20 Things More Fun than Discussing Politics on the Internet


  1. An emergency c-section
  2. Being trapped in an elevator with Ann Coulter
  3. Listening to your child practice the recorder
  4. Passing a kidney stone
  5. Teaching your elderly parent how to use “The Facebook”
  6. Breaking the news to your kid that his pet died
  7. A Brazilian wax
  8. Tearing your achilles tendon
  9. Being buried alive
  10. Having your heart broken
  11. Being wrongly imprisoned for life
  12. Gonadal torsion
  13. Giving driving lessons to a family member
  14. Puberty
  15. Working on a film with Michael Bay
  16. Having a Hysterosalpingogram Test (Trust me.)
  17. Taking the California bar exam
  18. Being kidnapped by a drug cartel
  19. Bed bugs
  20. Trying to reason with an irrational 2 year-old (Never mind. That’s the same thing.)

How to do Homework: Two Perspectives

This is what we look like doing homework together. Dad is an integral part of the children’s education. Or, wait…maybe this is the UPS guy.

How to Do Homework
by Smalls, age 7

1. Get off the bus. Take as long as humanly possible to walk the 50 feet from the bus to the front door.
2. Ask Mom if you can go play with friends, willfully denying the existence of such a thing as homework.
3. Ask Mom for a snack, then ask for another snack. Continue over and over until dinner.
4. Beg Mom to let you watch TV despite the fact that you’re well aware you have no screen time on school days.
5. Whine about how much homework you have.
6. Pull out a homework sheet, glance at it and start crying, insisting that you haven’t learned anything even remotely similar to it in class. Continue crying and stomp away when Mom tries to help you.
7. Just generally whine and complain.
8. Insist on playing with the dog whom you ignore at all other times of the day.
9. Wander off.
10. Whine some more.
11. Play with a toy you haven’t laid hands on in five years.
12. Finally, do a page of homework. Complete it in approximately 4 minutes after spending the past 45 minutes avoiding, whining and complaining.
13. Realize that your homework sheet is two-sided. Cry and slump down in your chair until you slide onto the floor under the table.
14. Repeat until homework is finally completed many, many hours later.

How to do Homework
by Biggie, age 9

1. Get off the bus. Drop backpack on the lawn assuming your mother/sherpa will bring it into the house.
2. Ask Mom for a snack. When Mom reminds you she’s not a delivery service, point out that getting your own snack will just distract you from your studies. Also remind mom that she picks out healthier snacks than you do. Dig in your heels and enjoy this battle of wills.
3. When Mom opens the refrigerator door to pour herself a much needed glass of wine, appear suddenly between her and the wine. Linger there while mentally cataloging your snack options.
4. Ask Mom if you can have the leftover mac n’ cheese. Eat it cold with your hands.
5. Ask Mom for another snack. Repeat until dinner.
6. Stage a sit-in to protest the injustice of your younger sister having less homework than you.
7. Yell at your sister for whistling or singing or breathing while you’re trying to concentrate.
8. Storm off to your bedroom, slam the door and turn on very loud music.
9. Climb up to your top bunk and read a non-school book until Mom comes to track you down.
10. Realize you’ve left a page of homework at school but try to hide this fact from Mom who is constantly nagging you to be more responsible.
11. Excuse yourself to go to the restroom. Spend an additional 20 minutes reading a non-school book in the bathroom.
12. Offer to take the dog for a walk.
13. Try to negotiate with Mom for a 10 minute break after each page of homework you complete.
14. Suck it up and finish your damn homework.
15. Head directly for the door and attempt to flee before Mom reminds you that you have piano lessons.


Mommy Memory

the_brain_eatersBiggie and Smalls made a visit to the dentist this morning. The appointment was at 8:40 am, so we actually got to sleep in a bit. I can’t say it was a relaxing start to the day, though, since Ad Man woke me up in a panic. “It’s 7:40!!” I had to do a half asleep, self brain scan, quickly going through the following inquiry: 1) Is it light or dark out?, 2) What day is it?, 3) Weekend or school day?, 4) What time does the bus come?, 5) Holy crap, we’re late! Is there a reason we slept late?, 6) Yes, dentist appointment! What time is the appointment?, 7) Can I get away with not showering?…and on and on until I determined that we were perfectly fine and had plenty of time to get to the dentist’s office (without me showering, of course.) The foregoing took approximately 2.5 seconds.

It amazes me that I can’t walk into a room without staring blankly and asking whoever is nearest, “Is there a reason I came in here?” And, yet there are moments when, barely conscious, in mere seconds I can flip through my internal calendar and determine that, yes, today is the day when both girls have appointments, that I’ll have to rush them back to school because Biggie has “lunch” at 10:30 am and I don’t want her to miss it and starve all afternoon, Smalls has violin at 5:45 pm, Biggie has piano at 6:00 pm, and Ad Man will be home for dinner, but not to worry because we have leftovers in the fridge. It’s no wonder that in my downtime I’m a blathering fool who can’t seem to memorize my own husband’s cell phone number.

I call this phenomenon “Mommy Memory.” Mommy Memory is a tricky thing. Like a toddler in a bubble bath, it can be slippery and unpredictable. When it comes to mundane, everyday tasks, it will let you down every time. Like, for instance, you know that little part of your brain that reminds you to move the load of wet laundry from the washer to the drier instead of leaving it to fester for days growing deadly spores? I don’t have one of those. I’m pretty sure it came out with the placenta when Biggie was born. I do, however, have a precise mental record of the bowel movements of each of my daughters and my dog. Hey, don’t judge. Some superpowers are more advantageous than others.

Ad Man has no such powers. His memory is reserved almost exclusively for work, driving directions and sports stats. He may have twenty-five things on his to-do “list” at work, but he doesn’t actually keep a paper (or computer) record of anything. It’s all neatly filed inside his head. But, ask him to remember anything I’ve ever told him and we’ve got a problem. I’ll say, “Honey, remember you need to get home early tonight because there’s that thing at school we need to go to…” and I’m greeted with a quizzical stare. He’ll insist I never told him about The Thing at which point I will lose my f’ing mind because we had a conversation about it just last week…a conversation in which he was an active participant. Moreover, I’ve written The Thing in all caps on our family calendar and mentioned it in passing, yet again, just yesterday.

I hate to generalize, but I will anyway. I don’t think men’s brains have the capacity to store and retrieve information regarding the minutia of everyday life. I should actually say men or whomever in a couple is not the primary, day-to-day, childcare provider. (You know who you are.) At the dentist’s office this morning, there was a dad who’d apparently gotten suckered into kid-taxi duty. He impatiently paced around in his business casual uniform, cell phone at the ready just in case someone at the office called about a problem with the big presentation or couldn’t find the TPS reports. He also appeared to be approximately 98% clueless about the details of his child’s life.

Clueless guy–let’s call him Stuart–was there with his sweet, teeny-tiny daughter who was at most five years old. I got the vibe that Stuart’s little girl was there for her first filling or some other potentially scary procedure. At one point, a nurse came out to the waiting room to tell Stuart that they were just getting ready to start and his daughter was being a trouper. Stuart did not seem at all concerned. The nurse went on, “She’s chatting away telling me she just went to a  birthday party and it was so fun with the magician and bouncy house…” as Stuart just shrugged his shoulders as if he were being asked to recall the date on which his daughter lost her third tooth.

I observed this exchange thinking, “I’ll bet his wife (or husband or nanny) could tell you the name of the birthday boy and his parents, that he is allergic to peanuts and that he was the one who hit another kid with a stick at preschool two years ago. She would also have remembered that the kid is obsessed with snakes and, therefore, purchased the perfect Jr. Herpetologist Kit for his birthday gift. Stuart’s wife knows this because she actually listens when her daughter chatters on about her friends, her day at school or the birthday party she attended yesterday.

memory_illustrationNot only does she listen to what her daughter tells her, she remembers it. She carefully stores it in her brain files knowing this information could prove valuable someday if, say, the dentist’s nurse happens to mention the party in passing or when she finds herself wandering the toy store aisles looking for a birthday gift for no-peanuts-stick-swinging-snake boy.

Mommy Memory is not without its drawbacks, however. Mentally storing an infinite number of tiny bits of detailed information means that other things have to go. An internal hard drive can only hold so many zeros and ones. As I mentioned, I can walk from one room to another and in the course of a few steps, completely forget the purpose for my change of venue. See? One bit in, one bit out. I may remember the name of the paint color in that room, but have no recollection that I was on a mission to track down that book I was reading. You know, the one about that woman? It was made into a movie? With that actress who’s divorced from what’s-his-name?

Alas, Mommy Memory, with all its positives and negatives is mine to keep. It’s not one of those things that eventually go away after your child is born, like milk-filled porn boobs or the ability to eat ice cream every night with no effect whatsoever on your waistline. So Ad Man, please stop taunting me for not being able to recall the directions to anywhere, ever, and I won’t ask you to remember which brand of little girls’ underwear runs small and which one has itchy waistbands. Feel free to thank me for keeping your already touchy and dramatic daughters from being tormented by their underpants. You’re welcome.

Random Childhood Tales: That Time I was in a Gunfight

gunfightatredsandsWhen I was a kid, my family had an RV trailer that we kept at Bear Cave Campgrounds in Buchanan, Michigan. My brother Jeff and I spent much of our summers there waterskiing, catching crawfish in the creek, fishing for Bluegills, sitting around campfires and running wild in a pack of other kids our age. I would often bring my best friend Kathy with me as the boy-to-girl ratio was decidedly heavy on the boys.

One Friday afternoon when I was about nine years old, my family plus Kathy were heading up to Bear Cave from our hometown in the Chicago suburbs but we had to first make a detour to my grandmother’s house in Hammond, Indiana to drop something off. After a quick stop at Nana’s, my dad pulled into a gas station to fuel up our 1974 green Lincoln Continental. My grandmother’s neighborhood was nice, but Hammond is about the midpoint between Chicago and Gary, Indiana, so even at that time, other parts of the city could be sketchy.

My dad got out of the car to pump gas, my mom sat in the passenger seat and we kids stretched out in the backseat while Kathy talked. My parents referred to my best friend as “Chatty Kathy” for good reason. She could talk nonstop from Lansing, Illinois to Buchanan, Michigan without so much as a prolonged pause. The Lincoln was like a living room on wheels though, so there was a good four foot buffer (but sadly for my parents no soundproof barrier) between Mom and Dad in the front seat and the backseat where we kids kept our mobile entertainment station stocked with snacks, books, Smurf figurines, melted crayons and MadLibs.

Kathy continued her monologue as my dad moved the car to the air pump in front of the garage. He was outside filling the tires and minding his own business, or at least that’s what we thought he was doing, when suddenly he tore open the front door of the Lincoln, yelled at us to “Get down!” and grabbed his gun out from under the floor mat.

I should point out here that my dad is a retired police officer. Dad was a cop in my hometown for twenty years. His career highlights included being “Officer Friendly” in the elementary schools in town (including mine) and arresting my friends and classmates for various infractions. Luckily for me, by the time I got to high school, he was a detective and no longer on party-busting duty. That he never had to arrest my brother for doing something stupid is a miracle of weeping-Virgin-Mary-statue proportions.

So, the fact that my dad was packing heat was no surprise to any of us. My brother and I spent much of our formative years at the police gun range and my father was rarely without his trusty sidearm. However, it wasn’t every day that Dad whipped out a loaded gun and told us to duck. Kathy, Jeff and I wisely hit the deck while my mom peeked over the back of her seat trying to figure out what the hell was going on. That’s when the gunfire started. I remember the next few minutes in slow motion. I began crying and begged my mom to get down, Jeff stared wide-eyed, frozen in place and even Kathy was rendered silent.

The three of us freaked the hell out when, despite the wailing police sirens that had joined in adding to the panic, we could clearly hear bullets ricocheting around in the mechanics’ bay just feet from where we cowered in the car. My mother finally saw the error of her ways and joined us on the floor, so by then, none of us could see where my dad was. My crying turned to screaming as I envisioned my father lying in a pool of his own blood. Even at that age, I was a glass-half-empty kind of girl.

Then, just as quickly as the craziness had begun, it was all over. After a half a minute of silence, we dared to inch our heads over the car seats and were able to confirm that my father was still in an upright and undamaged condition. Dad stuck his head in the car door, said everything was OK, and went to talk to one of the handful of Hammond police officers who’d appeared on the scene. Those of us in the car remained baffled as to what just happened and I downshifted from screaming to crying once again, this time, because I was sure this whole shootout thing meant we wouldn’t be going to Michigan for the weekend after all.

vintage_copsHowever, after just a few minutes of chatting with the Hammond cops, Dad hopped in the car, tucked his gun back into its cozy hiding spot and we were on our way. This time, my dad was the one with the story to tell. As it turned out, two guys broke into an old lady’s house in Gary, Indiana, robbed her, and stole her car. Dad spotted a police car heading toward the gas station in Hammond in hot pursuit of a car whose inhabitants were speeding with guns drawn. Dad, of course, figured the cops could use some backup. As an adult, I’ve often questioned his sanity at that moment.

The bad guys started shooting at the cops, bullets missing their intended target, and instead whizzing past our car and bouncing around in the mechanic’s bay like a macabre pinball game. The cops shot back at the guys in the car (I’d like to point out that this was a fairly busy day with many people out walking and driving), and my dad shot at the stolen car’s tires, eventually blowing out two of them and stopping the bad guys a ways down the road where they wisely surrendered and were arrested.

After all the cops-and-robbers excitement was over, Dad asked the Hammond police what kind of paperwork they would need him to fill out. Apparently, in my hometown, if an officer discharged his weapon, he’d be required to fill out piles of paperwork. But the Hammond police just shook Dad’s hand, thanked him for his help and said he could pop into the station sometime the following week to give a short statement. No biggie. There was no need to let a pesky gunfight ruin our fun weekend.

As you can imagine, we were the stars of the campfire that night regaling the crowd with our shoot-’em-up adventure story. The incident is, of course, seared permanently in my brain, but it’s funny the things that occur to me now that I’m around the age my parents were at that time. (Older, actually. Lord help me.)

As a parent myself now, I can’t imagine the conversation my mom must’ve had with Kathy’s mother when we finally arrived safe and sound at Bear Cave Campgrounds and tracked down a pay phone (remember those?). “Um, hi Barb…this is Anne. We had a little incident on our drive to Michigan and I thought you should know about it. Everyone is OK, but…” That’s one parenting moment I’m glad I’ll never have to experience!

True Stories

I asked my friend Sarvi Chan to write a guest post for MommyEnnui because, well, she’s just one of my very favorite people. She’s brilliant, talented, funny as hell and a fantastic mom to her similarly brilliant and talented young daughter. I met Sarvi when I lived in Los Angeles, but it’s only since we both procreated and became conflicted stay-at-home moms that we’ve become kindred spirits. Not a week goes by that I don’t wish we lived in the same city again. I think you’ll understand why.



And she’s beautiful, too!

When I was a kid I had lots of ideas about what adult life would be like. I imagined a very specific kind of wardrobe and lifestyle for myself. While the electric blue tube top I thought I’d wear when I was *really old*, like sixteen, never materialized, I did actually manage to make a lot of those early dreams come true. Having a kid wasn’t one of those dreams until I was in my mid-twenties and The Craving came upon me. Ten years later, the stars finally aligned and then it was a mad scramble to try to get sleep, school, and schedules under control. Now that my daughter is five years old, I’m finally catching my breath while trying to find that wardrobe and lifestyle I mislaid somewhere…

What I Feed My Kid:
Pepita-cherry oat cookies
Cold somen noodles with a ginger-sesame sauce
Basmati rice with barberries
Jasmine tea limeade

What I Feed Myself:
Coffee that went cold hours ago, microwaved
The ends and skins of vegetables
Whatever crumbs of pepita and oats fell through the grates of the cookie rack onto the countertop

What My Kid Wears:
Linen, silk, cotton, and wool blouses, coats, dresses, and pinafores that I custom make for her at home
Handmade shoes from Italy and Spain

What I Wear:
T-shirts from Target and Ann Taylor Loft, all of which develop a series of small holes right around the level of my belly button, within three wears
My mother-in-law’s Birkenstocks which were too large for her and which make farting noises with every step I take

Where My Kid Goes:
The theater
Ski trips
National Parks

Where I Go:
The same places…
…as mule for carrying her food, beverages, sunglasses, and any heavy or bulky items without which she refused to leave home, despite my swearing that, this time, I was going to make her carry them herself!

What My Kid Does During the Week:
Goes to school

What I Do During the Week:
Binge-watch Broad City and The Mindy Project, because that’s the sweet, sweet perk of being the grown-up.

Ding, Dong, the Witch is Almost Dead

champagne_houseI just realized that I haven’t filled you in on some exciting news. Remember my post about the vacant house next door? If not, please read parts one and two of the abandoned house saga here and here. Great. Now that you have all necessary background information, you’ll understand my excitement when I tell you that the house is finally FOR SALE!!!

I’ll back up a bit so you can fully savor this sweet victory with me. You may recall that, at the end of our last installment of the house drama, the owners’ daughter told us she was getting bids to have the house torn down in March. We were cautiously optimistic. It was no surprise, however, when March came and went and the house remained (barely) standing.

Despite being approached over the past few years by builders offering respectable sums of money, the owners’ daughter has steadfastly refused to sell the home. I can only assume she’s done this for some sneaky estate tax reasons. She actually told one of the builders that she was waiting for her father to die to sell the property. Charming woman.

The eyesore remained and we felt defeated. That was, until the day Ad Man saw a notice tacked up on the front door. It was a letter from the city informing the owners that they were overdue on taxes for a number of years. If they did not pay the taxes due, in full, by X date in August, the house would be sold at auction. This was great news!

I went back to work, reconnecting with the builders I’d approached about buying the property and others who’d expressed interest in it. I wanted to avoid having some schmuck we didn’t know buy it at auction and build a hideous McMansion on the lot. Yet, the weeks ticked by and still nothing happened. Well, nothing other than the owners’ son-in-law requesting to connect with me on LinkedIn. Huh? Um, no.

for_sale_sign_boo_radleyThen one day a couple weeks ago, I left the house to do what I like to call “Mom Circuit Training.” You’re probably familiar with it…you know, home to Target to Trader Joe’s to Whole Foods and back again. I’d arrived home and was unloading the car when something caught my eye. I wouldn’t have believed what I was seeing if our painter weren’t in the front yard to confirm that there was, indeed, a For Sale sign in the front yard of the Boo Radley house!

My first instinct was to walk up and down the block banging on pans like the neighborhood gossip town crier. Instead, I quickly sent off texts to Ad Man and a couple friends and wrote an email to the rest of the neighbors that began…”Good tidings of great joy I bring to you!” (See? All those years of Sunday School weren’t a total waste.) and closed with a proposal that we all get together the following weekend for a celebratory glass of Champagne under the gigantic tree next door.

Our excitement was tempered a bit when we found out the house was listed for $600,000. You read that right…six hundred thousand American dollars for a house-turned-wildlife-preserve that’s being held together with mold and cobwebs. Prices are skyrocketing in our neighborhood, but this was ridiculous! We were all concerned this meant the owners weren’t actually interested in selling the property. I was baffled as to how the owners’ daughter convinced a legitimate real estate agent to list the property for such an inflated price. My friend E called the listing agent to see if she was serious about the price (E honestly thought it was a mistake) and it was obvious from the agent’s response that she hadn’t actually seen the house before listing it.

Since my “Lipstick on a Pig” email to the owner’s daughter, she’s refused to communicate with me, instead sending all correspondence to Ad Man which we both find pretty damn funny. Most recently, she asked Ad Man to please, “tell your wife not to talk to any of my workers.” This was apparently in response to my chat with a couple 20 year-old guys with a moving truck she hired to take things out of the house. I said to one of them, “You know, you really shouldn’t be in there breathing that air without a mask.” He responded, “Yeah, I know. I just called my boss about it.” Unfortunately, they continued working and his partner told me that it was no big deal; he did this all the time.

I was apparently a troublemaker and completely out-of-line for being concerned about these young guys breathing black mold for hours on end in exchange for what was likely not much more than minimum wage. If you want to be horrified (and who doesn’t?), take a look at this web page for all of the potential effects of breathing in toxic black mold spores. Anyway, Ad Man responded to the owners’ daughter by saying basically…1) I don’t TELL my wife to do anything, and 2) If we’re concerned about a dangerous situation inside the house, we’re not going to keep our mouths shut.

The following weekend, a bunch of the neighbors enjoyed a lovely afternoon gathering on the lawn of the shanty next door. We drank cheap Champagne in plastic glasses while trying to identify the brown gunk oozing from the yard’s ancient, neglected tree. It was fucking poetic.

PS: Last week, the real estate agent finally came by to check out the local rattrap in person. The next day, the listing price of the house was reduced to $425,000 and designated as a teardown only. Anyone want a prime lot in Buckhead? You can build your dream house and the neighbors are awesome!

Another Bullshit Day in Suck City

Cape_DisappointmentWell, I finally received some job news last night and it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for. The head of video production at the company I interviewed with emailed me last night and said that they can’t offer me a permanent position right now, but they frequently use freelance producers and, if I’m interested, they’d like to add me to their freelance pool. Needless to say, finding out that they didn’t have a permanent position to offer after one phone interview and two in-person interviews was more than a little disappointing.

There is a glimmer of hope, though. This morning, the person I interviewed with in the events department emailed to ask if I could meet with her next week. She initially told me she’d love to have me work with her, but was afraid that video would steal me away. That’s why she arranged for me to meet with them first. So, that’s somewhat promising. I also have a potential freelance gig for a friend who owns an ad agency in Minneapolis. He’s just trying to figure out if I could manage the project from here in Atlanta.

I know this is all very boring, but thought I owed you an update after subjecting you to my bad haiku. I’m just going to keep plugging away and taking freelance jobs until something permanent comes along. Freelance isn’t exactly the best situation when you’ve got two children and a husband who travels, but I guess we’ll just have to be flexible.

So kids, the moral of the story is that you should never stop working completely when you decide to procreate. Keep your foot in the door, even if it’s just for occasional work. Having to completely start over and knock down the door is a bitch and I don’t recommend it.

*The above title was blatantly stolen from ‘Another Bullshit Night in Suck City’ by Nick Flynn. It is quite possibly the best title for a memoir ever.

Waiting for Job News, Writing Bad Haiku(s)


© Roy Lichtenstein, Blonde Waiting, 1964

You said you liked me
an impressive resumé
we’ll be in touch soon

Cell phone at my side
jumpy as a flea on meth
caffeine can’t be blamed

Visions of paychecks
dancing in my anxious head
and yet still I wait

I cannot decide
should I shop for work clothes or
drink bourbon and cry

I Would Do Anything for Work (But I Won’t Do That)

pancake_machineWhen I decided to take time off from work to raise the demon spawn, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy climb back to career success and this was when I thought the whole stay-at-home-mom thing was going to be a just short hiatus for me. Indeed, my triumphant return to the job market has been elusive, thus far. I recently ran across a revised copy of my resume dated 2010. That’s right, it’s been five years since I said, “That’s it! I’m going back to work.” Shortly after that, I got an interview for a producer position at Turner Networks. That was the first time I was told, “We think you’re great, but we’ve decided to go with an internal candidate.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t the last.

So, over the past few months, I’ve been using a new tactic for my job hunt. Shoot low and do the dirty work. I’ve learned to check my vanity at the door and be willing to do just about any job even remotely related to my field in an attempt to get the old career back on track. I’ve volunteered, I’ve taken on assignments for free, I’ve worked as a production assistant (a glorified runner) on a television show, despite having worked for years as a producer, and now I can proudly say I’ve slung pancakes to make a buck!

My friend M. has been working for a couple event planning and marketing companies over the past year in an effort to move her career in a different direction. She keeps saying I should join her, so I wasn’t entirely surprised when she contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if I could work an event with her the following day. The job paid fairly well, but the call time for the event was to be 6 am in Alpharetta, which is about 30 minutes from my home. My first reaction was, “Aw, hell no!” but quickly reminded myself I was in no position to turn down a job at which I might make good contacts (Network, network, network!). So, I checked to see if Ad Man could work from home and supervise kids the next day. He said yes and so did I.

I was told that we’d be working a corporate event for one of the country’s largest hotel groups which just happens to also be one of the production company’s biggest clients. However, I was still in the dark as to exactly what I’d be doing. It was only when I arrived before sunrise the following morning that I found out we’d be making pancakes for approximately 100 people. I wondered why we were told to wear head-to-toe black if we’d be handling pancake batter, but asked no questions and got to work unloading equipment and setting up tables.

Things became clearer though, when the most magnificent piece of machinery was unloaded and brought into the now transformed conference room. I knew what the mysterious contraption was only because of my recent road trip with my friend A and our girls. On the trip, we stayed at only the finest accommodations, one of which was the Holiday Inn Express in Sanford, North Carolina. It truly was a lovely hotel…brand new with friendly-modern interior design and nice indoor pool (very important when one is traveling with a band of restless children). But, the very best part of the Holiday Inn Express was the newly debuted automatic pancake maker!

I will admit that the pancake maker isn’t much to look at, but its design and performance make it a thing of beauty. I won’t be at all surprised when MOMA adds the Holiday Inn pancake maker to its permanent design collection. That’s how amazing it is. Biggie, Smalls and their friend AJ had their young minds blown when they pushed a button on the pancake maker and two, perfectly cooked, uniformly sized and sweet smelling pancakes emerged from the other end of the machine in less than a minute! Needless to say, Holiday Inn Express has suddenly become our first choice for lodgings while on the road.

Anyway, back at the event, three gleaming pancake makers now stood in a place of honor at one end of the room. To my delight, the event producer assigned the crucial responsibility of pancake making to M and me. That meant we were privy to the inner workings of the pancake maker (we received training directly from the automatic pancake maker expert who was on site the entire time) and could crank out pancakes to our hearts’ content. The details are top secret, but I can tell you that, to my relief, our exposure to pancake batter was minimal.

It turned out, the purpose of the event was to demonstrate the new pancake maker for the company’s employees and to launch a television marketing partnership. There was a video, signage, stand ups, even a speaker, but all eyes were on the pancake maker. The employees were as giddy as Biggie and Smalls were upon their first encounter with the magical machine. It was fun as hell. Don’t get me wrong, there was lots of hard work, but it was totally worth the smiles on the attendees faces and delicious pancakes heaped with blueberries and whipped cream we scarfed behind closed doors after the festivities.

In exchange for carrying heavy things and slinging pancakes, I met a great group of people who worked together like a well-oiled machine, got paid actual money, and made some valuable contacts at a very busy and successful marketing company. In fact, they just happen to be hiring producers. Without jinxing anything (because that’s a totally legitimate concern for a well-educated, grown woman), I’m hoping to have some exciting job news for you soon. Fingers crossed!

25 Reasons I Abandoned You This Summer

back-to-schoolMy beloved, dedicated readers (all five of you), as I gleefully watched Biggie and Smalls drive away on the bus this morning, I thought of you. I must apologize from the bottom of my heart for the weeks-long silence this summer. I know I’ve hurt you before and made promises to change, but this time I really mean it.

I, MommyEnnui, do solemnly swear that I will post more often going forth, beginning today. I’ve decided that I will keep you updated with bite-sized tidbits of my life, rather than allowing myself to be paralyzed trying to express Big Thoughts. Big Thoughts hurt my brain anyway. I do, however, have some good (and some really pathetic) reasons I abandoned you this summer. Here are a few of them:

1. I’m still upset about Ben and Jen’s breakup.
2. My laptop kept overheating and turning itself off at the pool.
3. I’ve been traveling the world. And by “world,” I mean North Carolina, Washington D.C., and Mexico.
4. The “easy kid” has become the “whiny kid.”
5. The “challenging child” is still a pain in the ass.
6. I’ve been trying to decide what to wear to all my gay friends’ weddings.
7. Entertaining a puppy when it’s 95 degrees out is no picnic.
8. I was busy not cooking nutritious meals for my family.
9. Choosing paint colors for the exterior of the house isn’t a decision to be taken lightly.
10. I went on a road trip with three girls, ages 10 and under, and I’m still recovering.
11. I was working on (feeding) my bikini body.
12. The basil plant wasn’t going to water itself.
13. Facebook.
14. Pinterest.
15. I was Swiffering the floors.
16. Sleeping late felt SO good!
17. I was working the kinks out of a new summer screen-time policy.
18. I organized the house a little.
19. I expended all my energy being outraged by mass shootings and racism.
20. You try to get two girls to decide on new backpacks!
21. I’m newly upset about Gwen and Gavin.
22. Birdie is going through a clingy phase.
23. I had anticipatory stress caused by the mere thought of impending homework.
24. I dreamed I was pregnant and it took weeks to get over the terror.
25. I blinked and summer was over!

I hope you can find it in your heart to trust me again. I’m willing to work on it if you are.