Thanks for being my tribe. xo
MommyEnnui took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this weekend. Well, actually, I did it twice! After the first take, Ad Man realized that my iPhone had run out of recording space mid-splash. Of course, he was more than happy to douse me with ice cold water again the next day! If you’d like to see the video of take 2, wherein I get bonked on the head with a big ice ball, click here.
The purpose of the Ice Bucket Challenge is to raise awareness of ALS. If you’re not familiar with the devastating disease or want to know more about the Challenge, click here. I have, in turn, challenged two of my favorite blogger friends, Joanna Pritchard of Poppy’s Style and Kris Willcox of Rhapsody in Cool. I’m counting on you, ladies!
If you’ve wondered about the radio silence at MommyEnnui lately, I’m happy to announce that it’s due to the arrival of this gorgeous girl, my new daughter Birdie! I’m using her real name here because she is far less likely than Biggie and Smalls to accuse me of exploiting her for page views when she’s a teenager. Miss Birdie is a 4 month-old* pointer/hound-of-some-sort mix and the fur-covered apple of my eye! (Apologies for the disgusting visual.)
The details of her provenance are sketchy because her birth mother was apparently a bit of a whore who was unable to name the last fellow who humped her let alone identify which stud fathered her bastard children. And, while she may regret the anonymous hook-up that resulted in her getting knocked up with multiples she couldn’t afford to feed or send to puppy school, we’re pretty damn happy about it!
This is my first time raising a puppy, so a number of things have come as a bit of a surprise. For example, it turns out that dogs aren’t born inherently knowing how to walk in a straight line or having the slightest idea why one would want to do so, for that matter. I also didn’t realize that I would get virtually no help from Biggie and Smalls because they’d spend the majority of the time standing atop chairs, screaming in fear of Birdie’s needle-sharp piranha teeth. Every person we told we were thinking of getting a puppy said the same thing…”hide your shoes!” However, no one warned us that little missy would also attempt to eat clean laundry, dirty laundry, the shirts off our backs, rugs, bugs, rocks, sticks, weeds, grass, trash and much, much more.
The good news is that the rest of the family is similarly riddled with character flaws, aggression issues and eating compulsions so I think Birdie’s going to fit in just fine!
*It turns out that Birdie is not actually 4 months old as we were initially told at the shelter where we got her. A further inspection of her paperwork revealed that she’s actually only 2 1/2 months old. This means that she will be a bigger girl than we expected and that we will enjoy 1 1/2 additional months of having our appendages punctured by the dog version of a lawn aerator. Wheeeee!!!
When I was an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles my life was pretty glamorous, at least on paper. I was married, without kids, Ad Man and I had plenty of time and money on our hands. I wore the finest in lady-lawyer pantsuits. I spent time on movie studio lots, went to premieres and loaned my bathroom key to celebrities in my office. I never could have foreseen what my days would be like 10 years, 2 cities and 2 kids later. I’ve recorded one average day in the life of MommyEnnui below. Brace yourself for the excitement and please keep your hands and arms inside the ride at all times.
The alarm on my iPhone goes off at 7:30 am because Biggie and Smalls have gymnastics camp this week. Feel the pain of having to get out of bed before I’m damn good and ready and making sure the kids leave the house looking somewhat presentable. Seriously dread the start of the school year which is coming in 2 short weeks. Curse the Atlanta Public School District. Curse my friends in Los Angeles whose children don’t go back to school until after Labor Day. Curse Ad Man just for fun.
Jump in the shower and ignore the fact that my legs are less than silky smooth. No time to shave today. Figure no one’s checking out my legs these days anyway. Quickly blowdry the front of my hair and hope no one notices that the back is still dripping. Contemplate yet again whether I should get my bangs cut or keep growing them out? Bangs or Botox…bangs or Botox? Realize I have to make a decision before my hair appointment first thing tomorrow morning. Know I’ll never actually decide and will let my stylist make the call.
Things I can count on to happen every single day…Smalls throws a fit and cries when getting her hair brushed and I threaten cut her hair short. Biggie realizes she’s forgotten something vital just as we’re pulling out of the driveway. The girls complain that their car seats are too hot, they stage a sit-in under the tree and refuse to enter the car. (I have no doubt they would do this if we lived in Canada.) Envision myself tying them to the bumper and dragging them to gymnastics.
Pick up their neighborhood friend for carpool to camp. Chat with my friend, her mother, who’s rocking a similar “disheveled mom” look as me. Notice that my friend is at least dressed in workout wear. Feel bad for not even pretending today. She mentions her fear of the start of school but remains fairly calm (or at least well-medicated). Full-on freakout mode shouldn’t hit for at least another week at which time we’ll support each other with beer on on the porch and offers to share Xanax. Feel deeply grateful to have found friends who are as neurotic as I am.
On the way to camp, realize that I’ve put my bra on twisted not once, but twice. Hope this isn’t a bad omen for the day.
Go home to blow dry the rest of my hair and brush my teeth. Watch a stupid segment on the ‘Today Show’ with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. Feel offended on Tim Gunn’s behalf for this clear waste of his time and talent. Count the days until the new ‘Project Runway’ season starts. Changing of the ‘Today Show’ guard. Think about how much I love Hoda and and would really like for her to find a good man. Wonder how she manages to restrain herself from slapping Kathie Lee Gifford.
Consider folding clothes and cleaning up the kitchen. Decide to get my nails done and write instead. Hop into our crappy, 8 year-old Passat station wagon and drive to the nail salon. Count the numerous very fit, very blonde, stay-at-home moms in workout gear, getting mani/pedis. Think about how no one in this place has any true understanding of the reality of everyday life for 90% of the people in our country. Realize I should hardly be one to judge. Defend myself in my own mind, pointing out to a nonexistent other person that I spent time on Skid Row and produced a documentary on homelessness in LA. Know that nonexistent person would say that doing a documentary about something is nothing like living that experience. Make myself stop having an imaginary conversation with no one.
Go to Starbucks to write. Lunch is an energy bar and an iced green tea. For the 5,000th time, think about how annoying lunch is, occurring in the middle of the day when I’m trying to get stuff done. Such an imposition.
Sit outside to enjoy the gorgeous weather. Take in the blue skies, temperature in the low 80s, and lovely breezes. Realize that not one part of my body is sweating…a rare state indeed. A 50-something year-old woman sits down to share my table and we can’t help overhearing the couple at the next table, who are obviously freshly divorced, argue about who’s going to pay for their kids’ private school. The woman and I eye each other nervously. The bitter couple leaves and my table mate says cheerily, “Man am I glad I’m single!” We chat about the pros and cons of marriage for a bit and she goes on her way. Acknowledge that I’ve had an amusing chance encounter with a stranger. I usually try to avoid those.
Check email. Check Facebook. Start to look at sandals on sale, but stop myself, recognizing the classic signs of a writer procrastinating. Peruse my extensive list of topics to blog about and reject all of them. My brain is too fried to actually craft an essay of any quality, so I decide to spew out a stream-of-consciousness, day-in-the-life kind of thing. Doubt anyone will read it. Write it anyway.
I know it’s time to stop writing when I have to pee. Head to Target because I need a couple things and because the bathroom there is fairly clean and smells like Froot Loops. Feel happy that Target has finally decided to ban guns in its stores so I can discontinue my boycott. Three weeks without Target was a serious sacrifice. That alone should show my dedication to the cause. Spend $96 on nothing. Forget to pee.
Get back in the car and consider the fact that I never once forgot to pee or eat a meal before I had children. Blame them.
Inhale a banana and peanut butter and greet the girls when they’re returned to me from camp. Ask how their day was and get vague and unsatisfying responses. They do, however, insist that I watch them do cartwheels and bridges in the front yard for the next half hour. Suggest they come inside for a snack and watch a TV show. Acknowledge that a better mother would stand outside all day cheering on their impressive gymnastics skills. I am not that mother.
Spend the rest of the afternoon alternately listening to squabbles over whose turn it is to choose a show, reminding Smalls to go to the bathroom, thinking about the fact that I have no plans for dinner and doing nothing about the situation. Pry the girls away from the television and attempt to entice them into taking an early bath in order to avoid an evening drama. Fail in that attempt. Instead, the girls busy themselves by planting land mines of tiny toys with sharp edges all over the house.
Text Ad Man to ask when he’s planning to leave the office. An hour and a half later, when I’ve given up on him and started cooking the girls an inspired meal of macaroni and cheese, raisins, and almonds, finally receive a text back saying he’s going to be late. Think, “No shit” but do not reply. Pour a sizable glass of wine.
Biggie and Smalls beg to take a bath together then spend the entire time fighting over tub toys and who’s taking up more space. Smalls cries and complains during hair washing, because the child apparently has the world’s most sensitive scalp. Plan to call the Guinness people if we all survive this bathtime. Listen to yet more high-pitched arguing and threaten to take away their reading time before bed. Plan what I’m going to wear to the ceremony when I receive my parenting award.
Supervise the drying off, hair brushing, donning pajamas and brushing teeth process. Just as the last preparations for bedtime are complete, Ad Man walks in. The girls squeal, “Daddy!!!” and run to hug and kiss him like they hadn’t seen him just this morning. Give Ad Man a dirty look, say, “They’re all yours,” go refill my wine glass, and take off my bra. Consider my job complete. Spend the rest of the night zoning out in front of the TV with a computer on my lap, thinking about how I really should be working out instead.
Lather, rinse and repeat tomorrow.
As a writer whose life is an open blog, I’m often asked for advice on a number of sensitive subjects. Luckily, I have no shame. Today’s topic is how to spice up your relationship after those white-hot first months as a couple have passed. I’ve found that social media and electronic technology are wonderful tools for staying connected with your partner, which will enhance your relationship both in and outside the bedroom.
Below, you’ll find a number of sexy tips along with real life examples from my own 16-year marriage to the handsome and talented Ad Man. I don’t mean to brag, but as you’ll see, our sex life is still smokin’ hot even after two kids and many long years together. Here are some things that have been successful for us:
1. We try to keep our lines of communication open at all times.
2. We surprise each other with flirty text messages during the day. For example, I’ll entice him with something like:
Ad Man’s texts rarely vary, but they never fail to get me all hot and bothered. Two of my favorites are:
3. I take photos and email them to him at work so he feels more connected with the girls and I at home. Here’s one from a few years ago…
4. Because Ad Man is often out of town for business, he posts photos on Instagram so it’s almost like I’m there with him. Almost.
5. Sometimes we even bring technology into the bedroom.
6. I’ve taken advantage of Facetime and Skype to have intimate conversations with Ad Man while he’s on the road. I don’t have video, but a few months ago I called him via Facetime late at night, all wet and completely nude. Our conversation went something like this…
“I’m running around naked because your daughter just barfed all over her bed, herself and me! Why doesn’t this shit ever happen when you’re home?!”
Well, I hope you’ve picked up a few tips for using technology to help keep your sex life fresh and exciting. These are just a few examples of what has worked for my marriage. I’m sure you’ll think of many others. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go text a sultry photo of my bare derriere covered in mosquito bites as yet another reminder to my dear husband that if he doesn’t call the exterminator tomorrow, he’ll be sleeping in the back yard. Yep, we’re sexy like that.
I’m thrilled to announce a project of which I’m super excited to be a part. Sony Pictures has a movie opening on July 18th titled ‘Sex Tape.’ The movie stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel as married couple Annie and Jay who are looking to spice up their sex life after ten years and two kids have put a bit of a damper their formerly steamy relationship. The couple sets a goal to try every position in the ‘Joy of Sex’ in one night and to film themselves doing so. Unfortunately, they wake up the next morning only to find that their private video isn’t so private anymore. Hijinks ensue, of course, as Annie and Jay go to any length to retrieve and destroy the video.
I haven’t yet seen the full movie, but I will tell you that Ad Man and I both laughed our asses off watching the extended trailer. Here’s a sneak peek just for you!
But that’s not even the most exciting part! In the film, Diaz plays a “mommy blogger,” so Sony approached some of their favorite bloggers to write posts for Annie’s mock blog on the ‘Sex Tape’ movie website on Tumblr and one of those bloggers was me! They’re even paying me which makes this my official first paid writing job. I can now call myself a writer with a straight face! Looks like I may just have found myself a career after all.
MommyEnnui’s guest post, ‘Hot and Bothered,’ provides tips for spicing up a relationship with the help of social media and electronic technology and is illustrated with examples from my own exceedingly sexy 16-year marriage to Ad Man. Please check out my blog post here and go see ‘Sex Tape’ when it opens this coming Friday…unless, of course, you don’t like to laugh, in which case I’d recommend staying home and watching ‘Meet the Press.’
I had a post all written and polished to a shine for you this week, but unfortunately, it’s going to have to wait due to circumstances outside my control. Let me tell you though, It’s pretty exciting and I can’t wait to tell you about it! What I am not excited about, however, is the fact that it is now Thursday and I haven’t posted a damn thing all week. So, here’s a quick update.
It is 4th of July Eve and we’re getting ready to hop back into the car tomorrow to drive up to Ohio where we’ll be dropping Biggie and Smalls off at my dad and stepmom’s house and then getting the hell out of town. This will be the girls’ first extended visit without Ad Man and I and the first time he and I have been away together without a child since before Biggie was born. We’ve known about this trip for months so you’d think we’d have spent all that time hatching a plan for how and where to spend those blissful child-free days.
As I’ve told you before, however, Ad Man and planning don’t mix, so as of yesterday, we still had no firm plans. Oh, we’d thrown around some ideas. Our friends offered us their lake house in Ohio which would have been easy and peaceful. We thought of heading to Chicago for a few days since every time we’re back home we spend the trip shuttling back and forth between suburbs and never actually spend any time in the city. I haven’t gotten my fill of the beach this year, though, so we started looking at Portland, Maine, Nantucket and other charming East Coast towns. We considered flying to New Orleans but Ad Man was horrified by the thought of the heat and humidity…as if we don’t currently live in hot, humid Atlanta.
Finally yesterday, I said, “Why don’t we just hop on a flight to some Caribbean island? We have frequent flier miles and how often do we have a few days alone together?” Two hours later, we were booked on a flight from Dayton, Ohio to St. Thomas and a ferry to St. John! I’m so incredibly excited! We decided on the US Virgin Islands because the USVI is one of Ad Man’s clients and because my passport is expired. Oops.
I’m nervous about being away from the girls for so long, but they will absolutely be in good hands. And, our children generally only act like little shitheads when they’re at home. Elsewhere, they are well-behaved and polite…practically unrecognizable. Regardless, I’m sure they will keep Grandma and Grandpa nice and busy and that we will, no doubt owe them a weeklong spa vacation somewhere after this. (The grandparents, not Biggie and Smalls.)
But, before we hit the road, we’re throwing one last dinner party (Ad Man’s genius idea) so I’d better get cooking. My new bikini is getting more use than expected this year!
Update to my update: After a long day of planes, trains and automobiles–well, actually, planes, ferries and taxis–we arrived last night in gorgeous St. John! Ad Man and I were so exhausted after the journey, we had dinner on the beach, took a quick swim in the pool and were in bed by 8:30 pm. Ad Man snored while I watched a marathon of ‘Ray Donovan’ with Liev Schreiber on Showtime. (Great show, by the way.)
Today, after a morning swim, laying around in the sun (while Ad Man went for a run), and breakfast by the pool, I’m blogging with a view of the ocean. Not a bad gig! I’m missing Biggie and Smalls terribly though and was heartbroken to hear that Smalls had a rough time missing us at bedtime last night. Everything I see or do, I think, “The girls would love this.” As much as I was looking forward to some kid-free time and as good as this is for Ad Man and I, I can’t help wishing the little shitheads were here.
I’m planning to do some writing this week, but most likely won’t be blogging unless I get the go-ahead to tell you about my mysterious project. Until then, enjoy the above photo of the MommyEnnui office this week. I could get used to this!
Every summer for the past few years, I’ve gone through a ritual of trying on bikinis…many, many bikinis. I’d search endlessly for the perfect one to flatter my mom-body and maybe even magically erase a few pounds. I started this annual search after realizing that there were women who looked just like me walking on beaches and wading in pools while daring to wear bikinis. (Such bravery!)
I didn’t look at middle-aged bikini wearers and think, “Ooohh…she’s a little old to be wearing a two-piece” or “Wow, look at that belly roll. She certainly doesn’t belong in a bikini.” Instead I thought, “What the hell is wrong with me that I don’t have the confidence to do the same?” Each year, I’d take a glance in the swimwear store’s sadistic dressing room mirror and resign myself to spending yet another summer in my old ten-pound-when-wet tankini with the stretchy panel guaranteed to flatten my stomach and push every abdominal organ up into my chest cavity.
But, the following beach season, determined not to pass my body issues onto Biggie and Smalls, I’d march right back into the bikini abyss. Because I’ve previously given you a tour of the effect of two pregnancies on my physique and because I’m human (duh!), you know this carcass is far from perfect. This fact continued to trouble me no matter how many times I tried to impress on the girls that no one is perfect and that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. I just couldn’t manage to absorb that lesson myself.
But this summer, something miraculous happened. Someone sent me this blog post by Karen Lee of ‘Girl on Saturday’ titled ‘I Wear a Bikini Because…Fuck You.‘ (She had me at “fuck you.”) In the essay, Karen lists a number of reasons she wears a bikini including: 1) “I don’t give a shit,” 2) “My belly has earned it,” and 3) “I have daughters.” Now, THIS is the kind of woman I want to be! To say I had an epiphany wouldn’t be an exaggeration and I can’t thank Karen enough for the jolt out of the blue telling me to, once and for all, get the hell over myself!
And so I did. I tried on just a few bikinis this time before deciding on one from J.Crew. It is a lovely shade of “Matisse Blue,” AKA, bluish-greenish. The top is supportive enough for my ample bosom and the bottom is small and stringy enough to give the illusion that I actually have an ass.
But here’s the thing I’m most proud of…I actually wore it! In public! I took baby steps debuting it first with friends at a private pool in Hilton Head, South Carolina before stepping out on the beach where any number of people could have seen me and judged the tautness of my flesh and the appropriateness of a “woman of a certain age” wearing a bikini. But, you know what? Despite my fears, no one paid a damn bit of attention to me and I didn’t die of embarrassment. In fact, not one person gave a shit.
On the other hand, I felt great! I was able to swim as close to naked as possible, a benefit also noted by Karen in her blog post, got some sun on my belly which hadn’t seen natural light in about fifteen years and, moreover, it didn’t take three days for my swimsuit to dry. Did I look great? Hell no! I looked like a 45 year old mother of two who tries to stay fit, but hasn’t been to yoga in weeks and sometimes has wine and cookies for dinner when the kids are in bed. Ad Man and the girls thought I looked beautiful, though, and I was happy. It may have taken me a few years to get here, but I’ve finally realized that that’s all that matters.
One final note, the photos above are all you get. It’s going to require several more years of therapy for me to willingly post a picture of myself in a bikini!
My apologies for being AWOL lately. Actually, my physical presence has been right here as usual. It’s just my brain that’s been absent. As some of you might remember, I began this blog last September just as Biggie and Smalls were headed back to school. Now that we’re on summer break, this is the first time I’ve attempted to write with two children all up in my grill for most of the day. Let me tell you, it isn’t coming easily. Even when the girls are, miraculously, entertaining themselves and I have a moment to think, they interrupt me approximately every ten minutes for a snack or to referee some argument. Smalls is in a serious tattling phase so virtually nothing Biggie does or says goes unreported these days.
Sadly, we’ve also had a close family member pass away this week from pancreatic cancer after having been diagnosed only two months ago. The last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for people we love dearly and to say I’ve been distracted would be an understatement.
Since there’s been a short lull in “Operation Make the Downstairs Habitable Again,” I dove headfirst into a gardening project. In fact, my car is sitting outside at this very moment filled with bags of topsoil, mulch and manure. (Aaahhhhh…the bouquet!) Biggie and Smalls have been begging me to plant flowers in the yard for the last few years. Because I’m a terrible mother who cares more about the aesthetics of my house than making my children happy, I’ve attempted to get them excited about various grasses and other, more architectural, plants, but to no avail.
This year, the girls helped me plant some herbs and tomato plants, but were still intent on adding flowers to the mix. In a moment of weakness, I told them we would plant their own little flower garden by the mailbox. In hindsight, I’m sure they envisioned running to the garden store, grabbing some pansies, digging holes and sticking them in the ground. But, because I’ve recently been craving a creative project not requiring sidewalk chalk, glitter glue or Play-doh, I managed to turn a little flower garden into a big production. (Hence, the bag of hot cow shit in my car.)
I’ll add a photo gallery below as the project progresses. I’m hoping a good outcome with this little mailbox garden will give me the confidence to tackle other landscaping projects I’ve been putting off for the last seven years. Either that or I’ll do permanent damage to my back and go bankrupt paying my chiropractor, acupuncturist and gardener which will mean we can’t afford to send the girls to college, they won’t be able to support themselves and we’ll all end up out on the streets. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the former outcome.
Update: the mailbox garden was a success, but not without a few obstacles…lots of digging, some serious back pain and many trips to the garden store. Some schmuck–most likely the contractor who flipped our house before the owners preceding us bought it–dumped crap loads of pea gravel into numerous areas of the yard, the corner by the mailbox unfortunately being one of them. Biggie and Smalls helped me with small bits of the project like mixing up the soil and planting the mondo grass but, truthfully, they were far more excited about the annuals they bought and planted in a pot.
Someday, I’ll learn to allow small projects be small projects but for now, I’m really happy with the outcome of my mailbox garden. Even the mailman stopped to say how great it looked and, of course, I claimed I did it all for him. Tackling the landscaping the the front yard was actually on my list of things to do once the girls were both in school so I suppose now I need to move on to the rest of the weedy mess!