Hitting the Bottle…Again.


I’m not gonna lie: maybe it’s being on the edge of 40 glory, or my son’s kindergarten anxiety, or my husband’s total hatred of autumn’s undeniably magnificent splendor…

But I have more grey hair than usual.

Coupled with the sun’s dastardly effect on my dull, well-watered strands (seriously, why the F did I buy a house with its own gigantic water jugs in basement), I am looking wretched.

I have either mismanaged my time, lost track of it or taken on too much. I’m typing this with one hand and eating Panera Mac and cheese with the other.

So instead of going to the salon, since there’s no time for that – I’ve hit the bottle again.

For a year I massacred my own bathroom with spewed hair color hitting walls and sink. Cheap? Yes. Effective?

“Why is your hair 3 colors?”

What, no good?

Here’s the top of my head today:


It didn’t come out too bad. The grey is nearly gone.

But I don’t think I got to the “root” of the problem.

And now it’s time to go. What else is new.


Attacked by Foot Soldiers

Watching the video of the motorcycle “gang” for lack of a better word, not only makes me question humanity for the umpteenth time, it brings me way back. Like 20 years ago – even though like most else it seems like yesterday.

I need not think what I might do if a large group intimidated me or my family. I’d plow through the crowd and think about the consequences later. At a therapist years ago (not physical, a shrink. And there is no shame in going for help. Got it?) – where was I? Oh right, the good doctor who told me I had a survivor mentality. I will take care of myself no matter what. Product of deadbeat dad? Perhaps. But if you get in the way of me living my life I will turn into one of those undersea creatures that blend into a coral reef, and pounce on you with venomous precision. And this is what happened way back when.

Brooklyn College, 1995. After being thrown out of SUNY Oneonta for not doing the work. The campus was leafy green and an oasis from the blight just around the corner.

Literally around the corner.

Where I parallel parked my mother’s Plymouth Sundance coupe in a tight space. I walked vigilantly, with my car key between index and middle finger, ready to stab at will. When I arrived at the car, there were 5-6 teenaged boys on the sidewalk talking. Backwards hats, pants low enough to see their drawers, I wasn’t afraid. I’d lived with diversity in Coney Island and was a product of a Jewish ghetto of sorts. I gave them a head bow, that silent hello, and got in the car.

Something didn’t feel right.

I manually locked the door. And backed up, slightly touching the bumper on the car behind me.

The “kids” began to surround the car and yell obscenities at me. That I’d ruined the car. But it wasn’t any of their cars. Banging on my window, jumping on the hood, I did what I had to do.

I put the car in reverse, banging up the car a bit more. Then in drive. And I quickly weaseled out of the very tight spot, praying I would not hurt anyone. But even if I did…I had to survive.

As I got out of the spot, one of them threw a can of soda, splashing the back window. I couldn’t see and I never looked back.

Until now.

I don’t know what happened on the West Side Highway. But I know what happened on a side street outside a haven of green and books and sororities and science.

I survived.

This is the Dog – The End.

I wish I’d have more time to write. I can’t be everything to everyone. Right now I’m hiding from my mother and child and dog in my bedroom, wearing a semi-horrifying detox face mask. I sweat it up today, running with dog trainer, running to get diabetic mother some lunch before the dreaded “sugar low” and running to pick my kid up from school.

This will have to be continued again, as my mother can’t keep up with a 5 year old who can’t yet pour himself some milk. He’s already run out the front door in the last hour while I was walking the dog.

I have this dog. His name is Luke. We just adopted him a month ago. He pooped on the floor on Monday. The trainer is costing over $1000. He trained Rudy.

This dog will never be Rudy.

That was 15 years ago.

Everything is different.

Some better and some worse.

This is the dog. And when he dies I’ll be 50.

And this is all I can think of.

This is the Dog – Part II

Did I mention I didn’t want a puppy?

Somehow we ended up at North Shore Animal League. Sight of previous dog mishap.

For before there was Rudy, there was Agnes of Dog.

We found this little brown furball in the same puppy room 15 years earlier. Aggie with her purple tongue and vicious fangs, a lunging ability that belied her 12 weeks, her venomous hatred of me after spending just a day alone with my husband as I went to work writing about bed sheets for Macy’s.

After latching on to my finest Gap khakis, growling at me in my very first apartment, it was clear she had to go back. It was after that moment, we decided to get Rudy, because the child we had planned on that wasn’t born yet, would need a pet that was emotionally stable.

Aggie the chow/Shepard mix was retuned to North Shore. And I vowed never to return myself.

So imagine my surprise and long term memory loss when there I was – in the same room picking another puppy for the child that was now born.

My son fell in love with a puppy, and my husband wanted him to have this puppy. And over lunch at Louie’s in Port Washington, where we went to eat while paperwork was processed, Jesse stared out at the water and decided on the name “Harbor.”

There was a moment where I forgot how much I didn’t want to return to the shelter and get the dog, because I was so impressed at my son’s creative naming ability. Perhaps he got something from me after all…

Back to reality and picking up Harbor. So quiet for 10 weeks old. So mellow.

So filled with runny diarrhea upon coming home and laying it all over our rugs. Plural.

The shelter mentioned a little parasite, but gave us some medicine.

That he threw up.

What we have here is a sick puppy.

And having to tell my son that his dog is sick.


The great North Shore Animal league gave a fucking dog with fucking parvo. It’s only the worst thing a puppy can have.

The shelter says, “bring back, we’ll take care of it.”

We cry “bullshit.”

And spend $10,000 of our own money to cure the puppy I didn’t want. On day three in the hospital, I visited Harbor, who didn’t recognize me at all. I “harbored” bad feelings. Shameful feelings. I hoped somehow he’d not come home.

How crazy to hate a dog for no other reason than having no connection. It was jdate and eharmony and match and speed dating and no matter how hard I would try – I wasn’t attracted to him.

Harbor came home after a week at the hospital. Jesse was so happy. Harbor clung to me immediately, as I fed him and walked him. No longer the calm, sick dog we’d met at the shelter, Harbor was ebullient. And protective and angry at anyone who wasn’t me. He kept nipping at Jesse and not in a playful way.

A trainer came and worried he’d not be good with kids or dogs. The vet thought maybe his brain snapped after the parvo.

My son was so sad. His dog didn’t love him. Which made me hate the dog more.

Three days after he came home, I found myself driving back to North Shore, dog next to me in passenger seat.

I cried all the way there. For not loving the dog. For the dog hurting my son, and the inevitable resentment Jesse would have toward his mommy giving away his puppy.

Tears streaming down my face, I handed them back the dog I never wanted. The volunteers there weren’t so sympathetic. As evidenced by their yelling at other puppies in their tiny cages, while they stepped in feces.

The animals there all needed saving. But I had to save myself too.

We would get another dog. It would have to be on my terms.

It would have to wait. And then – I found him.

Part III…

This is the Dog – Part I

I miss Rudy.

And I never thought I’d say that.

Rudy was 8 weeks old when we “bought” him from a breeder. Just a baby like his owners. Like most couples, this was our first foray into responsibility.

We rented an apartment in Cobble Hill, with a landlord who didn’t care if we had a dog. She never said “no dogs allowed” so I just assumed that meant getting a canine was no big deal. She was more upset I refused to pay rent until my windows could lock.

We didn’t know a thing about dogs. Or crate training. Or shedding and chewing everything in sight.

So we let Rudy destroy the place. He chewed the Ikea “Lack” tables. He ate the garbage. He peed freely. And after a year, we moved out to a bigger apartment with a fully trained dog thanks to Tyril Frith. They called him the “Dog Whisperer of Prospect Park. Six lessons later, Rudy, the Yellow Lab, was the Golden Boy.

After 9/11, we ran for the hills, to Westchester County. Everyone asked where Rudy was trained. He was the best behaved dog for miles.

But Rudy wasn’t loving.

He never put his head in my lap.

Three tennis balls in his mouth was de rigueur.

Rudy ran and ran, salivating tongue out to the ground, ears flopping in the breeze. He came to me to eat and get treats, then back to his bed to grunt.

For 13.5 years we lived with him. Through the birth of our son to whom he paid no mind, likely for being mostly blind at age 10.

Yet this hurt even more. We even took him to an animal behaviorist to make sure he wouldn’t eat Jesse, but as it turned out – he cared as little for him as he did for us.

The only one Rudy truly loved was my mother in law, who’s luggage he’d pillage upon landing from Florida, looking for the stuffed toy she’d always bring.

In 2011, it was time for him to go to Rainbow Bridge. With its endless tennis balls and wide open fields of green, he was in his Heaven.

My son was only 3, and didn’t quite understand. But the pictures around the house were a constant reminder of the pet we once had, as well the dog hair that we still find under the baseboards.

“I want a puppy.”

I didn’t want a puppy.

We got a puppy.

And I’ll continue this saga tomorrow.

Video Game Crisis

My son plays this awful video game called TDU: Test Drive Unlimited. It’s a driving game where you just crash a lot if you’re 5 years old, and buy and sell cars. I’m sure there is more to it, but for him, the idea of just rolling about Ibiza looking for cool automotive decals is just the kind of end-of-school day mindlessness that he enjoys.

That, and we had to take away Grand Theft Auto (both Vice City and San Andreas) as he thought it completely fine to walk up to a police car, punch officer in face, and steal his wheels.

My husband has helped him win races in TDU, and therefore his cars have vastly improved from the first freebie the game gives you.

So now he’s stylin’ in a chartreuse Audi SUV. Or he WAS.

See, he can’t read yet.

And by accident, while I was busy checking Facebook or eating a cookie, he sold the car.

Allow me to set the scene: pillows fly off couch. Body flails. Screaming ensues.

“I loved that car!”

Of course it’s not about the car.

When you’re 5, nothing is ever about what you think it is.

His father and him worked together, spending countless hours winning him that Audi. Finding the paint color. Bonding over a 60-inch tv and play station, farting on the couch, every night while I left them to do laundry or steal five minutes of Jeopardy on television.

He’s asking when daddy is coming home to get him back this beloved car, because the Alfa Romeo he got instead is the worst thing ever and his life is terrible. In his words, “I’m just done.”

I give him a hug, tell him it will be ok.

But I can’t get back the car.

Because I can’t play video games.

Manic Momday

I wish it were a Sunday.

Cause that’s my fun day.

Or something like that.

Mondays means business. My son wakes knowing fully well that the weekend is over, as daddy has already left for work by the time his weary eyes open.

This is usually the day to “get shit done.” Supermarket, target, bills, bank, dry cleaner, prescriptions…

But not today.

For today I embarked on my first ever class trip. As a parent.

Some of my fondest childhood memories involve my mother going on field trips, and I wasn’t going to let this first in my child’s life just whizz by.

There’s also a trip to Washington I took in 5th grade that my uncle Martin chaperoned, but dear God that’s it’s own story.

So off I went to an apple orchard today. Before my son even exited school he was so excited I was there walked straight into a metal pole and got a black eye.

“I want to go home!”

Oh no you don’t. Unless blood is pooling into your cranium we are getting on this bus and we – I – am going.

Nurse gives the ok. Sorry kid.

With ice pack pressed firmly on face, we drive 30 minutes to pick 10 apples.

I tried to be the fun mom. A cry of “I’m bored” and I made the kids do jumping jacks.

For the kid allergic to apples, he was the manager of Apple picking.

After an hour of fall fun, back we went.

And the inevitable tears of my son, leaving him at school for the rest of the day.

But I had to go.

The cable guy was coming.

The dog didn’t poop that morning.

There were bills I needed to dispute.

This is Monday.

Goodbye means…goodbye

I’m short on material today, so I’m just going to use my mother as fodder.

Sorry, ma.

Went to traffic court today to plead down a 58 in a 30, just down the street from my house. I should have known better, since the cop likes to hide right next to the Chinese restaurant.

The judge says, “so you’re pleading 30 in a 35.”

He’s old. Confused?

“Sure. Sounds good to me.”

“Oh wait, i made a mistake. But just last week we pulled over a lady for going 24 in a 65 on the highway.”

“Was it my mother?” I asked.

“You’re funny.”

“Thank you. Can I pay you $100 instead of $130?”


As usual, I call my mother in the morning to check in – make sure she made it through the night without pressing the Life Alert button. I fill her in on my funny court story.

She laughs. Then gags. She can’t laugh without bringing on a gag attack. Something with her esophagus or just doing two things at the same time. Like laughing AND breathing.

We continue to talk minutiae and I tell her I’m home now and going upstairs.

“Ok, bye,” she says.

“Bye, ma.”

“So what else is going on?”

Oy vey.