Tag Archives: memories

That time with the kid and the puke


Growing up, our babysitter was Holly. She lived next door and was, perhaps, the coolest person in the history of ever. She would sunbathe outside and listen to KISS 98.5 FM, which was way more cool than Magic 102, don’t you know. She would give me her hand-me-down clothes and how awesome is it to get hand-me-downs from the coolest person in all of eternity!? I loved being babysat by Holly. I don’t remember much of what we did, or how often it happened, but I remember she was fun and kind and didn’t treat me like I was an annoying little shit. (Once Holly got too old to babysit, Denise from down the street took over. She was fine, but she was no Holly.)

Once I got to be 12 or 13, man, did I want a babysitting gig. I would rock the socks off that shit, because I had Holly to emulate. Plus I was a 7-years-older sister to my younger brother so I had practice with little kids. I hooked up with my first babysitting opportunities through a family whose son, Andy, was on my brother’s t-ball team. Two little boys, 7 and 5. They were ADORABLE. I babysat for them once or twice, their parents paid well (back then, babysitters didn’t demand a rate like they do now — or if they did, I was certainly too timid to do so! I took whatever people wanted to pay me and I was grateful for it, mostly. One family was really quite obscenely stingy and I didn’t sit for them again. I was conveniently unavailable – it’s amazing how timidity can translate into passive-aggressiveness, even as a 13 year-old.)

Andy and his little brother were a bit mischevious but nothing I couldn’t handle. I daresay we had fun.

Then, one time, I came over to babysit for an afternoon. As they were leaving, Andy’s mom mentioned that Andy said he was feeling a little “icky” earlier in the day and hopefully it would be nothing, and they would be back in about three hours.

About a half-hour into the afternoon, Andy says his tummy hurts. I get him a bowl, just in case. Ten minutes later, BAM, FIREWORKS. Ungodly amounts of vomit erupt from the nether regions of this child’s digestive system.

I am certain I inherited from my mother an innate ability to keep my shit together on the surface in the most disgusting of circumstances. I had a nasty bout of food poisoning when I was 13, the results of which, well, I’m just shocked my mom didn’t just say “fuck it” and tear out the whole bathroom. Is it a woman thing? I certainly can’t say for sure in a statistically significant way, but the fact of the matter is I’ve only witnessed men actually throw up when faced with disgusting crap (figuratively and literally). I have a tendency toward hysterics when faced with stressful situations but when shit gets gross, I get downright stoic. Puke and crap are literally my husband’s Kryptonite. They will crack his impenetrable exterior faster than a cold dish in a hot oven.

Regardless of how I came to have the ability, I kept on my big-girl pants and soothed this little person through his puking into the bowl. (Doesn’t this kid chew his food? I’d wondered throughout.) Once he’d finally wrapped up the pyrotechnics, he volunteered to take the bowl and dump it in the bathroom, because I think he felt bad for throwing up and wanted to help, sweet boy. I followed just behind him, far enough behind that he felt he was doing it himself, close enough that I could help if he needed it. Not close enough, however, to intercede in his cat-like stealth to dump this vast amount of very chunky vomitus into the SINK instead of the TOILET.


That’s what I thought. What I said was, “Thanks, Andy. Hey, next time, dump that in the toilet, OK?”

“Oh. OK. Sorry.” He apologized and then I felt awful for even saying anything. We rinsed and dried the bowl and I sent him back to the couch.

But then I turned back and stared at the sink and dug my fingernails into the palms of my hand as I thought about how the hell I was going to clean that up. I certainly didn’t want to touch it. In the end, rinsing as much as I could down the drain and then getting whatever was left with paper towels was my chosen strategy. It worked OK, but I swore up and down at Andy and his parents the whole time.

This was the pre-cell phone era, and the parents were out running errands so they didn’t leave a number where they could be reached. So, I called my mom. “THEY LEFT YOU WITH A SICK KID?!?” my mom asked, rhetorically and disgustedly. “They better pay you double!!” She offered to come over and help me but I declined. This was my gig, after all. I didn’t need my mommy to bail me out. But it was nice to vent to her a little and hear that she had my back.

Andy threw up once more, and *I* took the bowl that time.

When the parents returned, they did apologize but they didn’t pay me double. But they did make me appreciate my mom just a little more.


Historical repository

I bought a new purse today.

I do that about once a year, though I think it’s been about 18 months since my current pink number hit the scene.  The new one is a rich brown crocodile bag, a little bigger and definitely more sophisticated than Mr. Pink.

I both look forward to and dread migrating my life from the old purse to the new one.  On the negative side, it’s never just a dump-and-go job… it takes FOREVER.  My purse, near the end of its useful life (meaning near when I’m just dead sick of looking at it, since I’m not a change my purse with my outfit type; I carry one purse until I’m ready to burn it) has usually accumulated a veritable smörgåsbord of an historical record of the life the purse has joined me through.  There are papers of all sorts to sift through; 95% of them will hit the recycling bin or shredder but I’ll look at every one and remember when I acquired it, and what I was doing, and who I was with.  Oh, sure, the more mundane ones, like the gas receipts, tend to melt together into a general memory of standing there pumping and making goofy faces at the kids through the car window, but they often have dates and locations printed on them that remind me of road trips taken.   There will be tons of other receipts in there, too, many with specific memories represented.  And all the odd crayons I’ve collected off restaurant tables after boisterous meals with my kids, those will be deposited in the miscellaneous crayon bin for further enjoyment and artful purposes.  All this stuff, these remnants, sort of get bound together by time in my purse, and to go through it the whole thing must nearly be peeled apart, like peeling away the rings of a tree and seeing the history written inside.  Granted, my purse barely rivals the remaining Civil War-era trees at Gettysburg in the historical significance of the events unfolded in their presence (yet), but it’s still pretty historical in the grand scheme of me.

Future purses will yield unto me yet untold treasures: movie stubs, graduation programs, used tissues, unused coupons for products not yet even dreamed up, business cards of people who will come and go, invitations for parties yet attended, doctor’s appointment reminder cards for pregnancies and babies yet conceived.  I’ll hopefully find it all… and with any luck, many times over.

And yet, it’s just a purse.  A vessel for carrying the sundry things that life sometimes necessitates.  When Frank realizes I’ve bought a new purse, he will roll his eyes at my frivolity… because, spending $27 (thank you Marshall’s!) to replace something I bought for $24 a year and a half ago (thank you, TJ Maxx!) is naturally frivolous in his eyes.  (I cannot get him to grasp that a purse is more than functional.  He seems to compare it to his wallet, which since it’s not falling apart at the seams he sees no logical reason to replace it.)  So, yeah, he’ll roll his eyes and question what is wrong with the dozen other purses accumulated in my closet, and I’ll just roll my eyes right back at him and tell him he just doesn’t get it… just like I do when he mentions the mess in my purse.

2007, you were an interesting year

It seems all the rage on blogs to take a moment to reflect on the past year as it draws to a close.  Well, it’s probably more a human quality, and since humans write blogs, well, there you go.

2007 has led me down an interesting path.  At the end of 2006, I was very pregnant, I’d just finished recovering from a broken foot, I was working full time in a promising career at a Fortune 100 company, we owned a large 4 bedroom house in central NJ.

Now, I have a 10 month-old son…. he is by far the biggest thing that happened to me in 2007.  Jake is simply amazing.  He has a curiosity for the world that is already so apparent, it won’t be long before he’s taking apart our DVD player just to see what’s inside.  And he’s happy.  Nearly anything can elicit a giggle or even a hearty laugh from him and it melts my heart every time.  He already has a first word – dog – although that ‘guh’ sound at the end apparently is just too pedestrian for him to bother with.  It’s a fitting first word; we have a golden retriever and he thinks she’s just awesome.  He’s pretty laid-back too, in general, which is good given his sister’s appetite for wrestling with him.

Speaking of his sister, she’s had quite a year too, and it’s been fun (mostly) to watch.  2007 has brought Lane her 3rd birthday, successful potty-training, and the ability to sleep through the night.  Lest you think that has made our jobs as parents easier, don’t you get ahead of yourself.  😉  Lane is – how shall I say this – a complicated child.  The hip way to describe her is ‘spirited’.  She is as intense a person as I have ever met.  There is not an ambivalent bone in her body, and she feels every emotion and shares every opinion with a strength of passion I hope will serve her well in life.  She also may have a birth defect, that being that her body has mastered cold fusion.  This little girl has more energy than anyone I’ve ever seen.  She can go and go and go and go and go.  Sleep is an afterthought for her.  If there is a point where she can burn off so much energy that she will go to bed earlier, we haven’t found it yet.  Please don’t think for a second I’d change any of that.  Lane is awesome fun to have around.  Her joy and verve and exuberance are contagious, and she’s a constant reminder that life is meant to be lived, and be fun, and what use is it to sit around?!?  This year has also brought Lane an exploding vocabulary and the daily joy of having conversations with her.

Anyway, back on track here!  While I started the year as a working, career-minded (though increasingly ambivalent), homeowning mother, I’m ending it, well, I’m still a mother.  We sold our house to move closer to my husband’s parents in downstate NY.  I quit the promising career at the great company, which was at the same time exhilarating and the scariest thing I’ve ever done.  We moved to another state and are renting an apartment while we househunt for a house that, while it should still be sufficiently roomy and nice enough, will not be the house we left in New Jersey. 

2007 has turned me into a stay-at-home mom to two kids, and though I never knew it, it’s exactly what I always wanted.

2008 promises to be a great one for our family, too.  There will be another move when we buy our new house.  My husband is an actuary, and 2008 should be the year he attains his Associate of the Society of Actuaries, which anyone who is or knows an actuary can tell you, that’s a big deal.  Jake will turn a year old, and will reach a ton of milestones this year – talking, walking, maybe even doing our taxes for us.  We’re going to Aruba in April.  It should be a pretty amazing year for our family. 

And here’s wishing that your 2008 is full of discovery and wonder and joy and love.

A memory

My grandfather, who is still alive and 88 years old and still going strong, likes to reminisce about playing hide and seek with me.  I can’t wait to see him – we’re going back to Buffalo, where I grew up, right after Christmas and staying a week.

Here are his two favorites.

When I was 3 or 4, we’d play hide and seek.  My grandparents had this cabinet/end table, where they kept the 3-4 bottles of liquor they had in the house.  I fit in it quite perfectly at that age, so I’d take all the bottles out, climb in and close the door.   He was always good enough to pretend he couldn’t find me.

I’d also hide in pretty good spots — behind the couch was a favorite.  He’d walk around, ‘looking’ for me, and would say, “Hmm, I wonder where Lisa is hiding?” and I would say from my spot behind the couch, “I don’t know, but don’t look behind the couch!”

I love hearing him talk about that because you can tell how fond those memories are for him, and it just makes me feel so loved and special to hear him talk so happily about time we’d spent together.  It makes my heart smile.

My grandpa’s just wonderful.  I hope he’ll be around for a few more Christmases.  I’d love my kids to have some memories of him.