A Guide to Luxury Holiday Seating: Teen Edition

So, you might think that my lack of recent blogging means I have been immersed in some highly unproductive habits. Like perhaps celebrating the long overdue demise of pumpkin-everything season as we finally usher in the glorious Month of Peppermint. Or, maybe tying my own hands behind my back as to not engage in any online discussion of the current roster of presidential candidates. Or, possibly overseeing an overly ambitious home renovation that quickly spiraled from “Hey, our powder room looks dated” to “Do you think the house will still be stripped down to the studs for Christmas dinner?”

(Spoiler alert: Probably. Stay tuned.)

In short, although I have not been writing, I have been productive as hell. If hell is where pumpkin drinks and renovation timelines come to die.

And here we are, suddenly in the midst of all things holiday related. Yes, it’s the season of gratitude, and posting about gratitude, and posting about why people post about feeling #gratitude and #blessed.

While I count my many blessings in my head instead of in public list and hashtag formation, it’s hard to reconcile all of the sadness of current world events with our seasonal consumerism – it feels shallow and vapid sometimes. I’m not saying that my kids will be presented with a photo of an adopted heifer under the Christmas tree, but I am making a concentrated effort to find a balance.

This attempted balance is not easy with the shock-and-awe seasonal catalog approach that lands in my mailbox every day and tests even the most resolute observer of local recycling codes.

Old habits die hard, don’t they? No, no, not a longing for Yule Log programming circa 1982. I just can’t stop analyzing the absurdity of some of our favorite kids’ retailers.

Now, to be fair, I had sort of promised a while back to take on the inaugural issue of Restoration Hardware Teen because, come on. How do we just let that go? And then, between the out of control home renovation plans and making sure all of the dark chocolate from Halloween found its way to my secret stash, a few other writers beat me to the punch on RH Teen, and rightfully so.

And so, rather than re-hash what has already been beautifully covered, I’m going to move on. Well, in just a minute.

Can we first just talk about The Versailles Settee?

Classic 18th-century Louis XV chairs – originally designed to fend off drafts and keep the household porter warm – were the inspiration for our settee. With its grand dome, lush upholstery and gracefully carved feet, it provides a cozy and elegant retreat.

Classic 18th-century Louis XV chairs – originally designed to fend off drafts and keep the household porter warm – were the inspiration for our settee. With its grand dome, lush upholstery and gracefully carved feet, it provides a cozy and elegant retreat.

Well, wait, hold the phone. Now that I’ve read the official product description and I understand that this is going to serve as a $3500 European History reference point, well then that’s money well spent, don’t you think? How else would today’s teen know exactly what an 18th century French porter faced?

Not ready to drop that much cash but still concerned about where your teen will rest his or her precious bottom? Luckily, RH Teen will let your kid slum it in the $1700 Orbit Chair (if astronomy is really their focus over that pesky French history).


Or, if they’re *really* grounded, send them to time out in the Tye Butterfly Chair in Mongolian Lamb (just $649).


Can you just hear it now? The exasperated texts?

“Uh, yeah. My mom seriously made me sit in the Mongolian Lamb chair and ‘think about what I did.’ WTFFFFF? She is the worst. It’s like prison here, but not as cool as OITNB.”

(Is that even what they would say? Or am I like the Smith Corona version of teen texting?)

I figured this focus on luxury teen seating was strictly a RH phenomenon. But, like a Christmas gift from the blogging gods, the never-count-us-out marketers at Pottery Barn somehow blessed my shamefully-unmonogrammed mailbox with their latest offering for teens.

And, friends, I am so glad that they did. Before you finish entering your credit card info to finance the Mongolian Lamb Chair of Shame over 24 months, first consider the PBT seating options. Because they are not fucking around.

You know those PBK mini “everyday” armchairs that lots of small kids have with their names stitched into them? (Ahem, I’m totally guilty of purchasing one.) I am starting to see that this was really the beginning of the problem. Why, let us create personalized, plush seating for the toddler set. And then, let us not regress for one single moment, ever, in offering them size-appropriate lounging options as they grow.

It’s an evil genius scheme that enables parents to rationalize the $159 Owl Fur Critter Beanbag – when, really, it’s the gateway drug of high-end tween seating.

And am I the only one who finds the woodsy creature theme sort of creepy?


(Side note: I spy at least eight wrapped gifts and three hot cocoas just waiting for the kids to arrive home from a tough day of sitting in terribly hard/not-ergonomic school chairs.)

I have to step back for a minute and just frame all of this PBT madness. It is 100% my own fault that I am surprised by any of this. Because anyone who views this cover and goes on to express shock on any level is really just missing context clues by a wide mile.


Is this a personalized re-creation of Frozen for the teen set? Like Anna and Elsa’s perfect American cousins tackle snow shoeing? Or are they hanging at their parents’ Norwegian chalet for a long weekend while their SAT tutor prepares their cocoa? It’s hard to say.

And in what is perhaps the most jaw-dropping display of setting one’s extra piles of cash on fire this holiday season, I give you the PBT Kick Back Recliner Speaker Chair ($699).


The perfect place to kick back for gaming, movie watching and music listening. Features a built-in audio system with Bluetooth, four speakers and a subwoofer.

The perfect place to kick back for gaming, movie watching and music listening. Features a built-in audio system with Bluetooth, four speakers and a subwoofer.

No word yet on when the throw pillows with #entitled will be back in stock to add that certain decorative punch. The Coke is a nice cross-branding touch, though. I guess an iced soy latte doesn’t look as good in a bottle.

But please say that you read the official product description. Because, if nothing else, it will serve as the only reason I’ll ever have for the word subwoofer on my blog. And I can’t let that chance just slip away.

OH, but for the love of all that is holy this season, do not confuse this chair with the Got Game Speaker Media Chair, which is compatible with various video game systems. (And, don’t worry, also has a subwoofer.)

Are we sensing a theme yet? Should the teens sit? Where will they sit? Are you equipped to seat them in the manner to which they’ve grown accustomed? Why are they standing? What is wrong with your home?

I don’t want to act like RH and PB didn’t include other items in their holiday catalogs. There was plenty of decor and luggage, too. And, just when I thought kids these days were growing up too fast, my heart was warmed not only by my spiked Sunday afternoon coffee, but by seeing a sweet stuffed animal available for tweens.


Oh, never mind. It’s a speaker that’s fully compatible with all phones, tablets and MP3 players. And, it’s made of “supersoft faux fur.” Not soft. Supersoft.

And, from a utilitarian standpoint, with all of the emphasis on seating, we cannot expect these kids to walk all the way across the Norwegian chalet to retrieve their own snacks or beverages. Pffffft.



The retro cooler to the rescue.

Look, I know I don’t have teenagers yet, so who am I to judge? Maybe this will all make perfect sense to me in five or ten years and I’ll be all, “Go to your room and sit in that Mongolian Lamb Chair until I tell you to come down here. If you need your mini-fridge re-stocked, let me know.”

It’s reasonable to think that I may be out of touch with any minor over the age of eight. And, truth be told, if my piss-poor attitude in my own teen years is any indication of what karma is going to throw my way as a parent, I’m probably screwed.

But, still. I’d like to go on record as saying that my future teens will survive in standard home seating. If anyone is getting a chair with a subwoofer and a bedside fridge, it’s me.





Did you like this? Share it:

June, You’re Killing Me a Little

Oh, June. Juuuuuune.

You are so full of promise, with your (mostly) warm temps, extended daylight hours and quickly approaching end of the school year.

But we have a few issues to sort out first, if we’re going to hang out together in the future.

Ceremonies: Whether it’s an actual graduation or a dance recital or just a gymnastics trophy ceremony, I’m running around town with the hope of a spare tissue in my bag. As much as I have wished and waited for these scheduled activities to wind down, the finality of each one shows just how big my kids have grown over the course of the year. I somehow made it through Kindergarten graduation’s “Pomp & Circumstance” without making a total slobbering spectacle of myself but only in the just-barely category. But do me a favor and just look away when we attend my son’s Author Day presentation later this week and the teacher fires up the year-end slideshow. Especially if she sets it to the inevitably sentimental piece of music. I’m a goner. Look. Away. Because that’s not me bawling at 8:30am under the fluorescent lights of a second grade classroom.

The Emptying of the Desks: Hey, I get it – the teachers can’t keep all of the kids’ stuff stored in their classrooms and they want to give us a chance to see as much of their work as possible. But they really should warn us to clear out some space first. Because my kids have been bringing home enough paper items to fashion a school year wallpaper mosaic for our playroom/hallway/first floor/tri-state area. On a standard, non-June day, I barely keep my head above water in the Mom vs School Papers battleground. Now, forget it. I hereby raise my white flag in total defeat as I attempt many a clandestine, under-the-cover-of-darkness move to dispose of these treasures while my kids aren’t looking. I would just like to take a moment to be thankful for paying a flat rate for recycling every month. #blessed

Change: Yes, plain old change. June is fulllll of it. As in, my kids were smaller when we started the school year nine months ago and now they’re noticeably bigger and they hate the very themed backpacks they begged for last August and OMG what is happening with time and space. I’m not good with change. When things wrap up, it means the status quo is about to shift and my head is about to explode.





Fall Registration: Let me clarify that last point above. The status quo would shift if I didn’t meet every early bird registration email with utter disdain and denial. And June is throwing a lot of that bullshit my way. Summer camps, fine – their time is now. But can we not, for just few weeks, start pushing the fall schedules and sign ups with the subtitled pressure of are-there-or-aren’t-there-enough-spots-if-I-wait? I haven’t even signed the thank you cards for this year’s teachers yet. I’m still on the lookout for an impossibly flattering bathing suit. I refuse to do anything fall-ish when my summer hasn’t even begun. Got it, June?


What a roller coaster. We’re ending, we’re beginning, we’re still in school and we’re begging for summer vacation. The schedules morph in the span of a few weeks from frenetic with homework and activities and schedules to wide open spaces on the calendar. It’s a shifty time. And if you love transitions and change, then allow me to recommend June as your month. Surely you’ll savor every one of its 2,000+ transitional moments.

Me, not so much. I’ll be much more at home when I’m sitting squarely in July, firmly in the summer and in the grasp of nothing in particular.

June, we’ll ride this out – but you’re killing me a little.




Did you like this? Share it:

Better Late Than Later

The moment took me by surprise. I thought we had more time before I had to have The Talk with my daughter. About the kind of people we really are.

It started innocently enough.

She asked me why, with just a few days left until our vacation, nothing had been packed yet. At first, I dismissed her breezily, with a reassuring “Oh, don’t worry, we still have a few days! It will get done!”

I thought that would be the end of it. But no. She persisted.

“Don’t we have a lot of things to pack? When do you think you’ll start?”

This was more serious than I thought.

“I can help you,” she pressed.

“But honey. We have time.”

“Only a few days. We should get started.”

OH God. It hit me. What if she’s not like us? What if….?

I wondered if it might be time. Yes, it was a few years before I had anticipated, but perhaps she is old enough to handle the truth about us. And so I began.

“Sweetie, see if you can say this word: Pro-cras-tin-a-tion.

I thought about how to take her through it slowly. The whole truth. How some families planned and did things in advance. And how we, despite our best efforts, are not those people.

We have tried to be those people. My husband and I have, at times, put in massive, valiant effort with the energy of a thousand burning suns. We have even seen fleeting glimpses of success and danced in the fringes of being those people. But, in the end, we were just pretending.

It’s just not in our souls to be finished in advance with any task. To be early. To have down time. To be the first to arrive anywhere. Ever.

Yes, it has worsened over time with the addition of children. But, if I’m being honest, the history is long and consistent.

  • Homework. This seems like standard operating procedure for kids, yes? I assumed it was normal to finish my high school assignments at my locker between classes.
  • College applications. Not to make excuses, but come on. Every kid in the history of everywhere put off this torturous process. OK, so maybe I put the finishing touches on my essay while weighing the package at the post office. This is attention to detail, folks.
  • Term papers. OK, fine, at this point it’s fair to say that I probably have a problem. I thought it was adorable when we received a syllabus on day one of class that pointed out paper due dates for the entire semester. I didn’t forget, I just chose to spend my time on other, more productive college pursuits. Beer comes to mind. Also, I was pretty proud of that time I completed an entire 19-pager in one night. The advanced technology of the Brother Word Processor was the ultimate enabler.
  • Work assignments. When potential employers asked me if I worked well under pressure, they had no idea what they were signing up for by putting me on the payroll. In retrospect, they probably just wanted to make sure I wouldn’t crack at the 11th hour. They had no way of knowing that of course I wouldn’t crack then — because I would not have started the project yet. It was still in my “concept phase.”
  • Wedding prep. Now that I had come to grips with my procrastination destiny AND the fact that I was marrying someone else just like me, I did the smart thing: I actually hired a wedding planner. And she almost shot me. Just because we wanted to pull together a NYC wedding with 200 people (don’t ask) in five months. Pffft. Come on — plenty of time.
  • Vacation planning. Let me just sum this up by saying Me + Disney World has been an unlikely love affair. I’m pretty sure when I phone in with my 1,448 reservation requests about 30 days before departure, I’m driving the lovely employee on the other end of the phone to slug whiskey out of her mouse ear hat while gritting “Have a magical day” through her teeth.
  • Baby prep. Registries? Product research? Labor classes? All with a “firm” nine month timetable? Good times, my friends. Good times.
  • Kids’ enrollment in (insert any activity here). What do you mean, everyone signed up for fall soccer in June and summer camp in February? There’s a late fee? What? I need to buy snow boots in September? What?
  • Household chores and pretty much everything else. You get the idea.

I could go on and on, but I’m tired because I started this post much later than I had planned. And I should be packing for vacation.


I operate best under pressure.

I have uttered this mantra more times than I can count, more out of obligation than accuracy. The truth is that I’m a reluctant and unreformed procrastinator. I don’t embrace it but I am learning to accept it.

Our destiny as a last-minute, late-to-everything family is pretty much set in stone at this point. Basically, my husband and I wake up on the weekends realizing we are already late for something that’s happening five miles away in about seven hours. We just are.

And my sweet daughter deserves to know that this is the make up of her DNA. From both sides.

But, as I look at her pulling out her little princess backpack and dutifully choosing her vacation outfits to place inside before I’ve even done the laundry that I’ll ultimately pack for myself, I wonder if we’ve achieved the impossible. Perhaps my husband I have canceled each other out.

Could it be?

Could we have actually created humans who don’t procrastinate?

I can’t tell you because I got a D in AP Bio after waiting too long to study for my exam on the Genetics chapter. But apparently, there is hope.



Did you like this? Share it:

August, Can We Still Be Friends?

Welcome, August. I want so much to tell you how good it is to see you, old friend. Because so much magic happens on your watch every year, even though you signal to my brain that we only have this one final month of summer left before school starts in early September.

But, August, each year you seem to get more aggressive in barreling toward fall, toward school, toward tasks and the routine of getting us back to business. And the truth is that I want my old Augusts back, the ones from my childhood where a full month was still a pure 31 days and nights of all that summer vacation brings.

August, I could learn to love you again. If you could just let me finish up what summer means to me.

Because I haven’t yet caught a firefly in a jar for my kids.

I haven’t marveled nearly enough at how late the sun stays out.

I haven’t even bought that pair of flip-flops I wanted.

No, August, I’m not ready for the retail displays of fleece and Uggs and leather boots and jackets.

Not ready for the fall PTO sign ups, the scheduling of which day we’ll do soccer or swimming or ballet.

Certainly not ready to give up ice cream and popsicles and the smell of my grill and the sight of that rainbow of fresh fruit.

Not mentally prepared to abandon sleeveless sundresses for my daughter and me, and easy onesies for the baby. And bare feet for us all. The very thought of socks and closed-toed shoes makes me shudder. Say it isn’t near. Say that I have time to try that other bright pink nail  color on my toes and not the deep dark hues of grays and purples and browns.

You see, August, I still have two (yes, two!) legitimate family summer vacations I haven’t even taken yet. I have packing to do. Twice. I have more sunscreen to buy. I am not thinking about unpacking or vacation ending or looking back on it. Not even a little. The snapshots that I will etch into my memory and put into photo books haven’t even been made yet. This house is still ripe with the anticipation of new destinations and shorelines with friends and family.

August, I don’t want to spend your days filling in my calendar with the school closings for the year. I want to hang damp beach towels and bathing suits on my deck rail and smell the faint chlorine and sunscreen and perhaps the rain left on them.

Surely you understand that there are meats I haven’t yet grilled, sangria recipes I haven’t tested and frozen yogurt combos I’ve been meaning to try. I still feel like putting my coffee over ice is a seasonal novelty. I haven’t had a single lobster roll yet. And we haven’t begun to grow remotely tired of the new deck lights strung overhead as we eat and drink. Our new fire pit barely shows the wear of the s’mores it has created and the late night cocktails it has beckoned with friends and neighbors.

The camp backpacks we were issued have hardly been broken in. And my older two kids have plenty of places on their summer wish lists left to visit. The zoo awaits us, August. So does our annual trip to Daddy’s office, not to mention more mini golf and the boardwalk rides of our beloved Jersey Shore. There are many more waves to jump over and outdoor showers to take after the sand stays between our toes and the taste of salt water sticks to our lips.

August, I’m just getting used to the down time that allows me to give the baby the two naps a day he deserves. This sweet boy has enjoyed a summer not dictated by his next schlep in a car seat to pick up or drop off a sibling somewhere. I imagine that his tiny head can barely even fathom how much time he has to explore his newfound mobility and just play. If you rush us, August, he’s right back in that car seat and we’re just not ready yet. There are blocks to stack and steps to take and mashed fruits to wear.

Yes, I know you have certain obligations to prepare us for school and I have made a few related purchases here and there. You would be remiss if you didn’t present any of this to me. But I feel like you take it just a little further every year. I’m not sure you need to associate yourself with corduroy or Halloween. Don’t you want to be all about shorts and sundresses and deck chairs?

I’m here to tell you, August — as your old friend — that it’s not too late to reclaim all of this as yours. Don’t let April or May take it from you.

I know it’s possible for us to remain good friends and rediscover how things used to be between us. So, come find me while I get ready for two beach vacations. Visit me as I grill at home and listen for the ice cream truck on my street.

And, by all means, join me over the next 31 days on the deck, barefoot and sipping summery evening drinks under the long-lasting sunlight.




Did you like this? Share it:

Back it Up

The colors of the world look a little sharper today. The birds are singing a little louder. My arms look slightly thinner in photos (not really). It’s a lovely, lovely day.

Because I have my computer back.

I’ll give you a minute to finish rolling your eyes. Are we good? OK.

Long story short, the universe was trying to tell me something on Mother’s Day when my daughter began my alleged day of rest with a vomit bender. And then, in a span of 12 hours, the following items broke: My refrigerator, my Keurig {again} and my laptop. Happy Mother’s Day to me! I know it should have been abundantly clear how to prioritize those repairs but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t struggle with that. What’s wrong with a few days of non-perishables for dinner?

Fine, the fridge would be fixed first. Fine.

As for the Keurig and the laptop, I ask you: How does one choose? It’s like trying to pick a favorite child. Out loud, I mean.

Thankfully, my husband was able to work some magic on the Keurig, which entailed something about YouTube instructions, bargaining with God and just repeatedly unplugging the damn thing until it complied. I don’t think this was the official approach in their FAQ section, but desperation spoke to us.

This left only the lifeline of my computer to be resuscitated. Things looked bad.


I’ll spare you the drama of my Genius Bar encounter when they basically asked me to sign my life away and agree that they are not responsible for any of my data. There was also some fine print about, with the push of a button, they are going to wipe it all out and OMG THE BACK UP BETTER HAVE BEEN WORKING ALL THIS TIME.

{Are you backing up your computer? Please say you are.}

I signed the terms on the shiny retina screen. I braced myself and watched as they pressed the button and wiped everything out — my photos, my documents, all of it. And that didn’t fix the issue. They were going to have to keep the machine for a while.

They should serve shots at the Genius Bar. Just saying.

The trauma of leaving my beloved Mac behind was cushioned only by the fact that the Apple store is surrounded by some pretty magnificent shops in the mall. I fretted over my laptop and wondered about its uncertain fate and then I — oh, are those shoes on sale?

The Geniuses called me after four days in my new shoes to tell me to pick up my laptop. Much like a medical follow-up, they would not discuss their findings over the phone, so you can imagine my anxiety. Speaking of anxiety, I was determined to find a window in which I could drag as few children as possible to my Genius follow-up. And so it took another week before I realized that was never going to happen and the entire crew came with me. Just to make the experience as chaotic as possible.

The Geniuses told me they were able to repair my laptop! All hail the Geniuses! And then I was told I still had 52 days left on my warranty, so everything was covered. Wait, I had a warranty? Things were going my way.

If there’s one way to come spiraling back to Earth pretty quickly, it’s having the Genius remind me that it’s now up to me to restore my data. All of it. Right now, she tells me, the laptop is just a blank slate.

{OK, really, you’re backing up, right?}

Seriously, there are no shots at the Genius Bar? This place is poorly named.

After asking about why I had three shoe purchases in the bag with my newly retrieved laptop, my husband then reminded me that this is exactly why we had a back-up system.

We’re geniuses too! Right?

Then he reminded me that we’ve been having periodic “issues” with the back up system and there’s really only one way to know if it has actually been working. Had I not been through enough first world technology trials in the last few weeks? I left him with the task of “making  it happen or else we go on a family Entenmann’s strike,” or something like that.

And so it was 15 days from when my computer gave me the finger until today, when I sit here typing with seemingly full functionality and birds singing.

It was a long 15 days. Sure, I had access to my phone but I’m not really to be trusted anywhere near an Auto Correct setting.

And while everyone loves a good and righteous tale of going unplugged and how it was magical, refreshing, etc, whatever — I’m just going to say it.

It’s not fun and freeing to be unplugged.

It’s overrated.

Go ahead and sing the songs of how motherhood is better when you unplug. How you can stop and smell the roses and be more present. You know when I’m more present? When I have access to the tools that make my parenting machine hum with (some) efficiency. I can look at my recipe on my computer, OR I can wing it, turn it into a teachable moment that I savor and scrapbook, and apologize that the end result is largely inedible. If God wanted me to parent with carrier pigeons or an abacus, he would have made my last name Ingalls and put me in two braids with a floral frock.

So, thank you Geniuses. I’m happy to have my technology back. Just start offering shots while people wait.

{And go back your data up! Yes, now.}




Did you like this? Share it:

The Rules of the Road

I’m lucky that my husband does not travel very often for his job. There was a time — an exceptionally crazy time — in our lives when he did, and it was nearly the end of me. I’m grateful that those days are behind us. At least for now.

He did have a trip this week to Los Angeles for the annual big convention in his industry. Since we are in New Jersey, it seems that a jaunt to LA really isn’t “worth it” for any less than four days. So off he went.

Now, because I met my husband while working for the same employer a million years ago, I know his business well and have attended said convention. So I know that, while there are “meetings” and “networking opportunities,” let’s just call a spade a spade and say that he has just enjoyed nearly a week of fancy dinners, cocktail parties and shows. But it’s all for work, so it carries a Mission Critical label. With a side of steak.

Left here in the sheer chaos of the house alone with three kids, I just have a few ground rules for my husband’s business travel.

Do not call or FaceTime us from a fancy dinner or party. We love to hear from you when you’re on the road. Really, we do! But dude, it’s like fucking Lord of the Flies up in here because we are out of ketchup for our chicken nuggets, so try to abandon the not-so-faint clink of wine glasses in the background and step outside to call home. Bonus points if you can first finish that mini shrimp rangoon that was passed to you on a pretty napkin while I negotiated even distribution of the last Chips Ahoy without bodily harm. At least pretend to be in a conference room working on an Excel spreadsheet. Throw us a bone.

Do not complain that you are tired. Was it the late night parties? The early morning knock on the door with your breakfast room service? Or maybe the phantom pain in your rib from the absence of Parent/Child H-Formation Sleeping. Doesn’t matter. Don’t even say it out loud. Repeat after me: You are not tired. You actually don’t know what tired is this week.

Accept that, upon your return, you will be solely in charge of our children for a still-undetermined period of time. Probably in the 6-9 hour range. I’m working on a fair calculation but I think it involves number of hours spent watching in-flight movies x number of hours of uninterrupted sleep. Times infinity.

Carefully hide any and all evidence of a golf outing incorporated into this trip. Remember the time when you rolled on out of here with your checked luggage in one hand and your golf clubs in the other while I stood in the doorway, agog, with spit-up on my shoulder? I understand that’s how the “networking” goes at these things. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy yourself. OK, maybe I am. But I like that we’ve now made Business Trip Golf the dark secret we no longer discuss. So, thank you for hiding your golf shoes deep in the recesses of your luggage. And I assume you either now rent your clubs or carry them out to the car under the cover of darkness the night before your departure. It is the thing of which we do not speak.

Be completely available for any home front technical support on a 24/7 basis. This week, for example, we had serious rainfall here. As in, why did I not get the minivan upgrade option to convert into an ark? Anyway, I was worried about the basement and needed information about the sump pumps. So I’m glad you picked up the Travel Bat Phone to talk me off the ledge about my wine supply potentially being carried away by a moderate current. And then, my beloved Keurig machine started making horrible noises, followed by the equivalent of a Mac White Screen of Death. Me. Three Kids. No coffee. I ask you, does it get any more terrifying? Before interrupting your networking session/Cabernet tasting, I decided to troubleshoot on YouTube. I followed several instructional videos meticulously, to no avail. Thankfully, a helpful if not borderline insane guy on Amazon knew the highly delicate approach of repeatedly unplugging and re-plugging the machine while pushing the power button at a frantic pace. Crisis averted, thanks to ExtremeCaffeineNut007.

Pretend it wasn’t really that much fun. You really have mastered this art over the years and have your talking points down. “Oh, you know, it’s the same old stuff every year.” “It gets old after a while.” Etc. Etc. I’m not listening because we both know it’s utter bullshit. But I appreciate the gesture, honey.

* * *

I know, I’m a total wimp. Plenty of people have spouses who travel regularly for business. Others have loved ones deployed in military service. And of course there are tons of single parents out there as well. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I tip my hat to you. I don’t know how you do it.

And yet, I survived, despite my kids’ best efforts to take me down. And we missed my husband. But he better not even think of putting his golf clothes in the laundry pile.



Did you like this? Share it:

Wine & Glue & 100 Days of School

I need gray hair spray.

And a flannel shirt.

And maybe suspenders, I guess.

My son is supposed to dress up like his 100 year-old self, as are all of the kids in his class. You know, for the 100th Day of School celebration, of course.

I have a few questions about this — let me start here:

When did this become a thing? And, more importantly: Why?

Last year, when he was in Kindergarten, I thought the 100th Day of School was an isolated and cute little idea. It was a sweet reason to celebrate your kid’s education and achievements. And then it quickly became far less cute and not so sweet as I found myself separating various shapes of pasta into 100 pieces to be glued onto a giant poster board — in the formation of a volcano.

I might have started cursing somewhere around the 61st piece and it was downhill from there. If I could have produced actual hot lava for this volcano, my first order of business would have been to throw myself into it.

This wasn’t cute — it was stupid. Of course I didn’t say so, but even my then five year-old son was cynical about the point of all this.

I told him with forced enthusiasm that his 100 Days project was really coming together. And wasn’t he excited for the crown?

The crown?

Yes! A crown! You get to wear it all day at school tomorrow.


Because it’s the 100th day of school!

Oh. So, it’s the last day? School’s over?

Uh, no, silly! It’s only February!

Is it close to the last day?

Not exactly, honey.

How many days are left, then?

80. I think the school has to be open 180 days.

So what’s the party for again?

The 100th day! {OMG, I can’t keep this up much longer. My face hurts from this false excitement. Wow, my eyebrows are actually cramping from their overly arched position. Is that possible?}

We get a party and a crown?


Uh, because we’ve gone to school?

For 100 days!

Uh huh.

Buddy, I think there will be cookies too!



OK, fine. A cookie party for going to school all these days.

Great! Let’s finish gluing the last 39 pieces of pasta onto this board! 

{Giant glass of wine is refilled by hand covered in glue/pasta mixture. Side note: Why have I not glued my wine glass to my hand before? It really is far more efficient than the whole put down/pick back up routine.}

* * * * *

And I thought that was the end of this nonsense. I thought that the hand glued to my wine glass would not need to complete another such project once we entered first grade.

And then my son came home last week with an ominously blank long-ass strip of poster board. What in the fresh hell was this?

This, it turns out, was the canvas upon which we were to cut and glue 100 words he can read. For the big celebration.

Another year, another chance to formally glue my wine glass to my hand. And so we searched for the 100 words to cut. I wondered how obvious it would be that 90% of our clippings were from the Babies R Us catalog:





Or from Us Weekly:






We glued. We filled the poster board. 100 words. It did look good, I have to say.

And there was some relief in not having to invent our own project for this. Although, if you find yourself wondering just how you’d like to creatively produce a masterpiece of 100 random items, fear not: There are entire Pinterest boards dedicated to this pursuit, complete with custom t-shirts and the like. You know, when 100 buttons in a snack-sized Ziploc bag won’t suffice, and you don’t really want to part with your collection of 100 wine corks. For sentimental reasons. Hypothetically.

But we’re not done. Now we must dress my son like he is 100 years old for the celebration. I’m thinking a flannel shirt with a photo of how I look in the morning ought to do it.

Not to be left out of anyfuckingthing this winter, the Polar Vortex played a role in the party: Namely, we can’t seem to actually get to the blessed 100th Day of School because of the endless snow days.

When it does happen, sometime around mid-July at this rate, I do hope the kids will make good use of their 100th Day celebration and make crowns for the ones who really deserve them: The parents.


  • 100 packed lunches.
  • 100 battles over {insert clothing item here}.
  • 100 mornings of miraculously getting everyone out the door on time.


But, hey, only 80 more days to go.

Pass the wine glass with the glue, please.

Did you like this? Share it:

Ode to the Polar Vortex

Oh Polar Vortex, with your nippy temperatures and pretty snow deliveries. You’re finally bringing us a winter that’s really, well, winter. A perfect season for sledding and comfort food and nights by the fire. It has been so long since we’ve seen a January like this!

I want to thank you, Polar Vortex, for so many things.

  • First, thank you for the critical budgeting skills you’ve taught me! Without you, I wouldn’t know to set aside an unimaginably insane amount of money for my heating bill next month. That’s one less trip to Target for me {OK, maybe three}.
  • And thank you for the newfound appreciation you’ve given me for every single person who lives through the winters in the midwestern part of our country. Those are some hardy people. Or possibly insane. I’m not sure which. I would tip my hat to them but I’m not willing to risk momentary flesh exposure to the elements.
  • Our time management skills have also come a long way, oh Polar Vortex. With the need to put 4-6 layers on my children every day before every departure from our home, including a seven month-old baby, I now have to start getting ready to leave the house before I’ve even returned from my last trip outside. Your endless visit has made my life a constant repeat loop of donning and removing winter gear. I think it would be more time efficient to live with one snow boot, a glove and scarf on at all times, while cursing near my front door.
  • And now, oh joy of joys, I finally have the answer to just how many gloves my children can lose in one winter. I don’t have a final figure yet, but using simple extrapolation skills, I can tell you that it is a multiple of 1,700. If I could feel my damn fingers, I would take up knitting to keep up with the demand.
  • All hail the resourcefulness of winter! Now that I absolutely hate leaving my home, I have managed to create meals out of the most improbable combinations of “ingredients.” Hell no, I’m not dragging three kids to the grocery store — but did you know that cream of mushroom soup + anyfuckingthing at all in a crock pot is actually quite good? Bonus points for making it sound like comfort food. Pinterest that, people.
  • Polar Vortex, I’m forever grateful for how you’ve taken the guesswork out of what the weather will be like day to day. No more pesky climate surprises! Thanks to you, I can just bank on day in and day out of dangerous, bone-chilling frozen tundra. I can easily rely on the steadfast forecast of snow and ice with a chance of more damn drifting snow covered in black ice and some additional snow. You reliable motherfucker.
  • Those sleds I bought for my kids three years ago that have barely been used until now? Since you came to visit, you frosty bitch, they are practically our primary vehicles this winter. Thank you for making them worth their purchase price. Now we look like some hybrid of the Amish and the fucking Ingalls family.


It seems my little ode went slightly off track. I’m sorry. I’m just cranky because my 110 year-old house is drafty and my aging, indoorsy dog keeps begging us for a catheter to last him until spring arrives.

I know that by comparison, many parts of the country have it worse. But here’s the thing: Living in New Jersey, I didn’t sign up for this bullshit. What I signed up for was a winter with a few fleeting cold spells and maybe a snow storm or two. I did not check the box that transported my family to Siberia.

And few things could make me wish and pay for a flight with three small kids. But you’ve broken me, Polar Vortex. I’m done. The baby bunting and the mitten bullshit and the frozen minivan door — it has all pushed me over the edge.

I’m fucking going to Disney World. Well, in about two months, anyway. When we get undoubtedly get some global warming, freakishly high  winter temperatures in the mid-70s or something.


Did you like this? Share it:

The Pumpkinization of America

A few days ago, I posted a little tidbit on Facebook that I feared might get me fired from the Internet. Or from living in America:

I ducked my head and waited for the backlash. I know that PSL Nation is a loyal bunch and they show little mercy.

When I came up for air and peeked online, I found that, interestingly, I’m not alone. That I have allies in this pumpkin overdose disdain. Allies who have some strong opinions. Turns out there are more of us out there than I imagined.

So here’s where this post gets divisive. I mean, you either embrace the pumpkin movement or you wish for its swift and thorough demise. Maybe we can all get along in the end, but first allow me to vent.


First of all, if you are Team Pumpkin, let me just say upfront that you win. I totally lose and you totally win beyond the shadow of a doubt. OK? And the truth is that I envy you at this time of year. It must be fucking awesome to be bombarded with a new food option in your flavor of choice every 12-16 seconds. I love chocolate like it’s my paid job and, at this time of year, my options are practically nil in comparison.

Don’t believe me? Let’s just take my Monday morning mid-September errands as a frame of reference:

–Stop #1, Starbucks: Yeah, this is where America’s Pumpkinpalooza started, and we all know it. It’s ground zero for pumpkin flavored treats. And I know by now that, come Labor Day through Christmas, I’m going to be ordering the sole drink in my Starbucks location served up by the barista that’s not a fucking PSL. In fact, I think they called out my beverage today by incredulously saying “Kim? Kim? Your grande NOT PSL is ready.” This was followed by stark silence and then a collective gasp of disbelief by the 39 PSL junkies ready to tackle each other for their seasonal crack with a side of pumpkin cake pops.


–Stop #2, Bagel Store:  It’s hard to fuck up a bagel, especially in the greater NYC metro area. And while I could pass on such common favorites as the Everything or the Cinnamon Raisin varieties, I think they’ve earned their place in the line-up over the years. But this morning, as I waited my turn to be served, I had to listen to this mother/daughter exchange:

“I think I want the pumpkin bagel with the plain cream cheese.”

“Or, you could get the plain, or the sesame bagel, with the pumpkin cream cheese.”

“Or I could get both.”

“Pumpkin bagel with pumpkin cream cheese? Do you think that will be too much?”

It was a real dilemma they were facing. Honestly, it was a good thing I had already obtained my Starbucks {non-PSL} caffeine fix so that I was able to tolerate this conversation without an inappropriate outburst. I mean, I don’t know what kind of options these two gals were facing for their remaining meals today, but I hope they pulled through.


–Stop #3, Trader Joe’s:  I love me some Trader Joe’s seasonal items — but — holy shit. Based on my rough calculations, the store’s inventory is currently 89.8256% pumpkin-based. Pumpkin Butter, Pumpkin Pancake Mix, Pumpkin Spice Country Granola, Pumpkin Ice Cream, Pumpkin Macaroons and — wait for it — Pumpkin Doggie Treats.

OMG, can we please fast forward to the holiday season with the peppermint overdose aisle? Because now, I can’t even enjoy any of the free samples at TJ’s — and that means I have to make my own breakfast at home. Which is bullshit.


–Stop #4, Doctor’s Office:  I swear I’m not making this up. I was in the waiting room, when the man next to me phoned his daughter to tell her he had indeed found the Pumpkin Spiced M&Ms at the grocery store. I honestly thought I was being Punk’d at this point. Who messes with something as pure and good and right as M&Ms, for fuck’s sake? Free the M&Ms!


–Stop #5, Internet:  By this point, my morning errands were completed, it was clear that it was me against the Pumpkinsphere. I arrived home and set about my urgent tasks {aka firing up the computer}, only to have my senses attacked by an email from Pinterest pointing me to their suggested seasonal boards. Among them, of course: EVERYTHING PUMPKIN.

Like a moth to the flame of defeat, I clicked on over to see what inspirational culinary treats awaited me from the Church of Pumpkin Disciples:

  • Pumpkin Cheesecake Crepes
  • Pumpkin Crisp
  • Boozy Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate {With key words like “boozy” and “chocolate,” I’ll admit it gave me pause — but, still, no.}
  • Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
  • Pumpkin French Toast Bake! {exclamation point is theirs, not mine — clearly}
  • Pumpkin Pie Martinis {Hmmmm. Yeah, still no.}

It goes on and on and on. And beats the issue to death. As Pinterest tends to do.

Anyway. It’s no use. Operation Pumpkin Domination just getting worse every year and it’s apparently the new world order {fall edition}.

But don’t feel bad for me. Because you know who I feel bad for? Apples and their fan base. Apples were the perennial darling of autumn. But that shit’s over. Yeah, sure, many of us go apple picking and we eat apple pie and a few similarly flavored items. But, if we’re being honest, apples got screwed over by pumpkins. Big time. And their day is done.

The whole thing is fascinating, really. I should just be grateful that another member of the gourd or squash family didn’t obtain this level of stardom. Can you imagine?

So, I guess I’ll conclude my rant with a thin and insincere congratulations to Team Pumpkin. Enjoy your season in the spotlight, folks. Because, before you know it, PSL and all its culinary cousins will be a distant memory.

And I will be all hopped up on peppermint bark and lattes.




Did you like this? Share it: