Tuesday, April 29, 2014

(Un)Happy Feet

I really need to get my self-care on.

The thing that really tipped me off is that all these other women are gallivanting around with fresh pedicures and new sandals, and I’m over here shredding paper with my ignored-all-winter feet.

Not only that, but I have some real old lady problems starting to develop south of the ankle. I’m talking bunions, calluses and—God forbid—warts. I also noticed a rather pronounced pronation when I tried to wear fake Ugg boots, ended up seeing a podiatrist, and left with orthotics.

This morning I tried to take matters into my own hands and use a callous remover to shave a plantar wart off my foot. This wart has become my nemesis. It causes me serious stress, standing in the way of me and a glorious, new flip-flop debut with a nice pedicure.

So I decided to fix it. Only I went a little too far, and, well, let’s just say the result was a blood bath akin to the shower scene in Psycho. It seemed innocent enough, but this one, tiny area opened up and I thought God was punishing me with some sort of blood-plague for judging the other pretty-pedied women while all I can manage to pull off by the way of sandals are Keens and Birkenstocks. That’s fine for a while, but this hippie stuff can’t go on forever. Eventually, Momma’s gonna need a sexy heel without my Achilles heel—this damn wart—bringing me down.

I’ve been avoiding treating the wart because it seems like a lot of work. Per my doctor, I should brush this smelly compound solution on it every day and—wait for it—cover the whole thing with duct tape. All the time. Unless I’m in the shower.

Am I being punk’d? Duct tape? I can’t wear a sexy summer sandal if I’m going around looking like the Tin Man from the ankle down.

At least now, for some reason, decorative duct tape is a really big draw for girls’, ages 7—14, who like to spiff up their lockers, notebooks, backpacks, and other belongings. A quick search of my 7-year-old’s junk drawer yielded two different rolls of duct tape, which I aim to use in the coming days: a pink and black zebra print and the Minions from Despicable Me. These stylish finds have me happier than Pharrell Williams every time he turns on the radio.

I’m committed to working on this religiously until I hit the beach in roughly five weeks. If it doesn’t work, you can blame my podiatrist.

She’ll be the one confined to her office chair with Minion duct tape while Pharrell’s Happy plays on a continuous loop in the background.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Have Van, Will Travel

Last year, we were packing the car for a family vacation, when the kids expressed concern that they were cramped in the back seat.

By “expressed concern,” I actually mean complained loudly to me while their father was busy packing the trunk as though it were a 5000-piece Ravensburger puzzle.

“I don’t have any room!”

“Get your feet off my side!”
“Mommy! She’s touching me!”
“Do we have to hold the beach chairs in our laps?!”
“I just don’t get the fuss,” I lectured, as we packed the Ford Taurus to the max, shoving duffle bags in-between the three of them. They could barely buckle their seatbelts without giving one another crippling wedgies.
“We’ll be fine,” I said cheerily. “We’ll play the License Plate game. Just like when I was a kid.”
Then we drove a sedan twelve hours to the beach. And back.
I hadn’t even so much as shaken the sand out of the beach towels before I was test driving vans off the nearest car lot.
That is all a distant memory now because of The Van. The Van changed everything.
From the minute we traded in our former ride, we’ve been traveling in style. Nothing squeaks, squeals or leaks. When I drop the kids off at school, I feel like I’m rolling up in a limo—where everyone has space, and no one has to prop their legs up on a cooler from here to North Myrtle Beach. Sometimes, I try to flash the other mommies in nice vans a secret hand symbol, but they seem to think I'm flipping the bird. Again.
The Van is clean. Due to my strongly-worded speech to everyone who enters it, the outside of The Van remains white and shiny, and the inside—oh, the inside—is totally void of the errant French fries and Capri Sun stains that sullied the old car. I found a half-empty Sonic drink in a cup holder the other day and almost had to take a Xanax.
But the piece de resistance of The Van is something I thought I would never, ever succumb to: the DVD player.
That’s right, another screen for the kids to stare at. Yes, we went there. It has been featuring Disney's Frozen on a constant loop for weeks. But what do I care? I also bought 3 wireless headsets.
Don't judge.
Say what you want about it, but I’m telling you, on a recent holiday road trip, that DVD player was the only thing keeping me from impaling myself on a mile marker.
But somewhere between Lexington and Nashville, I popped Annie into that DVD player and things got quiet. I glanced in the rearview mirror to find all three kids crammed into the third-row seat, snuggled under the same blanket and watching together.
I guess being packed in tight with your siblings isn’t always such a hard knock life after all.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Who knew it would take the finale of How I Met Your Mother to get me back on blog duty?

But, kids, there is much to say, and this is where I get to have mine. (Also, I listed my blog on a bio for something over at a humor writers’ site and I don’t want the Erma Bombeck people there to think I’m resting on my laurels, lying around and watching sitcoms.)

But, seriously! What an ending, right?

I liked it. I found it a satisfying wrap for the gang at MacLaren’s.

Ted ends up with Robin. I saw this coming, even from episode one, and I rooted for it through all nine seasons, without sway. I’ll admit, when Cristin Milioti came along, especially when she sang La Vie en Rose while Ted listened just inches away, it was tempting to imagine she and Ted together forevs.

But, for Ted, it was always Robin. If I may borrow some language from that OTHER show that ran for a decade about a tight-knit group of New Yorkers who like to hang out at their favorite local watering hole, “She’s his lobster.”

Ten years ago, barely a year before Ted met Robin, we waited with bated breath to see if Ross would indeed end up with Rachel. And we all know what happened. She got off the plane.

So, why the kerfuffle over Ted and Robin?

I mean Ross was married and divorced three times before he and Rachel finally ceased “taking a break” forever and got together. And we celebrated.

Like HIMYM, Friends featured an adorable couple who we knew would survive the long haul. It featured a sex addict whose sad choices to have indiscriminant sex with hundreds of women was made “cute” because, well, again, the characters are fictional. Of course, there was Phoebe.  And, it featured a decade-long question mark over whether or not, in the end, the meant-to-be couple was truly meant-to-be. While Friends was moving on from the West Village, things were heating up on the Upper West Side for Teddy West Side and the gang.

In my world of sitcom happily-ever-afters, Ted and Robin are together. Yes, Ted loved the mother (who we now know as Tracy) and, honestly, we all did. She was awesome. And then (Thanks for keeping it real, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas!) she died.

Really, the idea that she died is no less believable than the idea that we could expect womanizing sex addict Barney Stinson to be able to sustain a faithful marriage without in-patient treatment and years of therapy. But the entire group would need to sober up to stage THAT intervention, wouldn’t they?

And let’s face it: the only reason we could even tolerate a character as foul as Barney is because Neil Patrick Harris is the most winsome individual ever to grace the planet and we forgive him instantly for his indiscretions. Anyone else (maybe even the way-less adorable Joey Tribbiani), we would knee in the crotch and hate forever. NPH makes Barney lovable.

He reeled us in one final time when he uttered those sweet, sweet words to his new daughter only moments after behaving like an ass in the waiting room. It’s the way of Barney. We allowed it for nine years. We have to let him keep being Barney. Even still, we can believe that he goes on to love his child and Suit Up while Manning Up.

In my romantic, love-never-gives-up heart, Ted and Robin were meant to be. I’ve always rooted for love for my favorite characters. Of course I love (and relate to) Lily and Marshall. I wanted Rachel with Ross. I wanted Loralai with Luke. I wanted Kurt with Blaine. I even wanted Joanie with Chachi. (I’ve been watching sitcoms for a long time.)

But people seem to feel duped that Ted ended up with Robin.

Um, haaaaaave you met Ted?

Ted has loved the mother without a trace of duplicity. He said of her, void of usual sitcom cheesy comedy:

 “If I hadn’t gone through Hell to get there, the lesson might not have been as clear. You see kids, right from the moment I met your mom, I knew I have to love this woman as much as I can for as long as I can and I can never stop loving her even for a second. I carried that lesson with me through every stupid fight we ever had, every 5 AM Christmas morning, every sleepy Sunday afternoon, through every speed bump, every pang of jealousy or boredom or uncertainty that came our way. I carried that lesson with me, and I carried it with me when she got sick. Even then in what can only be called the worst of times, all I could do was thank God, thank every God there is or ever was or will be and the whole universe and anyone else I could possibly thank that I saw that beautiful girl on that train platform and that I had the guts to stand up, walk over to her, tap her on the shoulder, open my mouth and speak.”

Ted kept believing in love and found it.

Even through heartbreak, in the end, the man who made it rain delivered a blue French horn to an apartment in Brooklyn.