Monday, June 25, 2012


Last year, my son informed me that we would be watching a new show on USA entitled 'Suits' partly because of his love of all things related to the legal field and partly because of his being enamoured of the main character, Harvey Spector. To my son, Harvey is the embodiment of all my son yearns to be--rich, powerful,  intelligent and a great dresser to boot.  The show became 'our thing' to watch on a Thursday night and I loved the closeness I had with my son as we both discussed the plot, characters and how we thought the storyline might develop.  This summer, as we awaited the show's return, my son decided to dabble in a little 'truth is stranger than fiction' by trying to emulate Harvey Spector's aggressive and dynamic personality in the quest of a job for himself.  My son sent out letters to twenty law firms in the area soliciting a position as an unpaid summer intern (at 15 years old, with no license, he is somewhat limited in what he could do).  My hope was that the mere act of writing and mailing these letters would be a learning experience for him--my dream was that he would hear from at least one firm.

Well, this morning my son channeled Harvey yet again to 'wow' the senior partner of the law firm who had contacted him last week.  After an hour and a half interview (yep, for an unpaid summer intern position no less), my son landed the job!  Could I be anymore proud of his initiative and ambition? I think not.  He clearly left an impression on the senior partner as well as he told my son that he reminded him of himself. I had actually thought that the job description would encompass lots of grunt work but my son was asked to bring his laptop as he would be working with a law student doing legal research!  So rich and powerful will come in time, the intelligence he clearly possesses and he is a fantastic dresser already (what other 15 year old boy would choose Brooks Brothers as his favorite store?).  Harvey would be so proud but no where near as proud as I am of my son right now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Title Search

Last night, I was reading a magazine while my family watched TV but I got distracted by a commercial for yet another reality series, this one entitled "Mountain Man."  Honestly, the premise for the show is totally irrelevant but it did start me thinking about other reality shows such as "Hillbilly Handfishing," "Hoarders" and "Gator Boys" and how they could possibly have a following.  If they are in any way remotely entertaining, their value is completely lost on me, however, I started to realize that just like my grandma had always told me, 'there is a cover for every pot' (or, in this case, viewers for every one of these inane shows).  If this is true, then there would have to be viewers for my newly conceptualized show about my husband and our quest to find him a job.  Can you imagine the networking opportunity a reality series would provide for him?  Let's face it, we have tried everything else to no avail so I say what the heck!

Clearly being the talented writer (bah ha) in the family, I am the logical choice to develop the show and, of course, my caustic wit (bah ha again) makes me the perfect fit for narrator as well.  My husband and I will do the talk show circuit with him explaining what he actually does (did) for a living--believe me, not even our family truly gets the scope of what it is that he actually does so this is a very important step--and he can regale the likes of Kathy Lee Gifford and Matt Lauer with the highs (very few) and lows (way too many) of the job search process.  The public will love us and our story as our viewership will be constantly reassured that their lives are not as bad as they had thought--heck, they could be us.  Our show will be a TLC or History Channel hit right up there with the likes of 'Toddlers and Tiaras."  The show cannot fail as we are like a train wreck--you simply cannot look away.  Companies will be clamoring to get their hands on my husband.  Now, if only I could come up with the right name for the show.  Wait, I've got it!  "Screwed!"

Monday, June 18, 2012


I have always questioned other people's motivation for doing something because in order to live my life happily, I need answers.  I am not one to move merrily along in a fog of denial or to feel that ignorance in any way, shape or form could possibly be bliss.  I crave reason and explanation. So imagine my concern when my husband called me over to the computer to see a new Linkedin invitation from the owner of the company who had just let him go after only 5 weeks of employment.  For those not following my blog closely, that job came after over 2 years of unemployment and required a move back to the east coast--a move that would have made me extremely happy.  Now, because of this man's seemingly irrational or at the very least unusual decision, we find ourselves re-opening the job search.  This same man had encouraged a quick sale of our house (which is currently off the market as my husband searches for a job yet again) to alleviate my husband's traveling back home from the coast each month.  This same man who devastated not only me and my husband but our children as well now wants to be a contact on a professional networking site?  Just plain crazy.

I know there are those who will argue that the owner's decision was 'just business' and that we should not be taking it personally, but that is impossible.  Business is business but professional (and personal) ethics should be a part of the business world.  Had he not deceived my husband and told him that the company would be restructuring in a month or so, we would not have put our house up on the market, had the children test into new schools or looked at houses.  Likewise, my husband would not have lost valuable time networking and continuing to look for a permanent job.  So now I am going crazy trying to understand why this man would want to 'connect' with my husband.  Let's face it, how could it not drive me crazy as this man had to knowingly look at my husband's name and think before he hit the 'connect' button.  To what end?  Does he want to check out my husband's contacts?  Why would he want my husband to have access to his contacts?

My saddest realization is that to this man, my husband meant absolutely nothing.  He is not thinking about what he did to us at all but, rather, he is looking to expand his contact list as that is all my husband would be- yet another name on an ever-lengthening list of contacts.  Well, since my husband called me over to read the request, I told him exactly what I thought he should write in response.  After we cleaned up the language a little, he did send a message to him.  I had hoped my husband would have written my original message but, you see, he is far too professional to have done so.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ride On

I just received a call from my son's riding instructor telling me what a 'rock star' he has been as a counselor at riding camp thus far.  I could not be more proud of him and how he is handling all the hard work it takes to both help run the barn and the camp efficiently--of course, coming home everyday smelling like the barn and its inhabitants is a horse of another color (sorry, I could not resist).  I should not be surprised by his determination and love of the sport as he made the decision to ride back when he was a mere three years old.  As we drove by a riding stable on our way home one day, he spied the horses and said 'me ride hawse, Mommy.'  Perhaps most parents in this situation would have written this utterance off as your typical three year old comment but my son suffered from a speech issue which greatly delayed his ability to string two or three words together until a couple of years later.  Believe me, he spoke and I listened.  The fact that he said that phrase to me still sends shivers down my spine.  I immediately looked into a camp which started teaching preschoolers the basics of riding and he attended for two years.  At the end of the second year, he asked to take lessons which I allowed him to do despite how scared I am of the sport and of seeing my small son riding that very large horse.

I was just telling my dad this morning that I started buying lessons in 10 week blocks because with my son being so young and with tastes and wants changing with little ones as they do, I did not want to commit to a longer period.  Well, my rider is now 13 years old and as of this September, he will be riding for 8 years.  He has experienced falls, not placing high enough for his liking in shows and, unfortunately, lots of bullying at school (but who is enjoying the last laugh now as my son is hanging out with the girls at the barn as a teenager). But he has never wavered in his desire to continue riding.  I suppose it really is time to buy more than 10 lessons at a time now, isn't it?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Working Summer

Each year as summer break approaches, I attempt to plan out the summer often assigning the season a theme.  We have seen 'The Summer of Eating Healthy' and 'The Summer of Death' (way too many road kill sightings for my blood) among others.  In addition to my themes, which may or may not be followed through but which sound super-organized and motivating at the end of the school year, I plan our 'working' time which revolves around workbooks and math facts.  The workbooks are certainly not greeted with the same enthusiasm as mom's crazy summer themes, but the children do them none the less.  Of course, the fun of it for me is all in their individual approaches and how true to their personalities they approach the work.

My eldest, a textbook firstborn, knows what he needs to accomplish and for the most part--hey, its summer so some lazing around is downright necessary--he gets it done with little complaint.  My next in line starts strong but after a week or so realizes that our morning routine consists of work and that school was out a week ago (hence, no more work) and begins to fade...and whine, a lot.  My daughter is an eager beaver who 'loves, loves, loves' school and will sit with her books and work on them both inside and out not unlike her mom who used to do the exact same thing each summer.  Be assured that this same daughter could not be any more opposite her mom when it comes to everything else beyond academics just to keep me on my toes.

This leaves my youngest, the little one who would make the penultimate military school candidate.  His approach to these workbook pages is nothing short of neurotic--again, yet another maternal trait I passed on--waking early, reading first and then immediately getting started without prompting.  The best part is that he will continue with this 'do it early so it does not need to be done later' approach for the entire summer.  I wish I could bottle his work ethic (yes, he is this way with everything that needs to get done) and sell it.  Heck, I wish I could douse his brother with his enthusiasm then maybe we could have a whine-free summer and stay academically current to boot.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The First Day

Our summer vacation officially started yesterday but since the children did have three and a half  hours of school, today marks the true start of summer break.  Given that we had our sights set on moving (I will not even begin to bore you will the emotional trauma of taking the house off the market for all the wrong reasons), the reality of this summer is far different from the one I had planned back in March.  That said, it is upon us and we need to make the best of it and since I am not one to run from a challenge, let the games begin!  Thus far this morning, aside from my usual daily chores, I have mediated approximately 121 sibling squabbles.  I have encouraged continuing the practice of daily reading with my little one (not his favorite thing to do but this is non-negotiable), encouraged his sister to straighten out a cabinet in her room (how is she my daughter???), dropped the pup off at the groomer, attempted a cursory food shopping (amazing how 4 children could have oh so many opinions) and put up tent in our basement (of course they are not happily engaged together in it as promised, but  I since I was not in the slightest optimistic about that, no harm, no foul).  That said, it is now barely noon...on Day is going to be a long summer.

This afternoon we need to pick up our fresh smelling Phoebe from the groomer and then eat an early dinner as we have a Little League game tonight.  Not exactly the way I would have planned my birthday but at least is not 105 degrees like it was last year. A small victory in the war of an unstructured summer.

Monday, June 4, 2012

If It Can, It Will

Sunday morning was just like any other weekend morning except that as I was washing the dishes, I noticed a distinct and lacking quality to the water I was using.  The quality I was looking for was temperature, namely heat and not the icy cold temperature I was feeling.  I really wanted and needed some warmth as I knew (I am pretty smart about things like this), this could not be good.  Hey, when I am right, I am right, you know.  My son often jokes that he wishes I could 'call' some good things (like lottery numbers) the way I just 'know' when things are going to be bad.  Of course, this dramatic drop in water temperature could not be something simple that a plumber could fix with only a modest outlay of money.  Oh, no!  Given our wicked run of misfortune these past few years, I had an inkling this one was going to be a whopper.

One big leak and one emergency call to the plumber yielded a brand-spanking new hot water heater for the next owner of our house.  It would have been nice if the old water heater could have sucked it up and lasted for a few more months but as my best friend tells me 'if I did not have bad luck, I would have no luck at all.' I could not agree with her more.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Breakdown Lane

A few years ago when my children were attending a school back east, one of my best friends who worked off the same exit as the school, handed me a cheat sheet of sorts.  Because she had traveled the same road for years, she had written down a variety of detours for how to get to the school if the main highway had too much traffic.  Although we lived only three exits from the school, the most direct route was a main thoroughfare that could make the trip either fifteen minutes or an hour depending on the flow of traffic.  Armed with my cheat sheet, I knew I could simply get off the road at any of the three exits and reduce our travel time considerably.  I wish my life had those viable detours right now.  Actually, I would settle for just one.  Detours to my life right now set off cataclysmic domino effects which all seem to lead to dead ends, not faster or better ways of taking the journey.

Another friend tells me that she often needs to find moments to 'just be' which is her way of finding 'clarity in the moment.'  Clarity?  In the moment?  I am never 'in the moment' because my mind is constantly assessing situations, prioritizing and weighing potential ramifications of all that I do.  I have been told that my mind is like a computer with way too many programs open and running in the background--always.  I once bought a yoga DVD to try to help in my quest for calm.  I ended up yelling at the TV after 10 minutes because the yoga master was moving so slowly I had lost my patience.  It made a nice donation item.  I hope the recipient found the calm and focus that had eluded me.

I am still looking for that detour.  Maybe one day soon, I will get a new cheat sheet so that I may skirt some of this traffic in my mind.