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.

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.

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.

What I Do All Day

Tis the season for all that harvesty fall crap we love in the northeast: cable knit sweaters (not wearing), knee-high boots (not wearing), and pumpkin overload (gourd and bacon flavored dog chews? check.)

The seasons have changed over five times since the birth of my son. I have had five autumns to think about that next phase of life. And the question that I knew would be asked – over and over.

“Is kindergarten all day where you live?”

Answer: YES.

Proceed to question two.

“Now that your son is in Kindergarten all day, what do you plan on doing?”

I thought for sure the answer would be “duh, copywriting.”

But I’m not. I’m sitting here, right now, writing this “thing” in my jammies drinking a pumpkin spice coffee brewed in my Keurig. Oh God, the clichés.

I can’t go back to work. I just…can’t. At least not full time. Ill continue to take on projects that may or may not be soul destroying as long as they pay $50+ an hour. Write insert for Franklin Mint Doll of the Month club? She’s a real beauty this month. 100% Porcelain face with delicate blue eyes and proudly wearing her country’s dirndl.

My son is sensitive. Like, for realz. Cries over sad songs, pictures of himself as a baby, ascribes meaning to things that don’t deserve meaning “that paper bag with a yellow crayon line had memories and you threw it away?” Uh, yeah.

I have the “guilt.” I guess it’s like the vapors. Or the condition. I don’t want to hurt his feelings anymore than they are already hurt. But then I resent. Oh, you vicious cycle. You “condition!”

But then I think about all I do DO. And I don’t see how I’d have the time for a full day of work. And to every mom who does it including my own who did it without a baby daddy around: I salute you. But don’t think I’m watching The View everyday, fitting in gym time and mah Jong (oh, chef don’t judge.)

Here’s what YOU may think I do all day. (All day being 8:52-2:45 in case of confusion.)

YOU are either:

Shoe salesman at Nordstrom
Fed-ex guy that requires a signature for a package and sees I’m home to add my scribe to your screen.

All have looked upon me with disdain. Although if you ask número uno on this list, hell say its my insecurity that leads me to believe I’m looked down upon.

This is HIGHLY likely as I am slightly paranoid.

Here’s my day according to aforementioned list.

Take to school bus.
Come home.
Pick up from bus.
Drive to activity.
Good night.

Ta da!

Unfortunately, I can’t write anymore and say what I do all day. Because somewhere between “take to school bus” and “come home” is a life of endless errands and demands and I’ve already “wasted” 30 minutes writing this thing that I’m sure my mother will read and maybe a spammer who found this blog and wants to sell me low-cost Cialis.

Whether you work full time or not, carve out time in your day for YOU. To write, to reflect, to drink in fall’s pleasures – even if it’s from a K cup bought at the A&P.

Til tomorrow. Back to work.

First Day of Kindergarten, 10 Days Later

Kindergarten started on September 3rd, I think. Because the poster I made my son Jesse hold up to symbolize this momentous occasion was printed as September 2nd. Likely due to my utter exhaustion thanks to not sleeping for 5+ years.

Everyone said these problems would sort themselves out by kindergarten, but we’re three weeks in, up two times a night, calling out for me like an infant who needs a nipple straight away. These boobs ran dry years ago, and truthfully I didn’t even breast feed. And maybe that’s why I’m being punished.

I swore I’d start blogging on the first day of school. As a former “award-winning” ad copywriter who used to slave over copy decks with important notations like, “fluff up” and “romanticize,” I decided to write about parenting in the complete opposite fashion. No fluff. No romance. Just the truth. I’m a mommy of just one boy. And this is my testimony.

Welcome to Testimommy. Here’s to sprewing my feelings on pseudo paper rather than at my child who on day 10 of school, is still crying like a baby that he doesn’t want to go on the bus. And I’m crying too, yelling that he’ll be a nothing without learning.

I meant to start on day one. So what it’s day ten. So what this page isn’t pretty yet, with a fancy logo and serif fonts and pictures of my handsome, devilish and sometimes disturbed child.

Words should be enough. And for now they will be. Because the truth is always enough.