What have you done for me lately? Too much!

In one week Suburban Jungle will celebrate it’s first birthday! Yes, one year of building a following of tons of readers and 1000’s of visitors each month… sometimes each week.  One year of amazing comments, personal email responses, and whispers at the grocery store.  The gestation period for this baby was about 7 years longer than the standard 9 months, but it was well worth it.

I started this blog after signing up for FB.  Before I knew it, I had hundreds of FB friends, because I am extremely popular.  I realized, here is a huge audience of people that I can awkwardly and annoyingly push my material on.  Due to nostalgia induced guilt, they just might read it. Since then, it has grown into a legitimate site, read by people all over the planet, literally.  I have become a contributing writer for CityMommy, NewParent, SheJustGotMarried, and the JewishTimes.  I have been mentioned in Good Housekeeping, and I am contributing to a hilarious book!

Because of you, I am looking for an agent and working on pitching two books.  I have gotten multiple calls about writing a pilot and am very seriously working towards getting many of my articles published… articles that started out as blog posts, for your entertainment.  If I did not have such amazing people following the blog, commenting, calling, and emailing, I don’t think I would have been so inspired to pursue this dream.  So, I want to thank you.

This is around the time I would start to insult you, by saying something like, “It was you, the little people, the peons, that helped me, a titan of brilliant creativity.  Who would ever have imagined?”  But I wouldn’t dare, because I still need you little people.

I need you now more than ever.  Because I am focusing on making this a career, I can not focus on marketing the blog.  I need those of you who are technologically savvy to Stumble me, Mixx me, Digg me, Blog Roll me, Tweet me, and Tickle me.  I made the last one up, but who doesn’t like a good tickle?  For those of you who don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about, please pass me on to friends, neighbors, class lists, and Mommy And Me programs.

This is an official amendment to our contract, like getting an annoying packet explaining the change in your insurance coverage.  I write a blog that is mostly article driven.  If I want consistent traffic without marketing, I need to be more “bloggish,” and POST, POST, POST.  So rather than let the Suburban Jungle suffer, I will enhance it with more frequent posts.  Not all will be articles, I am still just one insanely talented person.  But, I promise they will be witty, relatable, and sometimes short.

I will continue to give you the articles you love so much, and in return you will continue to enjoy the posts… that’s an order. You will talk about me at lunches, PTA meetings, water coolers, and play-dates.  You will sign up friends to the email subscription with out their permission.  You will annoy them with requests to join the Suburban Jungle group or networked blog on FB, and insist that they follow me on twitter.  Most importantly, you will ignore all spelling and grammatical errors.

I will hold you to our contract, which like an insurance company, I have the right to amend at any time, without prior notice.  Thanks for reading and inspiring every word!  You are truly the best audience ever!

Much Love,

Jenny from the blog

I always love feedback and hope to hear from you.

The FB Suburban Jungle group will receive articles only… not the entire feed, for the full experience sign up for the FB networked blogs thing-a-ma-who-ha.

I will not have as much time to post on LinkedIn, so if you find me there, sign up directly on my site, and feel free to link to me.

Is it just me or does money seem tight these days?

I don’t know about you guys, but I have watched my investments plummet.  it’s probably just me.  I must have made bad choices.  Reeling from the tech fallout of 2002, I cautiously invested in low risk things like bonds, and solid proven companies like GE and CitiBank.  What was I thinking?

Oddly, I also assumed that my husband would receive his weekly commission based paychecks well, weekly.  I appear to have been wrong on both counts. The constant chatter I hear on line at the supermarket, where people are pulling coupons out of their Chanel bags to save a buck on T.P. (one ply), makes me think, “maybe I‘m not alone.”

I want to know when I started to sound desperate and entitled?  Was it when I complained that I have to make my own coffee? Or when in an attempt to avoid such a dreadful task, I offered my barista a BJ in return for a Grande latte?

You know Sally Struthers once said, that a child in a third world country could live on the price of just one cup of coffee a day.  There’s probably a Starbucks like every 8 huts in Ethiopia, but how can I buy them coffee everyday when I can’t afford my own?  Oh, the irony.  You know Sally also said, “Stop calling my husband Meathead, Daddy.“ so I don’t know why I’m letting her make me feel guilty in the first place.

Here in the first world — America, there are people who struggle everyday of their lives and in the face of that I still manage to be upset that my husband and I haven’t exchanged gifts this year.

In an attempt to be frugal and responsible I recently returned $200 worth of “barely” used makeup and creams to Sephora.  Look, we all know that stuff looks perfect in the blinding color melting lights of the store and not so perfect in the natural lighting of … reality.

That was a resourceful plan.  Unfortunately,  I couldn’t use the credit to buy groceries or vaccines, so I did the next best thing and prudently bought myself new creams and make-up that probably won’t look good in reality either.  I may have, in a hopeless attempt to feign normalcy, wrapped those items and given them to my husband to give me for Valentine’s day.  Don’t judge, the manager said I could bring back anything that was barely used.  Under that premise, I’m going to try to return my diaphragm to Walgreens tomorrow.

As is obvious, I am using as many creative saving outlets as possible.  Yesterday, I caught myself thriftily gazing upon my husband’s pile of dry cleaning and wondering how much of it a little spritz, elbow grease, and a strong wind couldn‘t fix.  That thought gave me quite a chuckle and then I spit on the stains, rubbed them together, and blew them with my hair dryer.  It worked… I may have discovered the “Ancient Chinese Secret.“  Let‘s keep that one between us.  I’m using the money I saved to stave off my barista for couple weeks.

This morning I went so far as to wrap a barely read book for Ryan’s book exchange.  Actually, that one kinda falls under laziness.  A big sorry to the recipient, I think the one time we read it, Ryan had hand foot mouth, but I’m sure the dog hair tumbleweeds and pet dander in my house just scrubbed those germs right off.

PS  I am still negotiating with said barista.  He countered my offer with a week of free Grandes with extra whip (wink wink).  To which I replied, “Make them Ventis, and we got a deal.”  He drives a hard bargain, but I am confident that I am coming out ahead on this one, pun always intended.

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Famous Mom Gets Fired Over Crack!


It’s official… I’m famous.   For the last couple months people have been stopping me at random places to ask if I write the column “Suburban Jungle,” or to tell me they read and love my stuff.  The first time was at a local Chinese restaurant where a woman and her friend were pointing.  After checking for boogers and toilet paper hanging out of my pants, I heard one said, “that’s the girl with the blog I sent you.”  They came over, introduced themselves and kindly let me know I had broccoli in my teeth.  Damn, oversight.

My most recent approaching was at the grocery store yesterday when a woman stopped me to ask if I was a writer .

“Yes, I am.”

“Oh, I read your column and your blog, you are hilarious.  I love you .  Have you ever heard of so and so?”

“No, does she live in Weston?”  I asked, as if I were some hick who knows  no world outside this microcosm.

“No, she is a very famous writer and your stuff totally reminds me of her.  You’re like a celebrity.”

The whole time my daughter was pulling on my pant leg saying, “Come on mommy let’s go.”  You know the way the children of famous people do, because let’s face it to them you’re not Angelina Jolie, you’re just mommy.  Did I just compare myself to Angie?  Well, so be it.

I did need to get back to the deli counter before number 66 was called.  But, my inflating ego was doing one of those, “Stop it you embarrass me, but go on if you must,” things.  I walked away vowing to never go braless in public again, and arrived at the counter to find them at 68.  I thought, “this is what it must be like to be famous.”  You can’t just walk away when someone is praising your work. You would seem ungrateful and rude, yet you may have to explain to the guy at the deli counter you were accosted by fans and just couldn’t make 66.

The price we pay.  I left the store and realized I must have thrown the paparazzi off my trail, as there were no photographers waiting to see what was in my basket.  Though, I’m sure I’ll be in the “Normal or Not Normal” section of Star.  “Grocery shopping with daughter, NORMAL.”  I shoved my swelled head into my generic SUV and drove back to my humble estate.

Today, the world got wind of my hubris and decided to put me in my place.  I got fired from my column for writing something utterly despicable in my new year’s resolutions article.  Apparently, humor columns are no joking matter.  I also wrote, I would pull my son out of school and send him to work for not being able to spell December, yet child services has not called about infringing on any labor laws.

This reference to crack…

“Resolution 9.  Become Addicted To Something:

Smoking, alcoholism and Starbucks are so trite. I’m thinking something unique like nasal spray or hand sanitizer.  Or at least something beneficial to my endurance like crack.  Look, I already have a shopping addiction maybe I could offset the bills with a robust gambling problem.”

was so offensive that the owner, upon receiving his advance copy, threatened to fire the editors for not noticing the seriousness of my new year’s lampoon.  Having not caught it before it went to print, they halted the distribution in order to rip the piece out of 30,000 copies on Dec 31.  It not only held up the delivery date, it cost them over $10,000 in ad revenue from the flip side of the page, and hours of man power.

I was worth losing 10 grand over?  I think that makes me infamous.  Truth be told, I would have taken 8,000 not to write the piece in the first place.  Then they could have pocketed 2g’s and saved themselves the New Year’s Eve headache.  Or at least gotten their New Year’s headaches the old fashioned way: drinking to excess, doing embarrassing things that won’t be remembered at a party of your peers, and accidentally letting the wrong person tongue you when the ball drops.

So, no more play dates with Apple, or Kingston, or Shiloh, or Hazel and Finn.  It’s back to the normal folk with their normal kid names.  No more late nights swapping with the Pitt’s.  It’ll be okay.  I might just start doing crack, to take the edge off.

Weekly Column 6: Minutia Mom

    

 

It has recently dawned on me that somewhere along the way, my sense of accomplishment became a product of my ability to be a good homemaker.  The creative energies I once used to design jewelry and dress people are now spent trying to build intricate forts and streamline the laundry process.  For instance, I’ve found that by rolling towels one can save considerable folding time while providing the added benefit of a spa-like appearance.  I am a woman who single handedly opened and ran two successful companies, yet I was more excited to get my son through his first dental appointment than the day my line got into Bloomingdales.

            When did this happen?  When did I accept the job as Master of the Mundane?  I remember the ad, it read:  Seeking highly motivated person, who requires little sleep, to cook, clean, wipe tushies, noses, and countertops… oh, and provide occasional sex to employer.  Person will be overworked and underappreciated.  It is preferred that you have no prior experience or references.  Always on duty.  Will pay nothing.    

Not only did I take the job, I thoroughly enjoy it and happen to be damn good at it.  Let’s face it, I’m a superhero… the lamest superhero on Earth.   Able to clean an explosive diapie with a single wipe: It’s a wet-vac, it’s Mr. Clean… nope it’s me: Minutia Mom! 

I can picture it now; my costume would be covered with stickers that were put on me without my knowledge.  It would be stained with chocolate or some other gooey substance I’d have to taste to place.  It would be fashionable, but about 6 months outdated, as I have about 1hr per evening to catch up on my backlog of magazines, Tivo, and the NY Post crosswords I do to keep my rapidly deteriorating brain sharp.  Sadly, I am no longer smart enough for the Times.

            My skin would be relatively clear minus a couple of blackheads from slopping on too many anti-aging creams.  The furrow of my brow would be screaming for Botox, only to be outdone by my Restylane seeking laugh lines. My Hair would be slicked back into a ponytail, not by some chi-chi product, but with the natural grease built up from not having time to shower.

            I would walk the streets in my costume, my freshly laundered cape in tow, looking for housekeeping and child rearing injustices.  “Excuse me Ma’am, but it would behoove you to consolidate the darks with the lights and run them together on cold.  It would save you both time and money, not to mention conserves H2O.  “Pardon me Sir, but if you let that tantrum run its course you’ll get a far better result in the long run.”   Maybe going public would bring me the admiration I so unabashedly seek.  I have found there is nothing people enjoy more than unsolicited criticism and advice; especially on how to run their household and raise their children. 

            I am always flexing my supermuscles around my house.  I start by asking my husband to do some routine chore like putting the dishes in the dishwasher.  A fitting task considering he seems to think they wash themselves.  I know this because when he does me the courtesy of taking a glass or dish from the table he places it on the counter ever so close to the sink, but is unable to actually make it in.  Clearly, this is due to the force field I  installed around the basin.  If he penetrates the force field, he never washes the food off the plate into that hole in the sink, for fear that the monster that lives there may bite off a finger.

“Honey, I’ve only trained the dishes to jump into the sink from where you leave them.  For a more thorough cleaning, we humans must step in.  Don’t worry the monster in the hole only bites if you shove your hand in its mouth.”  Then I watch and wait knowing he will soon fail at this task, miserably.  He’s ½ way through and … here it comes… wait for it…10-9-8-… “I can’t get it all in, it’s too full.  You’ll have to run it a second time.”  He says this with enough confidence to imply that a single shrimp fork and the thing’s gonna blow.

            “Second time?  Like hell I will.  Have no fear kind sir.”  I say as I bounce off the sofa and spring into action.  With my cape flapping behind me, I jump directly from my seat over the counter in a single bound.  I stand, hands firmly on hips, assessing the damage.  Then he looks at me oddly as if to ask, “Why is that towel tied around your neck, and why did you call me kind sir?”  “Step aside,” I say as I hip bump him out of the way.  Like an expert Tetris player, I fit in every piece: with room for a Rachel Ashwell dinner party to spare.  Than, wagging my finger, I reprimand him for not taking the valves out of the sippy cups. 

            Though it is an interesting side effect, my goal is not to debase him.  My goal is to display the sheer magnitude of my powers and reiterate the amazing feats I perform on a daily basis.  I avert looming tantrums with my Mommy Mind negotiating skills.  My Bionic Child Carrying Arm vacuums so much dog hair, I could knit the sweaters needed to warm a small village in Ethiopia (okay, bad example).  My point is, he should see this dishwasher phenomenon, rise from his butt, which I previously knocked him on with my child-bearing hips, and applaud me.  He should applaud my greatness, or at the very least, nod in my general direction.          

            Look, I don’t know him personally, but I can say with much confidence that Wonder Woman’s husband doesn’t come home from his accounting job, or whatever it is he does, and ask her to gas up the invisible jet and get take-out ‘cause he had a long day crunching numbers.

How then can my husband witness my awesomeness and still have the audacity to request some time to relax when he walks in the door?  What was the commute home, a business meeting?  You had an hour, it’s not my fault you didn’t use it wisely.  If I had a random free hour everyday, oh the things I could do.  I could listen to music that isn’t sung by Disney characters.  I could end world hunger.  Better yet, I could shower and moisturize in the same day.  Alas, I am on 24/7.

Who reads “Strawberry Shortcake Goes Apple Picking” 500 times at 9PM because the phrase “Now this is the last time.” has no real meaning?  Who flies into the room at 1AM on bad dream patrol?  Who uses Mommy Supersonic hearing to catch 6AM candy thievery?  Me, Minutia Mom, I’m a freakin’ superhero for G-ds sake.

My new career may not be as lucrative in pay or recognition as some of my other jobs, but there is reward in altruistic work and a cheap thrill in seeing my husband screw up.  Hmmm, tonight I think I’ll ask him to fold some laundry.

 

 

             

 

Weekly Column 3: A Dog’s Life

Buddy, my dog, my first born, is 15. I got him my sophomore year and as my dad says getting him was the best purchase this shopahollic ever made.He put up with the craziness of college, people coming and going at all hours often blowing odd substances in his face.

He endured the lean years when I boycotted toys because he ate and pooped them all out.Unfazed, he adorably brought me pieces of slobbery lint and coughed them up in front of me wagging his tail so that I would try to throw one.Then he would retrieve it (though wet lint doesn’t travel far) as if it was the best ball in the world and enthusiastically continue the cycle.

He survived eating an entire bag of blowpops which came out the other end like taffy that had to be pulled and pulled, by hand to get out.A job I handed off to my then roommate as I was late for work.I should say SHE survived that one.(Seeing as she is currently my closest friend, she barely holds a grudge.Though she hasn’t been able to look at a piece of gum since.)

He out-lived his long time love; a very attractive and preppy bean bag pillow who he constantly abused after sex, by biting her and swinging her vigorously from side to side.Then he would ignore her till their next rendezvous.Hmm… sounds like one of my exes. One fateful day he bit too hard and when he swung her, she profusely bled itty-bitty styrofoam balls.For weeks he somberly attempted to meet for trysts but she was a shell of the booty call she once was, and eventually we buried her… in the trash.He tried to date other pillows but I think for him, they could never compare.

He withstood living with my dad who for a month forced him to wear a girly Israeli flag bandana that read SHALOM.My dad would take him to dog-runs hoping to attract the right king of bitch.Unfortunately, Buddy technically male, but snipped at birth, had some tendencies and enjoyed other dogs balls a little too much.But, my dad never wavered in his love, saying only, “As long as he’s Jewish.”

He won over my husband who raised with cats, swore Buddy would never move in with us, only to find himself as in love as anyone else whose path Buddy ever crossed. And when he moved to NYC he adapted to the concept of grassless pooping and even got used to the salt lined streets that sent him into a crying limp until I could find a patch of snow to pack up under his paw for relief.

He tolerated my son Jake who quickly stole the limelight making our once Golden Child feel like a dog for the very first time. He took it in such stride that he became body guard to this little human that was pulling his tail and trying to ride him like a pony.In 2006 he had a proper Bark Mitzvah with brunch, candle-lighting and thirty in attendance.(Picture included).He barked through his haftorah so beautifully that had Randy Jackson been there he would have said “Yo, Dog, dat was the bomb.”

Now he is 106 and pees and poops so much that I spent a month cutting a gorgeous 20×16 shag rug.Everyday razoring out another chunk till it was a sorry 2×3 backdoor mat.He pants like a sex caller throughout the night, and requires being let out what feels like every 27 minutes.He trips out the door without fail and then spryly bounces back in like this perfect beautiful puppy. In moments of spunkiness he laps my pool table like a greyhound over and over and over and over.He is deaf and mostly blind though he can still read lips.He walks on a tilt because of a herniated hip and often completely loses footing as his legs uncontrollably spread eagle beneath him.And if you are carrying food he’ll take your arm off to get it.Unless you say “easy,” then his jaw quivers so gently, he could remove a tic tac without touching skin.

Every morning when I wake the first thing I do is look at him asleep so sweet, like horse that has fallen sideways.Then I look at his stomach for rise and fall.I am morbidly hoping that he has gone peacefully in his sleep so that I will never be confronted with the other option.My father asked where I will have him buried when he goes.A pet cemetery is too creepy.The truth is I’m one of those crazy people who think, maybe I could just have him stuffed.Not like eyes open greeting you at the front door kind of stuffed.You know asleep in a ball chin on paws kind of thing.But then I imagine my cleaning lady having to dust him and like Rosie from the Jetsons raising him over her head to vacuum underneath and I think maybe just an urn will do. It’s a dog’s life … I’m glad he shared it with us!