Life in the Judy Lane

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February 2016: Your Mama Don't Dance...

Posted on February 21, 2016 at 8:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Parents strive to make their children happy. When they are infants, it’s not too difficult. You feed them, change them, bathe them and rock them to sleep. They cry, you cry, no one sleeps, but ultimately, everyone’s in love with each other. In elementary school they start telling you what they want. Mostly what other kids have and that they absolutely can’t live without. And it becomes a little harder to make and keep the little dickens happy but they still love you unconditionally, and consequently you’re happy to oblige. Then comes the mother of all stages—puberty. It’s like having a menopausal, flesh-eating bacteria-ridden small person with pms and PTSD blended for the perfect unsmoothie. It’s then that you realize the only thing you can be sure of is that you will make them UNhappy.

There is some satisfaction in knowing that you really don’t have to work at this. Just do what you normally do and voila! they are pissed. Here are just a few of the sure-fire way to make and keep the youngins unhappy till the day they leave the dungeon in which they are trapped with the likes of you.

“You make me feel like dancin’” Faster than a cat can lick its arse, their lopsided smiles will be wiped from their pusses if you even think about bustin’ a move. It could be as simple as rocking gently to a song on the car radio to striking a pose on the dance floor at somebody’s Bar Mitzvah. When Mama got low, so did their respective, pubescent faces. You would think that I had stripped down to my 36-hour and granny panties and slid down the drainage pipe or something. I only did that once and they were very, very young and couldn't possibly remember. But, I digress.

“Cheers!” Their life goals at this age can be summed up pretty simply: avoid being seen with their parents and play Strip or Dare Beer Pong. But at home, you suddenly have Carrie Nation monitoring you.

“Are you drunk?” Shea asked me as we clinked a glass of champers as the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve.

“Apparently not,” I replied, “Because I can still see and hear you.”

“SWAK!” A peck on the cheek, holding hands, smiling and winking at one another in public are signs of a happy, healthy marriage. But not if you’re their parents. You are disgusting aging porno stars invading your kid’s holy space. Once you gave birth to them, you became empty vessels from the waist down. Your goods apparently dropped out in the grocery store one afternoon and were swept up with the rest of the trash. When my sister was divorcing at the ripe old age of 41, her preteen daughter was understandably upset. She asked her if she was planning on ever getting married again.

“Maybe,” my sister said.

“Why bother?” she scolded her. “It’s not like you’re ever gonna have sex again anyway.”

“Buwahahahaha!” You may smile, chortle, snicker, and sputter through burlap sack, but whatever you do don’t laugh. Just don’t. Full frontal giggles, guffaws, and other face-consorting glee is apparently another no-no—particularly, if punctuated by a snort.

So what is the common denominator here? It’s the stuff we adults do when we are happy. Sing, dance, drink, laugh and get merry with our honey. While you spend your life wanting them to be happy--and you know it--they seem to want just the opposite for you--clap your hands.

But, hey! We’re in charge. We’re the ones who pay the bills. We’re the kings and queens of our castles. So, I say: Turn up music! Pop open the corks! Laugh and sing maniacally in your drawers! Right after the kids leave for camp.

 

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COPYRIGHT 2016 JUDY LANE


 

 

October 2015: Mommies' Boy

Posted on October 9, 2015 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (2)

It’s pretty much a parent’s job to embarrass their kids. It’s an unwritten law that has been going on since Eve spit on Cain’s cowlick. Despite the level of embarrassment you, yourself, endured as an adolescent at the hands of your own parents when you swore, “I’ll never do that!” there you are doing “that” and this and the other.

No one starts out the day saying, “Today, I’m going to the market, pick up the dry cleaning, deposit that check and oh, yes, embarrass my kid.” Pretty much it just happens. Like finding money on the ground in the parking lot, which is a good thing. Or running into an ex in the supermarket when you look like crap, which is a bad thing. But, in any case, not what you planned. Stuff happens.

So when we took our son, Cory up to UCLA to begin his college experience, my only intention was to get him there safe and to see for myself where he would be living for the next nine months.

Earlier in the day, in true Cory fashion, he left us a funny note to wake him up.

“Please wake me no later than 9. I promise to wear underwear.”

This was informative and thoughtful considering just days earlier Shea snuck into his room to grab a “big brother” shirt to wear to school and instead was stopped in her tracks by the furry, red Neanderthal lying on top of the covers in all his glory. All I heard was a door slamming and “Uuuuuuugggggghhhh! I’m never getting married!”

Since I’m a hip with the hap and cool with all that, I naturally tweeted this clever note complete with hashtags #gonnamissthatguy and #UCLAbound. A little bit of knowledge truly is dangerous.

With Cory driving and Shea and Pepper snoozing in the back seat, I began checking my Facebook page to find a message.

“No way!” I gasped.

“What?!” Cory responded, thinking something terrible happened.

“UCLA Housing favorited my tweet!” I replied excitedly.

“Should I even ask?”

When I read it to him, his expression was the same as the time I told him I accidentally invited his friends to “snap chat” with me. How was I supposed to know you couldn’t just add them secretly?

I hadn’t even dropped him off and already I was at Strike 1.

Cory says that Pepper and I both embarrass him equally, but differently. Pepper embarrasses him in small ways on a regular basis. I, on the other hand, do so less frequently but in grand style. Like the time I got locked in the high school courtyard between a classroom and the Performing Arts Theatre, where Cory and his team were in the middle of an mprov competition against a rival school. The gate was padlocked from outside and it seemed the only way out was through an open door I spotted. As I felt my way through the darkened room, I could hear muffled sounds coming from behind a huge black curtain. I peered around that curtain to see about a dozen kids lined up on the stage. Before I could turn heel, one pair of eyes caught mine. Those beautiful, caramel eyes that used to stare up at me in adoration when I held that baby in my arms were now wide open and staring in shock. He was mouthing something, motioning widely with eyebrows and arms.

“C’mon out and find yourself a seat, Mom!” he appeared to say.

Which I promptly did tiptoeing along the perimeter of the stage down the stairs to the floor.

Apparently, I don’t read pantomime so well. He was actually trying to say, “Go away! Go away! You’re not my mother!”

All this “silent” commotion drew attention to me under the bright lights of center stage.

“Who is that?!” yelled the referee.

“It’s Cory’s mother!” someone shouted out with glee.

“Cory, that’s your Mom? the ref continued. “What’s her name?”

Barely audible, Cory replied, “Judy.”

That’s when everyone on stage began chanting, “Judy! Judy! Judy!” Soon the entire audience joined in. “Judy! Judy! Judy!” as I sheepishly made my way up the aisle to take a seat next to Pepper and Shea, who was now covered under her hoodie and slunk into the seat.

Today, as we we pulled up through the line of cars winding their way to move-in day drop off points, Cory looked at Pepper through the rear view mirror.

“Don’t say anything to anybody,” he chided.

“Me? What did I do? I’m not the one who twattered to the world!” she protested. “So, I can’t even speak to your roommate, Carlos?”

“Oh, that reminds me,” he continued. “Please don’t walk up to any random Hispanic male on campus and say, ‘Are you Carlos?’”

In silence, we made it to his new digs. Carlos had already checked in, laying claim to his side of the room. Just like a man, Cory immediately surveyed the two areas.

“He has about 8 inches more than I do.”

On each bed was a lovely hand-woven backpack with the UCLA logo emblazoned on the front.

“Look!” Pepper exclaimed. “Welcome gifts for you and Carlos.”

“It’s nice, but it looks kinda feminine, don’t you think?” I said.

“Yeah,” Cory agreed. “Let’s give it to Shea. She’ll love it.”

I flung the pack over my shoulder, snapped a few shots of the room and my boy and we were ready to surrender him. Just then, Carlos arrived and Cory made the introductions.

“Hi,” I said. “I’m Judy.”

Pepper smiled and nodded and said nothing as instructed, but stepped behind Cory to mouth to Carlos.

“I’m not allowed to talk to you.”

As the awkwardness hovered in the air like a green cloud, it was apparent that it was time to leave. Cory walked us out to the courtyard where we made our very classy, unemotional good byes. Although, I did hear distant cries of “Why?! Why?! Why do you want to leave us?!” and there was at least one crazy broad hanging on the boy’s leg as he tried to drag himself back in the building. But that had nothing to do with us.

Just as we got back to the car, I received a frantic text from Cory.

“Bring that bag back! Carlos had them made for us!”

Cory rushed down to meet us at the car to retrieve the purloined bag and explain what happened.

“He says, ‘hey dude, did your Mom take that bag I made you?’ and I, being a Lane, said, ‘what bag?’ He showed me his and said that he had them made special for us. So I said ‘yeah, my moms are always doing sh*t like that.’”

And so it begins. The payback for all the embarrassment his Moms caused over the years—daily and bi-annually, respectively. He has now painted one mom as a silent whack job and the other as a klepto.

Upcoming parents’ weekend should be quite the experience. Pepper plans to bring Carlos and Cory matching boxer shorts. I have something much, much bigger in mind, naturally. I hear Pauley Pavilion can accommodate thousands…

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COPYRIGHT 2015 JUDY LANE

 

 

January 2015: The Big Picture

Posted on January 24, 2015 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

It seemed simple enough. I went on Amazon.com looking for a calendar for our home to help Pepper keep track of our busy schedules. I could select, order and have it in the mail to us in a couple of days. Done.

She needed something easy to read and large enough to write several items per day in some cases. We seem to have more than our share of entries. There’s superfluous school closings for the kids—an entire week for ‘President’s holiday” and spring break--the random days off for no good reason, short days, minimum days, late days and dazed days. Then, there’s work, choir, theatre and improv practice and performances for Cory; dances/parties, travel and high school softball practice, games, and tournaments for Shea; numerous medical appointments and some outings with friends for Pepper and, lastly, an opening, pouring and drinking wine schedule for me.

It’s clear why I needed to look for something a little special under the circumstances. I type in “Large calendars” and the results were overwhelming.

“Monster Grid!”

“Mom’s Colossal Family Calendar!”

“Jumbo Scheduler!”

“Big, Bigger, Biggest!!”

And, on and on. Every type of calendar known to woman, with adjectives a thesaurus threw up when it swallowed the word ‘big.’ Mammoth! Jumbo! Humongous! Big-Ass! WT--?!

They all have the bare essentials—the months, the days. But, just how big is “big?” Is “ginormous” bigger than “huuuuuuge?” and is “gargantuan” even bigger or something between ‘super-sized” and ‘humongous?” And if it’s anything like t-shirts made in the Taiwan, it’s all relative. Their “XL” is my “no way in hell!”

Okay, you’re probably saying, “Why don’t you just look at the measurements?” And, I’m saying ‘Blah, blah, blah. Why don’t you just shut up?!” This is my column and I’m ranting. I don’t have time for no stinkin’ measuring tapes. I’m not a mathematician. I just want to buy a calendar. Have a picture of a person standing next to it—that I get.

After I pick size, I’m faced with the type of calendar. Do I want one with stickers of furry little animals that represent each family member? A sweet little Muskrat for Shea, a huge Grizzly Bear for Cory? And what about Pepper and me? I’m just not feeling the oversized mother rat and I’m sure Pepper isn’t either. Forget that one.

There are some with scenic backgrounds for each month or random designs in various colors. Great. Now I have to figure out what’s the best ‘color scheme’ to go with our house. I’m assuming Pep will put this in the office. Or will she? Maybe she needs it in the kitchen. No, there’s no “gigantor” wall space in there. What about the hallway between the family room and the living room? Yeah, that’s good. But what is the “color scheme?” What am I, an interior decorator now? I just want a flippin’ calendar! Speaking of which, is ‘flippable’ the way to go?

My head is spinning. Who knew that buying a simple calendar was like picking out bedroom furniture? I need to take a break, so I’ll give Pepper a quick call and see how she’s doing.

“Hi honey,” I said. “How’s your day going?”

“You know what I wish?” she replied.

“Besides that you could rub a lamp and turn me into Queen Latifah?”

“And that. I wish I had a nice, big…calendar…”

*click.

“Hello? Judy? Are you there? Hmm. Call must have dropped. Damn Sprint

 -30-

September 2014: The Dole Truth and Nothing But...

Posted on September 14, 2014 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Good friends afforded us the opportunity to spend the night in a luxurious room on the 26th floor of a Hilton resort for our 27th anniversary recently. Overlooking the magnificent San Diego bay, the view from our room was spectacular. As a matter of fact, I was mesmerized.

“What on earth are you looking at for so long?” Pepper asked.

“That Dole barge loading and unloading trailers!” I exclaimed.

“What are you talking about?” she said, incredulously. “The only things that would keep you so engrossed are a fist fight or a couple making out on the lawn.

The whole thing was a fascinating mystery to me. First, did anyone realize that we had a huge Dole factory on the waterfront? What is this, Hawaii?! And, what exactly was going on with the loading and unloading. Were the pineapples coming from Hawaii and being loaded off into the factory? And then canned products being loaded back onto the barge? And who knew pineapples were so popular?!

This went on all night. I know, because I was there at my post every couple of hours to witness the crane going up and down and line of semis hauling trailers driving up to the barge to be loaded. And others driving back from the barge to spaces where the trailers were parked in precision lines.

The company must employee hundreds, I thought. Day, evening and graveyard shifts. Drivers, dock workers, canners and pineapple crushers. My head was spinning.

“I told you not to drink that second champagne split,” Pepper said.

“No, seriously. Don’t you find this all a little odd?”

“You, yes. A working factory not so much.”

But, why pineapples? I could see apples or tomatoes or even oranges. But do people eat that much pineapple? I’ve seen them at buffets, sliced and placed like tiny memorial wreaths on dried up ambrosia salads. Crazy people even put them on their pizzas. But, I honestly can’t remember when I had pineapple except the few times I’ve been to Hawaii. Yet, the industry is obviously booming. Or is it?

“It’s a front!” I screamed, waking Pepper up. “It’s a drug cartel and this Dole thing is the perfect cover!”

“I’m calling the police,” Pepper murmured, half asleep.

“Not yet!” I said. “I haven’t figured everything out.”

“Oh, I’m not calling about the innocent Dole factory. It’s about the crazy woman who broke into my room, plastered herself to the picture window and is making bizarre claims.”

Pineapples are rare. They’re like coconuts. But, no, you don’t see trucks and barges and trailers allegedly filled with coconuts, do you? Of course not. All I can say is that something was fishy and it wasn’t the seafood nets.

“How was your stay?” the clerk asked as we checked out.

“It was very nice,” I said. “But the noise from the…factory…kept us up a bit.”

“Ah, yes,” he said. “The Dole factory.”

“Yes, the ‘Dole’ factory. How about that place?” I asked eyeing him for a hint of a tell-tale sign that my suspicions were correct.

“The company is huge! They have operations in 90 countries and over 75,000 employees. They supply fresh fruit from Hawaii and South America.”

“South America! Yeah!” I said, kicking Pepper. “Probably Colombia, right?”

“All over, I’m sure,” he replied, handing me the portfolio. “Do you ladies need anything else? Directions?”

“Yes,” Pepper said. “Where is the nearest psychiatric hospital?”

“So, I suppose you serve pineapple juice in the restaurant, right?” I continued.

“Uh, no. I don’t think so. Orange. Cranberry. Apple. The usual,” he replied.

“Exactly!” I blurted out. “No coconut juice either, I bet!”

We were pretty sleepy on our drive home, so we hardly spoke.

“You know,” Pepper finally said. “If you happen to tell anyone that we didn’t get much sleep last night, let them think it was for obvious reasons. Don’t mention anything about the stakeout of the Dole factory.”

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August 2014: You Talkin' to Me?

Posted on August 3, 2014 at 3:05 AM Comments comments (0)

It occurred to me as I mentally burned a hole in the face of the driver who was blocking the driveway as I was attempting to exit a strip mall that there are things we do righteously behind the wheel that we would never do as pedestrians.

Can you imagine coming up behind someone ambling along in front of you and hovering so close you could see the hairs on the back of their neck standing up?

“Can I help you?” you might ask.

“You’re moving way too slow,” the offender replies.

“So you thought you’d piggy-back me to help me move faster?”

Or having someone trying to hurriedly cross your path and instead of just letting them, you speed up.

“No, no, no,” you say as you get up to a full trot. “Not getting away with that today. No sir. Uh-uh!”

Let’s get back to those blockheads blocking the driveway? Can you imagine someone standing in front of a doorway so you couldn’t pass?

“Uh, excuse me. I need to get through.”

“I was here first.”

“I see that, but you’re not moving and I need to pass through.”

“Should have thought of that when you got up this morning.”

“You do realize you’re a Neanderthal, right?

“Racist!”

Something about the power behind the wheel of a two-ton machine makes us think we’re Hercules, when, in fact, we are Pee Wee Herman.

Many years ago when I was younger, thinner and had a fraction of the sense I do now, I had an incident on a city street with two women in a convertible. Pepper, Janice and I were making our way across the street in the crosswalk when said chicks entered the intersection in their fancy schmancy car. Apparently, we weren’t moving fast enough for them. Perhaps there was a sale on silicone at Boobs R Us they needed to get to, I don’t know. In any case, they nudged their car into us in an effort to hurry us along. When I turned and gave the WTF?! look, the driver foolishly piped up.

“It’s not like you couldn’t use the exercise,” she called out as she sped away, long hair floating in the wind, laughing all the way.

“Take this,” I said to Pepper, handing her my carefully wrapped carton of Boston Crème pie.

Quite instinctively and with no real plan, I took off down the street in hot pursuit of the ditzy twins. Perhaps like a mother whose child is trapped under a dump truck or a person running into a burning building while everyone else is exiting, I was suddenly possessed with equal amounts of super human strength and lack of reason or prudence.

As fate would have it, the stoplight turned redder than my face and while the giggling gals pulled up to the stop, I miraculously caught up to the car. Like that hold Hertz commercial, I flew into the backseat and tapped Miss Thing on the shoulder.

“Did you have something to say to me?!” I sneered.

The only thing whiter than her face at that moment was the pasty thighs of her gal pal. They shrieked in unison, only to become frozen and fixed in place.

“I didn’t think so,” I snapped, as I calmly exited the way I came, walking back to Pepper and Janice, eyes wide and mouths agape.

“My pie, please,” I said.

So the moral of today’s story is: just like that box of chocolates Forrest’s mother gave him, you never know what kind of nut you’re going to get. So do yourself a favor and slow your roll. We’ll all get wherever we’re going sooner or later and, if you’re smart, all in one piece.

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