Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Sometimes it's heaven sent. then we head back to hell again. We kiss and make up on the way.
I hang up, you call. We rise and we fall. And we feel just like walking away.
But as our love advances, we take second chances. Though it's not a fantasy, I still want you to stay.

I felt a freedom yesterday, that I had not felt in some time. The summer drained me. The girls became a chore. Not something I was happily involved in. Each day, I had spent just waiting for bed time. Yesterday, with the arrival of school, and two of my three girls being gone all day, gave me hope. I started to see a sliver, a tiny itty bitty light, at the end of a very dark tunnel for myself. Childcare, is draining. Taking care of my girls is sometimes, extremely unenjoyable. I just muddle through sometimes. I go to bed each night, and pray, and promise, to be a better mother tomorrow, but it never happens. Yesterday, I felt like a better mother. I was happy to send the girls off. I made them a yummy breakfast, and packed their lunches, and dressed them, and took pictures, and David and I took them to the bus stop, and waved goodbye.
I had one baby with me. All day. The house was quiet. Molly and I had a happy day together. I loved being with her all alone. She is beautiful, and loving, and funny. She loves me. I can see it in her eyes. She adores me. It is a nice way to spend the day. Being adored by a tiny creature, who cannot talk to you.
Even driving...I felt free. I felt happy. I feel hopeful about our future. I am unsure why. We are in a bit of a pickle financially, and my marriage is really strained. I was listening to John Legend in the car, and heard those above words sung by his beautiful voice, as he plays piano. I was crying as he sung them.
I want everything to just be ok.

Monday, August 30, 2010

1st day

1st day of school. Charlotte began kindergarten today. Olivia started 2nd grade. They just left a little while ago. Together on the bus. I thought I would jump for joy, but my heart began to beat fast, and I wanted to go on the bus, and take them both off of it, and go home, and just get in bed with them. I want to hide with them, under the blankets, and keep them little. It is both a moment filled with pride, and disbelief, and amazement. Small beings, removed from my body, walking and talking, and yelling, and being rude, and cracking jokes. I am amazed how one simple act can lead to human beings. It seems that there should be more steps involved. Certain movements, when the moon is full, during special times of the year, followed by chants, or dances...something other than the simple act that leads to these creatures. These beautiful, ever changing people.
My house is so quiet. I have Molly here with me. She is still so little, but even that is changing quickly. My life, I realize, right at this very moment, is changed forever. My time with Charlotte being home with me is over. I was sad when Olivia started Kindergarten, but I believed that when Charlotte did the same, I would be happy. We have issues, she and I. We don't get along so well most of the time. Tender moments between us are few. It makes me sad, but if she did not resemble David so much, I would believe I was given the wrong child at the hospital. She has nothing of mine that I have been able to see. Yet I sit here, and I feel so nervous for her. I feel worried for the day that lays ahead for her, and her ability to handle it.
I feel nervous for the new day that lays ahead for me, and the new life I will have, that just started an hour ago, and my ability to handle it.
Ever changing.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I had carefully dressed. High black boots, and small black fishnets. A short black dress, topped with a matching black pea coat. My skin was glowing, and my hair pulled back. I looked like "That girl". I looked great, and felt beautiful.
 I went down to Union Square, and to the bar. It was crowded. Tons of people, after work, on a Friday night. I was waiting for my friend. I ordered a drink. I took out my purse, and lit a cigarette. I smoked, and sipped my drink. I felt confidant. I felt like the  room got a little more exciting upon my entry into it.
I looked to my left. Down the long bar, there was a man. He was staring at me, and smiling. He did not take his gaze off of me. I became shy. I looked away, but when I looked back, he was still staring. Staring and smiling. He was very handsome. He had a nice smile.  He was flirting with me.
I looked away. When I looked back, he was gone. I craned my neck to see where he had gone, but there was no sign of him. I felt warmth. I felt someone close. I turned, and he was standing before me. He was smiling. He told me he saw me from across the room, and was leaving, but could not let the opportunity of meeting me slip away. He wanted to take me out. He wanted to know me. He told me I was beautiful. He gave me his number, and asked me to please call him. He knew of an outdoor garden, in the East Village, where we could have dinner.
Outside of my window is a mama deer, and her two babies. She looks straggly, as this time of year, their fur does strange things, in preparation for winter. Her babies are not quite grown, but big enough for the upcoming cold season. It will be here before you know it. They still have their spots. They are certainly beautiful.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I sat in a chair last night, and I cried. I could not make it stop. In my lap was my little Molly. She sat and watched me cry. She looked sad, and concerned. She took the tissue from my hand, and began to wipe my tears. She kissed me over and over, and stood up in my lap, and hugged my head, so tightly. It made me cry more. It was beautiful, and pure. Innocent, and filled with sincerity. I have not felt that much love and comfort, physically, in some time. Yet it made my heart break. My 15 month old baby girl was comforting me. It shouldn't be this way. Yet her love and comfort felt so good.
I was unable to sleep last night. I would begin to drift off, and worry would make my heart begin to race. It kept happening, for hours. I prayed. I begged God, and every dead relative to help me.  Help all of us. I was tired. I wanted to end the day. The terrible day.
 I began to envision myself walking down a long boardwalk, through the dunes, stretching out to the ocean. The waves were violent, yet the sky was blue, and the wind was brisk. It was cool. I was alone. My hair was down, blowing, getting caught in my nose as I breathed. I came to the end of the boardwalk. I put my bare foot onto the cold sand. It sinks, and as I begin my stride, I feel the small tendons on the back of my toes stretch painfully with each step. The sand squeaks around my heels. Each step, painful stretching. I am walking, against the wind. Pushing my body forward against this invisible force, and feeling the pain of each step I take, in this beautiful place.
I read something yesterday my old roomate from college wrote. She was writing about sitting at the bedside of her dying 90 year old grandmother. Waiting with her, for death to come. Her grandmother was mostly senile. While she slept, my roomate heard her grandmother call out her Mama's name. While she lay dying, she cried out for the memory of the comfort of her Mama's loving arms. Even at 90, and the memory so far away, she yearned for her Mama. This thought haunted me all day.
I am alone. I have no one to help me through this. No friend, no family, no partner. I am guilty of expecting too much. I am guilty of putting my life in someone's hands. I am guilty of forcing my expectations onto other's. I am guilty of walking blindly, against an invisible force, and not noticing the pain of each step. I am guilty of not taking action. I am guilty of hoping for the promise of a better day, and not seeing that it is not coming. I am guilty of believing. I am guilty of accepting the unacceptable.
The leaves are beginning to turn here. The light has changed. The place is the same, yet the elements that sourround me are not looking like they once were. I fear my time here, in this home, and this place in my life, will not be the same when the hummingbirds return next May.
I will look out my window, and watch the change.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


When David got home from work last night, he called the electric company. He wanted to tell them that he was going to be able to send them money next week, on his next payday. They wouldn't budge. If we did not pay them last months bill, and this months, totaling $523.00, our electric would be shut off today. I panicked. David looked like he was going to have a stroke. He called his Dad. His Dad didn't have the money. I thought..OK, we will be in the dark. We will have to barbeque all of our meals. How will I bathe the baby? The water will be cold. School starts next week. How will the girls be properly cared for, and fed, and bathed, with no lights, and no hot water? How can I ensure that they will have a proper breakfast, and lunch? What kind of irresponsible parent am I?
I called my cousin. The last person in the world who should have had to deal with my crap. She is reeling in pain from the loss of her mother, and I have to call her, and heap my own bullshit onto her pile. I had no other person to ask. I called my cousin yesterday morning, just to talk. It had been over a week, since her mother's funeral, and I wanted to just see how she was doing. I left a message. Now I was calling back, to beg for help. I thought my first phone call to her must have seemed not sincere. The timing was just awful. That is what sucks about having to ask for help. Having to put your hand out, and ask for money. It is humiliating, and degrading. It made me, and continues to, make me feel like a bad person.
My lights are on. My cousin helped me. I wept all night for having to make that call. I am ashamed. I feel awful for having to bother her with my problems. I am tired of this life. I am sick of being the helpee. I want to be the helper. I don't want people to look down upon me, and David.
My mother told me over the weekend that my sister is going away for her 20 year anniversary to Nantucket. Funny, I thought. I just spoke to her, and she never mentioned it. In fact, I asked if that was it for the summer for her, as far as going away, and she said yes, it was. My mother told me, "Well, I guess she didn't want to make you feel bad". So, people speak to me, and give me the edited version of their lives, as to not make me feel bad? People are talking to me differently?
David spoke to my father over the weekend, over a fight I had with my Dad. He wanted to discuss the matter with my Dad. My Dad disagreed with David, and instead of discussing the matter, he said to David, "We have helped you a lot". So, David is not free to speak his mind, or disagree with my father, because he has helped us? Are we now having to hold our tongues, and keep our thoughts, and opinions to ourself, because we have been on the receiving end of help? Is that how it works? Shut up and be grateful? You are in no position to talk back? I think it is. Not only am I being spoken to in an edited way...now I too must speak to others like that.
My cousin Jennifer did not make me feel bad. She did not make me feel like I was less. I feel like that everyday of my life. For an instant, she made me feel like an equal. Thank you for my lights and hot water Jennifer.
Thank you for not making me feel little, for a moment.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Today, I am worried that my lights are going to be shut off. We got a ten day notice a week ago, so I am just waiting for it to happen. Today I am worried about the little bit of money that we have to make stretch for two weeks. Today I am scared about the big pile of bills we have, and our inability to pay them. Today I am wondering how I am going to get school shoes and backpacks with spare change. Today I am feeling sad about the lousy weekend, that was supposed to be a mini vacation at my parents, that went so wrong, and now, it seems that I will distance myself from my parents because they seem to want me to. Today, I am bummed that my cell phone got turned off, due to non payment.
I am afraid to lose my home. But why? It is too small. We have no equity. We could never sell it. Ever. We are trying so hard to hold onto something, because I feel we are too afraid of the unknown. I want to move. I want another bathroom. I want a garden. I don't need to own a home to make me a grown up. I am not afraid anymore. My credit is already terrible. Take my house. Take it. I will find a new one, and make that a home. This is a structure that is causing too many problems in my life.
Today I will try and stop thinking, and worrying, and stressing, and feeling sick about everything. Today, I will look at the beautiful bouquet of flowers my friend gave me yesterday. I will stare at the giant, red, farm tomatoes I purchased in Wainscott yesterday, and think about the BLT's I will make tonight.
Or at least, I will try my best.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I read something recently about happiness. It went something like you should be happy about where you are, right this moment, because, at one time, it was all you ever dreamed for. At first I thought that was really nice and all. Here I am, a stay at home mother of three girls, by choice, post career, and crazy single years, complete with tales that would curl your hair.True. I did dream of all of this. I wanted to change diapers, and cook dinners, and drive kids to school. I asked for this. Why should I complain? But what if I had read that little bumper sticker tidbit, and I was homeless, or a drug addict, or in an abusive relationship? Would I have found it so "deep"? Would I have sat back in my chair, and said to myself..."aaaah, yes! So true!" Am I always supposed to be grateful for all that I have, because I could have nothing? Is that how most people feel?
Every day, when I take Olivia to the bus stop, there are other mother's in their cars..okay...mostly minivans...with their kids, awaiting the bus. Every day. Like clockwork. We are there at a little past 8. There was a woman, who drove a seafoam colored minivan. She was heavy. She looked like in the past, she was pretty. Now she had three kids, and the years had softened her, and she was round. She was very nice, always waving hello to me, every morning. When I had Molly last in the spring of 2009, she got out of the seafoam minivan, and wanted to see the baby, and stared at her, and smiled, adoringly. She had three little boys, and they were always hanging on her. Her older boy was in school with Olivia. He was always well dressed for school, and had his lunch packed with him.
This past spring, she stopped coming. Her husband did the bus runs. This went on for a few weeks. Then she returned. Clearly sick. Like something out of a movie. Head wrapped in a scarf. No eyebrows. No eyelashes. She looked yellow. Her skin was actually yellow. I said nothing to her. I continued to wave to her. "Hello". "Good Morning sick woman", I would think. There seems to be something terribly wrong with you, but I will pretend that you enjoy the scarf, and the shade of skin you have, and smile a happy smile to you, and continue my day, oblivious to your terrible pain.
I found out last week that she is dead. I felt a knot in my bowel. I felt my throat tighten. Oh my god, I thought to myself. I just saw her trying to figure out her new i-phone, seated in her seafoam minivan. How could that be? What do you mean dead? What about her kids? Where is her new phone? What do you mean dead. She just got a new phone. (This actually ran through my head)
Am I supposed to enjoy the suckiness of going to the supermarket with my kids, and listen to their fighting, and take it when they tell me in their roundabout ways that I suck? Wouldn't this woman have given her eyes to be taking her boys to the bus this coming first day of school? Shouldn't I just let my kids be kids, and love every second of it, because I am still here, breathing, and watching them, and able to experience all of this? Isn't it time that I stop cursing my kids under my breath, because they constantly need something?
Is this all I ever wished for? At one time, yes. Do I want it still? Yes. Can I amend my list now, or is it too late?
 For the sake of the driver of the seafoam minivan, am I supposed to just shut up and be grateful?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Tomorrow, we are driving to Long Island. David is going to spend a long weekend in Arizona, at his parents. His father is retiring, and his mom purchased him a plane ticket, so he could surprise him, and be there on the day he retires, which also is his birthday. He is flying out of an airport on Long Island. I an taking the girls out to my parents for a long weekend. We will go to the beach, and swim, and spend time with my parents, which always starts out OK, but turns annoying quickly. Fingers crossed, I am hoping for a nice time. We shall see.
David and I have not been getting along very well. It seems that we cannot have even the simplest of conversations that two people should be able to have, without it getting ugly. He talks to me sometimes, like I am one of the kids. He seems annoyed by my questions. He seems irritated by the simplest of subjects. Sometimes, I feel like I have to carefully choose my words, and the timing of what I want to say, as to not get on his nerves. I know that as you read this, you must think that he sounds terrible. He isn't. There just seems to be less of the David I met and married years ago. Replacing him is this other person. Some days, I think, if I had met the David of today then, I would not be where I am today. I miss him. I miss me. I miss the easy times. Discussing dinner in the frozen food aisle in the supermarket should not have to turn into a fight. I shouldn't have to feel that everything out of my mouth sounds like a nag. I have no one here. I am with 3 people, under the age of 8, all day. David has co-workers, and lunch breaks. Coffee, and time alone. I have none of this. David is my co-worker. I think that I have become the co-worker that he sees, and walks the other way, these days.
I don't think it has to be so hard. I don't think that if I express my concerns, or ask a question about our life, I shouldn't be met with eye rolls, or sighs. Sometimes, I just give up, and go to bed. I lie in bed, and remember a time that seems to be slipping away. I remember a man that seems to be becoming a stranger. I remember a girl who was so hopeful, and full of good stuff, and possibility. I see a woman who I don't even recognize now. I wake up every day, and sigh. It feels too much some days. Too much of a hassle. I would like to be the girl I once was.
I am looking forward to this weekend.

Monday, August 16, 2010


It is 9:32. I am 38. For the next few hours, I will be 38, and then, never again. Today is my birthday. I spent the weekend at my Aunts funeral. There was a slide show streaming on a computer at the funeral parlor. Moments from my Aunts life. Black and white images from her childhood. Pictures from her teen years, and going to the prom, complete with a tiara on her head, I might add. There were pictures of her and my Uncle Gene. Snapshots of family trips, and holiday dinners. A photo of her opening up a box, and removing a velour sweater. A vacation to a faraway tropical place, complete with fancy drinks, with umbrellas in them. Her daughter's wedding. Lovely smiling faces of her with her granddaughters, whom she loved so much. A picture of her kissing her husband. And one of them locked in an embrace.
There was one photo that struck me. It was black and white. She was seated on a couch. Her hair was carefully styled into a flip. She had ner newborn son, seated in a baby chair next to her. She was looking away, her face pointed away from her baby, almost with a hint of worry on it. She looked young, and beautiful, and fragile. Not the posed, smiling, "Look at my new baby" photo we have all posed for. There was a hint of stress in her face, which really resonated with me. She looked real.
Life seems to stretch out before you, with no end in sight, when you are 18, and 25. When you have a baby, it seemed to me that it was like a new beginning for my life as well. A fresh start. My life ceased, and my baby's began. When I say that, I mean, the life I had known to that point was over. I now had small cubs to care for, and they have become what my life is. They now define who I am. They are me.
Sometimes, I look at the girls. They are so young, and beautiful. I was there with them from the moment their life began. I have tended to their every need. I will continue to do so, until they no longer need me, in that capacity. Sometimes, I become overwhelmed. I think about them as old ladies. I think about them dying one day. I become so sad thinking that I want to be there for them, and hold their hands, and stroke their hair, as they draw their last breath. I should be there. I am their mom. Yet, it would be unnatural for me to do this. I just hope and pray, that they will be sorrounded by a loving family. My Aunt was.
I know turning 39 is not that old, but is not like turning 21 either. The road before me is not as stretched out as it was before. Yet, when I look at the photos, and snapshots of my walk so far on this road, despite all the stress, and mess that feels so thick in the air sometimes,  that I choke on it....those photos are beautiful. Really beautiful.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Past life

I went to bed last night, mad. Maybe not mad. Maybe jealous. I felt left out. I recently re-connected with some friends from my first year at college. I went to FIT, in NYC, and I had immideately made these great friends the first week, like so many do. You are all scared and excited, and you cling to the first few people you meet. These girls and I all lived on the 8th floor of my dorm, Nagler Hall. We talked, and smoked, and stayed up late into the night telling eachother everything. We ate all of our meals together. We listened to eachother cry about shitty boyfriends left behind. We used eachother's microwaves. We went out clubbing together, and to seedy bars, and all things New York, and what it had to offer. We did nightly aerobics in the gym together. We ate at the little diner on the corner, and ordered pizzas from Smiler's. We had a great big party, in a suite, at a hotel, and trashed the room, and got kicked out. We met eachother's families. We called one another on the phone on breaks. We cleaned up eachother's puke. We did homework in the hallway together. We became like sister's.
I neglected my school work my freshman year. I withdrew from FIT. I was sad, and I didn't want to fail out, so I withdrew, leaving the door open for me to return. I never did. I kept in touch with these girls. I went to visit them all, that following year. They all moved into suites together. They were like little apartments. I felt jealous, the moment I got there. They had, somehow, gone on without me. I felt left out, like you do when you are a kid. I felt panicked, that I had left school, and was no longer part of this group. I left there, after that visit, and realized, that it was over. What I had in common with these girls, was that school, that I no longer attended. We had a brief, intense year together, but it was over. I never called any of them again.
I recently found one of these girls on Facebook, and we reconnected. We talked. We caught up on the 20 years that has since passed. I saw on her wall, postings from some of those girls, that were my friends. They were discussing their annual visit with eachother this summer, with their families. They were all life long friends. They had all continued on with school, and being close, and getting closer. They had shared in the ups and downs of their lives. They had gone to eachother's weddings, and shared in the joys of babies. They had helped eachother, and encouraged one another. They had formed a bond. A web. A close, intricate, friendship. I started off with them, but had fallen to the side. Why do I feel so jealous? Why do I feel so insulted that nobody called me? Why do I wish I went to those weddings, and met those babies? You can't keep up with every friendship you make along the way. This I know. I certainly let many people go out of my life. Why, when I am the one to be released from the web, do I feel so offended?
I went to bed feeling bad. I went to bed feeling like I was missing out. I went to bed feeling a loss of something that I had never been part of. I felt like I could have been part of that. I almost was. For a time, it was everything to me. And it went on, without me, and that's the part that saddens me. The roads in my life not taken. The people I have let slip away. What could these connections be now? Why do I have the nerve to think so highly of myself, and think that I am important enough to hold on to? Yet I continue to let people slip away from me?
I am the one choosing to be released.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Special dinner

My Dad sent us $250.00 dollars the other day. There was a note attached to it. It read "Buy some steaks, and a bottle of fine wine, and ice cream for the kids, and Enjoy". My Dad knows that money around here is lacking, severely. His kindness makes me smile. A lovely dinner would be wonderful, and I will tell him it was, but really, I will be thanking him for making our car insurance payment.
Today, I will go to Target. I have nothing to wear to my Aunt Helen's wake and funeral. I never spend money on myself. I never buy clothes. Funny that for a time, a long while ago, I used to buy myself clothes almost everyday. If something caught my eye in a magazine, or a store window, I would just get it. Today, I will scour the clearance racks, and hope that all of summer has not been erased from Target. Back to school, and Fall items are everywhere. I will either get the deal of a lifetime today, of I will be wearing something warm for the mass. I hate to be stressed about making this purchase, and the gas we will need to fill the tank of the car to get to and return home from the funeral. I hate to always, with every move, and thing that I do, have to always take money into consideration. I got stressed the other day when David walked in the door with Sun Chips for the girls. It was a treat. I never buy them, even as they beg for them in the store. I see the $3.79 price stamped on them, and walk away. I hated yesterday, when my girls asked when we were going to the amusement park. We went last year, and the year before. Of course they would think that we are going again. It is an annual event, in their short lives. I hated thinking that between gas, and tickets, and food...it wasn't gonna happen. The small little perks and fun stuff of being a child, I cannot provide them with. It costs too much.
Now I must go to Target, and find my cheap funeral attire. Thanks Dad for the insurance payment, and the lovely new outfit. It was delicious.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Aunt Helen

My Aunt Helen died suddenly, over the weekend. I was very close to her. At least, I was before the daily routine of my life took hold. When I was a kid, I would go visit my cousin Jennifer in Brooklyn. I would stay for a week or so. Being in Brooklyn was like going to India for me. Incredibly foreign. It smelled different. It sounded different. The people looked different. Even there house seemed so different to me. It was an old row house, on a tree lined street. The bathroom was upstairs. It had a window in the door. I never understood that. There was always a towel hung over the pane of glass. The hot and cold water came out of seperate spouts in the sink. When the heat came up, it was loud, and it hissed. The view out the back windows were of an alley, and the whole row of houses on the block behind. You could here people sneezing, and phones ringing. Conversations, and arguements. The sounds of cooking, and honking horns. It was such a different place. Exciting, and alive.
My Aunt Heleln worked full time, in the city. She took the bus there everyday. She came home at night, and cooked dinner for everyone. She smoked. She had incredibly long fingers. She was very tall. She wore liquid eyeliner. She always listened to me. Not like I was a kid, but like I was an equal. She listened to my broken hearts as I got older, and sat up with me until late in the night, drinking wine, and smoking cigarettes. She gave me advice, and she always gave me hope.
There are not many people, beside the people in your immediate family, that you feel love from. I felt my Aunt's love. I would see her face light up when I walked into a room. I would hear her happiness with each baby I had. I knew that she was there. I always thought she would be there. I never got to tell her how very much I loved her.
And now, she is not there.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Today is payday. Always a good day around here, yet it always ends badly. I wake up with relief, and feel hope, but by the end of the day, after we pay what is about to be shut off, or taken away, we are low on cash again, and must live on that for yet another two weeks. The viscous cycle of our lives. And so it goes.
The sad thing is that David and I fight over money. You would think that we join forces, and stresses, but we do the opposite. We fight, and blame, and push eachother away. It makes me so sad, and incredibly angry all at the same time. I feel resentful alot. Like he should be taking care of us better, yet I know how hard he works. I know how hard we both work. There is no one to blame for this. It is what it is. David told me this morning that he was sick of fighting with me over money. That it was a silly thing to do. We both know that marriages break up over this issue. Why are we immune to it? It could break us up, for sure. Especially if we keep fighting like we have over it.
I confided in my cousin, Jennifer, the last two days over what is going on, and the state of our house. She said something to me that made me hopeful. She said, and I quote..."For a long time now, I've felt like you have been put through some hard stuff, but it was for a reason. Refining. Making you strong and resilient. That's what hard times do to us all. But your's have been longer than most. God's working on a masterpiece".
I usually roll my eyes when people tell me how strong I will be when this is over, and how I will look back at this and laugh. How I will have such crazy stories of hardship to tell my grandchildren in years to come. When people tell you that, I often feel they are dismissing you, or just trying to make themselves feel better. Yet, what she said touched me. Maybe she is right. Maybe, when it is all said and done, and the bills are paid, and the 1-800 numbers stop calling my house, and we can sleep knowing we will still have a roof over our heads in 6 months, maybe then I can crawl out of the cocoon that I am in, and finally spread my wings, and be free to do, and be, all that I have the potential to be. Maybe, I will be a masterpiece. The thought makes me excited. The possibility of re-birth for all of us.
 I will surrender to stress today. I will go about my day, and I will not let myself get to that overwhelming place of all consuming stress.
Today, I will just be.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fish Tacos

So my food stamp interview went swimmingly. I feel the need to say thank you every other sentence to the person on the other end of the phone. I thanked her so much, that she told me to stop. I aslo had to keep saying that hopefully, we will not be needing the assistance of the Department of Public Welfare much longer, as this has, and always will be, a temporary situation. She didn't care. She just asked her questions, and that was the end of it. Painless. It makes me feel better at least, to say those things.
Ironically, my food stamp benefits were available this morning for the month of August. Good thing, as the grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches did not go over well the other day, and I had nothing else to make for lunch. Or dinner. So off to the store we went. I purchased fruit, and vegetables, and milk and cheese, and food for breakfast tomorrow morning. Tonight, we are having fish tacos. I make them Sandra Lee style. She is that awful "chef" on the Food network who doctors up store bought items and claims them to be "semi-homemade". Like she had that bright idea. What the heck was my Mom cooking all those years on Tulip Grove Drive? My fish tacos are made from a bag of frozen beer battered fish. I buy a bag of shredded cabbage, some cilantro and some limes. We put them in soft tortillas, and I make a sauce of sour cream, with a chipotole in adobo blended into it. Yummy, cheap, and the family loves them. Sandra Lee......please.
She took a way that most people cook, and called it her grandmother's secret. And she has made a mint. I don't even think she is trained as a chef. I spend hours out of my day, trying to think of ways to be rich. Not even rich. Just to pay the bills. I try and invent things, and clearly, they are right in front of my face!
When I lived in NY, I invented Spanx. I really did. I used to buy control top tights, and cut them off at the knee. I wore them under skirts and dresses. I did this for years. Then someone slapped a name on them, and they are rolling in money! It sickens me. It is the same with semi-homemade cooking. Who doesn't short cut, and purchase a store bought pie crust. Who hasn't used onion soup mix, for other things, other than onion soup?
I need to come up with a cookbook or a show on how to stretch what you have. I have had one pack of baby wipes all week. I have had to wipe so many poops off of Molly's butt, and you would be amazed at how much can be removed with one baby wipe. You can stretch a half gallon of milk for days. You can take one tea bag, and make dozens of cups of tea. Brown sugar is perfectly good as a substitute for white, in a glass of iced tea. I could teach you how to choose roads that are downhill, so you never have to press the gas pedal and get 2 miles. I can tell you how long you can wear a tampon for, without risking Toxic Shock Syndrome, to conserve the few left in your package of tampons.
What could I call this book, or, better yet, program? "Half ass living"?" Living like a chump"? " Semi-living"?  "How to kind of get by"? I really need to get on this idea. You know someone will snatch this gem of an idea away from me, and laugh all the way to the bank.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Yesterday, we got an Act 91 notice in the mail. This is a notice from our mortgage company, that basically states that if we do not pay what we owe in back mortgage payments within 30 days, they will begin foreclosure procedings. Today, I have my "phone interview" with my case worker (still cannot believe that I have a "case worker") to see if they will continue our food stamp benefits. That is happening at 1:00 today. My week just keeps getting better and better.
When I lived in New York, things were fast, and fun, and stylish. Each experience was more amazing than the last. My days were spent working, with fabric, and sewers, and pattern makers, and in the garment district. I had to deal with upper East Side ladies, and listen to all of their "problems". I went out to the Hamptons every weekend in the summer, and partied all night, and laid on the beach all day. My biggest decisions were what was going to be for lunch, and would I order a cocktail with it. I was beautiful. Really beautiful. I was tiny, and put together. I avoided streets in the city that were under construction, when the men were out eating lunch. I knew that I would get shouted at, and cat called. If I walked down those streets today, I would go unnoticed.
I thought that my life in NYC would eventually come to an end, because I wanted to get married, and have a family. I just always assumed that the next phase of my life would overshadow my younger years. In that, I mean that I thought the years of getting married, and having children would just be easy, and carefree, and make the exciting days of my twenties seem boring. I thought that the next part of my life would be a natural progression of better. Things would just keep getting better.
That does not seem to be the case. Since getting married, and moving here to PA 7 years ago, it has been a struggle. We have had to "borrow" more money than we could ever repay, go without so much, experience a major period of unemployment, and the subsequent fallout from that. We live in a constant state of stress, and fright. My heart palpitates erratically all day. I have aged 15 years in these 7, and have become unrecognizable from the girl who I was just 10 years ago. A girl beaming with hope, and promise, and youth, and excitement. I have silver hair now, and a terrible wrinkle between my eyebrows. I no longer look put together. Just held together. I have no one to talk to, or cry to, as the shame of our life makes me feel like a loser, and an irresponsible parent. I cannot provide things that my children want so much. They ask for dance lessons, and to play on Soccer teams, and I simply say, "we'll see", hoping that they will forget.
When I was in junior high school, all the girls used to wear those T-shirts that Wham made popular. "Choose Life". I wanted one. I never asked for one, because I knew we didn't have the money. So instead of feeling bad about not having one, I simply told friends that I thought they were stupid. I also said this about Members Only jackets, and the hats girls used to wear like Simon LeBon had. High top Sacco sneakers I also turned my nose up to. Madonna bracelets, and all things flourescent, I deemed silly. A fad. Yet inside, I wanted these things. I wanted to be like everyone else.
My Olivia is reaching an age where her friends are important to her, and what clothes she wears is defining. She keeps asking me to buy her clothes at a store named Justice. I took her there one day. A shirt was $30.00. I felt her disappointment. I was disappointed for her. I remember that feeling. I remember being understanding of my parents financial circumstance. I listen to Olivia now, speak of every other Friday with hope. "Maybe on payday, we could....." It breaks my heart.
I don't want her to stop asking though. I don't want her to just accept this. I can't accept this.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 2

As of this past Sunday, we have $13.00 to last until this coming Friday. Today is Tuesday. We scrambled around on Saturday, gathering up what we would need for the week. I put $7.00 of gas in my car, bringing the gas gague to just under half a tank. We went to the store, and purchased food for the week. Meat, and fruit and vegetables (ok, frozen vegetables, they will suffice for the week) milk and juice, and snacks for the girls. Food for the baby, and diapers and wipes. Just enough to get us by. We went to the store with about $70.00, and when it was all said and done, $13.00 was left.
When you shop to just squeak by until payday, it is almost like you are shopping for "the end". Like we are entering some underground bunker, and figuring what we are going to need to get by. How much food will each person consume, and how long will we be in there for. I feel like I am in a bunker. I have been unable to go anywhere, as I am trying to conserve gas. I have been rationing food and drinks the last few days. The girls are constantly hungry. As soon as breakfast is over, they are begging for a snack. I offer fruit. They want something of the salty variety. I refuse. They whine. We fight. And so it goes. They eat constantly, and it makes me stressed. I wish we were like snakes, and ate once a month. I try and keep the peace and calm, here in our above ground bunker, until we may crack the door open to see the light of payday.
I had to figure in how many breakfast, lunches and dinners would need to be made. I had to consider how many slices of bread would be needed. I had to consider how many times on average does Molly poop in her diaper, and how many baby wipes were needed to wipe her butt in these calculations. I had a half package of the brand name diapers that I use for her. She has a really sensitive butt. She was born with a diaper rash. It took six months to clear, and finally zinc treatments taken orally were the only thing to make it go away. I had my husband go back to the store and buy the store brand of diapers, because it is and always has been one of my worst fears, to run out of diapers and have no money. So David paid $4.99 for a package of 27 diapers. If these work, I thought, this could really help out reducing costs around here. I tried one out on her. They looked and felt the same. After she was in one for a round, I went to change her, pulled off the diaper, and lo and behold....the start of a rash. Unbelievable. Why can't cheap still be good? Like the loaf of bread for .99 cents. Why has it gone stale and crumbly in 2 days? Like the 4 rolls of toilet paper you get from the dollar store. Why, in one use of the toilet, is it gone?
I had to fill my paper work out the other day, to "renew" our food stamp benefits. They ask you a million questions about everyone in your home. They want to make sure that none of your information has not changed. They ask about each one of your children. The first few questions were name and S.S. # and address...easy. The next few really upset me, though. They asked if the girls were homeless. They then asked if they were runaways. They then asked if they were still living at the provided address, or had they been placed into a foster home. I could not read the questions anymore. My eyes stung with the sudden overflow of tears. Can't we just be going through a hard time right now? Can't we just need a little help, for a short amount of time, and will repay the kindness of this help in years to come over and over? Is there a place on the form that I can explain this? Where I can say that we are from great families, and are educated, and that my husband lost his job last year, like so many Americans, and he had to take a much lower paying job, and until he leaves us for 6 months, a seperation that will break all of our hearts, we just need a little help buying crumbly bread? Where is the area that I can explain that my children are not, and never will be homeless, or runaways, or wards of the state? Where is the "just having a tough time right now" box that I can check off?
Day two in the bunker. My girls have calenders in their rooms, and each day, they put an X through the day when it is done.
 This makes me sad.

Monday, August 2, 2010


I logged onto my blog this morning. As my ancient computer was "warming up", and I waited for it to come up, I thought to myself, "why am I writing this?". It seems that no one reads it. I know one friend that I have allowed to read it, does. My husband does. I think that's it. I like to write it, don't get me wrong, but a blog is a public forum, and I wondered from the day I began this, "who will read this"?. My husband and I have come to use this as some odd form of communication. Like how we argue in text now, so each can have the floor for a moment. Texts, and blogs. This is how we talk? Can this be what we are reduced to? Feelings and intimate thoughts put out into a world for anyone to see? I have yet to tell any of my friends or family about my blog. Myself and David feel ashamed at how bad our finances are, so, although I would love people close to me to read this, and appreciate it for what it is, I don't want them to feel sorry for me, and I don't want our family to become something that people pity. Pity is something we don't need around here. We provide enough of that for ourselves.
When the hamsters warmed up, and the computer began to whir, and the blog finally came up, I had a comment. I could not believe my eyes!! It is exciting. I got one before. From my friend who is allowed to read this. And that was exciting because it was my first. But this was different. This was from a stranger. A complete stranger. Someone read what I had to say, and actually took the time to say a little something back. A pat on the back, from someone "out there". I can't tell you how happy little things make me, and this was one of those times. It feels nice that my rants, and complaints and anxietys were of some kind of interest to someone out there. I can hardly stand to listen to myself most days.I read something recently that our entire existence is based upon our ability to treat one another. How good we are to one another. It is true. To be considerate, or even empathetic can be such a grand gesture.
So Julie, I thank you. I raise my coffee cup to you this morning, and thank you. All the negative, depressing stuff I was going to whine about this morning, has been replaced with a feeling of positivity. It is Monday morning, and anything is possible.
We'll see if this feeling lasts the day....