This is forty-three

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I’m good at panicking. A born natural. I’d been panicking long before Lena Dunham ever thought to pitch twentysomething angst as a TV series.

In 1976, I’d been trapped between my grandparents in the front seat of their Chevy Nova, watching my kindergarten graduation corsage wilt in the city’s June humidity, and in the sticky, leather-upholstered closeness. “Next year — first grade!” my grandfather loudly announced, his arm pressing too tightly around my yellow cap-sleeved shoulder. I was crestfallen. I’d have to get older? I’d have to keep doing this? Where was this all heading, exactly?

On the eve of my twenty-fifth birthday, I lay on the cheap platform bed I bought on Third Avenue with my boyfriend, and panicked again. I yelled to our poorly patched bedroom ceiling and my snoring boyfriend  that I was halfway to thirty. Dear God. Thirty. Because this is what you do in your twenties. You think such lamentations give the illusion of maturity, and deem you worthy of expensive shoes and face creams.  At that age, you mostly imagine your problems.

He slurred from the early stages of sleep, “No, you’re not, babe. You’re halfway to fifty.” And he rolled over, and went back to sleep. Easily.

The other night, that boyfriend and I snuggled in our bed. We own a more comfortable one now, with an upholstered headboard and a queen-sized mattress and soft sheets that I spray with lavender water to help us both sleep — because we no longer need to imagine problems. They sleep beside us these days, kicking and poking at our backs. We’re married now, both forty-three — although he never remembers how old he is, and asks me at parties to remind him, when queried.

We lay in bed, and I mindlessly slid my bare right leg over his, and talked into his cotton-shirted collarbone. He smelled good, like clean soap and salt. Beside him, I know all the hollows, the familiar places, the bones. This is so much of why I don’t want to get older, to age, to pass on. I don’t want to leave this. I don’t want my life with him to end. At all.

“Hey, babe? Remember when I told you the night before I turned twenty-five that I was terrified of being halfway to thirty?”

“Yeah…”

“And you told me I was really halfway to fifty, and went back to sleep?”

“Yeah…”

And then I smacked him. Mostly playfully.

Summer’s making its way back into our lives — which means the arrival of so many luscious and lazy days, and that another August birthday is out there for me, hovering. I’ll turn forty-four on one of those dog days. Well on my way to fifty. Which is more than fine, because the alternative of not reaching these ages? Not too promising.

The writer Lindsay Mead recently wrote on her blog — “A Design So Vast” — that she wanted to take some time to stop and write about the middle of her life, to acknowledge who she is, what she’s become, and what she needs to accept that she will no longer be. Before I reach my forty-fourth birthday, and before the kids are out of school and interrupting me constantly wtih requests for ice pops and glue and money for gum, I decided to stop the churning pistons of Monday morning, and opt to be here instead today, and think about things, and write, with dishes still in the sink and hair unwashed.

So this is forty-three.

Forty-three is not my mother’s forty-three. I’m much younger at this age than I thought I’d be. I didn’t know that so many questions would remain unanswered, that I’d still feel so lost and alone and vulnerable at times, so giddy and ridiculous at others. I didn’t know how much I’d still want my life, how fiercely I’d fight, how alive I’d still feel. I didn’t know I’d be this brave.

Forty-three is being told by the hair stylist that there isn’t a brown hair left on my head. Not one. And that dyeing my eyebrows is no longer helpful.

Forty-three is freeing myself from trends and draping my body in the luxury of whatever I fucking well please. Realizing that skinny jeans don’t flatter me, no matter what that Charla Krupp says, and filling my drawers with bootcut jeans instead. Choosing pointed toe over round toe every time. Wearing red, never yellow. Because now, I know.

Forty-three is realizing that high school has never ended for some people — God, kindergarten has never ended for some people. We are all still such little children.

Forty-three is finding my voice — in my life and in my writing. No longer fearing so much what others think, except at times when I desperately do, and saying and writing my thoughts anyway.

Forty-three means that even though my nine year-old son tenderly clutches the spindly toes of our neighbor’s newborn niece, rests his head on mine, and whispers to me about how tiny and soft and adorable she is, I won’t be able to make him an older brother. He would have been a great one, and at small moments, the thought of it saddens me. I told my husband the other day that I wish we’d had more children. I wish I’d given him one more child. I think sometimes he wishes that as well. But forty-three means no more. And instead, focusing on the wondrous, infuriating, gorgeous, heart-stopping two children that I have.

Forty-three means crying more than I used to. No longer shutting life’s pain out or away. Mourning the little losses and the overwhelming sadness. Letting it all out, then letting it all back in — a cyclical tide, succumbing to its power and pull.

Forty-three is goodbye to stacks of parenting books and just going with my fucking gut already. Knowing my children so intimately because I’ve worked that hard and shown up that much. And fucked up profusely, at times. And we’ve all survived.

Forty-three is the shock of seeing a photograph of myself at twenty-eight, noticing the remarkable absence of smile lines and crows’ feet, the glow of my skin, the sheen of my thicker hair. Aging is not gradual. It is sudden and true in stark moments like this. Forty-three is also knowing that he loves me more now anyway, because of who I’ve been and what I’ve done and how I’ve loved him and his children. Mostly, because I love myself more now than at any other point in my life.

Forty-three isn’t about overindulging anymore, because the recovery period isn’t a price worth paying. The red meat and the wine and the sugar and the fried foods and the other — cough — items are all mostly in the rearview mirror. I see them on the side of the road every now and then, trying to hitch a ride. I usually don’t stop, but if I do, I don’t take them too far.

Forty-three is seventeen years of marriage. Coming out the other side of the early, ethereal years, and the bleary-eyed, white-knuckled, young parent ones. Working at it and realizing that such efforts are necessary and worthwhile. Earning this. Being loved — and loving — more deeply and respectfully and wholly and desperately than I once thought possible, in spite of arguments and disagreements and moments of frustration and what the fuck are you thinking? — the circling back continues, and expands and grows into something simple and overwhelming and true and present.

Forty-three is parenting a preteen who looks just like me, only far more beautiful and smart and good-natured. Who is much more confident than I was at her age. Who is still a little girl, like I am.

Forty-three is knowing that I won’t be the drummer in a kick-ass all-girl rock baand, or a book editor, or in the cast of “Saturday Night Live” or on the cover of the “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit issue or Secretary of State or Academy Award winner for Best Actress or poet laureate — and getting up and brushing my teeth and going to my life anyway. But forty-three is the year I was published in good places, and that people referred to me as a writer. Forty-three is when people responded to what I wrote, and told me how my words made them feel. Forty-three is when I finally said “I’m a writer” to other people out loud. Without hesitation. And believed it.

Forty-three might mean that I’m more than halfway through. It might be all I have. Nothing is guaranteed or promised to any of us.

Forty-four is kissed and hugged tenderly, and welcomed. Very much welcomed.

You’re a native New Yorker

A blog re-run. For New Yawk. For the seventies. For summ-uh.

********

It was hotter than hell on July 13th, 1977. It had been hotter than hell all day, and the evening dusk brought no relief. But this was how summer worked in New York City. I was about to turn seven, and I already knew this.

I was alone in my parents’ bedroom, watching the black-and-white television set they kept on their dresser. My parents had recently purchased an air-conditioning unit for their bedroom window, which was a luxury item for their meager bank account, and a fairly modern convenience for most New Yorkers.

My earliest memories of summer sleep were becoming obsolete in the face of air-conditioning. July lullabies of adult midnight chatter and laughter from cool brick stoops had morphed into the soulless hum of air-conditioning units, rendering my  Each summer saw more grey metal rectangles — emblazoned with the word “FEDDERS” — appearing in oddly patterned intervals from apartment houses and two-family homes. Condensation dripped on my head in the street wherever I walked, or stained my Nike fabric sneakers when I rode in the front seat of my father’s beat-up Toyota Celica. That same year, I often stood in front of my grandparents’ window unit in their Queen dining room, which wheezed at full blast in a herculean effort to cool the entire first floor of their home. I’d stand like I was crucified, arms extended and eyes closed, until someone would yell that I’d catch my death of cold or pneumonia, or get a stiff neck, something. Get away from it. Get away from that thing. It’s too much on you.

We could only afford one air-conditioner in our apartment — the one teetering on wood slats from my parents’ bedroom windowsill. I only had the pleasure of a box fan in my bedroom — which dutifully whirred and hummed, but was no match for New York summers. The fan often served as evening entertainment for me, as I breathed “ahhhhhhhh” through the turning fan blades, and delighted at the changes the air pattern made in the sound of my own voice.

On July 13th, 1977, I was watching my parents’ black-and-white TV set from the comfort of my twin mattress, which had been placed on the floor at the foot of my parents’ bed, and that this was definitely a special occasion. It had to be. I was only allowed to sleep in my parents’ bedroom a handful of times, only because it was above ninety degrees by 11 pm, and because my mother had pleaded with my father out of concern for my health. (I should be 5’6″, but the dehydration stunted my growth.) I was heartbroken at the sound of their bedroom door closing on other nights in the summer, while I thrashed and sweated underneath a scratchy poly/cotton Raggedy Ann & Andy bedsheet. If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. Two years later, my father would redeem himself by custom-installing a window unit in my bedroom. He actually had to hire a mason to cut through my bedroom wall and the exterior brick facade to install it, since the narrow casement windows of our sweet Tudor house couldn’t accommodate such a modern device. All was forgiven. Thanks, Daddy.

But in 1977, I sweated all night. And all freakin’ summer.

I know I was by myself that night, because I was watching “Eight Is Enough.” My father hated “Eight Is Enough,” and I wouldn’t have been allowed to watch it if he was with me. For some reason, that night I was given a cool, comfortable pardon, and left with the black-and-white TV all for my own viewing.

I remember next that the lights went out in the bedroom, and I stared at the TV tube while it did that “boo-whoop” thing it used to do, and that white light on the screen got smaller and smaller until it disappeared. But it didn’t boo-whoop like it usually did. It was quick and fast and gone, almost before I had even realized what was happening.

My first thought was that The Son of Sam had something to do with this and was coming to get me. It wasn’t a frivolous thought. It was an immediate, panicked belief. He was everywhere that summer, it seemed, and he was capable of anything. I’d seen the news reports from Bill Beutel and Roger Grimsby on Eyewitness News while watching with my parents. New York City seemed to talk of nothing else that summer.

2007_07_blackout2.jpg

My next thought was that the air-conditioner was wedged into the window sash of my parents’ bedroom window, and that The Son of Sam couldn’t possibly climb inside. Then, I thought of my parents, and opened the bedroom door. A bobble of white light came towards me from the hallway — my father, holding a flashlight, and his disjointed voice in the darkness, wondering aloud if we’d blown a fuse. I felt for the familiar plaster walls of our curved hallway, and walked towards my mother’s form. We waited together at the top of the stairs as my father followed the bobble of light down to the basement. He yelled up to us, “Are they on? Anything now?”

“No!” we yelled in unison. “Nothing. Nothing’s working!”

We walked down the long hall towards the front door of our two-family house on 74th Street, and my father opened the door. The entire street was dark. Even the streetlight was out. A sight I’d never seen before as a city kid. (It took me years to be able to sleep in complete darkness. Probably why I’m nearsighted.) The air was still. And still hot.

Neighbors ventured outside and sat on their stoops. They gathered together near transistor radios and citronella candles. Beer bottles and soda cans soon collected on the steps, as their laughter grew louder. I was sent to bed, probably because of the disturbing reports on the radio about looting. I lay by myself in the dark, in the slowly dissipating cold air of my parents’ bedroom, and fretted about the Son of Sam for a few minutes, until I had convinced myself that he couldn’t get me. Not with all of my neighbors safely keeping watch outside, whose voices rose up as in July lullabies past, co-mingled with the tinny music from a transistor radio outside. I soon fell asleep.

The power was still out the next day, and my parents couldn’t commute to work. There would be no electricity once they’d arrived at their offices, even if they could find a way to get into the city. I turned on the color TV in the living room at least a dozen times, each time forgetting about the blackout, until my mother yelled from the kitchen that I’d break it. She kept talking and worrying about the people stuck in the subway cars under the East River during the blackout. I didn’t know anything about the looting that had gone on the night before. I didn’t hear about it until weeks later. I don’t think I fully understood what looting meant at the time. I just knew that people were scared.

The NYPD caught the Son of Sam — David Berkowitz, a chubby, plain, non-descript young man who’d killed six and wounded seven — the following month, in August, just two days before my seventh birthday. The entire city was hunting him down, and an ordinary traffic cop fingered him, by way of an errant parking ticket. I was in my parents’ bedroom again that night when the news broke on TV. It was hot, my father was out of town, and my mother let me sleep in bed with her while the window unit hummed and clicked. Like most New Yorkers of that era, we knew and saw too much. My relief was physical, and my small little-girl muscles relaxed at the televised sight of him, cuffed and contained on his perp walk. “Mommy! They got him!” I remember yelling. “They got the Son of Sam!”

The blackout happened thirty-eight years ago this July — a summer for the New York City record books.  this August — in a New York minute.

Riding in cars with boys

His arm grips the headrest on the passenger seat when he turns to back out of your driveway, the one that you should really call to have re-surfaced, and which runs alongside the house you bought together more than ten years ago. You like that feeling of his arm on the headrest, of being protected, of being his, even if the gesture isn’t mostly about you. He doesn’t do it so often anymore, because he has a back-up camera in his car. You refused to trust that camera for months whenever you drove his car, because you heard your father’s words echoing from that school parking lot in Connecticut where he taught you how to drive nearly thirty years ago — “Check your mirrors twice. Then turn all the way around and check everything twice. ”

You don’t tell your husband that you like it when he does that, because you only realize now, in its occurrence, that you’ve missed it. And then the moment passes. But then you think that he must have missed it, too, because he places the warm square of his palm on the back of your neck, once he’s turned around and shifted the car out of reverse. Maybe he likes that feeling of knowing you’re his, too. That he’s yours. That this is all still ours.

You tell him that you still want to drive a restored Volkswagen bug someday. You describe the green Bug that your uncle used to own in the seventies, and how you’d balance on the grooved running boards while he rolled it down your grandparents’ driveway in Queens Village, with the driver’s side door open and his arm around your waist. You thought you were the four year-old shit. Your husband laughs and tells you that he’ll buy you one, someday, when the kids are gone, so you can tool around town like the crazy old woman he knows you’ll be, and he squeezes the sides of your neck between the heel of his hand and his two middle fingers, in just a slight shift of pressure that says so many things that you already know, but still need to be told — repeatedly, forever, in small ways just like this.

You think of all the makes and models that you’ve traveled in together. The forest-green Subaru hatchback with the tan leather interior that he inherited from his parents while you were in college. The one he picked you up in when you were still friends then, and not yet dating. You fell in love with him in that front seat before you’d ever even kissed him. That’s what that feeling was, before you could really understand it.

You think of how the transmission finally gave out on that car, on his drive up to Syracuse a few days before the start of senior year, somewhere near Roscoe, New York, and that he’d called you to come and pick him up from the gas station where he’d been towed. Your heart squeezed a little tighter because he called you to come and get him. You had been dating for several months by then, so it was logical, but it still felt so good to know that you were the one he thought to call first from the pay phone.

There were many drives between your parents’ home in Ridgefield and his in Stamford, on the Connecticut/New York border between Fairfield and Westchester Counties, when you were both home that year on school breaks. You drove your silver Subaru Justy then, the one with the three-cylinder engine and manual transmission. You’d pass Revolutionary War-era hillside cemeteries as you drove through Pound Ridge and Bedford — everywhere, really — and you’d feel a slight pang of mortality and gratitude. You shifted in time to the radio, because you were the twenty year-old shit, and you felt your heart beating faster when you passed certain markers and houses, knowing that you’d be with him in just a few minutes. Even less than a few, if you depressed the gas pedal a little bit harder. (Your father taught you to drive stick. You always shifted into third. Even on windy back roads in Connecticut.)

You think of drives you took together when you were dating. The freedom of being together on warm, windows-down nights, when you didn’t care about the destination. His hand on your thigh. The placement. The resting. The hem of your skirt and the way it fell. Your bony, Irish-white knee. The cool air on your bare skin as the fabric shifted.

You remember the parking. Outside your house or a few streets away, in places where there wasn’t any traffic. The cul de sac. The dead ends. The open area near Shippan Point. The shudder of the engine turning off and cooling down. The promising darkness that surrounded when the headlights clicked off. The radio. The cassette tapes. The mix that you made for him when he was still in London, after you’d started dating there, and you had to be the one to fly home first. The one he kept and played, repeatedly.

You don’t always think of these things when you’re riding in the car with him now. You can’t. There are too many trips filled with bad directions and snippy arguments about being late and spilled cheese crackers and pleas for bathroom stops and water and earphones and requests to close the window and open the window and just open the window a little more, Ma, and license plate games and I Spy games and entire childhoods flying by in the blur of parkways and treelines and open spaces. There aren’t even booster seats in the back seat anymore. You can’t even remember who you gave them to.

But sometimes, you reach over and place your hand on his right thigh while he drives. You run your fingers along the inseam of his jeans, back and forth. You remember. And so does he. And he takes your hand with his left hand while he steadies the wheel with his right. And he holds it, in that way that makes you feel protected, that you are his. And he lifts your hand to his lips and kisses it once. And puts it back on his thigh. And keeps holding it in the warm square of his palm. And you say he needs both hands to drive, so you try to pull your hand away, but he keeps it there, in that small shift of pressure, and says, “No. I don’t.”

This is what you’d rather have, even more than the feeling of the first time you got into his car. This is what you’ve always wanted.

 

Eighteen Reasons Why I Love My Husband

He’s gonna kill me. But I’m going to publish this list on my blog anyway. What the hell. That’s what you sign up for when you marry a perimenopausal hack.

[Click on the youtube video for today's soundtrack.]

1. He is the father of my two children, and whenever they do things that make me burst with pride or laugh in a spit-out-your-morning-coffee-kind-of-way, they make me so goddamn grateful that I chose him, and that he chose me. No one else in this world that I’d rather combine DNA with.

2. He makes yummy sounds whenever I cook for him.

3. He never panics. Even when there’s an oxygen mask suddenly strapped to my face while I’m giving birth, and twelve people in white coats and nurses’ scrubs urgently rush into our hospital room. Even when I get a call that my father has to be wheeled into open-heart surgery immediately. Even when our little boy’s lips turn ashen-gray and he has difficulty breathing and we don’t know why. He looks directly into my eyes and doesn’t look away. He winds his way through the twisty-turny maze in my head where I’m cowering in a mushy corner of my over-analyzing brain, hiding and terrified. He tells me it will be alright, and I believe him. Completely.

4. When he’s driving too fast, and I jam on the imaginary passenger-side brake that I still believe will work after nearly sixteen years of marriage, he doesn’t stop the car and pull over to the side and tell me to get out and walk. He really should, but he doesn’t.

5. He breaks the cardinal rule of Guys’ Weekend and tells me all the details afterwards.

(At least I think he does. Hmmm.)

6. He’s my own personal Geek Squad whenever something’s fer-screwy with the computer. Or the printer. Or my cellphone. Or the cable box. Or the DVD player. Or the answering machine. Or the garage door opener. (I was an English major. Not a mechanical bone in my body.)

7. He believes in me, especially at the exact moments when I’ve stopped believing in myself.

8. He lets me buy clothes for him. We went through an unfortunate overalls phase together in the early nineties, and he didn’t fire me as his personal shopper, even though he looked like an extra in Dexy’s Midnight Runners “Come On Eileen” video. Thanks for that, honey.

9. He’s a gem of a man in every sense of the word. Like, Top Five Men Ever In Existence. OK, Top Three. Jesus and Levon Helm are One and Two. I can’t provide details or there will be lines of women outside my door with pies and casseroles.

10. He puts the stresses of the day aside each time he walks in the door at night. I don’t know how he does it, but he is present, and loving, and cheerful, every goddamn time. Every goddamn time. (Now I’m rethinking Number Nine. Maybe my husband is Number One and Levon Helm is Top Two. Because Jesus wasn’t even that easy-going. Remember the moneychangers in the Temple? That was a tough day at work for JC, and he totally lost it. And snipped at Mary Magdalene afterwards. Not my husband. No, sir.)

11. He doesn’t say a word about all the deliveries that arrive regularly via UPS. Not one word.

12. He signs up for every shift in our little family. He wants to make memories with his babies. He wants to let me know he’s got my back. He shows up, he makes the effort, and he participates. Actively. He’s in this — this whole messy, frustrating, heart-swelling, mucky, glorious, exhausting, uplifting thing that we built together with chewing gum and college dive bar beer coasters and London take-away Chinese food containers and subway tokens and Cheerios and plane tickets and Advil tablets and burp cloths and cups of coffee and loose change and honest-to-God love.

13. He has the ability to grow a beard eight seconds after he shaves. Damn, that’s sexy. I miss his full-on mountain man look from our college days. Mercy. But the weekend scruff is enough.

14. He leaves me alone every December to string the lights on the Christmas tree all by myself. He’s Jewish. He didn’t grow up stringing Christmas lights. And he’s secure enough in his manhood that he can hand that task over easily. (He’s also not an idiot. Who the hell wants that job?) He’s never understood why we drag a dead tree into the house and decorate it with “Precious Moments” and “Peanuts” ornaments. And electrify it, thereby increasing our risk of a fire tenfold. And then turn all the lights off, swig Baileys, and cry. (And we think a bris is a bizarre tradition?) He leaves me be while I blast my Christmas music and curse in the living room in the darkness, tangled in tiny white lights that may or may not be working, just like my father did before me and his father before that. He honors my traditions. Don’t even get me started on St. Patrick’s Day. The man should be canonized for lo, these many Marches.

15. He still holds my hand. And he still puts his arm around me at the movies.

16. He’s an old-school man of honor. In his life, in his expressions of love, in the way he parents, at his workplace, in the moments that make his children — and his wife — so proud of who he is and how he conducts himself. The older I get, the more I realize how few of them are out there. And how lucky I am to have this one under my roof.

17. He listens to me — about my delusions of grandeur and my moments of worry about the children and my surety that I’m dying from a rare disease and my flashes of anger about untrainable dogs or highway drivers or insurance companies.

(At least I think he does. Hmmm.)

18. He’s filled twenty years with words and actions that let me know how he feels about me, and I’ve done the same, and if something happened to both of us tomorrow, we both know that we’ve had all of that, that it was real, and it was ours, and that it’s been much more than enough. I pretended for a long time that I was a tough outer borough Irish chick who didn’t need nobody — not no way, not no how. I’ve learned that the honest, vulnerable expression of love is much tougher — and more fulfilling — than any tough chick persona. And so worth the risk. I’m more grateful than I can ever say that he leapt off the cliff with me, and that he held my hand all the way down.

SH-T RIDGEWOOD MOMS SAY

 
We just moved here from Manhattan.
We used to live in Brooklyn but the schools there are terrible.
We lived in Hoboken and I couldn’t carry the baby up six flights every day.
 
Oh my God the taxes!
How do people pay these taxes?
How much are your taxes?
 
He got transferred.
He got laid off.
He’s doing the reverse commute to Greenwich.
 
He works for UBS.
He works for JPMorgan.
He works for a hedge fund.
He works for a law firm.
He’s in commercial real estate.
I don’t know what the hell he does, actually. 
 
He takes the bus.
He leaves so early that he just drives in.
He works from home three days a week and I’m going to
f-cking kill him.
 
I work from home.
I’m not working anymore.
I need to go back to work.
 
I go to Tenafly Pediatrics.
I go to North Jersey Pediatrics.
I’ve got six kids. I just go to the ER.
 
I’d never let them play video games.
They only have the Wii. I’d never let them get the XBox — it’s too violent.
I’m on the phone!  Go play XBox!
 
What school do they go to?
What school do your kids go to?
What school are they in?
 
One in Somerville, and one in the RED program.
Two in Hawes, and one in BF.
One in Willard, one in GW and one at the high school.
 
I just can’t send him to preschool every day! I’d miss him too much!
I thought Ridgewood had a full-day kindergarten when I moved here.
I send them to Glen Rock because they have the full-day kindergarten. And the extended day.
 
I do Pilates.
I spin on Wednesdays.
Oh my God, I love hot yoga.
 
We need to re-do the kitchen.
We’re getting the bathroom re-done.
I will never renovate another house again.
 
BF or GW?
 
You’re not getting a phone.
 
BF or GW?
 
You’re not getting a phone.
 
BF or GW?
 
You’re not getting a phone.
 
She got really skinny, didn’t she?
She looks great! What’s going on with her?
She’s too thin. Why is she so thin?
 
Who watched Mob Wives last night?
Who watched Real Housewives of New York last night?
Who watched Real Housewives of New Jersey last night?
 
I saw Caroline at La Lanterna.
I saw Danielle at Biddy basketball.
I saw Dina at the drug store.
 
She looks terrible!
She looks weird in real life!
They wear so much make up on TV! 
I’d look that good too if I had a stylist!
Her hairline is even lower in person!
 
She’s had work done.
Those boobs aren’t real.
She gets Botox.
She got a spray tan — you can totally tell.  
It’s January! Who looks like that in January?
 
Did you check your email?
Sorry — I’m checking my email.
Did she check her email? 
She never checks her email.
If your kids do sports, you have to check your email!
Why doesn’t that woman check her email?
Does this coach think I check email every minute of the day?
 
I read it on the Ridgewood Blog.
I saw it on northjersey.com.
It was in the Ridgewood Patch. I think. 
 
I’ll have a glass of red wine.
I’ll have a beer.
I brought Skinny Girl but you have to add more tequila to it or it’s not really a drink.
 
I love the city.
We never go into the city anymore.
We should go into the city.
Do you know how much it costs to park in the city and get tickets? Forget it.
 
I dropped my iPhone.
I had to get a new iPhone.
I can’t answer my phone — my kids have to do it. “Sweetie! Answer Mommy’s phone!”
 
I can’t — he’s going to Dads’ Night practice.
Can’t — they’ve got Dads’ Night practice.
I thought they had Dads’ Night practice.
Wait a minute — Dads’ Night is over! Why is he still going to practice?
 
I only buy organic milk.
They only eat whole wheat bread.
I sneak Doritos after everyone’s asleep.
 
She joined the Women’s Club.
I should join the Women’s Club.
Next year I’ll join the Women’s Club.
 
I can’t — I have book group.
I’m reading it for book group.
I didn’t finish the book for book group.
I can’t keep doing book group.
 
I’m her troop leader.
He’s the den leader.
We’re so ready to hand it off to somebody else.
 
This neighborhood used to be a golf course.
I thought our neighborhood used to be a golf course.
No one knows where the golf course was  – all the records got destroyed in Hurricane Floyd.
 
I hate Route 17 on a Saturday!
Why can’t I just buy socks on a Sunday?
I don’t go near Garden State Plaza after Thanksgiving.
I shop online.
 
Good job!
Okay?
Good job!
Okay?
Good job!
Okay?
 
Are you on Facebook?
Did you see what she wrote on Facebook?
She’s always on Facebook, “liking” everything! 
Oh my God, why did I “friend” her?
Why are these kids all on Facebook?
Does your daughter have an Instagram account?
My son isn’t allowed to have SnapChat.
If Steve Jobs wasn’t already dead, I’d wish he was. 

 

I could never do Jamboree.
She’s perfect for Jamboree.
With a body like that, she could totally do Jamboree.


Do you have power?
Do they have power?
Why is there power across the street but we don’t have power?
The west side always get their power back first.
They’re on the Valley grid — the Graydon Pool neighborhood always gets their power back first.
She said she has power but no cable. So what good is that?


Will they close school?
I hope they don’t close school over this — it’s a dusting!
They need to close school — it’s an ice rink out there!
If they close school again tomorrow, I’m going to slit my wrists with a broken red wine bottle.

Did you see Vets Field?
Did you get any water in the basement?
We had to rip up the carpet. 
It’s alright — I hated that carpet.
 
They go to PorchLight.
They go to StageRight.
She’s doing New Players.
 
I’m against the Renewal.
I’m for the Renewal.
What the hell is going on with Valley Hospital?
 
I’m taking them to Bingo Night.
I’m taking them to the school art show.
I’m taking them to Fitness Night.
I’m taking them to the end-of-year picnic.
I hate going to the school stuff when my husband’s out of town.
 
There are too many fundraisers!
I hate writing checks all the time!
I wish they still did the gift wrap. I love the gift wrap.
You know what they should do? They should have another fundraiser.
 
I’m on the board.
I’m heading up the socials this year.
I could never be HSA President.
 
I go to Great Expectations.
I go to Sasha.
I go to Haruo — but I never get Haruo.
 
My roots are terrible.
I need to go every four weeks.
I should go every four weeks but I stretch it to five.
I can’t take this baseball cap off until Saturday morning.
 
You should run for Board of Ed.
You should run for Village Council.
You should run for Mayor.
 
My family’s from Ridgewood.
My husband grew up in Ridgewood.
I grew up in Ridgewood, but my parents live in Mahwah.
 
I went to Ridgewood High School.
I went to IHA.
I went to Bergen Catholic.
I went to Don Bosco.
I heard he got kicked out of St. Joe’s.
 
She’s a phenomenal teacher.
You have to request that teacher. Put it in writing.
He’s the worst teacher at the school.
You can’t let him get that teacher.
Who’s her teacher this year?
 
There’s no pool at Arcola.
There’s no golf course at Indian Trails.
I don’t know anybody at Ridgewood Country Club. I could never get in.
 
My friend works at Weichert.
My friend works at Marron Gildea.
My friend works at Tarvin.
 
I just have to run up to Tice’s Corner.
I need to go to Riverside and return it.
I have to go to the mall.
I hate the mall.
 
I never go to Graydon. My kids got Coxsackie every year so I stopped going.
I love Graydon. Look at the ducks!
What the hell is going on with Graydon?
 
I know her from Mt. Carmel.
I know her from Montessori.
I know her from playgroup.
 
I go to New York Sports.
I go to Ethos.
I go to Parisi’s.


I froze my gym membership.
Why would I pay that much for one class a week?
I can never get a spin bike.


I run at 5:30 am.
I run at 6:00 am.
I was supposed to run today.
I need a running partner.
Who wants to run with me in the morning?
 
She hates swimming — but I take her anyway.
We tried UK Elite but he gave me a hard time every week.
She begged me to do dance but now she wants to quit.
 
Do you know how much that lacrosse equipment cost?
Do you know how much those recital costumes cost?
Do you know how much those basketball shoes cost?
 
She’s doing the Graydon camp.
He’s doing the lacrosse camp.
She’s doing too many camps.
 
He’s doing rec.
She’s trying out for travel.
They’ll just have to choose at some point between the two.
 
Do you want to carpool?
Can she carpool with us?
Did you ask her to carpool?
I should have asked her to carpool. I forgot and now I feel bad. She just saw me in the parking lot and now I can’t get out of the car.
 
I love lacrosse — it’s only an hour.
I love soccer — you’re in and you’re out.
Oh my God. These baseball games last forever!  And it’s still ninety degrees at 6:30 pm!
 
I’ve gotta go to Dick’s.
I went to Sports Authority but they were out of them.
They never have it at Modell’s.

Once they go to elementary school you can’t get into the classroom.
Once they go to middle school there are no parent-teacher conferences.
Once they go to high school you don’t know what the hell’s going on.
 
What’s she doing this weekend? Is she going to the…
Don’t say anything about the birthday party.
She didn’t get an invite. Don’t worry about it.
I never RSVP’ed to the birthday party.
I forgot to take her to the birthday party.
I have to drop off a gift.
We never had birthday parties like this when I was little.  We just had cake and a few friends.
You have to invite the whole class.
I mean, you can’t invite the whole class!


I checked Skyward.
I checked Skyward again.
Skyward isn’t working.

I used to walk everywhere in the city.
I’m in the car all day long.
My kids ate bananas and dry cereal for dinner in the back seat of the car before practice.
I just have to stop for gas before we go home, ok?
 
We live on the west side now.
We live on the east side now.
We moved out of Ridgewood once our kids were finished with high school.
Just wait until they start kindergarten.
Just wait until they get to middle school.
Just wait until they go to high school.
 
Ridgewood isn’t the same town anymore.

My kids loved Ridgewood.

I miss Ridgewood.
I made the best friends in Ridgewood.
You should move to Ridgewood.