Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce: I’m Kind Of Pissed At You, Bravo

girlfriends-guide-to-divorce-season-1-101-13Okay, so I know the show is a scripted series. I also know that it has to be “sexy” to capture viewers.

And I was totally into GG2D until I started feeling like the three women getting divorced are being portrayed as either part of one big gang bang (see episode 4), out every night with their boy toys (every 40-something paired with a 21 year old), no budget, designer duds, minimal parenting required, FANTASTIC physiques, a dominatrix, a gigolo and hate sex.

The point is: IT’S NOT AT ALL LIKE THAT!

Where are the spin classes that last an hour only to binge on an ENTIRE pan of Pillsbury cinnamon buns (this literally just happened to me today)? The main character’s body looks like she goes to the gym 20 times a day, while I’m lucky if I do it twice a week. How do you do that with two kids??? No really, I’d like to know.

And by the way, where are all the hot 28 year old boy toys that are madly in love with you? Me: Does 32 count?

When was the last time you had hate sex with your ex-husband/ex-fiancee after you divorced/split? Me: Ummm…never!

How many Christian Loubatons do you own? Me: None.

Polyamory, gigolos and a dominatrix too?  C’mon, Bravo, stop rubbing it in.

girlfriends-guide-to-divorce-season-1-101-06_0Divorce and separation is incredibly difficult and emotional. All the divorcees I know didn’t turn into horny sex monkeys, into every creepy and kinky new age sexcapade. They would have told me.

I don’t know a soul who would watch it, but I kind of want to see an episode where the main character sits on her fat ass, with a box full of brownies, no exciting dating prospects, a load of laundry on the floor, bad reality TV as your friend and with a kid screaming bloody murder in the background. I’d watch it for the creature comfort.

How Abusers Toe-The-Line Of A Protective Order

Disclaimer: I write this post with a heavy conscious only because I don’t want an abuser to read my post and add to the tactics in his/her toolbox. With that being said, I’m writing this post for the abused under the “knowledge is power” spirit. I’m not an attorney and the information below is from my experience only and with credits at the bottom of the page. In all cases, seek the advice of a practicing attorney.

Toe on the LineI’ve read hundreds of articles about how a protective order is a useless piece of paper. Or that it is misused by ex-wives/girlfriends to get a “leg up” in a custody hearing. That may be true in a lot of cases, however, neither is true in my case. My protective order is worth its weight in gold the MAJORITY of the time. It has given me the well-deserved break from the manipulation, coercion, violence and vitriol I had lived with for a year.

Notes On Protective Orders

Permanent Protective Order (PO): For a permanent PO (civil or criminal) to be granted, there must be a hearing before a judge with both parties present. A civil PO is filed with the court as a petition. A criminal PO is usually filed by the District Attorney as part of the remedy for criminal acts. Both can be a lengthy process, especially if the plaintiff is prepared with witnesses and evidence and has a smart and efficient lawyer. Once a PO is granted, the court recognizes that the offender meets all the qualifications for domestic violence as defined in the state/jurisdiction. Abusers are entered into a national registry of protective orders (The National Crime Information Center was developed ten years ago as a national registry for protection orders issued in all fifty states), accessible to all law enforcement. A judge may also order temporary custody of the children to the victim, evict the abuser from the residence permanently, require the abuser to still pay the rent and utilities, order a relinquishing of weapons and ammunition, order the victim’s lawyer fees or additional court fees assumed by the state are paid by the abuser, require that the abuser does not tamper with the victim’s mail and other belongings and order a police escort for the removal of the abuser’s property.

Emergency PO: An emergency PO is granted at the discretion of a judge and by the “preponderance of the evidence” (which can be the written affidavit and statements to the judge). The defendant does not require notice or even reasonable notice of the proceeding because it usually occurs the same day it is filed (depending on how full the docket is. Good court clerks will move the docket around for an emergency protective order hearing). In many states, a court clerk is mandated to make room on the same day for an emergency PO. Sometimes, as was with my case, an emergency protective order isn’t served until a week later either because the accused was not present or the police officer didn’t have time. You can call the police station of the jurisdiction to check if the accused has been served (they won’t notify you until you call). The victim’s affidavit is attached to the emergency PO when the accused is served. In many states, the permanent protective order is scheduled without a second petition. The emergency PO can have the court date included in the papers that are served.

Again, every state is different, but with domestic violence issues in the public’s consciousness, the laws are changing for show cause, or the ability to present evidence that a defendant is in contempt of a protective order (this is necessary if a police officer does not arrest an offender, but issues a “warning” which is prevalent in the posts I’ve read on similar blogs and is a clear mishandling of the protective order, especially with a no-contact clause). I’ll come back to this in a minute.

No-Contact

protectiveorderMy protective order is a no-contact order. This means that my abuser cannot have any contact with me via email, phone, social media, in-person, or through a third-party entity and must stay 300 feet from me at all times. Every permanent protective order is different. Some judges make allowances for visitation-only contact if children are involved. My judge felt that it was my abuser’s responsibility to work out the particulars and find a mediator within his family or pay for one. I agreed to his family mediating because I knew he couldn’t afford much.

As part of the no-contact, his family cannot discuss anything on his behalf. Since I have full physical and legal custody, he doesn’t have the right to discuss the rearing of our son right now. When the order expires, the custody agreement will still stay the same, but he will be able to have contact with me again. However, custody is a separate issue altogether and not handled in conjunction with a protective order, in cases when the children are NOT included in the PO.

Toeing-the-Line

My ex is very cunning. On the last visitation pick-up with his family friend (I approved), I arrived about 12 minutes early per usual. His apartment gym is on the first floor with wall-to-floor windows and parallel to the pick-up and drop-off location. Of course, my ex was in full view working out in the gym. Coincidence? Hardly. The way he stands is unmistakable. I could pick him out of a crowd of 1,000. His presence was carefully calculated. I’m sure he wanted to see my interaction with the family friend and then with my son before ushering Andrew into my car. He wanted me to KNOW he was there. I mean, couldn’t he wait the 15 minutes until I left to go to the gym? I’m speculating that his motives were to make his presence known. Like the narcissist he is, he probably wanted me to think “Wow, he looks great!” Even if he magically transformed into Chatum Tanning, my apathy and disgust would remain firm.

On occasion, he has sent me cards for the holiday, “From Andrew.” I’ve reciprocated with the same “From Andrew” cards for the holidays as well because I’m not mean-spirited. However, I now realize that he may have the impression that I’m softening. To be clear, no one should mistake my kindness for weakness. After all, I’m not the one with the PO. I’ve decided not to pursue action for the greeting cards because I’d rather not waste the court’s time for trivial matters and court fees.

However, these are all prime examples of toeing-the-line of a PO.They aren’t egregious enough to most cops, but they are ways to further control and intimidate by showing “presence.”

toe-the-lineBelow are some other examples of toeing-the-line with a PO, but are NOT necessarily from my experience:

1.) Third party mentioning the abuser feels badly about what happened.

2.) Little gifts from the abuser on special days or holidays.

3.) Staying exactly 300 feet away, but within full view or earshot.

4.) Cyber stalking by looking at social media pages or other identifiable information to track the victim.

5.) Timing the comings-and-goings of visitation drop-off/pick-up by driving behind the victim or driving in the residential areas where the victim lives.

6.) Frequenting the same shopping centers, gas stations and other areas as the victim.

7.) Sending messages via the child.

8.) “Mis-dialing” the victim’s phone number.

9.) Living two miles or less from the victim.

10.) Asking friends to frequent areas near the victim.

11.) Withholding or tampering with the victim’s mail or possessions.

The Best Defense

So what do you do when your abuser is toeing-the-line?

a.) Record Keeping: Keep records of EVERYTHING. Notes, cards, gifts, etc. Keep a locked calendar. Record days, times, what occurred and how you felt. Stay truthful. Don’t embellish. Judges are very sensitive to embellishments due to frequent abuse of the system from scorned individuals.
b.) Law Enforcement or Court Involvement to Stop Harassment, Stalking, Violence or Threats: If the abuser starts stalking or harassing you, either call the police, talk to your District Attorney, or file a civil petition for contempt of the protective order. Know that if you bypass the first two and do go the court route, you likely will need a lawyer. Either way, it’s best to consult a lawyer about filing the petition and seeing if you have enough evidence for a civil PO contempt petition or when speaking to the DA. A judge has the power to impose fines, send the abuser to jail or both. Alternatively, if the police are called, the abuser will be arrested on a Class 1 Misdemeanor if it’s the first offense and he/she will spend jail time before arraignment. A hearing will be set at a later date. In all cases, they have the power to post bail if the judge allows it.
c.) Alternative: Suing your abuser in small claims court. When people are injured by others, they are permitted to seek what the law refers to as “damages”, in the form of money, for such things as medical bills, lost wages or employment, or physical and emotional pain and suffering (punitive damages).

Here’s hoping your abuser is staying behind the line!

Credits go to http://www.womenslaw.org.

Are The Terrible Twos Rearing Its Ugly Head A Year Early?

twoAndrew turned one only a few weeks ago and already I’ve seen a noticeable change in his personality.

At first, I thought that spending almost a full week with his dad was the culprit. He always needs an adjustment period. Maybe my apartment is too under-stimulating.

But for the past several days I’ve noticed the following:

1.) Temper tantrums for the most mundane parent-redirects- i.e. taking away dog kibble from his hand and replacing it with a toy gets a kicking and screaming fit.

2.) Diapering- again, kicking and screaming. Changing him is like a entering a baby battlefield.

3.) Biting- luckily he doesn’t have many teeth yet, but he gums my arm when I pick him up from an activity that isn’t child-friendly, like trying to open cabinet doors.

4.) Grabbing my knees- when I need to blow dry my hair or brush my teeth.

5.) Terrorizing the dog- pulling my second baby’s ears until he yelps.

6.) Incessant need to be in my arms- he was always an independent baby, on the move, so this behavior is new.

7.) Dressing- he would love nothing more than to sit in nothing but a diaper and wrestles with me to put on clothes. It’s exhausting.

8.) Eating- feeding the dog his crackers and then crying when the dog actually eats them!

9.) Walking- refuses to walk and still prefers to crawl everywhere.

Any thoughts or advice? Should I gear up for the “terrible twos” a year early?

Anti-New Year’s Resolution

I thought I’d reblog since it still holds water before New Year’s.

Mumz the Word...

New years

In a moment of self-reflection as I near the dreaded 3-0, I replay the emotions and events of my pre-baby life.

It looked like this:

  • Anxiety- worried if I had Saturday night plans with the gals or a prospective date. If my weekend wasn’t planned in advance, I’d lament that my “best years” were being wasted on rom-coms and Sex and the City reruns.
  • Love- highly idealized checklist of character traits. I fell hard and succumb to the silly, text-waiting games. I was perfect bait for lurking alphas or Pick-Up Artists (ex: baby daddy was quite the Lothario.)
  • Fashion- spent my hard earned cash on Arden B. dresses and Forever 21 frocks in the hopes that I would stay forever 21.
  • Work- obsessively churned. I ALWAYS stayed late. I did the extra work even if it meant I wouldn’t be compensated accordingly. Interestingly, I was passed over for promotions.
  • Fitness-…

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To Moms: You’re More Beautiful Every Day

The last post, Mary’s Story: Leaving Her Abuser (Hopefully Forever) was very intense and difficult for me to write because I see so much of my old self in Mary.

Instead of feeling depressed, my thoughts drifted to how truly beautiful mothers are and specifically, single mothers (only because I’m a bit biased).

We aren’t told this enough.

But we shouldn’t have to be told. We should feel it. Every single day.

It’s hard to get up and work through the day-to-day mechanization of taking care of our children. Smearing on lipstick and mascara is the last thing on our minds. Even if we have a little money set aside to get that well-deserved hair cut and color.

Without all that pretty-making, our children (hopefully) keep our inner being light and happy.

I am a big believer of karma because it’s based on cause-and-effect science. You do positive things, help others, or have merely exhibit good intentions and eventually the effect will pay back in dividends. It may take time, but it happens.

Our beautiful inner beings can also translate to beautiful exteriors. Sure there’s always a few pounds to lose or a few under-eye bags we’d like to see magically disappear, but with creative organization, enough rest, and stealing those “me” moments, you’ll be surprised how small changes snowball into something beautiful.

To all the mothers out there, you are BEAUTIFUL on the interior and exterior. Say it. Think it. Live it.

Mary’s Story: Leaving Her Abuser (Hopefully Forever)

Disclaimer: The events of this story are true, however the names have been changed to protect victim  privacy.

I have a friend, we’ll call Mary. We met in the cafe where I love to write my blog. She sat next to me with her own laptop, striking up a conversation about an Arabic soap opera, Forbidden Love. She is Christian Egyptian (she would want me to make that distinction). Her laugh and smile was so infectious that before I knew it, we were watching every episode, struggling to find the English subtitles so that I could watch it along with her. If there were episodes without subtitles, she graciously narrated.

Forbidden Love’s actors reminded me of the silent movies where every emotion was exaggerated and easily understood.

After six hours of binge-watching Forbidden Love, we made plans to see each other again. There was something about Mary that was addictive. She was a wonderful story teller and was as animated as the characters on screen. I liked her instantly and knew a budding friendship was in our future.

The more we met in the cafe, the more she divulged her life’s story. She was once married for seven years, had a son and worked as a nurse’s aid in a retirement community. Long hours and horrible pay forced her to become a waitress full time so that she could pay child support for her son who was living with her ex-husband and his new wife. She told me heart-wrenching stories of abuse at the hands of her former husband. The beatings were so bad that she was in the hospital for a week. He was arrested several times and bailed out by Mary every time. Like the studies affirm, she was a woman without the means to leave, let alone pay for a divorce.

Finally, after the cops had been called for the last time as he dragged her beaten body across the carpet of their living room, her ex-husband went to jail. Stockholm syndrome took full affect and she bailed him out again. Faced with her family turning their backs, she left her child and her husband one night to stay with her family. After a quick divorce (neither had the resources to endure a lengthy divorce proceeding and custody hearing), Mary did the only thing she could without a penny to her name: she agreed to let her son stay with his father.

A few years went by and Mary took several waitress jobs (she only had a few community college credits because her husband disapproved of women in school and was easily angered by the cost). She met a man named Sahib (which I later found, means Lord and Master), a Muslim Egyptian, one night out with her friends. He too was a divorcee, married to a woman he met who was completing a teaching mission in Egypt. Sahib was brought to the states and within five years they were divorced with no children.

The first time I met Sahib, he possessed a quiet charm, attractive and seemed genuinely in love with Mary. By the second meeting at that cafe, the two were like oil and water, airing their dirty laundry in public with Sahib blaming Mary for flirting with every man who walked into the cafe.

First red flag.

To know Mary’s personality, it was clear she was incredibly friendly. She called the waitress “baby” and “honey.” She waved at the regulars in the cafe. That was just who Mary was. To love her was to accept her need to connect with other people. She was never rude and always sweet to anyone who greeted her.

Sahib hated this about Mary. He wanted all eyes on him at all times. The more I knew the couple, the more fearful I was about her relationship with Sahib. He was controlling, showing up unannounced when we were having our “girl” chats at the cafe. He would say “Hi” and territorially sit at our table, silencing our conversation, or if they were fighting, sit a few tables down scrolling through his cell phone.

With time, Mary and I got closer. I created her resume for translator positions (she could speak four languages), and slowly she confided that Sahib was aggressive and emotionally abusive, calling her a whore and a bitch on a daily basis. She worked two jobs while Sahib sat in her apartment, doing a whole lot of nothing. It was clear Sahib enjoyed “his woman” paying for everything. On occasion he’d show up to the cafe and ask for twenty dollars to buy cigarettes or food. He was the quintessential con-artist, lying that he worked part-time as a chef at a nearby hotel. Or that he was looking for full time opportunities. When Sahib went to the restroom, Mary whispered in my ear that he did neither.

One night at around 10:00 pm she called me crying, sitting in her car at a vacant parking lot, telling me that Sahib had slapped her across the face for coming home late after a work shift. This time he hadn’t surprised Mary while she worked (a regular occurrence to verify her whereabouts) and he was incredibly jealous. He accused her of cheating and began verbal assaulting her character. Everything private, including why her ex-husband had custody of her child, was part of his arsenal. I begged her to come stay with me for the night so that we could plan her next steps. I asked her to call the police. She said she would. An hour, then two, went by. I called, texted and called again. Nothing.

I went back to the cafe the next morning hoping she’d be there with her wide smile and air-kiss greeting. The waitress we befriended said she was in the psychiatric ward of a nearby hospital on suicide watch. She had ingested an entire bottle of sleeping pills. Sahib had called 911. Mary must have known I’d be there waiting for her, so she called the restaurant asking the waitress to apologize on her behalf.

Finally, Mary was able to call me (the psychiatric ward allows certain hours for phone calls). She told me the terrible story, that she just wanted to fall into unconsciousness so that Sahib couldn’t continue his tirade. She assured me she didn’t want to die, but saw no other option other than to self-medicate. I immediately went to visit her. When I entered the ward and signed in, a nurse sealed my belongings in a brown paper bag behind the intake counter, letting me take the four tabloid magazines and He’s Just Not That Into You book I brought as gifts. Mary was waiting for me behind the red line, where patients waited for visitors. As we walked down the hallway, I passed a young man in a wheelchair, staring into space, catatonic. When we entered her room, it was devoid of any color with two small, bolted windows by her bed. As I sat in on her bed, the door wide open, a nurse checked every hour, pushing the button of her number clicker.

Amid this bizarre ward, Mary was in great spirits. I asked a million questions, “Are you going back?” “Has he visited?” “Did you try and kill yourself?”

She answered “no” to the first and last question but revealed that Sahib visited regularly. He didn’t know I was coming. Mary confided that Sahib called me poisonous, I was manipulating her, and that I secretly wanted them to split so that I could move in on him. Like most seasoned psychopaths, he was trying to isolate Mary further. She no longer had friends. No one but her mother, myself and Sahib visited.

She promised me she wouldn’t go back, that she was moving in with her mother until she had enough money to find her own place.

In that moment, sitting across from a thirty year old woman, she seemed childlike. She drew a picture in art class with hearts and my name in cursive. “Best Friends Forever!” she wrote.

“It’s so boring in here, Penny,” Mary said. “I hate it. But they won’t let me leave until Friday.”

A boy peaked his head sheepishly into Mary’s room.

“Gavin!” Mary shouted delightedly. “This is my new friend Gavin.”

Gavin entered with both arms in a makeshift casts. He weakly shook my hand. He looked no more than 17.

“Hi,” he said with a broad smile. Gavin sat on a vacant bed opposite us. We talked about the psychiatric ward, how depressing it was and I slowly noticed small, fine cuts all over Gavin’s knees and legs. It occurred to me that his casts were not protecting broken arms, but were masking deep cuts from attempted suicide. He was also a cutter.

Gavin was quiet but talked about his ex-girlfriend with fresh sorrow as our conversation turned to the subject of relationships. Gavin then divulged he had a full ride to a college in Kentucky. He was a track star. He told us that his parents didn’t think he would start college on time. This was his eighth visit to the psychiatric ward.

“They all know my name here,” Gavin chuckled darkly.

Thirty minutes went by and the same nurse made her rounds.

“Gavin!” the nurse said. “You know you can’t be in here.”

“Oh come on, I’m just sitting here, meeting Mary’s friend,” Gavin protested. “Nothing’s going to happen.”

“You know the rules,” the nurse said gently. “You guys can go into the recreational area if you want to chat.”

Mary and I exchanged glances and then looked at Gavin. He slowly got off the bed and extended his cast to shake my hand.

“Nice to meet you,” Gavin said meekly. “Mary. Come find me later.”

“I promise,” Mary smiled.

After visiting hours were over, I hugged Mary and took her artwork with me. I kept emailing her stories of abused women leaving their men to give her strength. She emailed me back, saying, “Keep it coming! This is exactly what I need. To be strong like you.”

Weeks earlier I told Mary my story, hoping it would give her the strength she needed. Unfortunately, she stayed with Sahib and was now in the hospital for attempted suicide.

A week later, Mary was released on new medication. She had revealed she was bipolar during the course of our cafe chats. Mary called to tell me she was in upstate Maryland living with her mother. I was happy for her. Hopeful. She was going to get back on her feet.

Until she didn’t. Probably ashamed, I found out from the same waitress that she was back with Sahib. The waitress had seen them in the cafe together. He lured her back into their small apartment, probably on the realization that his cash cow wasn’t paying his bills anymore. Later, Mary told me Sahib swore he would change. They were on a “probationary” period where Mary was free to leave after a month if he didn’t improve.

If you’re reading this far, you know that abusers rarely, if ever change. Sahib was no exception. The same pattern of abuse resurfaced.

I had to make the hard decision of distancing myself from Mary. Having lived through a year of similar, if not identical abuse, I knew only the abused can make the decision to leave. When he/she does leave for good, a friend is there to emotionally support them.

So, before I stopped taking her calls or answering her texts, I told her that I could not be friends with someone who though so little of themselves that they wanted to be with a confirmed abuser. Mary understood.

I didn’t hear from Mary until Christmas Day. She wished me a Merry Christmas and said she loved me. I responded a short, “Are you still with Sahib?” An hour later she responded “No.” I then asked if she was still living with him. She again responded “No.” I asked her if it was now a permanent separation and she said “yes.” Her mother gave her an ultimatum too: Sahib or her family. Mary chose wisely. Her mother helped her get a new apartment and she was working again.

Today, Mary called me. She understood the reason why I had to cut off all contact for the last six months. Still unconvinced, I said, “Mary, if you go back to Sahib, we will never talk again. I mean it. I love you as a friend, but I can’t keep living in this turmoil with you, worried that one day a slap will escalate to a punch or that he finally might kill you.”

Mary agreed to the pact. We have a coffee planned for Thursday.

I’m not a religious person, but I pray that this time is for good.

#NeverGoBack

Fa-la-la-lafel Frenzy Fail: A Very Unmerry Jewish Christmas Party

falafel-frenzy-2014After begging and pleading, my Jewish friend, Rachel, convinced me to attend the Felafel Frenzy Party (named after the yummy, fried chick pea, Middle Eastern delicacy) on Christmas Eve in D.C. A work colleague was also going, so I decided, why the hell not? It’s better than sitting in my PJ’s watching reruns of Forensic Files. Or was it…?

I donned my Little Black Dress, gladiator heels and called an Uber. We arrived late, around 11:45pm, paying the crazy $35 cover charge. As a disclaimer (you know I love my disclaimers), I was raised Jewish, so all the statements below are not stereotypes, just the facts.

Inside Howard Theater, our senses were assaulted by two-year-old dance tracks and a wave of drunk Jews. It was reminiscent of BBYO (Jewish Youth Group) only everyone was sadly in their late twenties – mid thirties, drinking, grinding on the dance floor and wagging tongues in their partner’s mouth.

I saw my work colleague, gave him a brief hug and met his Jewish and non-Jewish friend (who later told me he grew up in Florida, so this sight was par for the course).

His non-Jewish friend, I can’t even remember his name (not because I was drunk but because the music was concert-level loud) took a liking to me. Sensing (erroneously) that Jews might be easy, he immediately began pawing at me, trying to hold my hand, slapping my back like we were buddies, and asking for my number every other sentence.

Rachel and I dislodged from the group to grab a drink. The male-female ratio was 3:1, so we couldn’t order a drink without three or four guys stalking us like prey. After an hour, I was ready to go. Rachel, about three years younger, wanted to get her money’s worth on the dance floor. Fuck.

A Rastafarian, dreads and all, was house-dancing with his drunk, goofy friends next to an unattractive couple dry humping and covered in booze. Shit-show.

drunk-coupleI still don’t understand why people in religious youth groups act like wasty-face, horn dogs.

After I had my fill of creepy couples and nonsensical, drunk pick-up lines, we went back to the bar for our second and final drink.

“Samantha!” a guy about five feet exclaimed, grabbing my friend’s shoulders as if to shake her.

“Um…no,” Rachel said and carefully maneuvered away from his vice-like grip.

“Dude,” I said in words only an ogre could understand. “Didn’t your mom tell you not to grab a woman like that?”

Drunk pause. “Geez, bitchy much?” he shot back and left.

Oh, I’m sorry! Did my feminist protest offend your oafish sensibilities?

Another gem, I believe Ben (?, though, I might actually be stereotyping here) caught Rachel’s eye and paused for some less-than-witty banter. Screaming over blaring music he asked us where we lived about five times. I answered four out of the five.

“I have a New Year’s party of like, 600 people. You guys totally should come,” he said. He sounded about 23.

No thanks.

Ben then produced two amateurish business cards. Business cards! Cue Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. Where is the watermark?!! Is this embossed Egyptian parchment or fine, opaque linen? Alas, Batman would be rolling in his proverbial grave, as it was cheap and flimsy card stock.

“Rachel,” I said at around 12:45pm. “This is horrific. Please. Can we leave now?”

“Oh, come on. It’s not THAT bad.”

But it was THAT bad. People were leaving and only the super inebriated remained, leaving huge, vacant pockets on the dance floor – enough room so that drunk couples could rabidly grind and dry-hump without knocking into each other. What’s more, some sadistic asshole with a vodka and sweat-filled Super Soaker must have strategically drenched each dancer.

It all was a sweltering, sticky and smelly mess.

Thankfully, Rachel saw the light after 15 minutes. We huddled outside waiting for our Uber amid melodic sounds of alleyway puking and crying, consciously uncoupled women.

Fa-la-la-lafel Frenzy Fail.

A Childless Christmas Part II: Still Not Guilty

I slept in until 12:30pm. I had my first cup of coffee at 12:45pm. These little luxuries are vital for single parents.

You know what, despite my initial fear of a Childless Christmas, I don’t feel guilty!

Resting and recharging your inner being is what makes any parent a GREAT parent.

Recently, I’ve read a few single mommy blogs about Christmas guilt. The vast majority felt guilty not spending the holiday with their kids. I get where their coming from, however some part of their post admitted they felt relieved to abandon the stress of the holidays’.

As many of you read in my previous posts, my blogging journey and goal is to learn from the anecdotes of parents from all walks of life (we are such a diverse group and generally speaking, we support each other) so that I can pursue an “enlightened lifestyle” or being more mindful of my positive and productive feelings, staying mindful and gentle of my child’s feelings and the others around me while accumulating some parenting “life hacks” from the community.

What I’ve learned so far is that guilt is not a positive or productive feeling, yet American society glorifies it as a badge of honor.

Why is exhaustion, over-work and under valuing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs something to honor just because we’re parents?

Something worth pondering.

Thank You And Happy (Early) Holidays!

I’ve only been on this blog journey for a few months and I am utterly gobsmacked at the wave of support I receive on a daily basis. Since I will be having a very Jewish Christmas (Chinese food + movie) tomorrow with the family, I won’t have time to send my Christmas tidings.

I want to take a minute to personally thank (and shamelessly promote) a few bloggers that have either supported my posts, took the time out of their busy blogging schedules to reblog, comment and like, and/or are just nice/funny/interesting folks:

I know I’ve forgotten a ton of other blogging “friends.” Please forgive me or yell at me to update this list 🙂

ty

Thank you and Happy Holidays Folks!

What Satan, I Mean Santa Brought For Christmas…

I have never likened my beloved Santa to the devil living inside the Earth’s core until I had a kid of my own. Only Satan would create the creepy, demonic voices of Elephant bounce and strides, strobe-light baby laptops, or anything labeled “Vtech.” So without further adieu, here’s what a possessed Santa brought Andrew this year:

Fisher Price 3-in-1 Bounce and Stride

elephant scooter

The elephant sounds like a screeching chimp blowing its nose. When it does speak English, it also sounds like a little boy imitating Dumbo or with the flu. And it’s a bitch to put together, especially when you’re trying to attach the elephant head. For a few days, Andrew rode his decapitated elephant until my father screwed it into place.

Vtech Sit-and-Stand Learning Walker

baby walker

This toy was cool for about thirty seconds. When Andrew hung up the plastic phone, some bitchy New Yorker shouted back “Thanks fer cooaaalling!” Also, the faster you turned the plastic gears, the more torturous the cries of cows, birds, roosters, dogs and cats along with the 1-2-3 strobe lights seemed. On sound alone, I’d like to rename this toy as “My First Animal Processing Plant.”

Vtech Sit-to-Stand Alphabet Train

train

An elephant serves as the conductor of the the alphabet train (the elephant sounds off instead of a horn?!). I mean, is Andrew destined to grow up thinking elephants live inside a train’s smokestack? I’m NOT over-thinking this. Can’t they have a cute dog or something? At least a dog can fit on a train. But, I do appreciate this toy’s attempt to teach the alphabet, although it’s in awkward sentence combinations. For instance, when Andrew matches the lettered blocks in the alphabet book, a little kid says: “The egg (E) is next to the fish (F)” Huh? Is the fish laying eggs? Or are we making some weird fish omelet? Stop being lazy Vtech…

Vtech Baby’s Light-Up Laptop

Vtech-Babys-Light-Up-Laptop--pTRU1-14946548dt

The screen is like a 70’s inspired LightBright with the English and Spanish alphabet. Whomever is commissioned to write and/or voice Vtech needs more creative scripts other than the “The chicken is in the yellow diamond.” You’re trying to kill three birds (chickens) with one stone Vtech… The keys sing “Do Re Mi” with all the trappings of a computer synthesizer. Auto tune would be so much cooler. For $20 bucks, I think I’m expecting too much. At least someone is learning Spanish…me!

Vtech Alphabet Activity Cube

box

I saved Satan’s best Vtech torture device for last. This little gem takes all of Vtech’s best hits- alphabet blocks, creepy childlike voices, nefarious gears, phones and hideous computer-synthesized music- and stacks them on all five sides of a cube. It’s exactly like the horror movie, Cube, when a hapless teenager moves the pieces of the cube to reveal the devil’s minions. Okay…maybe not exactly like the movie.

But try listening to all five toys in unison, buzzing, beeping, bopping and screeching and you’ll start wishing for a demonic presence to take you away from it all. Or put you out of your misery.

See/buy any torture-device toys lately?