Saturday, April 27, 2013

I'm Not Going To The Mall For 15 Years.

Yesterday, I headed to the mall in search of baby gift and some new wedges.

Things did not go as planned.

To cope with the horrific events, I've blocked out most of the day and have only snippets of the highlights left in my memory bank. They include:

  1. A shoeless little boy running out of the play area and into the jewelry store across the way.
  2. A frustrated little boy arching his back, turning almost 180 degrees in his stroller, and screaming like he is being branded with hot iron.
  3. Me crawling into the dressing room next door to retrieve a cup of Kix which was furiously thrown when it became clear that little boys do not get out of their strollers while mom is trying on jeans.
  4. A determined little boy pushing an umbrella stroller into walls but shrieking when his mom tried to guide the vehicle.
  5. A curious little boy pulling shoes off the display tables to his left and right. The rhinestones and sparkles this season are truly things of wonder to a 17-month-old.
  6. The chuckles from women whose children were either in school or grown.
  7. The downright horrified looks from people who have no children and who will probably now reconsider their inclination to breed.
I bought nothing and left behind a wake of crushed Kix and destruction that surely make me unwelcome back at this particular mall. This was a brutal way to learn that for the next 15+ years all shopping must be of the online nature. Thank God I'm a Prime member.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston, You're My Home.

Boston is an easy city to hate. You can't go to school there unless you're a certified genius, you can't drive the streets unless you have lived there all your life or are one of the certified geniuses attending school there, you can't find parking, you can't afford your $1500 a month rent for your 600 square foot studio, you can't escape the eight month winter, you can't understand the accents, and the marathon has a qualifying time that most can't imagine hitting.

Despite this, I love Boston and every Marathon Monday since moving away I've wished I was there. For those who have never lived there, it's hard to understand the celebratory spirit of the marathon that engulfs the city on the third Monday of every April.

For the runners, this is IT. Not only is the course one of the most challenging in the world, but you can't just pay an entry fee and show up. Unless you're running for a charity, you have to qualify and getting to the starting line, 26.2 miles outside the city in Hopkinton, is a feat unto itself that runners spend careers hoping to achieve.

The crowds are amazing, lining every mile at least five people deep. They come out in droves because they've spent the winter listening to their runner friends lament their long, cold training runs and prattle on about the ferocious hills laying in wait at the end of the course. The size of the crowd is helped by the fact that everyone gets the day off. It's a holiday in Massachusetts. Sure, technically it's to commemorate Revolutionary War shots, but modern times have turned into a party for the marathon.

If the New England weather is in the spirit, it's finally nice enough to venture outside without a North Face and the spectators are thrilled to shed their hibernation layers.

The course is spectacular and steeped in the same tradition and ritual upon which the city itself is built. It meanders through bucolic New England suburbia for 10 miles and meets its first tradition at Mile 12 where the girls of Wellesely College form a scream tunnel that is heard about half a mile before the runners arrive. They dole out high-fives, oranges, water, and kisses; whatever you need. The mental snapshots I have of running by Wellesley will surely make it into my "This Is Your Life" reel when mine flashes before me.

At Mile 17, runners turn onto Heartbreak Hill, where things get a bit more serious. This three mile stretch of hills through Newton hit about the time each participant is wondering why she thought marathon running would be fun.

At Mile 21 the Boston College co-eds line the top of hill drunkenly yelling, "You're almost there!" While the runners know the last five miles of a marathon are far from grasping distance, they are thrilled to see the BC students, a symbol that the hills are over.

A few miles up at Kenmore Square, just outside Fenway, the crowds from the only Red Sox game played in the morning, stream out onto the street encouraging the runners for those last few miles.

When runners make the much talked about turn onto Boylston with just a few tenths of a mile left it is deafening and despite a tired body, one can't help but smile at the sight and sounds of the celebration leading to the Finish. The crowds are just as ecstatic as the runners, and much more able to physically show it, that the journey through their hometown was made triumphantly.

Today I am PISSED that someone tried to dampen the spirit of The Boston Marathon. Whoever did it knew the joy felt by every current or former Bostonian on Patriot's Day. They knew every runner in the world wakes up on Marathon Monday and smiles thinking about the excitement in Hopkinton. They knew the co-eds anticipate the debauchery and the office workers look forward to a long weekend. They knew the runners are terrified and excited to take on the Newton hills. They knew how long the Boston winter is and they certainly knew the unparalleled feeling of happiness when the sun shines on your face while you drink a beer at a Back Bay eatery on a spring day.

What they didn't consider, perhaps, is that a spirit this strong isn't easy to squelch. You can put a damper on it and you can cause fear but as long as the marathon route exists, as long as runners spend February and March charging up Heartbreak Hill, and as long as winter turns to spring in that wonderful city by the sea it will not evaporate in the smoke.

Today, I feel good about rocking my baggy old race t.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Terrorist Negotiations.

Twelve years late to the game, my husband and I started watching "24" On Demand and I feel guilty about the eye-rolls my mother couldn't hear when her response on the other end of the line was, "Let me call you after '24.' Gotta go." I did not expect to have interest beyond the first episode, but WOW, Jack Bauer's predicament is intriguing.

My connection to the show is also strengthened because I can strongly relate to Jack's position and thus know what he's thinking and feeling.

Many years ago I felt that same connection with The Bachelorette as I dreamt of a fairytale engagement and wedding. More recently, I felt it with Christina Applegate's character on "Up All Night" watching her navigate a big career with mommyhood. Today, I feel it with Jack Bauer, watching him negotiate with terrorists and hope against hope that he can keep their destruction at bay.

My terrorist is smaller and cuter than the one Jack works with, but unruly and unpredicable nonetheless with massive potential for destruction. Like Jack, I don't want to alarm the terrorist or let him know that I'm onto his plans.

When I see him climb on the first step, I stay very still lest quick movement send him shooting up, and potentially down, the stairs. In my calmest voice I convince him that he wants something else, "Look what I have over here," I chirp, "it's Elmo!" then start singing and dancing hoping vainly he will remove himself from the stairs of his own accord.

When he has my sunglasses in hand and is about to throw them violently on the slate floor I use an aspirational altruistic approach. "Good little boys give sunglasses to their mommies!" I say, "Don't you want to give me those sunglasses? You silly goose, they're too big for you!"

When his little hand is poised about the dog's water bowl, ready for some disgusting table water action I try to redirect. "Look behind you!" I say with nothing but excitement in my voice, "the washer is on! check it out!"

And sometimes, like when I'm trying to make dinner or make him lunch and he won't step screaming to be picked up, I resort to the carrot. "Want some crackers?!"

Will my methods work? I don't know. The outcome is as clear as the end of "24." America loves a happy ending so I doubt Jack's family or the presidential candidate will be harmed, but terrorists are so unpredictable, who can say? Time will tell and unfortunately, I think I have about 24 more months, not hours, to go.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Something New This Week.

Something new I tried this week made me sad.

I tried an eight-and-a-half shoe.

It's not vanity that brought a tear to my eye. One can cry no more for vanity when vanity is the one crying when she spots you in Target on a weekday afternoon.

I cried because I ordered the most darling spring shoes to help me feel my way through my springtime mom role. I believe in the method approach.

I cried tears of joy when they arrived in the mail and their cute factor far exceeded my expectations. Since I can't rip the pic from the web, imagine bright orange and white striped flats with a thin orange tie on the toe. Thinking about them brings back those initial tears of joy.

I cried tears of discomfort when I took them off my cramped feet.

I wept when the store employee told me they were out of Size 8.5 with no hope of receiving more.

I know new experiences help us grow, but I would have been much happier growing if it hadn't meant sacrificing the perfect orange flats.