Monday, September 28, 2015

Lucky 13: What Lasts

What lasts after thirteen years of marriage? Does it undermine the beauty of the relationship to say that through it all, I stand in awe at the enduring quality of our bath towels?

They were a wedding present and made with some percentage of silk that doesn’t seem popular anymore. Maybe with 3-D printing and a cooperative silk worm I can make my own, but I suspect they just wouldn’t be the same.

There is something about those towels that represents the quality of a bygone era. I feel the same about the wooden basket we got when we were engaged so we could take picnics to Central Park and read books, printed on paper.

When I carry the basket now, people comment. It stands in contrast to the polyethylene ones with frustrating zippers that have taken over the snack and portable lunch scene.

Maybe it’s appropriate that the objects of our courtship and wedding were made of quality. There was the garlic press that didn’t make it to 6 months, but aside from that, I’m reminded of friends and family nearly every time I make dinner.

There’s the mixing bowl given to us by a dear friend and her husband from college.

The high quality stainless steel slotted spoon, a gift from long time family friends. Making pasta is filled with memories.

We’ve got a lot of formal bowls, too. They were trendy back in ’02. Crystal bowls, pottery bowls, hand blown bowls, and one with a turtle. I use the purple salad bowl every Thanksgiving and the one from a former boss anytime I need to serve nuts at a party.

Those may be salted peanuts, but the bowl is a work of art.

Our wedding china is another story. I take it out sometimes and just admire the smooth, cool surface. My husband selected the pattern and it’s modern and sophisticated, a 180 departure from the floral patterns I gravitate to that remind him of British tea or slow TV drama. 

I don’t feel bad about keeping our china protected in the dark green boxes it came in. The carpe diem spirit that struck me on my 40th birthday, when we broke out the wine we’d saved from our honeymoon, doesn’t sit on my shoulder telling me to get to it and serve the kids hotdogs with an eight piece table setting. 

The china is a reminder of the fragile and precious part of our marriage, and the intentions we had when everything was still ahead of us. And the material gifts from friends that have lasted in this disposable world we now seem to live in, remind me of the warmth and love that witnessed that special day.

Last night, on the eve of our anniversary, I saw a commercial that made me feel a larger gulf between that wedding day and the millennials heading off to the alter now. The bride and groom looked young and happy and had that ever-so-cool look I can’t quite identify. Then, hungry and exhausted from visiting with guests, they bid their farewells and slid into their limo, where the bride’s father has left some McDonald’s hamburgers for them to eat.

I turned to my husband, speechless, and he knew exactly what I was thinking.

And maybe that’s another reason why we’ve made it to thirteen years.

Thanks for reading. Join me @educatedmomMP or

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mistaken Identity at Doggie Daycare

New details have emerged in the case of mistaken identity for Wilfork the dog. Weighing in at 29 pounds, Wilfork (Willy to his friends) is a few hundred shy of his namesake, nose tackle Vince Wilfork of the Houston Texans, but with his Blenheim coloring and floppy ears he shows a keen resemblance to any other overweight Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in need of a bath.

On the day of his misfortune, Wilfork was mistaken for a female Cavalier named Pearl. Rumor had it, Pearl would be in the slammer (aka doggie daycare) for seven days. Her owner had scheduled a grooming appointment prior to her release, with a full shampoo, haircut, and sanitary shave.

Trouble was, Pearl was a no-show. Not even the Beagles caught scent of her. Butt-sniffing at the water bowl confirmed she was as absent as a flea after Frontline application. Word spread among the regulars at doggie daycare that Pearl was MIA, but the humans on poop patrol appeared oblivious.

We may never know how or why the official record reflected no cancellation of Pearl the Pooch, but interviews with those who were there, as well as phone records obtained by the New Bark Times, reveal a series of errors that highlight the nationwide frustration experienced by dogs across America.

According to one witness, a Bichon who goes by Snickers, Wilfork was his usual sociable and matted self when roaming the concrete play area reserved for their weight class.

“He stayed out of trouble. Wagged his tale. Sat in the back and observed,” the Bichon said through the help of a telepathic dog communicator. “We were all surprised when the big guy in sneakers came and scooped him up.”

According to the Bichon and his best friend, Marvin the Chihuahua, the big guy knew who he was looking for.

“It was clear he wanted the Cavalier,” Snickers said. “Wilfork looked confused. As far as we knew, his owners hadn’t scheduled a bath for him. I remember some of the better singers had organized a round of howling just after dinner. Wilfork wouldn’t have committed if he knew he’d be all tied up.”

What follows is based on Wilfork’s own account. Video cameras are not stationed in the grooming room and the only eyewitness is a comfort dog en route to Madrid. Efforts to reach the Golden Retriever have not been returned.

According to Wilfork’s owners, who were vacationing in the Poconos at the time, he was taken off the play area shortly after snack time. DNA evidence from milk bone crumbs is inconclusive. Wilfork maintains he was three-quarters done with his peanut butter flavored snack and had hopes to take his turn at the water bowl.

That opportunity never came.

“Before I knew it, my paws touched the cold metal table,” Wilfork wrote on this Twitter account. “I said, ‘you got the wrong dog’ but no one understood.” Within minutes, the grooming session began.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Marvin the Chihuahua said, “Wilfork can definitely make his new style work. It’s a little more dramatic than his usual trim, and between you and me, it’s not true to his breed. But, hey, it’s not like he’s doing dog shows.”

As dogs across the country have whined, once the fur starts to fly, it’s too late. It can takes months to regain the smells, knots, and barnacles they work so hard to acquire. One human, who asked not to be identified because it might comprise her job at the doggie daycare, explained how the mix-up finally came to light.

“Well, the groomer was doing the sanitary trim,” the human said, referring to a technique in grooming that shaves or trims the areas near the dog’s anus and genitals.

“I’m pretty comfortable with myself,” Wilfork said with his puppy dog eyes, “but it was a little awkward. She looked at me and, you know, I just wanted to say, ‘I told you I’m not Pearl.’”

Based on real events. Not entirely true. 

Thanks for reading. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Escape at the Dentist's

I don’t need Novocain.

I’ve got kids and it’s summer.

My threshold for pain is, shall we say, higher than the average patient's. In fact, getting 45 minutes to recline in the leather dentist’s chair with only the sound of a drill humming in the background is as peaceful as it gets these days.

“You only have two tiny cavities,” my dentist said, looking over my chart. “Do you want me to numb you?”

The problem with the numbness is that it tends to stay that way for about four hours. There is one version of the shot my dentist administers that dissipates faster, but it’s still not much fun feeling like a swollen bug bite has taken over your mouth.

“Just go for it,” I said.  And with that, I donned the over-sized black sunglasses and checked out for a while.

There was drilling and the suction of water, the taste of something foul, the tap, tap tap, of that sheet of blue paper that indicates how even the fillings are—and there was the quiet conversation crisscrossing above me as the hygienist and the dentist handed off equipment.

Ah, peace.

No one asked me for a snack. In fact, I was often handed a small paper cup filled with water and provided a moveable funnel in which to spit.  Such service.

No one fought over who got more of my attention. Only occasionally did the dentist request that I turn to face her, but that was done delicately and in everyone’s best interest.

When it was all over, I got to use their restroom and no one followed in behind me asking where she left her dirty socks.

I paid and didn’t have to fend off requests for gum at the checkout line.

I should add that my dentist’s office is in a brownstone in Princeton. Legend has it that Einstein used to go there.  It’s a stately building, still, with Persian carpets and soothing wall colors, and a Keurig machine in the quaint waiting room. My dentist is a woman about my age with two young children, whom I met at a Music Together class on her day off. I could spend all day at her place. It might require a root canal or oral surgery, but it’d be lovely.

A few hours after I got home, when the peaceful feeling of my “me-time” had been overwhelmed by the reality that followed, one nagging thought entered my mind.


My mouth hurt.

Thanks for reading. Follow on Twitter @educatedmomMP


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Help! It's Summer...Top 10 Things I Shouldn't Have Said

As anyone who has followed this blog knows, times of difficulty bring about creative, or, perhaps, desperate, writing. And so it goes with the past seven days, when the the joys of summer vacation have lost their golden hue and I've sunk to uttering the phrases experts caution parents not to say. 

"This is ridiculous."

"Is it 5 o'clock yet?"

And, the one that never makes it to print, "Yes, you can watch another show."

Below, however, are the Top 10 Sentences I've uttered in the past 7 days, phrases that perhaps you might recognize.

TOP 10 "Help! It's Summer" Sentences 

1. Well, it’s 10am. I’m not making your lunch yet.

2. Your babysitter is a lacrosse ref. You have to behave.

3. If we were roommates, you could get upset with me for drinking the last Bai5. But I’m your mom, so, this is different.

4. I can’t be in two places at once, by which I mean, I can’t help your sister and you at the same time even if you are, technically, in the same place.

5. Thank you for bringing me the tub of yogurt. But, I’m upstairs. And you’re going to need a bowl.

6. The dog has something on his paw that is not chocolate ice cream.

7. Of course I will help you clean your closet. Here’s the thing.  It’s 10 pm.

8. The days seem short to you? Tell me about that.

9. I know the pool water is cold. They don’t heat it. Apparently, because then it gets cold again.

And the favorite thing I’ve uttered to my children today:

10. You start camp next week.

Finally, the top five things I've done to keep my cool as the kids, the heat, and the inability to do two things at once get a little intense:

1. Wake up before sunrise to go to yoga.
2. Drink a mug of tea at bedtime.
3. Actually, I've only done two things. I haven't figured out the other three.

Thanks for reading. If you're counting down the days until the end of the school year...why?