Aqua- Flu -Topia

venusWe were all in a pretty bad rut a few weeks ago –  fed up with the grey, cold, wet and long New York City winter – cabin fever and boredom fully set in. Spending one more weekend at Kidville just seemed unbearable. A change was in order!

We needed something fun and out of the city to get our juices flowing. We hadn’t been out on skis yet this season, and could always use a warm up before our family trip to Utah later in the month. So, on a Wednesday, I convinced Mark to book the last available room at Camelback’s Aquatopia for the weekend.  The plan was to ski all day Saturday, stay the night and let the kids enjoy the water park, video arcade, rock climbing, laser tag, etc. on Sunday.  It’s totally cheesy, but I’ll admit it –  I was excited!

We’d been promising to take Luca there for years. After dragging him to a quaint BNB another season, he nearly imploded driving by those giant candy cane tubes protruding from the Aquatopian structure. Why not embrace our fate?

On Thursday morning, Mark called to confirm. “I just booked it; non refundable”, he said, as I held the phone away, feeling flushed and a little queasy, wondering what was coming over me.  Figuring that Luca would be elated, I managed to cough up a “great! It’l be fun!” and hung up – hoping I was imagining the onset of chills.

By Friday, I could barely get out of bed. Thank god, Mark could take Luca out to his 7:30 am bus and get the girls to school. I still don’t remember how I managed to pick them up by 1:00 and care for them until he came home from work. Sensing his frustration, I tried to convince him that I would be totally fine by tomorrow.

As we drove up, Luca and Mark excited to ski, and the girls oblivious to the fact that they would soon be dropped off in daycare; I wondered how I was going to get through the day knowing we couldn’t check into our hotel until that evening. Miraculously, Laurel, who caught wind of the endless Frozen loop playing on the 60×60 flat screen and giant indoor slide, was enthusiastic about going and ran right in. Maxine, on the other hand, almost pulled the safety gate off the wall after they pried her off me. I did call 10 minutes later, to check up on her state, and was told she was collecting tickets from other kids to ride the slide.

It would almost be impossible to combine two activities I would choose last, to try to do with the flu – skiing coupled with splashing around a water park while riding looping slides and being submerged into a giant pool! Being polar opposites, what are the chances of being at a place where you would do both? Such is my luck.

Luckily, on Saturday, the combination of meds I took coupled with Camelback’s modest terrain enabled me to basically just stand on my skis and head down the mountain with little movement, so I could take some runs with the boys; then head into the lodge every other run to nurse some hot tea.

Sunday morning, I used all my strength to get everyone dressed (myself included), to take them down to the breakfast buffet – though I second guessed my efforts, immediately, noticing most everyone including the parents, dining in their pajamas (not a good look, people)!  Even so, it was for the best;  just as I turned my head (after Laurel squeezed open a coffee creamer and sprayed me with, what looked like snow), I saw Megyn Kelly dining right next to us with her family entourage in tow. As the only two grown woman not wearing pajamas, on any other day, I could have said “hi” and, maybe, bonded over our shared enthusiasm for putting real clothes on; and that our kids are the same ages. But, in my pathetic state, I looked away and prayed she wasn’t going to be at the pool later.

Thank god she wasn’t because we didn’t need any Kelly File style reporting on what was to come. Unable to leave Mark to fend for all three kids, I had no choice but to step up. With my chills in full force, the girls and Luca sprayed me with water and splashed around the wave pool. But, I was starting to feel a little stronger and agreed it was totally fine for Mark and Luca to run off and ride The Venus Fly Trap – I sure as hell wasn’t up for it.

Not one minute after they left, as I watched the girls in sheer joy on the toddler water slides, did I notice Laurel walking funny. She must have sensed my panic and finally rushed out of the pool mumbling something about a “poopie”.  What, “YOU HAVE TO GO?” I shrieked. “NO”, she said,” I ALREADY DID.” But Laurel, “You aren’t wearing a diaper. You’re supposed to go to the potty!”

If I wasn’t sweating out my fever before, now I did in full force. Feeling other parents eyes on me, for multiple reasons, I frantically scanned the water for any fallout and  screamed, with the little voice I had left, for Maxine to GET OUT OF THE POOL, NOW! I was desperate to get Laurel out of sight and into the bathroom to clean up what I could. Of course Maxine wasn’t having it. “You expect me to leave multiple indoor water slides so I can join you in a dirty bathroom to clean up Laurel’s loose poop, “I translated her stare back at me as she climbed the steps on another slide.

Unable to leave Maxine, I backed myself and Laurel in the corner, praying for Mark’s return. Cowering behind an umbrella, I caught sight of  Megyn’s blond hair walking towards the locker rooms. Mark, “We have to leave NOW”, I screamed when I saw him.

On Monday morning, I scanned the Megyn Kelly Today show anxious to ensure no breaking  Aqua-poo-topia stories from Camelback.  While we may have skirted this one, we will definitely be lying low for a while.


My Lil Valentines


Happy Valentine’s Day !

The Real Social Needia?



Lately, I can’t stop dwelling on the positive and negative impacts social media and the 24 hour news cycle have on our lives, and how much they’ve changed our behavior, interactions and treatment of each other.

It started last week, racing through Grand Central Terminal, when I looked up and caught this sign hanging in a shop window. I was feeling very cynical, having just scanned many of the 140 comments posted in response to a NY Times story concerning our neighborhood – most of them snarky with assumptions made about people they didn’t know. While I understood their anger and opposition, my heart went out to a mother who was singled out; and I couldn’t help feel that reading those comments would be hurtful.

Only a few years ago, we may have read the paper and tossed it in the recycling bin or mailed in a letter to the editor to prompt further discussion. Now everyone, instantly, has their say; often without filters or the thoughts we’d take to a face to face conversation.

Does knowing so much about everyone, up front, make it easier to pre-judge and miss an opportunity to connect on some other common ground? Let’s face it, if you knew all the details of your barista’s date last night, would you still smile while ordering your Starbucks and say hi? Or, does knowing all the political views of that mom selling PTA tickets make you run the other way?

Later in the week, I also caught a segment of the Today show (at the gym!) talking about creeping. Yikes! If you’ve ever, intentionally (or not), lingered on i.e. dug up a friend’s social media account or rummaged through their friends’ pages – you’ve done it. Who hasn’t innocently (or not) clicked on a friend’s Facebook page and, before you know it, your knee-deep in their vacation pictures of Aspen or Mexico? Or, you can’t stop obsessively checking your boyfriend’s ex’s social media posts. I mean how much time are we wasting people?

After all this, generally, creepy behavior, my sister-in-law’s post, Don’t Look Away on A.Joanne, restored my hope for the positive impacts social media has made. She highlights a tragic story about the rape and killing of a 7-year-old girl in Pakistan, Zainab Amin. When the #JusticeforZainab hashtag went viral, it shifted the tide on the long-held culture in Pakistan, of shaming victim’s (and their families), while abusers go unpunished. Using social media, people expressed their outrage, bravery and willingness to speak openly about their own abuses, pressuring the local government to finally pursue her killer. No doubt this was inspired by the current success of #metoo in shaking up Hollywood, media, sports, politics, education etc, for a long overdue end to sexual misconduct and outrageous behavior.

Not too long from now, Luca will want to join this world too. By then, I can only hope he understands that to be truly “social” is to personally connect with others; to remember to act with those qualities listed on that sign and expect real friends to do the same back! Now if only they would post it on social media too!