Wednesday, August 27, 2014

reading on the beach

I am reading What Alice Forgot, my third book by my new favorite author, Liane Moriarty.

It is another cloudless day.  Hot. Maybe 90 but feels like 70.  A perfectly regulated breeze keeps the heat at bay.

I am on Wild Harbor Beach with my mom.  All I want to do is read.  In fact, before leaving the house, I not so subtly ask, “Did you bring your book?”  My mom’s a big reader.  “Yup,” she responds.  “I have it right here,” and she points to her packed beach bag.

The beach mid-week is pleasantly populated (enough people to be social with if you want, but not so many that you’re fighting over sand space).

I settle in.  Beach chair facing sun.  Tilted in the perfect reading and sunning position. Cool drink in hand.

I read about five pages, or more accurately, 1% on my Kindle.

“I love this coat by Eileen Fisher.  Did you see it?”  My mom hands me the NY Times Fashion Section. 

“Oh, that’s really nice,” I respond.  It is. I try to keep my answers short to discourage conversation.

I read another 1%.

“Have you seen Adam’s apartment since he re-decorated it?”

“No, I haven’t,” and I return to my book.

Less than 1% this time.

“So, what do you want to do for dinner tonight?”

“I haven’t thought about it,” I reply, as I unwrap half a cranberry chicken salad sandwich. It’s 2pm and I’m eating lunch.  I haven't yet contemplated dinner.

“So what’s happening in your office?”  The founder of the company is in the news.  He’s being sued by his partners for all sorts of awful things.  Of course she's interested in knowing about that.  I wish I had something of substance to tell her.

I go back to my book.

“So, when is M going back to Boston?” She has to move her son into his dorm but she’ll be returning tomorrow.

I try to read some more but my interest is waning.

My mom wants to talk.  And she can be pretty entertaining.

My book can wait. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

magical day

Summer is my least favorite season.  But after today, I may have to reconsider.

Today is exactly what summer should be. 

M and her family have rented a home for the week in West Falmouth.  Today only M is around so she comes over and we spent a leisurely afternoon on Wild Harbor Beach with my mom.  The weather could not be more perfect.  Not too hot.  No clouds.  A little wind.

We spent about two hours in the very cool but crystal clear ocean.  We talk. We read. We do nothing of significance.

Around 4:30, M and and I leave to go to her house.  It sits on a peninsula at the end of a long dirt road.  Water surrounds the house on three sides.  It is spectacular.

Later, M's husband T comes home, and my mom brings dinner.  

My mom's made an excellent chicken with vegetables dish and a simple salad with big red tomatoes from her friend's garden.  We sit on the porch and watch the sun set over West Falmouth Harbor. 

It's a gorgeous end to a gorgeous day.

ALS Challenge

M challenges me and I accept.  I call out my sister Jean, my mom, and Alexander.  

We go to M's rented home in North Falmouth where she is staying this week.  We stop and pick up a big bag of ice.  She's already purchased the large requisite bucket.  I test the video option on my Lumix.  It works.  We are all set to go.

Just one small problem.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

if only

Instead of taking the Bolt Bus I fly to Hyannis today. 

While the flight leaves at noon, I leave my house before 9, just to be sure.

I take the subway to the AirTrain to JFK airport.  Without luggage, it’s easy.  But it still takes almost two hours.

I print out my eTicket and am told to go in the expedited check-in line.  I guess I don’t look threatening.  I’m at the gate within minutes of arriving at the airport.

The pilot announces that it’s a beautiful day to fly.  At a quick 38 minutes, it is so much better than sitting on two busses for over six hours.

It’s an uneventful flight, just as I want a flight to be.  The only thing worth noting is the unusual haircut sported by one of the passengers. 

When the plane lands, I say to him, “I’ve never seen a haircut quite like yours. May I take a picture?”

He is appreciative of my observation and happily poses.

Growing up, my dad and I had endless screaming matches over the length of my bangs.  “Your hair is hanging in your eyes,” were words I heard too often. If only I had had this picture. I could have pointed to it and said, “Imagine if this were your child instead of me.” 

I smile thinking of all the arguments that would have been averted.

Friday, August 22, 2014

and off he goes

Alexander’s friend arrives and leaves and I never see him.

He must have arrived sometime after 1am last night and left before 8 this morning.  I do wake up around 4:30 and make out what looks like a curled up blob on my sofa. Daniel is the perfect guest, requiring no bedding, no towels and no food.

Finally around 11 my son emerges from his room.  “I have a lot to do,” he announces.  He has much to remember but the most prevalent thing on his mind is this.  “Hey, I want you to unlike my new profile picture.  I don’t want people to know I’m friends with my mom on Facebook.” I take this as a positive sign.  At least he hasn’t unfriended me.

My son does get a lot done.  He has a haircut.  He packs.  He eats a leisurely brunch of eggs with onion. He changes his linens.  Together we watch one of his favorite movies, True Romance. And he finally cleans his room.

He doesn’t have time though for laundry.  To choose some clothes I’ve offered to buy from a great site I discovered called Carbon2Cobalt.  To write some thank-you notes as he’d promised.  To decide on a meal plan. Or to have a nice late lunch with me.  But the important stuff is done.

Alexander's room is back to normal. My apartment is again neat and organized. But a small piece of my heart leaves with him on the 5:40 Cornell bus back to Ithaca.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

mom staying mum

I am very neat.  And very organized.  So it's really really hard to keep quiet.  But I don't want to fight with Alexander who is only home for five days.

So I don't mention the big duffel bag in the living room that my son's been living out of since arriving home early Sunday morning.

Or the bed that hasn't been made once.

Or the clothes piled on his bed or a nearby chair, but never in the laundry basket.

I am trying really hard to just smile and be pleasant and not give my son any reason to think I'm being a nag (his word, not mine).

Tonight is Alexander's last night before leaving tomorrow afternoon for school.  I had envisioned a nice dinner out and a quiet night in. 

Instead, we order in pizza because Alexander has too much to do before leaving, and besides, he had a big lunch with his grandmother today.

Then instead of packing and doing his laundry, Alexander needs to see his friends.  Oh, and his good friend from LA is flying in tonight and should arrive around 11.  Alexander's already informed me that they'll probably go back out once Daniel gets in.

And then if they stay out late he'll sleep late, and leave himself little time to pack, do laundry, and get a haircut. But hey, I'm not saying a word.

up in middle of the night again

2:50 AM.  I wake up.

I think of the TV public service ad, “It’s 10pm. Do you know where your children are?”

Alexander is not home.  He left around ten to go to Peter’s, to hang out on his roof with a few friends.

I text and he answers.


Was he expecting not to tell me?  I call him.

“I was charging my phone; it was out of batteries.”  Yes.  Of course.  And my son is the only one of his friends who has a phone.

Then Alexander gives me some convoluted story about how he’s at Maddie’s with a few of his friends.  It’s late. He’s tired.  Maddie lives on 110th and Broadway.  He’s staying there.

I question him. I ask to speak with Maddie.  “Where do you live?” I ask Maddie.  “Hold on, your mom wants to speak to you,” and she hands the phone back to Alexander.

“Okay, Maddie doesn’t live at 110th and Broadway, but if I told you she lives at 93rd and Madison, which is so much closer, you wouldn’t let me stay.”  After ten more minutes of unpleasant conversation, I tell him it’s fine to stay and I’ll see him in the morning.

Five minutes later my phone rings.  “Okay, I’ve decided to come home.”

“What?  What happened that all of a sudden you want to come home?”

“I’m more awake now, and the room I’m staying in is too hot.”

“Okay, but I don’t want you walking home.  Take a cab.”  Maddie’s a little over a mile from where we live.  New York City may be safe, but I don’t want my son roaming its streets at 3:15 in the morning.


I know my son.  He’ll tell me he’s taking a cab but then walk because it’s cheaper and he’s invincible.

I say, “Call me as soon as you pull up to the building so I can look out my window and see you get out of the cab.”

We hang up.

Two minutes later my phone rings again.  “Will you pay for the cab?”

“No,” I say.  Last night Alexander went out with friends and they met up at a local bar.  Surely he can pay for the cab.

We hang up.

I get another text.  “I am not coming home.”

He doesn’t.

I was up at this hour when Alexander was an infant.  No one told me then that getting up in the middle of the night kicks in again when your child is home from college.