Monday, June 29, 2015

I'm Alive

It’s amazing how peaceful receiving a text can be.

The Princess left for Europe and Israel yesterday. Five weeks away and to say I’m nervous would be an understatement. I won’t go into my reasons here because a) I don’t want to get political and b) I see no reason to advertise my crazy anymore than necessary. But let’s just say I could use a sedative and my husband could use some sympathy.

While I dealt with the mishegas surrounding the packing list and the weight of the suitcase and the size of the carryon and how she could possibly exist for five weeks with no tank tops (she snuck in two) and only twelve shirts (laundry) and why she shouldn’t pack perfume (solved by the Rabbi—thank you!), my husband dealt with everything electronic.

He handled how she would contact home, knowing full well that I wanted to be able to reach her at all times (even though I won’t actually do it) and what device would work where and how. He determined the best way to avoid $2000 data charges (seriously) and how to contact the grandparents.

And I woke up today to three texts from her. Normal texts. Texts she’d send me from home. They told me nothing of her plans for the day or how her flight was or anything that I wanted to know. But that’s okay. I don’t really expect to hear about that. I want her to be too busy having fun to do more than text me an “I’m alive” text every day (and hopefully one that isn’t preprogrammed into her phone).

When she gets home, she’s going to spend all of her time filling me in on everything she did. From previous experience, I’m going to be sick of listening to the stories because they’re going to go on so long. But I’m going to be thrilled she had such a good and meaningful time.

And in the meantime, the “I’m alive” texts are going to be awesome.

Monday, June 22, 2015

It Has Begun

I am in packing hell, only I seem to be the only one who recognizes the rings and who feels the flames licking her feet.
Sleep away camp is Wednesday and the Israel trip is Sunday. And my living room is empty.
My living room is where we put the drawers and bags and bins that hold the items we’re packing. Nothing is out.
Laundry has barely been started. And the laundry that has been done is going to have to be redone because we still have to look good in these last few days before everyone leaves—even though NO ONE is going to see us.
Labeling. Well, labeling has been started by one child, but not the other. At least, I think it has, as I keep finding an open Sharpie on the rug.
We’re figuring out conversions between dollars and shekels and finding budgeting apps for the iPhone. Budgeting? What’s that?
The weight limit is 50 pounds for checking baggage. Obviously, the people who set this don’t have teenaged girls. Nor, does it seem, do any of the organizers of the trip. Every time I turn around, there are more requests for additional shoes. Hiking boots, sneakers, water shoes, sandals, rain boots.
Teen: “Mom, I don’t need all of those?”
Me (trying to figure out why, for the first time in her life, she’s arguing against bringing shoes): “No? Have you ever been to these countries? Because the organizers say you do, and I’m inclined to listen to them.”
Teen: “Don’t worry about it, I really don’t need all that stuff.”
I hope she’s right, because if we do pack all of those shoes, they’re going to take up 48 pounds, leaving her about 2 for her clothing. Which means she’ll either have one pair of shorts and a T-shirt for the entire trip, or she’s going to be very well heeled, but naked, and cause an international incident.
I keep walking around, suggesting perhaps it might be a good idea to get started packing and everyone looks at me like I’m crazy.
Which I am. And it’s their fault!

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Last Mall Trip (aka Why I Hate Shopping)

It started with a trip to the mall, our last trip before sleep away camp and a 5-week trip to Israel. Our shopping list was fairly small and everyone was in agreement that we would get what we need and consider stores we might not typically shop in if the end result was an item we wanted.

I should have known.

Teen Two cried her way through the entire mall. Now, granted, our mall can be shopped end-to-end in less than two hours, even if you’re a female who likes to shop, but tears make the trip endless. Didn’t matter what she was crying about, nothing we looked at or bought or promised or even fed could stop them from dribbling silently down her cheeks. 

I suppose I should be grateful that we did not run across anyone who has ever watched Mr. Rogers, as not a single person blinked an eye at my daughter’s puffy red eyes and wet cheeks. No one asked what was wrong or if they could help. It could be that most of them were mothers of teens and knew better.

Teen One refused to consider any stores other than her typical ones. And then wanted to know why I was annoyed.

And the retail stores have decided that bathing suit shopping season is over. Doesn’t matter that it’s only just now the middle of June. Doesn’t matter that we are still in need of several bathing suits. Bathing suits are not being sold. And the ones that are, are the ones that other people have returned. You know how they now sell bikinis as separates? Well, that only works if there are tops and bottoms that can remotely go together. It was like shopping in a toy store the first week of January—nothing but leftovers.

I tried feeding them, thinking that would improve things. It didn’t. It only broke the momentum of “come on, we need to finish off this list now” that I had going previous to the food break.

Ultimately, we were semi-successful. I’m not shopping for any more clothes for this summer. What they don’t have will have to be borrowed from someone. Or they’ll have to walk around naked—which really isn’t much different from their wearing clothes at this point if you’ve seen any of the recent styles.

And the tears have finally stopped.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Dishwasher

Every night, my girls set and clear the table. I feel a little bit like a queen as I sit there and they take care of things. Well, a queen who cooks, and reminds them to get things they forget, like their own drinks. Every night, they put the dishes, cups and silverware in the dishwasher. Except for those things that need to go in the sink, where they land with a loud crash, but amazingly remain in one piece. And every night I have to completely redo what they’ve done.

One opens the dishwasher about six inches, does not pull out either rack and blindly puts things in the approximate area that they go. She argues when I tell her to fully open the door and all but refuses to pull out the racks. I’m not quite sure what sensibility this offends in her, but apparently it’s an important one. When I go to check what she’s done, I find plates placed diagonally or stuffed in a slot already taken by another plate; cups are sideways—until water is capable of bending, I don’t know why this even is an option for her; and silverware is upside down.

When I ask her about it, she simply smiles and apologizes as if she’s never heard my objections before now.

Another puts things approximately where they belong, but with no order to anything. This is slightly less aggravating, but even more puzzling, as she is the child who would line up her toys, rather than play with them, and excelled at ordering and categorizing things. To this day, off-center things, or things that don’t belong, annoy her to no end. Apparently dishes are the one exception to the rule.

I know most parents would say, “I’d kill to get my children to put stuff in the dishwasher at all, let alone the correct way,” but my girls have been doing this since they were four. They’re thirteen and sixteen now. I’m starting to think there’s no hope for them.

They ask me constantly why I don’t write YA. They’d like nothing better than to read about characters like themselves in situations they may face and to be able to have their friends read my work.

Why don’t I?

Ha! I write to get away from reality, not to rehash it. Maybe someday if they load the dishwasher correctly.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Celebrating A Book Birthday

Way back in June of 2011, I published my first book, A Heart of Little Faith. I was so excited to be a published writer and to have a book with my name on it, a story I created, available for everyone to read.

Four years later, it’s still exciting to me, and worthy of a little celebration.

So here’s what I’m doing. If you’re a member of my street team*, you have four chances to win an e-book copy by commenting on the post announcing the book birthday on the Jewels page and telling me your birthday.

If you’re not a member of my street team, you have one chance to win either an ebook or a paperback by going to my Facebook page** and telling me your favorite flavor of birthday cake.

All winners will be drawn on Friday, June 5 and winners will be announced on each page.

Here’s a little blurb from the book, just to refresh your memory:

Lily Livingston is a widow raising her six-year-old daughter, Claire, in New York City. Devastated by her husband’s death three years ago, she’s in no hurry to fall in love again. Besides, trying to balance her career with motherhood leaves her little time for romance.
With a wheelchair instead of a white horse, and a vow against falling in love again as his armor, Gideon Stone is the last person Lily expects to sweep her off her feet. But when a business agreement forces the two of them together, that is exactly what happens.
As they navigate the minefield that fast represents their relationship, can either of them overcome the obstacles to find true happiness in each other’s arms? The answer is yes, but the bumps along the way demonstrate that neither of them can go it alone.

* My street team, Jennifer’s Jewels, is a group of people who are willing to help me publicize my books. Each week they are given a task or mission to accomplish. And for being part of my team, they win swag, books, prizes, etc. If you’re interested, go here and follow the instructions on the Homepage.

**My Facebook page is where I keep everyone updated on my book news, run contests, etc. If you’re interested in updates, go here and like the page.