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On taffy and jelly donuts

During vacation, BH’s sister casually asked Skiddle how her mom felt about the twins.  Skiddle’s non-committal grunt made me curious but she changed the subject so deftly that no one else seemed to notice.

While dropping Skiddle off last week, I brought it up.  It took a few moments of pulling answers out of her like so much taffy (she is 14 after all) to get the whole story but in the end she finally admitted that she’d gone home after we’d announced the news of the twins and told her mother that she was upset about the fact that her father is going to be someone else’s Daddy.  This was no secret to us – she is the supreme “Daddy’s Girl” after all (and I’m sure she will continue to be, despite her fears about the twins usurping her position in the family.)  I asked what her mom had said when she found out.

“She said, ‘That’s unfortunate.  Your sister will be upset.’”

My brain immediately morphed into an oozing jelly donut of emotion, as it usually does when trying to sort out, on the fly, how to react to something extraordinarily inappropriate that her mother has said or done without letting on to Skiddle just how…obtuse her mother can be at times.

My first reaction was indignation on Skiddle’s behalf.  Skiddle had just admitted to her mother how upset she was and instead of comforting Skiddle and talking through her feelings, Mother immediately thought about the impact this situation would have on her other daughter – the one who chooses to have nothing to do with us. Seriously, I’ve never met the girl.   She’s a sophomore at a college three states away.  How could this possibly impact her? (This is Skidde’s older half-sister, let’s call her Wednesday.) And why in name of all that’s even slightly maternal would her mother simply dismiss Skiddle’s feelings and go right to how poor, dear Wednesday would feel about it?

Can I get a WHUCK right now?

{whuck, whuck}

As we drove in silence for a few moments, I wondered, not for the first time, how many generations it had taken before her mother’s ancestors finally stopped eating their young.   While Skiddle has mentioned before that she feels her maternal grandmother favors Wednesday, she’s never come right out and said the same about her own mother.  Experience has shown me that this particular mother seems to overcompensate for (a) never marrying Wednesday’s father (b) marrying my BH, thereby providing a father for both Skiddle and Wednesday but then by (c) divorcing BH thereby removing the father figure for Wednesday – by treating Wednesday with much deference – and by putting Skiddle’s needs second.  Always.

[For the record, BH was happy to continue in his role of father to Wednesday; she chose to turn her back on the relationship with many indignant, “You’re not my father, don’t try to tell me what to do”s thrown in.  Despite this fact, BH still pays most of her tuition and other financial needs because if he didn’t, she would have been relegated to attending a (not exactly sub-par) state school instead of the wonderful top-ranked university she presently attends.  – And let me just put this out there lest the jellyroll that is my head explode into a sticky red mess all over your computer screen – this stellar Mother feels that she should not have to pay more than 10% of either of her own daughters’ expenses.  And even though Wednesday knows that BH pays for it all BY CHOICE – not because he’s forced to but BECAUSE IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO AND IS IN HER BEST INTEREST, when we ran into her and Skiddle at the grocery store a few weeks ago, Wednesday simply put her nose in the air as if she smelled something rank and walked by without a word.]

Sorry, my cap lock key seems to have gotten stuck there for a moment.  Or was I shouting?  I was shouting, wasn’t I?  Again, sorry.  Back to the point of the matter here:

Skiddle is upset about the twins and when I asked why she didn’t tell us this, even though we opened the forum for discussion, she said, in her true, sweet Skiddle way, “But you guys are so excited about it.  I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”

So she went where she felt safe to discuss it and her mother’s only concern was for Wednesday.  Now.  Let me just also put this out there.  I know that teenagers and children of divorce learn to manipulate situations to gain the best advantage.  But Skiddle does not have a history of playing the victim.  And the few times she did try to play one parent off the other, she was called on it and learned pretty quickly that her father was going to do what he feels is the right thing to do under all circumstances, regardless of whether Skiddle or Mother think it’s “unfair” and even if “all the other kids are doing it” – so she stopped trying to play that card around, oh, eleven.

But – if history is the best indicator of future performance, her mother very likely immediately went to how Skiddle’s sister would react instead of focusing on the fact that her daughter just told her she was upset about this.

When Skiddle was in 8th grade, there was an opportunity for her to test into a private school.   She took all the steps she needed to align her proverbial ducks so that when she presented the idea to her parents, all the work was done.  She had figured out that the school was actually a few miles closer to her mother’s house than the public school and, though there wasn’t bus service from her house per se, there were ways to get her there (either by car pooling to a bus stop or to the school itself).  She had gotten the application, completed it and researched test dates.  Then she presented it to us.  We said, “Great, what do you need from us?” and moved from there.

Her mother, however, said, “If your sister didn’t get in there, there’s no way you’re going to.”

Aside from the obvious parenting faux pas of comparing siblings in a manner that makes one appear to be lacking, this makes my head want to explode like the light of a thousand suns.

Or a jellyroll.


It’s critically important to us that Skiddle feels comfortable enough to discuss her feelings about the twins.  And I always thought she knew that before.  After this discussion, however, it’s clear to me that (1) she does not feel comfortable discussing it with us and (2) the person she tried to discuss it with (Mother) does not have the skill set to help Skiddle work through it.

What’s next?  I don’t know.  But I sure could use some help here.  Anyone got a suggestion or experience with this sort of thing?




Blue Around the Gills

First, I wanted to thank everyone who replied about the prenatal testing question.  It’s coming up faster than I had planned.  I thought they were all done around 19 weeks but they’ve already set the TN test for 5/11.  The end of the first trimester is 5/14 and, as I’m sure you can imagine, I’ve been holding my breath until that date arrives, which explains a lot more than just the blue tinge around my gills.

Friends who’ve been along for the ride through every other try, pregnancy and miscarriage are always hesitant to bring up the subject around me for fear of prying in case something has gone wrong.  I had dinner with one of those friends last night, who had asked if she could use our SUV to pick up a fire pit.  During the day however, she sent one of those surveys – a chain mail of sorts.  Normally I don’t respond to these things but I figured out years ago that if I have some fun and run with it, it’s a win:win.  The friend gets a chuckle (and hopefully the 20 friends I was required to send it to did as well), I do not become the “lame” one who “breaks the chain” and I also avoid the resulting dire consequences predicted in the letter.  Huzzah!

Here is the latest survey with my answers.  I promise I will figure out how to use the survey gadget I got for the site because I really want to get to know you guys better.  The dashboard says that around 37 people per day visit the site and, well, shucks, I’m flatterd…but I’d really like to know more about you all.  So to reduce the risk of being inexplicably flattened by an oil truck as I walk my dogs on the beach or poisoned like that one girl’s aunt’s neighbor’s brother-in-law’s third cousin twice removed, here is the survey.   [Disclaimer: Survey content is read and dismissed solely at the risk of the reader.  The Smumzie is not responsible for rogue oil trucks who flatten people who break the chain.  Naa-na-na-na-naa-Na.]

1. Your occupation right now? Bon vivant.
2. What color are your socks right now? Not wearing any.  You can’t make me.
3. What CD is playing in your car? CDs? Ipod all the way, baby!  The people in the lanes next to me really dig my music beteedubs.
4. What was the last thing that you ate? Rolaids (damn Indian food!)
5. Can you drive a stick shift? Sticky shift? Hey, what kind of survey is this anyway?
6. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Neo.
7. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yes but she doesn’t know it yet.  Don’t spill the beans.  We have a date tonight.  Taking her to BJ’s.  Maybe sit by a firepit later and chillax together over a glass of wine.
8. How old are you today? Old enough to know better but too young to resist.
9. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? I would rather fall face first into my own vomit before watching sports on TV
10. What is your favourite drink? Cheap gin & tonic with extra lime in a 6″ tall glass and precisely 7 ice cubes.  And an umbrella or stir straw. And some good conversation.  Some nice music, maybe – but not too loud… maybe some fresh salsa and chips.  Hey wait a minute!     *squinty eyes* Is this my intervention?!?   (shamelessly stolen from Steam Me Up Kid – see link. Warning: do not consume any liquids while reading her site.  It WILL be snarfed out your nose sooner or later.)
11. Have you ever dyed your hair? Holla!
12. Favorite foods? See food (yeah, you get it)
13. What is the last movie you watched? Date Night (“I’m going to go home and look at my vagina with a hand mirror now.”)
14. Favorite day(s) of the year? Smumziedays, of course
15. How do you vent anger? Voodoo dolls and many, many pins.
16. What was your favorite toy as a child? My sister.  We were too poor to have toys (awaah, awaah)
17. What is your favorite season? Fall (not the kind brought on by #s 9 and10 though)
18. Cherries or Blueberries? Chizarries all da way, yo!
19. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back? Sure. Family, too you bastards.
20. Who is the most likely to respond? Peggilicious
21. Who is most likely not to respond? Sped (my better half)
22. Living arrangements? Definitely living.  Most days. After coffee.
23. When was the last time you cried? When I gave up my dream of becoming arm candy to a rapper. So…February?
24. What is on the floor of your closet? There’s a floor in there?
25. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to? The other Peggy (girl, 35 years?! GAK!)
26. What did you do last night? Force-fed fish and veggies to my Skiddle. Brat. Watched 24 (Go Chloe!)
27. What are you most afraid of? Emailed surveys and chain letters
28. Plain, Cheese or Spicy Hamburgers? Spicy Hamburger?  We call that meatloaf where I’m from.
Favorite dog breed? Yappetizers!
Favorite day of the week? At the risk of repeating myself, I’m gonna have to go with Smumzieday.


Sitting in a restaurant in NYC one day, I realized I could hear every word of many conversations that were going on around me. The tables aren’t exactly designed for comfort.  This led me to use it for a critical scene in one of my books. I liked the idea of using it to give info to the reader without simply narrating it.

Since then, I’ve discovered several blogs dedicated to eavesdropping, Overheard in New York being my favorite. People not only can hear each others’ conversations (especially in restaurants), they also seem to enjoy occasionally listening in.

On vacation, we ate at the lovely Brown Derby (in MGM – and the food, btdubbs, was spectacular!) and overheard a woman at the table next to mine complaining about the person on her other side who had the audacity to be on a cell phone in a restaurant.

Her biggest complaint was that she could hear every word of that person’s conversation and how rude of him to be on the phone where other people were “trying to eat.”


First, if hearing another person’s conversation somehow suddenly diminishes one’s ability to eat, restaurants will soon be going the way of the party line (remember when telephones first came out and you could pick up the phone and hear your neighbor’s conversation?)

Second, what difference does it make whether you can hear every word the 2 people physically located next to you having a conversation say, or if it’s one person on a cell phone?  You go think about that one, Missy.

Here’s a show stopper: (you ready for this?)  I think the main source of irritation is because they can’t hear what the other person is saying, too (nosy ba$tards).

Or maybe it’s because they’re too busy complaining just loud enough for everyone seated around them to hear to stop and think that they’re complaining about someone else who is having a conversation just loud enough for everyone seated around them to hear.

D’ja ever think about that one?

If you sprinkle when you tinkle…

… please be neat and wipe the seat.

Are you a hoverer? *squinty eyes*

If you are, please tell me why.  Is it because you think sitting on the toilette seat is unsanitary?   It’s definitely unsanitary when I have to sit on a toilette seat covered in pee.

I suppose you could make the argument that a toilette seat is unsanitary just because someone else’s ass was there before yours. But no more so than wearing a short skirt while sitting on a park bench, restaurant chair or bleachers at your kid’s baseball game is. The back of your thighs touch the same area where someone else’s thighs were.  Bust out the Lysol and call the gyno because OMG.

And if you’re wearing a thong under that skirt (you little slut) then your ass cheeks are sharing plenty with your previous seat mate anyway.

So why you gotta make me clean your urine up off the seat before I can piddle?  Hovering is not an option for me. The old knees are not what they used to be and all that.

And while we’re on this topic, why is your aim so lousy? Do you even stop to think that not only are your pantlegs covered with pee when you do this, but every other person to use that stall after you winds up with their cuffs dragging in it? You may not care that your urine is all over your pants, and you may not even care that your urine is all over my pants, but sweetie-darling, try and understand that having your urine soaking my pants is a very big deal to me. So knock it the frick off. Okeydokey?

Almost every public restroom today offers those nifty tissue seat covers. If we all use them, toilette seats across the nation would be nice and clean.

Wouldn’t that be neat?

Miss me, darlings?  More tomorrow.  Just had to get that off my butt.

I didn’t mean THIS busy!

When I said I needed to find a way to stay busy to keep my mind off the potential twin pregnancy in our immediate future, I did not mean this busy!

We’ve had a leak in our sunroom ceiling for, oh about 3 years now.  We’ve had a contractor here at least 6 times to fix it.  Sheetrock has been cut, rehung, taped, sanded, primed and painted.  And then it was done again.  And again…and ag- okyougetthepicture.

The entire deck off our master bedroom above was finally lifted and replaced, along with redoing the roof under the decking.   And it seemed to work, until these last two monster storms hit when we woke up to find water dripping from the ceiling in our living room and sun room onto our sofa and carpeting below.  The dogs sat trembling in a corner as if to say, “Don’t look at us!  We didn’t do it!”   So I fired up the batlight and summoned the saviors.

When the doorbell rang at 7:50 am yesterday, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this is what I got:

And then this

Yeah, so that was for breakfast.  For lunch, I thought I’d take the dogs for a walk on the beach.  When we returned, here’s what we saw:

Landscapers! Cool!  Now I don’t have to worry about weeding, planting, mowing, raking and cleaning up the inevitable mess it all makes before I have to pick Skiddle up at school at 2:18.  Not 2:15, I was told and not 2:20.  Be there promptly at 2:18 and OMG IF YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT BEING LATE I WILL DIE.  Please don’t make me the last kid standing there the day before vacation!

But before I could even get out the door,  there was this.

Yeah, that there truck?  It’s delivering mulch.  And apparently fertilizer.  You know, of the, ah, manure flavor.

When the dogs were done rolling around in it, there were baths and I actually have a photo of it but forgot to load it into the computer before we got on the plane.  But before I could even get to that point, can I just get you to take a guess at what happened next?

Yep, the pile of manurey mulch was dumped in my driveway.  In front of the garage door.  Where the car was.  Did I mention that Skiddle begged me not to be late picking her up?

I think you all know how well that one went over.

So, anyway, we’re staying at the Sheraton Vistana resort for a week, for nearly free because they want us to buy a time share here.  And even though we told them we have no intention of doing anything of the sort, they still said, come on down.  And I wanted to tell you before we left for dinner that posting will be light this week.  Though if dinner tonight is abysmal as I’ve come to expect in Orlando, you will certainly be apprised of the situation post haste!

I know I shouldn’t be so hard on poor little Florida – but I’m a NY food snob – I don’t like the food in Italy either so make what you will of that.  Everyone always thinks, “Oooh, Italy! Land of pizza and pasta! Yum!”  but the fact is that Italy is more the land of coffee and cigarettes for breakfast (don’t bother ordering an egg cooked over easy because it does not exist there), a choice of exactly 3 sandwiches for lunch (no matter where you go – it’s the same 3 sandwiches: Panini with fresh mozzarella, basil and tomato, the same thing plus pancetta and plain pancetta and cheese) and fish for dinner.  I’ve had overcooked pasta more times than I care to remember there and their pizza sucks.

But I’m not in Italy today.  I’m in sunny Orlando and I’m about to go have some dinner.  I will let you know if it’s worth coming down for.

They’re Loud and They Smell Bad

When I picked Skiddle up from school on April 1, the first thing I said to her was, ‘Ribbit.”

See, we have this thing – whoever says Ribbit first on the 1st day of the month wins.  The loser buys ice cream.  So I was the lucky recipient of some nummy vanilla/chocolate twist with a cherry dip and life was good.  But then I had to go and take it a step farther.

I typically hate “put down” humor.  Like that chick, Lisa Lampanelli (or whatever), or people who smear wedding cake all over their new spouse’s face.    Scare Tactics, Punk’d, etc, I hate ’em all.  But the old Candid Camera shows were funny – mostly because they never tried to really hurt anyone or make them cry.

So, I promise you, it was with a light heart and fun intentions that I played a little April Fools on Skiddle.  When she got in the car she told me about her day, per our usual routine.

Skiddle:  Some girl told Madam Fromage (or whatever the French teacher’s name is. I can never understand it.) that she was pregnant today and Madame almost cried.

Smumzie:  OMG! Who is it?

Skiddle:  Who is what?

Smumzie:  Pregnant! Is it anyone I know?

Skid:  No, silly – it’s April Fools Day. [like, d’uh]

Smumz:  Oh -oooooh! I see.  What else is going on?

Skid:  Got a 93 on my math quiz!

Smumz:  Well done!  You and your dad worked hard on that all weekend.  Good job. Do you have homework tonight?

Skid:  Yep, but I’m so far ahead it’s not even funny.

Smumz:  Really? [she’s not known for being on time, let alone early]

Skid: Mmhmm.  Technically 2 of my projects aren’t due until after Spring break but since we’ll be gone away, I did them already.

Smumz:  Uh, yeah – so about that…

Skid:  *squinty eyes*  Yeeeees?

Smumz:  Well, it was a lot more expensive than we originally thought – and you know how your Dad’s really under the gun to get his latest research published.

Skid:  Get to the point – you’re killin me!

Smumz:  Well, we decided to cut the trip back from 10 days to 5 and…


Smumzie:  Aw, come on now…


Smumzie:  That’s not true.  We can still go on vacation with them along.

Skiddle:  NO WE CAN’T EVER.  THEY’RE GOING TO CHANGE EVERYTHING.  Besides, babies are loud and they smell bad [huge pouting face].

Smumzie:  I think they smell pretty good.

Skiddle:  No, they don’t.  And they’ll go into my room and get into all my stuff. [sob]

See that right there?  That little sob?

Tore my heart out.

I never expected her to cry.  But at least she finally told me how she really feels about the Twinkles.  Short of poking myself in the eye with a sharp object to take my mind off the pain in my heart from hearing her cry, the best I could do is try to make her laugh.

Smumzie:  You’re right.  Tell you what.  We’ll make sure they understand that they’re only to address you as “Princess” or “Mistress J” – and they’ll have to bow in your presence and must back out of the room whenever you’re around.

Skiddle:  They’re still going to ruin all our vacations.

Smumzie: [sigh] You’re probably right.  Ok, so, the first time we try to go on vacation with them and they ruin it for us, let’s sell ’em.

Skiddle: [ Looking shocked at me] There is seriously something wrong with you.

Smumzie: Come on! We could probably get some good money for ’em!  Course, we’d have to clean them up first.  Can’t be selling stinky babies.

Skiddle:  Whatever.  I still CANNOT BELIEVE you’re doing this to me.

Smumz:  Um, did I remember to say, “Ribbit,” when you got into the car?

Skid:  WHO CARES?!

Smumz:  Well, in case I forgot, “Ribbit!”

Skid:  Are you freakin kidding me right now?  Who even cares about the Rib— hey wait a minute!

Smumz:  [gloating a little]

Skid:  *squinty eyes*  Are you messing with me?

Smuzm:  *innocent eyes*  Who me?  When do I ever mess with you?

Skid:  OMG! I can’t believe you just did that –

Smumz: I can’t believe you fell for it. [huge cheesy grin]

Skid:  That’s just wrong.

Smumz: heh

Skid:  That was a good one though.  I gotta admit.  [smiles]

Smumzie:  [whew!] So you forgive me?

Skiddle:  I’ll let you make it up to me.

Smumzie: Ok, I know just the thing!  How about I take you on an all expenses paid vacation to Disney next week?

Skiddle:  Very funny.

Smumzie:  I thought so.  Happy April Fools?

Skiddle:  Hey!  Let’s do one to Dad!  We can tell him I’m pregnant!

Smumzie:  [choking] Erm, or maybe not.

Getting Busy

I went away without telling you that I was going. I abandoned you, left you hanging, in the lurch really, dumped and deserted you. Forsaken you for another. Or is it forsook?

In any case, muffins, I’m back. I never meant to shirk my duties, evade my responsibilities, dodge my chores or shun my obligations.  Sorry to leave you hanging with nary a word about being gone for so long but I simply ran out of time  to post before making the roughly 4.5 hour drive to see Sara.

What a delightful time we did have.  I’m dying to tell you about our frolicking, cavorting, gamboling even. I’m delighted to think that you are even intrigued by it all.  But, you know, a picture is worth a thousand words, isn’t it?

So here for the first time, making their network debut are….The Twinkles!

We are over the moon with excitement and, with the pressure off, BH and I have actually found some time to, ahem, enjoy each others’ company again … just for the sake of it.  You know what I mean –  getting busy, makin bacon, boffing yet. Thumping, hooking up, knocking boots, bumping uglies, playing doctor, churning butter, sliding, or my personal favorite, making copies.

Though honestly, this morning I wanted to smack him.   Knocking on the door of my girlie parts while they’re half asleep, hair still in curlers, not even had their morning coffee…well, let’s just say that it takes them a long time to wake up. You’d have better luck talking Guiliana Rancic to eat a sammich than you would getting the girls up and party-ready before noon.

Anyway, I’m glad to be back.  But I must keep myself busybusybusy so I don’t spend my days staring at the calendar.  Because it’s not like me at all to know that May 17th marks the end of the first trimester and if we can make it there, we can – well you know how the song goes.  And just beyond that is July 2nd, wherein we’ll have reached the 19th week and can do an amnio or CVS or transnuchal and that feels very…scary? to me.  So while I’m not going to say much more about this pregnancy (unless I feel like I’m about to burst) because I don’t want to jinx it, you know, cast a curse, the plague, throw the evil eye… I was kinda hoping you lot might have some advice on the testing that can/should be done.  What were your experiences, etc and I’m going to try and do a little survey gadget here.

Eh, crap. So I did this whole poll thing but I can’t get it to show up on the site anywhere.  So here it is:

Did you do Amnio, CVS or Transnuchal testing?

Which did you do?

Why did you do them?

Would you do them again?

Do you think we should do any and if so, which?  (Our egg donor is 22, surrogate is 27 BUT sperm is 50).