On Being the Mother Who Always Gets Caught: Epic Mom-Fails, Saves, and Bonus Moms

I don’t know about you. You’re probably better than I am.

I am the mother who always gets caught. It’s practically a law of physics. If I go off-script even a little, say I break the rules, trying to stand up for my kids to mean teachers (who later turned out to be shady) or go the extra mile to be “the fun/cool mom”—it’s an utter catastrophe.

Even the times when I finally buckle and say,  “Sure thing, kiddo! Let’s stay all four days of the school campout” when other parents just stay one, and although I try to stick to the script—singing merrily ’round the campfire, chopping organic veggies with all the other proper, chipper married parents—something always happens.

Suddenly, a terrified shriek disturbs the cathedral hush of the woods… and my perfect, beautiful child is standing before us all now with a broken tooth. Her wrist has its own new elbow. She has just gone head-over-heels-over-razor-scooter and is bleeding profusely about the mouth. Of course, we are in the wilderness where you can actually see the stars in an overhead blanket of velvety indigo. Fortunately,  in our motley crew of parents, there are two dentists and a doctor who all swoop in to pronounce that the front tooth can be saved and that her wrist isn’t broken. Ice packs and Ibuprofen are quickly administered.

We pass a sleepless night in our $40 tent from Target. At dawn, we race back to town to the pediatric ER where it turns out her wrist is broken. (In all fairness to Louis, the parent/ doctor, he’s a pulmonologist, not an ortho.) The on-call dentist saves the tooth, after which my darling girl rests a day and then we go back up to the campout to get her cast graffiti-ed. I never want either of my kids to suffer. It kills me. I’m sick of platitudes about how it builds character. Shut up about that already. The girls already have a surplus of character—they are both wickedly charming and resourceful.

***

My worst epic mom-fail happened when I decided, as a single mother who hadn’t had sex in over a year, to try to pull off a quick shag between basketball practice and dinner. (I know we all think mothers don’t or shouldn’t do it, but I was dying.) I raced home from work, the person I’d been flirting with for several months was waiting on my doorstep like a perfectly wrapped man-present. No commitments, no needs, he was just right there. I was WAY off-script and DTF. (People think I don’t know that acronym, but I do) We swiftly took to the sheets.

Little did I know that this week, the basketball coach decided to end practice early to let the girls rest up before the big game, which is how my poor, long-suffering daughter ended up bounding into my big game. But that’s not the worst of it…

As she bounded in… I screamed, “Noooooooooooo!!!”

At that moment, the guy on top of me leaped out of bed and headed, naked, for the window (Where was he planning on going? We lived on a high floor, was he jumping? That’s not okay.) He was so frantic, he accidentally tripped on the drapes, pulling the curtains, rods, and everything down and out of the plaster. So not only, was he in the buff in front of my horrified teenage daughter. Our neighbors and the entire city got a look-see of this wildly cringe-worthy moment.

Never trying that again.

***

My one win in all the years… I was on a conference call and after years of biblical wrath from me about mom-having-to-do-conference-calls-from-home-so-you-must-be-seriously-on-death’s-door-if-you-plan-to-interrupt-and-so-on, I’m listening to the creative team making their very best effort to sell a great, but impossible idea, when my youngest scampers in, eyes like meatballs, clutching her throat with a yellow post-it that said, “TIDDLYWINK!” She was choking on an effing Tiddlywink game chip! Why was it in her mouth to begin with? She was thirteen. That’s not how you tiddle.

I hung up the phone, whipped my daughter around and gave her the Heimlich maneuver. The chip went down instead of flying out, but she could breathe. And so again, we were off to the pediatric ER with our very calm neighbor Dean (because I was not so calm) where the Tiddly-chip was deemed non-toxic and you can probably guess the rest. Just one good moment. Phew…

***

Last thing, a hearty thanks and a happiest Mother’s Day to all the bonus moms who helped this hapless mom along the way—Joy, Claire, Maia, Jacqueline, Helene, Diana, Susan, Kirston, Teodora, Camille, Holly, Alisa, Mo, Serena, Adam Z and Charles, I’m not worthy… clearly.

Stay rad and have a meaningful day – xoxo – gg

 

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This Guy…

Hello, Lovelies,

Oy, I meant to post this yesterday. Meet John Oliver… or John Deer Oliver—named after a tractor and a national treasure of a comedian. Yes, it’s Day 17 of my writer’s retreat. I was on my way to the compost heap when I ran into this guy. He’s a very amiable, chill young buck. Visits every day around 4 pm and seems to like NPR.

But oh, nature… nature doesn’t feel terribly funny compared to the city’s characters. I confess I am totally homesick for this feisty little old lady who hangs out protesting the Starbuck’s on the corner every weekend. She’s the absolute spit of Elaine Stritch and she always has an old school “We-are-pleased-to-serve-you” actual paper cup of coffee with the actual New York Times spread across at least three tables. No one seems to mind. I hope she’s still alive when I get back. When I left, it was like this because of all the wacky weather.
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The other morning I came outside up here and said, “Hello, everyone…” to the animals. Thankfully, no one said hello back. It’s a crowd consisting of John Deer, a completely pleasant beaver I’ve named “Gary” along with a baby squirrel since dubbed “Janice” and some wickedly indecisive geese who can’t figure out which way to fly. This is Gary… He’s eating a yam.

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Ok, I am stalling on a Wednesday deadline, but I miss you all. Stay rad… xoxo – GG

The Path of Totality

Hello Lovelies,

How the hell are you? Are you wearing your glasses? It’s been a tough mental health week here and everywhere… Imagine if Angela Merkel were online today bemoaning the removal of Hitler busts, she’d be dragged from her house and offed more quickly than Ned Stark during an HBO hack-a-thon. For a day or two, I was doing all my final edits here. I don’t know who said it first, but finishing this book is like being pregnant with a lawnmower. It’s all large and sharp… and unwieldy… with loads of psychic paper cuts.

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With the return of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, I confess… I SO wanted him to block me. It was like a Girl Scout badge (no, I never quit). I tried everything from damning passive-aggressive buddy texts to scathing Russian cartoons. In truth, these days my cruelty only comes out for a quick jaunt. Between the heat and my crazy neighbor, Marlene, I have acute snark-fatigue.

The thing of it is… even for a mouthy little spitfire who’s still making up for the fact that she was mute in Manhattan for a good long time, I was stunned back into silence this week after the presser. I got on the train all like this:

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Then, I got off the train to this… I haven’t seen such joy in free speech in a while.

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and this:

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And also this… Ah, New Yorkers are a practical lot.

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If only! But I’m with Colbert on this one, I give him until next week. I also predict loads of dancing. For now, I’ll be at Marie’s with this baby.

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Stay rad, stay loud, stay safe.  xoxo – GG

 

 

 

 

The Longest Day: Time to Bust Out Those Flower Crowns and Druid Dresses!

Happy Solstice Lovelies,

How the hell are you? I just realized we’re going to need a whole lot of Pagan rituals if this cruel, Illuminati, Skull & Bones healthcare bill passes. In the meantime, if you’re around Times Square today, keep your eyes peeled for thousands of people with their bums in the air in down dog for the Mind Over Madness solstice party. Yes, I’ll admit to finding something momentarily erotic about it all until I realized we’re going to need to start making special electrolyte water out of reconstituted boob sweat to keep the planet going. Oy. I can help with that.

And I’m sure I’m not the only one who was disappointed in Pope Francis’s condemnation of yoga. What gives Pope? What happened to all are welcome? Every culture celebrates the solstice in its own way. What happened to the whole acceptance vibe? Cranky.

I also realized if I’m to survive the rest of this year, I need to stop shuffling around the apartment with Warren Ellis hair (my hero) and get to work on the next thing. I have something fermenting. I’m just haunted by a crapload of “Should I haves” and “Is it too lates?” with SPAZ.

Should I have talked more about how when Marlene moved in next door I had to buy sniper earmuffs? She looked at me like I was Dexter with a kill box when I opened the door wearing them. They were only $14 (on Amazon, of course) and I was desperate to quell the sound of her explosively yappy dog, not to mention the boom-boom of the 70-inch flatscreen she mounted on the other side of my bedroom wall? Oh, Marlene…

Should I have recounted the Nancy Drew-style Search Party investigation my BFF Ed and I conducted to get to the bottom of the Marlene mystery? How it ended with me actually meeting someone from the show?

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Is it too late to talk about why epilepsy belongs in the neurodiversity NeuroTribes category along with Autism Spectrum and ADHD, Anxiety, and all the other ways in which we are wired as people?

Is it too late to do work that scares my dad? That’s been my goal all along, but he might be too old by now. I wanted to write a comedic book about having a totally unapologetic relationship with my damaged brain and now I’m having big separation anxiety about it. Does this happen with all first books? I think I need other neurotics to weigh in. David Sedaris? You up? Or is there a Pagan rite or ceremony I can perform today that doesn’t involve so much boob sweat?

Meanwhile, happy solstice everyone and stay cool, you exhausted futurists, you!

xoxo – GG

Why yes, I am a lefty ho…

Hello My Lovelies,

A quick post before the Cheeto-elect places his small, sweaty, orange, pussy-grabbing palm on a bible (leaving a stain, no doubt) and I morph back into a pre-existing condition—epilepsy. (My brain likes to spontaneously combust now and then. A genetic electrical issue, but what can you do?)

It goes without saying that there’s a definite buzz in the city this week. A reckoning humming… as though someone has strung high tension wires from skyscraper to tenement and back again. It’s a mood both distinctly electric and furtive. Like a burgeoning totalitarian regime, people pass each other on the street with expressions of crumpled worry… that say, “Are you one of us? Are you a… ahem… a friend? Oh, you’re not? Okay, no big!”

Just yesterday, I was trudging up Madison to the dentist in the freezing rain for my nine millionth root canal (that I cannot afford) when this homeless man came up to me and said, “Can I just tell you, I really like your boots?”

The snarky, jerky ne’er-do-well in my head replied, “Well then, clearly, I need to do some shopping!” (Only because these boots are from Costco. That’s right, the brand is “waterproof”)

But because New York is so bizarro-feeling these days, instead I said, “Thank you?”

And then, he launched into his whole elevator pitch, which when you’re a writer you do a lot of… but in my desire to be empathetic, I forgot that I still can’t make the right faces (post-accident) so I can mostly only look either terrified or uber cynical.

I must have looked really scared because a cabbie stopped traffic and called out to me, “Hey, are you okay??? Is he bothering you?”

And lo, in a voice that came out just like Greta Gerwig’s, I called back, “No, he just likes my footwear!” I’m a lefty ho, who’s as scared as the next person, right now.

But oy… it made me think that with all the protests and marches going on this week and going forward… we need to proceed thoughtfully, with compassion for those who think differently (or maybe not at all ) and keep a steady eye trained on intersectional politics… reversing stigma of all kinds, refraining from getting our collective dander up, being more inquisitive of each other and diffusing with humor wherever possible.

You just never know who is going to turn out to be a pal…

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If you plan to protest or march in NYC at any of the many efforts, just some handy tips!

Yours in solidarity, xoxo – gg

All is Calm… All is Bright…

But we really need some snow.

Seriously, it does not look like this in NYC and it needs to because it’s December people… and I am seeing way too much garbage and poo on 82nd Street.

Hello lovelies,

I know it’s been a long time. I’d like to say I have good excuses, but then… I’ve always said excuses pretty much blow, which is an excuse in and of itself now that I hear it out loud in my head 🙂 I have been all over the planet lately as a panhandler of words… hovering, warming my cold, chapped, Dickensian hands over the smoldering embers of other people’s much better ideas.

Here I am outside Berlin on the set of Grand Budapest Hotel for Project Vargr

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Sidebar: who knew a western European country like Deutschland could have so much schnitzel and so little product? The mind reels! The hair frizzes. Still learning how to smile for the camera…

And here I am in LaLaLand for Project G, wearing socks by the pool. Yes, that’s my pigment-free ankle. Liz Lemon’s got nothin on me.

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I can never stay in LA for long. I get a headache from rolling my eyes so much.

I started GG as an ongoing love letter to a city that has always made me feel at home… a tiny blog in praise of this place’s crazy ones, celebrating or leaning into its very difficult, nerdy, outspoken, prickly-pear, harrumphing people who make you realize why other cities pale and feel sort of JV (sorry other cities)… Not a political blog, not necessarily a neuro blog… except when warranted… and hoo boy… do I have some tales.

I was so blue after the election I almost defected to Sweden, but… I just cannot put that much sugar in my coffee. I like my coffee bitter… so, all is calm… all is bright… in the snowglobe that is my head and it’s time to get back to Gotham. Stay rad, my lovelies…

xoxo – gg

PS – the best thing I’ve watched this week… courtesy of Brainpickings.org… best blog ever:

 

 

On Desire: 3 Things All New Yorkers Want…

This week, I am getting my life together.

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Cartoon by the amazing Aliie Brosh

Above is my “I’m feeling really good about myself” stance. I do it all over my apartment. (especially after laundry) The stance is making realize all kinds of things…

For starters, it is completely important that I finally learn how to ride a bike in a dress and heels.

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As an automatic mood stabilizer more powerful than Prozac, I am convinced that by doing this at least once a week, I will become a better person to be around. Even people who can’t stand me will find a new level of tolerance for my ridiculousness.

But more importantly, this exercise in responsibility has wrought a certain clarity… I’ve realized that there are 3 universal truths out there about what people everywhere want most in life. I used to think it was all just existential chaos, but New Yorkers (coupled with doing my laundry) have made me see the light.

1) A sandwich.

As Liz Lemon, my all-time favorite fictional writer, once attested… all of humankind just wants to sit and have a sandwich.

From the towering Rubens of Katz’s Deli to the impromptu doughiness of the Ethiopian hoagie, every culture wants a sandwich. No place on earth exemplifies this desire more than New York City.

My favorite sandwich, the combination falafel-lamb gyro with extra white sauce, is sold at carts everywhere here by The Halal Guys. I love The Halal Guys not only because they are the best street meat on this glorious island, but also because they have the best (and simplest) slogans ever:

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Many are exuberant run-on sentences:

“Yes we serve the masses Oh yes, we serve masses! They love our food You can too just come on down.” and “You can’t make up your mind between chicken and Gyro you don’t have to, have chicken and Gyro combo.”

My personal Halal Guy is the opposite of the soup Nazi. He’s like a sexy Forrest Gump. It’s never an issue of denial. He thinks I do not eat enough. Every time I find myself at the window, he says, “You must to eat more falafel! Deep Fry, my skinny friend. New York requires!” (Marvin would disagree with this sentiment, but no drag queen trainer from Queens will ever stand in the way of me and my street meat)

The other great is that The Halal Guys are only one $ on Yelp, which means I can still pay my student loans (which I will probably have until my next life kicks in, but I’ve come to terms with it SallieMae. You should too)

2) A T-shirt.

A t-shirt, worn without a light sweater or jacket, is a universal sign that the weather is perfect. Since, I am pigment impaired, I tend to like mine with sleeves. I also prefer uber honest messaging, so I’ve started designing my own:

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(I was so terrible to my ex-husband)

Also, this one’s a keeper…

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You could wear these all over the city and people would wish they had one too.

3) A neighbor.

Cranky or caring, every New Yorker needs to know at least one neighbor–even if they are like this:

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Manhattan is a place of intrinsic conflict. Everyone is always in your face. The consequence of this conflict is a certain brand of intimacy that allows you to say whatever the hell you want. This is why it’s always wise to keep a little bit of a buffer with one’s neighbors. To this is end, signs like the above are completely appropriate. Why? You’re not yelling at anyone, you’re simply expressing facts and desires.

So, there you have it… I am finally owning my Manhattan truth because, in the enduring words of The Halal Guys, “You can too… New York requires.”

Deep fry my friends…

xoxo-gg