Last week, I took a trip to the Apple store. Oh, the Apple store. It’s like a Dylan’s Candy Bar for adults. Like it’s namesake, in the Garden of Eden, or in the hands of Snow White’s evil stepmother, APPLE was so inviting… so enticing. There it was, in all of its overcrowded, 8 gazillion watt minimalistic splendor. Continue reading
You know when you’re feeling a little big for your britches? (Using that phrase alone should nullify anything I’m about to say.) Then you get a flashback, a glimpse of some past experience that is earth shatteringly embarrassing and the universe puts you right back in your place?
Well, here I am trying to parlay this “CBS Expert Mom” thing into a piece for a national magazine. I am at my laptop touting myself as an “expert,” and trying to seem way more important than I am. Just as I am rambling on about my amazing qualifications to a senior editor, whom I shouldn’t be writing directly in the first place, Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” comes on the radio. I am immediately transported to Cockeysville Skateland circa 1984. Its Girl’s Skate, the disco lights take over the floor.
Now, if you are unfamiliar with roller skate culture, “Girl’s Skate” is the precursor to “Couple’s Skate.” During “Girl’s Skate,” your job, as a girl is to look as cool as possible. You have to rock your shirt with the iron-on decal, those jeans with a comb sticking out of the back pocket, and those leg warmers you shoved up over them to add a “Flashdance” effect. The boys watch from around the rink and if they likes what they sees, they put out a hand for you to slap. The hand out also implies that they would like to Couples Skate with you. If you think they’re cute, you slap their out-stretched hand. Yes, it is an exercise in self esteem. Years of this did quite a number on my psyche.
On one particular day, I had my eye on a very cute older boy; he may have even been a preteen! I spotted him from across the crowded rink, as my dad laced up his skates trying to catch up to my speedy entrance. Oh, I didn’t mention that my dad skated with me every week? How could I forget that detail, this story is about how cool I am right?
Here I am doing my best tricks: The speed up and glide, the crouch down and stick one leg forward, the professional leg cross weave around the corners. I look around at the outstretched arms, More than a feelin, should be my background music. As a sensitive kid, I am an equal opportunity slapper. So, I slap the hand of anyone that puts it out there, unless they’re really dorky and everyone else is avoiding them, obviously! Those poor kids go home and make “kill lists,” or comfort themselves with their Star Wars figurines.
Then I spotted him, that cute preteen, he looked bad. I mean good bad. He probably drove here on his motorized dirt bike with his skates hanging from the handle bars and a switchblade hiding in his pocket. He was definitely from the other side of the tracks. You know, like Matt Dillon was in Little Darlings. I noticed that he wasn’t really offering his hand to too many girls and in a defensive action started to skate towards the middle. As I got closer, he did it. He eyed me and then threw out his hand. Holy crap, that’s for me and now I’m so far on the inside I’ll never make it, and then we won’t get to couples skate. I won’t be able to hold his hand, which I’m sure will be cool and big, not small and sweaty, like the other boys I always couples skate with. He may even be good enough to do the envied backwards hands on hips skate! My life is officially over…Move Jenny, move. I weaved through a few slow girls and reached as far as I could to touch even a fingertip. Then in a crushing blow he pulled his hand back and pretending to slick his hair… Shit, he gave me the “psyyyyych.”
To add insult to injury, or in this case injury to insult, my arm had overstretched to meet his teasing gesture. I felt myself going down think slo-mo in some cheesy 80’s film. Ohhhh Nnnoooo, I grabbed at the wall to pull myself in and slammed straight into it, then ricocheted off, and slapped to the ground. I am SO COOL! I got up quickly and ran to the bathroom to cry in a stall, while reading about who is ez, and who loves whom 4-ever. “Couple’s Skate” started without me, as if the most horrifying incident had not just occurred on that concrete slab of rejection. I remember the song perfectly, it was Air Supply’s, “All Out of Love” or maybe Journey’s “Open Arms,” or some ballad by Foreigner or Styx. I also remember the pain, oh the pain and the uncoolness. Apparently, you can’t get too cocky in Cockeysville, cause someone will put you right back in your insecure, struggling, awkward place… where you belong. Unfortunately, I’ve been put in my place too many times than I care to remember. Even as an adult, a simple song can bring back an experience that sends you to rock in a corner.
Dear Senior Editor- I am a lowly writer, eh forget get it.
I have something to tell you; please don’t spread it around, as it’s somewhat of a secret. I screamed “shut up” at my son today. “SHUT UP!” not “shush” or “sshhhhh” or even “ferme la bouche.” No, “Shut Up.” I didn’t say it in a whisper, or even hiss it through clenched teeth. I yelled it in a vein popping tone, and it felt sort of good, aside from the fear of having an aneurism. I hate to admit it, but in the moment I actually enjoyed the shock value.
In my house, “shut up” is still the “S” word. That and “stupid”…fine, it’s “shit” also (look, we’re not Amish). “Shut up” is a phrase that I – a person who has managed to use“Shniekees” and “Gaylord Focker” in place of harsher expletives for the last 7 years – have never uttered to my children.
Had I witnessed you on the street saying – no, screaming – that to your child, I would have judged you with disdain. I may have even considered calling child services on you. Now, I’m the one with the scarlet letter. I’m just a few more outbursts from a knock at the door.
I’m not going to tell you what my son did, but just know, he started it! Fine, I’ll tell you. He was yelling at me, telling me “No,” contradicting me, and being incredibly obnoxious all at once, and all at warp speed. He never took a breath. I didn’t know whether to punish or have him try out for the swim team.
The funny thing is, I just finished writing an article about the Spanking / IQ study, and here I am doing exactly what I said I wouldn’t do… “ensuring my child will need hours of therapy.” Way to go Jenny. Though I don’t believe in it, I would have been better off calmly putting him over my knee; at least I would have had more self-control.
The worst part of this whole confession inducing incident was the look on his face. It was somewhere between “Uh-oh, you said a bad word!” and a lip biting, “Sniff, sniff. You said that bad word to ME?” As I’ve said before, I subscribe to the book of damage control parenting. Doing as little damage as possible, and controlling the damage you’ve done. This was one of those times I had to control the damage. Somewhat in shock myself, I had to regroup and think of my options: Apologize, use candy or some other bribe to gloss over it, or explain my actions. I went the obvious route, and when he finished licking the Kit Kat residue off his fingers, I said I was sorry.
I’ll tell you, when my kids were little, I would have sworn this day would never come. How could you look at those sweet chubby cheeks and imagine they could ever frustrate you so much? Conversely, when I told a few of my friends the story, they were shocked at how long I’d held out.
Wait a minute, I think there’s some praise in there. I amazed people with my nearly infinite patience. I deserve a medal, not a scornful eye. I take it all back… I am the best mom; it took me almost 8 years to tell my child to “shut up.” Wahoo! See, if you practice patience (but not too much), and bottle up frustration like seltzer (that your kids can agitate until it pops), you too can astound people. Then you can start a blog, and when you do terrible horrible things, you can seek contrition by telling hundreds, dare I say thousands, of people about them.
***This article is featured on the Sun-Sentinel.com Show the love, and please copy any comments on this link!
I’m not gonna name names, as I would certainly be one of them, but there are distinct qualities that describe most Facebookers.
The Over Sharer -This person seems to think that a trip to the store, a traffic jam, or the weather is worth repeating. They give updates like a minute to minute log. “Sitting in traffic.” “When will it stop raining?” “Just left SB, grande cap, mmmmm.” The Over Sharer is also the most enabled of all personalities. Other Over Sharers are constantly responding to their minute to minutes with fascinating epiphanies like “LOL” or “Rain makes me sleepy” or “Love Starbucks J” (Yes, let’s not forget the smileys, winkeys, and frowneys.)
The Workout Addict and the Closet Alcoholic -These people are actually the same, personality-wise. They feel the need to tell you what they’re drinkin’ or what they’re doin’ in the gym… and the stats. I think they’re both sending signals that require intervention. “20 mile jog, 500 sit-ups and feelin’ it.” “5 mojitos, ahhh” Not only do they flaunt the accomplishments of their pastimes, they like to question their friends as to whether or not to do it. “Do I climb a mountain, or go to the 10:15 spin?” “Drinks with the boys at Lucky’s, or sit on the couch with a cold one?” 😉
The Just “is” – At first I thought these people were publishing this status by accident, but then I realized certain people do it more than others. Either they have sausage fingers and can’t work the keyboard or they just “are.” What does that mean? Is that a call for sympathy a cry for help? A Buddhist feeling of zen? You people are too profound for me. ):
The Gibbrisher -Everyone knows a Gibbrisher. This person speaks in code. Code that at least one friend understands, while the other 500 hundred friends are wondering what the hell, “is so $ due MJ explosion!” means? LMAO
The TMIer -This person is like the Over Sharer in that they have too much time, but takes it one step further by including info about last night’s sex, a bout of diarrhea, or an overly itchy rash. Anytime you talk about your own genitals in any fashion, you fall into this category, BEWARE. TMI
The Self Promoter –Don’t waste your time thinking, “Oh, the irony,” I know this is me. This person thinks that their business is of the utmost importance, TO YOU. They don’t want you to miss a single sale, review, TV spot, story, or promo. They ask that you join the 50 fan clubs, groups, and subscription sites that they have spent valuable work time setting up. Don’t think we, I mean they don’t check to see if you join every one of those clubs and sites! IMHO
Honorable mention: The Quoter and The Lyricist.
BTW-There will be a sequel. I would love to hear about your experiences with these personalities and the other personalities you have encountered.
OMG I almost forgot please join my fan page on FB , seriously!
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I am now freelancing for iVillage, which is an amazing site for women. They cover enough issues to give me work and let me keep the humor in my essays. Those pieces will not be printed on my site as it is against my contract. I will give you the links as I get them and I am so happy to share the news with you all. The first article is
Do You Have a Case of Nanny Envy? I hope you read it, tweet it, FB it, email it, and continue to enjoy me here at Suburban Jungle!
Thanks for your unwavering support!
J from the B
PS- if you haven’t read iCan’t iStand the iApple Store, do so. It set new records on my site!!!
Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I think we need to take a break. Sure, I love the way you and your friends with oversized heads eat breakfast with my family and entertain us with your theme parks, but you ask for so much in return.
I pay a near fortune to see you, then you woo my daughter into expensive princess attire and offer pricey oversized turkey legs, costly Pooh shaped popsicles, and expensive embroidered hats with ears… that don’t really translate in the real world. I’m sorry, that sounded like I was blaming you for the economy. I’m sure you and Minnie have a ton of Disney stock options, so I know you’re feelin’ it as well.
According to the latest statistics, me and 1/3 of other American families are cancelling trips this summer and taking a “stay-cation” instead. I know you’re angry. The last time you waved at me and said, “See ya real soon,” you thought it would be sooner. I’m thankful you only have 4 fingers, because I know what you’d be waving at me now.
This summer, like most Americans, I will be visiting (Chez Pa Tio). I will take a portion of the money I’m saving and recreate much of the awe and wonder you provide, without ever leaving town.
I will save $60 on those mandatory Mickey mist sprayers, and have my family stand in the general vicinity of wet neighborhood dogs when they shake. Each night my husband and I will wrap ourselves in twinkle lights, and then we’ll run by the kids really fast and call it Space Mountain. Then we’ll slow down and call it the Light Parade. Who knows, we could wear them to bed and call it Pleasure Island.
I will cook pancakes in your likeness. Then I’ll have my neighbor with an abnormally large head come over and eat them with us. I’m sure my family will be none the wiser, as his head is really big. Have a great summer now, ya hear.
Jenny from the Blog
This was written for the new site saleHOP.com. I am now the feature writer for this awesome site. Wahoo! Here is a little info on it so you can be one of the first “in the know.”
SaleHOP is an online sale listing service for:
PEOPLE who host garage sales, yard sales, moving sales, estate sales, and more.
SMALL RETAIL STORES who seek a more effective way to attract new shoppers.
LOCAL EVENTS who want a cost effective way to promote their sale online.
BARGAIN HUNTERS looking for ways of saving time and money
They provide bargain hunters with a better way to find items they need at any sale or event occurring in their local area; while providing sellers an affordable and effective way to attract shoppers; in a comprehensive and feature rich website that provides a safe and fun environment.
This one is tough for me to write. While finding the irony in the situation, the neurotic part of me still gets a pit thinking about it. My children had a sleep over at my Father and Step Mother’s house this weekend. Like any overly anxious mom, I am not capable of total relaxation when they are away because I am unapprised of their minute to minute safety status and whereabouts.
To make matters worse a sleepover at their house is like a carnival. They go from arcades to movies to the beach to the boat to Dunkin’ Donuts often in a 4hr span. Getting in touch with them in near impossible and guessing which activity they are doing, even harder. What if my parents make a bad decision? What if they feed them food that is not cut small enough or let them ride the escalator at the mall alone…in their flip-flops!? What if they don’t account for the beach’s undertow? What if they lose them, step on them, dehydrate them, don’t apply enough sunblock?! These types of things worry me, actually all types of things worry me, down to the pillow placement on their beds and if my son, who sleeps in my antiquated brass bed, will get a limb or worse, his head stuck in the unregulation sized slats.That being said, I had a lovely dinner with my husband and a glass of champagne, or two, or a bottle lessens the concerns. The next day we went to pick up the kids and stayed for a BBQ. It was at said BBQ that the offense occurred. We were having desert, fresh fruit and Redi whip. Like butter, cheese or chocolate, whipped cream makes anything edible. My children, having control of the whipped cream can, joyfully and excessively sprayed it in heaping mounds, masking the fruit below. Squirt, squirt…air.
My step mother grabbed the can walked towards the trash then stopped as if a light bulb went off above her head. “Who wants to suck out the air and talk funny?” she said with the enthusiasm of an eight year old.
“Um the preteens that hang out by the dumpsters in the grocery store parking lots, maybe.”
“That’s not helium in there, that’s a whippet.”;”>Whippet: Slang term for the inhalant drug “Nitrous Oxide.” Use causes a momentary lightheadedness due to a depletion of oxygen to the brain. In worst cases can lead to brain damage, and SSD (Sudden Sniffing Death). People also risk falling and getting a concussion.
“I’ve never done it, I just remember hearing something about it.”
“I remember hearing something about hypodermic needles on the beach, but I’m not going to play Doctor with them.”
I was trying to play it off, but my heart was pounding. In my minimal experience with whippets, I remember falling on my dorm room bed, giggling and most likely killing enough brain cells to forget the SAT words I had spent the previous year trying so desperately to drill into my head.
I have no idea what that rush would do to a 4 and 7 year old, and THANK G-D no one was finding out! Ahhh, something new to add to the list… fear of grandparents offering my children recreational drugs. A new concern, a fear I would have never imagined and I imagine some far fetched scenarios.
In all seriousness, I will use this as a warning. Take a moment to make sure your parents know that sucking the air out of whipped cream cans, computer dusting cans (Dusting), and air-horns is very dangerous and should never be used as a game. It seems so obvious to us, but intelligent people who were not teenagers beyond the 80’s may have no idea.
New Vlog! I started doing how to videos for some of the Mommy sites I write for. Though not totally serious, the concept of explaining even the simplest thing, gave me quite a giggle. So, I taped this video on “How to sit on a chair.” In it I explain in layman’s terms the delicate artform that is “sitting on a chair.” You may want to use a spotter your first couple attempts. I assure you, with my expert guidance, you will be sitting on chairs in no time!
If you know anyone that could use this kind of instruction, please pass the link on -so they can take a load off!: mom demonstrates important skill “how to sit on a chair