Wednesday, April 25, 2012


My biggest stress(ers?)  the last few weeks have been the hot water heater, car repairs that have been put off, and the dwindling food situation at the end of the pay cycle. We have enough to eat mind you. Just not always what we want. My three little girls definitely turn their nose up to pasta, after having it every other night. Chicken fifty ways in one week gets a sour look, and the dreaded..."can't we just order pizza??"

The last thing that had me worried, even a little, was my refrigerator. It is old, mind you. It was here when we bought the house, 9 years ago, and it looked like it had been there a mighty long time even then. It says "Food Locker" on the handle. It is painted, and some of the paint has scraped off through the years. It is covered in magnets, and drawings from the girls, and photos, much to Davids chagrin, that fall off constantly, but I like to think it looks like we live here, much like the rest of this house. (Very lived in!)

Saturday evening, Molly asked to have ice cream. She was feeling sad because her big sisters were next door, playing with their BFF. David went into the freezer, and took out the ice cream. Upon opening it, I heard him say, "uh oh". It was soup. Vanilla soup. He then checked the refrigerator and said nothing was cold. I checked the ice cube trays that I had filled earlier in the day ( was so old that we made our own ice...unheard of today!!!) and they were liquid.

Really???? The fridge went?? The first place I went mentally was despair. Then frustration. Anger followed soon after. Then it turned to panic. How the heck are we going to fit in the purchase price of a new refrigerator in our already limited, no wiggle room for any appliance failing, budget??? I was feeling thankful lately that the weather was warming up, so it did not make our lukewarm showers so torturous. The hot water heater was the appliance getting our attention. Not the box that keeps things cold!!

Then, I realized that the once empty looking refrigerator, the one that I kept opening, and stressing about, thinking ,"what the heck am I gonna feed the kids out of this thing" refrigerator..suddenly looked overflowing! There was too many things I felt we could not afford to replace. Suddenly, there were too many meals, and too little time.

Sunday morning was eggs, and the frozen bagels, and cream cheese, and strawberries. Lunch was french fries, and chicken tenders. Frozen green beans to boot! Dinner was ravioli. My husband, the one who routinely tells me he hates ravioli, and was the reason why three bags of ravioli had been in the freezer for the last few months, had two helpings!

Last nights dinner was the most interesting. Three hamburger patties that had been tucked away in the freezer, were transformed into my own version of Swedish meatballs. A little gravy thrown on top, and the rest of the frozen peas on the side, was a major hit. Everyone was disappointed when the last of it went. You know how many nights I have made a meal out of a cookbook that was not well received, wrapped up as a leftover, and left only to be thrown out? This was the meal they all loved?

Tonight's menu...the last bit of thawed out chicken. Thanks to my friend Nicole, we have a dorm refrigerator that we have been using. I never actually knew you could store a family of fives food in one. I only have memories of them being jam packed with beer. breakfast was not the usual. But after I cooked it, I decided it was perfect. Corn meal encrusted flounder. I threw a little bit of lemon on it. Surprisingly acceptable with my morning coffee. Lunch today is those two frozen salmon fillets I had been meaning to get rid of.

Moral of the story...when life hands you lemons...and flounder...have it for breakfast!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spring bouquet

Charlotte and Molly gave me a bouquet made of buttercups. And dandelions. The dandelions were huge, and stayed in water all weekend. They were beautiful. A most under-rated flower.

 Lilacs are not very abundant here. There is one bush of them by an old abandoned farm house. We pulled the car over the other day, and I got out, and snagged some. I glanced at the old house. It has a beautiful old wrap around porch. It is on the prettiest piece of land. There is even an ancient looking chicken coop on the property. Made me wonder who used to live there. What happened. Why is the house empty for so many years.

Across the street from the house is an even older looking barn. The kind that has a stone foundation. It is a dream of a house. Sitting empty. The front door busted down. I am sure, the inside of it trashed.

I would kill to sneak a peek inside of it.

Friday, April 20, 2012


A long lost good friend walked back into my life yesterday. I went to bed last night reliving crazy times in NYC, in both of our younger days, flashing through my mind. A night running through Southampton after too many drinks, pushing her in a shopping cart. Sitting Shiva with her when she lost a grandparent. Hearing about the death of her way too young brother just a month ago on the phone yesterday made my skin tighten and feel cold. My heart broke for her.

People pass in and out of your life. I let too many people go. I know this about myself. Days turn into weeks, and before I take the time to let them know I miss them, and I still need them in my life, it seems like too mush time has passed, and I am too scared to call. Too scared to reach out. And all that is left is distance.

Hearing her voice yesterday made me both happy, and sad, that I let so much time pass. Knowing of her loss made it that much worse. But we can pick up. She is still my friend. And I am so ever thankful for that.

Time passes too quickly. I look at my little Molly, and think that her babyhood is completely over. OK...I am still changing diapers, despite toilet training attempts, but Poof! Just like that, this May, I will have a 9 year old, and a 7 year old, and the baby will be 3. Just like that.

Time moves fast. And it's nice to bring those certain few along with you. I found one. Now I have some calls and letters to write to a few others.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I didn't grow up wealthy. I grew up with enough. Some months were lean. My Dad was a NYC firefighter. We always had really crappy cars. One car, it was a yellow Pinto, had a hole in the floor board. The drivers seat was held up by a brick. I used to like that as we drove, I could see the road. We had enough. We had a car. Only one. Not the nicest, but it got my Dad to and from work, and took all of us where we needed to go.

My Mom, due to the one car situation, and limited funds, stayed home and took care of us. She cooked and cleaned. She had breakfast ready for us waiting at the snack bar in my house, every morning. Complete with a vitamin, a sectioned grapefruit (which made me gag, but she insisted) and either oatmeal, or eggs. I won't get into the chicken liver omelets she would occasionally whip up. Oddly good, but when I mention them to my husband, he gets an instant look of nausea across his face.

When we got off the bus, she had an afternoon snack waiting for us. And she would listen to our ramblings about our school day, and check our school bags, and question why we didn't finish our sandwich, and get mad when I told her I bought chocolate milk at school, instead of white. All the minutia of our young lives.

She would start dinner, and make us do our homework. She always provided a quiet place for us to do it, and sometimes, depending on the amount we had, she would put down one of our beer glasses that had been monogrammed with my parents initials, filled with cut up carrots and celery sticks. A little energy, she would call it. Some fuel for our brains.

She served dinner, and cleaned it up after we were done. She washed our clothes, and picked them out for us for school, the night before. Baths and bed. Prayers, and kisses. And the warm safe sounds of the big pots being hand washed from downstairs, lulling us to sleep.

 My Mom did it all. She took the thinking out of it for me. Meaning, I just thought all of these things appeared. I never really thought of the work and effort behind it. I never thought about the clean bathroom that I used every day, and how it got that way. I never thought about my drawer full of underwear. They just seemed to always be there. Summer clothes just popped up and winter coats suddenly would hang on my hook. All taken care of, and never mentioned. Without fail.

Being a mother, is a massive job. One of the hardest things to do, and a position, that I never fully understood until I had my own babies, that has repercussions. Everything I do today, shapes my girls tomorrow. I have always thought that I have nothing to do with the people that they are. I feel like they are like flowers. Blossoming before my eyes, revealing who they are, despite all that I am doing. That I know is true. But my conduct, and example...the home that David and I provide for them...this place that shapes them, and provides love and security for's a really important job. It's everything.

Being a Mom, is tremendous. Some days, I feel like I never clock out of my "office". Even when I get a house cleaning job. Guess who is with me? My toddler. Guess who is demanding a bagel with cream cheese as I write these words? Same toddler. Then I think of the mom that works out of the home, and then comes home to work more, at her other "office". It's overwhelming. Work loads that are never ending. No fifteen minute coffee breaks. No sick days. No "clocking out".

Any way you slice it, being a Mom, and making life just flow, and taking the thinking out of it for your kids, and smoothing the edges for everyone, without fanfare, and most days, without anyone noticing, can be incredibly trying. Some days, downright exhausting. The salary is awful. And it's not always butterfly kisses, and dandelion wishes. But the payout. Wow!

 It's incalculable.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Eye opener

"By choosing your thoughts, and selecting which emotional currents you will release and which you will reinforce, you determine the quality of your light. You determine the effects that you will have upon others, and the nature of the experiences of your life".

I read that the other day, and thought that made sense. I have my good days, and bad days. We all do. Some more than others. Most days, I try and keep my head up, and my thoughts positive. Yesterday, was so not one of those days. Not. Even. A. Little.

My hot water heater is just about shot. Some days, the showers are scalding hot. Most, freezing cold. I like to call them "eye openers".

The dishwasher is on it's last leg. We also have a bucket under the pipe beneath the kitchen sink that needs to be emptied daily. Clearly, we need a  plumber, but that certainly isn't in the "budget".

 And my tires are really getting sketchy. I check the tread daily, and they look a little  more "smooth" than they should. And I know it is getting down to the wire with the car insurance bill. Payday is coming, but not quick enough. I felt down yesterday. Frustrated, and scared.

So, today, being a new day, I will try replacing all of my thoughts of doom and gloom....and ignore the utility truck that I am fearing will soon be in my driveway, because water and electric are overdue, and think of something better than this, right now.

 Like the apple tree. In my backyard as a kid. Right there, smack in the middle of the yard, beside the weeping willow that held my tree house. It dropped apples like crazy. We never ate them. They all had worm holes and yucky little bugs. The only one that ate them was our dog, Charlie. And he ate them until he vomited EVERYWHERE. My Dad would get crazed from this, so me and my brother were constantly made to go and collect the fallen apples.

One day, my Dad and I went out under the tree. He put a lobster pot on his head, and he fastened a football helmet on me. He wrapped his hands around the trunk, and shook the tree with all of his might. We were showered with apples. I remember the banging sound of them on my helmet, and the pinging on the pot on my father's head. I screamed. I laughed so hard. We both did. It was simply the funniest thing.

I remember growing up thinking apple trees were nuisances. As I was driving the other day, the girls and I were simply amazed by the apple blossoms we saw dotting the road. OK...they could have been some other fruit, but I told them that I thought they were apple blossoms. Molly thought they looked like trees covered in snow. All of us wished we had one, here at our house. That made me smile.

"You determine your light".

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Long weekend. That seems to still not have ended.

 Easter and candy. Egg hunts. Two..I think. One in the house, one outside, one at the church, one at a friends...OK, four. That explains there being more candy here than Halloween.

Lights are still on. Water almost got cut off today. Officially we have zero dollars in the bank, and not much in the fridge, and pay day is still 3 days away. But we have water.

 And did I mention a hot water heater that is about to go? And a giant leak under the kitchen sink. And my tires are really getting down to the last of their tread. And Charlotte has pink eye. Eyes, actually. Luckily, I had brand new, in the package still, pink eye medicine. So, we avoided a co-pay.

I suppose, I should be thankful for that.

I sound angry. And bitter.

Today, I am.

A little bit of both.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I really did not realize until about two days ago, that Easter is this Sunday. I knew it was coming, but I thought I had another week. I thought it was falling on "pay day" weekend, and not the one "in between". That weekend is never great. It is neither "empty", nor overflowing, money wise. I would say we" level off", and bigger expenses must wait until the following weekend. Easter isn't a huge expense, mind you. I literally go to the dollar store, and fill up some baskets for each of them. But for the three of them, it adds up to be more than I would spend this "level" weekend. But they are little, and getting chocolate, and Peeps (even though no one eats any of it) is a must this time of year.

My mom used to get me dresses, and bonnets, and even little white gloves each Easter. It was a big deal in my Roman Catholic household. My Dad used to stress how this was the most important holiday for us, but I recall rolling my eyes and thinking, "no way Dad, Christmas is way better".

We had to give up something for Lent. One year, I tried to give up apples. My mom looked at me like I was a fool, and suggested maybe I try sacrificing potato chips instead. One year my brother said he was giving up brushing his teeth. Again, that did not fly well. We were given a small, blunt tipped, nail at religion class, and told to always keep it in our pocket, to remind us of Jesus' sacrifice for us. I used to feel the smoothness of the nail in my pocket, and be completely freaked out by the image in my head. Even if I wanted a potato chip, one touch of that creepy nail in my pocket turned my stomach, and my desire quickly turned to horror.

After years of being raised in such a "holy household", as I like to call it, complete with a picture of Jesus on our freezer, whose eyes, I SWEAR,  followed you all over the room, made me rebel a little when I was of age, and decided to not go to church. I had gone EVERY Sunday, since I could remember. My family was not one of those "Christmas Catholics",as my mother would say, shaking her head disapprovingly as we pulled into the overflowing parking lot on Christmas morning every year. We went to everything.  I mean, EVERYTHING. Holy days of obligation, stations of the cross, we even reenacted the Last Supper. I remember my Dad cracking matzoh and the crumbs going all over the table. We got to sip real red wine, and I thought that was pretty cool. I felt that I had enough church in me to last a life time.

Since I have sort of abandoned the Catholic church, I sometimes feel, now having my own little girls, I am cheating them out of something. David and I don't like some of the teachings, particularly, the exclusion of certain groups of people, as we teach tolerance, and Gods love for every life, not just who the Church thinks that God would appreciate. My husband is more agnostic than anything else. Yet, I battle. With what I grew up with, and what my girls aren't growing up with. We are spiritual, and we pray as a family. Some days though, I am unsure who we are praying to.

So, my inner battle continues. I will purchase the chocolate bunnies, despite it being an expense that doesn't thrill me. And we will dye Easter eggs. I have my free (thankfully!) ham to pick up at Shoprite for our Easter dinner. Yet the small girl, all dressed up in my white gloves and bonnet is still inside me somewhere. The same one that rubbed that nail in my pocket, every time a potato chip came into my line of vision.

Aways reminding me of sacrifice. And how what you learn, you really do live.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Thinking about going off somewhere and taking some pictures. Thinking about a painting. Thinking about my water colors this morning. Thinking about blowing the dust off of them. If I can find them.

Thinking about making frames. Instead of buying them. But I am not the handiest with a hammer. Should be interesting.

Thinking about all of the phone calls I owe. And letters to write. And people I have lost touch with, all through my own doing. I sometimes just look at the numbers on the phone, and don't answer. I hate talking on the phone. And all the energy it seems to take. Maybe I am just becoming more of a loner, as I get older. I don't crave friendships.Is that terrible?

Don't want to think about the impending light turn off. And really don't want to think about the hot water heater that is seriously on the fritz. Most showers these days, are lukewarm, at best. Thankful that the weather is moving in a warmer direction, and not the opposite.

Thinking about the bus. It is taking my two girls to school soon. Without David here, I am just not at my best, tolerance wise. They drove me batty. Mostly yesterday. But I tried. And I most certainly,  did not handle it all with grace. But soon, the house will be quiet. Just me, and Molly.

And my paints. And my plan to take pictures that will go nowhere.

 And my worry. After my lukewarm shower.