1965-pontiac-catalina-dash

The other day my husband began singing a tune…I’d heard it before, and asked him “I know that song…wait, what song is that?” He answered, “You and Me, by Alice Cooper.” Holy cow. I must have heard that song hundreds of times, yet I had totally forgotten that it even exsisted.

So I YouTubed it, and listened. I was immediately transported back to 1977.

I could imagine sitting in my mom’s mint green Pontiac Catalina, tuned into WNBC and WABC – both on the AM dial; which was all we had in our cars back in those days. When my dad bought a car, he didn’t upgrade anything – you got what the car came with, which usually meant only AM.

When you had to listen to AM, you heard the same top 40 songs over and over again…kind of like half the shitty FM stations that are around now-a-days that play Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa every 15 minutes, and Taylor Swift every 10.

But hearing this song again? I could picture days at the pool, hearing the tinny quality of someone’s transistor radio playing this old Alice Cooper song – and possibly the crackle from some far away lightning strike. I love that crackle.

I could imagine myself in the backseat of my dad’s station wagon, driving over the Triboro bridge on the way to one of our Friday night excursions, watching all the twinkling city lights, window down, breathing in the distinctive smell of New York City.

Or a warm night on Martha’s Vineyard, eating a soft serve cone from the Quarterdeck, and keeping my eyes peeled for a glimpse of my summer crush.

How could I have totally forgotten this song? While I didn’t love it or anything when it came out, I had heard it over and over again driving around with my mom, or listening to the radio while I cleaned my room. Or maybe while I did homework.

Listening to it again was almost like opening up a time capsule. Something that was buried in me decades ago was suddenly unearthed by my husband absent-mindedly humming a tune. I know I’m not describing this right, but when I played that song again on YouTube it was like 2015 just melted away.

I was somewhere else for a very short while. It was pretty cool.

Lonely Boy

When Andrew Gold’s “Lonely Boy” came out in 1976, I dug it. The tune is catchy, and it tells a story – a genre that was popular back in the 70s. Story songs ran rampant on AM radio back then – “Wildfire,” “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl),” “Billy Don’t Be a Hero” – hell, I could go on.

My husband likes this song a lot, so it gets played on a somewhat frequent basis. But I began to realize a few months ago that the song “Lonely Boy” makes no sense whatsoever. The story it tells? It’s weak.

Let me show you what I mean.

The song starts out with:

He was born on a summer day, 1951
And with the slap of a hand
He had landed as an only son

Ok fine. Welcome to the world Lonely Boy. All’s well and good, until, in verse two:

In the summer of ’53 his mother brought him a sister
And she told him we must attend to her needs
She’s so much younger than you
Well he ran down the hall and he cried
Oh how could his parents have lied
When they said he was an only son
He thought he was the only one

Okay, so in the summer of ’53 our little boy would only be two years old. I could see him being petulant at first – having been pushed aside for his new baby sister. But come on, do you really think a two year old boy would be capable of such deep, inner thoughts?

Wasn’t he pretty much still crapping in his Pampers at that point? I doubt a child with just enough teeth to gnaw on a Zweiback would have the mental capacity to realize that his life was now cosmically altered – that now he was not an only child. Don’t you think that after seeing his newborn sister he might have just toddled off and played with his Tonka truck?

But wait, it gets worse…

He left home on a winter day 1969
And he hoped to find all the love
He had lost in that earlier time

So he leaves home at 18 all pissed off and bitter. Am I supposed to believe that since the age of two this kid has harbored a long standing grudge just because his parents had the audacity to have a second child? That’s just ridiculous! It’s doubtful that as a adult he would even remember the birth of his younger sister, let alone recall it as the time his life changed for evermore.

And with that last line –  “all the love he had lost in that earlier time…” Are we to further believe that his parents totally blew him off once his precious sister came into the act? Did they show him no love whatsoever afterwards? Did they never speak to him? Was he locked in his room and ignored?

It’s so freaking stupid! If the sister had come along when he was 9 or 10 I might be able to buy this story. I could see him being perturbed at not being the golden child anymore and having to share mommy & daddy’s affection (If he were a narcissistic psychopath, anyway.)

But at two? No way.

Listen for yourself, and tell me what you think. Unless it’s to tell me that you don’t give a crap and that I should find better blog topics. That you can keep to yourself.

LOWES BLOWS

In the past few years we have bought the following items at Lowes:

  • A Washing Machine
  • Carpeting
  • A Dishwasher
  • A Storm Door

And every single installation had a problem. Every single one. And believe me it’s not us…we’re not those type of people who are high maintenance or hard to please. At least I’m not.

It started with the storm door. I take the day off of work, the dude shows up to install the door, and realizes he doesn’t have the door on the truck. And guess what? There’s no time to go back to Lowe’s and get the door because that would make him late for every other installation he’s got…you know, those lucky folks whose doors are on the truck?

Next it was the carpeting. We shell out what for us is serious coin for new carpeting for 85% of our ground floor. After moving ALL the furniture out, the dudes show up to install it, take out our old carpet and begin rolling out the new. The head installer starts scratching his head and calls Lowes. Seems they cut the carpet wrong. I don’t understand all there is to know about carpeting, but Lowes messed up our measurements somehow. They were able to install it, but there are areas where I can see the cut lines…they don’t join seemlessly…something about the nap due to the cutting error.

We called, complained, and got $300 off our bill. Oh, and that carpet? After only a few years it’s buckling. Our carpet looks like a tidal wave right in front of our wall unit. We called to ask if this was normal after just a few years and got some song and dance from the manager. Thanks, fella.

With two strikes against them, we next purchased a washing machine from Lowes. When the dudes installed it, they busted our turn on valve. They claimed it was old and rusty, and we needed to call a plumber to get it fixed before he could install the washer.

I went ballistic.

I said something to the effect of you are the professional and should’ve realized before you forced it that the valve had the potential to break. I got on the phone with the store manager and insisted that THEY pay for the plumber to come and fix the valve that his installer broke. They did.

And we got a gift card for this being the third time we’d had problems.

When our dishwasher broke just a few weeks ago, I pleaded with hubby that we go anywhere else to buy it. Problem is, the Lowes by us is the only game in town. All the other joints that sell appliances were either too expensive or too far away for reasonable deliver. So we were back at Lowes with high hopes and crossed fingers.

After all, they couldn’t possibly fuck up a 4th time, right?

Installation of the new d-wash was successful! I’d run it a few times, was pleased with how quiet it was, and doubly pleased that the utensil basket did NOT go on the door. I hated that about our old washer – all sorts of crap would get stuck behind it on the door, and it was gross.

So I go to do dishes this past Saturday, open the d-wash door and see that 1/3 of the seal gasket had totally become detached…it was just hanging there like a black snake. After two weeks.

LowesBlows strikes again.

Hubby gets on the blower and ruins some poor appliances manager’s Saturday evening. We were promised Monday delivery of an upgraded dishwasher at no extra cost. Monday comes and hubby calls the installer to find out when he’s showing up.

Good thing he did.

The installer says, “The washing machine is there already right?”

Hubby says, “no, it’s at Lowes.”

Installer says, “Lowes told me it was at your house already.”

WTF…..can you imagine if my husband didn’t call the installer? He would have showed up and it would’ve been the storm door all over again…”gee willikers sir, it’s not on my truck!”

Hubby calls Lowes again. I am now the proud owner of an upgraded Whirlpool dishwasher and a $100 Lowes gift card. But you know what blows as much as Lowes?

The utensil basket is on the door. Typical.

POSTSCRIPT:
We spent our $100 gift card on a new grill. We get it home, and over the Memorial Day weekend, buy a ton of meat, and go to start that bad boy up.

Nothing. We managed to get the pre-built grill with a busted starter. After a phone call to the store manager, we got a new one delivered ON Memorial Day. But not the same grill. Oh no. This sucker has 4 gas jets and a side burner. I’ll be grilling and chilling all summer long.

RAdio

This morning when I was out walking, Todd Rundgren’s “I Saw The Light” came on my iPod. This song has a very special meaning to me – you see, it was the very first song that my first-born daughter ever heard.

It was August of 1995, and we were in the car driving her home from the hospital. “I Saw The Light” came on the radio. I have always liked that song, so I stopped my husband from changing the channel, and sang along. When it was over, I turned to him and said, “That was Sam’s first song. That’s her song.”

Now before I go on with this story, you need a little bit of background information. My husband is a musicaholic – it’s his passion. His true love. Have you ever asked the question of whether you would rather be blind or deaf? I always sided with deafness, because I would need to see my girls grow up..to see them graduate, walk down the aisle, have kids of their own.

Hubby? He would opt for blindness because he couldn’t imagine not being able to listen to music. I mean I love Springsteeen, but I’d rather be able to see than hear Rosalita.

But music goes a lot deeper with my husband, because it’s been a part of his life for so long. When he was young, he decided to get into radio. He went to a broadcasting school in New York City, and got a job working for WNEW, who had both AM and FM stations. While the AM station was news, sports and tunes from the 30’s & 40’s, the FM station was all rock. Classic rock – and a big wheel in the New York radio market.

He wasn’t on the air, because he said his tape that he made at broadcasting school sucked. But he worked with a popular DJ as an intern, then in the newsroom, and then a remote producer. However that didn’t mean he was tied to a dark studio. There were concerts and lots of them. And when you worked at the top rock radio station in a town like New York? You get to see EVERYONE.

He would go to concerts to hand out promotional items to fans, and then help backstage with live interviews. Can you imagine that? BACKSTAGE at Madison Square Garden, Giant’s Stadium or the Brendan Byrne Arena (now the Izod Center) for every show imaginable. He has a collection of backstage passes that would blow your mind.

A very young Hubby, on the far left in the yellow tee – and yes, that’s Pete Townshend. Fun Fact – he still has that exact T-Shirt.

And he’s seen everyone. I can’t name them all, but if it’s an artist or band that had any musical cred in the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s – he’s seen them. He’s got a pretty massive collection of ticket stubs too. He always tells me if I wrote about his musical exploitations rather than ramble on about my goofy life, I’d have a million followers.

But even after his time at WNEW ended, he’s managed to stay involved in music. Right now he works at two entertainment venues where he still gets to be behind the scenes, although it’s on a much smaller scale. So far this year he’s worked the Snoop Dogg concert and helped Dwight Yoakam with his meet & greet. And let’s not forget, it was through this job that I got to meet Springsteen, where I got a kiss on the cheek from the Boss himself, followed by backstage passes to his concert that very same night.

It was one of the best nights of my life, and he did shit like that a few times a week.

He’s also managed to turn our youngest daughter onto all sorts of classic rock bands. She loves ELO, The Beatles and Chicago. When he does dishes or cleans the house, the iTunes goes on, and the songs blast out…everything from Supertramp to Sinatra, from Manilow to Manhattan Transfer – his tastes are beyond eclectic – they are scattered wider than the universe.

Yeah, it’s safe to say he lives music.

And sports – but that’s another blog post.

So when I turned to him in the summer of 1995 and said, “That was Sam’s first song. That’s her song” maybe now you can understand why he immediately began a frantic channel search to find a song he could embrace. Because his first daughter’s first song was way too important to him, and fate had chosen Todd Rundgren.

He claims it’s not her song even to this day, but it is.

And it’s fitting as well. With the exception of a few lines here and there, it really can be the story of a mom looking into her childs eyes for the first time. Take a listen and see what I mean. Listen to my daughter’s very first song.

cover

I first heard the term “Helicopter Parent” a few months back, I was like, what the hell is that?

So I looked it up. And found out it was pretty much me.

It was a sucky realization – I’m a term – like Tiger Mom or Cougar. Those little pop culture labels that we love to assign to groups of people. So I hover…there is little to nothing I can do about it. Cause once those little girls were plucked from my womb, the world became a much different place.

I was the youngest of four, so by the time I got to the age where I could start doing stuff on my own, I could leave the house and not return for hours. I think as long as my mom knew the general vicinity I was headed to, she was cool and with a wave of her hand and a “be home by 5″ I was out in the world on my own.

Lots of times I took my bike and rode miles and miles into neighboring towns, many times on very busy and dangerous roads. Other times I just went up town to the library, or the park, grabbing a slice or an order of fries for lunch.

But our free-rangeness went beyond what we did on our own. When we were out with my dad we would indulge in many activities that could lead to possible injury. Tree climing, walking along the Palisades cliffs, wandering through the streets of New York City on a Friday night, and swimming in an ocean that was way too rough for kids our age.

When we were on Martha’s Vineyard he used to let us ride in this big metal box that we kept on the top of car for the luggage. One bump on a dirt road and one or more of us could’ve popped right out of that thing. I also remember this red convertible we had – it’s a wonder none of us died with the stunt Dad used to let us pull in that thing.

whoops whoops

He’d let us ride sitting on the back hood with our feet on the back seat while we rode down what we called the “whoops whoops hill” – a long, steep hill that would drop down, and level off, and drop down, and level off. We’d wave our arms and scream, and Dad would be going pretty fast – sometimes you almost felt like you caught air.

And here I sit at 50 years old – I somehow managed to survive with no seat belts, no bike helmets, no antibacterial gel.

So why in the world am I such a nervous Nelly lunatic with my girls? Well, here’s a few reasons.

1. I have super shitty health insurance. Therefore, if something happens to my girls from a broken arm to a knocked out tooth I am screwed. So when my youngest asks if she can try riding daddy’s bike, I tell her she should just walk because she’s less likely to hurt herself.

2. I want to avoid the blame game. I would NEVER hear the end of it from hubby if anything happened to my girls because I let them do something that lead to them getting hurt.

3. There are monsters out there. Regardless of whether you believe that there are more pedophiles/murderers/psychopaths out there now, or if it just seems that way because the world is so über connected, the fact is, they are out there. When my youngest walks to the park with the next door neighbor or goes on a scooter ride, I WORRY ABOUT HER. A lot. I let her go, because I know I have to. And still, I worry.

Here’s the simple fact: I know if my girls are home with me, they are a lot less likely to be aducted, or lured away, or hit by a car, or bit by a snake, or beat up by roaming street thugs.

By the way, If I sound bad, you should see my husband. I’m Lenient Lucy compared to him.

So I don’t know how it happened…how I made that transition from a child who could ride her bike halfway across the state as long as I was home in time for dinner to the mom who makes her kids check in every hour. I guess the answer is, I’m just trying to keep my kids safe – Is that so wrong?

Hell, I only have a few more years of this anyway. With kids 19 & 13 how many more years of hovering to I have? But until then, I’ll just take my cue from Arnold….and get to the chopper.

100

Back in January I was fed up.

I had just turned 50. I was fat. I was tired. Nothing fit. Looking ahead to a summer vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, I realized with a clarifying certainty that I didn’t want to go there in my current condition. To review: fat, tired, and having nothing that fit.

So I logged back into MyFitnessPal.com and starting keeping track of what I ate. I set a calorie goal, and for the most part, stuck to it. Have I been perfect? Hell no. Sometimes finances (or lack thereof) forced me to eat more carbs than I would’ve liked during a week here and there. Other times I just said “fuck it” and had pizza with my family.

But I never backslid for more than a day. I always got right back on the wagon.

I also increased the amount of time I spent walking. I began setting mileage goals each month. I walked 56 miles in January, 72 in February, 89 in March, and tomorrow, after my morning walk, I will have walked 100 miles in April. I’ve walked 315 miles so far in 2015.

And I bragged back in December about having walked 400 miles in 2014. Pshaw – I’ll have that beat by mid-May.

The result?

I’m down over 35 pounds and I’m down 4 sizes. while 35 pounds is great, I have to admit it’s a little disappointing. I thought it would be a lot more by now. There’s room for improvement in my diet which I’m sure would help to shed more pounds – I know where and when I’m messing up, but for the most part, I’m pleased.

I’m seeing improvements in other ways besides the scale. I’ve lost over 5 inches on my hips, and 2 inches on my thighs – how could I not after 315 miles? I also feel much better. Things that used to tire me out, like the uphill walk from my parking lot to my office, don’t bother me anymore.

But the real motivators are mornings like I had today. When you slip on a pair of pants that haven’t fit you in years, and they both zip up and button. And not button where you look like 10 pounds of baloney in a 5 pound bag – I’m talking with relative ease. I was amazed, because I tried these very pants on in March and while my thighs could squeeze in, the button? No way, José.

Or when my girls and I went to opening day at King’s Dominion, and I fit in every roller coaster seat with ease. There was no trouble getting the lap bar to two clicks, and I never had to sit with one ass cheek in the air.

Those things motivate me more than any number that comes up on the scale because they’re the real measure of my success. I’ve eaten a lot less than usual today because my pants fit, and I feel good in them. I feel skinny. It’s a phenomenal feeling, and a great appetite supressant.

I still have a long way to go before vacation in July, and I am going to have to take a hard, honest look at my diet and make some adjustments. Otherwise I’ll be going to Martha’s Vineyard just like I am now, and while that wouldn’t be horrible, it’s not my goal.

I’m off to a great start. I just have to keep on keeping on. Wonder where the next 100 days will take me?

IMG_4272

Today marks the one-year anniversary of when our family went from being the proud owners of two kitties, to the mournful owners of one. Losing a pet sucks. I’m sure there are plently of you out there who have had to endure the death of a furry friend, and know of what I speak.

It was a miserable thing to go through – finding your pet laying stiff in a ditch along the road. Putting her in a box, and burying her in the rain. Finding a heart-shaped stone the next day and putting it on her gravesite. I also put a 99¢ garden light from Walmart at the head of her grave.

You know something? That cheap little light has outlasted every other, more expensive light in my garden. Shine bright like a diamond, Olive…

The year has flown on by. Her brother Dodger spent a month looking around the house for her. But now he’s used to being the only kitty. We are more careful with him now, too. He cannot go out if the sun is down, or if we are going to be out of the house for the day. And even once the sun is up, I send up a silent prayer of thanks everytime he lopes back through the door.

IMG_4447

She wasn’t the most loveable kitty in the world, but I really miss her. While her brother is a big, lumbering, way too cute, dope of a cat, she was demure, aloof, and quiet, and would spend hours grooming herself. She like to sleep in odd places too.

Like in my in-box on my desk.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 1.56.06 PM

or on top of our hot water heater…I actually cut her a piece of carpet and fit it on top so she would be more comfy.

IMG_1660

And I miss the way when you scratched her at the base of her tail, she would incessantly lick her shoulder. It was a total twitch she had – it you scratched, she licked, when you stopped, she stopped.

I miss hearing her give Dodger the business. He would come up to her and try to clean her or play with her, and she might let him…for a while. But when she tired of it, she got her bitch on and Dodger would be on the receiving end of a blow…and yes, I’ve seen fur fly. But then again, he’d tackle her a lot, so he usually had it coming.

Ah Olive. I hope you’re resting well. Know that for the short few years you were with us that you were safe, and loved, and that your family misses you.

I think I’ll plant something by you tonight.

IMG_9339

IMG_8831

IMG_6294

diplomat date

I’ve written in the past of my semester spent in Vienna, Austria – it was during the spring of my Sophomore year in college – 1984 to be exact. I was thin, and young, and single.

I had spent the afternoon at the Stadtpark enjoying the warmer weather and watching the ducks in the pond. I was heading back to the Graben, which was a large pedestrian mall off Stephansplatz, when a man approached me and asked in German for directions.

I began to answer him in German/English, when he smiled and said, “Hey, I’m American too.”

He was looking for the Graben, and since I was headed that way, I told him to follow me. We walked and talked, me explaining how I was a student studying abroad for the semester, he telling me how he was an American diplomat to Budapest visiting Vienna for the weekend.

Hmmm – a diplomat, eh? My somewhat sluttish roomates had had run ins with foreign diplomats in the past – big spending womanizers who got them drunk and tried to take advantage of them. In the case of my very loose roomies, they probably succeeded.

Once we reached the Graben he gestured to a cafe and asked if I would let him buy me a drink as thanks. I began to refuse, but he insisted, and I have to admit, I was enjoying his company. His name was Dave, and we sat outside and drank beer after beer, and got to know each other. I remember I was supposed to meet somebody to play volleyball that afternoon, and I totally blew it off.

It was getting late, and he asked if he could take me out to dinner. I have to admit, I was attracted to him. He was older…in his early thirties, and me? I was only 19. Not wanting our day to end, I agreed, and we set a time to meet a few hours later.

We dined at some outdoor restaurant in the city. I remember I didn’t eat much – I ordered a modest bowl of soup/stew. After dinner we went back to his car only to find it gone. He was furious because the car had diplomatic plates and shouldn’t have been towed.

We found out where the car had been towed to and took a cab there. He told me to not let on that he was fluent in German – we should just act like two Americans waiting for their car. It was a brilliant move.

We sat and watched while the two tow guys talked amongst themselves about how much to bilk us for in order to get the car back. Dave was listening, and understanding, every word exchanged between them. When they finally quoted him a rather large price, he began screaming at them in German. I don’t know what he said to them, but we were given our car back very quickly and without having to shell out as much as a single Groschen.

I was amazed by this man. The swarthiest men I’d seen at U of D wore plaid shorts with blazers and boat shoes at the football games. But this guy? He was as slicker than James Bond in my eyes.

It was very hard to say goodnight to him – he was headed back to Budapest the next day. As we stood outside the door to my Pension he asked me back to his hotel. It was very tempting, but I was a good girl.

I said no.

We exchanged addresses and wrote each other a few letters. I remember getting one on official US Diplomat stationery, which I thought was super cool at the time. I wonder if I still have that tucked away somewhere? I still have his photo in one of my old albums – it’s old and cracked. It’s hard to believe he sent it to me almost 30 years ago.

Diplomat

It’s one of those nights a girl just doesn’t forget…a whirlwind spring romance crammed into one magical, adventurous day. Do dudes remember days like that, or is that reserved for love-struck 19 year olds spending spring in Vienna?

Baby Ads

Yesterday I began a post that talked about my first born and her short stint as a baby model. In the process I unearthed something that I had been searching for, off more than on, for the past 18 years. And it convinced me that there is a certain magic in this world – that unquestionably there has to be times when the stars line up and every thing just falls right into place.


In the spring of 1996 I remember watching an episode the Today Show where they did a segment on modeling agencies that dealt with average Joes. You know, the folks who get cast as grandmothers, neighbors and cab drivers in commercials and print ads. At the end of the segment, they mentioned that they were looking for babies.

I looked at my sleeping 7 month old and, let’s just say the proverbial light bulb went off over my head. I called the agency right away and was told to send in a photo and our basic information. Photos? I had a ton. You always have a ton of your first born child. I selected what I thought was a particularly fetching snapshot and sent it in.

A few weeks later I got a call from the agency asking if we could bring her in. My husband was very skeptical and insisted on coming with me. While I knew there were scammers our there, I didn’t think the Today Show would endorse a fly-by-night outfit, but I was prepared for the possibility of a “portfolio photo shoot” sales pitch (and the big “I told you so” lecture from hubby).

We arrived for our appointment, and as we were being lead through the office, a woman walked by, pointed to my daughter and said, “I want her at the Playtex shoot this afternoon.”

There was no talk of portfolio shots, no need to pay a fee, nothing monetarily upfront from us at all, and that afternoon we took our baby daughter on her very first job.

And like that I had entered the world of baby modeling.

At this point I had a full time job which afforded me very little flex time. But as a mother of a baby model you had to be ready at a moment’s notice to pack a diaper bag, head into New York, and find the shoot location – which was inveriably somewhere in Soho. Remember, no GPS or Google Maps back in ’96 – I had to leave in plenty of time to find what was usually some obscure street downtown, and then find parking close enought to where I wasn’t pushing a stroller across half of Manhattan.

Plus you had to have a happy baby when you showed up. This was the main reason why I decided to give modeling a try. My little girl almost never fussed and interacted well with strangers, which is key to the business. I learned that early on.

Do you know how most photo shoots went? You handed your baby to a total stranger who took her in another room. When they were done with her, they handed her back and paid you. If the kid is a superstar with mom, but a dud with strangers, you’re out of business. And as a mom? It was a real leap of faith, let me tell you.

My girl got a handful of jobs. Once she was filmed for a Trane Heating print ad. She got paid for the shoot but didn’t land the actual print ad. She was also photographed for the box of a baby blanket by Playskool – that shoot took the longest, and while she got paid, we never knew if she made the box because I could never find it in the stores.

But I know she appeared in print one time. She had been photographed by Toys R Us, and months later while shopping for a present for my friends daughter, picked up the latest circular in the store. Flipping through the pages, I saw her…my girl in a red sweat suit smiling on a Winnie the Pooh blanket.

Sam Toys R Us

I was eccstatic. I grabbed a giant stack of copies and began to show her photo to anyone who would look – right there in the lobby of Toys R Us. I ran to my sisters house to show her. I ran to the party and handed out copies of the circular to all my friends. I was probably super obnoxious, but dammit, I was a true-blue bursting with pride mommy.

Her next job was for Huggies – the big time. She nailed the go-see. They took two babies in at a time and waved a toy at them – my girl giggled and giggled while the other baby just cried. The day of the shoot she was super fussy – I think she was cutting a tooth – and even my level tempered little angel wasn’t in the mood to say cheese. I hoped that a nap on the way into the city would soothe her.

I was wrong. They took her in with a few other kids and she was handed back to me 90 seconds later. “Sorry, she’s not in the right mood today,” and home we went.

Shortly after that I pissed the agency off. I had agreed to take her to a go-see, but my boss was giving me crap for missing so much work. When I called them to cancel, they lectured me on the importance of keeping these appointments, so I told them I’d still go. I broke down and cried to my bosses who relented and gave in.

It was the last time the agency ever called. I think I got put on a list of unreliable moms or something. It was a bummer, but to be honest, dragging a baby into the city twice a month was difficult for a mom with a full time job. I guess the world of baby modeling is better suited for moms who can stay at home, or work and can afford a nanny.

She did model once more a few years later. I worked for a really rinky-dink ad agency and my boss landed a local mattress company’s ad campaign. They wanted a mother and daughter for the ad shoot, and I jumped right in and offered up my child, who would work for free. Although my daughter was beyond cute, the poster, which we have framed and hanging in our bedroom, blows – what designer with any self-respect uses Mistral anyway?

Sam Mattress

That was her last official modeling gig.

As the years past, I’ve often wondered about the shoot for the blanket box, and if she ever wound up on the package. A cousin of mine called me about a year after the shoot saying she thought she saw her on a box, but when we went to look we couldn’t find any toy that had a baby who even resembled our girl.

Every couple of years I would Google “Playskool Blankie Blankie,” because that’s the name that was on the modeling work sheet for the product shoot that day, but came up empty time after time.

When the idea came into my head yesterday to write about her short stint as a baby model, I got halfway through the blog post and decided to look again. When my usual search query came up empty, I simply typed in “1996 Playskool blankets” and a few scrolls down, I came across this image.

789028230_o

A “vintage” baby banket for sale on Ebay. I wasn’t 100% sure, because I couldn’t really zoom in, but thought that baby laying on the blanket is a dead ringer for my daughter, rosy Slovak cheeks and all. I took a screen shot of the image and emailed it to hubby – I was fully expecting him to scoff at it immediately, but he was also intrigued.

I contacted the seller who was nice enough to send me close up shots of both babies on the box. While the smaller inset photo is no way my child, the one on on the blanket?

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 12.24.11 PMIt’s her. After 18 years of wondering, I got my answer. She made the box.

I bought the item (duh!) and can’t wait until it gets here later this week. At first hubby wasn’t 100% convinced until I dug out baby photos of her in similar positions.

That, coupled with the fact that I remember that blanket from the shoot was enough to sway him. Plus, come on – a mother knows

I am absolutely astounded that I found this box. There was less than a day left on the Ebay auction, and if I hadn’t gotten the idea yesterday to blog about my foray into baby modeling, I never would have Googled this baby blanket in time to be able to purchase the item.

Isn’t it funny how the world can work like that sometimes? It’s almost inconceivalbe to think of all the things that had to happen at a very specific time for me to end up finding this item that I have been looking for for almost 2 decades.

Hmmmm – I think I’m playing the lottery tonight.

spellingbee_library

As a parent, you are forced to attend a multitude of school events where you whittle the away the hours watching band recitals, talent shows, and peering at student art all the while secretly wishing you were at home with the remote in hand.

Okay, so Mother of the Year I am not.

When my oldest daughter was in 6th grade, she came home to tell me she’d won a spot in her school’s first ever spelling bee. Spelling Bee? Now here was something I could take an interest in. I’ve always been a halfway decent speller, and I took pride in the fact that my girl was good enough to have qualified for the finals.

We practiced during the weeks leading up to the Bee, and when that Friday night arrived, we drove to the school hoping for the best. Hubby couldn’t make it, because it was hockey season and that night he had to drive the Zamboni for the Richmond Renegades. Hubby missed a lot of these school performances…

There were about 10 kids participating – I think they were the top 2 from the different 6th grade classes. A few kids got out right away. My girl was sailing through the words she was getting, which were all pretty easy. I can remember each time it was her turn sitting there holding my breath hoping that she would not get something like “xylophone” or “chrysanthemum.”

At one point, she got the word “marmalade” and I was a bit worried. She wasn’t a jelly fan. She spelled out M-A-R-M-A-L-A-D-E, which was promptly followed by the tinkle of a bell. I remember thinking, “hmmmm. Last time I looked that was how you spelled marmalade.”

Should I say something? Was I really going to have to be one of THOSE parents? The kind who interupts an entire spelling bee? Luckily one of the other judges caught the error, and I silently sent up a “thank you” to the spelling bee Gods.

The bee went on for a good amount of time, partially because they didn’t know what they were doing. Kids were allowed to start over again if they felt they messed up, which you can’t do in the real Scripps bee. One annoying girl would repeatedly ask all the typical time-buying questions, like “can I have the word’s origin?” and “can you use it in a sentence?”

I was secretly happy when she finally got the bell.

The bee got down to two kids, my girl and a boy who had to wear hearing aids. At this point, while I wanted my girl to win, I would’ve been happy with either kid taking the prize. They went back and forth, back and forth for quite a while. I have to say, as a parent, it was tough to watch. Each word was like a bullet your kid had to dodge.

In the end, my girl won.

We don’t remember the word she won with – isn’t that stupid? But I’m pretty sure the boy messed up on the word “obstetrician” because it took him almost 10 minutes to try and spell it.

She won a medal, which she still has hanging in her room. My girl really floored me that night. I remember calling hubby as soon as we got in the car. I was so sorry he had missed it. His little girl had come out on top, and he wasn’t there to see it.

She went on to compete against the winners from other grades, where she lost on the word “stewardess.” Not only is that a sexist word, but we don’t fly, so she was pretty much clueless as to what a stewardess was.

She made the finals in the 8th grade spelling bee as well. She got out on the word “rhinoceros” which I didn’t know how to spell either. Oh well – sometimes you get the bummer word.

While we were sad that she couldn’t win again, nobody can ever take away that 6th grade win of hers, where she stood on stage and faced a dictionary full of words, and came out on top.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 548 other followers