Wednesday, November 28, 2012

THE day

Today is the day.

 Today, a lawyer from Philadelphia is coming to our house to talk to us about our meeting tomorrow, with our mortgage company. It seemed like forever ago when all of this mess began. I remember the day that we went to the sheriffs office, and were served with our foreclosure papers. I was shaking, as I signed my name. We walked to the car in courthouse square. It was gray out, and very cold. We got into the car, and David was not speaking. He looked so incredibly stressed. Almost breakable, like if I said the wrong thing to him at that moment, he would have just been reduced to a pile of glass in the drivers seat. 

So I said nothing. I began to read the legal paperwork that was in my lap. The paperwork that was ultimately telling me how much time we had to get out, and what would happen if we didn't. The paperwork that was telling me that our hard work, and the dream that we wanted for our family, was over. It was all coming to an end, and our future seemed so very bleak. I can still remember how depressing Main Street looked, as we drove in silence, and how it almost felt like it was going to snow. 

We drove to Olivia and Charlotte's school, for their Halloween parade. I tried to make small talk with the parents I knew. I recall listening to a woman speaking to me. Her lips were moving, but I didn't hear a word she said. I looked beyond her, and saw David, nuzzling Molly. She was dressed as a pea in a pod. She had the chubbiest cheeks you ever saw. She looked adorable. David was smiling, and kissing her, as he held her tightly. I thought I was going to scream. Like I wanted to run around like a mad woman, yelling at the top of my lungs. But I couldn't. So I listened to the woman talk, and nodded my head, and responded when it was appropriate, even though, inside, I was running and screaming. I was a mad woman.

The parade began, and all of the kids came out in their costumes. Olivia was dressed as a rock star, and Charlotte was a snow princess. I kept holding back tears, as they came around. I felt like we were on the verge of losing something, and disappointing our girls. I know that sounds silly, but it all seemed to be out of our control. Beyond what we could do. It all seemed out of reach.

But it wasn't. And that mad woman got to work.  I read, and re-read every thing I could. And what I found out was compared to a giant bank, I am but an ant. Yelling and screaming will get me nowhere. My shouts were inaudible, even though I knew what they were trying to do to my family wasn't right. But when an ant suddenly gets legal representation, stuff happens. 

So, today is the beginning of something. To right a wrong. To fight for what is ours. To tell the big bank that they just can't do what they want.

 They have to play by rules too. Just like us. 

Today is the day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving thanks.

Today is the day I write my column, and that day is always Wednesday. I am celebrating Thanksgiving today, as I am working tomorrow. I just popped a pie into the oven. My free turkey from Shop-Rite has been brining for two days. I have to wrestle that out of the lobster pot it has been submerged in, and prepare it to be roasted. Not looking forward to hoisting a 20 lb bird, bloated from marinating, onto my roasting rack, but looking forward to the eating it.

 I am going to make stuffing, and mashed potatoes. I have a pumpkin pie, per Charlotte's request, in addition to the apple, and even some whip cream on top. My family usually eats red cabbage along with our Thanksgiving dinner, but I plumb forgot it, and when I realized I had, I thought no one would miss it. And I could sure use not to have such awful heartburn from it, although, it is so good.

Brussels sprouts will be our vegetable, and I roast those in the oven. My girls adore sprouts, and they literally fight over the last one. I have a whole stalk of them, so I think I have enough. My Mom and Dad are here, and tonight, we will all celebrate. A day early, but a Thanksgiving, nonetheless.

By the time this is in the paper, dinners will be downed, wine will be slurped up. Gravy will congeal, and turkey sandwiches will be on the Friday night dinner menu. (Oooh how I love them. A little mayo, and cranberry sauce together, on top of some stuffing, and of course, some turkey....yum!)

 Christmas shopping will begin. The rush of this exhausting time of year. So much to do, and buy, and plan, and consume, in just a few short weeks. It leaves me lying in bed, stressed, just thinking about it. I am still feeling relief that we pulled it off last Christmas, and here we go again. It leaves my head spinning.

But my pie is in the oven. And my Mom is getting dressed. My girls are at Besecker's diner eating probably way too much bacon with my Dad, and David is at work. My house is quiet. Almost still, and as I write this, my coffee is warm, and delicious, and I am beginning to smell apples, and cinnamon.

 I have heat. I have a roof. I have healthy children,whom I adore most days, and love me back.  I have the love of a husband that still astounds me. I don't know how we will do Christmas, yet again. I don't even know how we will do most days. But we do them. And we have them.


And for that, I give more thanks than I can express.

Monday, November 19, 2012


The waitress gig....I like it. A lot. It is really something to get out of the house, and be around adults, and make a little cash. Not very much, mind you, but a little is better than none. 

And I forgot how good I can be at talking to people, about anything. 

And I really like hard work. 

Who would have thought. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday calm

Just picked up my free turkey from the grocery store. It is a 20 pound bird. That's a lot of turkey. And it was free. Love that.

We were going to spend Thanksgiving this week with my sister, but I am going to work. The girls were disappointed, but they have decided to go and help out at the church here while I am working, and set up and serve Thanksgiving dinner to people who have nowhere to go, and I am really proud of them. I will be home by evening, so we will spend it together. 

David has a tire that needs to be replaced. He has been filling it with air for the last few days, and now it's pumped up with fix a flat. I wonder how many miles you can ride with that pumped into the tire. We shall see, because a tire just ain't in the budget this week. 

He was up early before work this morning, banging around the house, and swearing. He was stressed, which in turn made me stressed. My car had to be towed the other day, so between the two of us, we are feeling a bit pressured. Some days I just wake up and feel it already. I feel the day will most certainly go down hill. Today, I woke up with that feeling, and I just am so sick of it. I just decided not to worry about it. What can I do?

It's Friday. Pretty soon, my quiet house will be bustling. I think I will just enjoy the silence here, as Molly naps. 

Happy Friday.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

walk way

I have a vivid memory of crawling out of bed, and tip toeing over to a small shoe box, that was on the floor of my bedroom, containing new shoes. The box was right under the nightlight in my bedroom. A Donald Duck nightlight, that bathed the entire room in an orange glow. I uncovered the box, and carefully pushed the tissue paper to the side, so not to crinkle it, and be discovered, and stared at my beautiful new shoes. I remember sniffing them. Ah...that new leather smell.

 They had a small little heel, as Mary Jane's do, and I wanted so badly to sleep in them. I could see Donald Duck's glowing face, in the reflection of the shiny patent leather. You could even see his blue ribbon, dangling from his little hat, in the toe of the shoe. They were just breathtaking. I couldn't wait to get them on my feet. 

Molly has a pair of red sparkly shoes, from when she was 2. She is 3 1/2 now, and still crams her little biscuit of a foot into them. The sparkles are mostly gone, and the toes are so scuffed. I have replaced those shoes with pink ones, and even gold ones with little bows on them, but somehow, she unearths those little red shoes, and refuses to give them up. Some days, I am screaming at her, demanding she take them off, and put on her sneakers, but I get it. I know what she feels like in those sparkly red shoes. To her, they are magical. I suppose that is why I am still letting her jam her little feet into them. 

I have a few pairs of shoes from my days in the fashion industry. An old pair of Christian Louboutin's, and even a few pairs of Gucci's. One pair of gold Jimmy Choo's that defy gravity. I try, like Molly, to jam my post three baby foot into them, and can't believe I have gone up a full size and a half. How did I even walk in them? My girls love wearing them, and I cannot help but chuckle seeing them teeter up and down the hall in shoes I used to wear from a life that seems like ancient history. 

I just purchased some black sneakers the other day, for my new part time job, waiting tables, at Mullallys Clubhouse Cafe, at the Glen Brook Golf Club. If you haven't been there, by the way, GO! The place is a little gem! I have never waited tables in my life, and at the ripe old age of 41, I am adding this to my resume. The shoes are really comfortable. They were ten dollars, as I wouldn't spend a penny more for them.

 Not exactly shoes I would crawl out of bed to gaze at. But they serve their purpose. It makes me smile to myself, when I think about the life I thought I was going to have, and the one I got. The path that I thought my Gucci shoes were skipping down changed. It has veered a little, and some days, it surprises me. But you make plans, and life happens, and your plans go out the window. For me, that has been a very good thing.

I love my new waitress shoes. And I love the sparkly ones that accompany me on this trail. 

They are both magical.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Car trouble. I can't take the stress some days. My car is not only making some crazy creaky noise, but the transmission seems to be slipping. I put the car in gear, and it doesn't go anywhere, and then suddenly, jerks into gear. This is the last thing we need. The absolute last. I can't afford a car repair, let alone a car. If something happens to my car, were screwed. 

I have no gas in the car as well, so I will be home all day today. Lots to do around here, and plenty of time to stress about the car. 

The good news is that I will be waiting tables on the weekends. This is something I have never done before. I am nervous. But extra cash around here would be so awesome. 

Especially with an impending car repair. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bounce back

I just don't bounce back like I used to. Back in the day, staying up past 1 a.m. was not a problem. I even got up early the next day, showered and looked fluffy for work, and was good to go after a cappuccino. Not so much today. I realize that when this is in the paper, it will be Friday. But today is Wednesday, and boy oh boy do I have an election hangover. I watched it all, and held on to see President Obama speak, after watching Mitt Romney give a way classy concession speech, only to wake up at around 4:30 or so, to an incredibly loud infomercial. I hope by Friday, this exhaustion will have left my body. 

I voted for Obama. I am very happy that he won. I also understand all those who are not happy today, because if Obama had lost, I would be not just tired today. I would have been terribly sad. 

There is so much division in our country. Some days, just explaining things to my girls when they question me, leaves me scrambling to find the words. I am, at times, rendered speechless. Who can marry who, gender inequality, equal choice for women, health care issues, kids have big ears, and this house of ours, is tiny. They hear David and I discuss issues that we are both passionate about. They are at the age where they want in on every conversation. We keep it light, and tell them minimal facts. Of course our opinion will come into the conversation, but I want my girls to believe what they want. I will steer them to be good, productive citizens. I will not tell them what to believe. 

Charlotte came home from school yesterday, with election day work sheets. One of them had information about both Obama and Romney, such as date of birth, political party, etc. Charlotte had scribbled out Romney's face. I chuckled to myself, and thought, wow, they have really been paying attention around here. Later, at dinner, Olivia was telling us how a classmate had been making fun of Obama at school, and that his parents said he was stupid. Olivia seemed shocked. I said to her that being President, or even running for President, requires lots of school, and incredible intelligence. I explained to the girls how very smart both candidates are, and how both of the candidates ultimately want what is best for America. 

So today, I am tired. And I am very happy that my President will be around for another four years. But I understand the disappointment and even anger that many have that Mr. Romney did not win. But I truly hope that, as I explained to my girls at dinner, we can all come together for the good of us all. That obstruction will cease, and now the real work can begin. My family and I are way better off than we were four years ago. Four years ago, I watched Obama win, and we had nothing. David had been laid off. We were feeding our kids with food stamps. Four years later, sure, we are struggling. Some weeks, really really struggling, but we are still standing, and we are getting somewhere. 

My hope is for this country. My hope is that we can cross these great divides between us all, and let it all really get better. We might be Democrats, or Republicans, or whatever party, or no party at all.

 But we are all Americans. 

Monday, November 5, 2012


I just got back from the bus stop. The girls are gone. Off to school. We had all of last week together, due to Sandy. I am still trying to get over it. Lot's of not so proud moments. I hate how incredibly impatient I am, and how short my fuse is. I was really mean quite a few times. I seriously could not listen to them a second longer. Fighting, boredom, it all got to us.

When we could see our breath in the house, we left. My parents paid for a hotel room for us for the night. Getting the girls settled in a warm bed as they drifted off to sleep to the television was nice. I just felt bad that it was my parents who were able to provide the relief for us, and not us.

I was trapped in the house all last week, with no cable, Internet, and my wireless was spotty at best. I really had no idea what the extent of the storm damage was and seeing all of the photos these last few days has just been horrifying. We watched a movie with the girls last night, under comfy blankets in a warm house, and it didn't escape me how very blessed we were and are. I couldn't imagine the suffering people are experiencing right now. Homes and possessions gone. Lives lost. It is gut wrenching to think about. It makes me realize how Mother Nature always wins, and how very tiny we are.

Each time I turn a light on to enter a room, or turn the heat up because the girls feel chilly, or have the luxury of a hot shower, and a warm meal, the randomness of it all hasn't escaped me. If anything, it makes me that much more aware of the fragility of life, and family, and friends.

Molly burrowed so deep into me during the storm. She had herself deep under the blankets, in bed, balled up and curled into me. Each time the wind would gust, she tensed up, and tried to get further into me. I stroked her tiny soft feet, and her teeny tiny toes, and smelled her hair. I listened to the girls snore on the floor beneath me, all crammed into Olivia's bedroom, the most insulated, interior room of our house. I was so scared. And so were they. And trying not to show my own fear became a real challenge.

But we were spared. I watched them hop on the bus this morning, and thought that losing electricity for a few days was winning the randomness lottery.