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The other night, I was on the fringe of a momversation about designer jeans. One hundred and eighty dollar designer jeans. As much as I would like to own a pair of jeans that would lift my junk back into my trunk, I am unemployed. One hundred and eighty dollar jeans are out of the question.

I live in jeans. I’ve got my play-on-the-floor jeans and my work-outside jeans. I have a pair that I must wear with a belt and a pair with raggedy legs from being scuffed under my shoes. I have a couple of pairs I can wear if I fast for a day or two (these are my standing room only jeans) and then there’s the button fly pair of American Eagle jeans that I bought in college and can’t bring myself to give away. The problem is that none of them fit me quite right. They either give me a troubling case of missingassitis or they underscore the mommy pooch I am continually trying to hide.

Yesterday, with the ladies’ postulations ringing in my head, I shimmied, shook, and struggled into no fewer than ten pairs of jeans at TJ Maxx. None of them fit. Skinny jeans with a one-inch fly may look good on the hanger but they ain’t gonna cut it in real life. Not mine, anyway. Jeans that have bell bottoms wider than my own bottom look just plain silly. And I flat-out refuse to buy jeans that are pre-ripped or have more than one zipper. So what’s left? Mom Jeans? C’mon now! I have three kids and am well into my fourth decade but hells if I’m ready for that.

Let’s face it: most people look better clothed than naked. I know I do. Even so, if I don’t find a pair of damnmyasslooksgoodinthese jeans soon, I may start leaving my pants on the ground.

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To paraphrase an 80s glam rock band: I didn’t know what I had until I didn’t. For over two months now, I have been on a quest for a name-brand product that has seemingly disappeared from the market. I have relied on this product my entire adult life never fearing that it would go the way of Elaine Benes’ sponges. But after a search that has extended across two New England states, reality has set in.

What is this mystery product that is in such demand, you ask? Well, it’s kind of like Elaine’s sponges except it’s used for an altogether different reason. The monthly kind of reason. If you are a woman reading this post, you know exactly what I mean. If you are a man and you are still reading this post, then Kudos! I bet you’ve stared down hordes of pimply faced teenagers at your local grocery store on your wife/girlfriend/daughter’s behalf.

You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. And I’m far from being the only one lamenting the loss of her preferred cotton plug. CNNMoney.com reports that the dearth of O.B. tampons has created a black market for them. I’m not kidding. As they said, it’s “for reals.” Johnson & Johnson, O.B.’s maker and distributor has given no explanation for the shortage. Their website simply promises that O.B. tampons are increasingly in-stock at more stores nationwide. Only not in the six stores I checked over the weekend.

I reached my breaking point after dodging traffic on foot at a busy Boston intersection just so I could dart into a CVS pharmacy while my family circled the block in our borrowed car. Shortly thereafter, O.B.’s information center received the following missive:

Dear O.B. –

For over twenty years, you have been not just by my side but in my insides once a month for three or more days (definitely more since I’ve had kids). We ought to be better communicators given the intimate nature of our relationship. I’m not ready to break up with you but I have to say I’ve been really irritated by your unexpected absence. Where have you gone? What’s happened to you? When I stopped finding you on the shelves of my grocery and drug stores, I went online and read you were having “manufacturing difficulties.” Seeing how you’ve absorbed my troubles so handily over the years, I was willing to cut you some slack. I emptied all my purses and handbags of my just-in-case-I’m-surprised stashes and made do. But it’s been two months and I have had enough. I’ve been to CVS, Kinney Drugs, Price Chopper and Hannafords in two states and found just empty shelves staring back at me. Your competitors have nothing on you; it’s just not the same. Please tell me when you will be coming back. I can’t stand this much longer. I need you.

In desperation and loyalty,
Mary

Who would have thought that a tampon could inspire passion?

I cannot relate to those people who spring out of bed, recharged and cheery after five winks. More often than not, mornings find me churlish and grumpy. I “normalize” only after imbibing a substantial amount of caffeine.

Sadly, our coffee maker is currently broken. And the fault is mine own.bigstockphoto_Coffee_3693369

There was one meager mugful left in the cold coffee pot. I mentally cursed my husband and his travel mug as the microwave hummed.

I had but one choice: brew another pot. For most people, making coffee is a simple task. For me, with our temperamental machine and my lack of skill, it isn’t. I make terrible coffee even when half the pot isn’t dripping off the counter. But an addict needs her fix.

I located the bag of whole beans, measured out 8 tablespoons, and dumped them into the grinding compartment. I filled up the small holding tank with what I estimated was the right amount of water, put the pot under the drip spout and pressed “On.” Nothing happened.

Then I remembered that the latch on the grinding compartment’s lid was broken. More than once, I had come downstairs and found heavy items balanced on top of the coffee maker.

I reached for the closest glass dish, smashed down the lid and pressed “On.” The familiar burr of beans being ground was loud and comforting. I relaxed and wandered away.

Shortly thereafter I heard popping noises that did not sound like the sputters at the end of the coffee cycle; those little pops that inform you that your delicious ambrosia of coffee, cream and lots of sugar is but moments away. No, these pops sounded more like kernels of corn exploding in the hot oil of the whirly-pop. Making this connection, I realized what I was hearing—it was the butter.

Yup, the glass dish I put on top of the coffee maker was the butter dish. In my morning stupor, I had stupidly overlooked the basic fact that BUTTER MELTS.

I raced into the kitchen to find liquified fat coating most surfaces in the room—the countertop, the floor, the backsplash, the cabinets. Further inspection revealed that melted butter also had streamed through the grounds and filtered through the machine into the pot. I was aghast.

Hot buttered coffee doesn’t taste too bad…as long as you pretend it’s hot buttered rum and down it in shots.

Last week, I was informed that for the past month, Henry spent his weekly “swim time” parked in a chair instead of paddling in the pool. His recalcitrance had spread to the other children and was now an “issue.”

Indeed.

I hate to swim. Not only am I a sinker, but I am uncomfortable in the locker room. I never know where to look.

Nonetheless, I agreed to go swimming with Henry.

On swim day, the kids’ flailing, spinning bodies skimmed across the classroom like spandex encased tumbleweeds.  A teacher commanded the group’s attention (no easy feat) and they sat down for a pre-swim snack. As the kids munched on goldfish and blueberries, Henry’s friend X called to me.

“Henry’s Mom!” X said with a smile.  “My Mommy….you.”

I could not catch X’s voice from across the room. “What, honey?” I asked, while wishing for coffee. Did I have time to run out for coffee?

The second time, X’s words were crystal clear: “My. Mommy. Can’t. Stand. You.”

Ahhh. Got it. Message received.

How was I supposed to respond to that?  With a neutral “Thank you for sharing”?  Or maybe a snarky “Tell her I feel the same way”?  But I was caught off-guard by X’s comment. I recalled chatting with X’s mom on numerous occasions. In my recollections, she was always friendly–often saying hello and initiating our conversations.

I quickly concluded there was no appropriate response and I made none. Soon, snack was over and we were on our way to the pool. Henry was happy to swim with me and I delighted in his delight.

Later, as I reflected on X’s statement, my own Mommy-voice echoed in my head: “It’s OK. You aren’t going to be friends with everyone.”

Nora as fishWhen you are a five year old ballerina, you dance a little and wait to dance a lot.


First, you stand around in your frilly fish costume looking adorable. You preen under the adulation you receive. Then you stand in line waiting for it to be your turn to pose for a formal picture that your mother will pass out to grandparents and other relatives who are missing your debut. You’re unable to contain yourself and start jumping up and down. Your other fishy friends think this is a great idea and they start bouncing up and down too. Someone starts a game of tag. Soon you are racing around the “holding pen” giggling madly.


Your mother thinks her head might explode.


A ballet instructor chastises you, your friends and your mother who is the group monitor, for un-ballerina like behavior. You mope. You wait around some more. At long last, you are lined up with the other ants-in-their-pants fish. You are brought backstage where you must wait for the big-girl ballerinas to finish their routine on-stage. You are enthralled by their grace and beauty. Some of your little fish friends are wriggling again but now you are all business. “Stop moving my body!” you hiss in a very loud stage whisper when the primary offender bumps into you. “YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!” she retorts indignantly. Your mother ineffectively shushes the group and pleads with all the little fishies to be patient “just a teensy bit longer.” The music rises in a familiar trill. Your grand entrance!


Two minutes later, your dance is over and you exit stage right. The audience applauds madly. You are thrilled. Your mother hugs you and says she is proud of you. Your smile tells her everything. She escorts you and the other fish back downstairs to…wait.


Curtain call in just 58 minutes.

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