The Crazy Suburban Mom: Favorite Posts

Favorite Posts

As most of you know, I'm an early riser. About seven o'clock in the evening I start fading and by eight I'm cursing that all my favorite shows are on too late for me to watch ... and at eight oh five it's pretty much over.

But cut to three or four a.m? I'm wide-eyed and ready to go.

This morning I get up, go downstairs and make coffee... But no matter how awake I am....

I'm never, never ready for this...


The disembodied head of Jedi Master Yoda greeted me this morning.

And not just Yoda but all the flotsam and jetsam associated with
bringing the full power of the force to New Jersey.

And it must have been a
mighty battle because look at my kitchen...

Looks like Armageddon was fought in there...


Total economic damage of said battle? My son tells me, $91 worth
of cake mix, frosting, dyes, fondant, pans, skewers, and other general
Ace of Cakes type materials ...Plus a healthy ration of pizza for several teenagers.

Two teenagers are still asleep on my floor, one went home and
my son was up playing the guitar waiting to head me off at the Yoda.


I'm thinking a blast from the Death Star would have been neater.


Although my son assures me it was much worse before they cleaned, and they could have finished cleaning if Yoda's head had only dried, plus it took some time to get the dog out of the frosting container.... After it somehow fell to the floor and Ginger fell in.


But they are sure Master Yoda will win today's
day camp cake contest, which was the point of recreating
the epic final battle of The Empire Strikes Back in my kitchen.


I guess the force is really with me because I had another
pivotal moment amidst the chaos and random crumbs .

For all the times I heard my mother coming out of my mouth and cringed... and thought, Oh God, I promised myself I would never say that.

The fact that I could walk into that kitchen (at 4 a.m.) and not scream , and not even feel a scream welling up in my throat... and have a sense of humor... and just clean it up glad they had a good time... Makes me realize I was right and I am different.

I am the kind of mother I promised myself I would be.


You don't know how many times just by being yourself you've helped me realize I am what I've always wanted to be. What a gift you are.

Love you,


In the world of New Jersey Day Camp Bake-Off's this cake will forever reign supreme.


It took four people to build Master Yoda and as many to get him to the day camp.

It was decided at the last minute to assemble Master Yoda before the intergalactic voyage to camp. I voted against that and was vetoed with a teen-age eye roll trifecta. His head was suitably dry to attach but his light saber remained noodly so that would have to wait until the last minute.

In what I considered a decision born of sleep deprivation and too much sugar, all agreed that Master Yoda should ride to camp in someone's trunk. I strongly protested, and they agreed.

Go figure.

The second travel option thrown about was Master Yoda should ride shot-gun on a reinforced pizza box and I couldn't listen anymore, so I left.

I heard much animated discussion of logistics vs. the strength of cake and, yeah but what about the fondant?

I mean this was like, three 18 year old boys with a total of maybe 4 hours sleep tops between them, and no pastry hauling experience... Many fantastical Disneyesque plans were discussed. In the end Master Yoda sat in a reinforced pizza box on someone's lap... but not the driver's lap so than there had to be another driver following... My son followed in another car.

Which worked out because the lap Master Yoda was perched on needed a ride home anyway.

I hear that Master Yoda suffered some battle damage on the ride but nothing compared to what Obi-Wan suffered at the hands of Darth Vader so it was all good. And when they put him on the table amid many lovely, but painfully, square cakes the force was with them. The contest was won. The galaxy, safe.

I, for one will never forget the Day Camp Cake Contest of 2009.

Not that I can really...

Because it's still alive and fresh in my mind.

Plus it's still here...



Um, oh here too...




Here, too...


And here.

Lots there.

Thank you Mom, from Life...EXAGGERATED for this comment: Yoda would be proud..."Hmmm. Delicious, it is. Bake or do not bake, there is no try."

It was truly perfection!
. The first funny thing I ever wrote was unintentional. I was in 6th grade and we had an assignment, "Write what book you want to be and why?" The best one's to be compiled together and placed on everyone's desk as an example of "What our class does everyday!" for back to school night.

So pretty much, the teacher would leave the cream of this literary crop sitting around for everyone's parents to see.

Being an anxious kid, I could think of nothing... well, except my imminent ZERO and hearing about it later from my parents.
Everyone was busy with, "I would be Pippy Longstocking," or "I am Harriet the Spy" or "My favorite book is A Wrinkle in Time" (which by the way, I loved and had I not been in the throws of a panic attack - you can think of nothing besides remaining conscious while hyperventilating - I would totally have been A Wrinkle in Time).

Time was coming to a close and I fell back on my stand-by (Well, I guess to be fair, it wasn't yet a stand-by) sarcasm. I went on and on, ad nauseum, about how I would be a textbook and I would be THE hardest textbook in the world, and there would be so much homework that everyone would hate me. (Despise me, actually.)

And I was pretty much off to the races on my rant about the world's hatred of me until the teacher called time and pulled the paper from my hands.

My, "I would be the world's hardest textbook; despised by all", got picked as one of the literary elite for back to school night, because as my teacher put it, "That was so original and very, very funny, Tracy! Well done!". And really, it was kind of shocking to me.

As it was to my parents, who didn't find vehement sarcasm in a twelve-year-old amusing at all.

Which most likely explains why I kept it up.

2. I worked at Fotomat - Do you remember those booths in the middle of parking lots? Where you drove up and dropped off film? Well, not you but...Anyway.... Yep, that was me.

Surprising and little know facts about working at Fotomat - Our job title was Fotomate; a huge self-esteem killer in itself.

We also made a minimum wage salary, our yellow and blue uniforms matched the Fotomat booths... Where we worked alone... In the middle of parking lots (and by the way there was no bathroom in the booth and I'm not EVEN done yet...) We got crazy amounts of obscene phone calls and flashers drove up to the booths to show us their... shortcomings.

3. No car, Day 8 million (sorry, it just feels that way), make that 18. How can I be a mom in a minivan, without a minivan? And I totally miss my van. It was beyond perfect for estate sales and for driving elderly relatives who don't drive every where.
As a fun aside because I love driving my kid crazy, I keep telling him I'm going to get a Pink Vespa. He's mortified I'll be driving around on a Hello Kitty motorcycle and identify myself as his mother.


Which I totally would.

4. I'm not a picky eater but one thing I will never eat is pumpkin. Fourscore and a jillion years ago I went to someones house on Thanksgiving where they served me the most heinous mess (not mass, this was a mess) of clove-scented mucilage sitting - No jiggling.... Nay! It was undulating sinisterly atop a crust more horribly than you could imagine.

No really, you can't. No one can.

Anyway, to be nice and good and to not make a fuss 'cause that's what girls do, right? I ate it. It cost me, dearly. But I got that wretched thing down.

And I swear I heard it laugh...

My empty plate overjoyed the pumpkin pushers and only served to further fuel their evil pumpkin pushing frenzy, Oh look Herb, she ate the whole thing get her another slice, and with that they heaped another piece of Hell in front of me. I ate that monster too because I was pretty sure that thing had killed me, already.

But never, never again. (I'm doing a fist pump towards heaven, as I write this).
Try to look on this, not so much as a traumatic pumpkin moment, but as a cautionary tale...Because if this isn't reason enough to teach you're daughter's to say 'No.' when they don't want something?

Or better yet, "HAY-ELL, NO!" I don't know what is...

     I drove my son to a friend's house last Saturday and because I was hassled and, it was early I grabbed the keys, stepped into my crocs (okay, imitation crocs), and ran out the door in my pajamas.

     Besides my CVS crocs, I was wearing midnight blue shooting-star pajama pants and an inside-out mustard yellow Cape May nightshirt. On the way out I checked in with a mirror and decided I was presentable for the circumstance because:
a. I wasn’t getting out of the car.
b. The trip would take less than 15 minutes.
c. The night shirt looked like a T-shirt (albeit an inside-out T-shirt) and the chances of someone seeing my shooting star pajama bottoms were practically nil.

     The ride started uneventfully. I listened to talk radio; the boy, his iPod. Someone on the radio was complaining. The sun was in my eyes. People were trying to pass me so they could get to the red light up ahead a few seconds faster than me.

     My normal day came took an ugly turn when I looked in my rear view mirror; that’s when it happened. Instead of seeing the cars behind me; I saw Grandma. But not the Grandma with her perfect nails and immaculate attire; Grandma, the day she opened the door to her apartment in her underwear holding an enema bag.

     I was 18 years old and had my driver's license. Grandma always had maple walnut ice cream and my mother didn’t, so Grandma's was a good place to go after school. I knocked like always anticipating me some cold mapley goodness, instead Grandma and her enema bag opened the door and said, "Oh, Tracy. Good. You can help me with something."

I (stunned to near unconscious) just wanted to rewind my life to a week ago last Friday," No. Uhhhhhhh, that’s okay, you look,"--Just pause a minute from the story and believe me when I tell you I was struggling for a word here--  "...busy?"

     Try to understand my horror at this point (Although, unless you've actually seen granny panties with you're actual Granny inside them, it's probably pointless but whatever....Do you're best with this.) I had never seen my Grandma in her underwear before, a fact I was way good with. Things she said to me over the years came to me in a gross misfortune of memory. Stomach ache? You need a good physic... (Physic was Grandma's word for laxative.) Headache. Physic. Confused? Get yourself a Physic. " Got to move those bowels", she would say.

     Between the physic thing, and the enema thing and the grandma standing in her open doorway practically naked thing, I was on overload and started backing away from the door.  Grandma and her bag laughed at me, "Don’t be silly, come in."  And with that Grandma walked into her kitchen, which was right inside the front door, where she resumed defrosting her freezer.

With the enema bag.

     I never forgot the day she answered the door in her Granny Panties and I've thought about it a lot since it happened. I didn’t want to; it’s just a visual you can’t forget no matter how hard you try.

     And there she was the other day, in my rear view mirror, smiling, nodding, pointing to the enema bag. My first thought was, but I have a frost-free freezer. And than I realized she had come to save me from going farther down that slippery slope she herself had gone down all those years before.

     How is it that one day going out without mascara is unthinkable? And the next day (or next week, or year…They all sort of run together) the only mascara you have on is what’s left under your eyes from the night before?  How does acceptable public attire go from looking hot, to looking presentable, to - Oh well, at least I'm clean... And finally - Well, no one is going to see my shooting star pajama pants anyway.

     And believe me, when going out in your shooting star pajamas becomes okay? You are so far down the slope already you need divine intervention from The Ghost of Granny Panties Past.

I just showed you the next step. And it’s not pretty.  I’ve seen it.


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