(Disclaimer: I’m cleaning out my drafts and this was originally written in August 2017. It was 90% done, so now it’s finished and published.)

I don’t socialize with my coworkers anymore.  I used to. There used to be a time when we’d go out for drinks and dinner after work and I would help them move and drive them to airports and loan them money and listen to them complain about (insert relationship here) and go to their kids Christenings and bake for them and fix their hems and all other sorts of things a coworker-turned-friend would do.  But then I always got too close. And I always got screwed.

“June” though, is different.  She doesn’t work with me directly on a day to day basis (she’s on of my business contacts).  We see each other outside of the office every six months or so, or when either of us has a life crisis and needs to cry/bitch/wallow to the other.  We can shut down a restaurant (we will tip you very well to leave us alone) and talk for hours.  There is no judging, no taking advantage of and tons of laughter in this friendship.

The way it should be, right?

So this summer, it really took a lot for me to finally accept the invitation to the Out East Hullabaloo from one of my coworkers, Magee.  I’ve been getting this annual invite for 10 years or so and I always turned it down even though it was only 15 minutes from our beach house.  Magee and I get along (despite him almost killing me- a story for another day) but I just couldn’t bring myself to go to his house and socialize with the all the other people in my department that he invited.

Enter my wing man, June.  She couldn’t go to the Hullabaloo last year, but this year she really wanted to go-she wanted to step out of her comfort zone after ending her 13 year relationship and have a good time. I was doubtful about the good time, but I agreed to go.  If it was unbearable, at least we’d be drinking.

Surprise, surprise- it was one of the best times I’ve had in a very, very long time.

MR, June and I showed up very early and paid our $2 each to compete in the Horseshoe Tournament.  We slapped our name tags on, grabbed some beers and sat down under one of the umbrella tables next to the pool.

I wasn’t expecting this.  His house was nice, the grounds and pool were beautiful and his family was so kind and so welcoming.  We chatted with relatives, family friends and long-time attendees of the Hullabaloo (this was the 20th year).  We made a few connections, exchanged a few email addresses, cooed over babies and dipped our feet in the pool.  June the Mermaid eventually jumped in while I hovered over her hoping she wouldn’t drown (it was deep and she is short and not an experienced swimmer).  Then MR and I were called for our round of horseshoes.

Horseshoes are awesome.

Let’s just say that I am now called The Ringer.  All those years of bowling league and all those years of dart tournaments certainly helped my aim, stance and arm in horseshoes.  I took off my sandals, hiked up my skirt and MR and I made it to the final four round.  The hardcore throwers couldn’t believe I was keeping up with them (MR was a natural, of course- he was really the backbone of our team) and soon the trash-talk began.  I don’t play that so I was glad we were finally beaten and that opposing team went on to win.  After the tournament, these big, gruff guys came over to us and gave me a big hug and complimented me on my game and didn’t believe us when we said I had never played before.

It’s nice when you’re good at something, even if it is a fluke, and people recognize that.  It doesn’t happen often, lol.  It’s also nice to find a group of people you enjoy hanging around with.  The Hullabaloo will be something we’ll be going to again.

If we’re invited back.  Nobody likes a ringer.

Head, Heart, Hand and Health

Zombiegirl survived another week at 4-H Camp.  This time I’m VERY proud of her.

Last year she went to camp for the first time ever.  Sleeping away from her family for a week.  She went with her friend, The Almighty (her family calls her that so it’s okay if I do) and they had a great time.  They rode horses, and took care of farm animals, ate, sang songs and made friends.

We were a wreck that whole week.

The camp is located almost exactly one mile by car, maybe a quarter-mile straight up the beach, from our beach house.  The reason we sent first Kansas then Zombiegirl to this camp was because it was so close to the beach house.  Last year we stayed out all week and walked the beach hoping to catch a glimpse of our precious baby, the one we sent away.  Of course, she didn’t take swim that whole week.  I got a deep, bronze tan, but couldn’t sleep at night thinking about the kid.

This year, 4-H should have let Zombiegirl camp for free.  Not only did Almighty go back, but Z-girl also convinced three of her soccer friends to go.  There was a fourth, but the mother see-sawed too much and lost out.  We dropped them off last Monday with hugs, cameras, soccer balls and kisses.

MR and I stayed at the beach house that day.  He found out they take their swimming competency test in the afternoon.  He pinned down a time from one of the counselors, so off to the beach we went.

We waited.  We saw a group of kids take the 189 stairs down the cliffs.  We meandered a little closer (but not TOO close- we didn’t want to appear as if we were stalking) but no, these were boys.  They finished up their tests and went back up.  We waited.  And waited.  And watched the lifeguards pretend to rescue a flailing camper, practicing their lifesaving skills.  They finished and we waited.  And waited.  Finally, a group of girls showed up.  And in that group, three little figures waving furiously at us.  Again, we moved a little closer, but really, they weren’t more than little one-inch stick figures with big heads and waving arms.  We waved back.  The lifeguards saw us waving, andthey waved back.  Oops, busted.

As we turned around to leave, MR noticed our umbrella had blown down the beach.  He ran after it while I slowly walked backwards watching the little stick figures splash and swim in the Sound.  Finally, they were too small for me to see without binoculars, so I sadly made my way back to our chairs.

I got there at the same time MR did from retrieving the umbrella.  I was sad, but he was grinning.

“I saw titties,” he said.  I looked around but didn’t see anyone close by except for the woman walking into the water to cool off.  And she had a two-piece on.  Where?  I asked.  He tilted his chin toward the woman.  She had been topless , but put her top on when MR ran by chasing the umbrella.  Good for her,  I said.  She was far enough away from the families, nestled in a little depression in the softer sand.  Totally shielded and not flaunting it.  I was jealous.  My “girls” saw daylight only once, and that was in the canoe about a half-mile off-shore.  I long to be free and unencumbered and feel the sun on all parts of my body.  Without prying eyes, of course.


The week went by quick without the kid.  It was hot so we didn’t cook. I didn’t clean, I didn’t do much more than vegetate on the couch with Beena.  Which was nice, since she’s almost never home at night, her working in retail almost every night.

We headed back out East on Thursday night since we still had flooring to finish from ripping up the porch floor the previous Saturday.  Friday morning, I woke up with the 4-H camp’s reveille.  We can hear the bugle calls to dinner and taps at night.  One mile away?  Yeah, that’s why we send our kid to this camp.  I don’t know how we’d deal if she was miles away upstate or in another state altogether.  I like having her know the area and feel safe that we’re only a few minutes away.  I like being able to walk down the beach and spot our kid and her friends and be summoned over (after checking with the lifeguard) to be hugged.  And hugged.  And hugged again.

Thank goodness we’re not that far away.  One of the soccer girls got homesick and decided she couldn’t stay any longer.  She called her mom sobbing and mom ran out to pick her up.  She lasted one day.

But even with the drama and the issues with this girl caused a tremendous amount of homesickness in Zombiegirl as well as a few of the other girls, Z-girl sucked it up, stayed and had a really good time.  So did the other girls.  They’re all ready planning what they’re going to do next year and how long they’re going to stay.

Note:  I highly recommend Dorothy P. Flint 4H Camp in Riverhead, NY.  Their counselors and their program are wonderful.

Trouble on the 5:04

I know, I know. It’s been a few days since I posted. I can’t get my thoughts together to write a cohesive post. I’m mad and now I’m sick. I’ve re-written this post twice already.

When I take the LIRR home (which has been pretty much every day the last few days) I usually take the 5:01 to Ronkonkoma. I don’t live on the Ronkonkoma line, but that train is pretty much empty every day, plus it leaves three minutes before the 5:04 so I can get out of Dodge faster. My connecting train is usually at Jamaica when I get there so I don’t have to wait outside or battle the hordes on the 5:04 to get in to get a seat.

The only thing I don’t like about the 5:01 is when I get to Jamaica and the doors open the people waiting don’t let you off. I’ve shouldered plenty of people out of the way so I can get off the train. I’ve exchanged words with a few people crowding to get on this virtually empty train. Whatever. I get my knocks in- do you know how heavy Stephen King’s new book is? Hidden in my bag, it’s a formidable weapon.

Once I get on the 5:04, it’s about 25 minutes to my stop. Sometimes, it’s the longest 25 minutes of my life. Especially if one of my favorite characters is on board that day.

Character #1- Smelly Lady. This heavy lady is very nice- I’ve heard her speaking to other people on the train, but one has to hold one’s breath when passing her. She doesn’t smell like unwashed flesh, or body odor but like sweetly rotting organic matter. Like a compost heap. She looks clean but she smells dirty. Earthy dirty. I can’t describe it- I just know I feel like gagging when I walk past her. So I try not to.

Character #2- The Stalker. I’m not alone when I say Dan is disgusting. I met him previously when I had the party place- he came to a kosher party with his daughters. We talked, realizing we both took the same train home. I would like to say that he stares at me because I made such an impression on him when we met that day, but no. I’ve caught him staring at other women on the train. With his hand down his pants. One time vigorously rubbing. Yeah, I know. Gross.

He’s slick about it, too. Once he finishes his card game with the other commuters, he’ll stand in the doorways or in seats facing the me and use the reflections in the windows to check me out. I’ve woken up with him standing in the doorway peeking out behind the advertising signs. Staring at me. One time Diane, a fellow commuter and friend of mine, confronted him and told him he had to stop gawking at the pretty girls* riding the train. He feigned ignorance and went on his merry way. To stalk me and stare at me. Diane and I compared notes the next morning.

MR sees him walking to home when the train leaves and swears he’s going to follow him home or run him over. I haven’t seen him in a week or so (thank goodness) so I guess he’s safe. For now. Bwahahaha!

Character #3- The Bombay Nightingale. Lordy. When I see this Indian lady on the train, I know now not to sit in front of her. She rides the train from Brooklyn and she’s totally plugged into her MP3. And she sings. Indian music. Not the whole song, but the most annoying parts. And she’s LOUD! The other day she kept bursting into song and startling the whole car. I made eye-contact with several of the other riders and they were as pissed off as I was. Granted, I did have a splitting headache so that didn’t help.

As the train neared my stop, I got up and went to stand in the door area. Another woman joined me and we rolled our eyes together whenever the Nightingale screeched another song. We exchanged “pleasantries” about her singing and rolled our eyes again when she joined us in the door area. I shot her a really dirty look and she had the NERVE to ask what’s my problem?

Oh, no. You didn’t.

I told her that her singing was disruptive to EVERYONE in the car and that she was singing for the whole ride. “Am I disturbing you?”, she asked really snottily.


“Yes, you were. You were disturbing everyone.” At this point the other woman agrees with me.

“Oh, now you’re disturbing me. Why are you disturbing me. I don’t disturb anyone.”

W. T. F. Okay, lady. you’re nuts.

She followed the other woman off the train complaining the whole time that she’s not disturbing anyone and that we’re the ones disturbing everyone. When we (the nice lady and I) crossed paths at the bottom of the station platform, I told her some people just don’t get it.

So now I have to contend with crazy singing lady when I ride the 5:04.

I think I’ll start taking the bus home. I may be the only one that speaks English on that ride, but at least no one breaks into song.

*Clarification…I am certainly not pretty, and certainly not the only woman this guy stalks.

Tomorrow’s Leaders

This bugs the crap out of me.

To recap: four men were arrested and one man was sought after a freshman at Hofstra University claimed she was gang-raped on a Sunday night. Supposedly she was lured away from a party, tied up and repeatedly raped by the five men in a bathroom on the men’s floor of the dorm.

The men were arrested, their names and faces were in the newspapers, some were fired from their jobs and their families received hate mail.

Good, you may say. They deserved it! They’re rapists!

But the weren’t. The woman recanted her story, admitted she had group sex with these men and was not tied up. It was consensual. They were released.

This woman (girl) is a Freshman. This is the third week of college.

I understand the fear and uncertainty starting a new school. I didn’t dorm while I was at college (although I should have) so I won’t pretend I understand how scared a student may be living with strangers, in a strange town. I give my “adopted” kid, Katie, a LOT of credit moving to another state and living away from home. But I’ve gone to school on my own- meeting new people, new classes, getting lost in a huge environment where I felt very small, very young. I didn’t have my parents to help me get situated. They never experienced college, so at the time, I didn’t rely on them for any help. And I made mistakes as a Freshman. I admit it. I’m sure we all have. We were young and inexperienced at life, so it was bound to happen.


Did I have group sex three weeks into the semester with men I didn’t know? No.

Did I accuse anyone wrongfully, thus ruining lives in my wake? No.

What on earth was this girl thinking? What were these boys thinking? All five of you having sex with one girl? Is this okay? Where were you raised?

I am not a prude. I know sexual things go on in this world that would shock any rational thinking person. I know people have sex. I even know people have group sex. I know teenagers have sex. I know college life, to some, is one big party. But I want to find this girl, and shake some sense into her. You’re a Freshman, I want to tell her. Your job is to go to class and learn- not to spread your legs for the whole men’s dorm! If you want to fit in- join a club! Try a sport! Group sex is not on the curriculum! I would tell her it’s okay to be scared and unsure. Sleeping around though is not going to make you popular or help you make new friends.

So, okay. You did have sex with these men. Why on earth would you accuse them? What is going on in your head to point a finger at innocent people and torture them with jail time?

This is one messed up girl. And she is not going to be charged- she cut a deal with the DA. I only hope that deal includes major therapy for this troubled teenager.

These are our leaders of tomorrow. Our future Master’s of the Universe.

The universe has become a very bleak place.

Palmer Vineyards Yard Sale

Hey- if you’re planning on going out East this weekend, Palmer Vineyards is having their “yard sale”- save on your favorite wines! Unfortunately, we don’t head out to the beach house until soccer season ends, but we may go out for a day trip!

As sent by Palmer:

“It’s time for Palmer Vineyards Annual Yard Sale. This year, our sale will be one day only. We have very limited quantities to put on sale this year. We will open at 9am for our special customers, so come early for the best selection. Here is a sample of some of the items we will have this year:*

04 41/72 Merlot 50% off $6.49 per bottle
High Yield Chardonnay 50% off $3.99 per bottle
06 Sparkling Brut 20% off $17.56 per bottle
07 Sauvignon Blanc 30% off $11.89 per bottle
As always we will have a few surprises too! (They usually have live music…)
Mark the date and don’t forget to come early for the best selection.
*All sale items are while supplies last. All sales are on a first come first serve basis. No advance orders will be accepted. All sales are final.
Palmer Vineyards is located in Aquebogue. Directions are:
LIE to last exit (exit 73). Continue east on RT 58 to Osborne Ave. Turn left. Drive to end (Sound Ave). Turn right. Drive 6 miles to Palmer Vineyards, on the left. From the South Shore:Route 27-Sunrise Highway to 24 North. 24 North to Route 105 North. Right on to 105. Take 105 to the second light, Route 43. Make a right on Route 43 and go to the end, Sound Ave. Make a right on Sound Ave. The Winery is 1 1/2 miles on the left. From Orient:Stay on Route 48 for 25 Miles (Route 48 turns into Sound Ave). Winery is on right side.
Can’t beat the price for that Merlot!