Last year, I did a best/worst of 2021, but as I’m always evolving (high five, me!), this time I’m gonna Facts of Life it and call it the good and the bad, because according to Tootie, Jo and co, that’s what makes up (the facts of) life. Plus, who’s to say what is the BEST and WORST? (Apparently, me. And also, hi, it’s me. I’m the problem, it’s me.) At first glance, it was hard to see the good among the ever-present bad of f-ing Covid hanging around like mofo snakes on a mofo plane, and like Sammy Jackson, we’re all pretty tired of these mofo snakes (Covid) on this mofo plane (planet), am I right? But, after some careful introspection (drinking box wine), I have unearthed much good as well as some unexpected bad.
You take the GOOD:
I got my whole extended family matching track suits*, a longtime dream. My beloved Dada was known for his Adidas tracksuits and Kangol hats and I always thought we should have a family uniform. Here are the kids and me, plus my brother, sister-in-law, and niece doing Tyra Banks proud in them. I got them for my mom and dad too, but they have thus far dropped the ball on doing a photoshoot in them, despite my numerous requests. I’m not expecting them to do a Beastie Boys album cover recreation or anything, but at least a simple snapshot, guys. Matty flat out refused to participate and I think we can all agree it’s his loss.
I miraculously didn’t get Covid (knock on all the wood). It may be because I wear a K95 mask almost everywhere and largely avoid indoor public places, but I like to think it’s my super immune system diet of nachos, Triscuit Melts, green tea, and wine. I’m not saying I exclusively consume these things, but I have at least one of them every day. Not sure how I’m not a health influencer yet.
My kids (and Matty) learned to cook, or I should say, I delegated cooking to other family members for a few blissful weeks and it was glorious. Going to see how else I can exploit this Trojan Horse of child labor disguised as fun projects. Pretend we’re filming a reality show called Kids Klean House? Laundry Wars? Open to ideas.
I continued my run streak all year without incident. Unless we count the time I attempted to run a single mile with Rocky and Rosie and they stopped for a combined three pees and one poop during said mile as an “incident.” I’ve now run 1,052 days in a row for at least a mile outside. My goal is to make it to three years (Feb 12th) and my stretch goal is to beat my old run streak record, which will be on March 13th. All I have to do is not get Covid (knock on wood), not forget to run (it’s almost happened), and not break a toe by dropping a poker chip set on my foot. I feel so fortunate to have the most lovable, supportive, fabulous running buddies that make it so much easier to keep this stupid obsession going. Having friends to have deep talks with every Saturday and occasional weekdays is one of my secret weapons, the other being the embarrassingly cheesy romance novels I listen to on Audible/Libby. Work on your core while listening to someone talk about the heat in her lady core!
Hazy and I visited my brother, sister-in-law and niece in Colorado, became part-time farmers. Marco and Jamie have been running a farm in Steamboat Springs for a few years now, and we finally got to visit them. It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth and it was super cool to pick giant bowls full of berries and hops and play cowgirl for an afternoon. I’m probably the least outdoorsy person alive (and Hazy’s the second), so it’s always fun to be someone else for a little while. Also, I love Marco, Jamie and Cassidy so much and we rarely get to see them.
I had a really fulfilling year professionally. For the first half of the year, I freelanced. I had the pleasure of helping to create an online video game to combat anxiety among kids my kids exact ages (!), launched the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital, and fulfilled my lifelong goal of watching TV and writing about it for a living. [Side note: I was not paid to tell you that Hostages on Topic is so freaking good.] Then, in the same way that you find love right when you’re like, “I’m actually really happy being single now,” I met McGarrah Jessee and fell deeply, deeply in love with them like Alexander does with Jade after she fell on the concrete. I hadn’t realized how much I missed being a part of an ad agency with all of its hijinks and shenanigans until I started working at McJ. On my first day of work, an intern (shout out to Ashton!) gave an all-agency powerpoint presentation on life lessons we could learn from pop divas, including everyone from Britney “You better work, bitch” to Kelly Clarkson/Nietzsche “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” and I knew I had found my place. It doesn’t hurt that my boss is my old friend and mentor, my partner is a complete gem, and the people I work with are creative and funny and kind. Oh, and it’s in Austin, so I get to see my friends there about once a month. I’m coming for you, Chris Martin!
My hair finally grew out from the Worst Haircut Ever. You don’t appreciate how nice it is to not look like Joyce DeWitt until you temporarily look like Joyce DeWitt.
We went on a lovely family vacation in Provincetown. We went deep sea fishing, George held a rainbow, and we exposed the kids to important culture, like a drag queen named Thirsty Turlington who performed a flawless 70’s Cher impression. The only bad thing about 70’s Cher is she has yet to write/sing “If I Could Turn Back Time.” (You take the good, you take the bad.)
You take the BAD:
The rest of my family got Covid. And I *had* to self-isolate in a lovely ski lodge in NH. Okay, so it wasn’t all bad.
We had to drive a bajillion miles all across the state for the kids’ ridiculous sports schedules. and I’m sorry, but even the tater tots at the Cheesy Street Grill cannot make up for it. One time, we had four games in one day and only one car. I know, boohoo, why’d you sign your kids up for two soccer and two hockey teams if you didn’t want to roadtrip to Westborough, Newton, Burlington and Saugus, dummy? It’s a little bit like when the paparazzi get all aggro with celebrities, like, “You chose this life!” except instead of my kids being outstanding actors, they’re moderately good hockey players, and instead of people wanting to take our photos at dinner, we’re driving to the dregs of Massachusetts where our only salvation is that there’s always a Dunkin on the way. I guess what I’m trying to say is, hockey moms/stars, they’re just like US!
There was a poop volcano in Provincetown IN OUR HOTEL ROOM. I know we all know social media is a lie, but I try not to fake it too much. But if you looked at my photos from P-town, you’d think it was a dream vacation, and it really was lovely (remember the rainbow!), except for one and a half things. The half thing was that all six of us (four humans, two dogs) were in one room, which is very snug. I insisted on bringing the dogs’ crates because otherwise I worry all day about them (Rosie) peeing on the rug. Joke was on me though, because the floor was tile and it turns out it wasn’t Rosie I had to worry about. The full thing was that on our first day there, there was a poop volcano. And shockingly, it wasn’t even Matty’s fault. Somehow, there was some pipe issue and something exploded and poop from the people’s room above us, somehow erupted from our toilet and exploded all over our bathroom. I’m being vague because I actually never saw it. All I know is Matty was horrified when he walked into the bathroom and we called the plumber, who nonchalantly walked in and then walked right back out like he’d seen a dead body and was like, “This is beyond my abilities” and hightailed it out of our room. I guess if I was keeping it real, I would’ve taken a photo of the poopsplosion and posted it on Insta, but I didn’t because I know there are some things you can’t unsee. We did end up getting a new room and a huge discount, but packing up four people’s and two dog’s stuff that we’d just unpacked was a pain in the ass. But maybe not as much a pain in the ass as the people above us had!
My kids fought a lot. The thing is, I don’t know what a normal level of fighting is, but I’m pretty sure my kids fight more than other kids. I remember my brother and I doing what my mom called “bickering” a lot, but was it this much? Did we misinterpret everything the other one said to be the most offensive thing possible? Did we repeat annoying catchphrases like, “That sounds like a you problem” to each other incessantly? Did these fights cause us to get into a funk, like when Jessie Spano was on speed and so nervous/excited she was always on the verge of a breakdown, and bring the whole family down for long stretches of time? I don’t recall that.
I also had two bad eve incidents.
1) We have a giant shag rug in our living room. As many of you know, Rosie
spite anxiety-pees even though we shower her with more love than even James Taylor recommends. A few years ago, I read an article about dealing with chronic dog pee, and got one of those Chronicle hotel room investigation black lights to see where Rosie dog had peed and it was harrowing. If our living room rug were a hotel room bedspread on Chronicle, it would be the Sweeps Week episode that they hype up with sensationalized ads touting, “You are not prepared for the horrors you’re about to see.” So, needless to say, we replaced that rug with a new giant shag rug. And to my knowledge (and my black light checks), she has miraculously not peed on it. (KNOCK ON ALL THE WOOD.) On Christmas eve, around 1 am, when I’m at the height of my drinking-box-wine-and-watching-Netflix-romcoms-while-wrapping-presents frenzy, Rocky–the non problem child–uncharacteristically gets out of his bed and starts pacing around. Then, he makes the sound all pet parents dread, a guttural hacking sound. Guys, I refuse to get puke on my thus far unsullied new shag rug, but Rocky is too big to move, especially when he does not want to move, so I did the only thing I could. I CUPPED MY HAND UNDER HIS MOUTH AND CAUGHT HIS PUKE. And just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does. It’s too much barf and I realize it’s not going to fit in my hand. So I have to run downstairs to dump it in the sink, all while trying not to puke myself, and then wash my hands for like 45 minutes, while Rocky proceeds to puke all over the previously unsullied shag rug. Rosie’s just sitting there on her bed like, who’s the good one now, Mom? Still not you, Rose.
2) On New Year’s Eve day, I did like 97 loads of laundry, hoping to symbolically start 2023 with all clean laundry. The universe does not like when I try to do things like this (see: keeping shag rug ungross), so of course, with one load of wet clothes in the dryer and a new load already locked in on the wash mode in the washer, the dryer breaks. So not only do we start 2023 with about 17 loads of dirty laundry, we also have two loads of soggy once-clean laundry which I refuse to deal with.
I made some bad decisions. I’m really good at pretending bad things aren’t/didn’t happen (it’s a coping mechanism), so I don’t remember all the bad decisions, but here are a few:
- Drunkenly eating brisket at the Austin airport with my coworker buddy Mike, before hopping on my 4 1/2 hour flight back to Boston. Spent it in the fetal position trying not to puke.
- Doing fireball shots at our work holiday party after splitting a magnum of wine with two other friends. Passed out in hotel room without washing the face tattoos off.
- Impulse-buying four gold glitter confetti poppers for New Year’s Eve
Our family did not enjoy 100% health. There was the Covid, Rocky’s barfing in my hands, and of course, Matty’s continued issues stemming from our doozy of a 2020. He’s doing okay, but in an ideal world, there’d be a real life Dr. House and he’d figure out how to get him feeling more like himself. Also, George is down to one fish, Bucky the Winter Soldier, who is allegedly not a murderer but is definitely a cannibal. So, that’s nice?
I wish you all a wonderful 2023. May your loved ones be healthy, may you reach your goals, may your pets puke less than a handful’s worth or even better, not at all.
Happy New Year!