone to die from the bite. Confused? Start Googling.
Nevertheless, we live in a wooded area, we have small children…should we exterminate? I spoke calmly and rationally with Phil about it. We made no decision on what to do.
This morning over coffee and Sesame Street, Phil says, “Maybe we should exterminate. Just to be on the safe side.”
Rather than smirking, I actually deliberated. I happen to be taking the kids out of town for a few days.
“We could do it while you and the kids are away.”
I really hate the idea of toxins all over my yard. I also hate the idea of killing a bunch of harmless insects. I imagine that Doctor Death (i.e.: Dewey Pest Control) has to douse everything. But a spider bite can be bad. I’ve had friends go to the ER because of them. My own mother almost died from a brown recluse bite. Okay, no one I know has actually died from one, but I have reason to be afraid, right? And reason to be fearful for my kids, correct? I’ve done some research and there really isn’t a non-toxic way to do exterminate. They may claim their way is, but it’s not. There are poisons and chemicals involved. If I could sprinkle some magical salt all over my yard or something, believe me, I would.
By the end of the day, I had called my dude Angel. He dealt with our roof rats. And possum. He’s coming over to deal with the spiders. I’ll have to start calling him my Angel of Death. Probably not the first time he’s been called that in his job.
And by the way, I’m not even putting a picture of a spider on this post because I don’t want to have to look at it. That’s how stupid my fear is. So Dr. Death and the cockroaches will have to do.
Picture of exterminator via Shutterstock
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Moving Mid Pregnancy, Moving to Los Angeles | Tags: black widow, brown recluse, brown widow, freak out, irrational fear, pest control, pregnancy, pregnant, scared of spiders, Sesame Street, spider, Super Why
Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
We all know New York is struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. All five boroughs. New Jersey too. But we also all know what a resilient city it is. One only has to remember September 11th.
My niece Rachel visited us when we lived in Brooklyn. During her senior year of high school, she wrote this poem. I was just so impressed by her insight and perception. She was only 14 years old when she came, but the memory held on so vividly.
She is now a freshman in college, studying journalism. I’ve been saving this poem for the right time to post. Figured now is it. Just like Sinatra says, “Come on, Come through, New York, New York, New York.”
The Sole of New York, New York
By Rachel Johnston
The sun shines above the smog,
illuminating life, language, and love
for this city’s bright eyes.
New shoes become old and worn here
within a mere morning of travel.
They’re sore, bruised, dirty,
but singing a Sinatra tune.
They smile as they conquer
miles of concrete, of storefronts,
of Main Street, of Wall Street.
They look to the sky.
Feed us, they say.
They stumble down stairs
that reveal a dark underworld.
Sparks, rats, bustling bodies,
the homeless and the senseless.
They stumble up stairs
that break through to daylight.
Toes scuffed and laces soggy,
the shoes smile still
just now with broken teeth.
This time, they peer down
at tiny taxis and tacky tourists.
They are not afraid of heights;
they are indestructible, unstoppable.
They are on top of the world.
These soles are experienced,
enlightened, musically inclined,
bold, logical, beautiful, free,
native to city life.
Photo of NYC Skyline via Shutterstock
Categories: A Fi Grows in Brooklyn, Fearless Feisty Mama, Moving to Los Angeles | Tags: 9/11, bronx, Brooklyn, hurricane, Hurricane Sandy, New York, poem, queens, resilient, September 11, September 11th, staten island
Thursday, September 20th, 2012
I often joke that I’m the busiest unemployed person I know. Between a 2 1/2 year old, an 8-month old, and my pretend career, I have zero time. And I have a full-time nanny (Cleo) and a cleaning lady.
So it came as a huge surprise to me that a new study shows that working moms spend a whopping 3 1/2 hours less on their kids’ meals and exercise regimes than stay-at home-moms (SAHM).
First of all, that’s it? I would think it would be much more, considering that I can barely find time to work out or put a proper dinner on the table. Cleo helps us with meals and between all of us, my husband included, we manage. (The study also said husbands don’t pick up the slack. Mine does in many ways, though meals are expected to come from me. And I do the best I can.)
Sidenote: Phil did ask one day why Fia was eating so many chicken nuggets:
Me: “Because lately I haven’t had the have time to make good meals.”
Him: “We can’t become those people who only feed her one type of food.”
Me: “Then help me come up with a menu for the week for all of us.”
Him: (Shrug shoulders. Subject dropped.)
Me: (Looked at a cookbook–Ellie Krieger–that night and came up with meal plan.)
Him: (Meetings at night the rest of the week.)
Me: (Didn’t waste time making a meal for myself. Fia and I just winged it, which probably included chicken nuggets for both of us.)
Conclusion: Neither of us became obese.
I bring up obesity because the study actually states that the lack of parental involvement in a child’s diet is linked to obesity, regardless of socio-economic status. Huh?
This makes no sense. It has been reported time and time again that obesity in children is directly linked to socio-economic factors. The poorer people in this country have children with higher obesity rates. Doesn’t mean we all can’t stand to get fit and healthy, but the generalization towards working moms just irks me. First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative is all about changing our lifestyle through education. We need to educate everyone: Caregivers, schools, parents, etc., on proper nutrition and exercise. An excerpt from the First Lady’s site states:
The threat of childhood obesity to the health of our children and the health of our nation has never been greater. Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled. Today, almost one in every three children in our nation is obese or overweight. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese.
To now link this obesity issue to working moms is preposterous, in my opinion. As if us moms don’t have pressure enough already. Now working moms have to feel guilty for making their children fat? Please. Everyone read my post on The Failure Hour. I now have another reason to celebrate my inadequacy as a parent.
Fia, Your Mom Pretends to Work. Therefore, You Might Get Fat. Sorry, Baby!
I’m not a scientist, nor do I understand all the research a study like this undertakes. I won’t bash the authors because they are just reporting their findings, but how many reports and studies do we need to tell us how to “be” a proper mom? How many millions of dollars do we need to spend researching pure logic? As my fellow blogger Heather Morgan Shott says in High-Chair Times:
“Instead of fanning the flames of the mommy wars by comparing working moms to nonworking moms, why don’t these researchers redirect their efforts to curing cancer?”
My good friend Hulda, who just moved to LA from Iceland, is here with me while I write this. She is a PhD professor. She actually pulled the study for me and read it (bless her). She finds the hoopla this study is causing just plan silly (and some of the data a little questionable).
“In Iceland, 96% of moms work. It is just the norm,” she told me. “Almost all kids are in daycare from a young age.”
I’ve been to their country. It’s an amazing place. Theirs is a culture with an incredibly high standard of living. Their kids become productive citizens. Their babies aren’t missing out because the moms are working. Oh, and by the way, their obesity rates don’t come close to ours, though they are rising. But I’m guessing it’s not because the moms work (which has been the norm for decades there). I would bet a Big Mac that it’s because our American companies have saturated their market with all our crap. Soda, fast food, you name it. Those entities are the real enemy. Corporate greed at any and all cost.
At least New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg gets it. His soda ban (any sugary beverage over 16 ounces is O-U-T) passed this week. I believe it’s his most brilliant move to date. But I’m getting off track.
This whole argument becomes so circular. If you spend a couple hours less per day with your toddler, then we have to assume he/she is in daycare or with a nanny. Therefore, 2 of their 3 meals are taking place without you. So really it’s the daycare or nanny who is feeding your kid crap. Which I doubt is the constant in all this. But if it is, fix it. This isn’t rocket science.
Any child over 5 is in school full-time whether the mom works or not. So when they get out of school at 3 pm, make sure they don’t have a house full of Doritos to come home to. (The study says that unsupervised children are more likely to eat poorly. Wow, that’s a shocker.)
Come on people, this is basic stuff. Whether you stay at home or work, just love your child, feed them nutritious meals, have whomever is watching them feed nutritious meals, have them exercise with or without you, and instill the importance of healthy living.
Then, at the end of the day, plop down on your couch with your favorite glass of wine (red is better for you), and give yourself credit for making it through another day as a mom who is simply doing the best she can.
Photo of fat kid courtesy of Shutterstock
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Moving to Los Angeles, Must Read | Tags: Big Mac, Bloomberg, daycare, exercise, failure hour, fast food, health, healthy living, nanny, nutrition, obesity, soda, soda ban, stay at home moms, working moms
Monday, September 17th, 2012
If there was one thing I swore I’d never do as a parent it was to go to a Chuck E. Cheese.
So it is with great sadness, mixed with a feeling of failure and deep depression, that I find myself confessing. Yes, I’ve been to hell and back. I’m not proud.
The day started out so promising. Fia, Teddy, Courtney, and I were going to a waterpark. Yes, one of those places, as Courtney pointed out, we could get a flesh-eating disease. Luckily none of us had any open wounds (though it probably wouldn’t have stopped me). Fia and I had gone a few times to this place and had a blast. Plus, I was so excited about the chicken nuggets I had dreamt of them the night before.
Being silly non-California girls, we made the mistake of not checking to see if a waterpark would still be open in, oh, 100+ degree heat. I mean September is the hottest month out here. Why would one NOT be open?
We got stuck on the freeway with a tractor-trailer turned on its side, but remained optimistic. What should have taken 30 minutes took more than an hour. But the refreshing urine-filled water awaited.
We pulled up to the parking lot and not a soul was in sight. A big sign told the awful news. “Raging Waters Closed.” Huh?? We had our swimsuits on. Towels and snacks packed. And two toddlers waiting to get wet.
Well, apparently it’s only open on the weekends once the thermometer hits 100 (or when school starts again, which happens simultaneously). Makes a whole lot of f–king sense. I panicked. Courtney–ever the level headed one–went into action. Google. Google more.
“There’s a Chuck E. Cheese nearby!” she exclaimed. I looked at her in horror. Then she confessed that in New Jersey she had reached desperate measures (who doesn’t when you move there from Brooklyn?) and had taken Teddy to one.
Teddy started shouting with glee, “Chuck E. Cheese!” Fia joined in even though she had no idea what she was cheering about. My body began to fill with dread.
Ten minutes later I found myself in a parking lot in Covina, California in 110-degrees. Friends, this is what it means to hit rock bottom in motherhood. If you’ve been to one of these places, then you know what I am talking about. Bad pizza, tickets that get you crappy toys (made by children in China), a giant mouse walking around, and dare I say, on all the rides there must be staph. At least a waterpark has chlorine. The one upside was the central air. The bottom of our house has no a/c, so I tried to bask in it. If there’s such a thing as basking at a Chuck E. Cheese.
I felt dirty. I still do.
These are the sacrifices we make as parents. This is why being a mom is truly the hardest job in the world.
Friday, September 14th, 2012
I complained a lot when we moved to LA last November that I was freezing. Everyone said “Just wait.” They were right. We’re baking now, so we decided to beach it. I wanted to sleep here since the bottom floor of our house doesn’t have a/c.
Earlier this week, Fia and I drove past her favorite thing: “the blue car.” We talk about this car like it’s our pet. We decided to sneak a few pictures. I have no idea who this car belongs to, but it’s always parked in the same spot. Afterwards, she kissed and hugged the car goodbye. Then we drove past it 3 more times that day, and the next, and even this morning.
Last night we had tickets to opening night of Book of Mormon. Happy to report that I actually went shopping in anticipation, so no last minute catastrophes. I only had one drink so I wouldn’t break an ankle. What an incredible production.
Double decker buses took us to the after party. Fun! And oh-what-a-scene. I think I was one of the only women there without fake boobs. Ya gotta love what breastfeeding does!