Love and Taxes

“A.” worked at a desk on the ground floor with a stack of paper 1040’s to his right.  He wore a business suit and tie.  I took him to be around 80. I had gotten his name from my mother, as in years past, he and my stepfather worked side by side offering free tax preparation assistance at the public library. I had been hiding from my tax returns this year.  Fortunately, during the days when I made money, I had the good sense not to spend all of it on vacations and designer handbags and put some away.   … Continue reading

This Ain’t My First Rodeo

It was a death wish. But I had no choice. We had not one roll of toilet paper in the house. Not one, not even that last little square stuck to the brown paper roll in the middle.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch. I thought better than of running to Costco, since as you may remember, I cannot get out of that place for less than $139.00.  And although the exit fee at Target is not much smaller, it seemed like the lesser of two evils, especially on a Saturday afternoon, where everyone in Northern Monmouth County is at one overcrowded store … Continue reading

Rock My Root Chakra

“Call me. It’s important,” she specified in her voice mail. R. hated to talk on the phone, so I knew it had to be important. When she picked up on the first ring, I got scared, as R. didn’t race to the phone for anyone, not her husband, her friends, or even her clients. R.’s phone aversion mirrored my aversion to processed foods.  If I were starving on an island and had no choice but to eat dinner rolls from Perkins to stay alive, I would relent.  If R. were stranded on an island and needed to make a phone … Continue reading

Cheer Mom Part 3: Game Day

As I walked into Sun National Arena in Trenton,  New Jersey for my daughter’s cheer competition, I was keenly aware that one of us would leave that night crying.  Either they’d lose, and she would be devastated, or they’d win, and I’d be devastated.  Don’t get me wrong, I want what we all want for our children.  But if you’ve read parts one and two of my Cheer Mom trilogy, then you understand the struggles I’ve encountered with my cheerleader daughter.  Advancing is what the girls want and what their coaches want and what I’m supposed to want. Yet, the … Continue reading

Cheer Mom Part 2: Cheer Angst

I wasn’t in the mood to go to a wiglet party. Furthermore, I wasn’t in the mood to deal with Miss F.’s mood after that cumbersome looking hair piece was sewn into her hair, which she would then need to sleep with and live in until her cheer competition, some 18 hours later.  Miss F. is the kid who goes on sensory overload from a stray dog hair caught in her shoe.  Asking her to sleep with an artificial hair piece that has been woven into her hair is like asking a child who has sandbags tied to her legs … Continue reading

Costco Diva

The first mistake was going hungry. The second mistake was going tired. The third mistake was taking the kids with me, who were also hungry and tired. The time change of Miss F.’s cheer practice Monday night was almost cause for a “case of nerves.”  First of all, they moved it up a half an hour, which left us no time for homework before she had to be there.   Second, they cut the practice down to one hour from two.    With a two hour practice, I have time to get home and do “something,” like bathe the smaller kids … Continue reading

Have Your Ice Cream And Eat It, Too!

The neighborhood ice cream truck driver loathes my family.   I have that dreaded clan of children who love to chase down the truck but never buy a thing.  They are the Big Tease.  They are that posse of kids  who would just die for a popsicle created in the image of Sponge Bob or Dora, with eyes made of miniature gumballs, yet they were born to a mother too neurotic about sugar to allow her children to eat "real ice cream" more than once a month, if not once in an entire summer. Not to mention my frugality.  Why spend … Continue reading


Thirty eight dollar and ninety six cents? How can that be all that's left in my bank account? I stare at the screen of the ATM machine, and retrace my steps from the past few weeks.  I don't remember spending all that money!   Back at home, I lock myself in my office and go through my check records, but not without several knocks on my door. "Mommy, I thought we were going to the store to get ice cream," Miss F asks from the hallway. "We can't get ice cream today honey." "But you promised. " "I know baby, … Continue reading

Welcome to My Midlife Crisis

Once upon a time, in a New Jersey suburb, my husband and I had decent paying jobs in Corporate America.  We never led an ostentatious lifestyle. We owned a small house, a modest car, paid for our home improvement projects with cash instead of loans, and contributed to our 401K plans.   We were fortunate to have a little left over for "extras,"  such as birthday parties for our children and vacations.  The "emergency fund" in the bank allowed us to pay the occasional unexpected medical bill or car repair without affecting our monthly budget.  Then came the crash of 2008. … Continue reading

The Fierce Diva Guide to Ride

You pile into the family minivan.  You drive, so that your husband, buried in work and reluctant to come, can check email.  Your perpetually bored pre-teen spends the ride texting friends.  Your eight year-old watches a movie on the van's DVD player, while the youngest sits in her car seat and colors, while every now and then, giving the family dog a pat on the head.  You arrive at the park. You set up lunch and drinks on a blanket while the two younger kids play frisbee with the dog.  Your husband puts down the phone and joins in the … Continue reading