Welcome to One Busy Momma! The Blog for Busy Moms by one Busy Mom.....

Welcome to my blog. One Busy Momma is my space to rant about my life and the things that happen in it. I have a crazy life - and instead of focusing on the crazy - I like to focus on the funny. Because if I focused on the craziness - well, I'd have been shipped off to an institution long, long ago. And while, I'll admit, there are some days when being institutionalized sounds PRETTY GOOD compared to making ANOTHER diorama at 1am - I'd rather be right where I am - in my messy house with my not so perfect kids making crooked dioramas in the middle of the night.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ahhhh.......Prom Night!

Well - it's that time of year again...spring has sprung and for many of us the end of the spring season is sheer and utter madness. It seems like May and June bring with them an onslaught of Opening Days, sports practice schedules, end-of-the-year picnics, parties and festivities as well as a fair share of First Communions, Graduations, and Weddings. And as exciting as those events are, it seems like no spring-time event brings more excitement, expectation and utter dread that THE SENIOR PROM. (OK - maybe weddings surpass proms in terms of excitement, but proms have the whole hormonal teenager thing going on - so I'd say that proms outweigh weddings in terms of expectation and utter dread.)

PC and I often remark that we know that we're getting really, really old when we watch a group of kids, headed to prom or homecoming, and make the following comments:

"How'd she get out of the house wearing THAT?"

"Do you think he looked in a mirror and SAW what his hair looked like before he left the house?"

"Are her parents BLIND????"

"Does Zach Efron know that you borrowed his look for the night?"

and my personal favorite: "There is no possible way there is any underewear under that."

Sad, huh? PC and I were out one evening when a group of kids walked passed us, clearly headed out to dinner before their junior prom. As we looked at the array of dresses the girls were wearing, PC made an interesting remark. He said: "I know I'm getting old when I look at some of these dresses the girls are wearing and all I can think about is Bella walking out the door in one of these in a few years. And I'm terrified!" When I pressed him for more information, he told me that his thought process has completely changed in the past few years. That when he was younger, he'd see some hot young chick-a-dee in one of these slinky numbers and think: "Now that's one hot chick-a-dee" (OK - maybe not an exact quote of what he would actually think- but you get the idea.) But now, it's as if a switch has been flipped in his brain and his first thoughts when he sees these young girls in these sexy dresses are: "God, how old is she?" and "How did her father let her walk out of the house in a hanky?"

So, this has been weighing on my mind lately. Are we really turning into our parents? Are we really getting old and un-cool and un-hip? OR are some of these prom dresses waaaaay to sexy for 16 and 17 year old girls. And WHY on earth are their parents buying them?

I think back to my own prom, and I still chuckle about MY prom dress. My prom dress was totally AWESOME - and I had to fight like a dog with a bone to get it. I found it at a store in the mall and instantly fell in love with it. It was black, strapless and short...the 3 adjectives that my mother warned me would NOT describe my senior prom gown. It was also ridiculously expensive and waay, waay out of the generous price range my parents gave me. So, I had quite a problem. For some reason that still confounds us, my mom let me try it on. The fit was perfect, the look was perfectly unique - in short, it was exactly what I wanted. Remember, I went to prom in the era of the John Hughes movie - when PROM NIGHT was supposed to be this magical night where teenagers transformed into adults and true love always won out on prom night. The right boy would show up at your door looking all dreamy in his tux....and canvas high tops that matched the color of your dress. You would dance the night away,gaze into each other's eyes on the dance floor during the perfect song, and then after the prom go to a party at someone's lake house, and under the stars your beloved, perfect boyfriend would look into your eyes and tell you that he loved you and there, in the moonlight, you would have the most magical experience of your whole life.

How could ANY of this happen if I was wearing a dress that my mother would approve of???????? No, I remember thinking that I HAD to get this dress. I coached the sales girl in the dressing room to tell my mom that this dress was "demure" and "sweet". I remember hearing my mother's laughter through the door of the fitting room. So, off we went for the rest of the day - looking for another dress. I think back to that day with a mixture of amusement and remorse. Amusement at the balls I had to act the way I did. And remorse over the fact that I had the balls I had to act the way I did! I walked around that mall for hours pooh-poohing ANYTHING my mother showed me. Anything at all. Noting was right, everything I tried on looked "awful", was "horrible" and just didn't fit the bill. Now understand, we weren't shopping in Junction City Kansas where the only dress shop in town also sells cow feed. We're talking Bergen County, NJ - mall capital of the world! This is where the Real Housewives of NJ shop for God's sake! However, there was only 1 dress on the whole planet that I wanted. By then end of the day, my mother was so angry and frustrated that she took me home with NO dress and told me that I'd have to go to prom in an old dress because there was obviously nothing that would suit me available.

So, I did what any reasonable 18 year-old girl would do. I went crying to my father. Now, I often think that my father lived through my teenage squabbles with my mother by developing what I like to call "Charlie Brown Ear". You know how in Charlie Brown cartoons, whenever a grown-up talks, all we hear is "Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa". This is what MUST have happened because I KNOW that my mom came home and told him all about this "ridiculous" dress that I wanted and how it was black and strapless and that I behaved like a spoiled brat all day. I KNOW she did - she had to. Furthermore, as he tried to soothe both of us - I distinctly remember her saying that SHE was NOT going to take me shopping for a prom dress ever again. And when he suggested that this was sort of a ridiculous stance to take as the prom tickets were already purchased and the limo paid for and that she might want to rethink her decision...she told him in NO uncertain terms that if He wanted me to have a new dress for prom then HE could take me shopping for it.

BINGO!!!! This, my friends, is when the clouds parted and the heavens began to sing. I was going to get that dress.

So, off we went to the mall the next Saturday. My poor, unsuspecting adoring father. He was like a lamb to the slaughter poor guy. He had NO IDEA of how conniving an 18 year old girl on a mission could be. You see, I am sad and sorry to admit this...but I had already called the store and spoken with the sales lady. I told her that my Dad was coming in to look at the dress and that he was a "bit concerned" with it being strapless. maybe she could find a little, sexy bolero jacket that I could try on with the dress? So, as we are passing the store - FILLED with prom-type dresses. he says "Well, why don't we look in here?" You see, I knew that he wanted to get in and get out - so I strategically parked near the entrance closest to this particular store. Lamb to the slaughter I tell you...

So, of course the dress was already set aside in a dressing room and I selected several other frothy things to try on - knowing that I would never, ever even try them. When I walked out in that "long sleeved" dress - I said: "What do you think?" He thought it looked good, but the price was steep. So, I casually mentioned that the big hot pink bow in the back was missing a snap and that we'd have to have that repaired. Well, the saleslady cut the price of the dress! It was still expensive - especially NOW since we added a bolero jacket - but he took the bait!!!!! And since it was "damaged" (I can't IMAGINE how that happened!) it was a FINAL SALE - no returns or exchanges.

Understand - I knew that I was taking my life in my hands here - for my mother was going to hit the ROOF when we got home. But I was like a crazed woman - I had to have THIS dress. It was worth life and limb! Well...you can imagine the scene when I got home. I actually think I've blocked some of it out...because I really only remember a bit of yelling and wearing that beautiful dress to the prom. Oh - and "forgetting" the jacket at home.

Unfortunately, the prom and the ensuing "prom night" was NOTHING like the magical John Hughes movie experience I was expecting. My date - my boyfriend at the time - acted weird all night. I found out the next day that he was acting wierd because he basically cheated on me the DAY OF THE PROM with an old girlfriend. Then we got into a HUGE argument and he ended up throwing his big, giant key ring at my HEAD. Like I said - not quite the night I was hoping for. We were broken up by the time the prom pictures came back. Pictures that I angrily tore up in a fit of self righteous rage. He RUINED MY prom night - that rat bastard.

That was 20 years ago this weekend. I still laugh when I think about it. Not about the cheating scandal - but the dress story! However - as I get closer and closer to the day that I have to shop for a prom dress with Bella - I wonder if Karma is really going to be that bitch that everyone says she can be. because I KNOW I deserve it. Will Bella be one of those girls that a 30-something couple will look at and think:"HOW did she get out of the house like that?"?

Over my dead body....Bella's got to remember - she's dealing with a Prom Night Pro here....

Friday, May 14, 2010

Feet Don't Taste all that Great: A Disclaimer

Sooooooo...it's been a long day. Thanks for all of the great responses to the last post - the post about The Real Hosewives of NJ. I LOVE that so many of my friends are reading and enjoying the blog. However, it has come to my attention that I need to make a few things clear to my loyal readers.

First and foremost - this blog is my creative outlet. And by "creative" I mean - I take great license with many - OK ALL - of my stories.Many of you know that writing a book is somewhere on my bucket list and I look at this blog as a launch pad to that. Just a way to write every few days to hone and improve my skills. Are some of the stories true? Absolutely. However - in order to make them funnier, more interesting to read or to make a point - I do embellish and add words to people's mouths. As most authors do.

And while that's all well and good - I feel that I do have to clarify a few points. When I write about "my parents" - and "my mother" in particular - ALMOST EVERYTHING that I write as dialogue that comes out of their mouths is fabricated. While Fifi, Sookie, Her Awesomeness, Carrie, Hermione and Glynnis are indeed real people - the "parents" that I write about are truly caricatures of my own parents. Whenever I mention one of my girls in the blog - I always alert them to the fact. And furthermore, I would never write about anything that might embarrass or identify who they actually are. I try to write about them in ways that relate to me directly or more specifically, how they help me live and manage my crazy life.

My "blog parents" are different. While the stories and events that I write about are based on actual events, the reactions of my "blog parents" are largely fictionalized. I do this for 2 reasons - first and foremost - my actual parents are not all that tech savvy and don't ever log onto the blog. Therefore - they cannot defend themselves or comment about anything that I would write about them. And secondly - my actual parents are very private people and in truth, just not all that terribly funny. (And I mean that with great love and devotion.) So - to create a funny blog, I created funny parents.

Again - well and good and well within my creative license...however, with so many people actually reading the blog now - I felt that I really had to make that point crystal clear. It's one thing to put my stuff out there - but I need to clarify that these "blog parents" are just characters. I need to do this because in my last post, I said something that was offensive - and I wrote it as coming out of my "blog parents" mouths. And for that I am truly sorry. It was a statement that my actual parents - 2 of the nicest people on earth - would NEVER say. However - it did read as "my parents" - not my "blog parents that I made up to make people laugh". Now, while Fifi and Hermione and Sookie would know this without my having to SAY it - people who don't know my real parents might think that they are morons based on what I wrote them saying. And for that - I am truly sorry. As my husband so often tells me - everyone can't read what's going on inside of my head. And while many of you who truly know me and my parents have surmised that many of the blog stories are just that - stories, I fear that some readers might not realize that.

So, in short, when you read "One Busy Momma", please understand that the stories and musings truly are coming from my creative place and are only loosely based in the reality of my everyday life. My everyday life is the breeding ground for my stories, and while many of the stories are true - many details surrounding them have been changed to make them funnier, to protect the innocent or to make them fit into whatever I'm thinking about that day. It is meant to be your laugh of the day, to give you a good giggle and to maybe lighten up your week. Please look at it more as an Erma Bombeck type of forum as opposed to CNN.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The "REAL" Housewives? Come on now...

So - it's the most wonderful time of the year. The sun is shining, the roses are blooming, new life abounds....and yes, The Real Housewives of New Jersey are back BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Many of you know of my stalker-like devotion to these wise-cracking, fast-talking, no bullshit-taking ladies of Bergen County, NJ. (Giving a shout-out to all of the ladies in Franklin Lakes and Upper Saddle River here!)

I was never a big fan of the Real Housewives series on Bravo TV. In fact, when the Real Housewives of the OC premiered, I didn't even watch it. I thought it was a flash-in-the-pan reality show, and frankly, I'm way too busy to add new shows to my already too crowded tv show list. Between working, taking care of the kids and PC - I don't have tons of extra time. And if I have to make a choice between talking to Fifi at night and watching TV - well - Fifi always wins. (Unless she calls during LOST - sorry Fifs) Between my LOST and Grey's Anatomy devotion - well, that's just about all I have time for these days. So, when the Real Housewives of NJ premiered, although highly interested, I really didn't tune in.

Until that one fateful weekend, when I came down with some sort of cold or flu or other non-life threatening illness that made me just sick enough to zonk out on the couch and watch tv all weekend while PC took the kids to the pool. And what to my wondering eyes should appear but a "Real Housewives" marathon on Bravo TV. And my life has never been quite the same. First I watched an entire season of "The Real Housewives of NY". Quite enjoyable, I must say. There are enough over-the-edge personalities in that show to keep it quite interesting. Totally unrealistic - what with a Countess, a Brooklyn-based housewife married to the most openly gay straight man on the East Coast, a wise-cracking personal chef who is SINGLE - yet featured as a "housewife", a rich Yenta from the Upper-East Side and a Ramona - who can only be described as a COMPLETE wack-adoo. Like all of the other Housewives shows in the franchize - the New York show features women who have money we can only dream of, problems we hope to never have and catfights that have not been featured on television since big shoulder pads and Kenneth Jay Lane jewelry were considered chic. Watching the New York show is like sitting in a hot bath with a good glass of wine and a People magazine on a Saturday night. Satisfying and relaxing - yet somewhat sad.

Once the New York show marathon had run its course, and my fever and sore throat hadn't, I decided to tune in the next day to see the New Jersey show marathon...and that my friends is when the magic happened.

Suddenly - I was transported back to the land of my childhood - the land of my people. A place where women swear like sailors when they're mad - and the men find it sexy. A land where money buys love and true happiness. A place where big IS beautiful - big hair, big handbags, big diamonds and big "bubbies" (aka: boobs) are celebrated. Ahhh - north Jersey - the place that I call home. Jersey takes alot of crap from people. I've heard it called the armpit of America, I've suffered thru people doing crass and stupid sounding imitations of our melodious Jersey speech patterns, and I've seen people attribute huge fashion faux pas - like acid washed jeans - to Jersey. Well, well, well - Thanks to women like Carolyn Manzo, Jacqueline Staub and Theresa Guidice - North Jersey is FINALLY getting the respect and representation that it deserves. These ladies represent some of the BEST Bergen County, New Jersey has to offer. I know - because as my mother likes to remind me....I was one bad decision away from being one of them.....

Oh yes, loyal readers...I dipped my toe into the pool of ridiculous, North Jersey Italian family excess and loyalties. In my youth I dated and thought I loved a boy who could have given me that life style...who actually did give me a bit of that lifestyle....much to my parents' horror! The idea that I might actually marry this kid was almost more than they could bear. ESPECIALLY a boy who lived in a huge house in Upper Saddle river, who drove a car that cost as much as our first house and lavished me with gifts that bore labels that read Fendi, Vuitton, Gucci, Borghesi, Rolex and on and on. All at the tender age of 17 mind you....

I've heard people say that the New Jersey show is just as fake and phony as the rest of them....not so I'll argue. By now - if you haven't heard about the infamous "table flip" - you've either been living under a rock or pursuing a much more meaningful life - and then good for you. You freak. Anyway - I digress. In the last show of the 1st season of the Jersey housewives, there was a showdown between 2 of the ladies. The way it went down was classic Jersey - one said "Pay Attention" and the other said "I AM Payin attention - you prostitution whore.....at my shore house....." and then she flipped a table at the alleged prostitution whore. Big friggin deal - who HASN'T been at a nice, north Jersey restaurant with a big Italian family where a table hasn't been flipped? My girlfriends in Maryland were horrified by this display of raw emotion and rage. Me? Not so much. I can honestly say that I've been out to dinner at a very nice establishment in Jersey where not one - but 2 tables were flipped. By the people I was eating with. No one got shot - no one stopped speaking to anyone else at the table. They got mad, they exchanged words, and one of the guys got so enraged that he flipped our table. And then - he was still pretty pissed off - so he flipped the next table over. Big deal...by gones - ya know? We all went home - to the same house, the 2 hotheads worked it out and we all took a dip in the pool. Seriously - a true story. And yes - we went back to the restaurant - the same restaurant where we ate every Friday night - the following weekend and all was well.

I think that watching this show actually does transport me back in time. I can identify with these women. I undertstand what Theresa means when she says things like "uncleansy". I understand their fierce loyalty to their families - I learned that from my own family. I can understand why Caroline - the "matriarch" if you will - took the blame for ruining another woman's reputation in town when the culprit was actually her younger sister.This show isn't really about money or excess or boob jobs - it's about family - and loyalty. Yes - the excess and the money is fun to watch - but it's not what keeps me coming back for more. I keep tuning in because I see something of myself in these women. I can relate to Caroline - the fierce family lioness who so famously and threateningly said "in my family - we're as thick as thieves" to her arch-nemesis. I see my much younger self in Theresa - the table flipping girl who just wants bigger "bubbies" and to make babies with her indulgent husband - Joe. I see a version of my teenage self in Jacqueline - who is torn between fitting into this family that she married into and loves and her true, authentic self who doesn't really want or need Caroline and company telling her what to think and who to befriend. I see alot of my 17 year-old self in Jacqueline actually. I can so relate to these women in fact that after watching the table flip with me - PC actually made a very intense and telling comment. He said: "You know, as gay as this sounds - I'm glad that I watched this. I feel like I understand you better now that I've seen that." And I swear to God - it's true. he's never been able to understand how I can go from normal to ENRAGED in 60 seconds FLAT and then back to normal once I yelled and shouted and cursed it all out Jersey style. It used to unnerve him - and dare I say it - scare him a little bit! I think he finally gets that my propensity to get intensly passionate about things is my Jersey coming out!

As I write this, I am reminded to my first few weeks living in Maryland. It was rough - really, really hard on me. Here I was - 18 years old, HUGE, HUGE hair, great designer clothes and shoes, makeup galore, accesories to match every outfit, expensive perfume and an over possessive, wealthy and somewhat controlling boyfriend back in Jersey. I was trying to find my place in a place where girls wore their hair long and straight - in pony tails that were embellished with ribbons. I remember seeing this popular hairdo and thinking that we were reveryting back to prarie days! Girls in Maryland wore a kind of short called a 'lacrosse short". I had no idea what lacrosse WAS - never mind what kind of fashion choices the sport called for. NO ONE I was rooming with had a boyfriend who drove a Monte Carlo,a gold Mercury Cougar, or even a Beemer convertible. None of these boys had designs shaved into the sides of their heads - or even wore an earring. These boys wore madras plaid shorts with deck shoes, listened to rastifarian music, and smoked weed. Not Marlboros! And they all thought that I had an "accent". They made me say words like "drawer" and "water" over and over again. It was a nightmare. Like boot camp for Jersey girls. But -I found my place. The hair eventually deflated, the accessories became a bit understated, the boyfriend got lost and I actually met a nice boy who has never flipped a table or gotten into a fist fight at a bar or club or thrown car keys or anything else at my head. I'd say I traded up!

However - I do sometimes miss that tough talking, hair teasing, fashionista who lived inside and outside of me. And I'm so glad that I get to revisit her every Monday night from 10-11pm as I watch my beloved housewives. You should try it.....you might find YOUR inner Jersey girl...even if you do still wear a pony tail tied with a ribbon that matches your lacrosse shorts....