I may be a hoarder and I know it

This is a little hard to admit, but I think I might be a hoarder.

But not the heaps and piles of unorganized clothes, broken electronics, dusty furniture, dirty dishes, and garbage that is so out of control that I wouldn’t know if a dead cat was somewhere underneath kind.

No, not that kind.

I’d like to classify myself as a hoarder of paper.

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All the books, notebooks, folders, files, and binders from my education and every job I have ever had is still in my possession. Not to mention all the utility bill records, medical records, cable statements, “important” receipts, insurance information, tax returns, and too many other documents to mention. And don’t even get me started on all the shoeboxes in my closet full of cards, letters, movie stubs, programs, momentos, and more. If you invited me to your wedding ten years ago, I am certain I can find the invitation. If you wrote me a thank you for a baby gift, I can surface that too. If you sent me a birthday card for my 18th birthday (or any birthday thereafter for that matter), yep I can find that for you. And did you know I saw Bob Dylan live in Burruss Auditorium during my freshmen year at Virginia Tech? Allow me to show you my ticket.

I find this all somewhat disturbing.

It’s only lately come to my attention that I even had a problem. In fact, if we hadn’t moved last April and my brother and his girlfriend never made me clean out my old bedroom, The Shrine, then I would probably be living blissfully unaware and the problem would continue to grow.

Fortunately, the more unpacked and settled I’ve gotten in our new home, and the fact that I have an office (as opposed to shelves in a basement and a childhood bedroom in tact — out of sight, out of mind), here I sit with all my papers IN ONE ROOM. After high school, college, graduate school, four jobs, and more graduate school, it’s a little scary and slightly overwhelming.

All these… all these… papers.

All this writing. All these words. All these numbers. 

Whoever said it’s a paperless world has obviously never met me.

The funny thing? I am an organized paper hoarder, gosh darn it! I have to admit I kind of like admiring all my neat and tidy crates and legal boxes and labels and files and folders. All that hard work. I mean seriously, it’s kind of cool right? I even have newspapers from important historical days in my lifetime.

You want to know what was on the front page of the Roanoke Times the day after 9/11? Hold on, let me grab that file for you.

I have so many documents and information from my life it’s scary. From now on, I think I should go by the name Queen Archivist of the 100th power.

You want to know who the lead actors in Mama Mia were on Broadway in March 2009? Let me grab my program.

You want to know to how much my rent was in 2001? Be right with you!

You want to know what grade I got on tenth grade vocabulary test? An A, of course.

Deep down I know I need to do something about my problem, but I am not quite sure where to start. I think I’d feel a million times lighter and maybe be able to unleash some uncluttered creativity if I’d just go through it all and send it on its way into the universe and out of my personal space.

But for now?

Here I sit paralyzed. My academic and professional and memory-filled life in one room. My kids are napping in the two rooms across the hallway. They are all I really need, right? These papers don’t matter!

But yes, they do matter!

They don’t!

They do!

Do you see my struggle? I am still trying to figure out why I felt so compelled to hold onto these artifacts and memories in the first place? Do other people do this? In some ways, it’s my little way of preserving certain rites of passage and special moments. What does this say about me? Do I want to know?

I need answers, people.

I know will hang onto some of these artifacts, but some most of it (and this is where it gets hard) needs to go. During the last year of unpacking and going through other items unearthed during the move, I took pictures of things before I threw them away if I felt torn about pitching them. I considered those items “relics of my past” that I needed to get rid. Taking a picture made me feel like I was holding onto a memory, but moving forward with room for more stuff as I started the next part of my life, back in Pennsylvania where I started. This time with a family of my own.

The thing is though, I don’t really want more “stuff.” Lately, I have been finding it easier to throw things away. I guess I am trying to break my old habits and try to lighten my load. In order to do so, I need help.

What do other people do with paperwork after a class ends, a degree is earned, or a job is left? What about cards, letters, programs, etc?

I am on a mission.

To keep or to toss?

That is the question.

Favorite words my kids misuse

My four-year-old son has always been rather prolific. He talked full sentences at 18 months, he easily grasps and understands the meaning of some pretty sophisticated words, and he is well versed in the German language.

Even so, he is still only four and has a lot to learn. Like all kids, as he continues to understand more about language he’s bound to misuse words.

My favorites of late:

1. Instead of reading the instructions before playing a new board game or putting together Legos, he asks me to read the “constructions.”

2. Grabbing at my nightshirt the other day and catching a glimpse of what was underneath, he giggled and said, “Mommy I see your nibbles!”

Nibbles? Don’t you mean nipples, son?

I look forward to embarrassing him with that one someday.

3. “How come they don’t have ‘journals’ in the ladies bathroom, Mommy?” Ha! Journals, urinals – it’s all the same in his world.

About the sophisticated words he uses? The other day I lost my patience with him and his little sister because they were fighting for the umpteenth million time that day.

“Stop antagonizing each other!” I barked.

Of course, I then realized neither of them probably had a clue what that word meant, so I chose a different word. Bothering. After they settled down I mentioned to my son that antagonizing is a fancy word for bothering. I only had to tell him once for him to comprehend.

A few days later my dad was visiting and kept teasing him. The madder and madder my son got, I knew retaliation was coming. What I didn’t expect him to do was run over to me screaming, “Pop is antagonizing me!”

Correct usage? Bingo.

I sure am enjoying all the words we are learning and mixing up these days.

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As for my daughter, she is two-years-old and in the early stages of talking. At this point, she talks in full, simple sentences with the occasional misuse of pronouns. Sometimes she even doubles up on them.

My favorites of late:

1. “I love you me,” she says.

2. If someone says or does something she is not in favor of she says, “I no like that.”

3. When she passes gas, she looks around and sheepishly says, “Excuse you me poop toot.”

All the “you me’s” melt my heart, and though I am not fond of the “poop toot” part, it is funny. I look forward to embarrassing her with that one someday.

Vocabulary and grammar never sounded so good around here.

What words do your kids misuse or have misused in the past? I would love to hear some!

Sunday sentiments

The granddaddy of one of my friends said to me one time, “Don’t look down when you are walking or people will think you are talking to the devil.” His remark has always stuck with me, and whenever I am stewing over something and the urge to look down feels natural, I try to pick up my chin and look toward the sky.

Earlier this afternoon, I set off on a six-mile run on a running trail that I have been frequenting this spring. I’ve run six miles on the trail once before, but normally I only run four miles — two miles out and two miles back. The first time I ran six a few weeks ago, the third mile out was unknown. That unknown made me nervous and those nerves made me pick up my pace. In doing so, exhaustion had set in by the time I reached the three-mile marker because most of the third mile was uphill. The difficulty of running uphill paired with my overly aggressive pace almost did me in, but the turnaround sent me back downhill and allowed me to recover. Once I got to the start of the fifth mile, I was back to the familiar spot of my normal turnaround when I run four miles. From there, I faced the challenge of running two more miles than usual in order to get back to my car, but my feet knew the way home and I pounded out the run.

Have you been faced with a new situation lately that took you out of your comfort zone or pushed you toward a new goal?

Today I ran another six-mile run on the same trail, and you know what? That fourth mile seemed so much easier this time. I knew it involved some uphill, I remembered some of the landmarks from the last time, and I had the confidence of knowing I could do it. It’s so true that doing something new is always hardest the first time. After that, experience and preparation lead the way.

Before I got to the turnaround today I got to thinking about my knees. I silently prayed my knees would always hold up and carry me for as many miles as I want to run now and in the future. So many runners get sidelined due to knee injuries and it’s something I hope never happens to me. Then I got to thinking about my ankles. When I was growing up I envied the dainty ankles of my grandmother on my mom’s side of the family. I didn’t get them. My ankles aren’t overly thick, but they definitely aren’t dainty. I like to think of them as sturdy (ha!). Without a doubt I inherited them from my dad’s mother. She had ankles on the thicker side. Sturdy. Today I had a realization that maybe God gave me sturdy ankles to take some of the pressure off my knees and protect me from injury later in life when running would become my therapy. I praised my ankles and the muscles around my knees for keeping them safe, and I thought of my grandmother and thanked my lineage.

My commitment to running has strengthened over the last few months, because it truly is beneficial to my overall health and well-being. You see, running is part of what I like to call my “medication plan.” Running isn’t a medication at all in terms of a pill, but it releases all the “feel good” endorphins that I need to keep me balanced. I guess you could say, I have an inherent need to run.

Part of my therapy when I run involves looking ahead and looking up. I scan the path ahead of me and I scan my surroundings, and I think of everything I am grateful for when I look toward the sky and breathe deep. Of course, sometimes I have to look down to avoid an obstruction on the trail or catch myself from stumbling over uneven pavement, but by and large I look up. I think of what my friend’s granddaddy said to me and avoid talking to the devil at all cost.

For the first half of the run, it sprinkled and I felt baptized by the droplets of rain coming down on my head. Part of the therapeutic benefits I gain from running, are that the sport has become spiritual, and in some ways, my form of church. I say this because I briefly glanced down today to avoid stepping in a puddle that caught my eye, and you know what? The reflection in the water from the sun, that had come out during the second half of my run, showed me a beautiful scene of the serene sky above. I turned my gaze back up and remained focused on the future and my blessings.

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I am feeling sentimental today, so for others who mindfully look for the goodness around us, have accepted the make-up of your mind and body or felt touched by the hands of God recently, I urge you to look up. It’s Sunday after all.

Have you had any realizations about something you didn’t like when you were younger, but that the wisdom you attained over the years made you understand? If you are a runner, what do you think about when you run?

10 reasons why moms need a girls weekend

This post is the final installment of banter about my recent girls weekend in NYC. If you missed the first three, you can read them here: NYC Part 1: Feeding my soul, NYC Part 2: Round metal Ray-bans, NYC Part 3: Staten Island.

***

Before I made the decision to go on a girls weekend to NYC with three of my girlfriends, I had to justify the trip in my mind. What was I seeking? Why was it important? Did I deserve to go on this trip and leave my husband and kids behind for three days?

The answers I came up with were simple:

1. Freedom-filled fun with other young moms who understand this phase of life.

2. Because everyone deserves a break even, and especially, moms with small children that depend on them 24-7.

3. Heck yeah! I work hard and hard work deserves a reward.

My day job as a stay-at-home-mom of preschool age children involves all the joys and rigors that come with raising babies. I am the one who gets to hug and kiss my kids all day long, who picks them up when no one else will do, who is the recipient of their smiles when they learn something new, and who they run to when they need help.

In that same breath, I am the one who gets frustrated when things don’t go right, who loses sleep when they are sick, who loses patience when they defy me, who tires from using my shirt as a dish towel for sticky hands and snot when necessary, who breaks up fights, and who receives little to no daily affirmation that I am doing things “right” or appreciation for my hardest efforts.

When I returned home after the trip, I gained a much deeper sense about why moms need a girls weekend. Here are 10 reasons:*

  1. To know that your old self is still in there. Taking a trip with longtime friends will remind you that you haven’t lost that younger, carefree version of yourself. Every mom needs personal time to uncover all the added layers motherhood piles onto our being. I started the trip with make-up and a nice outfit.
  2. To learn and pursue a personal interest. Even though I spend a lot of time learning and reading about motherhood and parenting, I still have other interests. Writing and photography are two of them. On the bus ride into the city, I re-read my camera manual and played around with the different settings. Once in the city, I took one of the mornings to tour the NYC Public Library on 5th Ave and 42nd street. Boom! I felt alive!

    Entrance of a photography exhibit at the NYC Public Library at 5th Avenue and 42nd street.

    Entrance of a photography exhibit at the NYC Public Library at 5th Avenue and 42nd street. The exhibit featured the evolution of photography over time. From old black and whites to digital media, photography has always been social.

  3. To get a break from your kids and give them a break from you. You will be pleasantly surprised when you do not have to put anyone in time-out or wipe a butt during girls weekend. In turn, your kids will get away with things at home that you might normally put the kibosh on. Good for them. Let’s face it kids are sanity-suckers at times. Taking a trip with girlfriends will remind you that adult conversation centered around fashion, art, music, books, food, and nightlife still exists. IMG_1242
  4. To reconnect with old friends. It was so refreshing to reminisce with my friends about childhood and college days as the stress from daily life fell to the bar floor ground. In the process, we made new memories on top of all the old ones. Traversing through new territory and laughing all the way with your best friends is a dream.IMG_1533
  5. To revel in freedom from responsibilities. In other words, not be in charge. It is tiresome making the decisions for one, two, or three plus kids all day long. Add on the pressure of constant demands (e.g. hunger, thirst, hygiene) and by the end of the day you’re likely in a tailspin. The hardest choice I had to make on the trip was choosing between red wine and white wine at dinner. And even that wasn’t hard because I let the waiter decide based on what I was eating.
  6. To silence your to-do list. This is a big one for many of us. Life is busy and practically every waking moment is devoted to some kind of chore on top of taking care of the kids. Laundry, housework, pets, hobbies, bills – it is exhausting! On girls weekend you don’t have to constantly look at the clock and think about what you have to get done next. Decisions made on a whim result is a delightful reminder that to-dos don’t have to rule your life.

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    Trying on a fancy dress at Prada wasn’t exactly on my to-do list, but what a treat!

  7. To give your mental health a boost. Three months after both my children were born, I experienced an array of postpartum difficulties that eventually forced me to seek medical attention. After I bounced back I was able to see clearly the importance of mental health. No matter what struggles women face postpartum, I think we can all agree that a tired and sick Mommy is of no use to her babies. Some may call taking a girls weekend trip selfish or unwarranted in this junction of life, but I call it necessary. Not doing so and not taking care of ourselves is all part of the downward spiral many of us end up facing.
  8. To realize you aren’t indispensable. No one can take care of your kids as good as you can, but others can take care of them for a few days and they will be just fine. Trust me. Your kids will even grow from the experience, too, and actually enjoy a little distance from the person who lays down the law all of the time.  Don’t carry around a warrior badge of honor with you that says you have to do everything. Because you don’t. Outsource the responsibility once in a while. I am still learning this and thank goodness for that.
  9. To gain support from other women and moms. A girls weekend will put your mind at ease reminding you that others share similar struggles. Sometimes merely listening to another mom speak is soothing. Being away reminded me not to sweat the small stuff and laugh at some of my mom blunders that caused me unrest at one time. I coined the trip a Mom Conference (of sorts). I enjoyed hearing some of my friends new and happy motherhood moments, as well as exchanging a few parenting ideas and tips. It was also fun to forget about motherhood entirely and just be a women. I took the diapers out of my purse, painted my nails red, enjoyed an adult beverage at lunch, had my hair done, and lingered over two-hour dinners with out someone spilling something on me. It was heavenly. And liberating. And I felt so wild. Ha! IMG_1530
  10. To gain a new perspective when you come home. People joke about how moms feel like their babies are little appendages. It’s true, yet we are BIG appendages for them and they truly see us as a vessel to carry out their needs. When I came home, it was joyful for me to see them waiting for me at the bus stop all happy and smiley. They looked so little and so big all at the same time. I loved looking into their eyes and hearing about what they did. And to my surprise, they were equally curious about what I did and looked through my pictures with interest. That felt pretty good. I had a new sense of patience for their needs and the realization that as they get older I want them to see glimpses of me that have absolutely nothing to do with them. Becoming a mom is an identity shift. Maintaining the balance of you as a person and you as a mom is so important.

That said, please keep these reasons in mind and encourage yourself to take a trip so you can reconnect with your old self. You’ll be glad you did. I came home with the notion that I work harder than I give myself credit for, that I am still an interesting person, that my mommy instincts are strong, and that the rest will fall into place. All too often women become plagued with guilt about leaving their kids – stay-at-home-moms and working moms – but I’ll advocate for anyone: Take some leave and feed your soul on a trip with some good friends.

On my last morning in the city I got a massage. At the end of the massage the therapist simply said, “Welcome to the new you.” She couldn’t have been more right.

Please share this post with other moms who might benefit from the information. Don’t let time and money get in the way. We chose NYC – it’s kind of tradition – and I save up for it in between trips, but you can go anywhere and there are so many ways to cut costs. The key is putting it on the calendar.

Planning a girls weekend or just got back from one? Where would/did you go? What others important reasons do other moms need to hear about going on a girls weekend?

I’d love to hear from you.

Happy trails!

 *(Note: Most of my reasons involve the view-point of a stay-at-home mom with pre-school age children, but I did solicit the opinions of my three friends who went on the trip with me. Two are working moms, one with a school age child, and the third is a stay-at-home-mom  like me).

No macaroni left behind

So far today, my son has said the following to me:

“Thanks for turning on the sprinkler, Mom! I’ll stop bothering you now.”

And then,

“I got the recipe at Target!” when I asked him and his friend where they got the recipe for their pretend “Hazelnut Soup” that consisted of a bucket of water, three paper towels, and Mardi Gras beads.

Ok. I am left with two conclusions.

1. My son is well aware of that fact that (on occasion) he bothers me.

2. Target is the be all and end all for every answer.

Boy he’s growing up fast!

And so am I.

I’ve been at this mothering and blogging thing for over four years now. With all of my heart, I know I am a good Mom and have a grip on my day job as stay-at-home-Mom.

I am also learning to be more confident about my voice as a writer. For years now, I’ve over thought and over analyzed and held back on my writing aspirations, but I am reaching the point of “Let it Go.”

Another conclusion:

3. Disney and Idina Menzel apparently have answers for moms.

Thanks Elsa from Frozen, you empowered little lady. You inspire me.

I enjoy being a stay-at-home-Mom. I mean, who wouldn’t love staying in their pajamas on some days and getting endless hugs from little people all day? Who wouldn’t love sitting in the sun on their back deck enjoying good conversation with a friend while watching our kids play on a sunny Friday morning?

Nonetheless.

Lately, I’ve felt frustrated, and quite possibly a little bored, with my day-to-day. Maybe it was winter. Maybe it was a phase. Maybe I am ready to unleash the writing beast within.

The point is: It is summertime, and I am ready for a renewed sense of fun with more confidence and less self-inflicted restrictions as I continue my path as a stay-at-home-mom and writer.

Even if that means, eating my kids leftover macaroni and cheese, that has been sitting in the sun for an hour, out of a paper bowl with a broken plastic spoon. I mean, who could hold back on that opportunity?

Smile with your eyes and open your mouth.

I love my kids!

As Hoda Kotb would say, “Think of someone you love, and smile with your mouth open.”

Here’s to Friday.

Here’s to the moment.

Here’s to keeping it real.

Here’s to being real.

Here’s to everyday life.

Here’s to small children.

Here’s to chasing dreams.

Here’s to being a Mom, no matter where you are at in your journey.

Happy Mother’s Day this weekend, friends!

De-pugging my house

While most people de-clutter their houses, this morning I found myself de-pugging my house. My efforts started when I came to terms with the fact that my weekly vacuuming regime in our sunroom, the room where Luke the Pug spends most of his time, wasn’t enough to keep up with his fur situation.

That was months ago. Months of thinking about de-pugging, but not taking action. See how hard I work!

Last week I felt my threshold for his dog hair becoming dangerously close to a boiling point. Boiling point is when I flip out and raise my voice and stomp my feet about something that irritates me. Usually it’s best for me to avoid boiling points, which is why I have learned to maintain a steady and calm simmer.

(Sometimes).

This week, in order to avoid a boiling point, I took action to de-pug.

Pugs are notorious for shedding all year round, and after a cold winter where His Pugness didn’t get outside much or have his fur brushed, he began to pug up our sunroom.

I started by taking the three large warm and fleecy-cozy blankets and the cover of his dog bed to the laundromat. We’ve been wrapped up in the blankets all winter long, Luke the Pug included, and I decided it was time to wash, dry, fold, and pack ’em up. Be gone winter blankets! Be gone pug fur!

When I got home with clean blankets and a clean dog bed cover,  I took Luke the Pug outside for some brushing. If there were such a thing as Fur for Love, Luke the Pug would have made a generous contribution today.

Clearly he needed brushed, and I am glad I interrupted him from his daily routine that consists of sleeping on the couch… sleeping on the ottoman… occasionally sleeping on his dog bed… finding a patch of sun to sleep in… scratching behind his ears when he’s trying to solve a problem… tilting his head in concern when I ask him a question… you know, all the important things pugs do to keep busy during the day.

My next plan of action was to start vacuuming all of the furniture. I got out all the necessary attachments to my vacuum cleaner and was all fired up, but then it was time for pre-school pick-up and that was as far as I got.

I wonder how long the vacuum cleaner will sit there before I continue de-pugging? My kids are napping, or at least one of them is, and I could be out there vacuuming the couches or brushing His Pugness down for the second time today, but I thought he deserved some press on the blog.

Blogging is way more fun than de-pugging or vacuuming. Blogging is way more fun than a lot of things. So if you’re a procrastinator, I recommend starting a blog immediately. Oh wait, do you mind finishing reading my post first? Luke the Pug needs your attention.

Just look at him.

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Ok, so when we moved last year I coined him Luke the Pugsylvanian on the blog, but it’s been a looooooooong time since I have written a feature about him.

So when I turned to him an hour ago, instead of the vacuum cleaner, his face seemed to say:

Please blog about me today. De-pugging can wait. I’m getting old. It isn’t just that you haven’t written about me in so long. I am totally buzz worthy. Don’t you know I could be trending by now? My glory days are passing me by! Fans want to know what I’ve been up to! I’m tired of taking a backseat to the children! They’ve been ruining my view for years. 

I think he might be right.

I mean, just look at his pug shot (I mean mug shot) again. Look how Pugable (I mean lovable) he is. He’s just so Puggly (I mean ugly) that I just want to scratch his widdle pug face and listen to him snort. Then after I get him good and riled up, I want to watch him fall asleep and laugh at his tail uncurling with his every breath of relaxation.

Yes I could be de-pugging right now, yet I felt pulled to write about Luke the Pug, the dog with many nicknames, this afternoon. After all he is still my first love in this family. If ever I am at a boiling point, I lie down near him and he immediately snuggles into the crook of my body and helps me take a breather. I get all covered up in fleecy, puggy blankets and with the mere presence and warmth of his pugish little frame, I feel calm.

Luke the Pug always brings that out in me. He’s been is a fixture in my life for almost eight years. I’ll never forget adopting him from his old life and bringing him into mine.

Luke the Pug is aging and that makes me sad. He’ll be 12 years old in June. I mean, can’t you tell? Look at all those wrinkles. Ha!

The good news is that Luke the Pug is still quite spritely for his age. The other bit of good news is that he is no less photogenic. Ha!

He really is quite regal.

He really is quite regal.

Just look at His Pugness. He deserves nothing but love, and even on days when he’s up under foot, I remind myself of just how special he is. This one’s for you, Luke the Pug.

Now about that vacuum cleaner… Nah, I think I need another “breather” next to puggy first. His daily routine is much more appealing than de-pugging. Besides, my threshold is simmering for now.

NYC Part 3: Staten Island

This post is the third installment of banter about my recent girls weekend in NYC. If you missed the first two, you can read them here: NYC Part 1: Feeding my soul and NYC Part 2: Round metal Ray-bans.

***

My girl’s weekend trip to New York City was almost a month ago. Almost a month ago. Time flies. Truly. I recently read that somewhere in your 30’s the time starts to peel away faster and faster. Being “somewhere in my 30’s” I agree. Before any more time peels away, I want to share more sentiments about my trip to the big city.

I broke this post into 4 parts because I touch on a few different topics and disorganization makes me crazy. Even though it might be confusing that the title of this blog post is Part 3 in a mini-series of NYC posts and there are 4 parts within Part 3, at least it won’t be disorganized.

Confusing? Yes.

Disorganized? No.

Never mind.

What I am trying to say is I want to tell you four short stories that I subtitled:

  1. Food & Beverage (F&B)
  2. She Saw, He Saw
  3. The cheap thrill
  4. Loved ones

I’ll even outline as I go so it’ll be easier to follow. I’m helpful and dorky and obsessively orderly like that!

(And unwilling to provide proper transitions).

Ok, ok… without further ado…

1. Food & Beverage (F&B)

We ate good on the trip. My friend, aka The Map, made all the dinner reservations and picked some outstanding restaurants. We ate French food at Balthazar in SoHo on the first night, we ate Italian food at Morandi in the West Village on the second night, and we ate Chinese food at Buddakan in the Meat Packing District on our last night in New York.

Hungry yet?

I don’t take a lot of pictures of food, but I did take this one of our shared dessert at Buddakan.

Delish!

My intended focal point was more about the unity of our four hands, armed with forks, digging into yet another soul feeding moment on our trip. Rest assured though, the chocolate pistachio cremoso hiding in the shadows didn’t stand a chance against our hunger for an indulgence.

Onto drink.

I wet my tongue with many delicious beverages on this trip. On my birthday I drank a 7 and 7 for old-time sake. I don’t know why, but I suspect it had something to do with feeling young(er). I went through at 7 and 7 phase about ten years ago. Weird.

I later toasted my birthday with my favorite mixed drink that hasn’t fluctuated with age: A dirty vodka martini.

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I also had my first taste of cucumber and lemon infused ice water. Throughout the trip, I noticed this refreshing bev was a fixture in just about every restaurant or coffee shop I went to thereafter.

I’ll drink to that concoction.

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My most artistic looking drink of the weekend was a latte at Gimme! Coffee. Not only was the latte artsy and tasty, but the name of the coffee shop was effective.

Gimme! Coffee.

Concise and to the point.

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Unrelated to art whatsoever, I drank a huge Bud Light on the Staten Island Ferry the next afternoon. Just because.

So about Staten Island… Yeah… Umm… Staten Island. So yeah…

Warning: Mild adult humor to follow as I awkwardly transition to the second part of Post 3.

2. She Saw, He Saw

On the second afternoon of our trip, my friends and I boarded the Staten Island Ferry solely for the purpose of fun, free entertainment (and Bud Light apparently). Before boarding, I snapped this picture:

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Now what do you see, Ladies?

Because my friends, my wholesome dear sweet friends, saw: Penis Land.

Look again.

Do you kind of see how one’s imagination might just happen to see a P in front of the rest of the text?

I know, I know. Here we were on a (married) GIRL’S weekend and already some of us had penis on the brain.

So yeah… that is what “She Saw.” Never mind the “Stat” part of Staten Island that got cut off. It’ll forever be a P for the four of us, and now maybe some of you. Sorry ’bout that!

Let’s just chalk that one up to our heterosexuality and move on because, since this is the first time I have ever written “penis” on my blog, I am starting to feel uncomfortable.

What “He Saw” was a little softer. But not much.

I showed the following picture to my husband when I got home:

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Excitedly, I said, “Look! Notice anything fun about this picture?”

His response was, “Nice. You went to Hooters?”

What?! Hooters?

I hadn’t even noticed the “Hoot” in the picture, yet that was the first thing that his male eyes zeroed in on. Writing the word Hooters doesn’t make me nearly as uncomfortable as writing the word penis on the blog, but I think I better move on anyway. Heaven forbid certain search terms attract the wrong kind of readers to my blog, if you know what I mean. Ai yi yi, it’s only biology here…

Oh! But in case you are wondering what the “fun” thing about the picture was, it is my friend, aka Madame Sunglasses from the last post, and I on the huge jumbo-tron.

Look again.

That’s us above the Spinelli’s Pizza sign. Our fifteen seconds of fame on the big screen in the near of Penn Station, Ladies and Gentlemen.

3. The cheap thrill

Also on the second afternoon of our trip, I started Facebook messaging a friend from growing up who lives in the city. We were spontaneously trying to make plans to meet. At some point, she in-boxed me her current cell phone number so we could text instead.

I sent her the following text:

Hi. What are you doing tonight? Friends and I are eating at Morandi in the West Village at 9 if you want to join? Otherwise we could meet you for a walk or coffee in the AM.

Within five seconds I got a response back that read:

Can’t wait to meet up, btw what do you look like?

And then before I had a chance to process, a second text came in that read:

Because if your good looking I’m down for a trip

Let’s just say I obviously had the wrong number.

I never wrote (him?) back, but my friends and I sure did roar about the exchange that was happening with someone other than my friend. You see, that’s the thing about girl’s weekends — cheap (innocent) thrills get us giddy. Either that or those Bud Lights were the gift that kept on giving that afternoon.

The next day we sorted out the whole wrong cell phone number issue, and I got to meet up with my friend. We all lived happily ever after, and I haven’t heard from the inconspicuous texter since then.

4. Loved ones

As much tasty F&B I consumed on the trip and as much laughter as the mild adult humor and cheap thrill provided me with, my loved ones at home kept me grounded.

On the first night I texted my family a picture of me holding the yellow car (from my son) and the bouncy ball (from my daughter) that my kids tucked into my purse before I left home. Throughout the trip, I kept one in each coat pocket and cupped my hands around them frequently.

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I bought my husband a shave brush and some fancy shaving cream because I was thinking of his face, even though he didn’t send me off with a yellow car or bouncy ball. The nerve!

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The New York Shaving Company

One afternoon, when I was eating a soft pretzel as I strolled toward Penn Station to meet Madame Sunglasses I held it up to take a picture of the shape I had unintentionally formed with my bites. The shape reminded me of how my little boy writes the letter E sometimes. Like a backwards C with a stem in the middle. My heart ached a little for him.

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So you see, being away definitely makes the heart grow fonder.

‘Nuff Said.

This concludes part four of Part 3, which I hope wasn’t too confusing for you because my writing always makes perfect sense to me. Ha!

You may now step off the ferry from Staten Island and return to your previously scheduled day. I recommend that you consume some tasty F&B at your earliest convenience. Your soul will thank you. I do not recommend the dirty vodka martini unless you are off the job, but I do recommend the fancy water at any time.

Over the weekend I challenge you to keep your eyes open for any signs or pictures that might make you think of……………

Never mind. I feel uncomfortable all over again.

I’ll be back next week with a final NYC post about the reasons why the four of us took this trip and why it is important to get away with your girlfriends every once in a while. Should be entertaining… and it might just inspire you to plan your next getaway!