This was taken in the bathroom at The Nitty Gritty in Madison, WI. A great place for burgers, this is also apparently someplace that takes hand washing very seriously. I love how they are anything but serious about the way in which they encourage the practice.
Monthly Archives: August 2010
“Mom, when are we going to go and get my stuff?”
That was the question in the last dream I had before I woke up. And there I was lying in bed thinking of what a busy day I had today and how guilty I felt that I did not have time to go with him to ‘get his stuff’.
Until I realized that there was no stuff to get (we had surely ‘gotten’ more ‘stuff’ over the past 4 days than humanly possibly). AND there was no Danny.
Yes, kiddies, after a year of ‘lasts’ and goodbyes ad nauseum as each of his friends left for college, my boy finally left too. Taking pride in being a family that is not prone to drama we were about on our last nerve until the moving day finally came. It feels like he has been going for so long I wonder why I felt so shocked this morning that he was actually gone.
So here is the thing; it comes in waves. When you think you have totally got your shit together and you know your kid is ready – and frankly so are you(ish) – it grabs you around the chest and chokes you so can barely breathe. You know it is time for him to move on to start his LIFE (note the caps) and time for you to discover the next phase of yours. Of course you know all this!
And then there is that moment. Like the one in the Starbucks on State Street while I was ordering Shaken Iced Tea Lemonades and they had the nerve to play Cat Stevens Father and Son:
It’s not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy.
You’re still young, that’s your fault,
There’s so much you have to go through…
And there was my boy, sitting in the dim light at the back of the Starbucks with the sunlight streaming in through the window shining an eery glow around his silhouette. There he was with his scruffy beard and his Allman Bros. t-shirt and I realized that I had no choice but to let him go… for real.
And yes, I did start to cry right then and there in the Starbucks on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin. And no he was not all that happy with me but he did get it. Because he knew that by the end of the weekend when we left him and his sister, we would be leaving half our family halfway across the country. And there is simply nothing easy about that.
… Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away.
There is a strange phenomenon that surrounds my business. I get insanely busy right before I am flying somewhere. This week was no different. It seems anyone who has ever even considered giving me work decided to call this week. And of course they were all rush jobs. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to be busy. In fact, when things get slow I have thought about buying a plane ticket and consider it just the cost of doing business.
It always starts like this, “I have something I need. It’s easy.” Right off the bat, you should be scared when you hear that line. Let me translate, that means, ” It is really rush and I know you never say no and you will save my butt on this one and you know I really appreciate it.” Sometimes it also is a set-up for the, “I don’t have much of a budget” line. This week I got away without that one.
What I always say around midnight the day before I am flying out of here, ‘One woman’s time off is another woman’s hell.’ So a big thank you to Ivy for being the woman in hell this time. I hope today left you in decent shape. And if not, you know I am hopeless wired.
Off to move the boy into the dorms. If you hear about some insane NY mother in a Wisconsin Bed, Bath & Beyond being taken off in a straight jacket from big box store overload, muttering something about floor lamps or not taking shoe organizers seriously… that would be me.
(For those of you expecting a Time to Cry about sending my boy off to college this week… no can do. He is still here and the mantra is ‘hold it together’, so wait till next week for that one.)
Saturday night made me remember all the reasons why I love to be a New Yorker. This is a town like no other, and this particular night proved why being born and raised here is still something to be proud of.
Citi Field, a perfect summer evening and a unique sort of show that could only be dreamed up in the city that never sleeps. We went thinking this would be a fun sort of evening, a little barbeque tailgating with great friends and $10 tickets to see a movie about the Billy Joel concert that closed Shea. What could be bad about that? Little did we know what a gem of a film we were about to see.
I will not claim to be either an avid Mets or Billy Joel fan but I will tell you that this film made me realize what a huge part they both played in my coming of age.
Shea Stadium was that big ugly building that let me know we were almost home after a long road trip as a child. A place where my parents took us to see our first baseball game. Billy Joel’s music played as the backdrop to my adolescence. All the milestones of growing up were marked by the history that this film so elegantly illustrated. Sports, music, joys and sorrows that New Yorkers have endured through the 40+ year history of a man’s career and the stories of a Stadium and a team.
1965. The Beatles played Shea. I was 6. Do I actually remember it on TV in my house or is that memory of the retelling? Hard to say.
1969. All I could think of was kids listening to that game on transistor radios walking home from school with friends.
1986. Game 6, we were painting my friends kitchen in her new house and screaming at the game.
2001. September 21st. I still get chills at the thought of a New York still numb in a post-9/11 stupor; grieving as one family at the horror we had witnessed, as Piazza hit that 2-run homer that felt like hope. Maybe there was a chance we could think of living again.
And woven in between the stories of Billy Joel’s career were stories of the lives of Shea like Pete Flynn, the groundskeeper who not only drove The Beatles to the stage in a Cadillac in 1965, but then drove Paul McCartney to the stage again to close the Billy Joel concert that last night. And of course Billy, who stood humbled on the stage, in awe of being chosen to close that icon of a stadium that he too had grown up with. As he said, ‘Hey, I haven’t put out a new body of music in almost 15 years and this place is filled tonight. Thank you all.”
What a night. The world’s biggest drive in filled with the world’s greatest fans. And they cheered, and teared up. And breathed a collective sigh of appreciation at the end for a beautiful night out in NY. Nothing fancy. Nothing expensive. Just deliciously nostalgic and inspiring in its spirit of hopefulness.
As Paul McCartney ended the show with Let it Be, it was hard to think of anything else more to say.
Stay tuned for the full post on the most amazing Saturday night. We saw The Last Play at Shea, a must see film simultaneously chronicling the history of Shea Stadium, the Mets and Billy Joel‘s career. More about this on Tuesday.
Tonight’s post is about a moment. One that took place right in the middle of an annoying sequence of events that led us to the ticket office at Citi Field due to bad computer print-outs. We were waiting patiently for the sweet, but very slow moving woman behind the counter to give us new, scan-able tickets when another guy in front of us went into a scene that was too good to be true. It made me realize at that moment, THIS was the reason that our tickets were screwed up (not a printer in urgent need of print head cleaning).
He said to the girl behind the counter that was certainly too young to know what the hell he was talking about, “You’ll remember my name, right? It’s Jeff Unger. You know, like Felix Unger, only I am truthfully a lot more like Oscar Madison.”
That was all I had to hear. Gary and I are HUGE Odd Couple fans. When I turned to look at him he gave me that exaggerated Ohhhhhhhh sort of face like the Little Rascals and then promptly broke into the following song from the Odd Couple. (one of our favorites). Sometimes you are simply in the right place at the right time.
Sometimes I cannot believe my good fortune. When I saw this sign coming off the parkway was one such time. Funny, but I get off at this exit all the time and never processed this. Perhaps it was the red Ferrari front and center that made me focus.
If I did not have a camera I would have had to go back. Nothing worse than a missed opportunity. Like the other day when there was a guy on a motorcycle making a turn off the main road I was on…
wearing a viking helmut. I am still mad I did not make the turn and follow him. What a picture that would have been!
Nope can’t make this stuff up.
Talk about overzealous patriotism. I am not sure what would possess someone to paint this on the back of their truck. Do we really need more hostility on the road? Do we need to shove the U. S. of A. down the throats of immigrants, visitors or citizens for that matter?
Is is not enough to simply ‘like’ this country. In this era of facebook the word ‘like’ has a pretty positive connotation. It crosses the board of things we love, like, just simply think we are aligned with…
I felt compelled to wait to see who got into this truck. But then I was a little afraid that if I did not love the shirt he was wearing he would have told me to get the hell out of the parking lot.
I love the names of nail polish colors. Sometimes I will pick one just because of its name. This could be my favorite of all times. Riki was wearing this on her fingers (way too bold for me) and when she told me the name it was a near obsession.
I always wonder what the department that names these must be like. When I first graduated from art school I had the lofty design job of working in the graphics department of a major lingerie company. You know those ridiculous bra tags that hang right in the middle making it impossible to see how they fit? Yeh, well I designed those. Very rewarding. And equally rewarding was the job of this woman, Fay, who worked in office next door to us, chain smoking and making up lingerie color names all day long. Picture this if you will:
Fay walks into the room puffing on a butt and in a scruffy voice that could only be compared to Harvey Fierstein, she would ask, “What do you think of wisteria?”
Well, you know, as a vine it is not bad but I am not thrilled with the fact that it attracts bees. Oh, you meant for a bra color. Yeh, sure, ok.
I have been wearing Beach Party for quite awhile because, well because I love to have a beach party on my feet. But A Good Mandarin is Hard to Find… can’t beat that one. Even the manicurists were giggling at the name.
Hold on to your kleenex, kiddies, we are in countdown mode till the youngest child goes off to college. I will spare the drama, but this post had to be written.
Those who are walking down this road with me, we all know that this will be the fall of doing whatever the hell we want. And that surely does ease the pain of letting go. But every so often there is a moment. One that gets stuck in your throat and makes it just a little harder to breathe than you would like.
This past weekend I got my boy back for a few short days between counselor at camp and freshman at college. As we pulled into the zip code he had just enough time to shower before we were off to a 5 family farewell dinner with some of ‘his boys’.
Of course we had to torture them with the cameras a bit. But I am pretty sure that this post will make them glad that we did. For in picture number one below, you will find some of the very same smiles as picture number two. They may be hard to find, what with the facial hair and the hunky builds (I knew you guys would love that one), but they are the very same smiles that kept us moms going all these years.
We cheered at the sidelines for all these athletes, and of course virtually for our ‘mathlete’. We have lived through your joys and disappointments together as a community of families as if each and every one of you were our very own; because in essence you were.
We let you puke on our couches (as little ones) and in our cars (as not so little ones). Our homes were all yours, and of course so were our fridges and pantries. Never once did our love for you fail, even when your judgement sometimes did. The friendships you have shared through these years are nothing to be taken lightly.
May you always know the feeling of someone having your back the way you have here with each other. And may your moms survive this without putting you over the edge.
I love you all. Now go out and be all you can be.
And for G-d’s sake, be careful!
Oh, and of course remember to come back and eat me out of house and home whenever your hearts’ desire.