I’ve been begging my husband for weeks now to go back to the beach. His hesitation is solely based on the temperature of the water. He was worried it would be too cold.
I finally convinced him the water was ready for us, so we chose to go… on Memorial Day weekend.
We’ve done a fair amount of stupid stuff, but this nears the top.
In second place might be choosing to start driving toward the beach at around 11 a.m.
It started out perfect. Both kids fell soundly asleep in the back seat. They stayed asleep while I ran into Publix to get subs and snacks.
Then, we arrive at the beach to find every single parking spot taken.
We drive around waiting for something to open up and miss every single opportunity.
We spot meatheads roaming around looking lost, so we follow them only to discover they’re drunk and have located the car which they need to remove a single item from so they can get back to looking beefy on the beach.
I asked one leathery old lady if they were leaving and she snapped, “After we shower! It’s going to be awhile!”
Countless people were loading up 30 bags of sandy crap into their trunks for so long we would move on to scout out another spot only to watch another driver snag their spot.
The kids are awake and I’m trying to appease them with Lunchables. Ignoring the wads of cheese they’re collecting under their fingernails, the cracker crumbs accumulating in all crevices. (the car seats and theirs)
We were literally driving around parking lots for an hour and a half. We were about to give up, but every parent knows you cannot renege on a trip to the beach when it comes to little kids.
So, we tough it out.
My blood pressure is rising.
I am wishing I could trade the Gatorade in for a bottle of Vodka.
We find a spot and it’s like the heavens have opened up and the light of God is shining down on us.
Oh, wait… it’s just the glare of the scorching sun made more intense by bouncing off the
My son’s experience with sand is limited, so he immediately starts whining that we need to pick him up because it’s “dirty.”
My daughter is shuffling down the boardwalk so slowly in her flip-flops, exacerbated beachgoers are grunting in irritation and pushing past.
Like pack mules, we haul our load of beach junk and one solid little dude with sandophobia to a spot where we can set up shop.
Alma is thrilled and immediately starts playing with sand. Huxley is puzzled as to why everyone thinks it’s okay to coat yourself in inedible sugar that’s really just glorified dirt.
Needless to say, I’m already sweating… mostly the perspiration of STRESS.
So, we head to the water. The second Alma’s teeny feet hit the wet sand, she starts shrieking that she doesn’t want to go in the water.
I pick her up and carry her crying into the ocean. It takes a solid 15 minutes before she realizes I am not going to dump her head first under a wave and watch her flounder for fun. (nothing like watching hot, young, childless folk give you dirty looks because you’re forcing your kid into the ocean)
My son had a blast in the water. He would LOVE it if we dumped him head first under a wave for shits and giggles. In fact, even if you don’t, he’s going to spend the next hour TRYING.
We’re in and out of the water for about an hour before the notorious and punctual Florida storm clouds start to roll in. My experience with this is so vast, I can predict the amount of time before the rain reaches the beach.
I say we have about 15 more minutes before we need to head back to the car when the first bolt of lightning strikes.
Alma starts whining and grinding her teeth and I know we have to hightail it.
I am rushing ashore to start the Sisyphean task of loading up our beach gear, while the throngs of scantily clad teenagers continue to shimmy to Rihanna and drink their secret booze.
The crispy, burnt old folks with their rotund bellies popping out over their swim trunks are posted up in lawn chairs like suntanning slugs.
No one is moving but us. We have a child that is about to lose her shit, so we are practically RUNNING.
Even once you get everything and everyone to the parking lot, you’re faced with a logistical nightmare: How do you get your sandy, wet children from their skin-tight soaked swimsuits into the car without ruining the car?
Reluctant to peel off their suits and reveal their nudity to the inevitable perverts lurking around, I end up telling my daughter to stand inside the car behind the driver’s side door so I can attempt to peel off her suit, which is basically enmeshed with her body. Clumps of wet sand fall to the floor of the car and I squeeze her still dripping body into clean clothes.
One kid down.
My husband was in charge of Huck. I am pretty sure some lucky sicko got a glance at his junk, cause getting a kid out of a swimsuit AND a swim diaper is pretty much impossible to do discreetly.
You’d think the kids would be exhausted from our travails, but instead they decide to let out ear-piercing screams in unison for half the ride home. We ended up rolling down the windows to try and drown it out or shut them up.
My husband turns to me and says, “The only reason why we will ever go to the beach again is for the kids, because this was horrible.”
I turn and ask Alma if she had fun. She says she made a star with sand on the beach and that was kind of fun.
So, let’s just buy a bucket of sand and STAY HOME!
(NOTE: Absolutely no pictures were taken of this lovely day for obvious reasons)
I suck at making friends. I suck way harder at keeping them.
My first best friend was a little Asian girl in kindergarten. She told me she had five dogs and ten brothers and six snakes. When I finally went to play at her house I learned she had no pets, one brother and quite an imagination.
We played in her father’s dentist office for hours.
I watched her at gymnastics practice.
For one year, she was my one and only friend. And then… she was gone.
I don’t know what happened. I am pretty sure we were still in the same school.
In middle school, I found a best friend I could be completely bizarre with.
We wore knee socks with Converse when everyone else was rocking Keds and pastel jeans.
We watched our first R-rated movie together, Pulp Fiction. I ended up with 2 copies of the soundtrack because her uber Christian parents weren’t too happy with the first lines of the first track. (Any of you f&^in’ pr&cks move and I’ll execute every motherf&^ing last one of you!”)
We were mall rats. We were dorks. We were AWESOME.
I went to a high school in the ghetto, my parents got divorced and I lived in crappy brown house on an iffy street in a so-so neighborhood.
She went to a Christian school.
For a brief moment in time in middle school I was also incredibly close to a girl named Susan.
She was cooler than me, dressed better than me, was smarter than me, but for some reason we jived.
It was a brief friendmance, note sharing and bracelet exchanges.
I ran into her at a breakfast joint several years ago while I was there with my husband. She was still cooler than me, dressed better than me, was smarter than me and we still jived. There were mojitos, thai lunch dates and confessions.
Then she and her husband moved to Canada. Seriously, Canada.
My closest friend in high school couldn’t have been more different from me. Or more alike. I was closer to her than anyone for years.
There was a falling out our senior year, probably because I was a bit of a dick back then. Although we made up, the drifting had already begun.
In high school, I met a girl named Tori with long hair and an enormous heart.
It was in a tech class and we bonded over our love for oldies. Real oldies. Cecilia. Cathy’s Clown. American Pie.
We reconnected when I moved back to Tampa and she’s incredible.
She’s an amazing mom and sings in a blues band. She’s honest, kind, hilarious and… about to move to Colorado.
Notice a trend here?
When I was 14, my first boyfriend wanted to lend me a cassette tape on “How to Make Friends.”
Another boyfriend told me I should “make attractive friends.”
This reveals more than just the fact that I dated some real jackasses.
I can’t keep a friend to save my life.
Another moved to Phoenix.
Another moved to go to Yale. (which is apparently in Massachusetts or Connecticut or whatever, where the smart people live)
Another is busy with his new baby. (Only after I was super busy with mine, so I TOTALLY get it)
I could keep going.
As my last super good friend starts packing to move across the country, I feel like I am boxing up the last vestige of my solo identity.
Wonder if that cassette tape is still out there somewhere.
I’ve learned the dirty secret to potty training and parenting in general.
My daughter has an entire closet packed with My Little Ponies from her toilet training days. It wouldn’t surprise me if the mere mention of Rainbow Dash made her want to tinkle.
We just started trying to potty train my son and thankfully his vice is infinitely cheaper. Chocolate!
We just happen to have a lovely stash of leftover Easter candy (in a Halloween bucket) to inspire him to ditch the diapers.
My daughter is cheering him on because she knows she gets the consolation piece of chocolate whenever he pees on the pot.
Is it worth potentially spending several weeks with insane children hopped up on sugar in order to be done with diapers? Absolutely!
If I never have to change another blowout diaper, I will be a happy lady. My son’s dirty diapers smell like spicy thai food. It’s no joke.
I have to say, Huck has been taking the transition like a champ. He will squeeze out a couple of drops on cue if it means he gets a chocolate egg.
I do wonder if this means he will someday be 30 and using a restroom, bewildered by a sudden urge to eat something sweet.
It doesn’t hurt that he gets to rock Buzz Lightyear undies during the process. He looks ridiculously cute in them, with one exception.
The other night at dinner, my daughter growled in disgust and pointed at my son’s crotch and said, “His hoo ha is out!” (Hoo Ha being the best name I could come up with for her private parts)
Why in God’s name would they make underwear for toddlers with a hole in the front for their junk to peek out?
It was like, “Hey guys, what’s for dinner?”
We’ve been calling my son’s private part his “piton.” (pee-tone) I won’t say what it means, but porn stars have them… apparently Robin Thicke as well. It’s something most English speaking people won’t recognize as a “dirty word” and it doubles as a compliment.
There was an equally disturbing sight on Sunday while the kids were playing with the water table in the backyard and I noticed Huck’s piton popping out of the top of his swim trunks. I guess maybe he really does have a piton.
Back to bribery. It has become my go-to technique.
The other day Alma was having a major meltdown at Target. For the first time, she was scanning the aisles for anything she could potentially want and demanding I buy it. We ended up with a My Little Pony watch she can’t read, some new undies that sag off her skinny behind and a pink rubber lizard.
I had no idea that lizard would become a supreme being to her. It was from that weird little dollar section at the front of the store. You know, where they stock crap for kids that will break within a day.
Within an hour of getting back home, Alma is sobbing hysterically because she lost her pink lizard. Tears streaming down her face for that useless, lead-tainted, neon pink Chinese piece of rubber junk.
I spent forever hunting for it. So did my husband. So did Alma. (while hiccuping through tears)
The end result? Mommy heads back to Target to buy a one-dollar lizard. (and a bottle of Prosecco)
I get back home and instead of embracing me with gratitude she says with the attitude of a teenager, “Cut the tag off.”
I leave her watching My Little Pony with the evil lizard to start laundry and lo and behold, the original pink lizard was in the washing machine.
It’s now a slightly gooier, perpetually sticky version of it’s newly acquired sibling.
I guess it’s better than what I imagined to be the impending end result…. my dog shitting out a half-digested glob of neon pink.
What have I learned from all of this?
Don’t take the kids to Disney.
Don’t promise a day at a water park.
Hit the dollar section at Target and stock up on extra holiday candy. The cheap solution to parenting.
We have hundreds of television channels. 90% of them are showing things that are inappropriate for my children to view.
When I was a kid the raciest thing I ever saw on our six channels was Baywatch.
Now, the magic screen flickers with unpredictable images of threesomes, boobs and man butts.
Plots centered on high schoolers having abortions, real housewives beating each other up and Bachelors having sex in the ocean with one of 27 “lucky” ladies.
It makes the controversial plots of the late 80’s and early 90’s laughable.
I remember feeling nauseous and uncomfortable when Allie found a condom in Chip’s pocket on Kate and Allie.
There was the infamous episode of Diff’rent Strokes when Dana Plato’s character had bulimia.
We can thank Canada for tackling tough topics like teen drug use and divorce on Degrassi Junior High.
My kids aren’t old enough to need the “child lock” but I am starting to think they need to make one for grownups.
“Watch Mad Men without gratuitous sex scenes! See Dexter without ever having to see Dexter’s derriere!”
While our biggest current concern is making sure the kids aren’t replicating the abuse Tom and Jerry subject each other to, there’s also Victoria’s Secret ads to subtly teach my daughter the appeal of protruding hip bones and anorexia.
Thank GOD that we can now fast forward through all of the commercials, which are more graphic and offensive than anything we were forced to watch between shows as kids.
I was banned from watching Three’s Company because of their “inappropriate living arrangement.”
Now, you can watch two guys and a chick get it on in the shower on what’s supposed to be a thriller about a serial killer.
We had true drama with Mary Ingalls going blind on Little House on the Prairie.
The Cosby Show, where the most offensive thing was those Coogi sweaters.
The hot chicks on television: Becca from Life Goes On and Winnie Cooper. If you were a real perv it was Kelly Bundy.
Now Hannah Montanas transform into Miley Cyruseseses. (yeah, I couldn’t figure out the apostrophe) Britney Spears turned into… Britney Spears.
Want a chuckle? America’s Funniest Home Videos is still hilarious even though the clips are from the early 80’s.
Now, you can giggle at the guy from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia putting his dick through a hole in the wall in an attempt to have intercourse with a stranger.
How did we go from the seven castaways of Gilligan’s Island to the seven strangers picked to live in a house to the seven strangers having an orgy in a jacuzzi in Vegas? It was like ‘take one down, pass it around’ with roommates on the Real World.
I blame a cartoon for the downfall of American television. Beavis and Butthead. It’s all their fault.
My mother spent years caring for me more than anything in the world before I even had a memory.
She helped me take my first steps, although it’s an accomplishment I never appreciate.
She made me cinnamon toast and Earl Gray tea with milk when I was sick. She made cinnamon yogurt with peaches when I was dragged to my dad’s football games. She played the “dot game” with me for hours so I would survive those games.
She was there for me when I ran from elementary school all the way home (across the street) because my anxiety was at its peak.
She allowed me to be myself, even when that meant being an incredibly weird kid.
She pushed me to audition for a play, although I was debilitated by anxiety and I found something that I finally felt was my own.
She worked overnight an hour away after the divorce in order to jump start a career that would quickly turn her from an Associate Producer to a News Director.
She made me a mountain of fried rice and brought me cheap white wine when my boyfriend was being a real douche during my first years in the news business.
She took me on cruises, some of the best vacations I have ever taken and will ever take in my life.
Now, I watch her with my daughter and realize she has taught me everything I know about being a wonderful mother. And I will never be as phenomenal as she has been for me.
My mother is a superstar and has been since the minute she was born, since the minute she became my mother and since the minute she became the grandma to my daughter.
Little known facts I’ve learned from my Cuban familia.
1. Titties are an acceptable topic of conversation. The use of the words “titties” or “tetas” is also acceptable.
2. If you are embarrassed for people to see you in your pajamas, breastfeeding or if you refuse to eat food they provide, you lose your Honorary Cuban card.
3. Traveling in herds is preferable.
4. Baby genitalia are cute and/or funny.
5. All meals must include rice.
6. All meals must be followed by Espresso.
7. If you do not own and/or use a pressure cooker you are NOT Cuban.
8. A trip to the beach requires a moving van. (and a POD)
9. Holiday dinners are preceded by a heartfelt speech during which other family members can mock you or take pot shots.
10. If you can’t stand up for yourself, stand somewhere else. You do not belong.
11. Cuban time does exist. You must turn your clock back a full hour when planning.
12. It ain’t a real party without a pinata.
13. Yellow rice is actually orange and best cooked with PBR.
14. Forget everything you knew about Thanksgiving turkey. You’ve been doing it ALL WRONG.
15. Don’t ever insult a Cuban woman’s cooking, even if it’s Bacalao and smells like rotting, farting flesh.
What I miss about life B.C. (before children)
1) Lunch at Benihana
Who has that kind of money to spend on lunch? Now it’s t.v. dinners or whatever the kids refused to eat the night before.
Now, it’s periodic sunburns and farmer’s tans in-between the many months spent so white I appear to be related to a guppy. You can see my insides!
3) Shopping at Urban Outfitters
Shopping now is a trip to Target with toddlers whining to go into the big cart and then back out of the big cart and climbing my legs and buying stuff off the rack without trying it on because going into a dressing room with toddlers is kind of like taking a casual stroll through the temple of doom.
4) Tearing it up at the club
Now I just get super excited about the season finale of Bates Motel and an opportunity to steal some of the kid’s Easter candy.
5) Working out EVERY DAY
My brain addled by parenting and years of lost sleep, I forgot my gym bag at home last night. I opted for dusting the cobwebs off the elliptical in the garage. The kids ended up demanding to watch me workout, which really means Alma asking me 300 questions about the contents of the garage and nearly crushing my son with the foot pedal of the elliptical. (Which is now rocking from side to side from overuse)
6) Waking up…. and then going back to sleep
There is really nothing that compares to the opportunity to KEEP SLEEPING. Now, the only way it happens is if my husband and I take turns. (take turns trying to keep the kids quiet… impossible… and trying desperately to ignore the sound of their tantrums… also impossible)
Why not get drunk every night because you WILL feel hungover regardless.
7) Cuddling with my dog
My poor O.B. (original baby) has long since forgotten what it feels like to be truly loved and adored. Because he doesn’t wiggle incessantly, flick me in the face or demand something the second we sit down, I miss it too.
8) My husband
We used to stay up late making stupid jokes and giggling, things like “lying down dancing” in bed to the hilarious pornographic sounding ringtone on my phone. There ain’t nothing funny enough to lose precious minutes of sleep for anymore.
But, alas… if I didn’t have my children I would be bored, often lonely and absolutely MISERABLE.
So, there’s that.