First Crush

June 30, 2011

Last fall my daughter started talking about a boy in her class who I’ll call Tom. Tom became a bit of a celebrity in our household, the mere mention of his name would cause my daughter to smile slyly and tilt her head to the side. It was almost enough to snap her out a bad move.

In typical preschool fashion Tom pretended he did not like my daughter crying whenever his mom and I suggested a playdate. My daughter would shout, YES YOU DO WANT A PLAYDATE WITH ME. Together they would have a great time, dressing in superhero costumes, playing hide and seek and running around.

When I visited the classroom in the Spring, I noticed Tom stopping his games to stare at my daughter from across the room when she had her turn to dance in the circle game. Despite his words, Tom liked my daughter. I have found him a bit whiny but if my kid is happy…

And sometimes those words were harsh. One time he said during a playdate, I wish you didn’t come over. My daughter recounted this to me without pain or frustration. Projecting my own insecurities I told her he did not mean it. Fortunately she took it in stride. In fact later when we were playing the Guess Who game, she described a friend who “doesn’t like it when I follow him around, is four years old and had a soccer birthday.” Tom!

Yesterday Tom and his older brother came over. We had such a wonderful evening swimming in the pool and then picnicing on the beach. The four and under crew got naked and ran in the water laughing with each wave.

Everyone was playing so well and since the weather was so beautiful, I let them stay up very late making bedtime more difficult because they were so overtired. This morning my daughter was again begging for a playdate again with Tom, after pleading for a sleepover. It was such a simple and delightful day it was worth it.

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Dr. Hmmm

June 28, 2011

I had written a post about my unusual attraction to rather older distinguished doctor I was seeing professionally. I’d lay on my back and he’d shoot saline into my tush and we’d talk about everything from our family’s internal real estate battles, vacations, relationships (mostly his), kids (mine, but not really) and so forth. In fact I would not bring up my two kids or husband frequently. Not so much because I was trying to hide them, but it was nice to have a relationship not tied to their identities.

One day he greeted me with a kiss on the cheek. So one day the doctor, knowing that I lived less than two avenues away suggested we get together one weekend. I said sure. Not quite knowing who he was expecting to join us on the weekend. First he said brunch then he mentioned something with the kids and his girlfriend’s dog. I let him program his number in my cell.

He called me a few hours later asking for the name of my real estate attorney and I texted him back. That felt kosher. The getting together, not so much. He knows I’m a married mother of two who has never mentioned or alluded to infidelity.

I hurt my back terribly and ended up visiting the doctor first two or three times a week, then once a week. One time he had me put my hand on his waist to see how I should properly walk with my push slightly protruding, another time I felt like the spray he uses to numb the area fell close down the gown sleeve and close to my chest. Instinctively I pulled away when he went to retrieve it even though there was no contact.

The most unusual/ uncomfortable incident was after my last visit. He had begun the conversation telling me of a fight with his girlfriend who wanted to be a muse. I didn’t care to hear the details of a lover’s spat and steered the conversation to how great it would be to a muse. I’d love to inspire art. When the session was over, he sat in his stool staring at me on the other side of the table in my fancy bra and underwear under the large maroon robe. We locked eyes and he said nothing.
So I said thank you.
He told me how much better shape I was in than when I had first hurt my back.
More awkward silence.
More thank yous from me.
More of him recollecting how much in pain I was.
Another thank you and he finally heads to the door, suggesting, as he often does that we get together one weekend. I think we may have shook hands in that awkward non business way above the table I dividing us.

It was so odd. Other than my fancy lingerie did I mislead him? Recounting this story here feels odd, as if there was an inappropriate exchange. I happen to love the trigger point injections for my back, although I fear I may be receiving too many of them, and would revisit him. I also happen to like him as an individual and a doctor.

Since I’m out of town for the summer and unlikely to see him for at least another month, I can exhale and not think about it (unless our paths cross when I’m visiting one of the other doctors in his office next week).


Unexpected Circumnavigation

June 27, 2011

Ever dream of taking a year off and traveling the world? Christi Garb did, and she and her husband actually bought a boat and did it. Her adventures chronicled in Unexpected Circumnavigation, a book I received as part of the From Left to Write Book Club.

I’ve travelled quite a bit, courtesy of my mom. Mostly she wanted company on her adventures everywhere from Cuba to India to the Galapagos to Nepal and more. Her boyfriend stopped joining her on vacations several years into their relationship when he did not fear her leaving him for being an armchair traveller.
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A Friendly Reference

June 23, 2011

When I met Pam (not her real name) my first year of boarding school, I was immediately smitten with just about everything: her wardrobe which in retrospect was a bunch of solid Gap shirts, her boyfriend (by Thanksgiving I was dating his roommate), her Grateful Dead collection and the way she navigated the school. After her graduation when she moved back to the Midwest we did not communicate regularly except for our annual birthday calls and occasional letters then emails, and a handful of reunions but she still held a special place in my heart.

As she shared stories of just how far she had fallen (rehab, abortions, suicide attempts) I just wanted to hug her and help. The hardest thing to forgive was not how she did not show up to my rehearsal dinner (after confirming) but when she left my wedding without saying hello, or good bye for that matter. I had spent more time than I care to admit on my honeymoon wondering what had happened.

Apparently one of the receptionists at the venue commented on the large tattoo across her chest. Had she wanted to avoid such attention, she should either not get a massive tattoo across her chest, or not wear a strapless dress. Her companions, friends from my high school felt uncomfortable, assuming that nobody spoke to them or offered a seat because they were black.

I have no desire to speak to the other girls who assumed my closest friends and family are all racist. But Pam. Pam. I hold such a special place in my heart for her. No matter how many horrible stories she has shared with me about poor choices she has made: living with a married man and his four children, a meeting a blind date at a motel and being assaulted, more suicide attempts, anorexia, a victim of stalking, drama upon drama.

After a nearly fatal car accident she had asked to borrow money, or rather invest in her lawsuit. I declined. Our relationship was complicated and strained enough and did not warrant another layer. As it lays now, about once a year she sends a long email (reminiscent of the long letters we would send each other on summer breaks) about her latest escapades and apologize for being out of touch and give her new phone number.

We had traded messages a few weeks or has it been months ago. Yesterday, I received a text asking me to be a personal reference on a housing form. I’m not sure how to respond.

I’m surprised she does not have friends closer – both geographically and emotionally. I think it we last spoke two years ago. I want to help but as a landlord myself I could not in good conscience be a reference. What could I say? She walked out of my wedding. I only know about her what details she shares including institutions to treat her eating disorders and alcohol abuse. I hardly think I am in a position to vouch for her character and I certainly would avoid getting into any financial dealings with her. But doesn’t somebody who has been through hell and back before her 35th birthday at least deserve a roof over her head?

So far I’ve ignored the request but I welcome any thoughts on how to respond.


Don’t Pry – If I Wanted to Share I would

June 17, 2011

I’m a pryer – or at least I used to be. I had little shame asking people about a scar or an accident. As I’ve grown and theoretically matured, I’ve become more discreet and tactful. I wish others would follow suit.

I’m going through a bit of a medical scare now. There’s a good chance it is nothing, and that is what I am focusing on. Of course since I was first given the news on Wednesday, I was emotional confiding in a few immediate family members and the friend with whom I had a lunch date. But my nanny saw me wipe tears from my eyes and she has been politely asking if everything is okay. I had to coordinate with the back up babysitter because I’m not sure how much help I will need me as my husband basically admitted he will be a ghost given his job demands.

She has been more specific in her questioning. What’s going on? I’m dying to know how you are? You seem so distracted. I know it is all in good faith. I explained I’m not ready to talk about it, but once I am, ideally next week, I will fill you in on everything. Please help me get through the next few days.

My conversation with my grandmother was similar.
-What’s happening?
-Grandma, I don’t want to get into it now. I’m a bit emotional. I’ll know more next week and will tell you then.
-But everything is fine?
-I don’t know grandma. I’ll know more next week.
-What tests are you having done?
-I don’t want to talk about it.

Rationally I can understand that these people care, or like to gossip, and they are struggling with my privacy. I know this is all making more irritable than I’d like to be, to the point I refused to be the liaison between two doctors’ offices communicating my medical history. I explained to one receptionist, I’m trying to be polite, I’ll get them on the phone, but I don’t have it in me to communicate yet again with this office.

I’m ready to terminate my relationship with my personal trainer. We often meet once a week but now that summer is here and I’m out of town frequently and I threw my back out, our appointments have been sporadic. He sends me a text “I’m worried you are not exercising.” I wrote back, “Thanks, I’m concerned about my medical tests.” He responds, “What tests?” I just think it is such a crass way to inquire about a sensitive subject. Part of me thinks I should never talk to him again, or respond with something snide, and the other part knows to wait until I calm down before I say something I may regret. I certainly have enough things to worry about before considering my trainer.

And I know whatever happens, worst worst case scenario, I’m still incredibly fortunate and I will be okay.

Update: The preliminary tests came back with great news. I’m still awaiting the final report, but I can definitely exhale now.


Five Lazy Shortcuts

June 12, 2011


I begrudge my nanny when I see her a new level of laziness. They say the things you love and hate about someone are reflections of what you love and hate about yourself. In this case, I hate that I too am incredible lazy. Some shortcuts I take that I am not proud of include:

1) I still drink from the carton. I try not to do it in front of my kids or the nanny, but if I need to swallow a pill or get a quick swig of something I will open the fridge and gulp directly from that Tropicana container. Most of the time I do close the fridge door (something my husband does not do. The waste of electricity drives me slightly more insane).

2) I don’t change the toilet paper roll. I usually prop a fresh roll on top of the empty roll. If it sits there for a few days, I’ll change it and intend to bring the cardboard to my kid’s school for an art project. Usually it ends up in the recycling bin.

3) I don’t always recycle. As an armchair environmentalist I encourage people to reuse reduce recycle, turn off lights in an empty room, don’t run the water during pre-shower dawdling (Husband!), and close the refrigerator when not actively sticking head inside to look for new items. Sometimes when I order delivery (often) and I forget to tell the restaurant I don’t need utensils (regularly) after I stuff my face I don’t thoroughly rinse out the plastic or metal containers for the recycling bin. I may do a perfunctory rinse leaving oil and some rice kernels before tossing in the recycling center or if rinse is so mediocre dropping directly into the trash chute. I’ve also been known to trash empty bottles into public garbage when a recycling option is not readily available. I’m not proud of this, but I still do it.

4) I don’t listen to voicemails. With the iPhone I can edit which messages I listen to in the order of my choosing. When I click on a message, the status bar immediately tells me the length of a message. Those two minute ramblings from my super I MAY listen to if I have earplugs when I’m waiting in line at say the post office but most of the time I will just return the call with the anticipation that he will repeat everything left on my message anyway, saving me the trouble of enduring the ramblings two times.

5) Walking that extra block. Many times I may have a check sitting in my wallet and rather than walk an extra two blocks to the bank to deposit it, I don’t. Same thing with going to my local PO Box (Full disclaimer: My post office has the WORST hours opening at 10 am on weekdays). This usually results in me having to walk twice the distance at a more inconvenient time to attend to the minor errand. Lazy people do work twice has hard!


Apartment Update

June 11, 2011

After spending twice as long and twice as much as budgeted, my new bathroom is complete. I say, with humility, it looks great. I’m quite proud of the design but I cannot take full credit as my amazing gay architects helped me design, pick out tiles, and approve fixtures. The entire experience was quite emotional because if I had my mom I would not need to hire the professionals. But apparently enough people do not have an opinionated and stylish mother to help them decorate or there would not be so many designers or interior decorators.

Now is the fun part of updating the furniture in the apartment to better fit the new space.

I found a great website Fab.com. It’s one of those flash sale sites like Groupon but for designer items. I have high hopes for the site founded by the CEO of Design Within Reach and someone else with great aesthetics. After buying one print and being tempted by several other items, I recommend joining!

At a school auction, I recently won a two hour design consultation with an interior decorator. She and her assistant came over and gave me great advice on how to update the space while still being conscious of my budget. She was not in favor or ripping out my kitchen, or even changing the tile, just refinishing the cabinets, replacing some appliances, updating the lighting and installing a backsplash.

I did find an amazing drop leaf dining table/console that I love. I originally found it on an antique dealer website listed from $3,900 or $9,800. I considered swallowing that $3,900 price because the alternative table I liked from Design Within Reach (of millionaires) was $2,900 plus tax and delivery. Then I flirted with the idea of getting a table made until I found the same 1960s table I loved on Craigslist in Virginia. I’ve been going through a bit of a charade dealing with the owner who inherited the table from her mother in law and arranging delivery but it looks like it could happen this week. The same week that my younger cousin is moving to Brooklyn and can inherit my current table and chairs. Whoo hoo! I know this adventure of getting the table half off and dealing with a cast of characters is the type of thing my mom would relish. Fingers crossed it all works out with the moving company, the current owner and my cousin.

With each purchase I gain more confidence in my decisions. But many times I feel the need to email my sister or interior design friend or architect for their approval. The interior decorator said I could email her ideas but I don’t think she realized how indecisive I can be and after the second email with four bench options she stopped responding. I feel a part of me is pestering when I ask professionals for opinions so I try to limit my requests. It’s just one of those things that my mom would have considered with pleasure, and maybe even do a little research on her own. I guess I should be grateful my husband has little interest or opinion in decorating, giving me free reign to make decisions.