The Storm Before the Calm


Jim Carrey as Fire Marshall Bill

Have you ever had a Fire Marshall Bill moment when you suddenly just want to exit left abruptly and there’s no stopping you? I had one of those moments yesterday when I was out with several friends. In fact, my insistence that I jettison myself from the scene ASAP was noted by one, who even called me Fireman Bill! Here is what I looked like:


So here was the scene. I’m sitting there trying to drink this heinous, fluorescent yellow Chardonnay that tasted like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and I suddenly came to the conclusion that I must go home. I wasn’t sure why I felt this way, until I actually got home and had a full meltdown while walking my dogs that I didn’t want to live here on Cape Cod anymore. I am not sure what came over me.

It reminded me of those times in New York City when I’d ride the subway and just start crying. To me, that was sort of a regular thing. And, really, it didn’t seem problematic,(LOLing) because there were so many other people around and no one seemed to notice! One minute, I’d be subway surfing and balancing while holding onto the dirty pole with two fingers, and the next I’d be sitting down and crying, staring at the floor.

Well, one time, someone did notice. It was this guy sitting across from me. He gave me an empathetic side smile and handed me a book, his book, and got off the train. By the time I registered what had happened, he was gone. It was a yellow business book, called Time is Money, and on the inside of the cover, he wrote: “Nice Things Happen.” I’ll never forget that.

It’s true.

So, back to me gripping and walking my dogs last night, I ran into a neighbor. I don’t know her well, but we have kids who are similar ages. She told me she was struggling, (maybe I was looking haggard and obvious?), and I was so appreciative! In fact, so much so, that I think I was legit like yelling positive affirmations about parenting to a mother from across the street at Volume 50. Me: No, totally, I get it! I do! We must get together! I am here for you!


Anyway, I walked on and started to legit bawl that I wanted to move! I didn’t know how I could stay here anymore. I was carrying two doggie bags of poop, holding one dog leash in one hand and one in the other, and hunched over. I  was like, “How did this happen? I am not from Cape Cod. How have I been here so long! I need to go!” The poop bags were a metaphor.


I woke up, and things are a lot nicer today.

I did some writing, went for a run, and I turned off the music on my iPhone. I walked past the beach and stopped to take these photos, thinking how insane I was to be crying that I was forced to live here. Where I live is beautiful, and I’m so lucky to be here!

Okay, now I’m not trying to be that person who tags all of her social media photos with #Blessed #whywelivehere, ’cause that’s just annoying. It’s almost as annoying as #goodtimes #goodfriends.

But sometimes you have a Fire Marshall Bill moment! And then you cry and put out the fire.

And what’s left is calm.






A Brand New Day #quarantined

It’s only 10:00 a.m. and I’ve gotten, “I’m bored” already. I also said something I never thought I’d say, including, “Want to do something fun? Here, take the vacuum, and suck up all the crumbs that are under the couch cushions!” I mean, I think it’s fun? And, honestly, I had a decent time doing it, but she didn’t think it was amusing. My house is actually getting very clean and organized. Oh, except for when I spilled the entire pot of coffee on the floor because I was busy reading a text message.

The two worst parts about the spill: wasting coffee that is in limited supply in my house (only bought three bags while hoarding groceries in the market), and using up some paper towels. I do have to say, Bounty got it right–it does really absorb. Props to them! I mean, I’m being conservative in my usage of these paper products (fold the toilet paper, guys, and only one square at a time), because just one paper towel was able to soak up the entire pot.

I’m creating an agenda for the day, and it looks something like this:

  1. Go outside in the yard.

That’s where I stopped. I can’t really think of anything else to do.

I’ve become somewhat of a Forest Ranger, as one of our activities is taking the wagon around the neighborhood and collecting sticks and dry wood for a fire in the fire pit. It’s sort of like a low-budget lawn clean-up for my neighbors. I mean, honestly? I might have to start leaving invoices surreptitiously in their mailboxes, ‘ya know, just to get some extra coin when times are tight. That will go over well at the block party this summer. If there is one.

“Hey, guys, need a lawn clean-up?”

Here are a couple more highlights from today (oh, and remember, it’s only 10, so today has barely started):

  1. I got yelled at by my son for stockpiling the freezer, because it flattened out the ice cream sandwiches (i.e. breakfast)
  2. Our dwarf frog, Gill, has gone missing. I am not sure if Pearl, the goldfish, ate him because she too is hoarding food, or if he jumped out. It’s kinda grim looking for a frog skeleton
  3. I am wearing another smoke-show of an outfit: pink fuzzy Job Lot pants (who knew JL had such great fashion choices?), Ugg boots (for going back and forth between inside and outside regularly), a scrunchie (guys, they are back in style. No, they are), and eye concealer. I might do a videocast, but I’m worried too many men will start stalking me. I mean, could happen in this gear.

Speaking of men, it’s hard to be a single mom during the quarantine, because there is one of me and two of them, and I don’t have another adult around to talk to. Please comment though and tell me if I’m wrong. Like, are you all going nuts with your partners? Wait, I’m having a pity party right now. Hold, please.

The kids have FaceTimed their friends, and speaking of parties, I do have a #Zoom party later with some friends, so that should be fun! Right around pour time…Another good idea for everyone to connect.

Well, enjoy your day. I know I’ll continue to enjoy mine! #stayhome





Al’s Camp: How to Thrive at Home in Uncertain Times


imgres-1It’s funny. I was going to start this blog about three weeks ago, before all this COVID-19, and when I didn’t have as much childcare fodder to share. And, now, due to school being cancelled, and it being basically, shall we say, summer, I have much more to talk about! It’s summer vacation in my house! Whee! So we started camp: Al’s Camp. That’s right. You may not have heard of Al’s camp (?), but it’s pretty darn fun, and I could use a little coin right about now, so if you want to sign up in advance, I can give you my address and just go on and send a check.  And, fun fact: Al’s Camp is not just for kids; it’s also for adults. It’s kinda like those yoga retreats…Kripalu? I mean, sorta, minus all the B.S. Here is how Al’s Camp goes:

  1. Just wake up when you want and, really, it’s totes okay if you stay in your pajamas all day. Know why? Because mommy is in fuzzy blue penguin pants that she got for Christmas at Job Lot and a one dollar clearance sweater, size XL, from Walmart.  And, also? We/I don’t have to keep doing laundry that way. Right? Yes, let’s be sustainable and not waste water, and we will just turn those suckers inside out and wear lobster bibs while eating so as not to stain. Shut ya’ dresser drawers. PJ’s only.
  2. Devices are allowed while mommy is working–or just until the retinas are a solid red. We  have testing in the first floor bathroom to see if eyes are bloodshot. If so, we will all take a break in the backyard and play Rover-Rover, I Hope Your Eyesight Isn’t Over. With parental permission, we can apply Visene, but we need those permission slips in STAT.
  3. The special meal we cook is something called “Hodge Podge.” What’s that you say? Yes, you may have missed that page in Gwyneth Paltrow’s #Goop cookbook, but believe-you-me, it’s solid. It really is a composition of: whatever’s in the fridge that the kids want to eat, coupled with some sliced apples, carrots and peppers. Totes healthy! So we got them veggies in there (and I don’t mean just veggie chips (’cause those are a staple around here), and we have child satisfaction at a 10 with like a Dannon Cotton Candy Smoothie (guys, no, it’s a smoothie, so it has to be healthy even if it’s cotton candy flavored. Um, can we say natural flavors??)
  4. Happy Hour starts right at five (for those of us who are 21+ of course). That’s correct. As soon as I hit shut down and log off from working remotely on the computer, I head straight for the fridge and get it going. Oh, and there’s so much to choose from, because mommy had to stock up. And not only that, she had to take off her sommelier beret and lower her wine standards, and sophisticated palette (hah), in the quest for quantity over quality. I have embraced the magnum of vino, which I heretofore had no interest in, lowered the bar, and accepted my lot. I now am fine with it. I taste fruit forward, cement, cherry balls, you name it. All in that magnum. Lower the bar, people. It’s not that bad.
  5. We have a moment of mindfulness at dinner when I lead grace. I encourage all chewing to stop immediately but am okay with like a piece of chicken or a macaroni being hidden under the tongue while we give a quick shout out to the higher-ups.

So that’s just a quick snapshot of what it’s like these days around here at camp. As we share in our social distance, it’s helpful to see how others are carrying out their lives and offering suggestions. Please feel free to print these out and share them with others! And defs call get on the wait list for the second session of Al’s Camp. It’s legit filling up fast. Not even joking. Serious.

‘Til later, stay safe.