Remember the post I wrote about touring the SUNY Geneseo campus last year because it was on Zoe’s list of potential colleges? The post in which I alluded to drunken sex with architecture and bears allergic to virgins and introduced you to Josh, our tour guide, otherwise known as Zoe’s future fiance?
When Zoe was all Oh my God, Mom! Could you BE anymore embarrassing?
And I was all PUH-LEASE. Like he’s ever going to find this blog. Unclench, would you?
And Josh wound up leaving a comment and was all Ummmm, hello? Cool blog. I have a girlfriend.
And I was all Hey there, Josh! Thanks for making a liar out of me!
And Zoe was all OH MY GOD, MOM. I’M MOVING TO AUSTRALIA AND YOU CAN’T COME.
Zoe wound up applying to Geneseo. And Geneseo wound up requesting a parent essay.
And I wound up yelling something like WOOT! BOOT UP MY LAPTOP! HEY, WHERE’S THAT PICTURE OF YOU ASLEEP ON THE TOILET? THINK I CAN SCAN IT?
And Zoe wound up hollering something like SOMEBODY GET ME A PASSPORT while petitioning the court for emancipation.
Here’s my essay.
I’d ask Zoe to tell you want she thought of it, but she can’t hear me from down under.
ZOE IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
(submitted SUNY Geneseo, January 2012)
AMBITIOUS. Especially when it comes to school, work, career goals and, most recently, affording an iPhone 4S on her own and then deciding to work extra hours to afford insurance for it. But only because it’s the sensible thing to do and not because she dropped it the first day she had it and then spent the remainder of the day ignoring me as I duct-taped my mouth shut to keep the ginormous I TOLD YOU SO from flying out of it.
BOSSY. I tell Zoe’s little sister that this is a good trait to have, that it’s a sign of a natural born leader. Judging by the screams of YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME coming from downstairs as I type this, I don’t think she’s buying it.
COMPASSIONATE. She dropped everything and immediately drove to her girlfriend’s house to lend her an ear and shoulder because that’s what you do when your girlfriend gets dumped by her boyfriend. She took her little sister to the store so that they could buy me flowers and cards together because she knew I had had a terrifically bad day. When she sleeps over at a friend’s house or at her dad’s, she always texts me at night to make sure that I’m OK and to tell me she loves me. She reminds us all that good things are going to happen because we deserve them. And she’s given me more hugs during the last few months because of the nightmare we are living than she gave me her entire childhood. She’s good people, as my mother would say.
DATING. She’s a fan. I’m on the fence. It’s a big, long, fat fence.
EMPLOYMENT. She likes it and arrives on time, stays late and generally goes above and beyond to ensure she keeps it. Even if it means pretending not to know the crazy lady who runs in and snaps her picture behind the counter. Twice. Possibly three times. In my defense, why do they put the camera button so close to the power button on the iPhone?
FISHING. The only thing that can get Zoe up at 5:00 a.m., to sit in small boat, be silent and breathe in the stench of live bait for four hours, is the love she has for her dad. And her dad has no clue that she detests fishing. THAT is classic Zoe.
GAS. For her car, that is. Apparently, it’s outrageously expensive now that she has to pay for it.
HOME. We’re currently looking for new one and she’s excited about it. But all I can think about is that whatever home we wind up in, I’m going to miss the hell out of her when she leaves it.
I DON’T KNOW. The name of Zoe’s friend who moved in last year and repeatedly leaves wet towels on the bathroom floor. As far as I can tell, this friend is deaf, invisible and a slob.
JOGGING. Zoe went with me a couple of times. She hates jogging with the heat of a thousand suns. But, she loves me and apparently, that trumps boob sweat and shin splints.
KITCHEN. She loves cooking in it and makes THE best chicken cutlets I have ever eaten.
LASHES. As in, eye. Hers are so long that they touch her sun glasses which, to hear her tell it, is irritating. I wouldn’t know. My lashes are like my legs. Short. But not as hairy.
MASS-OF-TWO-SHITS. The way Zoe used to pronounce Massachusetts when she was little.
NERVES. She gets on mine occasionally. I’d hazard a guess that I get on hers a little more often than that. But that’s my job.
OLIVER. Our dog. Zoe adores him but gives him way too much credit. For instance, she thinks he’s got bowels of steel and can hold off going potty until she’s done watching eleventy-three episodes of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Oliver has proven her wrong on more occasions that I can count. And I can count pretty damn high.
PHYSICS. A subject in which Zoe excels. This is what Zoe texted me the other day: Take a rubber band. Measure the length of it at equilibrium. Stretch the rubber band, measure the length. Find the difference, and that is X. Put various weights on the rubber band, measuring the differences in lengths. Then use Fs=kx to find the spring constant. Fs is the mass on the rubber band. Do multiple times, find an average for K. After you find K you can solve for the PEs using PEs=1/2kx2. Launch the rubber band vertically to a certain height, holding meter sticks up in the air. Use PE=mgh to find potential energy. The height is the height the thing goes to, G is gravity, 9.81m/s2, and m is the mass of the rubber band. Time the rubber band from the time it reaches its maximum height to the time it reaches the floor. Use vf=vi+at to find the velocity. Use the equation KE=1/2mv2. Substitute in all the values, and you can find BLAH BLAH, OH MY GOD MAKE IT STOP, BLAH. She asked me what I thought about it. I told her to hang on, I was still looking for a rubber band.
QUADRATIC EQUATIONS. Zoe thinks they’re fun. Honestly, I have no idea where this girl came from.
RESTAURANTS. Specifically, those that offer take-out. She was the child of divorced, full-time working parents and she was probably about seven before she realized that not all plates were square and made out of white Styrofoam.
SCIENCE. Another subject in which Zoe excels. She dissected a cat once and texted me a photo of its brain. By the way, unlimited texting? Totally overrated.
TEXTING. Zoe had over 6,000 of them last month. Her thumbs have developed six-packs.
UNFLUSTERED. Zoe just doesn’t wig out. When her sister’s ear was nearly amputated and we had to rush her to the hospital, Zoe simply held a towel to Helena’s head to stem the bleeding while periodically reminding me to breathe. When we discovered one night last June that her stepfather wasn’t the person we all believed him to be, she kept herself together, mopped up the puddle of mess I had become and concentrated on moving us all forward. She’s the one you want around when anything hits the fan. But throw a spider into the mix and all bets are off.
VEINS. Zoe uses hers to donate blood. And even though she almost fainted last time and I had to pick her up from school early, she was the first to line up for the next drive and not just because there were free cookies. In my defense, they were good cookies.
WINTER. She loves it. The snow, the ice, the frigid temperatures, the snowmobiling. If she hadn’t left a mile long butt trail down a ski slope one year, I’d be hard pressed to say that she’s mine.
XANAX. The diet of choice when your seventeen year old daughter walks in the door after a date at 11:59:59 p.m., so as not to be late for curfew.
YELLING. We do a lot of it around here. We’re Greek – it’s like a law. That, and owning a restaurant. Yelling is easier and far less sweaty, to be honest.
ZOE. Any college would be lucky to get her.
Up until recently, Zoe was wearing a onsie, crawling around my Tupperware cupboard, drooling over my spatulas and strategically planning her next diaper blowout to coincide with the exact moment I discover I’m out of Huggies and patience.
And next thing I know … *POOF* … she’s off to prom.
And I’m off the deep end.
But only in my head!
Where, truth be told, there is no shallow end to begin with.
She looked so beautiful and grown up and sophisticated. Very va-va-voomy, as one person put it on Facebook.
I cannot believe I made her with my own two hands! And a few other spare parts.
Plus a little help from her dad, of course. I’m willing to share the credit!
Even though I did most of the hard work.
Unless he’s got stretch marks, a withered uterus and a pubic scar I don’t know about?
When you marry a man who is 6’2″ and have a daughter who is taller than you and then wears five inch heels, you are destined to be chopped off at the boobs in group photos.
It’s a miserable fact of life.
But looking as if an anxiety-ridden, baby gorilla is jumping on your head? That’s totally on you.
Zoe went to prom with her good friend Alex, who looked both adorable and handsome and not at all like the chew toy Oliver assumes him to be when he comes over to go swimming.
We locked Oliver in the laundry room because I didn’t think Alex felt like explaining to the tuxedo shop manager why he was returning a pair of dress pants that had a seven pound furry piranha nicknamed Fang dangling off them.
This is mime for CAN WE STOP TAKING PICTURES NOW? MY SMILE HAS A HERNIA.
Alex did a great job with the flowers, didn’t he?
It’s customary for the boy to get the girl a corsage and the girl to get the boy a boutonniere.
And for the girls to wear long dresses.
And for all the kids to have co-ed sleepovers at someone’s house where that set of parents serve as chaperones, thus ensuring that there are tents outside for the boys to sleep in and bedrooms inside for the girls to sleep in and a gasoline-infused inferno separating the two sexes so that NEVER NEVER EVER EVER EVER the twain shall meet.
There’s also a rumor going around that it’s customary for moms to lie awake at night, hoping that their daughters remember at least one of the many discussions they had about sex and consequences and wishing that their daughters were still wearing onsies and crawling through Tupperware cupboards and drooling on spatulas and planning inconvenient diaper blowouts.
But you didn’t hear that from me as I am not a gossip monger.
One of my favorite shots of the day!
I can’t believe this is the same girl who, when younger, had to be begged, bribed and cajoled into showing any emotion whatsoever so we could determine what she was feeling at any given moment. Was she miserable? Ecstatic? Conscious?
After the photo shoot at our house, we drove over to Zoe’s friend’s house where we took pictures of the girls …
And the guys …
And the couples …
And the hair that we would sell our left ovary for …
And the fun, sensible and quirky choice of footwear.
You know, as opposed to the five inch high lunacy worn by someone who has no business being anywhere around stilettos because her uncoordinated DNA has already caused her to suffer so many broken legs, arms, wrists, fingers, tailbones and ankles over the years that her mother suggested one Halloween that she hot glue all her old casts to her body and go trick-or-treating as an accident waiting to happen.
Which is all good and fine except … and how do I say this delicately … who gives a flying shit? Because, hello?
JUST LOOK AT THEM.
Lunatic fringe or not, I covet these shoes. I covet them more than I covet gorilla-less hair or pictorial essays of myself with a complete set of boobs or even my 24 inch waist that went AWOL over twenty years ago.
Who needs a stupid tiny waist when your feet are busy having orgasms?
After Zoe’s friend’s house, the kids decided to go to the lake for some more pictures, something I was all over since I had only taken 200 pictures by that point, falling far short of my typical eleventy billion and thirteen that I usually take for any given occasion.
The limo wasn’t due for awhile so we had a caravan of cars driving to the lake. The fog was rolling in, visibility was poor and the road was twisty and turny and riddled with confused, suicidal turtles. The situation was quickly turning grim and everyone was tense and worried and the texts soon started flying back and forth between all the cars, with all the girls asking the one question they dared not speak out loud lest they tempt fate: OMG, DO YOU THINK THE HUMIDITY WILL KILL MY HAIR?
The hair survived just fine. And despite all appearances to the contrary, Zoe is not flipping anyone the bird here. That’s her pointer finger.
Like mother, like daughter!
Except not really. Because I tend to point with my middle finger.
But only in the general direction of morons in parking lots.
I’m so glad Zoe has such a great group of friends.
And that she chose a dress and a date that perfectly suited her.
Like mother, like daughter!
Except not really.
Because I was completely without voom, having chosen a dress that I hated which required a strapless bra that I hated even more because it came with a built-in identity crisis that made it think it was a girdle. And I also chose a date who came with an identity crisis of his own in that he thought he was all that and a bag of chips who was going to get lucky that night.
So … unlike mother, unlike daughter.
Which is sometimes a very good thing.
Last Friday, we took a trip to SUNY @ Geneseo because it’s on Zoe’s list of potential colleges.
Hello, my alma mater!
Can I call it my alma mater if I only spent my freshman year there because I came down with a massive case of stupid before my sophomore year and screwed up my life for the next couple of years and ultimately wound up graduating from SUNY @ Brockport instead? Which was fine because I liked Brockport well enough but I adored Geneseo and one of my biggest regrets in life is that I graduated from a college that I would have dated and maybe even slept with had I been drunk enough but never, ever would have considered marrying. For the record, I’d have married Geneseo in a heartbeat, even while totally sober.
Is this post getting weird for anyone else?
God, I wish they’d come up with a vaccine for stupid. Then I would have graduated from Geneseo and wouldn’t have typed anything remotely resembling an admission to having drunken sex with an entire institution of higher learning. Only its architecture and geography and daily life, not its students, mind you. Just in case any of you were shouting ANDY, YOU IGNORANT SLUT at your monitors.
If you’re not familiar with classic Saturday Night Live, then this post is probably getting even weirder for you.
This was Josh, our tour guide. You can’t tell from this photo but he was smart, witty and absolutely adorable. Barring any unforeseen results from a background check, a DNA test and a quick streaming of seasons 1-3,897 of America’s Most Wanted through Netflix, he’s exactly who I’d like Zoe to date while she’s in college.
I like to think I caught him in mid “Would you go out with me, Zoe? But only after you’re done with your papers and studying for your exams. And only if you don’t like to drink or do drugs or have premarital sex. We can sit on the hill and watch the sunset and at no time will my hands or any other part of my body come into contact with your hands or any other part of your body.”
This is a massive periodic table of elements decorating a wall in their science building.
I yelled LOOK! GIANT SCRABBLE!
Zoe and Helena quickly hurried after Nate who was already out the door.
It’s lonely being me.
This is the new science center at Geneseo. Isn’t it purty? It wasn’t around when I went there. Neither was electricity.
It was spring break when we were visiting so this dining hall was actually empty.
Ergo, I did not take the above picture.
You could probably deduce that on your own but I like to be helpful. Besides, it’s not often I get to use the word “ergo.” I love that word. Makes me sound smart! And a bit snooty.
The different food stations were pretty impressive. Everything from Asian to Italian to vegan to traditional diner fare. Let me tell you, when I went to Geneseo, they didn’t have nearly as many options for food as they do now.
It was pretty hard to cook without electricity way back then.
The infamous Seuss Spruce in the quad! I bet late at night, after the bars shut down, this tree looks perfectly straight!
Again, it’s lonely being me.
The College Union with all the flags representing the countries at which Geneseo students have studied abroad.
I see Greece!
I think everyone should have the chance to go back to college in their forties, when they’re old enough to really appreciate all the opportunities it offers. I mean, c’mon … show me a twenty year old who is going to recognize the value of being able to wake up in Mykonos and order hot, meaty dolmades with avgolemono sauce all over them for breakfast? Without having to wake up in Southern Pines, pretend that it’s Mykonos and ask your eighty year old mom to make them for breakfast, only to have her yell HELLO? I’M EIGHTY YEARS OLD. HERE’S SOME TOAST.
Oh, and there’s also that thing about appreciating the opportunity to study the geography, history and culture of another country as well.
But mostly, when you’re in your premenopausal forties, it’s about the food.
The Director of Admissions was nice enough to take this photo of us. I’m going to send it in with Zoe’s application to remind her of the strong family unit that stands behind Zoe, ready to support her in her academic endeavors.
Good thing she didn’t offer to take our picture ten seconds later because then I’d have to remind her of the dysfunctional family unit that argues with one another because one member wanted to run all over campus and take a lot more photos and her kids and husband just wanted to eat lunch.
Zoe said she wanted to go to Geneseo because she liked their hoodies and sweatpants and these water bottles …
… and the fact that a Starbucks was immediately accessible.
Oh, and something about its excellent academic record.
I love that my girl has her priorities in order.
I teached her good!
We went up into the village for lunch and I recognized the bronze bear statue on Main Street from my college days! Legend has it that if a virgin ever graduates from Geneseo, this bear will climb down off the fountain and run away forever.
I guess it’s a good thing I never did graduate from Geneseo! The residents would have really missed their bear.
alsldkfowoita ooiwieras sls a owiers apwoitaspp vlwoieur apsoei.
Sorry. My fingers were laughing hysterically.
Oh my God.
*insert all kinds of flashbacks*
The Vital and the IB (In Between) were the two main bars in Geneseo back in the eighties. I can’t even tell you how much time I spent at them between 1985 and 1986. I can’t tell you because I can’t remember. Hangovers will do that to you.
To this day, I can’t even hear Mr. Mister’s Broken Wings without being bombarded by strobe lights and tasting shots of Sex on the Beach in my mouth and automatically checking to make sure no one is rubbing up against me, spreading some communicable disease on the back of my shirt.
These places would be a precursor to that whole mess of stupid that befell me right before my sophomore year.
Zoe is not going to be allowed anywhere near these places if she goes to Geneseo, even if I have to install an invisible fence all around her body.
In fact, I blindfolded her before I took her out on Main Street.
Gotta love the initiative of the young, broke, college student.
Zoe didn’t leave her phone number because she couldn’t see to write, what with the blindfold and all.
While Zoe is aware that it’s completely up to her which college to attend, provided we can afford it, I can’t lie … I hope she chooses Geneseo. It’s one of the best SUNY schools and it holds a sentimental place in my heart.
And if she does choose Geneseo, her father Dave, Nate, Helena, her fiance Josh and I will all attend her graduation and clap enthusiastically and I’ll take loads of pictures as she walks across the stage and receives her diploma and summa cum laude honors.
And I’ll make sure to get a crisp, clear shot of that little bronze bear scampering off into the wild blue yonder.
I’m feeling really old this morning because later today, we’re checking out a college that Zoe is interested in attending. Granted, she’s not graduating high school until next year but seeing as how Father Time is popping Viagra and screwing every speed limit he meets, I’m expecting next year to arrive on Tuesday.
I can’t believe my first born is checking out a college. My Zoe, who only yesterday rolled over for the first time and vomited sweet potato puree down my shirt when I burped her. The same girl who just this morning texted me from the other room, asking if we can go prom dress shopping this weekend.
I hope Father Time catches gonorrhea.
On that note, we’re off to see the wizard! Also known as the Dean of Admissions. I kind of feel like Dorothy! Except there’s no yellow brick road, Toto probably didn’t poop behind her couch and I’m betting the Tin Man didn’t try to grope her as she blogged.
We’re off to see a college
That we probably can’t even afford!
We hear it is a hell of a place
With lots of smart teachers and dorm room space
If ever, oh ever, we needed some luck
It would be now as our savings does suck
Because because because because becaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuse
Because the economy is a BIG FAT FUCK.
We’re off to see a college
That we probably can’t even afford!
Last week I stood in Target for thirty minutes, trying to think like a certain bespectacled, feisty, burpy, stubborn, funny, opinionated fifth grade girl who would sooner lick a furry spider than admit that all fifth grade boys are *not* necessarily oozing boils of pus on the collective butt of humanity and I did this by holding up a packet of valentines and asking myself “Will giving these things to boys make me gag up all my lungs in homeroom tomorrow? Twice?”
It was a struggle, but I finally settled upon the least mushy or offensive of the bunch, an innocuous looking combination of cards and Pixy Stix, hoping that the cards with little hearts all over them would be ignored and immediately ripped to shreds by both sexes equally in a desperate attempt to score the two long, thin paper vials of crack sugar.
I gave the box of valentines to Helena along with her class list and reminded her once more that if she wanted to participate in the Valentine’s Day celebration with her class, then she had to abide by the rules and give everyone a Valentine, regardless if they peed standing up or sitting down. And it wouldn’t kill her to write something personal on each one. And stop rolling her eyes already. Yes, as a matter of fact, I can see through walls.
That night as I watched American Idol, a voice kept drifting in from the kitchen asking “Mom, does ‘gross’ have an ‘e’ at the end of it?” and “Mom, how do you spell ‘disgusting?'” and “Mom, does ‘buttface’ have one ‘t’ or two?”
And it dawned on me that I would make a fortune by inventing a pre-printed Valentine for certain bespectacled, feisty, burpy, stubborn, funny, opinionated fifth grade girls who would sooner lick furry spiders than admit that all fifth grade boys are *not* necessarily oozing boils of pus on the collective butt of humanity. Maybe one with a picture of a big, red, puffy heart being electrocuted with a taser into unconsciousness, with the following sentiment:
Happy Valentine’s Day except not really. Don’t get any ideas. You are still gross and I’m not going out with you, no matter how many times you shove your whole sandwich into your mouth and pretend it’s a zit. OMG. I’m only giving you this card because the rules say we have to give cards to everyone so if I don’t, I’ll get in trouble and Mrs. W will probably make me miss recess and write something dumb like Valentine’s Day Should Be a Treat For Everyone!! a hundred bajillion times. OMG. And then I won’t be able to stand on the sidewalk with Allison and McKenna and Taylor and Sara and talk about their UGGS and how my mom won’t buy them for me until my feet stop growing which means we won’t talk about whose house we’re going to hang out at later which means I’ll probably just have to go home alone and be stuck doing dishes or laundry. Or math. WORST DAY EVER. And then my mom will want to know why my fingers are all dead and I’ll have to explain why I had to write all those Valentine’s Day Should Be a Treat For Everyone!! which I wouldn’t even HAVE to do if you had just been born a girl to begin with. OMG. And then she’ll probably ground me from the computer and then I won’t get a cell phone until I’m old, like thirty. WORST DAY EVER AGAIN. So here’s your card. Happy Valentine’s Day. Not.