Sorry about that. As Ferris says, Life Moves Pretty Fast. And it's been moving at the speed of light for me these days. I've been busy with writerly things and and mom and wife things and just a life-full of things. And in between all of these doings, I looked up and whoosh...days had turned into weeks, weeks into months.
And speaking of the days whooshing away, lately I feel like the last eighteen years have been like a runaway freight train hurtling down the tracks—one big blur of my life that has whirred past.
It's that time again.
My glorious girl. My middle baby. The daughter who's been ready to anchor her spot in the world since the day she was born.
Well, it's soon to be just that. Her turn to go.
Oh my heart.
She leaves for college in June—summer session—because she wants to be a step ahead of all the other kids. It's how she's always worked. This tiny sprite who raced into the world, ready to jump into the mix. She took her first step at eight months. She was running by nine months, fearless, this little being filled with light, grabbing life head-on with her intoxicating spirit and the beautiful way she has of being utterly comfortable in her own skin.
She stands here at this precipice. In a second, it will be her time and I know she'll fly off without hesitation and the world will discover what I have always known, that she is this glorious soul, one of those children guided into the universe by shining stars and that she is made up of kindness and beauty, fierceness and sublime sweetness. And there is not a star in the sky that shines brighter than this lovely, gift of a girl.
How I will miss her.
And so, I have been trying to not take a single moment of our days left, for granted.
The other night I was making dinner and I could hear her in my shower, because that kid has never, ever taken a shower in her own bathroom no matter how many times I demand she stops using my shower and piling my expensive conditioner on her head like it's a free-flowing river.
And as usual, she was singing, singing at the top of her lungs. The way she does. The way she has always done since the moment she learned how to make a joyful noise. She has filled our home and our years with her singing. I can't remember a day without her songs. And as I chopped garlic, it struck me that far too soon, my house will no longer be filled with the sounds of my sweet blue-eyed songbird.
And right then and there, I was undone. Tears all over my pile of garlic.
I ran to my bathroom, opened the shower door and announced that I would not allow her to leave for college. She laughed, because my girls have no other choice but to laugh when faced with my crazy and said, "What's the reason this time."
I sobbed as I told her we would have no more songs.
She said, "You know I have to go, Mom."
She's been trying to tell me this forever. Nudging me, with each step she takes away from us. I just didn't want to listen.
This letting go thing, it never gets easier. No matter how many times, no matter how many daughters leave the nest.
Okay, so anyway, let's wipe our eyes with our sleeves because I'm not here to be sad today. I'm here to tell you a little tale about me and my complete irreverence at the most inappropriate times.
Have I ever told you, Internet, that I laughed throughout my wedding ceremony? The entire hour-long Catholic mass, I busted a gut, cracking the freak up. As my brand new husband and I knelt before the Lord's altar, our backs to our loved ones, I'm sure our friends and family, saw my shaking shoulders, my trembling body and thought I was so moved I was weeping.
But I was not. Far from it. I was wheezing. Trying to breathe and trying very hard not to cackle and/or snort out loud. I had my sister and my new husband laughing along with me, although they had no idea why I was so hysterical.
And honestly? Neither did I. All I know is, if it's a reverential moment, a scenario that requires seriousness, anything somber, I feel an obligation to make it not so. I'll joke. I'll laugh. I'll do anything but what is expected in that moment.
It's a very bad quality.
You should see me during a pap smear. Actually . . . you shouldn't. But trust me when I say I'm Louis CK, determined to make the doctor put down the long Qtip and laugh at my jokes.
And if you don't know what that means, don't ask. Trust me, you don't want to know.
At my last pelvic, I had my doctor laughing so hard she put her hand up and wheezed that I had to stop because she couldn't see my lady parts through her tears.
I am proud of that one.
This story's not as good, but I'll tell it to you anyway.
Last week, I was having a crap-ass day. One of those days of solid interruptions, petty little things that ate up my day and more importantly, my writing time. And nothing gets me crabbier than being pulled away from my writing.
It was a little after five and I was frazzled from just about everything. The next interruption, no matter if it was a child, a dog, a phone call, the UPS guy, a Girl Scout with thin mints, anyone or anything who got in my way was going to be the victim of my frustration.
Unfortunately, that victim ended up being a hot, Dermot Mulroney look-alike who had the misfortune of knocking on my side door.
As I've said before I live in the woods. Like five acres of dense foliage, trees, wild grass, before you even get to my house. So, we don't get a lot of strangers back here in these them woods. Mostly it's Jehovah's Witnesses who seem to have a target painted on my house, they come by so often. Perhaps they've been promised a dozen celestial virgins if they convert this wine-swilling, pajama-wearing, profane Irish Catholic heathen. I'm not sure what it is, but they come in droves, bound and determined to save my soul and ensure I never have a blood transfusion or another birthday for the rest of my life.
But I don't care how many glossy pamphlets they shove into my protesting hand, I'm not buying.
I love birthday cake too much.
Now, if they really want a shot at my conversion, they should send Prince to my door. The Scientologists have Tom Cruise. The Jehovahs have Prince. I'll take Prince any day over Tommyboy.
And I might even be convinced to listen to their spiel, if Prince sings the pamphlet to me.
"Move over baby, gimme the keys. I'm gonna try to tame your little red love machine."
But even then, I don't think they'd sway me...I mean, I really, really love Funfetti cake. I've been known to drink the batter.
Besides the Jehovah's, I've also had a few magazine salespeople, kids selling m&m's to keep them off the streets, political canvassers and one, believe it or not, sopping wet, beer-bellied guy whose boat had capsized on the lake. He swam to shore and knocked on my door, looking for a ride to the dock.
But this time, it was different. A man knocked on my side doors. French doors with big windows, where you can look directly into my kitchen, where my daughter just happened to be standing. She scurried away from him, coming for me in a panic.
I peeked out of my bedroom and yes, there stood a man knocking, as my three horse dogs' protective instincts kicked in. They barked ferociously, lunging at the glass, ready to tear his head off.
And that's when my mother bear instinct kicked in, coupled with the frustration of my no good-terrible day, I stomped into the kitchen, ready to tear his head off myself for invading our privacy in such a way.
And I may or may not have said, "Are you f***cking kidding me?" Quite loudly and aggressively as I stomped into the kitchen.
I didn't try to shush my dogs. I let them lunge as I stood there, an audacious sneer on my face, my arms crossed in front of me and said, "What do you want?"
Like I was Jenny From the Block.
And that's when Mr. Hotness held up his badge.
His FBI badge.
I immediately panicked and was all, (to myself), "Oh no! What crime did I commit . . . this time?"
Because, that's the kind of life this Jenny From The Block leads. If I'm not out robbing banks, you'll find me printing out counterfeit money, inventing weapons of mass destruction and selling them to whatever Kim is in charge of North Korea these days and when I have any extra spare time, I do a little kidnapping on the side. You know, for a little extra "me" money.
I'm just kidding, FBI. I don't break the law, especially the federal law. Hell, I don't even step on the sidewalk crack. Just to be on the safe side.
The closest I can say I've come to breaking a federal law is my association with the Mafia.
Big Lou to be more specific.
He was the owner of our favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant. Needless to say, with my lack of cooking, my hubs and I were regulars. Big Lou always snuck us past the long list of people waiting for tables. And sometimes, he'd send over his favorite Chianti and every once and awhile, when it wasn't crazy busy, he'd pull up a chair and chat with us. But that was the extent of my relationship with Big Lou and the Mafia.
Besides, I'm not even sure if Big Lou was actually part of The Family.
Sure, there were a lot of thick-necked Italian men who came and went from his restaurant. And Big Lou did own twelve check cashing businesses in Long Island. And sadly, he lost a son a few years back. The 35-year-old was asleep in his bed, alone in his house when someone shot him in the head.
Let me reiterate—Shot in his bed. In his head. While he was sleeping. And there were no clues to who could have done such a thing.
Although, I've got a pretty good idea:
For the Love of Linguine, wasn't that man just the most beautiful thing? I would have believed anything that came out of his lying, murderous mouth just so long as he kissed me with it after.
But as for the hit on Big Al's son and any correlation to Al Pacino aka Michael Corleone, that's just my little theory.
Nothing's ever been proven so don't be sending emails to Al Pacino asking him about Big Lou's son, who creatively was named Little Lou.
There was also Big Lou's gravy which was delicious. Suspiciously delicious.
Also, his name was Big Lou.
But even so, I can't be sure he was Mafia.
He closed his restaurant, suddenly and mysteriously last year to return to Long Island and his check cashing businesses. And I know nothing else about his whereabouts. I'm talking to you, FBI.
As my brain whirred in a felony kind of panic, I could only think of one FBI crime I've committed in my lifetime. And I'll just confess it right here, right now. When my college girl was a baby, we were poor as dirt and I couldn't afford Disney videos for my little girl. So I made a copy of The Little Mermaid from my brother's VCR tape.
That's right. A VCR tape. We also traveled in pioneer wagons.
But every time I watch a movie and that FBI warning rolls across the screen, I cringe, thinking about that Little Mermaid tape.
And as I stood there contemplating Dermot Mulroney and his badge and that copied Little Mermaid tape, I thought— Wow, so they really do come after you. I thought that whole warning was a bunch of bogus crap, like the empty threats I make to my kids to try to get them to clean their rooms.
I'm still waiting to see a clean room.
And then my next thought, was— I guess there hasn't been much going on since Jill Kelley stopped sexting Generals. They're now having to make good on those bogus VCR copying threats to give the agents something to do.
So I opened the door and stepped outside, giving him my friendliest smile and what I hoped was a firm, I-am-not-a-criminal handshake. He handed me his business card, showed me his badge again and then nervously commented on how angry my dogs were.
I told him not to worry, that their bark was all a front, that if given the chance they'd lick his face off.
I wanted to add, "Kind of like me."
But my faded yoga pants had a hole in the unfortunate part of my thigh. It was 5:30 p.m. and I hadn't brushed my hair yet. I had on my nerd RayBan eyeglasses. I'm happily married except for the days I can't tolerate my husband's underwear on the floor for another single second. I thought it might be an inappropriate thing to say if he was there to arrest me for The Little Mermaid VCR tape. And we were standing on the side of my house. Next to my stupid-ass duck compound. And those stupid-ass ducks were quacking, pissed as can be and it smelled like a barnyard, so it wasn't the most conducive atmosphere for any suggestion of licking an FBI agent's face.
He informed me he was investigating my neighbor, who we will call Ryan Gosling, just for kicks and also to protect his identity, and he wanted to ask me a few questions about Ry-Ry.
A few questions about my neighbor? Oh, I tell you Internet, my curiosity was so piqued! So I asked him to come in, away from the smell of ducks, which trust me, is a very unpleasant smell.
He came inside, sitting at the bar in my kitchen. And then announced he had to recite the Privacy Act to me before we began.
So, there I was standing across the counter from a hottie hot Dermot Mulroney FBI agent who was talking to me about my right to privacy or maybe my neighbor's right to privacy. I don't know, I didn't hear a word of it. He could have been reading me my rights, telling me they finally tracked down my Ariel criminal ass and I wouldn't have realized it.
I was too busy admiring his thick head of salt and pepper hair, the way his expensive dress shirt fit his sinewy frame, his eyes, the color of a summer sky. I was also too busy trying to stand in an appealing way that would hide the large hole in my pants, exposing the sad, pale skin of my thigh.
When he finished his sexy rendition of the Privacy Act, he got right to business, informing me that my neighbor Ryan Gosling required a top level security clearance for his job and he was wondering if he could ask me a few questions.
I was all, "Really? I thought he was a digital artist. Is that just a cover? Tell me, he's a spy, isn't he?"
Once again, if the situation requires respect, I am all about making jokes. It's a bad thing, I know. But it's what I do, when I get nervous. Hey, at least I'm not sexting Generals.
He looked up at me from his official looking binder and when he saw the smile on my face, he relaxed, an almost imperceptible curl tugging at the corner of his mouth as he tried to stay FBI-ish.
He said he couldn't tell me what the security clearance was for, but that no Ryan Gosling was not a spy.
That curl still threatening the corner of his very nice lips.
I was confused and more than a little intrigued. Ryan, as far as I knew, was a digital artist for the newspaper. So what was this supposed new job of his? Personal caricature portrait artist of the Obama family?
Mr. Hot FBI agent proceeded to ask me a jumble of questions about Ryan Gosling.
How long had I known him? Did I know his wife? What was her name?
At that point, I realized he knew her name. He was just checking to see if I really knew Ryan or in fact,
I was just a wacko in holy yoga pants making the shit up as we went along. And with the way I looked,
I couldn't blame him for trying to trip me up.
I did not know it at the time, but I completed my whole homeless look with a large, dried up toothpaste spot on my upper lip.
Sexy is my middle name.
Not really. Actually irreverence is my middle name and I said, "Oh, I get it. So, now this is a quiz? I have to warn you, I'm great at Jeopardy. Who is Rihanna. Rihanna Gosling*."
*I didn't really say Rihanna Gosling. This is an alias. Her name it totally not Rihanna Gosling, in case you're wondering who the hell I actually live next to.
The side of his purty mouth curled up a little more.
He asked me all kinds of questions. Did I know of his pastimes? I told him picking up the trash that his dog strews about their yard, after he tips over my garbage cans and has himself a meal seems to be his number one pastime.
How many kids did he have? He asked me about his friends. Had I noticed if he had any foreign friends. What kind of activities did he participate in? Did he take trips out of the country? Had they ever had a domestic disturbance?
The questions went on and on. At one point, my daughter stuck her head out of my room, ducking behind the door so the FBI agent couldn't see her. She mouthed to me, "Who is that?"
I yelled back, "Oh, it's just the FBI, honey here to question me about my illicit past. No worries."
She laughed nervously, not sure if her mom was telling the truth. I like to keep my kids on edge like that. And Hot Agent was fighting a smile, fighting it hard, as he put his hand up to his mouth.
Oh, I was bound and determined to get him.
We went back to the questions. He asked me everything but Ryan Gosling's underwear size. Which I would estimate is about um . . . 32? And I'm guessing Ryan wears boxer/briefs.
On second thought, every once and awhile, we can hear their music as it softly plays either Michael Buble or Il Divo.
I say tighty whities.
I sure hope Ryan and Rihanna Gosling don't know about my blog, me speculating on Ryan's underwear and the like.
Anyway, Super Hot Agent looked like he was running out of questions to ask, which was good because I was getting quite uncomfortable in my hide-the-hole-in-my-yoga-pants pose.
He asked me if I knew of any criminal activity. No.
And then he said, "Have you ever noticed any loud disturbances? Have the police ever been called because of a disturbance?"
Now, Ryan and Rihanna Gosling are the quietest people you'll ever meet. Their kids are quiet. Their dogs are quiet. Their friends are quiet.
They even play football quietly.
And their biggest social engagement seems to be their church.
And the rare few times they've had a party, it's been more like Bible Study at their house, where they begin each gathering with a prayer circle in the backyard.
This is usually around the time my husband yells from our pool, "THE KID WHO GETS ME ANOTHER BEER THE FASTEST IS GONNA GET A DOLLAR."
The Goslings must have been overjoyed when the Honey Boo Boo family moved in next door to them.
We are not quiet. Ever.
And we have parties. Big parties. With music. That is not Michael Buble or Il Divo. And libations. And many, many people some of who may or may not have climbed into our boat the other night at the end of a party to go alligator hunting.
At 2:00 AM.
For the record, we did not find any alligators. Perhaps it was because the whole boat was yelling and whooping. At 2:00 AM.
So, when Agent Mulroney asked me about the loud disturbances, I said, "No. Any loud disturbances would be from us."
I put the back of my hand to my mouth and stage whispered to him, "We like to party. If you know what I mean." I winked. "We're the Project X'rs except with good wine and 401K plans."
He snorted. He laughed. He smiled a big, sexy smile and he pointed his pen at me and said, "You're funny. You're really funny."
I'm funny! I could not wait to tell my husband that my funniness had been verified by an FBI agent.
Oh, I tell you, he turned my bad day back to right.
After he left, still smiling, my daughter came out of hiding. And as I filled her in on Hot Agent, she stopped me and said, "Mom, look at what you're wearing."
I said, "I know I have a hole in the unfortunate thigh part of my yoga pants, but I camouflaged it through posing."
She said, "No, look at your sweatshirt."
And that's when I realized I was wearing this:
You see, we are no strangers to the FBI. We may or may not have a close family member who is part of the Bureau.
I have no idea what Mr. Hot FBI agent must have thought of me in my FBI sweatshirt, homeless hair and holy yoga pants. But I do know one thing,
I am funny, man.
I hope I now have a file with the FBI.
Suspect is a known VCR counterfeiter. Suspect is considered funny and dangerous.
That would make my life.
For the record: I still don't know why my neighbor needs a top security clearance. My husband spoke to him and Ryan confirmed he needed a top security clearance for his new job, but didn't go into any detail about that job. Maybe, I AM living next to a spy! That would be fabulous.
Today's Definite Download: Oh, my friends, I have missed sharing my music with you. And I have been listening to some beautiful music lately. Here's one of my newest favorites. "Song for Zula" by Phosphorescent. The first time I heard this song, it just washed over me and through me with its gorgeousness. It is one of those songs that makes you want to pull over and just feel it as it floats from the radio. It's that stunning and haunting and utterly gorgeous.