Mama Mia [ 2004-11-15, 10:38 p.m. ]


Shhh…can you hear that? Listen closely.

It is the sound of my apartment being inhabited solely by me and my little dog. It is the sound of me putting on sweatpants and eating two slices of apple pie. It is the sound of letting my stomach out and having a glass of wine and some cookies. It is the sound of a nice clean kitchen and everything being in its proper place. Of catching up on email! And not talking about when my brothers may or may not be getting married! Shhh…it’s the sound of my mother going back home after four days in my apartment. Can you hear it now? It sounds like AH THANK CHRIST SHE IS GONE BECAUSE I LOVE HER BUT I LOVE MY SWEET, SWEET INDEPENDENCE MORE AND GOD ALMIGHT DOES THE WOMAN EVER REST???

We had a great time.

No, really…in all seriousness, we did have a great time. But my mom is SuperMom, and I am not SuperDaughter or SuperGirl or SuperWife or SuperAnything, and I cannot keep up with her. Her body fat hovers around -4% and her blood pressure is like, 18/7 or something crazy low, and she is the Lance Armstrong of shopping, and she is kind of a snob (in a charming, fun way – I swear!) and I worry constantly that nothing I do or say or own or like or even come in contact with is good enough for her. Also, she likes to go lingerie shopping at a very specific boutique downtown, and sometimes, like when she is telling me which thongs are her favorite and bemoaning her A-cups, I get uncomfortable. (Which makes my husband laugh and laugh, and taunt me with the idea of my mother showing up in New York with a boob job before too long.)

She has her positive qualities, though. For instance, she made me an apple pie last night (the same pie I am currently eating, piece by piece, until I will actually be able to say, Yup, I ate a whole pie. Kent had some, but for the most part, I ate a whole pie), and she bought me fancy chocolates today and likes to go to nice restaurants and is funny and smart and dresses nicely and when we flipped on Saturday Night Live the other night, she immediately recognized Modest Mouse. But my mom, she is intense. And very skinny, and very healthy and fit and trim and compact, all of which make me feel like a frizzy, frumpy Snuffleupagus ambling around behind her. I think she actually views backfat as a character flaw or a sign of moral weakness. Like, you should just be able to NOT EAT SO MUCH and GO RUNNING and DO YOGA and WILL THE DAMN FAT AWAY, because she has clearly been able to do so. (I, on the other hand, like to think of my backfat as where I store my “personality.” Take away my backfat, take away Molly. Sure, it’d be nice to do without the rolls, but hey – the rolls might be the source of my powers. So I don’t mess.)

My mother has been dropping hints about needing a “New York fix” for a while now, so I was prepared for her to be in full-on SuperMom-in-New-York mode this weekend. When she arrived on Thursday night (“Oh, you made pasta!? I’ll have a little; I actually brought some snacks with me!” *Opens bag full of nuts and berries and munches on them as I eat ricotta straight from the carton*), I was determined to be as un-tense as possible, determined to be chatty and open about the details of my personal life, and determined to be able to keep up with her, at least for a few days. I didn’t totally fail.

On Friday morning, I had a kinda-sorta job interview thing which could not be rescheduled, so I left my apartment with the rest of the household still asleep and the promise to call my mother when the kinda-sorta job interview thing was over, and we planned to meet up in SoHo for some shopping. Did I mention that it was raining and about 40 degrees on Friday? Because it was, and also windy. Which meant that when I met my mother in front of Dean & DeLuca around 3 p.m., I was wet and cold and my umbrella had broken and I was wearing pointy little Marc Jacobs flats that were soaked through and my feet were freezing and my flat-ironed hair was not flat and I was cold and cranky. My mother, also kind of cold and cranky. All the people at Dean & DeLuca – ditto, because moments after I met my mom, all the lights went out, leaving everyone to fumble for their white truffle oil and cave-aged tellagio in the dark. My mom and I tried valiantly to shop for a while, first stopping so that I could buy a Pashmina of Neccessity to make me a little less cold and cranky. We walked around for a bit, my mom booking along at her usual rapid pace while I stumbled along behind in my pointy, wet, slippery heels. Finally I cried uncle after one stop in a giant store that carried only $50 soaps. (Seriously, it was about 4,000 square feet and carried only soap and lotion, all Italian, all expensive, which, all told, occupied about 17% of the store’s space. Oh, and I bought some crazy-expensive hand cream, because that is my favorite kind of store and I am sucker for fancy packaging, especially if I cannot read a word of it.) “I think…” sniffle sniffle snort “…that I need”…sneeze shiver shiver “…to go”…sniffle splash snort “…HOME,” I managed.

At home we dried off and warmed up and then had to kill a few hours before our dinner reservation. Harder to do than it sounds, especially when it is rainy and dark and cold and all you want to do is check your emails and order sushi. But eventually it was time to head to dinner, which was at my NEW MOST FAVORITE RESTAURANT in the world, Applewood. Dinner was divine, and I felt like a HUGE celebrity because my friends Em and her husband and BritGirl and her husband all showed up for dinner as well, so we were all *kiss, kiss* and chatting and being way too cool for school. Until Em broke the news I had been anticipating since November 3rd: She and her husband were moving to D.C. because he was offered a Fancy Job with the Republican National Committee after working on the Bush (boo) Re-Elect. So my friends and I shared a drink with my mom (a good raised-in-the-1960s Bay Area democrat) and commiserated and bitched and made a lot of noise, but also allowed that Hey, at least the RNC pays well (because really, kids can educate themselves and the poor can find their own damn healthcare and Art? Who needs it?!). But dinner was great. And then the craziest thing EVER happened:

On Saturday, while I was at work, Kent and my mom SPENT THE WHOLE DAY TOGETHER! It was totally their first date, and Kent went all out, if I do say so myself! He took my mom to Pastis for lunch, then shopped with her for a while (he is even more glad than I am that she skipped her favorite lingerie store), took her to Thomas Pink, then Barneys, then Calvin Klein, etc. Around 4 p.m., they stopped by my store on their way home, and my mom had a little orange Hermes bag with her. Kent had a strained smile and a bit of a limp. “Has she been walking you all over town?” I asked him, fully aware of my mom’s pace and stamina. He nodded. “Are you okay?” I asked him. He didn’t muster a nod for that one. By the time I got home from work, however, both were doing well, having nearly finished a bottle of red and sharing the paper while the Ohio State game played in the background. I drank what was left of the bottle, and later, we headed out for another great dinner, at a restaurant called Blue Hill, which is swanky and Grown Up and totally not a place where I could have Squeed with my friends the way I did on Friday night. But we had a great dinner, at the end of which we discovered that our waiter lives down the street from us (and I actually ran into him this morning, walking Tuesday. I had wet hair and no makeup, and he was taking his laundry home. I was all, Hey…you were our waiter the other night…and he was all, Yeah…um, what should we talk about because this is awkward).

Sunday was a marathon day, and suffice it to say that we walked the hell out of the borough of Brooklyn (not Kent. Kent had a well-earned Football Day). My mom and I also happened upon an open house for a (of course) perfectly perfect apartment which is listed at (of COURSE) $625k. I totally fibbed when I was schmoozing with the realtor and told her Kent and I were looking to buy but didn’t want to go over $600,000 (which we don’t – we just plan on “not going over it” by a significant amount), so she gave me the hard sell and has been calling us with apartments she thinks we might like ever since. And yes, I like the lovely apartments very much, but have no, no, no, no more money. But the nice lady keeps calling and I WANT, I WANT, I WANT the pretty apartments, especially the one from Sunday which is a duplex with TWO bathrooms and a little garden and TALL windows and lots of closets and is so, so pretty! Why must you taunt me so, pretty apartments? And why have I not learned that going to open houses is a BAD idea, because I will always fall in love with the expensive and pretty places, and while it satisfies my mother’s curiosity to look at open houses and discuss financing, etc, all it does to me is induce: 1) tears, 2) nausea, 3) the desire to eat pastries and 4) ire. But I am getting way, way off track. Because we’re still on Sunday, it is still early, and only a few miles have been covered at this point.

So where was I? In Fort Greene, looking at real estate. Then my mom and I walked 97 jillion more miles (and p.s. – the Botanic Gardens? Probably not meant for viewing on a frigid day in November). And came home at dusk, at which point I collapsed and my mom made us a pie and then made dinner. While I continued to sit. And sit. And sit. (That pie, as of Monday night, still has one fat piece left, and I am prepared to fight tooth and nail for it.)

And today, we went back to the West Village for more shopping and my mom decided she like my new Orla Kiely bag so much that she wanted one for herself. Then we walked into SoHo and she bought one like mine, only bigger and better. Then she looked at jewelry. Then more bags. Then shoes. Then more jewelry. Then we ate and talked about shoes and jewelry and bags. And the ironic thing is that those are my most favorite things in the whole world. What do I love more than food, jewelry, shoes, bags? Not a whole lot, my friends, not a whole lot. But HOLY CRAP did I need a break at that point. Because my mom is just so much some times. She is, in a nutshell, everything I have ever hoped to be and everything I fear I am, all at the same time. That may not make any sense, but trust me, it’s true, and I know I am not the only one who has ever looked at a parent and seen both their best and worst selves reflected through Oliver Peoples glasses.

And now I need a drink. I’ll finish up my thoughts later, but first I need to order something greasy to eat and pour a glass of wine.

(Don’t think I have forgotten about the Casting Project from my last entry...Because I haven’t! I have many, many excellent ideas and am still soliciting suggestions, and will post a “treatment” for our little movie soon. I am thinking Legal Thriller…)

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