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A Run, a Casserole and some other dramatics….


A couple of years ago when we signed up Michael for a running program, we quickly realized that our 3-year-old would likely become the next Michael Johnson.

At the end of this program when he was participating in the local 5k road race, we realized as we walked towards the starting line-up that one of us would have to actually run with the kid.

We couldn’t very well let a small child run through the streets by himself.

We stared at each other with our cigarettes hanging out of our mouths and like any intelligent, forward-thinking adults, we played “Rock, paper, scissors” to see who would run with him.

I lost and I could barely jog a mile.  After that – I realized that we needed to put out the cigarettes and at least be able to run a mile for god sakes.

The following Thanksgiving I ran the Manchester Road Race which is 4.7 miles in 49 minutes.   I had come a long way.  This race is very fun, but it is a huge endeavor with 15,000 runners and 35000 spectators!!

Last year, I just didn’t feel like the headache of all of that.  I couldn’t deal with the waking up at 6:30 am and finding somewhere to park, standing in the freezing cold waiting to start and then after the race, heading back to your car and sitting in traffic for hours.

I decided to just do a 5k on my own in my neighborhood, so I could feel good about exercising but not waste too much time.  I casually mentioned this to a few people and it snowballed.

This was the group of 43 runners at my house at 9 am this Thanksgiving.

I had to organize maps, and registration forms and serve bagels, fruits and snacks, drinks and coffee for everyone, as well as be sure to have medals and trophies ready….

Mr. Gaga’s sister helped me tremendously with all of the little crafty details. The night before we realized we had nothing to give the runners-up or the children that were participating.  She ran to the store and created the most amazing gold medals ever!!!!  Pin that you Pinteresters…..

From what I understand in my extremely Jewish neighborhood – these chocolates wrapped in gold foil are called “Gelt.” But in my household we call it “5K bling.”

I gave strict instructions to my sister-in-law and Mr. Gaga about registration, times, waivers, playing Rocky music and Chariots of Fire….etc. and it was a great success!!

By 11 am I had to wrap it up and completely switch gears.  I had to be ready for 26 people to arrive at 12:30 for Thanksgiving dinner.

So as soon as I got inside I started running around like a maniac, throwing kids into showers, basting turkeys, lighting candles, etc.

I am capable of getting a lot done, but two things have to happen in order for me to do what needs to be done.

#1 – I need to delegate.

#2  – I need to yell at everyone.

There’s usually a lot of dramatics leading up to any big event.

I am not being mean, I just yell.  I am dramatic. This is how I grew up.

We raise our voices.

We swear.

My brother and I would walk into my house and call “MA!!” as loud as we could until she answered. We all yell at each other all the time and think nothing of it.

My in-laws aren’t like this.  They are very even-keeled and quiet people.  There’s no yelling.  There’s actually no voice inflection at all.  They don’t rush. They don’t show emotion.  To give you an idea, while I was running around like a maniac my father-in-law actually sat at the kitchen table playing some sort of “Vegas slots” game on the Ipad.

I just continued doing what I had to do, yelling at the kids to get dressed, and yelling at Mr. Gaga to get in the shower.

Then I yelled at my Dad because he forgot the gravy boats that I told him I wanted to borrow, and then he yelled back at me “You know what….your mother was saying something about that, but I wasn’t listening…. I have too much going on to find goddamned gravy boats…I’ll just go buy some %&#$ing gravy boats if you need them so badly.”  (See –  this is how we talk.)

Where are the $#%ing gravy boats you   mother$%#ers????

Then later I took a minute to take a picture of the kids for Thanksgiving to capture all of the love and thankfulness and they wouldn’t sit still. Obviously, in order to get a good picture of this important day, I told them I would “beat them senseless and lock them in their room for the rest of the day if they didn’t smile.”

Apparently that was the last straw.  When I looked at my in-laws, they were aghast.

“Why don’t you have some wine?” my sister-in-law suggested with horror.

“What? How else do you get children to sit still and smile??” I asked.

My in-laws think that I should just host 43 people in the morning and 26 people for dinner and not raise my voice once??

Ok, I think I can just pour the gravy straight from my pockets and that should work, Mr. Gaga. Oh and have I told you how handsome you are today, Mr. Gaga?? And how much I enjoy watching your father play on his Ipad while I make 45 turkeys? I am so thankful.

SIDENOTE: I have to give them props because even though they are horrified by me and think I am crazy, they were extremely helpful with cleaning, setting up, entertaining the children all while searching for the best “Black Friday” deals on their ipads.

Everyone was responsible for bringing a side or a dessert which was life-saving.

Last year – I had leftovers at my aunt’s house and tasted the most amazing green bean casserole in the world, so I hunted her down for the recipe and asked my cousin Emily to make it this year.

Now let me be clear on a few things.  Just so you can know how important it is for you all to make this recipe next year.

A – Growing up we never had green bean casserole.

B – I think all casseroles are vile and disgusting as a rule.

C – I don’t really like green beans all that much.

D – I think green bean casserole actually looks utterly repulsive.

THIS RECIPE IS DIFFERENT!!  It is all FRESH!!!!

I don’t know what genius came up with this but they deserve an award…

Oh hello, heaven in a dish…..

This dish is AMAZING.

It is made WITHOUT cans of weird condensed “soups.”

It is made with FRESH GREEN BEANS AND MUSHROOMS.

IT IS THE BOMB.

I HAVE DREAMT OF IT SINCE LAST NOVEMBER.

So imagine what happened when my phone rang at 11:45 from my aunt (WHO LIVES ONE HOUR AWAY) saying that “Emily is missing and she didn’t make the green bean casserole, but send us the recipe and we will try to make it.” (Did I mention arrival time was 12:30?)

“Um…I don’t think you will have time to make it….and where is she?” I answered.

“We don’t know…she’s not answering her phone, she went out last night and now she’s not communicating with us.  There’s a guy that she’s been hanging out with and maybe that’s why…we are just so upset…..” my aunt said, almost in tears, “Maybe she ran away with him….I just don’t know.”

Meanwhile, smoke was coming out of my ears.

“Oh yes – it’s just so sad that your daughter drank too much last night and is sleeping it off somewhere and won’t answer her phone….but more importantly WHO IS MAKING THE GODDAMNED GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE????”

“I am hosting 70 people today, and these $#@ers can’t even cook one @#@%$ing $##@ing casserole one day a year??!! THEY ARE DISINVITED FROM NOW ON!! THANKSGIVING IS RUINED!!!” I screamed to anyone who came through the kitchen as I chopped and cleaned and organized with my dreams of a glorious green bean casserole up in smoke.

At one point my calm, cool and collected sister-in-law said quietly, “Is there anything I can do?” and I stared at her and said “No- I just have to send death threats to my cousin and pour water in the water glasses,” and she didn’t even bat an eyelash.

I sent this:

It worked.

Thank God – they all arrived with tons of green bean casserole!!

At 2 PM.

There was no new boyfriend or scheme to elope….Emily’s car and phone had died simultaneously…so she was running late.

 We hugged and laughed when they arrived.

All was well.

Dramatics run in the family.

HAPPY BELATED THANKSGIVING TO ALL!! PLEASE CLICK THE BANNER BELOW TO VOTE FOR ME FOR FUNNIEST MOM IN AMERICA!!!!

LINKING TO SHELL AT THINGS I CAN’T SAY

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There’s no place like home


When I was growing up, my two favorite movies were Weekend at Bernie’s and Overboard.  They are similar in that they both take place in the summer….one on a yacht and one in a huge mansion on the beach. I know every word to those movies, and it seemed perfectly logical to me that one day I too would party in a huge beach house (preferably not with a dead guy) and would some day ask my servant, “Are you going to get my lemonade or am I going to have to squeeze it from my hat?”

While these fantasies were not realistic to begin with – they were officially down the drain when I decided to have children.  The hope of one day hopping off a jet ski in a bikini and heading up to party at Bernie’s officially died after I had my first child.

What I hadn’t anticipated was that my life would take such a turn for the worse that I would actually end up attending a “family resort” in the Poconos on a lake……with my in-laws.  Mr. Gaga and his family and friends visited this “resort” every year while he was growing up, and it’s all they talk about it since I met him.

Because I am a great wife and mother – when Mr. Gaga’s sister planned a reunion of sorts at this facility I agreed to go.

If I thought they talked about it a lot before – they really wouldn’t shut up about it now. I would usually just zone out completely when they told the same stories over and over again about the delicious food and the fun nights at karaoke.

I believe it was Thanksgiving when I was hosting dinner for 30 people who my mother-in-law started talking about all of  the “delicious homemade food” that we would be eating at Central House in July.

“Well – like what?” I asked, not fully engaged in the conversation, as I frantically made gravy and stirred mashed potatoes.

“Oh – like for lunch they will serve Swedish meatballs and potatoes…” she said with joy and excitement.

I stopped stirring and stared at her closely to see if she was kidding.

She wasn’t.

I am sure everyone in America except Mr. Gaga’s relatives realizes that “Swedish Meatballs” isn’t a meal at all….let alone one that should be served during July in a “resort.” In fact are they even FDA approved?  I thought they were just something weird that they served at Ikea as a snack, but there’s no talking to these people.

“But – what will I do?  I can’t eat that!! I will starve to death!”  I answered my mother-in-law.

She laughed hysterically…”Oh, I’m sure they have salad or something.”

As we inched past November I kind of forgot about the Swedish meatball resort.  As the school year was winding down and summer was fast-approaching I realized that I was really going to Kellerman’s and I started to worry.

A couple of weeks before we went I told my best friend about it.  When I was finished describing the facility there was complete silence on the other end.

“Hello?” I spoke into the phone.

“I don’t know what to say……You will have to just pretend you are on Survivor.” she answered.

“I know, I am pretending I am going to rehab for exhaustion like Lindsay Lohan, and I am just going to read a lot.”

So that was the plan.

Because this is an anonymous blog, and you don’t all really know me, I worry sometimes that you don’t necessarily have a clear image of who I really am.  I gave you glimpse when I told you that people always compare me to Carrie from King of Queens, and at the very least if you are a regular reader you know that I am Italian and that I take food VERY seriously.  Let me now add to those details – that I am NOT a lover of nature and live in constant fear of bacterial infections and Legionnaire’s Disease, so lakes are not my friend.

So just for a quick recap – I went to an old motel in the woods resort on a lake that served old-fashioned comfort food 3 meals a day that was prepared by a man named Fred.

You do see how this could be problematic?

I decided that only way to survive was to completely go with the flow.  When Mr. Gaga demanded that we be there on Saturday in time for lunch, I agreed.  I figured I would be entering into a scene straight out of Dirty Dancing, and I was mentally prepared for it.

I’m gonna have fun and you’re gonna have fun. We’re all gonna have so much fucking fun we’ll need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles. You’ll be whistling ‘Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah’ out of your assholes!

So imagine my shock and horror when upon arrival we drove in and saw my mother-in-law waving in front of the “North Lodge” where we would be residing for the next 4 days.

I have never stayed in a motel before, but now I had the distinct pleasure of staying in one in the middle of the wilderness in an adjoining room with my in-laws!!

Who needs a yacht or a dead guy’s mansion when you can live like this?!

While I stared at the building and tried to process what happened to my life.  I heard bells ringing in the background.  I shuffled along with the crowd to the “dining hall” as the bells were to alert us that it was lunchtime.

Upon entering the dining hall I was met with this sign:

I mean – I can’t even make this stuff up. What should a human think when they read a board like this? I thought “roast beef” was a sandwich that I hate – I didn’t know it could be a dinner….and what the fuck is a “Bird of Prey?”

We sat at our assigned table and our waitress introduced herself and informed us that she would also be teaching Zumba in the mornings and wearing a poodle skirt and teaching hula hoop lessons on 50’s night.  I accepted this completely because I knew that the staff at Kellerman’s in Dirty Dancing served drinks and food when they weren’t dancing.  I ate my lunch and then made my way with the kids to the pool and hot tub.  It wasn’t fancy but the kids loved it and I figured I could lounge by the pool all week and it would be ok.  As I got settled on my lounge chair I started to read my magazines.  After I read the same page over and over again, I realized something wasn’t quite right about the hot tub.

There was a group of mothers and children in the “hot tub.”

They were all loud.

They were all fat and ugly.

They were splashing and getting water on my US Weekly.

But wait….I looked a little closer….I sat up and pushed my sunglasses to the top of my head so I could really stare at these disgusting people….could it be?

Could they be actually eating ice cream and cupcakes in a hot tub??

What kind of animals am I living in this motel with?

Disgusted, I was saved by the dinner bell.   After eating a nice dinner roll and salad it was time to go watch the “Birds of Prey”show which was basically an insane old man talking about and showing his bird collection.

The next morning, exhausted from the day before I was happily sleeping when I heard bells clanging.

It was 7:30 am.

Oh – did I not mention that there is a daily 7:30 a.m. wake-up bell on this “VACATION?”

So off we go back to the dining hell…..to see this:

Don’t come to the Swedish Meatball Resort if you plan on eating anything healthy or not straight out of the 1950’s. Please note the time span in between meals – you have exactly 4 hours to digest Thanksgiving dinner before you are eating again…..

After another morning at the pool in the blazing 95 degree heat, before we knew it the fucking bells were ringing again, and off we went in our bathing suits from the steamy heat of summer into the dining room to be met with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and stuffing.

That’s normal and appropriate right?

I will tell you right now – If I ever am lucky enough to live in my dead boss’ beach house, I am going to have fresh fruits and salads for lunch….maybe an occasional piece of grilled chicken.

NEVER will I have a full-fledged THANKSGIVING DINNER in the middle of the fucking day in the middle of a heat-wave!!

So off we waddled back to the pool and much to my chagrin – the cupcake eaters were back in the hot tub.

Apparently these people were not participating in the meal plan in the dining facility.

When I looked at them this time -I couldn’t believe my eyes.

They were eating BEEF KABOBS in the HOT TUB.

The “vacation” progressed this way the entire time.  By the last day I was ready to leave for sure.   We left at 5:30 am on the 4th of July to be sure we were back for the bike parade at the beach.

I was so happy to have survived.

The next day my sister-in-law texted me to tell me I missed the best day.

Swedish meatballs for lunch and prime rib for dinner.

As Melissa Gorga would say, “Thank you Jesus.”

It’s not a dead guy’s mansion or a freshly squeezed glass of lemonade from the servant on my yacht….but sometimes it’s the little things in life……

Linking to Only Parent Chronicles

IN CASE YOU WEREN’T PAYING ATTENTION -I AM THE BEST MOTHER AND WIFE IN THE LAND – SO PLEASE CLICK ON THE BANNER BELOW TO PROVE IT!!!

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