Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Max and Ruby

When I started writing this blog, I thought I would use it more frequently to chronicle funny little anecdotes that my kids say, that don't necessarily need to make it to Facebook. The other day I was letting Meghan (recently turned 6) choose an episode of Max and Ruby from OnDemand. She doesn't get the opportunity to pick a show, since her almost 10 year old sister monopolizes it with Food Network shows. But I'm glad that when given the chance, she picks from the little kids menu, Max and Ruby, The Fresh Beat Band, and just this summer asked to watch a few episodes of Sesame Street. So my sweet little innocent third born when given her choices of which title to choose, I think it was Rocket and Fairy Tale. She told me she wants a different one. Max and Ruby, Ruby gets a Boobie. And started cracking up at her own joke. And the beat goes on.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Room With a View

I don't have much to write about today, but this is the view from my desk, the hydrangeas are from my garden and the sunflowers are from the awesomely fabulous Trader Joe's.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Below is my memory of September 11. But first I need to comment on something that has always stuck in the back of my mind and I never heard it explored in its obviousness on the news. In the US, our distress call, nationwide, is 911. Did they pick that day on purpose. Snickering behind their hands? Knowing the bedlam they would cause. The fact that they would obliterate an enormous demographic of our 911 responders? At the same time rendering our ability to dial 911 useless? It is too obvious to even seem ironic. I'm surprised that I haven't heard it discussed.

As a former New Yorker, accent on the former, I felt like a poseur when I was feeling what I was feeling on and after September 11. I felt like I needed to validate that it somehow hit me harder, because my father had been a FDNY firefighter, and only had just recently retired. I knew people that died. Only 2 I could call real friends but there were many others that I had known, worked with, been at parties with, went to college with. I felt like I somehow had to acknowledge that, without being a narcisstic drama queen, or having a clever anecdote in a conversation when the all too common conversations about the attacks came up. "Oh, you're from New York City... Did you know....." I was a peripheral player, who was feeling homesick and terrified and depressed and displaced and couldn't believe that I was bringing a baby into this world. I was obsessed with obituaries and the then limited internet, trying to piece together my purpose or place in the craziness that was our post-911 world.

I copied this from the Notes of my facebook page; my memories of September 11.

On September 11,  I was at home in Scituate, Massachusetts; 8 months pregnant. I had opted not to start the school year since my baby was due in just a few weeks. I wasn't sleeping at night and had gotten into the habit of sleeping in. The phone rang shortly after the first plane hit. It was Tom in an incredibly calm voice asking me if I had the tv on. "You may want to turn it on. A plane just hit the World Trade Center." I immediately started to panic because, as a former Staten Islander the possibility of knowing several to hundreds of people that worked there was very real. Aunts and cousins that travelled in on express buses. Friends and family on the ferry and in the subways. Then the second plane hit. Like everyone else I was nauseated and appalled  by people jumping out of buildings. Then the collapse. Now I was freaking out because, not just for the obvious reasons of all the death and devestation. My sister worked the 10 am shift at a midtown hotel, and would have been on a bus into the city at 9 am. I couldn't get calls through. Phones were completely out at my parents house. I deperately called my aunt (who's 2 boys were FDNY EMTs and were probably at a makeshift triage unit waiting for the injured who never came) and my parents' neighbors, just to see if everyone was safe. Just busy signals no answers for hours.
 I was silently crying my eyes out. Riveted. Alone. In Massachusetts. I felt so removed and homesick, even though I hadn't lived in New York for 6 years at that point. My mother in law called me to distract me, but I didn't realize it at the time. She was rambling on about the movie Princess Diaries starring Anne Hathaway. I kept switching the topic to the Towers. She was trying to keep me from going into labor a month early by keeping me calm, but I couldn't see it then, I thought she'd lost her mind. I got off the phone and started going through my mental rolodex of all the people I had lost touch with who could possibly be there; firemen, police officers, finance and wall street people. I kept hearing about Cantor Fitzgerald. So familiar. I was wracking my brain. Billy Micciulli, a high school friend had given me his business card when I worked downtown. Holy crap. It had been a long time. Maybe he didn't work there anymore. Unfortunately he was the first of several names I would find out hadn't made it that day.
I finally got through to my parents, only to find that my sister hadn't gone into work that day, my aunt had missed a bus, my cousin was fine. But my retired firefighter father had grabbed his gear, hopped in the back of a pickup truck and joined countless other off duty and retired Bravest. Great.
I was obsessed with the television trying to watch and see if another of the few survivors would climb out of the rubble to the applause of the bucket brigade of so many hardworking people digging out rubble, bucket by bucket. There were so few. There were rumors as the hours passed of others, alive and trapped, everyone waiting. Names of the deceased started to trickle in, and I waited with baited breath for someone I knew. Amazingly, only a few friends were lost to me that day. Kevin Reilly, a smart, funny classmate of mine from Oneonta, lost his life in the line of duty that day as a firefighter. My father lost friends that day, but what was more difficult for him I think, were his friends' sons. A legacy lost.
So many brave men and women were taken that day, and I have so much respect and appreciation for the men and women who stepped up after that day to take their places, whether they had been waiting for a spot to open up at the academies or that went out after that day to take a stand. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fireman's Daughter

Every year as 9/11 draws close, I'm reminded of a story from about seven years ago. It was a hot July day and Tom had just left for Boston to do his 2 weeks Reserve Duty. I decided to take the kids, then ages almost 3 and almost 1 down to my parents house for a few days. We had one cell phone at the time, and luckily I had it with me. It was broiling hot and we were stuck in traffic on the Cross Bronx Expressway heading for the George Washington Bridge when my car started to overheat. Not just overheat, but there was a "pop" and then steam starting pouring out from under the hood. I slowly got over into the right lane and threw my hazards on. "ohshitohshitohshitohshit" I was trying not to panic, and realizing that I could not call Tom, I decided to call my dad, down in Staten Island, on the other end of summer rush hour  and Jersey shore traffic. He told me to call 911 and in the meantime I should try to get the vehicle off the highway.

I called 911, explained that I had 2 small children with me and they said they would send someone out to help. At least 45 minutes went by in dead locked traffic and I finally see a police car go by on the opposite side of traffic. Eventually I flagged down a police car that was not aware of my situation, and they parked their car behind mine .  Finally, I asked them if they would follow me to a police station so I could wait safely (I was in the Bronx) until my dad could come and get us. They kind of rolled their eyes at this damsel in distress and gave me directions to the precinct a few blocks from the highway.  At this point it had been several hours and I had split Christopher's milk bottle between the 2 of them so they wouldn't dehydrate. I went into the police station, and they were too busy to help someone without a real problem. I looked around and the place was crawling with young moms with toddlers in tow, in there for reasons unknown to me. For all I know, they were making pests of themselves just to beat the heat and enjoy some free ac. Who knows.

Somehow, I realized thru my bleary eyed panic and desperation that the precinct was attached to a fire house. Well lordy lordy. Didn't my former firefighter father tell me when I first got my drivers license, "If you're ever lost or in trouble, go to a firehouse. Tell them your dad's a fireman and they will take care of you." I left the precinct in a huff and knocked on the door to the firehouse. I told my sob story to the guy who answered the door, including that my dad had told me seek refuge in a firehouse, and he welcomed us right in. He brought us into the huge kitchen, and gave my kids water and apples. Found some Dunkin Donuts from that morning's breakfast and gave the kids each a donut with directions to help themselves if they wanted more. In the meantime, 2 of the guys asked for my keys, physically pushed my car up the street and into the station and began tinkering around under the hood!!!!!!! Some of the other guys brought us into the lounge, which was rows of old sofas all pushed together and encouraged the kids to jump on the couches and put PBS on the giant screen tv.

By the time my mom and dad arrived, they had jerry rigged the car so that it would run, and my dad drove it while the rest of us followed in my parents' car. I thanked them profusely and swore to myself that I would do something nice for them, in fact, hey, maybe I'll even contact a newspaper to share my story. But, I. Never. Did. Anything. I usually avoid the CrossBronx when I drive these days, I always feel like a heel that I never even sent them a thank you note. I didn't know the name of the Company, and then life got in the way. But I never forgot their kindness and the way that it was no big deal to them to help people out. People in need. That's part of the job description, but it seems to go deeper. I'm thankful.
This is my dad and one of his best friends the morning of 9/11, a couple of retired firemen, who went into their basements, grabbed their old gear and got the hell over to downtown Manhattan, to do what they could to help.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Trying to keep writing to find my groove again...

It's been a busy week for us around here. Last Wednesday we defied the odds and pulled off 2 consecutive birthday parties in one day. Rented a bounce house and decided to get our money's worth, checked my sanity at the door. We celebrated Meghan's 6th birthday and Christopher's 8th. It's so weird to me that my youngest is now 6. She's still totally the baby around here. I also would have thought that we would have had a 4th, a surprise, if you will, at this point. But the older they get, the farther away from babyhood, the less realistic it seems. I went shopping for my cousin's baby shower yesterday too. Bought the baby girl 2 of the most insanely adorable fancy yet comfy BabyGap dresses. I wish I had dressed my girls up more when they were babies. They were fall babies, so they spent a good amount of time in cozy footie jammies. That and, we never really had to go anywhere, so why bother dressing up?

School started last Thursday. The 2 older kids went off and into school as expected, and as expected my little one clung and cried like she'd never see me again. Her very capable first grade teacher handed her the class sign to distract her and sent her in to lead the rest of her class. A few more tears on day 2. Today, she went in like a champ. Fingers are crossed for another good day. I have a Squinky for her as a prize for being big, and more in a bag for additional bribery as the week goes on.

Sunday was Meg and Christopher's actual birthday. It was also the Constitution State Feis. Erin took 4 medals in the Light Jig, Reel, Slip Jig and HornPipe. Very exciting stuff. Especially since she got 2 gold medals, (her first time for that). The feis was held at an amusement park so we spent the rest of the day enjoying some good old fashioned family fun. Topped the day off with a traditional Carvel ice cream cake. 

Yesterday, Labor Day, Tom took Chris to a Yankee game and the girls and I went to the mall. The mall is a big deal for my kids because I never ever take them there. The highlight of the trip was a visit to the Pretzel Time kiosk for pretzel nuggets and fake cheese dip. Delish. We went to Claires, where unfortunately there were no "red-line" sales items, so we ended up paying full price for a pair of soccer ball earrings (too heavy for Erin's earlobes) and another disgusting, probably made in China and pthalate filled makeup kit. Yuck. It was a nice visit though, and I forced myself not to rush them, or snap at them, and just relax and enjoy them.

Friday, September 2, 2011


The kids are on day 2 of being back at school. Yesterday I took a completely lazy kid-free day, caught up on my MTV Challenge Reunion, ate several cupcakes and went grocery shopping. Today I felt like I needed to try to earn my keep around here. I had to strip away the old calk and dig out all the junk around the tub again because I used the wrong kind last time. I did the "cyclical" chores that are neverending, like emptying and refilling the dishwasher, laundry (and actually put it away - bonus!), cleaned the kids' bathroom (well, halfway), and finished organizing Christopher's room, and went to Whole Foods to round out our groceries. I need a new cell phone because mine is completely dead and I think I'm going to stick with an old school phone, with texting. As much as I drool for an iphone, I think the added web access will just serve as additional distraction for me. Plus, the addtional monthly charge isn't that appealing.

I have to go get the kids in a few minutes. Meghan cried again this morning and had to be pulled away by her teacher. Brutal. I have a had an anxious stomach all day. When I emptied her lunch box yesterday, I saw that she, for the second year now, won't throw her trash away in the cafeteria trash bins. There are all kinds of rules about recycling, liquids, trash, finishing healthy snacks before treats, etc. All things that we take for granted as status quo, but that scare the crap out of a brand new first grader. I told her that if she wants to bring her trash home (I know, I'm a total enabler) that she needs to dispose of it as soon as we get home. She burst into tears and told me that if you're not finished with your lunch when the kids that are lined up go outside, you have to go by yourself. Great. Now I'm afraid that she's not going to eat her lunch so she can get in line in time. And they don't have snack time, since lunch is smack in the middle of the day. Anyhoots, that's where we are Day 2. The big kids love their teachers and all is back to normal with them.