The Latest Lost in Suburbia Column

THE STRONG MAN

MB_00370_Strongman“I can’t get the door open,” my husband said to me as he pushed against our back door.

“Is the lock broken?” I asked. It was late, I was tired, and I wasn’t in the mood to have to break into the house.

“No,” he responded. “The key works.”

“Then what is it?”

“I think…. There’s something blocking the door,” he grunted as he pushed against the door to demonstrate his point. It opened about an inch and then slammed back against his body.

“What could be blocking the door?” I asked impatiently. “There was nothing there when we left tonight..”

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LET THEM SMELL CAKE

4477497613_32e9b7dc30As we were driving home from a weekend at the beach, I kept smelling cake.

“I smell cake,” I said to my husband for a third time.

“I know, honey. You said that already.”

We were on the highway, and as far as I could tell, there were no bakeries or cake factories around. I knew I hadn’t packed any cake in the car. I also didn’t see the Cake Boss, Martha Stewart, or any Poppin’ Fresh dudes driving in a car next to us who might be transporting freshly-baked cake to an undisclosed location. There was really no reason I should be smelling cake, and yet, my nose was definitely picking up some distinctly buttercream-esque smell.

“I think I’ve been on my diet too long.” I said to him. “I’m having cake-scented hallucinations…”

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LOVE IS A DISH BEST SERVED IN ABUNDANCE

Campbells-Soup-1969-Advertisement-Vintage-Ad-1960sThe closer I get to my son leaving for college, the more I cook.

I’m not really sure what the correlation is. I have never been a big cook. Given the choice between take out and cooking, I’ll choose the pizza every time. Of course, being a mom, I’ve had to learn how to do some minimal cooking to keep my family alive. I perfected about six or so dishes that I make routinely, if not reluctantly, and while they’re not the most dazzling entrees, I also haven’t given anyone food poisoning, hives, or food phobias from my cooking (that I know of).

However, in the last week, I’ve been cooking up a storm. I made a huge pot of chili in the slow cooker, enough baked ziti to feed an army, two platters of grilled veggie wraps, and a pesto chicken pasta that serves sixteen.

And this was all just for my son…

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GETTING MY WHITES THEIR PINKEST WHITE

laundry-duz-52-swscan04859-copy-copyOne of my jobs as a mother is to prepare my kids to fend for themselves in the world on the off chance that they grow up and actually leave my house one day. Since my son had, at an early age, declared his intention to have a career as a gas station attendant, we thought it was unlikely that he would ever move out. At some point in his teens, though, he changed his mind and decided he wanted to go to college. Therefore, I knew that some time before he left, I would have to show him the ways of the world. And when I say the ways of the world, I mean, specifically,

… Laundry.

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YOU SAY MENISCUS, I SAY MENISCOSE

391480_7175“The doctor finally figured out what’s causing my knee pain,” I told my husband as I limped into the house.
“What?” He wondered.
“I have a cyst on my meniscose.”
“You mean your menisucus,” he corrected.
“Yeah, that.”
“Is there a name for it?” he asked.
“You just said it’s my meniscus,” I informed him.
“No, I mean is there a name for the condition.”
“Yessss,” I responded. “It’s a cyst. On my meniscus…”

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LOOK ME IN THE THIRD EYE

monsterThis morning I woke up with a third eye.

No, I did not wake up suddenly wiser with profound insight into the meaning of life. It was an actual third eye. Well, maybe not an actual eyeball. I mean, I couldn’t see out of it. It was a pimple the size of an eyeball, and it was right between the other two real eyes.
Truthfully, it wasn’t THAT big. And I might not have even noticed it right away, if not for my children.

“Hey Mom, you look like a Cyclops,” said my daughter.

“Huh?”

“You have a big zit in the middle of your forehead,” she clarified.

I ran to the bathroom and looked in the mirror.

“You’re wrong,” I corrected her when I returned to the kitchen. “I don’t look like a Cyclops.
A Cyclops just has one eye. I, apparently, have three eyes…”

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TAKE TIME TO STOP AND SMELL THE FEET

foot odor“Do you smell that?” I asked my husband.

“Smell what?” he responded.

“It smells like… feet,” I replied, wrinkling my nose.

He nodded. “Why do you think that is?”

“Cuz we’re in the shoe store?” I wondered.

“That would be my guess,” he said dryly.

I looked around and saw a number of men in their socks trying on shoes. We were in the men’s shoe department of our local department store, which, in my experience, had the potential to be a somewhat more odiferous experience than being in the women’s shoe department. This is not to suggest that men’s feet are stinkier than women’s. Okay, yes, actually, it is meant to suggest that. I was just trying to be PC (Podiatrically Correct)…

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HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR KIDS TEENAGE YEARS

Two Teenage Boys Playing Video GamesNow that we are firmly entrenched in the teenage years, I can understand why my friends with older kids used to laugh cynically when I would tell them how hard it was having little kids. When they’re young, you are responsible for the complete care and wellbeing of your children.

This is tough. But it’s much harder when they’re older and you’re no longer responsible for their care and wellbeing… they are! Looking at the tsunami of clothing on the floor of my children’s rooms, the food choices they make, and the hours they sleep, and don’t sleep, it’s almost like I had no effect on them the first x-teen years of their lives…

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IN THE EYE OF THE FALAFEL

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 9.33.15 PM“Which tour are you on today?” asked the guide at the Icelandic tour company when we arrived at the office in Reykjavik.

I glanced at our voucher and winced. We were booked for an eight-hour hike to the Eyjafjallajökull volcano that had erupted in 2010. It was almost as famous for the eruption as it was for the name that was impossible to pronounce. I looked at the name again and knew there was no way I was going to get this right.

“We are doing the Eye-a-falafel hike,” I sounded out.

My daughter laughed. “It’s not a middle-eastern sandwich, mom.”

I tried again. “Ay-ja-fa-la-la?”

The guide shook her head. “Not a Christmas song either,” said my daughter.

“Eye-a-rama-lama-ding dong?” I asked hopefully.

“Don’t hurt yourself, honey,” said my husband…

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LAW AND SUPERMARKET ORDER

shopperI don’t usually think of food shopping as a contact sport. With the exception of the occasional fight over the last container of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie, I’m usually a pretty Zen supermarket shopper. This is mostly due to my calm nature, but may also be a result of the music-induced shopping coma I go into while being forced to listen to a loop of bad 70s love songs while I do my weekly food shop.

This is not to say I haven’t gotten annoyed with other shoppers. But I do try to avoid cart-to-cart combat in the supermarket aisles lest my kids end up having to live with the disgrace of a mother with an arrest record for civil supermarket disobedience…

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GETTING MY GOAT

goatOne day as I was walking through my town, I noticed a guy coming toward me walking his dog. I peered ahead and tried to figure out what breed the dog was. He didn’t look like any dog I’d ever seen before. As they got closer, I realized he didn’t even look like a dog. He actually looked like…

A goat.

“Mom, is that a goat?” asked my son.

“Looks like a goat to me,” I said.

“Is it a pet goat?” he wondered.

“Looks like a pet goat to me,” I said and then waited a moment for the inevitable.

“I want a pet goat,” he announced.

“Of course you do,” I responded…

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LICENSE TO DRIVE ME CRAZY

vintage taxiUsually when my parents came to visit, they stay with us. But the last time they came, their trip coincided with some work we were having done at the house, so I had to put them up at a local hotel.

The downside was, we saw a little less of them.

The upside was, we saw a little less of them.

I’m kidding, of course.

We had a great visit, as usual. But the whole time they were here, they kept scolding me for using our money on a hotel room for them. I told them it was fine. I was just pre-spending my inheritance…

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POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE

toddler gradThe day my son graduated from pre-school, they played Pomp and Circumstance as the 4 year-olds proudly strutted down the aisle in cardboard caps they made themselves.
I remember his smile. He grinned from ear to ear with pride as he trotted past the rows of beaming parents. He caught my eye and his smile widened as if to say, “Look mommy. I’m a big boy.”

He was just beginning to read. Just learning to add. Four years old, brimming with confidence, dreams, and expectations of an amazing life before him.

“So, how does it feel to be a pre-school graduate,” I recall asking him later that day.

“Good.” He said emphatically. “It was fun, but I’m almost five. It’s time for real school now…”

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DAWN OF THE CICADAS

hmanmothrWhen we moved to New Jersey seventeen years ago, I had a lot of expectations about what I would find in the suburbs. I was prepared for the large number of minivans, the malls, and the women in mom jeans. What I was not expecting was these huge, prehistoric-looking monster insects known as cicadas. Having come from New York City, I was used to some large insects. But these bugs were so big and so ugly, I was sure the Men in Black would show up in my yard and tell me the bugs were actually aliens from the planet Zorg. Then they would vaporize the bugs, flash me with that memory wiper gadget, and I’d forget the whole thing…

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THIS LITTLE PIGGY NEEDS A HAIRCUT

UGLY FEETThere are some things you really want to know about yourself, and other things you could go your whole life without knowing and be perfectly OK with it.

For instance, I always appreciate it when someone tells me if I have a piece of spinach in my teeth, or a trail of toilet paper stuck to my shoe, or anything else that would make me look like a clueless slob.

I’m not nearly as appreciative when someone tells me I have hair on my big toe…

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THAT’S THE WAY THE THUMB BREAKS

THUMBHaving been to the Emergency Room more times than I can remember with my kids, I knew my way around the place after I fell and had to go get my thumb checked out.

Going with your kids and going for yourself are two different things, though. When you go to the ER with your kids, they offer everyone juice and cookies all around, put cheery videos on the TV, and fast track you through the Emergency Room.

When you go for yourself, there are no cookies, no videos, and the fast track is about four hours long…. and that’s on a day when there are no other patients…

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FLYING THE ALL TOO FRIENDLY SKIES

1940875202_66c2f900b9Forty years ago in the dark ages of air travel, in flight entertainment was not nearly as advanced as it is today. Back when I was a kid, all they had were drop down screens from the ceiling that showed one, lone movie. Today most planes have personal video screens at each seat with a hundred channels and thirty movies to choose from, as well as video games, dining options, and shopping. True, you have to get practically butt naked to go through security, pack all your toiletries in containers the size of a lipstick, and pay extra for just about everything, including your luggage, food, movies, and eventually, I’m sure, even use of the bathroom.

But at least you have your own video screen…

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THE DUCHESS OF SUBURBIA

tracybeckerman1The other day I was sitting around eating bonbons and watching TV like I always do in my challenging job as a stay-at-home mom, when I happened upon an interview with a real countess. I’ve always been fascinated by royalty, so I thought I’d tune in and find out what she was the countess of. Since most countesses hail from foreign lands, I naturally expected her to have a British accent or at the very least, something distinctly European sounding. But when she opened her mouth, she sounded distinctly… like a New Yawker.
It turned out that while she was indeed a Real Countess, she was also one of the Real Housewives of New York.

I have to admit: I felt a little duped. But then I felt a little envious. If all she had to do to earn her title was marry a count, why couldn’t I qualify for a title, too…

TO READ MORE, CLICK HERE!

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One response to “The Latest Lost in Suburbia Column

  1. Carol Baron

    You are a countess to us and deserve any title you want. And you are married to one royal and special guy . Can’t ask for much more than that.

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