Archives For My Suburban Present

donut and scale

There’s a reason why the expression is gym “rat.”  It’s not gym “puppy;” puppies are adorable and cuddly. Rats are annoying.

For most of my adult life, I was a gym rat. I exercised every day; some days, for hours. I craved the endorphin high and the all-day energy boost. I loved being fit and strong. If I’m being totally honest – I also measured my self worth by how fit I looked.

My life revolved around the gym. I didn’t intentionally set out to make gym friends but only other people who make exercise such a priority can stand gym rats.

It’s no wonder. While the rest of the world was “aaahhh”-ing over their first sip of coffee, I was at grueling outdoor bootcamp classes. The crack of dawn found me running around Central Park in tights, holding a tire over my head. If an alien from another planet observed me from a far-off galaxy, they probably imagined I was some kind of AAA superhero.

“Flat tire on 86th street? Car Repair Woman saves the day!”

 

During my exercise mania days, I ate “clean” most of the time, which means, I stripped every bit of fun out of the experience of eating. Every day I ate grilled whatchamadingle with a side of steamed doojawockey. I removed sugar, alcohol and complex carbs out of my diet, along with the will to live.

I lifted weights. I trained with kettle bells. I climbed a zillion steps to nowhere on the stairmaster. I yoga’d and spun and kick boxed.

I set impractical and ludicrous fitness goals, like being able to do 20 unassisted pull ups. As my parting gift for this achievement, I received permanently jacked up shoulder joints. I have bone spurs in both rotator cuffs. It feels like tiny angry gladiators are spearing me right where my wings would attach to my body. If I had wings.

I’m supposed to get the spurs surgically removed, but I have to recuperate in a shoulder sling for months. It’s not really practical at this time in my life, or any other time for that matter, since I won’t be able to drive, eat, sleep or wipe my vag after peeing.

Over the years, I’ve injured every part of my body exercising. I’ve pulled muscles, pinched nerves and torn cartilage.

I sprained my asshole.

 

There were other downsides to being an exercise devotee. Going to the gym was time-consuming. Aside from exercising, there’s also getting changed, traveling to and from the gym, showering afterwards – it took up hours of my day.

I put more energy into my relationship with exercise than I did with a living human being.

 

A little over a year ago, I started to dread exercising. I could no longer bear the sight, sounds or smells of the gym.

So I stopped. I know exercise burn out when I feel it.

Playing exercise hooky freed up so much of my time that day, I was delighted. Was this what it felt like when you’re not a slave to the gym?

 

I didn’t want to stop exercising completely, so I took up walking. But when it was snowy or rainy, I skipped those days.

Once again, I marveled over all the extra time. Gradually, I just stopped exercising.

And then the dam…BURST.

I started eating junk food, stuff I hadn’t eaten in decades. Doughnuts, and candy bars, and cake. Carb-o-rama.

I gained 30 pounds. Of course, it bothered me immensely. But some extra weight settled in my breasts, which were finally bigger than a B cup. The last time that happened, Cujo the newborn was gnawing on them constantly. Now, I had a great, baby-free rack.

No one complained that I went from “waif” to “sturdy.” And the extra fat in my face was like taking a Black and Decker steam iron to some of my eye crinkles.

 

For several months I tried to burn fat just hating exercise, but it didn’t work. When I realized I was getting winded eating pancakes, I knew I had to start working out again.

I joined a gym near my house. The fitness director encouraged me to do some really extreme classes, but I declined. I used to measure the success of my workout by how much I wanted to puke. Nowadays, I have no interest in exercising to the point where I’m yakking in the ladies locker room.

I used to be hard-wired to enjoy the pain of exercise. In just a year, I managed to completely turn that around.

This has been such a paradoxical journey. On the one hand, I feel liberated. Those extra hours a day gave me more time to waste on the Internet write. Weekend mornings, instead of bolting out of the door to the gym, I hang out with my kid.

On the other hand – I worry about my health. My father died of a heart attack suddenly at age 46 – the age I am now. I think the the best way to avoid death is to become a moving target.

I’ve had to reframe my whole idea of myself. My identity was wrapped around being waif thin, and I’ve had to give that up. It hasn’t been easy, but to ease the pain of the transition, there’s cake. Mmmm, cake. 

I’ve started back slowly, going every couple of days. I do it only because I must. Exercise has lost its allure for me. The whole time I’m on the treadmill, feeling like a hamster on a spinning wheel, I’m counting the minutes until I can get home and back in front of my keyboard.

The only thing I seem to enjoy exercising these days is my mind.

 

Do you exercise? How do you stay motivated?
Is anything as good as cake? Talk to me. I’m listening. 

 

Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter  so I can have friends without leaving the house.

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avoid planning

 

I got married at city hall. I wore a white leather mini dress and white leather boots. I was going for an ‘Amy Winehouse retro’ look but ended up more ‘boozy Nancy Sinatra’.

Afterwards, we had a barbecue in our backyard. My lawn caught fire which I expertly handled by drinking copious amounts of tequila. I’m told I ran around the backyard in various states of undress, but I have no memory of that. It was pre-camera phones. Thank God.

 

I love to throw big parties, although admittedly, it’s been a while. I provide excessive amounts of food and alcohol, make an 8-hour mixed tape that whips the crowd into an orgiastic frenzy of dance, and pray that no one pees in my living room.

What I can’t do – or rather, what I loathe doing – is plan events like weddings. I got married at city hall precisely because I’d rather set my teeth on fire than worry about center pieces and invitations.

This is where “you do you” comes in. I’m sure there are scads of people who wouldn’t devote an entire Saturday to hunting down a Partridge Family lunchbox, like I did.

 

According to everyone in the free world, I should already have started planning my kid’s bar mitzvah. It’s in November. Most mothers where I live would have already booked a summer face lift.

There will be a Saturday morning service at the temple, at which time my kid has to read his haftarah– a portion of the Torah.

It’s endless pages of hieroglyphics, and everytime he practices it, I marvel at his ability to learn a language that’s written right to left, in a completely different alphabet. Considering most people I know mangle this one.

There’s a small brunch-y reception right after the service,the kiddush, and then a big party that night. I have to decide what we’re serving at both those events and it has to be kosher, and what foods are kosher?! and did I forget to mention that my Ex used to call me “the Shiksah” because I don’t know jack shit about my own religion?

I should have already picked a venue. Places are booked a year in advance. But they won’t re-open CBGB’s to host a bar mitzvah, and beyond that, I don’t care.

 

A month ago, I was asked what my kid’s “theme” will be.

Theme? I was having a fun little fantasy wherein I begin every conversation at the party with “So, these adult diapers I’m wearing” and then this…theme thing happened.

I went into protective mode. I became a hedgehog whose life is threatened. I shot up my prickly spine and hissed and hoped it would all go away.

The decor and centerpieces are supposed to reflect said “theme” and I’m wondering if the theme can be “themeless.” Just like this blog.

My kid is looking forward to a party – after all, he’s been studying for 5 years – but he’s not invested in how elaborate it is. He did, however, also ask about the “theme.” HISSSSSS.

I have to pick out invitations and pre-invitation invitations, ‘Save the Date! notices. This locks people in so they can’t get a better offer at the last-minute and ditch us.

I have to decide who we’re inviting, and who we’re leaving out because we’re not inviting everyone we’ve ever known and I’m capping this bitch at 50 people.

We’ll need a DJ. But not JUST a DJ.

You need pyrotechnics and flashmob choreography. People hire entertainment companies, complete with girls dressed like rap video hoes, to get everyone shaking it on the dance floor. And to get air humped by pubescent boys.

 

Traditionally, the bar mitzvah boy has personalized yarmulkes (beaniescreated in his favorite color, with his name and date printed inside. Little Dude cannot make up his mind what color to have, and recently suggested rainbow-colored. Which would be convenient, if we were going straight from the bar mitzvah to the Gay Pride parade.

I need to wear grownup clothes to this. Not just one outfit – I’ll need TWO. One suitable for a morning service at the temple, and one for the party that night. I have to buy these because I DON’T OWN CLOTHES LIKE THAT.

I’ll probably break tradition and wear a rock tee-shirt and jeans to the party that night because (this is becoming my mantra for the event) WHO CARES? My kid is fine with that, but has already put me on notice that I have to wear something “mom-ish” to the morning service.

I’ve decided to purchase an expensive, tasteful dress at a local department store. I’ll wear it with the tags still on it, Febreze the shit out of the armpits and return it the day after.

 

 

My mother passed away last fall, and while going through her belongings, I found ancient family photos. One yellowed packet contained photos of my eldest brother’s bar mitzvah. It was right before my father died, leaving my mother a widow with six kids.

It’s the only bar mitzvah my family had, although I have no memory of it beyond these photos.

I am 3 years old in the pictures. I don’t remember my father, or the mother of those pictures. She is laughing and whirling. She is beautiful; her body svelte and her flaming red hair matching her red lips. She is holding a cigarette in slender fingers just like mine, elegantly photographed at some catering hall in the Bronx, I suppose.

I do remember my brother, although he too, is gone now. There’s one picture of him holding me, laughing. Behind us are our parents, who are smiling for the camera, but mostly for the day and the joy it held.

Everyone but me in that picture is gone.

All that remains is a faded analog reminder of a different era; a time when we were all still alive and together and happy.

 

My son deserves his day.

Tomorrow, I start planning.

 

Are you good at planning these events? Do you want to plan this one?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter  so I can have friends without leaving the house.

lion-blog revised

 

Little Dude recently received the date for his bar mitzvah, which will be in November of 2016.

We’ve decided to fly 150 people to Africa to go on a Wildebeest Migration Safari on the Serengeti. For the ceremony, LD will arrive on the back of an elephant surrounded by authentic members of the Maasai tribe.

The tribal leader will cry out the opening lyrics to “The Lion KIng,”

“NANTS INGONYAMA BAGITHI,

SITHI UHM INGONYAMA!!!”

 

I’ve hired animal trainers to help reenact the opening scene to the movie. Little Dude will be dangled over a cliff by a wizened baboon as the rest of the animal kingdom bows to him.

From there, he’ll recite Hebrew prayers so we can return to rented huts for champagne and bagels.

 

Jk.

 

A bar (or “bat” for girls) mitzvah is a Jewish coming-of-age ceremony. It celebrates graduation from Hebrew school and marks a child’s emergence into the adult world of Judaism,

Blah blah blah… everyone knows it’s really all about THE PARTY!

 

A photo album is made, just like a wedding album.

This is a typical staged photo from a 1960’s bar mitzvah album:

WLnCEWg

“Son, today you are a man. I present to you this family treasure. Your Grandfather, myself and now you will enjoy these fine ladies. Go forth and MASTURBATE.”

 

 

I recently shared on Facebook that one of my students had a Sweet Sixteen which cost her parents over $60,000. She hosted 300 people at an upscale, celebrity-studded restaurant in Manhattan. Each of her two dresses cost about $2500.

Her parents even hired Fetty Wap to appear. Fetty Wap, which sounds like the act of slapping someone in the face with a flaccid penis, is actually a super hot rapper with a slew of hits.

Nicki Minaj wasn’t available. She was booked for a bar mitzvah that day.

 

nikki minaj 2

Rich Catholic boys everywhere are now converting to Judaism

 

 

The truth is, even if we were billionaires, it would not be my style to throw a million dollar bar mitzvah for my kid.

Okay. Hold up.

If we were BILLIONAIRES, I might splurge and pay to restore what used to be CBGBs, and is now a John Varvatos store, to its former seedy glory as CBGBs for the night. And have the party there.

The point I’m trying (and failing miserably) to make is that it’s ludicrous to throw such extravagant parties for children. It stinks of entitlement and conspicuous consumption.

And all that money! Instead of throwing a 4 hour party, you could feed an entire starving Ethopian village.

 

Multimillionaire David H. Brooks spent TEN MILLION DOLLARS for his daughter’s bat mitzvah. The party was dubbed, “Mitzvahpalooza,” because Brooks had a stage built, brought in jumbotrons, and installed special concert carpeting.

He hired old AF musicians Steven Tyler and Joe Perry from Aerosmith, The Eagles’ Don Henley and Joe Walsh, Fleetwood Mac’s Steve Nicks, and Tom Petty. And since this was allegedly a party for kids, he also hired DJ AM, Ciara, and 50 Cent.

Kenny G serenaded the guests on sax during cocktail hour.

Kenny FUCKING G? I would have had to get naked wasted to block out the soulless horse excrement that Kenny G passes as music.

I wasn’t even a little bit sad to read that five years later, Brooks was found guilty of insider trading. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison but I still think his biggest crime was hiring KENNY WANKING G.

 

 

A huge trend is creating elaborate videos for the bar mitzah invitation. This one I posted below is MORTIFYING. I HAD to share this with you. It went viral, which now completely ruins for me the entire concept of “going viral.”

I don’t believe in being judgey about how people spend their money, or especially about kids and how they look or sound.

HOWEVER – I hereby temporarily retract that belief.

This kid is a chubby tone-deaf ginger with a voice that sounds like someone tied rubber bands around his balls. The icing on this cake of shame is that he strips to almost naked at the end.

This video doesn’t fill me with Judaic pride. It makes me want to tie this dingleberry to a chair and shoot him repeatedly with a BB gun.

 

Look, I can appreciate that kids want to mark their Judaism in a passionate and creative way. But these over-the-top theatrics make a mockery of the religion.

And distastefully extravagant affairs, of all kinds, seem to be merely a show of affluence and pointless one-upmanship. They’re driven by parents who want to prove that they’ve “made it” and exploit their children’s rites of passage as the vehicle

 

 

Most families, upon receiving the bar mitzvah date a year in advance, start planning in a frenzy. The mothers in particular go crazy, not just interviewing caterers and florists and DJs but also booking face lifts and personal trainers.

I won’t be hiring strippers to pole dance around my kid at his bar mitzvah. I recognize that he’s been working hard, attending Hebrew school since he was 8. So it will still be a celebration of all that he’s accomplished. But not something I need to start planning a year in advance.

I have, however, been threatening – for years – to perform Napoleon Dynamite’s entire talent show dance in front of a crowd.

Little Dude’s bar mitzvah might be just the place.

 

What the hell is going on with these parties?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

 

 

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I’m also on Instagram

dog at table

My ex sister-in-law hated me on sight.

It wasn’t because she felt no one was good enough for her brother. She just hates everyone. She’s an equal-opportunity hater.

The first time I met her, I was dating my Ex and was invited to spend Thanksgiving at her house.

Thanksgiving 1999. I walked in and Bang! CHAOS.

She was flapping around the tiny kitchen, which smelled like a skunk fucking a burning tire. She was wild-eyed; furiously puffing on a Marlboro Red and screeching at her husband and two-teenage daughters. Her two dogs were barking incessantly. Nothing was even close to ready. Pots and pans were bubbling and threatening to boil over on the stove.

I enjoy cooking and I’m the kind of guest who walks in, rolls up her sleeves, and pitches right in.

“Can I help you in here?” I offered.

“NO!” she barked at me in her gravely, man-sounding smoker’s voice. You know, like frog bones in a blender?

“You don’t just THROW a meal like this together,” she snapped at me, waving her arms in a grand sweeping gesture over her kitchen. It was jam-packed full of junk normal people throw out. Hoarders, The Thanksgiving Edition.

She then proceeded to whip potatoes like they stole something from her. She set the bowl of mashed potatoes on the table WHERE IT SAT FOR THE NEXT THREE HOURS UNTIL WE ATE. At that point, it had one of those nice “protective coatings” on top, and tasted like hobo urine.

My ex’s sister, aka Satan’s daughter is not only the Queen of Mean, she’s manipulative, jealous, castrating, hypochondriacal, and LOUD.

I haven’t heard her husband talk in over 15 years. Her crazy has muzzled him to where he communicates in hand gestures.

She’s obsessive about her dogs. She refers to them as her “non biological” children, and demands that they be treated as such. She expects Little Dude to refer to them as “his cousins.” YES, SHE DOES.

She has closets full of clothes for them. They go to temple wearing Yarmulkes. As soon as one yappy, bitter little dog dies, she replaces it with another. She has a seemingly endless supply of tiny mentally ill dogs who NEVER STOP BARKING NOT EVER NEVER.

She is obsessed with Elvis Presley and her latest non biological child is named “Miss Elvis Presley.” It’s a girl dog, dressed in little pinafores, that she carries around town and refers to as “Miss Elvis Presley.” She doesn’t like you to shorten the name, either. When you refer to the dog, you have to say, “excuse me, but Miss Elvis Presley just took a shit on my living room rug.”

She will not go anywhere without them.

Well, she doesn’t go anywhere. She is chronically ill with some mysterious ailment that prevents her from leaving the house ever, unless Macy’s is having a one day sale. She has missed every important family occasion, including (I SWEAR TO GOD) her own daughter’s wedding. An enigmatic bowel affliction leaves her unable to get off the toilet.

Two years ago, when I was still married, we had Thanksgiving at my house. I love to host holidays. and my Ex  sister-in-law’s turkey tastes like sanitary napkins. She’d pick at my food and pretend not to like a thing I cooked. Then she’d pack enough leftovers to save a starving Ubangi village and stuff her face with them the next day. According to her husband, who told me in sign language, she licks her fingers and murmurs to herself the entire time she’s eating them.

That particular year, her beloved dog was dying. He was gravely ill with only days to live. She lives about 20 minutes from us, but refused to come to my house unless she could bring the sick dog.

I understood. I wouldn’t want my dog to die alone, either.

However once at my house she insisted that he join us, and laid him on a pillow under the dining room table. His eyes were jaundiced; his breathing ragged and irregular. He bleated like  Chewbecca having an aneurism.

I prayed to God that he would live, at least through the meal. “Please God, I beg of you, do not let this dog die under my Thanksgiving table in front of my 10-year-old. He will never get over it.”

We did our best to enjoy the meal, but it’s hard to really dig in and celebrate heartily when you’re housing an outtake from Pet Semetary. Thankfully, her doggie lived through the meal and the next day, he went to the Great Kennel in the Sky.

The last time we all got together for a family occasion was about a year ago. My two nephews, (well, technically the Ex’s nephews) were now grown and able to drink legally. These are the other sister’s kids, and they have always known their aunt was kamikaze crazy.

But now, we were able to create a drinking game around it. Yippee! Every time my ex sister-in-law said something bizarre, offensive, ridiculous – we had to take a drink of wine.

We. Got. Schmammered.

And had to go back to the liquor store THREE TIMES to buy more alcohol.

This year, I may host an open house for Thanksgiving. You’re all invited, provided you leave any dying pets at home.

Do you have a crazy in law? What’s the weirdest Thanksgiving you ever had?
Will you bring lots of dessert to my house for the holidays?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

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Women Drivers SUCK

September 17, 2015 — 85 Comments
Dangerous Driving

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Look, lady in the parking lot,

I understand the frenzied pace of your suburban itinerary, as you hurtle from Nordstrom’s Anniversary sale to an anal bleaching appointment.

So why don’t you put down the cell phone, and use BOTH hands to wrangle your tricked-out Yukon XL Denali out of a tight parking spot? You forked over a lotta money to have motorized cup holders and tri-zone climate control. Why risk banging up your land yacht?

I’ve never EVER seen a man pull that move

I’m not saying there are no bad male drivers. But I’ve NEVER witnessed a man multitask at the wheel that hard. Women are famous for their extra car-ricular activities.

To be fair, I have seen men shave on their way to work. And I once saw a man in a fur collared overcoat brushing his teeth while negotiating the Belt Parkway. But this was Brooklyn, where proof that evolution can go in reverse lives strong.

I’m guilty of multitasking at the wheel, but only for the essentials. Finding a suitable playlist on Spotify, or downloading porn.

Women also get territorial over desirable parking spots. Men don’t circle over parking spots like vultures hovering over a desert carcass. Parking lots at upscale supermarkets in suburbia are treacherous. Put a gaggle of frenzied housewives in a crowded parking lot at dinner time and it becomes the gladiator amphitheatre at Pompeii.

 

Since I am a woman, it begs the question, does my driving suck? Well, let’s just say I’m an “aggressive” driver. Not in a hostile way. In a “slice through traffic because I have places to go” kind of way.

I always seem to get stuck behind these kind of people:

What a nice and sunny day, Martha, let’s drive super slow and listen to Enya.”

But Harold, this woman behind us seem like she’s obviously in a hurry. Shouldn’t we rather pull over and have some tea instead, so she can pass?

Oh, fuck YOU, Martha. I’m sick of your shit. Fuck your tea in its fucking face.”

 

I’ve gotten into more than my share of accidents. Not because I’m careless as much as distracted. I have gotten into accidents pulling out of my own driveway on three separate occasions. All because I forgot to open the garage door first. Oopsie.

I also have a tendency to side swipe the garage door jamb as I’m backing out and clip the passenger side rear view mirror. I’ve ripped that sucker off a few times. It has been suggested to me that I have some issues with my spatial sense.

Which is why I’m known as being “hard” on cars. I would never drive recklessly, particularly if my kid is in the car. But I’m not a baby about banging up against a curb while parking at a strip mall. I have things to do! Slurpees to buy! It’s just the front bumper of my car. It will survive.

 

I actually love to drive. I got my first car when I was 30,  which is also when I learned to drive. As a teenager, my first car was the bus.

Living in New York, there’s really very little need to own a car. My Ex got me my first car for Christmas when we were dating, so I could drive to his house in New Jersey. I went to driving school in the city, so I drive like a New Yorker. Which means I ignore lanes and cuss like an Armenian taxi driver.

I’m also a virtuoso parallel parker. That’s the only kind of parking that exists in Manhattan. Why do all the suburbanites get their dicks in a blender over parallel parking? How hard is it to:
1. Pull up next to the car in front of the spot.

2. Back up, aiming for the center of the spot.

3. Once your car is actually pointed at the center of the spot, straighten out.

It’s easy peezy, lemon squeezey. Why must Drivers Ed make a Wagnerian epic out of parallel parking, complete with those whore cones in some byzantine configuraion?

 

Perhaps women would get better at driving if they actually DROVE places. The majority of suburban women I know will drive locally, but that’s about it.

If I mention that I’m driving into the city with Little Dude for the day, women will ask me, “Alone?”

“No. I just said, I’m taking my kid.”  “But you’re driving YOURSELF? No MAN is driving you?”

 

What IS that? Is that some kind of learned helplessness? This whole phenomenon where women don’t want to drive long distances? It unnerves them if they have to drive over a bridge OMG and get on major highways.

Does having a labia prevent you from merging onto a highway?

I’ve driven long distances countless times. I can do the drive from New Jersey to Boston, which is where my BFF lives, with my eyes closed. As a matter of fact, I’ve driven it with my eyes closed.

Driving is freedom. I can throw my kid in the car, put on music, and go anywhere. I’ve done road trips as far as from New York to Florida. It’s unthinkable to me to depend on a Y chromosone to get places.

 

The idea that women drivers suck is not just a stereotype; or if it is, well, stereotypes exist for a reason, don’t they? It’s a globe trotting cliche. In South Korea, there are female – only parking spots, which are wider. They’re also outlined in pink and have a miniskirt logo.

 

People speculate constantly as to why men appear to be better drivers than women. One common belief is that men are better at focusing on a single task, while women are the better multi-taskers. although, not actually IN the car. There’s also the theory that men have a better spatial sense, which works for me and that ever widening smear of white garage paint on my front right bumper.

Personally, I think men are better drivers because they tend to enjoy the actual task of driving, whereas women just want to get to wherever they’re going. For men, it’s a journey. For women, it’s a destination.

In other words, it’s the opposite of how both genders feel about sex.

 

Do you think women drivers suck? How good of a driver are you?
Can you parallel park?
Are there any warrants for your arrest for unpaid traffic tickets?
Talk to me. I’m listening.