Posts Tagged ‘ mom ’

LA House Dilemma Solved–For Now

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

It's Not Perfect, But We Can Caulk

Last week I wrote about my high “skeeve out” factor when it comes to bathrooms and kitchens. Phil found an amazing house in LA but I was freaked out that the bathrooms weren’t new. I had him and the realtor go back and take close up pictures of the tile, grout, caulking, etc. Between the two of them, I received 25 still pictures and 18 videos. Am I demanding? Yes. But I’m pregnant. I said that I was going to get all I could out of Little Leroy while still in my belly. And I am. If I weren’t pregnant, I think instead of a lease, Phil might have handed me divorce papers. But he knows that right now, and right after this baby comes, a happy Jill = a happy family.

And guess what? I’M HAPPY! We settled on the house. A 1920′s English cottage. Super cozy, yet spacious. Impeccably furnished and it oozes character and history. So I can put off pretending to be a suburbs person in a McMansion sans personality for the time being (that was the other house we were looking at). And I think the sinks and caulking look fine. If not, his dad can tweak it when he visits.

As for the move, well, I guess we’re leaving in about two and a half weeks. We just found a tenant to sublet our NYC pad. All this happened in the last 2 days, so we haven’t even figured out an exact moving date yet. We haven’t booked flights. I haven’t gotten Wayne Sanchez his travel papers. It must be the good pregnancy hormones, because without Xanax/Ambien, I should be freaking the f–k out. But instead, I feel calm. I made a list. I have a plan. It will all get done.

In the meantime, here are a few pics of our new digs. So excited!

The Living Room--With a Grand Piano!

We Have a Yard!! What a Treat!

I Can't Believe I'll Have an Office!

 

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First Date

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

We decided to meet at the corner, half way between our apartments. My husband was working from home so we needed to go elsewhere. Before I left I did one final check. Teeth cleaned. Hair combed. Mascara on.

We’d seen each other in social circles a few times, but we never chatted much. Just some smiles and eye contact. But now, the stakes seemed high. Maybe because it’s my first date of this kind. I know we have a few things in common: we live close by and we’re going through a similarly tough time. If this date turns out to be “the one” I can picture long walks in the park, museum excursions, maybe even yoga classes.  I want—no, need—this person to like me.

I arrive a few minutes early. Punctuality is important.  On our dates, timing and schedules will mean everything.

“Hey, how are you?” I ask as we quickly embrace.

“I’m okay. I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.”

I already know where this is going and I’m relieved. Not because I wish sleep deprivation on anyone, but because it tells me we’re in the same boat.

“Yeah, me neither,” I reply. And we begin to commiserate. The baby barf, the diaper changes, and most important–the need to get out; to feel less isolated.

(more…)

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Blogher 2011

Monday, August 8th, 2011

I used to get high on travel by doing things like climbing Mt Kilimanjaro or driving around Iceland. How far I’ve fallen since becoming a mom. Now my biggest source of excitement (particularly when going away alone) includes black out shades, central air and a soft puffy bed. Ahhh…the joys of a comfy hotel room.

I basked in that luxury this past weekend in San Diego. I was at the big BlogHer convention where 3000 women—many of them moms–left the husbands and diapers behind to descend upon the town.

I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant to go. Parents asked me if I would be their “blogger” representative, and of course I said yes. But the closer the time came, the more I got in my head. Who will I hang out with? What is my purpose in going? All strange thoughts, considering I’m one of the most social people I know. But since I’m a newbie to this blogger world I did have some insecurity (though as my husband points out, not something that is typical of my personality. He begs me to be more humble). There is also this fear that a bunch of women thrown together will equal petty behavior, cliques, jealousy, gossip, etc. Especially because if we’re all bloggers aren’t we all competitors too?

I couldn’t have been more surprised. It was just the opposite. Granted, I’m only speaking for myself and my experiences, but I found the women I met to be open, gracious, generous and excited to welcome me to their world.

I am especially grateful to my old friend Liz Gumbinner, many of you know as Mom-101. She took me under her wing, invited me to a bunch of fun dinners, and got me out dancing past 1 a.m.  (Click here to see her pictures).

Not only that, but the women kicking it up on the dance floor thought of this brilliant idea: a purse circle. By the end of the night it was a huge pile of purses all safely placed under the watchful eyes of “moms gone wild.”

The Purse Circle

The Purse Circle

At any rate, I met amazing people, got completely inspired by the women there, and stayed out WAY past my bedtime. When I did crash, I had that lovely hotel room to come back to–with blackout shades that allowed me to sleep in.  Heavenly. A far cry from my Africa adventures, but in many ways, just as rewarding.

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Irrational Mom Anger Part 2

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Last week I wrote about my irrational anger at everyday noises. Anything that stands in the way of Fia’s nap sets me off. So I came up with a solution. She now naps  in our downstairs bathroom–in her stroller. It’s the only dark windowless room in our house. I turn on the ventilation fan, strap her in, and boom, she’s out within seconds. I can get anywhere from 1-3 hours.

I bank on this time. It’s how I get stuff done.

So it came with extreme irritation and fury when just 30 minutes into her nap Phil came downstairs and yanked open the bathroom door. I was on the phone and mouthed the biggest WTF???? my lips would do, throwing my arm in the air with exasperation. He of all people knows better. He mouthed something angrily back. I hung up my call to the sound of a cry.

?!$#?&%! YOU WOKE HER UP! I shouted, ready to spit I was so pissed.

“IT SMELLS LIKE NATURAL GAS IN THE UPSTAIRS BATHROOM!!!” (which is right above the one she naps in) he yelled back, as he gently picked her out of the stroller with a hug. “I WAS MAKING SURE IT WASN’T DOWN HERE!!”  We sounded like the Costanza’s.

Seething, I stormed past them both, went upstairs, and boom the smell hit me like a dozen rotten eggs. It was one of those moments where I knew he was right. And should be touched by his protective nature. For god’s sakes…you don’t mess with gas. It can kill.

Yet, somewhere inside, a voice was still saying, “But did you have to open the bathroom door so loudly??”

I sulked downstairs, knowing my to-do list would stay to-do. I couldn’t bring myself to apologize. I was still fuming. “I’ll call the management company,” I said tersely.

They told us to put a fan in the upstairs bathroom and call them back in 45 minutes if the smell persisted. (Great advice by the way. Seriously?)

(more…)

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Losing My Mom–With a Second Chance

Monday, July 11th, 2011

As she lay dying, I spoke to her on the phone. I told her that it was okay to go. That she would live on through me and Fi.

I told my mom’s sister how much Fia loves sautéed spinach.“Your mom loved that growing up. We’d call her Popeye,” she said. I cringed. Dear lord, please give Fia the good genes from her. Like love of spinach and not crack.

It’s not that my mom didn’t have some amazing traits. In her early years she was smart and beautiful. Kind and colorful. But that was then. In her darkest days her childhood friends would shake their heads and tell me, “Everyone in high school wanted to be Suzy Newlon. Such a shame.” We’d all look down and mumble awkwardly in agreement.

My Mom

My Mom

Five decades of alcohol and drug abuse—including picking up a crack habit when she was 62-years-old—a few suicide attempts and a clear-cut diagnosis of bipolar—didn’t really give her a fighting chance.

One recent Christmas she went around her Florida condo complex with a 20-foot ladder. She climbed up the trees and spray-painted the coconuts red.  It was an instant hit. On another Christmas she tried to kill herself by jumping off a parking garage.

I truly believe some people are born to conquer addiction while others are just born to stay addicts.

Last year at 64, her life had become desperately depressing and tragic. I rarely spoke to her. Neither did my siblings. But then a miracle occurred.

She had an intestinal rupture and went septic. Almost died. Ended up on life support. And while her health slowly deteriorated, her life got surprisingly better.

For the next 11 months she was mostly confined to a hospital bed. She had psychiatrists who tweaked and tweaked her mental meds. She had hot meals and an entire staff at her beck and call. She was the queen bee and basked in her royal treatment.

“I love it here. I can order a milkshake at 3 in the afternoon,” she’d tell me in her southern drawl.

The next day she would complain that the chicken was dry.

“Mom, this is a hospital, not the Four Seasons,” I’d remind her on the phone.

“I know that, but how hard is it to cook chicken right?”

I’d roll my eyes; secretly glad she was even complaining. In the past, depressive days meant curling up “in the ball” on her couch and refusing to speak to anyone.

At least now we knew where she was and that she was safe. It was also finally safe to bring Fi down to meet her. A hospital—germs and all– is far more sterile than her living conditions had become over the years.  And I knew what I was getting: glimpses of the mom I had in childhood; when she was a superstar. Cool, fun, unconditionally loving.

Over this past year almost every trip down she was alert and attentive. She couldn’t get enough of Fi. This is a woman who had missed so much of my life. My wedding, my pregnancy, the birth of my daughter. We were both getting a second chance.

She would tell me how much Fia reminded her of me when I was little. I’d relish the stories. And feel relief that (so far) it seems Fia has much more of me in her genes than her grandmother.  I can only pray the ones she does have from either of us are the good ones.

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