Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Let There Be Light!

I came THIS close to hugging a complete stranger this evening. He was a Con Ed worker and he told me we would have power back by tonight as opposed to Thursday at midnight which was the original time frame.

We only lost power for 65 hours after Hurricane Irene but it seemed like a lifetime. The first day was cool: we had plenty of food, board games galore and the gumption of pioneers on the Laura Ingalls Wilder homestead. We drove around a little bit (my husband likes to plow through puddles in his truck plus he was utterly convinced he could find an open Starbucks. He could not) then we took a walk into town where kids were boogie-boarding down main street and people waded through the flood waters in frightening disregard for the live power lines dangling by the water line. Firemen drove by shouting at us to go home and get off the streets but the excitement was contagious and frankly it just felt good to be out of the house.

At night, my husband was concerned with leaving an unattended open flame so we blew out the candles when we went to bed and Minx woke in the middle of the night screaming about it being "as dark as death". We brought her into our bed where she promptly pulled an "H" position and neither of us got any sleep. At the crack of dawn the smoke detectors starting beeping their warnings of power-deprivation and so day two began.

Monday saw us at the gym, exercising, watching TV (yay!), swimming and most importantly, using the showers. We still had no power, but we had email on the Blackberry which I charged every second that the car engine was running. The food in the fridge seems unappealing and the dry ice we lined up for really isn't keeping anything fresh. At any rate, our BBQ is out of propane. Any restaurants open?

At night, in spite of the candle left burning in the kids' bathroom, my son manages to trip over something and fall, cutting his eyelid open and requiring a 1:00 am trip to the ER and four stitches. Once again, we are functioning without sleep. The food in the freezer is ruined and the food in the fridge 100% unappealing. I no longer have email access which makes me panic because school starts in a week and I am driven crazy by the thought that I am missing out on IMPORTANT messages. There isn't a 'Snakes and Ladders' or 'Yahtzee' game left in us. We empty and clean the freezer then head to a local pool club as guests of a sympathetic friend. Entertainment and showers. I can't even begin to think about laundry.

For dinner we heat pizza bagels and Lean Pockets in a fry pan and just as I finish washing the dishes I see the reflection of emergency lights in the front window. Three huge Con Ed trucks trundle up our road, a liberation army. You can hear cheering, like a wave, up and down our street and then pandemonium as the houses light up one by one.

It is amazing to me that everybody used to live without electricity and so many still have to. I am supremely happy tonight to be back on the grid.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Stress-O-Matic

Got some problems weighing you down?
Looking for something to take your mind off your worries?

We've got your solution right here!

Hi, Billy Mays here, from the afterlife, with the perfect cure for your midlife navel-gazing and medical mini-dramas: Vacation!

But Billy, you say, won't vacation just leave me with hours to stare out at the sea and think? How, you ask, will that help?

Well, we're not talking about any old vacation, folks. No sir. How about we throw in a little earthquake? Distracted yet?

Well, hold on to your hats, because I'm going to blow you away! And I mean literally-- with winds at up to 100 miles per hour! That's right, your vacation includes a mandatory evacuation AND a hurricane that will follow you home.

And, if you act now, we'll throw in downed phone lines and a stream running through your basement.

Don't delay. Operators are standing by....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

O'Donnell Did Say She Was a Witch...

I'm not really one for bumper stickers, especially not ones that attempt humor.

Like vanity plates, even the best "funny" bumper stickers can seem kind of cute or clever at first... but, in the time it takes for the light to turn green, the bloom is off the rose.

But then today I saw a bumper sticker that was so right-on I actually want to tell people about it (which is not to say that I would actually stick it to my car).

In stark white letters, against the generic stars and stripes/red, white and blue backdrop of every political bumper sticker, it read:



Monday, August 15, 2011

I Am Yours, MRI, You Are What You Are....

I had an MRI today. (Weaselsnob caled it the hypochondriac's dream.... funny because it's true!)

Happily it was first thing in the morning so I didn't have time to get all worked up about it. Not the results, the actual MRI itself. I've always heard stories about people freaking out inside the machine-- which is why I suppose they asked me if I get claustrophobic (and whether I have any shrapnel in my body).

Fortunately, I answered all their mental-- and metal-- questions correctly and was permitted to continue. Liz, the very helpful and friendly tech, explained what was going to happen and what I should expect over the course of the next 40 or so minutes. She then gave me some headphones and asked what kind of music I would like to listen to.

My mind blanked. Liz started rattling off the options in their CD library: "Classical, Jazz, Light Rock, Classic Rock...." I chose Light Rock (Lite Rock?) figuring it was a safe bet and then made a nervous joke about how awful it would be to hear "Macarena" over and over. Liz parried with "Not as bad as 'Hot Hot Hot!'" I actually banned that song from my wedding. I could hang with this Liz.

Headphones, collar and head gear in place, I entered the machine. And the music started. A classic Crosby Stills & Nash song. Not bad.... about what I expected. I was happy with my choice. Then the next song came on. I didn't know it but recognized the CSN/CSNY harmonies. And then "Our House" came on. Oh good god. A whole Crosby Stills & Nash CD?!!!

I contemplated squeezing my Emergency Stop Bulb but decided to tough it out.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Curl Talk

Judith Newman wrote a piece in the NYT about being curly in a straight world. Weaselsnob emailed me about it. We both have bathroom cabinets full of half-empty bottles promising to fight frizz and tame curls.

Ms. Newman points out that lots of curly girls pass for straight (it is not possible, she writes, that all news anchors have naturally straight hair). For some reason, Newman notes, straight hair is generally perceived as more attractive, more respectable, more refined, more business-like, and on and on.

I only wish she had gone even further in illustrating how pervasive the bias against curly hair is. Off the top of my head:

1. Sandy in Grease.
Want to achieve a super trampy look that signals to your loser greaser boyfriend that you're leaving the whole good girl thing behind? Go super curly (and wear spandex).

2. Tangled.
Rapunzel has magical, long (straight) hair. Her evil witch of a step-mother is curly, curly, curly.

3. Katy Perry's "TGIF" Video
The awkward teen alter ego of Russell Brand's wife has glasses, head gear, and-- horrors-- really bad frizzy hair!

4. Glenn Close

On Damages, Glenn Close plays a brilliant lawyer with straight hair.
In Fatal Attraction.... yup, curly. Super curly.

5. Juliana Margulies

On The Good Wife, she is putting the pieces of her life together and improbably handling (and winning) trials as a first year associate with (impossibly) straight hair.

On ER, one of Nurse Hathaway's first scenes finds her being wheeled into the ER after trying to kill herself. Her hair is as unstable as she is.

6. Natalie Portman in The Other Woman (I just saw this on a plane)

As a woman trying to build a relationship with her new stepson and to cope with the recent death of her baby, Natalie's character is an emotional mess (as telegraphed by her wild, poofy, frizzy hair).

At the end, the movie jumps ahead to a time when Natalie's character is more mentally stable. And guess what? So is her hair! It looks good for the first time.

7. The Princess Diaries

Anne Hathaway's character is transformed from ugly duckling to royal swan by-- yup-- straightening her hair. (Same trick that happens on almost every makeover show, especially What Not to Wear).

I've come to terms with my curly hair. But I've got my fingers crossed hoping that my daughter's hair stays straight. And if it doesn't? Well, at least she'll have my lifetime of curl wrangling knowledge at her disposal, along with way better products than were available when I was a teenager (omg, mousse?! why???).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

40 Serving Love

My son ran me all over the tennis court the other day, leaving both me and my self-esteem sore.

Though wounded, my ego was able to throw up any number of weak justifications: I haven't played in years (decades even); he practices six hours a week with the tennis team and/or pros and every weekend with my husband; my racket is ancient (with a nauseatingly sticky grip); I have 40 year old legs; and on and on.

But he and I both know that, notwithstanding the fact that he called every single close ball in his favor, he beat me fair and square. And even though I contributed to his win by having umpteen unforced errors, I was trying my best.

He's being semi-gracious about it, but it still doesn't sit well with me. I'm raring for a rematch. I'm just going to have to sneak in some practice first.

Good grief. What am I going to do when he (inevitably) grows stronger and taller than I am?