There are often silver linings to difficult situations, and that is true even when marriages end. Once upon a time, my husband and I were the couple that everyone thought would last forever and that expectation— and the shock I often see when I say we’ve split up after 20 years—makes the separation hard.
I still know everything I once loved about my husband, the teenager’s father, my first love. And I will always cherish those memories and I will miss those feelings we once had for each other. As I’m sure he has similar nostalgia and good-heartedness.
It was he who told me no matter what happened we would always be family.
And we will.
But there are some parts of this process that are uplifting. New beginnings. New traditions. No more compromising.
Ending family curses.
I mean that. You see, my household had a curse that involved grilling.
You see, every day time we tried to grill, it rained.
Today, I decided to grill. We have a couple of portable charcoal grills. I even sprung for the instant/match light charcoal.
But I decided to keep it vegetarian.
That way if I didn’t get everything cooked properly I didn’t have to worry about the internal temperature of meat.
And since I paid for about ten years of Girl Scout summer camp for the teenager, she should be able to cook on a fire.
So first I weeded the yard and cleaned up the grill.
Got the hose and some Brillo pads.
And the teenager reassembled the grill (and we lost some nuts and bolts— oops). I wrapped a sweet potato in some foil to toss in the coals and also some apples.
I put carrots and fingerling potatoes in the basket.
And I planned on making some chickpea Bubba vegetarian burgers once the grill got good and hot. Sadly, the burgers were freezer-burned beyond a level that could be salvaged.
So the teenager got some chip steak and I put it on my cast iron griddle.
Now if you note in the photos that there are two grills, that’s because once my grill fell apart, we transferred the hot charcoal into the other grill.
But hey— at least it wasn’t raining.
To make matters interesting, the sweet potato was half-cooked. The teenager thought the potatoes and carrots too crunchy and charred. And the chip steak overcooked. But it was a meal we laughed a lot over and we didn’t starve.
The teenager used my small cast iron pot to make tea on the grill, which she will tell you was the best part of the meal. I got a little ice cream so our hot apples could go in it.
When the teenager would come home from Girl Scout camp, she would talk about sugared apples on the fire. I thought I’d surprise her and recreate a beloved summer childhood memory.
Except I didn’t know to core the apple. Obvious now. And we forgot to turn them so they were only hot on one side.
I really had a lovely evening barbecuing with the teenager at the helm of the fire, but sometimes I think my family life might be the script for the next movie in the National Lampoon franchise.
My daughter and I have developed a fascination with The Attic Clothes in Bethlehem as they have been hosting online sales on Instagram and Facebook.
We’ve been supporting small local business and indulging in one of the great teen girl sports of all time— consignment store shopping.
I’m going to switch up the chronology of this piece since right now the teenager, my blind friend, Nan, and I are among several other cars in the Dunkin Donuts parking lot.
This experience can be summed up as— as my daughter put it— Nothing Just Happens.
So, Nan, being blind and a little strange, decided to wear her mask over her eyes.
We invited her along to pick up our consignment items. We stopped at the teenager’s grandmother’s to drop off a stepladder we borrowed. And her grandfather bought her the new Cats movie on DVD, like seeing it three times in the theatre wasn’t enough.
We had promised to take Nan for a car ride and stop at Dunkin for coffee and snackin’ bacon. And we all shared a matcha since Nan had never had any.
It was starting to look like the perfect day for the teen.
Until she discovered I messed up her coffee and she didn’t like it. So we went through the drive through a second time. This time we were going to order Munchkins too!
The teen wanted the 50 count bucket that looked like it came out of Kentucky Fried Chicken. But since we’re all gaining weight— the only way we were getting 50 munchkins is if Nan were taking 45 of them home to share with all her neighbors.
But they said they were out of munchkins. And they were paid for. So I told the poor guy to throw anything in the bag. He asked if I would accept a donut or two. I said sure. I think he was uneasy that I made him choose but he gave us a chocolate cake donut, which Nan and I split, and a chocolate iced donut with sprinkles which we gave to the teen.
That and her blue raspberry coolatta will have her high as a kite by the time we get home.
We were cleaning the garage earlier and removed about 150 gallons of garbage— she’ll have the energy to go home and finish the job, hoisting furniture over her head like a she-hulk.
So while the teen is trying on clothes in the backseat (skills learned in marching band), quasi-modeling her purchases, there are people wondering what the hell is up with us.
And Nan says it makes me look like the normal one.
Yes, I know the title is nonsense— but the world has turned a tad upside down as the world tends to do as having billions of people and billions of animals on a planet will erupt into some unexpected situations from time to time.
The teenager loves to eat lemons. I love to cook with lemons. For a while, especially when I first discovered Gaz Oakley the Avant Garde Vegan (Check him out on YouTube—amazing falafel, his own recipe for peri-peri sauce) I always kept fresh lemons in the house.
That was also about the time I would have lemon water first thing in the morning. The juice of half a lemon with tap water.
I did that again this morning. First time in probably a year. Or more.
Today was also the first time in a week I haven’t gained weight. The first month of this pandemic, I was eating better but stopped because… Easter… or so I claim. I am a jelly bean addict and once I start eating the jelly beans I launch onto a sugar and caffeine roller coaster.
So maybe this post should be called “bad habits.” I originally lost about 5 pounds due to stress in the beginning of the pandemic, but between beer, pizza, Easter candy, homemade cookies and triple jalapeño bacon cheeseburgers from Wendy’s they have found their way back.
It’s been rough. More pressure than ever at work. A good friend walked away coldly without even saying goodbye. A work colleague who often made me smile left unexpectedly. Medical bills still coming in.
But in the end, I still feel inside these struggles help us grow and bring us to the next level— as another work colleague likes to say— we don’t age, we gain experience like in a video game. So I’m less than a month away from my 45th Level with the teenager two months away from Level 16 and a drivers license.
Designated Driver AND babysitter, mom friends out there!!!!
Yesterday was a sunny day amidst a forecast of rain. Last week the teenager did not complete her three weekly gym assignments and she told her teacher in her log that she “got lazy” and he wrote back that sometimes he gets lazy, too. This is a great lesson for our (older) kids in communication and work ethic. Those of you with younger kids, God Bless You and Keep You.
I would be screaming every day if the teenager were, say, six. Our brains are wired too differently.
But back to gym. We got out the tandem bike. (Yes, we have a bicycle built for two— it was a gift.) I wanted the teen to “win” gym this week. And she should get extra credit for captaining a bike with her mom, who has cerebral palsy and no real balance skills.
Then her dad came over and brought his famous hot buffalo chicken dip for dinner, at the teen’s request, and included beer for us grown-ups. And he even got on the bike! (He doesn’t ride bikes.)
I excused myself to work on some more chapters of Bill’s novel Debauchery (and reached the first sex scene— those characters are so in love it hurts). Please don’t be scared by the violence and BDSM in this novel/series. The real theme here is the beauty of acceptance no matter who you are.
And the first of several pet related packages came. So here is a Petco unboxing and some animal videos:
Let’s see what adventures today brings! Stay well, friends! Let’s crush this day!
The neighborhood has been quiet today, it’s rainy and dark. I live in half a double and I haven’t heard a peep out of the other side of my house.
It’s too wet to walk dogs. The guy who randomly rides up and down the street on a lawnmower is no where to be found.
Everyone’s cars are here, but everyone’s house is dark.
One house up the street has removed a tree that I remember them planting 10 years ago.
And the neighbor flipping our deceased octogenarian’s house has removed her metal louvered screen door and painted the main door white when it was always brown.
I was bitterly disappointed when CVS never texted that my prescription was ready. I called them to see if I could order it and the automated system told me no. I don’t need it yet, was just looking forward to the outing.
So, the teenager got out a Nicholas Cage movie— last week she got out Gone in 60 Seconds because I love cars. I love cars. Today she picked The Family Man because she didn’t remember it and I love chick flick comedy.
And we ate blueberry bagels with nut butter and banana (mine was almond butter, hers was extra crunchy peanut butter) and when she popped her bagel out of the toaster muttering “oo ee, that’s hot!” we spontaneously burst into a few rounds of The Witch Doctor.
Then CVS texted that my prescription was ready after all! So the teenager and I grabbed my 25% off coupon and headed to the pharmacy for a nice afternoon walk.
The prescription was $4, and the plumber was ahead of us in line. We made our way to the front of the store, and I told my blind friend Nan that I would look for hand soap in case she needed it. And since I had that coupon I wanted to get sleep aid, for those occasionally bouts of insomnia. So I “treated” myself to the 500 count bottle.
Got Nan’s soap. And was amazed at the aisles and aisles of Easter Candy still remaining— and they had only reduced it to 50% off. The Dollar Store had 75% off.
But we got cheap jelly beans and the teenager asked for “Robin’s Eggs” malt balls. And a gallon of Arizona iced tea. And I picked out bottled Starbucks drinks. And asked her to grab a bag of chips.
That’s what this blurry picture is—most of our “haul.”
When did these outings become so exciting? When did I start thinking strategically about every aisle and item and outing?
I’ve been stressed. There’s a lot going on in my life between relationships and work. And for weeks, if not months, I’ve wanted to clean the Tupperware cupboard.
When my husband moved out in late June, I encouraged him to take more of the storage containers in the cupboard. I honestly don’t remember how much he took. But I do know I look at the cupboard and think I have too many containers left.
Purging and organizing makes my soul feel free and light.
Today I finally did it…
I ate way too many pierogies for dinner and then I tackled the abyss.