why I am NOT a coolmom

I look like Chesty McChesty here

A cool mom could go to Europe without her kids and be fine.  A cool mom would have some cute little attractive hair cut as she occasionally skyped with her kids while she lost herself in her trip knowing the kids were taken care off. She’d have a cute outfit like Julie Christy in “Darling”, not the same flip flops and ratted up hair all week.

" Hello, are my children alright?"

I had moments, but overall Failed this coolmom test.

Mark and I were in Spain for 8 days.  Long story short.  I love Spain.  It makes America look like a dirty, decaying bag of trash.  I had great food and wine.  I met wonderful people.  I had moments when the pain of being away from kids felt physical.

As I landed at LAX I texted my mom .  “We’ve landed”

“I know”  She wrote.  She had been following me on flight tracker.  “Now, never do this again.”

I promise mom, I won’t.

More on my trip this week.

Amsterdam: the comings and goings

In short, what a great trip.  From being blessed with perfect weather to being surrounded by family, ones we knew and new ones to us.

The transitions of travel are always the worst.

Most difficult: leaving Rex.  My beloved sister Cecily showed up at 10am.  We were going to go to the airport at 11am.  I wanted him to feel he was leaving us, not the other way around. We had gotten him ready with lots of “how fun for you, you are going on a sleep over.”  Vivien was very good at helping with this.  As I put him in Cecily’s car he said, “I’m lucky.”  Little crack in my heart.  I started to choke up and Mark said to hold together till he left.  They pulled away and I sobbed a bit as I walked back into the house, but I stopped myself because I felt if I followed that path I would never stop.   Cecily had wisely planned to drive him straight to a fun play space.  Before we got on the plane she sent me this picture of him hamming it up in a ball pit.  Relief.

He was having more fun than we were.  So we sent them this picture.

Sitting around, sitting around.

Later when we were crammed in the plane to begin a ten-hour journey I had my first of many “better Rex is NOT here”. Anytime we were waiting around or in a crowd I thought the same as he would bolt.  I thought KLM would be a tad better than it was. It was fine and the attendants are much friendlier than US ones, but my big beef was their stupid entertainment system and the arm rests that don’t go up beyond a couple of inches.  We were three to a row, so Vivien should have been able to stretch out across her parents laps and get some shut-eye, but no. The arm rests don’t go up, they can’t there is no room for them to tuck into between the seats.  I am taking this to the Hague. Back to the gripes with the in flight entertainment.

1) the control looked like a an old game boy and if you accidentally hit it with your hip (which I did over and over again) you have to start the movie again and then fast forward to your place.  I was watching “The Vow”  a Channing Tatum romantic weeper.  Because of the bump breaks I became fixated on finishing the movie.  Mark would start to talk to me.  “I can’t talk, I have 22 minutes left of this damm film, and by God, I’m going to finish it.”  I also am now a tad obsessed with Channing Tatum.

2) non glare screen.  What a lousy screen.  I love flying Virgin to NYC as I catch up on movie watching.  But, on that flight I can see the movie.  On the flight home I gave up as the  dude behind me would not put his shade down.  I think the international sign of pointing to his window and gesturing downward didn’t work. He smiled, but didn’t do anything.  Maybe he thought I was telling him I was saying goodbye to Holland.

3) Have there been no good movies out in the last few months or does KLM have a lousy list? Going to Europe for my second film I watched, “21 Jump Street”  further cementing my Channing Tatum fixation.  I held the control in front of me for over 90 minutes so I wouldn’t hit the button and end the film.  My right arm muscles got a work out.  Actually, “21 Jump Street” was much more amusing than I had anticipated, but I thought there might be one of the Oscar nominees on the flight.

However the food was fine.  We easily moved to a cab in the Amsterdam airport.  All five of us.  Mark’s oldest son Ben, my Mother in Law, who had been stretched out in Business Class, Mark, Viv and I. We got a large cab and every single cab we had it Holland  I could live in.  They were immaculate.  The drivers were gentleman, often in blazers who spoke perfect English.  NOTHING like cab drivers in NYC or LA that’s for sure.

When we got back to the States at the end of our trip we were wrung out.  Viv and I couldn’t sleep a wink on the plane.  The bags took forever and when we went through customs I was sweating like I was in “Midnight Express”  I had some Gouda buried in my bag and I thought I might end up in the hoosegow.    Maybe I could have shoved it between my butt cheeks like a drug smuggler, but it was a big hunk of cheese.  I have had enough butt problems.   Fortunately once we said we had no tulip bulbs ( we did not) we were fine.  Fine until Mark got us on the wrong shuttle to our long term parking and we were driven to a neighboring city– not kidding.  We got back on while three rather uneducated young people screamed profanities at each other over Vivien’s head.  “hey watch your mouth”  I said, risking being stabbed.

We finally got to the car. The only thing keeping me going was seeing Rex.  I had called the baby sitter when we landed.  She said this was the first day he was getting anxious.   “Where is my mommy?”  We pulled up and he was outside.  Viv and I ran to him.  I swear he had changed in a week.  His hair was blonder, his features more defined.

” I talked to you mommy on Dolly’s phone.”  We had the day before.  “Yes, baby.”  He was happy.  Twice he said, “mommy, I didn’t cry.”

I buried my head in his soft, sweet skin.  Later around 5pm I told the kids eat now or forget it because I’m about to pass out.  Mark had gone into work.

As Viv slept and I tried to Rex was jumping on me like Hulk Hogan.  I called Mark, “Please come home.”  Later when Mark brought a sleeping Rex into our bed.  I held Rex’s foot.

I held his foot all night.

More posts on our great trip to Amsterdam will be forthcoming.

Sky Mall

I was just in NYC for the final leg of my media for Upromise MasterCard. I was flown business. Now, a few years back I flew all the time for work. I had tons of miles racked up, I was an old pro at traveling. No more. I rarely take a long flight and rarely ever without my family.

So, I really stuck out from the jaded, business men who sat next to me and around me.   was super excited to enjoy my flight. On my way to NYC, it was kind of a disappointment. I had envisioned a personal monitor where I could catch up on all the movies I’ve missed for the last 4 years. But sadly,  Continental business class only had a tiny screen tat hung a few rows ahead and a B movie to boot.  The food was edible. That was it, nothing great.

Happily, coming home, which is the longer leg of the trip, I was flown back on Delta. Now, they know what to do. The seats were really big. I had a TV screen and on flight 709 I had the nicest flight attendants I could remember. They rushed over to me and asked if I wanted a drink. I was like, “me?” I started to say I was fine with water when I saw all the boozy businessmen around me slurping up the free drinks I changed my mind.

“I want a gin and tonic. Right, I can have one?” They laughed, yes, I could. They came around to take our orders for dinner and when I said, “steak and mac and cheese.” The flight attendant said, “You are one of the few people who ordered.”

I turned to the accountant next to me. “What are you thinking?” I wanted to yell, “Quit showing off that you LEAVE your house!”

Man in gray flannel suit, “I will eat dinner when I get home.”

ME: “That will be in like, 8 hours!”

I stashed the pulp novel I had bought at the airport and hunkered down to watch movie after movie. First one was 500 days of Summer. Enjoyed it. Think that kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun did well. Then I watched an episode of Big Love. Completely missed the last season when we tried to save money and canceled HBO (since been reinstated) and 4 Christmases with Vince Vaughn. I was sure it would be dumb, oh,not, this easy audience member. I laughed and laughed, and I sopped up every bite of the kid-you-not-delicious steak and very good mac and cheese. When the fresh cookies came out I would have had to unbutton my pants, but thinking ahead, I wore my maternity pants!

I was so excited I elicited a few chuckles from the working staff. “Is it okay if I have another drink?”

Here is one thing I thought of while traveling.

Mommy Vacation

Does this look like a vacation?  For a mom away from home, it can be (it’s me in Austin for Hillary last spring).

Clinton 2008

 

My husband has to go out of town for work all next week. So it got me thinking that before I get any LARGER and certainly before our crown prince is born, I need to take some trips. I cannot leave Viv for more than 2 and half days. I just don’t feel good about that, and I can only leave her at all if Mark or my sisters can be with her. So my thought is that when he comes back, I should take a trip. Especially since after February, I’m going to be one grounded momma for a while.

Here are my ideas; what do you think?

1) Go to a spa/fat farm up in Ojai or something like that. It’s nice to be out of the city. I did this when I was about 4 months pregnant with Vivien and it was great to take walks, talk with other ladies, and eat bran muffins and poached fish.

2) Don’t be idle and get a tan. In ’04, I went to Miami and campaigned for Kerry. I have a condo there (aka, the money pit, as I am one of those people whose mortgage is now more than the appraised value of my property). I have friends in Miami, and Florida is a crucial swing state. So I could go to Miami, knock on some doors for Obama, and get to take a few dips in the Atlantic. Campaigning is tiring, but fun. Just wonder if I can hack it in my present state. But when I think of a possible President Palin, I wet myself.

3) I haven’t come up with three: do you have any ideas?

Weekend in New Orleans

Well, the boogie weekend wound up being pretty fun. I reconnected with the man who claims to be my husband. We actually went out with adult friends both nights and DIDN’T TALK ABOUT KIDS. It was good that some of them don’t have children. I could feel my brain opening up. We bagged out of the Tales of the Cocktail for the weekend. I went to one seminar on Friday and yes, a seminar about booze can be really boring. Even when it’s about hooch, people, you need to involve the audience. They all sound like Ben Stein.

Mark Peel and Daphne Brogdon in New Orleans

Since Mark works most nights, it was a treat to be out with him. I also enjoyed the heat because I could wear my new maxi dress. This is a trend I am partaking in. (I am a firm believer in picking and choosing your trends; Uggs and Crocs went on without me.) It’s also remarkably similar to the dress I wore when I was 6 (in the ’70s), the first time I went to New Orleans.

Rue de la Course mug

I had the best mocha ever at the cafe Rue de la Course on Magazine Street, hence the photo to record the moment. And I made Mr. Fancy-Pants Chef chow on the fried wonders of a beignet. Yum.

Mark Peel enjoys a beignet

Honestly, the New Orleans I saw, French Quarter and Uptown, looked better than when I visited 10 years ago to eat nutria for the Dr. Dean Edell Show. Seemed like there were fewer drunks bugging this time, but back then I was usually walking alone. Our friends who live there had many Katrina horror stories, but they were glad to see tourism was up.

New Orleans is great but I did, however, take issue with the excessive air conditioning. It was hot out, but why the deep freeze indoors? Really uncomfortable. I met one lady who liked it. She said, “It’s an antidote to hot flashes!” My friend Beth came in from Nashville and she said you always need a cardigan in the South. And I was worried about humidity! Silly me.

Vivien was fine with my sister while I was gone, but definitely paid for it the day we came back (at the crack a– of dawn, ’cause I missed her). She was very clingy and needy and wanted to know where I was at all times. Poor baby. By night time she was better.

It was still worth it to go, which I have to remember the next time I resist a similar trip.

My Boogie Weekend

So, I am gearing up to leave early this morning for my weekend away with my husband. I should be psyched, but I’m not. I always feel anxious when I leave Vivien.

Buffett's Cafe
Creative Commons License photo credit: ViNull

I know she will have a great time. My sister Cecily and niece Lily, whom she adores, will move in our house and take care of her for the two days I am gone. I have left detailed notes including what channels she can watch (no Disney), the nearest emergency room, and plenty of chicken tenders. I need to snap out of it.

Nearly 3 days (I took a red eye, so it wasn’t a full 72 hours) is the longest I have ever been away from her. I hear of mothers/parents leaving their kids for a week. I would find that very difficult. I met a woman on a plane once, nice woman, no horns on her head, mother of three, who said when her first baby was a newborn, she left him for six weeks while she and her husband went to Europe. Her parents took care of the kid while she pumped all over Italy and France. I am still struck dumb by that.

I have a one-day gig in San Diego next week for Fox and I’m already trying to figure out how I can take Vivien with me and go to the Zoo or Legoland and or something very Southern California.

When I have spent a few days away, usually in San Francisco or NYC, truth be told, I have a good time. Relaxing, having meals where I don’t have to give someone some crayons or stickers so I can eat. But leaving is so hard. And, let’s face it, post 9/11-travel ain’t what it used to be.

Oh, and you’ll love this classic male/female difference. My husband is already in New Orleans for work (he is attending Tales of the Cocktail – yes, a convention) and I asked, “How’s the hotel room?”

Mark: “It’s got clean sheets and a TV.”

Me: “Are you kidding?”

Mark: “No.”

Me: “So I am going to fly 4 hours, leave my child for 2 days, and I assume you want to have sex at some point – in a room that you describe as ‘clean sheets and a TV’?”

Mark: “Do you want me to move rooms?”

Me: “I think you will be happier if you do.”

Did he just meet me?

I have to put on some Zydeco and get in the mood.