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[personal profile] gansje
Blah. Sick instead. But I will dance all over the living room again one day, dammit! I couldn't swing any alone-time yesterday, as I had a lot of work during the day, and I had the kids all evening while L was at his jewelry making class (I'm excited about this, as he has artistic talent he's never really explored before, and it's a really nice thing to see him having fun with it), and then as soon as he got home with groceries, I had to make a dish for our minyan potluck lunch. I made this:

and it turned out marvelously. Hopefully I didn't accidentally contaminate it with my germs and poison our minyan with this cold. That would be... bad.

Shit. I just realized I was supposed to buy a dessert for a second potluck tomorrow night. I just totally blanked because I felt so shitty as I left the office. And now it's Shabbat and I really shouldn't buy a dessert, but I can't bake anything either... this is a problem. See, this is for a reunion of Adam's b'nai mitzvah class, and it's being convened by one of THOSE friends. You know? The friend who was the Perfect Parent, and who was always Involved in every school event, and who only ever got in touch because she wanted one of the following:

1) a donation to her favorite charity
2) you to work for her latest political enthusiasm
3) your kid to play with her kid, who has no friends
4) you to send your kid to her parents' summer camp (like, they literally owned the camp)
5) you get the picture.

That friend. I have always referred to her as my "very expensive friend." She is a schnorrer for Causes So Good You Cannot Say No, and Then You Regret It Later When She Ignores You Cold In Other Social Settings (TM). So now her synagogue, which used to be my synagogue, fired our old rabbi (who married L and me, and whom we absolutely adore) for, basically, not being peppy enough, and hired a new, peppier "young but appeals to the aged hippy crowd" rabbi with a guitar and a tambourine. Very Expensive Friend (let's call her "VEF") is hosting this reunion of the kids in Adam's class before they all go off to college and only connect, like, daily through snapchat and their respective tumblrs and never see each other again in the flesh. Which is a lovely thought, don't get me wrong. And I agreed to go because Adam wants to see a few of his buddies (girls, most likely, knowing my son, lol) and I would like to introduce L to a few of the other parents I connected with and then lost touch with over the years. Just, sigh. I know very well I'm not exactly on VEF's A-list of friends. I don't know that I even make B-list. And she makes me feel guilty for not being as involved in Adam's elementary, middle and high schools as I would have liked to be had I not had to work my ass off to keep the power on and food on the table and such.

But also, here's the real reason? She invited the new peppy rabbi with a guitar. Which means that this isn't just a pleasant reunion of old friends. This is an Ask, my friends. Maybe I'm jaded, but there is only one reason VEF ever invites anyone (especially L and me) anywhere, and that is to donate money. This is a move to get several families to rejoin our old shul. So sigh. But Adam wants to go, VEF was kind enough to invite Joanna and Henry, and L thought it would be nice to have something social to do on Shabbat. And they live a quick walk from our house. So ugh. We should go. But I don't want to sit through a three hour long guilt trip about why I should rejoin Mishkan when we're really happy at our minyan at GJC...

My wonderful L, who is sitting across from me in our living room, has just pointed out that I am sick, and we actually do not have to go, and laughed maniacally with me. I knew I married that man for a reason. Not only does he find me excuses to avoid thinly veiled sales pitches, but no one does a better maniacal laugh. No one. Well, except maybe [ profile] flw, but those guys are practically brothers, so.

Of course, if I'm this sick tomorrow, I'm not going to the minyan potluck either, which is a sad day.

In other news:

Jo's OCD is at bay and she's snuggly and huggy and doing much better that way, and is only asking for the password occasionally, but now her eczema is totally out of control. I'm convinced her anxiety is playing "whack-a-mole" with us. It really feels like it's some kind of entity that comes out through her skin, and if we don't let it do that, it just pops out in OCD thoughts/fears. BTW, last year when it was still available as an online serial comic, I ran across and read Adam Bourret's, "I'm Crazy," about OCD. It really helped me understand what OCD was -- little did I know at the time that we'd be dealing with it head on. For those of you who are curious, here's an excerpt:

It's now a graphic novel. I would buy it to support the artist, but it has some images and storyline that would scare Jo, I think, and she has amazing radar for what we don't want her to see and would find it immediately. Anyway, very helpful.

Other news continued: I had a talk with Adam's father about paying for college and inferred from it that a) he does not intend to get a job to at least make ends meet (he is a lawyer, after all! A lawyer cannot be expected to take a job that is not in the law! Even after 2.5 years of unemployment and not exactly looking for work very hard! Unless it is in your ex-wife's field! Because anything SHE can do is obviously something YOU can do without training and BETTER! No, I'm not bitter? Why do you ask if I'm bitter?) and b) he does not intend to contribute to Adam's college because he has shot through over $100K in "savings" (old friends, you remember whom he got that money from) in 2.5 years, despite being a trust-fund baby and getting quite a bit of money from his mother every year. And despite having signed a divorce agreement stating that he agrees to pay half of all college costs not covered by his mother. Wot the hell. E will step in and fill the gap. She always does!

L is FURIOUS. Like, threatening lawsuit furious. But luckily for Adam, when signing up for the PSAT, the SAT, and AP tests, he arbitrarily chose his father's address as his permanent address. That means because Rich and I share custody equally, that Rich can fill out the FAFSA and Adam at least can benefit from his father's continued unemployment somehow. This is at least one good thing. Adam has been very upset with his dad for not bothering to look for work for 2 years, and only looking half-heartedly now. He's a really responsible kid and he's having a hard time wrapping his head around his father's inherent irresponsibility.

Henry continues to be Henry. He's been very into Legos lately, which warms the cockles of L's heart, and he seems to be more active lately, instead of entirely addicted to Minecraft, which is great. If I never see another Minecraft farm animal again, it will be too soon. He's also reading VOLUNTARILY (thank you, Diary of a Wimpy Kid author! KEEP WRITING!) and he has learned to wipe his own butt, meaning fewer yelps of parental distress and discarded pairs of Angry Bird underwear. Hey, you have to embrace the small victories.

Date: 2014-01-25 04:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Re: tomorrow's engagements: If I were sick, but not 100% sick enough to claim it as an excuse to stay home all day (although for public health reasons I think it's probably nice to do so anyway), I would totally go to the thing I wanted to attend and then skip the one I didn't want (maybe sending the kid who does want to go, on his own) in the name of not over-exerting myself.

Sam just got into Beast Quest books. Has Henry tried those?

Date: 2014-01-25 05:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No! I'll look them up! We're so excited he's reading voluntarily. He hadn't showed Jo's enthusiasm for stories until recently, and neither of them would sit quietly and read for so long. Yay books! More importantly, yay quiet children!

ETA: I don't think I should go to shul tomorrow just on basic public health principles alone. I am definitely a hot mess.
Edited Date: 2014-01-25 05:44 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-01-25 05:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think "We are really happy with our current situation and just love Rabbi So-and-So. Did you know he's the one who married us? Segue into fun memories of our wedding!" is a totally acceptable excuse for not falling for her guilt trip. It's also totally acceptable for you to go off in a corner somewhere with some other parent who isn't thrilled with VEP either and have a conversation that is totally separate from the guilt-trip gathering. I would also imagine that it's acceptable to send Adam off by himself, and let him walk back home when he's done hanging out with his old chums.

But come on, those of us who grew up with Jewish mothers should be masters at deflecting their guilt trips!

Am I out of the loop or did Adam already decide on a college? I don't know if they even had "early admission" or whatever it's called when I was a kid (then again, at that age, I barely had the motivation for community college, so I was totally ignorant of that whole scene). So I don't know if it's too early or too late to have heard back from anyone. But in any case, good luck! What's his first choice?

Date: 2014-01-25 05:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He's heard back from his two safety schools (Pitt and Penn State, both yesses) but didn't apply anywhere early decision, because that locks you into a school, and Responsible Kid is Responsible and doesn't want to get locked into a school that doesn't offer him a great financial package when we might need him to go to a less expensive alternative. He knows the score.

So we won't hear back from anywhere else until March. We're on pins and needles! His first choice is your alma mater -- Berkeley! Followed by University of Texas at Austin and then by University of Michigan. Next, University of Wisconsin at Madison, and then Case Western. Pitt next, and then Penn State last.

How did I not know you're Jewish?

Also, I am just terrible at deflecting guilt trips. Just plain bad. I must have a birth defect.

Finally, even if I send Adam alone, I still have to send him with a dessert. Which I don't have. Oops.

Date: 2014-01-25 07:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Berkeley! It's a great school. Pretty much every department is one of the best in the world. Except I did hear some complaints about the film department, so there's that. :P

And you can't be blamed for not knowing I'm (part) Jewish, as I have the least Jewish surname of them all. I mean, we did celebrate some Jewish holidays when my grandmother was in town, sometimes, but mostly my upbringing was agnostic. And my mom's stepdad was from a Unitarian family, so even my mom doesn't feel like she got the full education. (She was sent to Hebrew school through the sixth grade, which she says was customary at the time for daughters. Sexist '50s!)

As for desserts, can't you get something from a nice bakery?

Date: 2014-01-25 06:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You know, I totally blanked on your surname last night and now that I think of it, yes, you DO have the least Jewish surname of them all! Well, except for my sister, who married a man whose last name is Christ. First initial, J. Every so often he jokes about changing it to Jesus.

Re. dessert, we aren't supposed to spend money on Shabbat. I'm not as strictly observant as L, so I suppose in a pinch I could, but as I also asked not to bring a hot dish because we also shouldn't cook on Shabbat, I'd feel very hypocritical.

Date: 2014-01-25 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Couldn't you just steal something nice from a bakery? I don't think there are any rules against that!

But really, if you can't spend money or cook, then doesn't that pretty much preclude dessert of any kind? I am not clear on these rules. In my family I think you'd have to go back four generations to find actual observant Jews. They were the ones who (temporarily?) disowned my great-grandmother for marrying a non-Orthodox Jew.

Date: 2014-01-25 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I could feasibly make Jell-o by boiling water in the microwave, tossing fresh fruit into the mix and making a mold, which, now that I think of it, is probably why it's the beloved dessert of little old Jewish ladies everywhere, but I think we're out of Jell-o too. Wah.

I love the idea of knocking over a bakery, though! *Cue Pink Panther theme music*

Date: 2014-01-25 11:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Stay home. Get some dancing done. It's a good way to sweat out all the germs. Better than putting up with VEF. Yech, what an awful human.

I don't know the Jewish religion well, but it seems like to me that it makes one a pretty shitty Jewish person, if you don't recognize that a single parent needs more support in vast social situations and not less. (like offering to bake something for social occasions so they don't feel wiped out, and do things to lighten their load. But maybe VEF is more about the appearance of her "look at me I am a good neighbour" bullshit, than the reality.)

Minecraft... fucking heroin for children.

Date: 2014-01-25 10:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
VEF is sort of 70% "look at me I am a good neighbour" type, and 30% "Oh crap, I am totally awkward in social situations, and I know I did something wrong to you because you appear to be avoiding me, but I don't know what it is, I am SO SORRY," which is why I keep being her friend. I always feel incredibly pissy AND incredibly sympathetic towards her.

Date: 2014-01-25 12:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I want to kick VEF. You are free to make it clear that you and your family are happy to accept invitations to bond around friendship and you have clear boundaries about your own choices regarding asks for money and worship and where you put your energies. :-P Or, you know, to be sick and not go. Or, you know, to be well and not go. :-P'''''''''''''''''

HA HA HA you could also use the opportunity to ask HER for help regarding funding or resources for things that are way more tedious and less glamorous than whatever she's got going on. You could overwhelm her with it. HA. Just kidding.


Date: 2014-01-25 04:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I read a lot of Miss Manners whenever I'm sick, and one of the biggest categories of questions she gets is "do I have to give money to friends who want me to give it?" The answer is always no!!!

Date: 2014-01-25 06:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Miss Manners is (and you are) excellent. Hey, I've been meaning to tell you, I'll be staying over in Burbank after presenting for work in Thousand Oaks next Saturday night! Are you anywhere near Burbank? I'll be with my friend and coworker Pamela, whom I think you would like (and I think she would like you too. :)

Date: 2014-01-25 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
YES!!! Burbank is super easy. Our old house was practically next door to it; now I'm about 25 minutes away. Thousand Oaks is on the other side of me. I'm in Reseda.

Date: 2014-01-25 06:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh COOL! Wanna meet for dinner Saturday night??

Date: 2014-01-25 08:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sure! Are we talking about Feb. 1?

Date: 2014-01-25 09:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oy crap, no... we're talking about Friday, Jan 31. I got all my dates messed up. Totally understand if you can't!

Date: 2014-01-25 10:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
GREAT! I'll PM you with more details when I have them (including whether or not I get out of Philadelphia, given continual snowstorms).


Date: 2014-01-25 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OOOOOOH, let's ask her to fund Three Patch Podcast!!!! :D :D :D

ETA: Not that TPP is either tedious or less glamorous! Ack, I have foot-in-mouth disease...
Edited Date: 2014-01-25 10:30 pm (UTC)


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