Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Strong Mouth

My daughter is terrifically talented at a great many things but the kid can't fall asleep for shit. I don't know how to break the process down any more clearly for her, more than to say there are two steps:

A. Lie still
B. Be quiet

I repeat this continually all night long, from about 8pm til about 10. Lie still. Be quiet. Lie still., Be quiet.

Last night, after Primo conked out by 9:30, Sec was singing a remix of "Kiss the Girl" at Hollywood-Bowl decibel-levels.

SHA LA LA LA LA LA, MY OH MY
LOOK LIKE THE BOY TOO SHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

I walked in for the four hundredth time that night.

"Seconda, you need to go to sleep now. Lie still and be quiet."

"I want to but the thing is, my mouth isn't strong enough."

Somehow, I don't think that's the problem.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I love New York in June, how 'bout you?

Central Park, how we do love thee! You could spend every weekend of the summer checking out a different part of the Park but we do have favorites, including . . . Alice.




The playground nearby continues the theme with a fountain encrusted with Wonderland silhouettes. Plus, they've got kick-ass sprinklers. Then, off to the fountain to end all fountains --



I've got no pictures of the Boathouse, but do I really need any? I highly recommend heading there after a reading of Stuart Little. And, if nothing else, the kids could wile away an entire afternoon trying to catch the ducks.

So yeah, I'm a Brooklyn girl at heart, but it doesn't mean I don't appreciate what Manhattan has to offer.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Its so hard to say goodbye . . . to your first grade teacher



I loved Primo’s first grade teacher. Jennifer, from the moment I read her inaugural “welcome to first grade” email sent before the start of school. There was a letter to read to the kids and a letter for the parents to read and the tone was warm and convivial, with tons of detailed information about how the first day would go down. I am a detail junkie, so this wealth of information made my heart go pitter patter. Then we met her, and she was even sweeter than she’d seemed, while being utterly in control of the classroom. Firm but fair. Consistent but kind. As I walked out of school after drop off on the first day, I said to David, “She’s good, isn’t she? Like really good, right? Do you love her? I think she’s the world’s best teacher. I’ve never met a teacher as fantastic as her.” And on that first day of school, I began to panic about how we’d have to say goodbye to her in less than a year’s time.

Maybe it was because Primo had such a colossally awful kindergarten teacher, and such a shitty kindergarten experience, that I was primed to swoon at the first show of competence. And maybe it was the fact that we’ve now experienced such polar extremes of the teacher spectrum, which makes me nervous about what next year holds in store. Whatever the reason, I’m already tearing up.

Its so difficult to surrender control of your kids in the first place and when you have concerns, whether they’re nagging fears or balls-out panic attacks, about the people charged to care for them, it’s an awful feeling. But conversely, nothing feels as good as saying goodbye to your kid and being suffused with the assurance that he’s in good hands, and that he KNOWS he is in good hands. Nothing feels as good as relinquishing your child to someone to whom he goes willingly, who will care for his emotional, intellectual and physical needs, probably more capably than you can, because there isn’t as much passion clouding the picture.

When I think about my own favorite elementary school teachers, I don’t remember being as attached to any one of them as I am to Primo’s. Which makes sense, really, when you think about it. I mean, I loved Marisa Mule, who taught me Kindergarten and I still remember her Wonder-Woman-style mane of wavy black hair and that raspy, Brooklyn accent that was so comforting, but all Marisa Mule could give me was a feeling of security, delight, curiosity. I bet it was my mother who really felt the blow when they had to part ways because to my mother she gave peace of mind.

The value of peace of mind is something I could never have imagined in my before-kids lifetime. Back then, believe or not, I wasn’t a strung-out neurotic and consequently, I had no understanding of what relief from anxiety means. Now, of course, I’m insanely grateful for a few dregs of peace of mind to give me a break from aging before my time. Every day, I want to hire a skywriter that says, “ I HEART YOU JENNIFER, FOREVER! THANK YOU FOR STAVING OFF MY BLEEDING ULCER! LETS NEVER PART!!”

I wish there was a way we could get her to commit to being my children’s educator from this point forward, for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer in sickness and in health, ‘til college do they part.

Since this is impossible, I’ll have to just focus my energy on trying not to break into hysterical sobs when I pick Primo up on the last day of school, like I did when I said goodbye to the dreamboat teachers who taught him in his first-ever year of nursery school. Its just not a good example to set for the kids.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Eat Buddha's Belly

Here's why you should take your children to Chinatown at the next possible opportunity:

DIM SUM!
You don't get more child-friendly dining than chowing down at large, noisy banquet halls where your child's shrieks and whining is drowned out by the din and where no one has to wait for food to arrive, since its constantly being pushed by on carts. They may not be into the tripe but everyone likes pork buns and sticky rice. Also, chopsticks ar ebetter than a coloring book to keep kids entertained while you scarf down shumai.

BUDDHA COOKIES!
When I was a kid, my parents also bought me fish cookies for dessert in Chinatown. When I told my kids about these confections, their response was "EEEEWW! I don't want a cookie made of fish!" But when I clarified it was a regualr old cookie in the shape of a fish, they changed thier tune.. Problem is, you can't find these cookies anywhere anymore. Except for this place:

Its on Mott Street, I think. I've been there a half dozen times in the last few years but as soon as i leave the store, I get amnesia about where it is. Which is why I took the picture 00 for next time. You can actually choose from several varieties of cookie shapes, including dragon, lion, rooster and Buddha. The Buddha has a large belly and nipples on his exposed, and ample, breasts. For Primo, its a no-brainer: "Look, I'm eating his nipples!"

LIVE STREET FISH!

Yes, mostly they are dead fish -- which certainly hold their own appeal, for my daughter at least -- but the big draw are the bins of live fish, like these ugly mofos that Seconda tried to pet. You can also find massive, mutant-looking snails and even LIVE EELS. And if live eels don't get you excited, then I really don't know what you're doing at this blog


FISH SUBWAY MOSAICS!

As if the bonanza of marine life on the sidewalk isn't enough, when you head to the Delancey Street subway station, you will surrounded by supersized,stunning mosaics of rainbow fish. They are, I think, my favorite subway mosaics in the whole subway system. They also make for very nice photo ops (if you have kids that stay still for more than half a second).



So what the hell are you waiting for? Get thee to Chinatown!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Surprise Guest Blogger

I was sitting at my computer about to write a blog post when Primo happened by and asked what I was doing.

“I’m just writing a post for my blog,” I said, “Do you have any ideas for me? Something interesting or funny which happened lately or which I should talk about?”

Primo said, “I wish I had a computer so I could write blog posts."

And that was when I invited him to guest blog for me. He decided to write about his sister’s princess fixation.

Here’s what he came up with:

The Tragical Story of Squeaky Princesses

It all a started out when we got the movie Snow White. Sec watched a princess with a squeaky voice. The next day, Seconda was asking for a Snow White shirt. Mommy said, “No.” The next day, we went to New Jersey. That’s when she watched Sleeping Beauty, ANOTHER princess with a squeaky voice. The next day, she asked for a Sleeping Beauty bike. Those people that make princess bikes just want money, you know. Then, Mommy had an idea. Every time, Seconda got enough points, by being good, she could get what she wanted. The next week, she got a princess bike basket. My face turned red. That’s because I was angry that Seconda got princess stuff, because they have squeaky voices and they scream in a very squeaky scream when they’re scared. If you don’t understand, I mean that I think they are annoying.

My strategy for getting Sec off the princess habit, is to tell a princess story with also other stuff, with wizards, witches, goblins, ghosts, evil kings, lava bosses and knights. That will cure her.


Dude, I’ve got myself a new guest blogger. And for him, I guess its better than a paper route, though less lucrative.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mermaids . . .


That's my little mermaid over there, preparing to take a dip in the Atlantic in her finery and drawing pictures in the sand.


And these mermaids were the ones on parade. Photography courtesy of Primo, budding shutterbug.







Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mermaid Parade!



Yep, this Saturday, starting at 2pm, is the Mermaid Day Parade! For five years, we've tried to go and someone always plans a damn birthday party or something to keep us from strutting our mythical marine-life shit. This year is no exception. But who knows, we may squirm out of our birthday party early and ride a wave over to Surf Avenue.

If you want to get kids in the mood beforehand, you can check out this picture book, Mermaids on Parade, written by a fellow Brooklynite:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Morphine Dreams


Primo was only given one dose of morphine, the morning before his appendectomy. But it seemed to take a pretty long time to make its way out of his system. I am referring specifically to some totally nutty dreams the kid had, the first few nights after his surgery. On the first night, he was so doped up, I don’t think he dreamt at all, was just out like a light, when he wasn’t waking me to navigate the IV pole to the bathroom. But on the second night, when we were at home, things got wild.

I was so bone tired the day we got home from the hospital that I fell asleep at 7pm, literally in the middle of reading Harry Potter to Primo. I just remember reading and then hearing David say, “What happened to Mommy? She was just reading a minute ago.” And then blissful, sublime quiet. But a few hours later, I heard Primo calling and I ran into his bedroom to find him moaning.

“Oh honey! Are you OK? Does it hurt?”

“Ooooooo nooooo, not the Spanish teacher! Not the Spanish teacher!” Primo moaned, writhing around.

“What are you talking about? Oh my God, do you have a fever? Are you hallucinating?”

He didn’t seem to be hot at all. Just wild-eyed.

“Oooooo, ooooooohhhhh. Now I can’t play quidditch! Quidditch is exercise!”

Reality met fantasy. Primo was Harry Potter and Harry Potter had just had his appendix out. You’re not supposed to do exercise after you have your appendix out. So, no quidditch.

“Are you sleeping? PRIMO! You’re sleeping! You are not Harry Potter!”

“Ohhh. Ooooooh. What is a mumble mumble?”

“What? What is a what?”

“What is a mumble mumble?”

“I can’t hear you. What is a WHAT?”

“Oooooohhhhh. Ooooh nooooo. What is a RAVENCLAW???”

Since I was just about as high as he was, except just from exhaustion, I wasn’t much help. I actually tried to answer his question.

“A raven is a black bird and his claw is his talon. I am Nicole Kear and you are my son. You are not Harry Potter. I repeat you are not Harry Potter.”

Next time the kid gets morphine, I am demanding some as well. It really is only fair.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I heart laparoscopy

I’ve just added another item to the list of reasons I am infinitely grateful to be living in the year 2011 – not just because we have the internet and air conditioning and elevators and automatic bill pay, but because we have . . .

LAPAROSCOPY.

To tell you the truth, I’m not even sure I know what laparoscopy is. Its some newfangled incredible type of surgery where they insert a teeny, tiny camera into a teeny tiny incision so they can remove your organs and the like without slicing you up like its medieval times. I think that’s pretty much how a doc would explain it, approximately. That’s my understanding of how they removed Primo’s appendix. Oh yeah, one more thing – they pulled the offending organ out through his belly button.

Let’s just pause here to consider how freaking cool that is.

Through his BELLY BUTTON.

I didn’t realize how cool this would be until Primo came out of the operation and I saw that instead of huge, terrifying-looking would dressings on his abdomen, he had three Sesame Street bandaids. I specify that they were Sesame Street ones not only because it is a good detail but to indicate their size, because if you’ve used those kid-brand bandaids, you’ll know they are ¾ the size of regular bandaids, like fridges in European countries.

On a normal day, Seconda is more heavily bandaged than that.

I honestly couldn’t believe it. Yeah, he was high as a kite on anesthesia and yeah, he couldn’t talk because he was hoarse from the breathing tube but at least I didn’t have to wince, and my stomach turn, at the sight of piles of bloody gauze. Thank you laparoscopy, for sparing me that.

Primo was exhausted and woozy and aching but he was relieved the other pain had stopped

”It’s pretty incredible when the patient feels less pain after surgery.” said the pediatric surgeon resident.

The nurses in the recovery area, bless them, gave him a popsicle and wheeled over a flat screen TV which was playing his favorite Harry Potter movie.

And that’s when we turned down the flame on our anxiety to simmer. With that appendix safely out, and nothing stronger than Tylenol necessary for pain relief, it felt like a ten ton weight had been removed from my chest.

That night I slept with Primo, and though cramming my body into a five inch slice of bed with my ass smashed up against the bedrail was not terribly comfortable, the relief of having him within arm’s reach made up for it. It was also convenient.

That night, in my dream, I heard this said, tiny, faraway voice call “Moooooomy! Where aaaaare you?” and the voice kept calling, so pathetically, and I thought, “Won’t someone reunite that poor, sad baby with his mother?” until finally I realized the voice was emanating from my poor, sad baby, lying next to me in the dark

“Honey! I’m here! I’m right next to you!” I exclaimed.

Between the loopy nightmares and the sudden, middle of the night trips to the bathroom, which involved me being ripped from my sleep and having to figure out, in the dark, how to unplug the IV machine and wheel the huge IV pole, with my invalid, woozy son in tow, across the shared room, to the bathroom – well, it was a long night.

Then at 6am, we were awoken by the fire alarm going on. And I do mean going OFF, the lights flashing in the hallways and the blaring siren at full volume, No one else seemed to notice, besides Primo and I, because when I ran to the nurses desk and asked what was going on, they just said, “Oh, it’s the fire alarm. But I don’t think its for us,”

“Of course,” I thought. “What was I thinking when I got alarmed by the alarm?”

So I was delighted on a number of levels when the surgeons told us we could take Primo home after lunch. So was Primo, though shortly before lunch, he discovered there was a room in the pediatric ward called “The Library” which housed a collection of about 4 million kids DVD and approximately a billion video game cartridges. Super Mario Brothers! Harry Potter! Star Wars! It was all just there for the taking. Once that was unearthed, I think he changed his mind about heading home so quickly. But, thankfully, he ate his steamed rice, pita bread and chocolate ice cream like a champ, and we were given the greenlight to go home.

And there was our filthy, tiny home sweet home with our suitcase still packed, passports still on the kitchen table. I don't think I've ever been quite to happy to see it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Primo Versus the Appendix

Thursday morning, I woke at 6am in the hospital bed with Primo. The two month-old baby who was his roommate, was screaming frantically. Not my favorite way to wake up. Certainly not as good as waking to the sight of Icelandic lava fields.

“Mommy, my belly hurts,” Primo moaned, awake too, “Did they give me the medicine yet?”

“Not yet, honey,” I replied, “They have to check you first.”

I called David, who’d gone home to take over Sec duty from my grandmother, and I told him there was no new news, and that he should take Sec to school. About an hour later, eight men in white coats strode into the room and assembled in a semi circle around Primo’s bed.

“Its appendicitis,” said the white-haired man who looked like Head Doctor, “No doubt about it/”

“You can tell without the ultrasound?” I asked. I am the parent who always has a thousand questions.

“An ultrasound would be nice, but yeah, we’ve seen this a lot and I’m sure that what it is,” said Head Doc, “Either myself or Dr. Crannick with remove the appendix, not sure when but sometime today. As soon as we can.”

“Wow,” I said, “OK, Is that the only way you handle this?”

“Yep,” he said, “You need that appendix out before it ruptures. It’s a dirty business, appendicitis, lots of stool in there and you don’t want it getting out/”

He had me at “lots of stool in there.” I’m no expert but I think it’s a safe bet that, as a general rule, you want to keep stool contained.

“We’ll let you know when we can fit him in,” Head Doc said and the coterie were gone.

“I have to have my appendix TAKEN OUT?” Primo exclaimed. I braced myself for the panic attack of the century,

But instead, Primo panted, “I think I’m gonna throw up!”

Vomiting trumps panic. But you know what trumps both vomiting and panic?

Pain

“MOMMY IT HURTS!!!” Primo yelled, after he stopped throwing up, “MOMMY IT REALLY HURTS!”

When they’d screened him in the ER, the nurse had shown him a spectrum of pain, with 0 being no pain – a smiley face – and 10 being the worst imaginable pain – a Munch-like scream. Primo had been at about a 5. Suddenly, he was at an 8. At least, I think he was. I can’t bring myself to think of him at anything higher.

“OK, OK,” I said, shocked at the sudden change. I pressed the call button and asked the nurse if he could have pain meds now that he was diagnosed and now that he was obviously in need.

“I’ll check with the doctors,” she said.

I don’t know how much time passed but it felt like at least an hour. In fact, it was probably ten minutes. Primo kept screaming and writhing and crying. I tried to console him but every scream was ripping my fucking heart out. When I couldn’t stop myself from crying anymore, I turned my head away from him, so he wouldn’t see. I wanted to go to the nurse’s station to check on the meds but I didn’t dare leave his side.

I sat there, trying feebly to rub his back, caress his head and not have a nervous collapse.

After an eternity, someone who identifies herself as a pediatric resident, comes in to assess Primo to see if he qualifies for pain meds.

“Please hurry,” I cut her off, “This is killing me.”

A minute later, she was injecting morphine into his IV.

“How long will it take to work?” I asked/

“It’s working already,” she said.

And in fact, it had. Primo was so heavy-lidded, he looked like in was lounging in an opium den.

"Where's my morphine?" I asked the resident when Primo was good and loopy.

She smiled. Did I need to clarify that I wasn't fully joking?

"An epidural, at least," I ventured.

She wasn't biting.

Primo stayed nice and loose, falling asleep in the middle of his sentences, all through the second ultrasound (a successful one conducted by the Chief of Pediatric Radiology), through the pre-op paperwork, and up til the surgery a few hours later.

I can't say enough nice things about morphine, really. Morphine rocks your socks off. Morphine is my hero. I can't recommend morphine highly enough.


Tomorrow . . . laparoscopy, hooray!



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Appendix Files


Six days ago, I was going to Iceland on a romantic getaway with my husband. The bags were packed, the passports were prepped, we’d made turkey and cheese sandwiches for the flight and I’d typed up a list of instructions for my parents who were staying at my house to take care of the kids, full of details about pickup and drop off and bedtime, and how to work the thermostat. David and I got into our traveling clothes and waited for the car service to call to say it was downstairs and ready for pickup. But when it called, instead of taking it to the airport we went to the emergency room.

Primo was having stomach pain. Had been since around lunchtime, he informed me when I picked him up from school at 3.

“I have a bellyache,” he moaned.

“Ok,” I said, “I’ll take you home and you can go to the bathroom.”

You think you’ll stop blaming gas for all your child’s physical maladies when they stop being a baby, but in fact, gas is a perfectly viable culprit up until adulthood. Its gas, I assured him, reading a text from a friend who told me that there was a tornado watch in effect for the Tristate area covering the exact expanse of time I was supposed to be traveling to the airport and taking off for Iceland.

So when Primo did indeed go to the bathroom but felt no better and continued to complain of a stomachache, I thought, come on kid, I have bigger problems here. We may be caught in a tornado and not be able to go to Iceland.

"My belly . . ." groaned Primo.

“Try going to the bathroom again, “ I said. “Gas can be very persistent.”

My parents and sister arrived with their stuff and I showed them where I kept the Children’s Tylenol and how to use the air purifier and what Primo likes in his lunchbox. We sat down to dinner.

“Primo says his stomach hurts,” my mother said.

“I know,” I said, urging him to eat some chicken soup from his prone position on the couch. Then I mouthed to her: “He’s worried. About us leaving.”

Because when gas doesn’t work as a scapegoat, there’s always anxiety.

"I’ll call the doctor to make sure,” I said, and did so promptly. I was so unconcerned, however, that I left my cell phone in my purse and didn’t hear her call when he phoned me back.

Primo ate his soup and lay down to read Harry Potter with my mother while I double checked all our important documents.

“Did I show you where the will is?” I asked my mother, “We got our last will and testament made up.”

“He says his stomach still hurts,” my mother said, “It’s been hours now.”

“Mommy!” moaned Primo, “I just want it to stop hurting. Can you get some medicine?”

It was when he told me that he wanted it to stop hurting that I got that unmistakable dread feeling, that bulls-eye mother intuition which said, “Yeah, something’s up here. You need to investigate further.”

I asked my dad, who’s a cardiologist, to take a look at him and for the first time that day, someone asked Primo where it hurt. He pointed to his lower right abdomen, below his ribs. Not his stomach at all. My father pressed there. He winced and pulled away. My father pressed on the other side. No response.

“Has he been vomiting?” asked my dad.

“No,” I replied, “But he did say it felt like he had to, once or twice. He was nauseous.”

My father was silent but thinking. That never bodes well.

“You need to call the pediatrician back,” he instructed.

At that moment, the car service called to say they were downstairs. I told them to come back in fifteen minutes and paged the doctor again. This time, I was waiting by the phone. In the three minutes of so it took her to call me back, Primo went into his room and feel asleep.

And that’s when we knew we weren’t going to Iceland. Primo has had scarlet fever and roseola and rotavirus and he has never, NOT ONCE, never gone to sleep in three minutes. Clearly, the kid was sick in a needs-immediate-attention way.

I explained the situation to the doctor and she confirmed that it did sound like it could be appendicitis. Maybe not, but definitely worth checking out. She sent me to NYU Hospital, where there was a fantastic team of pediatric surgeons, just in case.

Ten minutes later, my mother, father, David and I were driving over the Brooklyn Bridge, with half-asleep, half-moaning Primo in the backseat, on our way back to the hospital where he was born. Very quickly, we were brought to a stretcher, he was given a blood test and IV and we were off to radiology for an ultrasound. The blood test and IV, while terrifying, had been fast and he’d weathered that trauma well, but the ultrasound was a different story.

To get a good picture, they had to press directly on the spot that hurt him and, of course, the more they pressed, the more it hurt. No matter how much they pressed or how many people attempted the ultrasound, they couldn’t find his appendix, the which they assured me was not uncommon.

Appendixes are assholes. Besides being unnecessary and prone to infection, they are also difficult to find on a sonogram because they’re inside your guts, and obscured by all your other organs like the colon and bladder and stuff. But that didn’t stop these radiologist from trying to find it and hurting Primo like a mofo in the process. The more they pressed, the more he cried out and tensed his abdomen and the more he tensed his abdomen the harder they had to press.

“One more picture,” the technician said, pressing hard.

“YOU SAID THAT AN HOUR AGO!” Primo protested.

He wasn’t wrong. It was a never ending, inferno-esque trial. I frantically asked questions about Harry Potter and the Fantastic Four to distract him, but to no avail.

“I can’t TALK when it HURTS THIS MUCH!” he exclaimed, “Make them stop!”

Then, apropos of nothing, he announced very firmly to the room: “One thing is for sure. I am NOT having my appendix taken out.” He said it like all this was trying enough but to have someone suggest that his organ be removed was just TOO MUCH and he wouldn’t stand for that.

Finally, they gave up. What did them in was when yet another technician came in to give it a shot and asked Primo to point where it was hurting and he said: “No, I won’t! Because whenever I tell you where it hurts, that’s EXACTLY where you press and I told you that hurts much worse and you’re not listening to me so I won’t tell you where it hurts anymore.”

You couldn’t argue with the kid. They’d worn out their welcome. In my opinion, if you can’t find an internal organ within an hour, you give up and try another time or call in the big guns.

So they wheeled him in his wheelchair back to the ER where the pediatric surgeon n call told us she’d like to admit him because they couldn’t confirm it was appendicitis without the ultrasound but it certainly might be and warranted monitoring.

“Can you give him something for the pain?” I asked.

“Unfortunately not. “ she said, “Because the pain is the only thing we’ve got right not to diagnose him. If it gets better, it’s not appendicitis, if it gets worse, it probably is. So we’ll set you up in the pediatric ward and check on him in a few hours.”

And that's when our hospital adventure got started in earnest.

You didn’t think I was going to blow my wad all in one post, did you? This is what they call a good, old-fashioned saga, readers. Check in tomorrow for the continuation of . . . the Appendix Files.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Husband, Man Magnet

I’m not precisely sure what it is about my husband that sends off that “You want to hang out with me” signal to all my friends’ husbands and the dads of our kid’s friends, but the message comes across loud and clear. I suspect it has something to do with his mix of machismo (Red Meat! Beer! Now!) and sensitivity (cries at The Giving Tree, pained to kill a mouse), and his Southern salt-of-the-earth-ness doesn’t hurt either.

At first I thought this irresistible man-appeal was cool but now I see that David is actually stealing my thunder. I discovered this the night David and I went to a fancy fundraiser for Primo’s school. I suited up in a new red silk cocktail dress with skin-colored fishnets and a ruby necklace from the 1920s that my aunt gave to me. Heels, too, and makeup. I dusted my d├ęcolletage with sparkly powder. You know, the whole nine yards.

David put on a white button down shirt and a blazer.

On the way to the party, we pass one of our friends Jerry, a dad of one of Primo’s pals, who I hang out with sometimes on playdates and David hangs out with sometimes at concerts. If that equally distribution of time indicates that he likes David and I equally, that would be incorrect. He has a big time bromance going on with David.

“Hey David!” Jerry exclaims, “Look at you! You look sharp! Nice sports coat!”

I smile, waiting for him to say something about my head-to-toe glamorama makeover. I’m wearing hellfire red for the love of God and there’s cleavage, ample cleavage on offer. Did I mention the heels? When you see a woman in heels and lipstick, you HAVE to note it, even if she doesn’t actually look nice. Even if its overkill and she’s trying too hard and she’s past her prime or whatever, a man is contractually obligated, by virtue of having being incubated inside a woman’s uterus, TO SAY THAT SHE LOOKS NICE. I didn’t make up the rules, guys, I’m just telling you what they are.

“Thanks man,” David says, “We’re going to the school fundraiser, you know how it is.”

“Oh yeah,” says David’s friend, “Well, you clean up nice, man. Real sharp.”

Usually, I restrain myself from fishing for compliments because by my age, I understand what a fruitless endeavor it is. The only compliments you catch when you’re fishing are foul, stinking, dead and rotting compliments, the kinds you have to throw back or else you’ll makes yourself sick. By this time, I couldn’t help myself. I couldn’t let this violation of the “You, man, give compliment to fancy woman” rule.

“HELLO?” I yell, like a banshee, ”What the hell am I, chopped meat?”

At that Jerry looked blankly at him, like he didn’t get it, and then -- “Ohhhhh, yeah!” -- he got red in the face and tried to backtrack.

“Of course, you look great!” he stuttered.

“Yeah yeah yeah.”

“I mean, but you always look great, so you know, I didn’t say anything because you know . . . but David, he never gets dressed up, so that’s why . . “

“I mean, I know you guys have this bromance and all, but come on.”

David laughed nervously, because he knew full well that hell hath no fury like his wife unnoticed.

Jerry laughed, too, and then beat a hasty retreat leaving me no one to punish but my man magnet husband.

“I mean, I know men love you and all but come ON!” I shrieked, “AM I INVISIBLE NOW???”

David rolled his eyes

“LOOK at you! You’re not even wearing a TIE! It took you two minutes to get dressed! And now you’re RUDOLPH VALENTINO!”

“Oh come on, don’t punish me for the misdeed of others.” David said.

“And YOU haven’t said I look nice EITHER!!!”

“You didn’t give me a chance!”

“NOW’S YOUR CHANCE!!!”

Fun times. Shining moments.