Okay, right off the bat I just want you to know two things:
1. The title may have tipped you off, but I’m going to write the word SHIT (and appropriate synonyms peppered throughout for humor) in this post. Sorry.
2. Stop now if you can’t stomach reading about shit. Meaning, poop. Oh, including looking at pictures of it.
Since you’re still here, I can tell you’re really excited to delve into this one. It’s not even about my family or anything that I normally write about. But I really want to share this with you, mostly because misery loves company. And the other night was full of misery. And you, my dear readers, are the best company.
Wednesday night I was folding laundry and I came upon a little denim jacket of Lexi’s that was a size 12M from last year. No idea how it got in there, but I went to drop it on the landing to the basement because that’s where I put stuff “to be brought down later.” What greeted me as I opened the basement door was a horrid, pungent smell. Pissed beyond belief, I silently cursed the waterproofers who put in our French drain not 6 months ago for doing a crappy job after 3 basement floods. Our basement survived Hurricane Irene and several huge storms since then. Why now?
As I walked to the bottom of the steps, I noticed that the walls where the flooding had once occurred were bone dry. I started walking through the dampness, looking up at the ceiling, trying to find some kind of new crack. Nothing.
I walked towards the bathroom and the closer I got, the more I heard a squish, squash from beneath my shoes. Oh no. The entrance to the bathroom was soaked and water was pouring out of it. I tried to open the door, but I couldn’t. Whatever was behind it was surely stronger than me. I called my Dad for backup. After a few attempts, he was able to slowly budge the door.
What was behind it?
A foot deep. Poop. Toilet paper. Swimming in a pool of urine and water on the floor. Sludged up behind the door. Overflowing out of the toilet. It was as if every diaper the kids had ever filled had overflowed into this room. And it smelled – badly.
I looked around the rest of the basement. The floor was slowly dampening beneath my feet. The endless barrage of kids’ toys - ruined. Bathed in sewage.
This was our playroom. Our Wonderland of fun in the Fall and Wintertime. Looking at the toys, I realized nothing was fit to be played with and especially not appropriate to be chewed on anymore.
We were up shit’s creek without a paddle. Well, at least I was. Cory was in Boston on a business trip. Lexi didn’t seem fazed, either. She was up babbling to herself starting around midnight, playing DJ with her soother. By 2am, I had left emergency messages for everyone who would be involved in this mess and I was pooped from thinking about it all.
As my head hit the pillow, I realized Lexi was still awake. She remained in party-mode until 4am. Ryan woke up at 6. I think I got a good 1.5 hours of shut-eye.
Thursday morning was filled with phone calls to our plumber, our homeowners insurance carrier, an insurance adjuster and a clean-up crew. Wrangled everyone fairly quickly and by Thursday night, there was no longer any carpeting in the basement, the bathroom was disinfected and we were left wondering how much money we would get from insurance to start over again. When Cory arrived home that night, I passed out from 6pm-midnight and then again from 3-7am.
Get a load of this – turns out my parents had been hearing some kind of gurgling/jackhammer sound every time they flushed their toilet for a few days but didn’t really think it was anything major. When the plumber arrived, he found a completely clogged pipe on our main line. Apparently, our basement had been collecting sewage for days. Awesome.
On Friday, we explained to Ryan that some of his toys would have to be thrown out, but that we could replace most of them. He said he was sad, but an hour later he was thumbing through every toy catalog in sight, choosing new toys that he simply “had to have”.
The crappiest part of it all? An appraiser was scheduled to arrive on Saturday to finalize a package for us to refinance our mortgage. Hard to say you have a beautiful, finished basement when two feet of drywall has been removed and the floor is bare concrete. So tonight we found out that we have to put it off until everything is redone.
So here we are, sitting in our Money Pit, annoyed but thankful that it wasn’t something worse. After all, we’ll be getting new carpeting that has never lived through multiple floods and probably some shiny new toys and shelves.
Just trying to make the best of a shitty situation.
30 days since the screaming began in the middle of the night.
Four huge, boulder-sized molars started pushing through Alexa’s gums – all at the same time. For sure this did not feel good.
Then the ear infection arrived and made itself at home in Alexa’s left ear. Twelve days after the antibiotics first began and the screaming was still as deafening. Turns out the infection didn’t respond to the medicine at all.
Little wakings here and there before midnight. After midnight, it’s hours on end. We rock her on the chair in our room, give her Motrin, bring her into bed. She plays and plays and plays. She is fine when we are with her. It is a struggle to figure out whether it’s behavioral or simply comforting to be distracted from the pain.
Round Two of antibiotics – a stronger kind… we’re 7 days in and the screaming continues. So I took her back to the doctor today – worried that the fluid, the screaming, the sleep disruption was the result of a bigger problem. Plus, huge gobs of snot decided to move in, along with a cough. The doctor spent a great deal of time with us, determining that the ear is far from perfect, but that we need to finish out the course of antibiotics and come back in a week before talking about other options.
He figured the screaming is now also from feeling congested and sick. I worried aloud that we were going to have to sleep train her again. He agreed with me that for now, while she’s sick, we were doing the right thing by comforting her. Let the infection and the cold be gone and then determine if she has a sleep problem as a result of the past month. My poor baby’s head – I wish I could switch with her and take the pain away. To make matters worse, she started running a fever tonight. That’s why she ate little to nothing all day. For sure when she wakes up, I’ll be positive it’s because she’s starving.
A blog reader advised me weeks ago when Alexa was first teething – and screaming – from the molars to use this time to bond. I have actually been taking her words to heart recently. You see, for someone who is usually up until 2am, I rely on those 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. So when my 4-5 hours dwindles to 2, I start to feel the effects. I think it is well documented what chronic sleep deprivation does to our bodies and minds and I toy with this on a daily basis, which is not healthy I know. So aside from nudging Cory a few times a night saying, “I can’t take this anymore!” I am actually enjoying these special moments when she comes in to cuddle with us, putting her warm head against my chest, feeling her heartbeat slowly fade back to normal. She sits on my chest and bounces up and down, then crawls to Cory and does the same. If he’s not laying on his back, she pushes him into position so she can bounce on him as well. She grabs books for me to read and cries when I say, “It’s sleepytime.” She gives wet kisses and big, squeezy hugs.
It makes me feel like a Mom.
This little person relies on me to make it all better.
I am so lucky that I get to be that person for this little girl.
I have a fridge magnet with one of my favorite quotes -
To the world you may be one person. But to one person you may be the world.
What an amazing responsibility.
I hope that these long, sleepless nights eventually fade into a distant memory, but to the reader who advised me to look at this time in a positive light – thank you.
As we reflect on our memories of September 11, 2001, force ourselves to watch the TV specials and become deeply emotional at the loss of lives, shared faith and innocence, I find myself determined not to focus on the evil, but on the strength of the human spirit that rose up on the day the towers fell.
I wanted to write about my personal 9/11 story, then decided against it. It was a day that profoundly affected millions of people across the globe, not just those of us living in New York. It is the story of our country’s resilience in the face of devastation. My story pales in comparison to the reality of the lives forever changed by loved ones who never made it home.
When we say “Never Forget” – it means much more than remembering the terrorist attacks on America’s soil - the pillars that touched the sky falling in a massive dusty cloud to the ground, the attack on the Pentagon and the tremendous courage of those who saved countless lives as they lost theirs in an open field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We should never forget the strength of the human spirit on that day and in the weeks and months that followed. The men and women who selflessly sacrificed their lives to save the lives of strangers. The tireless workers who spent months at Ground Zero in dangerous conditions delicately attending to the recovery mission, trying to find anything at all that would give countless families some kind of closure.
We waved our flags.
Looked out for each other on the subways.
Greeted our neighbors.
We were proud to be Americans.
We sang the National Anthem with renewed pride.
We are strong and will not be defeated, we cried.
Our country came together in ways I had never seen in my then 24 years. I was proud – really proud - to be an American for the first time because I finally understood what it meant. I was also scared. The loss of innocence was unnerving and I didn’t know what to do with the prevalent anxiety that creeped into my life and remained there for the next few years. The world seemed to be spiraling in a negative direction – or maybe I just wasn’t a kid anymore. Riding the subway with hyper-vigilance. Flight 587 in Queens. Anthrax. The Washington DC sniper attacks. Who wanted to start a family in this world? But we moved forward despite our fears.
My proudest memory of that time – aside from the aid we provided to the Ground Zero workers through my company - occurred six days later on September 17, when my Dad and I attended a Phillies/Braves game at the old Veterans Stadium. It was a show of solidarity for thousands of fans to come out to a public arena, rally towels waving, to show the world our message – WE WILL NOT COWER IN FEAR. That night, the National Anthem made us weep. God Bless America was sung as if we were hearing the words for the first time. With every plane that flew near the ballpark, we collectively held our breath.
My Dad made a banner that we held proudly in the stands. We are honored to be a part of team history as that banner was forever immortalized in a photo featured by news outlets across the country (the photo at the top of this post – we are in the upper left hand corner with the banner hanging over the railing). For me, the return of baseball was a sign of our shared strength in the face of overwhelming uncertainty. For one night, baseball made everything better. We took back a piece of our lives and were united like never before. Scott Rolen hit two home runs that night, the Phillies won, and in a strange way, we felt like we gave a collective middle finger to our enemy.
Ten years later – we haven’t forgotten, but our lives are forever altered.
One day, a couple of months after 9/11, we took the flags down. We stopped being so neighborly. We went back to our usual routines and got used to a new normal.
My hope for our children is for them to live in a world where the headlines stop screaming about political divisiveness, child abductions, the importance of reality TV stars and economic recession – the world in which we lived just after 9/11 – when we opened our hearts and helped each other as we had never done before.
May we never forget the uprising of the human spirit during those raw, emotional days when we were united in solidarity.
We may never be a world at peace, but we can raise our children to be free of hate and prejudice. After all, no human being is born with hatred in their heart. We can do our part to put some kindness back into the world.
Whatever this day means to you, may you hold your family a little tighter, love a little deeper and remember the real and true important things in life.
“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi
As the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 approaches, I’m having a difficult time putting into words how a simple picture or mention of that day makes me feel. The events of that day has shaped the way we go about our lives – for better or for worse.
As I began writing this morning, I received a rare e-mail from Meetup.com founder Scott Heiferman, who sent the e-mail to the almost 10 million active Meetup members. Meetup holds a special place in my heart because it gave me the opportunity to find a community of friends that have been there with me through every stage of parenthood. I am grateful to Mr. Heiferman for creating a wonderful outlet for people with specific interests who want to meet like-minded people, but especially for giving new Mothers a much-needed forum. Of course, Meetup would be nothing if not for the hard-working group administrators who create and attend events and I am especially grateful to the organizers of the Moms of North East Queens who helped me find a place in this vast world of stay-at-home parenthood.
I wanted to share the e-mail with you. May his words can serve as a reminder that we are all neighbors.
I don’t write to our whole community often, but this week is
special because it’s the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and many
people don’t know that Meetup is a 9/11 baby.
Let me tell you the Meetup story. I was living a couple miles
from the Twin Towers, and I was the kind of person who thought
local community doesn’t matter much if we’ve got the internet
and tv. The only time I thought about my neighbors was when I
hoped they wouldn’t bother me.
When the towers fell, I found myself talking to more neighbors
in the days after 9/11 than ever before. People said hello to
neighbors (next-door and across the city) who they’d normally
ignore. People were looking after each other, helping each
other, and meeting up with each other. You know, being
A lot of people were thinking that maybe 9/11 could bring
people together in a lasting way. So the idea for Meetup was
born: Could we use the internet to get off the internet — and
grow local communities?
We didn’t know if it would work. Most people thought it was a
crazy idea — especially because terrorism is designed to make
people distrust one another.
A small team came together, and we launched Meetup 9 months
Today, almost 10 years and 10 million Meetuppers later, it’s
working. Every day, thousands of Meetups happen. Moms Meetups,
Small Business Meetups, Fitness Meetups… a wild variety of
100,000 Meetup Groups with not much in common — except one
Every Meetup starts with people simply saying hello to
neighbors. And what often happens next is still amazing to me.
They grow businesses and bands together, they teach and
motivate each other, they babysit each other’s kids and find
other ways to work together. They have fun and find solace
together. They make friends and form powerful community. It’s
It’s a wonderful revolution in local community, and it’s thanks
to everyone who shows up.
Meetups aren’t about 9/11, but they may not be happening if it
weren’t for 9/11.
9/11 didn’t make us too scared to go outside or talk to
strangers. 9/11 didn’t rip us apart. No, we’re building new
The towers fell, but we rise up. And we’re just getting started
with these Meetups.
Scott Heiferman (on behalf of 80 people at Meetup HQ)
Co-Founder & CEO, Meetup
New York City
I took the kids on some errands today in the pouring rain,
The girl child screamed the whole time, the boy child was a massive pain.
Michael’s, post office, Hallmark, drugstore, haircut, mall and bank,
Places that leave you sweating and your patience an empty tank.
Miss Houdini in the stroller, Hyper Harry bouncing on the side,
If this was my first time doing this, no doubt I would have cried.
“I’m hungry!” every five seconds, “Can I have this?” every ten,
Thank goodness school starts tomorrow, ’cause I ain’t doing this again.
I want a full-time nanny so I can shop alone,
But since that’s just not happening, I’ll sit here and b-tch and moan.
Why do you scream for hours when you’re seated comfortably and eating a snack?
And why do you run like wildfire through stores like you’re under some kind of attack?
Those few minutes when you held hands and laughed almost made me smile,
Then I remembered you were the people who knocked 50 pens over into the aisle.
I know it’s all my fault for bringing you here today,
I have no idea why I thought that doing errands with you was okay.
Is it so hard to ask that you silently walk beside me while I’m in the mall?
Or come out from hiding in the clothing racks the first time that I call?
But I will say that there was an upside to you testing my patience like this,
‘Cause you’re cute and all was forgotten when you gave me that goodnight kiss.
I have a new photo on my desktop of Ryan hugging his best friend Emma, taken at the park the other day. It’s really cute and actually a pretty rare shot.
By rare, I mean that Ryan is not a hugger.
Well, technically that’s not true.
He hugs the heck out of me and the immediate family. And he always has to give a hug and kiss to people before they leave the house. A hug and kiss on the leg is his standard goodbye with his friends’ Moms (their legs are at his eye level – chill) and I’m pretty sure he’s even tried with the Chinese food delivery guy. But one thing is for certain – it is a rare occasion when he hugs a friend. I don’t know what this means exactly, but something about it makes him feel weird or uncomfortable. Which doesn’t explain why he was just fine doing “belly cheers” (bumping bare bellies) with his friends for close to a year until I bought some books about privacy and inappropriate touching. But hugging? Too personal – or something.
So when he showed this awesome display of huggyness, I saw wedding bells.
Because everyone likes to plan a wedding for their four year old. Duh.
So I asked him if he’s going to marry Emma. He said yes. Then I asked if he’s going to have kids with her. He said yes, eight. Nice! So I asked what he’d like to name the first baby. Only because it’s important to prepare for your future.
He paused, cocked his head to the side and studied the picture of himself hugging his future wife. He traced his finger up and down their arms on the computer screen, seemingly lost in thought. What a touching moment. I was sure he was contemplating a special name for my first grandchild.
“Well, I think Alissyullsee.”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Mom! You didn’t hear me? I like the name Alissyullsee. Say AL-ISS-YULL-SEE.”
Sigh and an eye roll. Obviously I’m slow. Or he detects a foreign accent.
“Mooooommm, how many times do I have to say it? It’s Alice You’ll See. Do you think Emma will like it?”
“Um, sure. But won’t it be difficult to buy anything with her name on it? It’s kinda long.”
I guess I can wait on the 8 grandkids. Only because Alice You’ll See is a totally crappy name. Ryan surely needs to mature. I’m a little disappointed he’s taking this so lightly.
Anyway, can you imagine the cuteness when we do the video montage on their wedding day? Here are just a few of the gazillions we have of them together…
We’re officially launched over at Princessories – www.myprincessories.com!
What does that mean, you ask?
In case you’ve been living under a tree or just gave up on reading my nonsense, I’ve been making hair accessories out of my dining room between the hours of 11pm-2am for months. When I realized Alexa doesn’t even LIKE hair accessories and tries to eat them, I decided to sell them to you. Not the ones with saliva on them, but ones that just LOOK good enough to eat.
So come on over and take a look at our selection. There may very well be nothing to see because I expect the site to be completely sold out by noon. But in the slim chance that I’m wrong, make sure you use discount code LAUNCH11 at checkout to receive 10% off your entire order now through September 30.
Happy Shopping to all!