1. I’m sure they do background checks on your kid’s counselor, right?
2. I heard you get charged by the camp every time you refresh the photos on their website.
3. How do you know your child is actually brushing his teeth. Like ever?
4. At my husband’s camp, they had this thing called bush time where you could go in the bushes with your camp boyfriend or girlfriend.
5. So for the cost of one kid to go to sleep away, you could have had an insanely awesome trip to Europe for the whole family?
6. You must feel so free! I bet you are loving it!! 7 weeks of freedom baby! Hey, why are you crying?
7. Counselors aren’t allowed to date the campers, are they?
8. Since all your kids are at camp, could I could send a couple of mine over?
9. I’m sure the meals are organic. They probably just don’t advertise that because they don’t want to seem snobby.
10. Did you hear about that mountain lion sighting? In the Poconos? Or was it in Maine? I can’t remember.
11. Do kids buy their own beer or do you send it in a care package?
12. I’m sure the time will fly by! Wait – it’s only been 3 days, it seems like a lifetime and you feel like your right arm has been cut off? Well, my husband says sleep away camp was the defining experience of his childhood. And good news…I think there is a new Bachelorette on tonight!
When you return home for a visit, it will seem perfect. Like I went back to New York a few weeks ago and it was 72, sunny with no humidity almost every day. I should have hired someone to follow me around with a bucket of snow and throw it in my face every couple hours to help me appreciate Florida. Next time.
Real friendships take time to develop. And friendships are hard to predict. Don’t discount a cool girl just because you overheard her having a ridiculous argument with her husband over peach pie. (Not that I would ever argue about peach pie.) (Okay, it was definitely me.)
You must accept all invitations because even though an invite to go late night roller skating meant you nearly ended up in the middle of a teenage turf rumble in a sketchy parking lot, it could have been a great night of couples’ skates and nachos at the snack bar.
Just when you think you finally know where you are going, you will spend 25 minutes lost in your own development.
For the first time in your life, you leave notes for your husband like, “Just saw a lizard under the blinds. Before you come upstairs, take care of it.” He will claim he “couldn’t find it.” Despite his long history of honesty, you will sort of not believe him.
You will meet potential friends, become friends on Facebook and then get a birthday notification that they are 26 years old. This will make your 40 something self weep. You will be forced to block their Facebook updates.
You will find yourself in funks at times. Don’t try to cheer yourself up by clicking on those links, “Celebrities without makeup!” First of all, half of them are wearing makeup unless shiny lips the color of candy apples is now a natural pigment and the other half look gorgeous without makeup.
You will try to convince yourself that you don’t need friends and that Monica, Rachel and Phoebe, although a bit dated in their overalls and big sweaters, are enough. You must persevere and find real friends. Ones that aren’t on 90′s sitcoms.
The first mom who asks for a Friday afternoon playdate, that involves wine and appetizers, has serious potential.
Know your elevator friendship pitch. Like mine could be, “I have 5 kids, I once got 10 cavities from eating too many hard candies and I make great monkey sounds! It’s so nice to meet you!!” I would suggest you come up with something better than that.
It always gets better. You really can’t judge a place until you’ve been there a decade. Just kidding. It really takes about 2 years. Eventually it will feel like home. Or something like home.
This week, I dropped my two older girls at camp, threw the 3 little ones into the car and was about to head to the pool when I realized… the car was dead.
I had already parked in the fire lane so how fitting that I had a true emergency on my hands!
Back in my naive twenties, I would have actually called AAA and waited for an hour and a half until a greasy guy named Al showed up (no offense to all the non greasy Al’s) to jump start the car.
I called AAA a million times in my twenties and never once had a hot guy show up which I think is a very underreported form of discrimination because the company is obviously not hiring handsome people. I always meant to look into that but then I got distracted by important stuff like “Melrose Place.”
Once I realized the car was dead, I called Rick who was on his way to a very important haircut. Important because if he doesn’t get it cut, it gets very poofy and then the fine folks from CBS in New York have to call all the way down here to Miami and remind Rick that he really needs a haircut because it’s not 1978.
But thankfully Rick delayed his haircut and showed up to help me. We took out the jumper cables. Connected the red to the red. Connected the black to the black. Bam! The car caught on fire.
Seriously, why do you underestimate me?
No, it did not catch on fire. The car started! So I headed off to the pool with the kids.
While we were at the pool, I let the car run for an hour in the parking lot. I was secretly hoping my used gold minivan would be stolen but unfortunately people were too busy swimming and enjoying their non-minivans to steal my car which is a real missed opportunity for them.
I finally shut off the engine, went back to the pool and returned a bit later. At which point, I found my car…of course, dead.
As luck would have it, Rick was back with his new sporty hairdo, swung by the pool and we jump started the car again.
You know – I’m no auto mechanic, but I started to wonder if maybe there was something wrong with the car.
We brought it to the shop and yes, it did indeed need a new battery. Which I was told was good news because that meant it didn’t need a new starter or new sun roof or something. Honestly, I wasn’t really paying attention.
I got the car back by 1:30 pm. I know, all this happened by 1:30 pm! If you can jump a car twice before 1:30 pm, imagine what you can do the rest of the day! (I accomplished nothing the rest of the day.)
Wait, did you click on this post to find out how to jump start a car? Sorry. These are the instructions, although please keep in mind that I am not a car expert or really an expert on anything.
1. Put the hood up. Finding the latch that pops the hood is seriously the hardest part.
2. Find some poor sap in the parking lot who can help you by parking his car facing yours. If he pretends to have an urgent dentist appointment, talk about karma, paying it forward and random acts of kindness. Mention that woman who just bought a stranger $120 worth of diapers. Certainly, he can give you 5 minutes.
3. Get out the jumper cables.
4. Put on your goggles and your gloves.
5. Obviously, you don’t have goggles or gloves.
6. This is the part where you really have to pay attention. Connect the red clamp to the positive (red) terminal on the dead battery.
7. Connect the other red clamp to the positive (red) terminal on the good battery in the other car.
8. Connect the black clamp to the negative (black) terminal on the good battery.
9. Connect the other black clamp to a piece of grounded metal on the dead car.
10. Do not do any of this if you are color blind.
11. Start the engine of the good car. Then start the engine of the dead car.
12. Remove the jumper cables once the car starts. Do this in the reverse order in which they were attached, and don’t let any of the cables or clamps touch each other.
You know what? Never mind. Just call me. I’ll do it.
I knew when I moved to Florida I was going to have to get serious about sunscreen.
Apparently I did because the rumor on the street is that our family “applies sunscreen like it’s lotion!”
You can imagine what’s involved in applying sunscreen to 5 children each day and then even considering reapplying after 80 minutes of swimming and/or sweating. Obviously, I’ve told my kids not to swim or sweat to avoid that nonsense. (Also best to not dance in small towns per Ren McCormack.)
They say you can’t apply too much sunscreen but I know that’s not true because I once applied too much sunscreen into my daughter’s eye and she is still pissed off.
Sometimes I like the sunscreen sprays. Sometimes the cremes. I always like to buy the more natural ones unless they are $11,000 dollars a bottle. I’m always worried about running out so I’m sort of a sunscreen collector. And by collector, I mean hoarder.
I insist on rash guard shirts at the beach. I am waiting for the full body rash guard outfit to come into style.
We were recently at the Jersey shore and I had the opportunity to apply sunscreen to my kids and their cousins. It was pretty much an all day activity but worth it because of the gratitude on their faces….
You’re welcome children. You are welcome.
(Yes, Summer is shown twice because of her epic dislike of sunscreen.)
We just got back from 2 weeks up north. We only managed 3 visits to urgent care so next time we are going to try harder. Given that I flew up alone with the Jackson five, I figured it would be cake coming back with Rick along for the ride.
Except that we had to drive from the Jersey shore to JFK airport.
There was a lot of traffic that our GPS lady seemed to know nothing about - although a special shout out to Ms. GPS for the lovely scenic tour through Brooklyn with 1-year-old Cash crying as our soundtrack.
Then we dropped off our rent-a-car, with a half ton of crushed cheese nips in the back, at Enterprise.
Where we were told we had to take a shuttle to an AirTrain to a lengthy walk to our terminal.
With 4 suitcases, 3 carseats, 4 carry ons and THE children.
This is Rick half way through that little journey…
We did finally get on the plane. With 10 minutes to spare. And there really is nothing like the relief on passengers’ faces when a family with 5 children makes it on board just before the doors shut. I could tell they were all rooting for us.
I love flying at night because it seems so peaceful…
I mean, except for 4-year-old Chase saying “I have to poop” for about an hour.
But because of take off and choppy air, I couldn’t take him.
I am a real stickler for following airline rules, so I kept saying, “Just a few more minutes Chase. We can’t get up yet.”
But I finally realized the kid was not going to make it to Ft. Lauderdale without a bathroom break so I eventually got up with the seatbelt light still on. I know. I haven’t felt that rebellious since I smoked clove cigarettes in my backyard in junior high.
We finally arrived and with only one lost bag, we made it home! I really never get too frustrated with airline travel because they fly you from one city to another. In a big plane. With snacks and television. And that seems like some sort of unexplainable magical phenomenon so I can’t get too upset over a missing bag.
We really had an amazing vacation. We saw so many great friends and family and it made me miss everyone all the more. I was happy to be back in our own beds in Florida but it just doesn’t quite feel like home. At least not yet.
My friend Meredith sent me this photo to help me feel better….
That’s her daughter. Thigh deep in snow. Sometime this past winter.
Yeah, that helps. A lot.