From the category archives:

Fun with mama and papa

A Tale of Two Tables

by Marinka on March 2, 2016

Everyone hates my new old table. That sounds like hyperbole but in fact it’s the opposite because in truth everyone despises it. And to make it worse, it’s not hate at first sight. At first sight, it’s a table. But after you sit or what approximates sitting at the table that everyone hates, the table table that’s too low to the ground, you start to feel the stirrings of antipathy that will fester and grow and breed and multiply.

Everyone hates its top and its legs and this is where I realize that there’s not too much more in terms of tables, descriptively speaking. Oh, its shape. It’s shape is unnecessarily rectangle. I live with my two kids. We need a square table. Or maybe a triangle table, which, by the way, are not as common as you’d think. But why is my wretched table a rectangle? I have no idea.
The table resurfaced from storage shortly after my divorce. Apparently they rejected it at Gitmo and so it came to my home to roost. I originally got the table when I first moved back to NYC after college in the late 1980s and didn’t know any better. You remember the late 80s, right? Well it’s as though Ronald Reagan showed up in your living room, muttering about ketchup being a vegetable. Just say no.

But it’s worse. Because my strongest association with the table was when decades ago I came home one day from my mind-numbingly dull job as a tax paralegal and I couldn’t find my dog Mavis. Mavis was a Basset Hound (until she died. And then she became Bassett Hound ashes, which is different from Angela’s Ashes, but I can’t kick the feeling that there’s an Angela Bassett’s ashes joke in there somewhere.) I looked everywhere for apartment. The apartment had been locked and Mavis didn’t have working thumbs so where could she have gone? It was a mystery and as I sat on the sofa to contemplate the probably alien abduction and the anal probing that Mavis was likely undergoing (interesting fact about Mavis: she had external anal glands which made her very, very stinky, especially during car rides and yet she received more invitations to the Hamptons than I did from neighbors who swore she was their dog’s best friend and they’d have a great time together. “I can come to keep an eye on her,” I turbo-hinted but for some reason not many people took me up on it.) And that’s when I looked at the table that now everyone hates, and saw that Mavis was standing on top of it, like some kind of a Basset Hound statue. I have no idea how she got there, why she got there or when she got there, but as soon as I saw her there, I became convinced that she was going to fall off and break all four of her legs and I’d have to either euthanize her or myself and neither of those options sounded inexpensive. So I went to the table, slowly, as though I would suddenly startle her into falling off and lifted her off, again, carefully, in case she was made out of porcelain, and lowered her to the floor. And then I wondered if this was going to be a daily routine that Mavis and I would undergo and whether this is how most 20-somethings spent their evenings in the greatest city in the world.

So when the table re-appeared in my life, I accepted it and moved on. I have bigger things to worry about, like how many Trump fundraisers I can squeeze in before the primary season is over. But then I noticed that my kids were sort of crowded around the table and then Mama said that the table wasn’t working, so we should get a new one. And I said, yes, sure, which is code for let’s do nothing and never speak of this again and has worked so well for me over the years. Except this time, a few short months later, Mama told me that she found a table to replace the table that everyone hates with one that everyone will love and admire and respect. Can I see a photo, I asked and there were some mutterings and then Papa emailed me a photograph of something that looked like a thimble of a table. Seriously, it appeared to be a table for cats, if they were kittens.
“It’s so small,” I said and Papa explained that it comes with inserts and when the inserts are in, the table is so big, it won’t even fit into my dining room area. Obviously, that’s an appealing characteristic for any table and I’m stunned that more furniture manufacturers don’t resort to this marketing technique. I’m sure it will catch on.

“I don’t think it’s for me,” I told my parents but they did not take the news well.

“It’s really expensive,” they explained in some kind of bizarre reverse-psychology sales pitch.

So for now I’m stuck with the table that everyone hates. But at least it fits into my dining room area, is not expensive and doesn’t have a Basset Hound on top of it. And some days that’s enough.


Sleigh Me

by Marinka on April 19, 2015

You know what? I love my bed. I’ve had it for years. It’s a sleigh bed, which is admittedly an odd concept. Why do we want to pretend that we are on a sleigh when resting? And why don’t we call it a sled bed, which is a lot catchier and would also appeal to children more. Not that we want them anywhere near our bed, of course. This isn’t that kind of post. But still, sleigh or sled—why are racing down a hill in a slumber? I don’t know how anyone can keep their eyes closed with all those trees looming in the vista.

And yet, I love my bed. Probably because I don’t focus on its sleighness. So the other day, I came home and wanted to crawl straight into bed. Now, the world is divided into two types of people—those who have to take off their clothes before climbing/crawling into bed and those who can do it in their street clothes. The latter group, the street clothers, are the ones that Mama hasn’t gotten to yet.

“If you lay down in bed in street clothes,” she has explained to me patiently, “it is as though everyone you see on the subway is in bed with you too.”
In case you think that mama was describing a festive scene of free love, let me reassure you: No. Mama was describing a scene of Dickensonian filth and despair, transported to the NYC subway and, by extension, my bed.

So on one hand, I had Mama and her admonition. On the other, I had my natural born laziness. It was anyone’s game.

I got into bed fully clothed and gasped.
But not because my bed was racing down a snowy hill. And not because my fellow commuters were snuggled up beside me.
I gasped because there was something unexpected in bed with me. Something hot and metal and hard and crumply.

“What the fuck is this?” I thought, and then I knew.

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I raised myself from the bed and walked into the kitchen where Mama was whistling a happy tune and cooking, except with no whistling.

“There was something in my bed, and it’s still there” I BabyBeared.

“Yes,” Mama said and although it was good to have confirmation that I wasn’t having a visual and sensory hallucinating episode, it raised some other questions.

“Is it what I think it is?” I asked, even though I knew the answer. I noticed, by the way, that whenever anyone asks if something is what they think it is, it always is. So really, I don’t know why people are so coy and even bother asking instead of just making a declaration. I guess it’s one of those things that passes as a “social nicety” like greeting people and not stabbing someone.

“Yes, mashed potatoes,” Mama confirmed.

If you are not from the former Soviet Union, this will sound insane to you. And if you are from the former Soviet Union, this will sound insane to you (Exhibit A: me.)

When Russians make mashed potatoes, they are terrified that they will get cold. (The mashed potatoes will get cold, not the Russians. The Russians are the ones who are terrified. Jesus. I’m reading Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen” and it’s making me absolutely insane about grammar. It’s a miracle that I’m still able to speak. A miracle that no one has been praying for, by the way, but still.)

Anyway, I have no idea why of all things the Russians have to worry about they are fixated on the temperature of the mashed potatoes, but the Superpower with intergalactic bragging rights came up with a solution to this national crisis by wrapping the pot of mashed potatoes in newspapers and putting it under a pillow in the bed and covering the whole damn thing with a blanket.

Now I know what you’re thinking—“what a grand idea! Why didn’t I think of that? A few mashed potato warming sessions and my insanity defense will be all set for that murderous rampage I’ve been planning!”

But what I was thinking was eerily similar to what I’d been thinking for the past four decades whenever I found a newspapered pot of mashed potatoes under my bedding: WHAT THE FUCK?!

Followed closely by: why are mashed potatoes the only dish treated this way? What about soup? (Soup can be reheated; mashed potatoes not so much.) Why newspaper? (What else are you going to do with the newspaper that you already read and/or the Business Section?) Why under the blanket? (To keep It warm) Why under the pillow? (To keep it comfortable) Why don’t Americans do this? (Who knows why Americans do anything.)

So here you go.

With this quick and easy fix, you no longer have to live in fear of cold mashed potatoes.

And it has the extra benefit of keeping fellow commuters out of your bed.

Really, for what more could you ask?



December 16, 2014

The other day I was sitting around, thinking of ways to make the world a better place and also plotting against my enemies. Don’t worry, nothing dramatic, and certainly not anything we haven’t seen in the Bible and maybe on HBO and other premium cable channels. So I was sitting and plotting but then that […]

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July 2, 2014

I know I’ve been updating less than usual for a while and it’s taking its toll on me too. Obviously the fact that I decided not to write about my divorce is a factor (although please rest assured, it’s all very boring and amicable, no War of the Roses here. Not even War of the […]

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No Comment

May 26, 2014

It took me a while, but finally I realized that the comments section on this blog is broken. At first when I saw zero comments on post after post I thought, “huh, no one is commenting!” and while that would make some bloggers despondent, I just took it to mean that everyone agreed with my […]

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Good News and Also Bad

February 23, 2014

Look, you can have the greatest friends, the best support system in the world, but there will be times in your life that you will realize that you are completely and utterly alone. I had that realization over the weekend, after Mama called me to tell me about her newly adopted cat. “Does he even […]

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A Name

February 20, 2014

I planned to spend Presidents Day figuring out once and for all if it’s President’s or Presidents’ or Presidents Day and also watching Scandal, because I’m a patriot. But shortly into my plan, Mama called. “We are going to adopt a cat,” she told me. Their Sly died over the summer. “Stay near the phone […]

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I’m Right, You’re Wrong: Coffee

February 11, 2014

You know how this works, right? Come on, we just had one this month. Can you at least pretend you’re paying attention? Ok, so I’m Right You’re Wrong is a semi-regular feature here where I try to settle a loving dispute I’m having with a loved one, OR THE WORLD AT LARGE, by presenting the […]

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