Monday, June 29, 2015

Big E: Waiting for the Tooth Fairy

Big E turns seven in November.

While many of his friends have jacked up, adorable, toothless grins, my kid hasn't arrived there yet.  Part of me wishes it would never happen.  You see, I have this thing with blood.

Poop, vomit, even urine, doesn't affect me. But blood. Blood is my kryptonite. I fainted into a wall at a movie theatre the first time I got my period. Gave myself a really good shiner. Clearly, I would have made a horrendous doctor.

And I know for a fact a tooth doesn't just gently fall out. There's the empty tooth pocket that fills up with blood. It makes my stomach turn.

So tonight Big E said the words I've been fearing.


The tooth is leaning on its neighbor.  I could barely take this picture without vomiting in my mouth.

My dad wanted to investigate, naturally. Dr. Poppy decided the best thing to do was to yank it out.


I put an end to this nonsense.  This tooth will fall out naturally, even if it is hanging by a thread for weeks.  There will be no slamming the door shut with a string attached to this poor, innocent tooth.  

I'm fine with Big E rocking this look until he leaves for college.  As long as I don't have to be the one to remove it from his mouth or sop up any sort of blood.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Yoys: Gator Bait

After a good old fashioned Florida thunderstorm, the temperature outside had cooled to an almost bearable degree.

I decided to take the boys out on the golf cart path and burn through the remainder of their boy energy.  My dad joined us and we were off.

My parents' neighborhood is so far West, they basically live in the Everglades. There is such an amazing array of wildlife that a simple walk can turn into an adventure.

This evening, we encountered not one, but two alligators on our walk. 

The first one wasn't very big, but I'd recognize those creepy eyes anywhere.  As a University of Florida alumni, I learned to be very alert on campus.  Forget about the drunk fraternity boys, it was one of these suckers you really had to worry about.  You never knew when a hungry gator would come ashore and attempt to eat your Birkenstock-clad foot for lunch. I'm talking to you, Lake Alice.

I kept my distance. My dad, on the other hand, gave zero f*cks.  He walked right down to the water's edge, while I took my offspring and safely climbed up a nearby palm tree.

As we continued on, we encountered a much larger lake with some cool birds. The birds here are big. Not like swoop down and eat your dog big, but like starting center for the Miami Heat big.  They have legs that rival mine.  They are quite beautiful. 

And it was then that I spotted the second alligator.  My dad doubted my latest find. He thought it was some floating plant.  But again, those creepy eyes.  Just breaking the water plane to keep an eye on his next meal while the remainder of his prehistoric body remains submerged.

And this thing was big. I could tell by his snout. He would gladly eat all of us for dinner.  My dad walked closer to the lake. 


Um, yes. And, again, I began to make my way cautiously away from the lake.

The pictured bird flew off and just then the gator, that my dad wasn't so sure was a gator, gave a good thrashing and repositioned his eyes on us.

We screamed in unison and sprinted off, while laughing like fools.

My dad and I ran straight.

But my kids, they ran zig zag.

You see, in the early 80s, I spent a few years in the Brownies, the pre-cursor to the Girl Scouts. I learned a few songs, how to eat a sh*t ton of thin mints and not get ill, and most importantly, if I was ever being chased by an alligator, because this is the kind of stuff you learn in Glades Troop 101, you are supposed to run in a zig zag pattern because while alligators are fast, they have a terrible turning radius.

In passing, I must have told the Yoys this.  And they remembered.  So as I'm running away (in the incorrect way), I'm watching my kids scatter onto the golf course yelling ZIG! ZAG! ZIG! ZAG! at the top of their lungs while they actually zigged and zagged.

It was perfect.  And the alligator ate none of us for dinner.

The only type of alligator I want chewing on my kids. Albert.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Little E: Big Rescue?

Poppy picked the boys up from summer camp this afternoon while I was driving my mom home from a two hour eye doctor appointment.

The teenage counselors told my dad a brief story regarding Little E falling off his pool noodle in a deeper area of the pool, but they insisted he was fine.

My dad relayed the story to me via phone and when I arrived home, I began the FBI questioning.

On Little E's camp registration, we had classified Little E as a non-swimmer. A more accurate classification would be a partial swimmer. He can swim, really swim, he just can't (or won't) lift his head out of the water to breathe. So he can only swim as far as he can hold his breath. Then he just starts drinking dirty pool water.

I was a little concerned that he was floating around in the deep end of the pool.

I was even more concerned when Big E began telling me how everyone within a two mile radius jumped into the pool to save him, including the lifeguard. It was like some bad 80s after-school special on drowning.

Every time I pressed Big E for more details, the story became more and more outrageous. At some point, a rescue helicopter made it's way into the neighborhood to save his brother.

Little E said very little about the pool incident. I don't know if it is because nothing major happened or if this is the beginning of the secondary drowning process I've seen posted all over Facebook.

At drop off tomorrow morning, I hope to get the full, accurate story on Little E's pool mishap.  It's not that I don't TRUST Big and Little E, it's just they have crazy doomsday imaginations, and I just want to make sure I have all the facts before I allow myself to freak out.

Stick to the jacuzzi, Little E. For my nerves' sake.

Mrs. Yoy: Fan Girl

Dear Mindy Kaling,

I haven't written a piece of fan mail since the 1980s when David Hasselhoff and KITT ruled TV, but I'm feeling very inspired. 

I'm sure you get loads of fan mail from girls proposing best friendship. I am not one of them. I had a best friend and she was the bee's knees. She wore funky glasses and kicked ass as an architect. 

She passed away last week at the age of 39 after a two year battle with a very aggressive form of brain cancer. 

I'm not trying to bum you out.  I just wanted to thank you.

You see, me and my best friend would cuddle up on our couches to watch The Mindy Project together. And even though we were separated by over 600 miles, it was like she was right there with me.  I'd pick up the phone and call her to repeat some insane Dr. Lahiri line. (We especially enjoyed the Jewish summer camp intro, as two former campers.) And later, when she lost the ability to talk, I'd text her. And I'd get an LOL right back.

For those thirty minutes we forgot about the chemo and the scary prognosis, and laughed our asses off.  We could just be us again.  And I will be forever grateful to you, the actors, the writers, and especially the costume designer, who dresses you oh-so fabulously.

I'm not sure if you'll ever read this, I just wanted to put it out there into the universe.

Mrs. Yoy
Atlanta, GA

P.S. The Hoff sent me back an 8x10 signed photo of him laying atop KITT in an awkward/sexy pose which was pretty much the best thing ever. In case you were wondering...

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mrs. Yoy: (tears)

On Friday, I eulogized my best friend at her memorial service.

It was both the hardest and the most important thing I've done in a long time.  I was scared sh*tless to get up there and pour my heart out and cry in front of everyone.  But my fear was no match for the urge I had to tell everyone how awesome she was.

With the help of another close friend, xanax, I pushed the grief and the fear and the anger and the tears down long enough to get through most of my speech.

I've known for awhile that this day would come.  And when it did, all the emotions I had tried exhaustingly to keep at bay, washed over me like a tsunami. And I welcomed them.  I needed to feel the cracks in my heart break wide open.

The morning after she passed, I took Poodle Yoy for a walk.  The sky was a brilliant blue.  I couldn't believe that the world appeared just as it did the morning before.  Except now one very important person was missing.  I walked with a pit of grief in my stomach that I knew would remain in residence for a long time, if not indefinitely.  I talked to myself, probably scaring some of the neighbors. I just couldn't, and still can't, believe this happened.

In dying, my friend taught me a hell of a lot about living.  And I will carry those lessons with me forever.

Love life. Be present. Laugh hard. Be honest. Hug people. Be kind. 

Anyone interested in making a donation to her most favorite charity, please click on the link below:

Preston Robert Tisch Brain Cancer Center @ Duke University

Missing you today and everyday, L.

My Best Friend's Eulogy

Picture it: Miami Beach 2050. Four old ladies all living together in a lovely Mid-Century Modern home.

This is how I envisioned my golden years.  Leah and I and Beth and possibly Liza would all be living together.  We would have nagged our husbands to death by then and we'd be eating cheesecake in our moo-moos and playing an obscene amount of mah-jong.

Never in my wildest nightmare did I see our story ending like it did. 

I'm going to skip all of the potentially incriminating college stories and instead tell you a story of love.

Picture it: Gainesville 1994. Leah and I began our journey at the University of Florida. My major was undecided as I am terrible at making timely life decisions.  Leah was interested in majoring in psychology and had signed up for the intro class. 

Leah had many wonderful traits, but patience was never her strong suit.  When I think of her becoming a psychologist, I laugh.  And then thank god she found her way to the career resource center.

She came back to the dorm one day all fired up about this major called Landscape Architecture. I had never heard of it, but it had to be a better fit than psychology.

The next semester, Leah enrolled in Design I, alongside the regular architecture students.  By the end of that class, she had officially changed her major to architecture and the love affair had begun.

As I toiled away on pension benefit amortization journal entries, I watched in awe and admiration as Leah produced the most beautiful and amazing models and drawings I had ever seen. I couldn't believe the things she created with her hands.

In the process, Leah taught me so much about architecture.  My previous knowledge was basically door, wall, wall, wall, wall, roof.  Yep that looks good to me!  Leah taught me how to really look at a building and explain why it was beautiful or sometimes, a total train wreck.

In fact, the first time she visited my newly built home in Atlanta, she pointed out all the quirky things our builder had done.  Things that didn't make sense to her.  Things I never would have noticed. Ever.  YOU KNOW, THE BUILDER SHOULD HAVE LEFT 12 INCHES BETWEEN THE EDGE OF YOUR BATHROOM SINK AND THE WALL. (paraphrased, obviously).  And for the next nine years, I always cursed the builder every time I banged my elbow on the wall next to my sink.  Because Leah was right.  There wasn't enough space.

Leah's passion for architecture was inspiring.  She'd frequently stay up all night at the architecture building working on her latest assignment.  We'd bring her frozen yogurt from an old Gainesville favorite, Flavors, hoping the sugar rush would sustain her overnight.

When it came time for her final class critique, I can remember how nervous Leah was.  She'd pinned all her work up on a board in our apartment.  And it was fantastic.  I sat on the floor and examined it for hours. She was going to kick butt.  I just knew it. And I was so proud of her.

Leah's physical time here on Earth has passed.

But her amazing spirit lives on.  In the mischievous twinkle in her son's eyes and his envious head of hair.  In my heart.  And in yours.

So in honor and in memory of my sweet friend Leah, I ask you to find your passion, do a mitzvah, or simply bring more kindness into this world.

And in the wise words of the Golden Girls' theme song writer:

Thank you for being a friend!

My best friend. I love you, Leah.

Dancing Queens Circa 1992

Saturday, June 13, 2015


We are talking advantage of all Florida as to offer, including kids eat free night on Wednesdays at Duffy's.  To our surprise, there was a young girl there making balloon animals for all the kids.

The Yoys were ecstatic.  And because they are ultra creative, out of all the animals in the world, they both picked dogs.  Yawn. And Little E asked for a Poodle Yoy Doppelgänger.

Balloon dogs in hand, I escorted the Yoys outside as my dad settled up the bill. They were getting antsy and our well behaved time had sadly come to an end. Except Little E's poodle untwisted itself and he now possessed a deformed snake. He shrieked in agony. All the old people slowly turned their heads and gave me and my misfit gang dirty looks.


And she did, thankfully.

But because I'm nothing, if not realistic, I knew this would not be the last time we had a balloon animal malfunction and began to steel my nerves for it.

After bath, we were snuggled on the couch watching Wheel of Fortune.  Big E was throwing his balloon dog all around.  And shockingly, it came untwisted.

Then came the flood of tears.  Big E was hysterical.

I took a moment to curse the balloon animal girl and then I composed myself.  I took Little E's still intact dog and studied it for a few moments.  I went to work on Big E's balloon dog.  After a lot of twisting and listening to that horrible noise the balloon makes while you are manipulating it, I had fixed Big E's dog.  It was back to it's original form.

My parents applauded.  Big E smiled through his drying tears.  I felt the need to get up and take a bow.  Because in that moment, I was super mom.

The Yoys proudly displaying their balloon dogs.

Week old balloon poodle.  Still kicking it.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Yoys: Ticket Takers

Last week, my parents and I took the Yoysers to the bowling alley to get their strikes on.  When it rains in Florida, which is almost every day, you have to have a go-to list of indoor activities.  Bowling is numero uno for my boys.

After we wrapped up our two hour, yet only ten frames of bowling, the boys made a beeline for the arcade.

This is not the arcade of our youth.  There is no Pac-Man.  Or Space Invaders.  Or anything you remotely know how to play.  And everything spits out tickets. Except you need an obscene amount of tickets to win anything noteworthy and each game costs like 75 cents to play.

For only 80,000 tickets you can buy a low-end iPad.  We spent about $10 and earned approximately 50 tickets.  Based on these numbers, this iPad costs (hold on...let me do the algebra) ~$16,000.  Basically a bargain by my kids' standards. They had their eyes on that prize.

We all tried valiantly to earn the Yoysers as many tickets as possible.  We so wanted them to win a $16,000 iPad.

My dad played this game where you jump on a scale as hard as you can and win tickets based on your force.  This is the opposite of my Weight Watchers meetings where woman are stripping to their undergarments to lose a few tenths of a pound.

Poppy won five tickets, but he also won a lifetime of back problems, as I think he compressed some of his spinal discs during his big jump.

We pulled the plug on this money suck and headed back to the prize counter.

There was much discussion and politicking between the boys.  They were a mere 79,950 tickets short of the coveted iPad.  After a heated argument, some pushing, and murder screams, the boys went with these guys:

In summary, we spent $10 for two BPA-laden army guys and two of these plastic semi-spheres that pop off the ground.

And with that, I scratched the bowling alley off the list.