I Just Want to be Perfect

Yesterday was my birthday. All my life, birthdays have been filled with anxiety and a little bit of disappointment. Partially because of my Clark Griswoldian dreams. I have hope. I believe in magic. I think anything is truly possible. And I imagine the most perfect of days for any special event, holiday, or vacation. I’m basically Riley from Girl Meets World.

Riley has Rileytown, a place where all her weirdness and happiness comes from. I have Chrissy’s World, where skies are pink and I am cool (with all my weirdness and happiness).

Riley has Maya, a best friend who stands up for her and loves her for who she is. I have Katie, who threatens to hit people over the head with a Corona bottle if they don’t stop teasing me or hurting my feelings.

It’s a good life. And it’s all mine. And for some reason, unbeknownst to me, a birthday never goes by in which I don’t cry at least once. I’m not saying this so you’ll feel sorry for me. I’m just explaining my weird little world for context.

So, yesterday, Brian took me out for breakfast and we planned our birthday adventure. We went home for a bit to digest and watch Game of Thrones. He took a nap (because I woke him up early to eat breakfast), and I called my mom for my annual cry.

It was at this point that Mama Bear offered to help. We were talking about Delilah, our beloved pool, who went to the pool graveyard in the sky a couple years ago, and how I could have been swimming while Brian napped. She asked if I wanted to go to one of the public pools in the area. My response was a mix of fuck no and lazy.

And be around all those people? I would have to shave my legs!

Mom knew I was right, and so she offered to left me come run through her sprinkler in her fancy, new, plush backyard grass(they sodded last year). I started laughing.

Come on! I’ll even do it with you!

At that point, I couldn’t stop laughing. It was uncontrollable and perfect. Everything I needed. I just kept picturing two grown women running through a sprinkler. I’m still laughing.

Brian woke up, and we took off for our adventure. A canoe rental in a beautiful hidden glacier-formed lake in the middle of suburbia. It was awesome!
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After our canoe trip, we walked around the lake, chasing geese. Brian kept telling me to leave them alone, but it was his idea to find them when we were on the canoe!

Once they left the lake, they wandered the grounds, just like we did. And they were so cute! I loved them.

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Afterwards, we met my parents for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Greek Islands. We drank wine, ate snacks, and they sang Happy Birthday to me before presenting me with a non-cake dessert and a birthday candle. All a girl wants on her birthday is to make a wish. Which I did. I’ll let you know when it comes true. We passed around the dessert, which was unbelievable coconuty custardy goodness, and my dad got the last piece.

As we nommed on our split dessert, Dad realized something was amiss, and he spit out the pink birthday candle. Apparently, he didn’t realize it wasn’t edible until it was too late. My parents and my boyfriend are pretty much the best. They know just what to do or say to make me laugh and give me the best birthday a Clark Griswold girl could have. A few tears turned into a magical day. Riley would be proud.

In the spirit of imperfection, I also wanted to tell you about a book that debuted this weekend. A book written, in small part, by yours truly. 37 co-authors produced the 4th book in the New York Times best-selling Pee Alone series, I Just Want to be Perfect. When Jen Mann invited me to contribute, I died a little bit with joy. It was the perfect title for me to be a part of and I hope you’ll all join me in reading this magical book of horrifying, hilarious, and true stories of women who try and fail at perfection.

I Just Want to be Perfect

You can find I Just Want to be Perfect in print and digital forms on iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

Netflix Stream Team

This post was created as part of my work with Netflix (shameless plug excluded) as a member of the Stream Team. I received a device on which to shamelessly watch Netflix and an annual membership to stream all the streams I can stream. I binge watched Girl Meets World this month, and boy was I glad I did. Riley and I have a lot in common…you know, since I’m perpetually a 12-year-old girl. I had a Netflix account before the Stream Team, and no one pays me to say nice things about them. If you have Netflix, you understand. Even Mama Bear is obsessed with them.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Londonberry Lane

My mom wrote this story 13 years ago. It was published in local newspapers and came quite close to being published in Chicken Soup for the American Soul. This is her story; not mine. But on today, a day of remembrance, I think that it’s important for everyone to share their stories. 

Londonberry Lane

by Patricia M. Wojdyla

The sky is blue with pale yellow clouds, slowly turning pink. As the sun sets, there is no sound. The date is September 12, 2001. One day after the Attack on America. One cannot express the mortification we all feel.
 
At forty-three years of age, I am a typical American suburban wife and mother. My husband of nineteen years, Larry, owns and operates our family business. It has been the local bar and grill on Main Street for the past twenty-two years. Our children are typical suburban teens. Chrissy, a freshman, attends Bradley University. She has always been involved in school functions, cheerleading, and civic volunteer work. Brian is a senior at Glenbard East High School. He, too, actively participates in football, wrestling, and he has volunteered with church. We work hard, and are parishioners of Christ the King Church. We care about our community. 
 
Our neighborhood is a very diverse one. Many people from many nations live on Londonberry Lane. We are White, Black, Hispanic and many new Americans. They have come to the United States from India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan. Our faiths include Christian, Islamic, Mormon, Hindu — whatever we want. This is America. Each day, our street bustles with the sounds of children laughing, screaming, playing, riding bikes, and rollerskating. People walk around the block daily. The teen boys playing basketball is a common sight.
 
Not today.
 
Not yesterday.
 
The sky is empty. No planes. What an eerie feeling. Having lived within a few miles of O’Hare International Airport my entire life, I have never known this phenomenon. Airplanes are a part of life. Through all sunsets, sunrises, blue skies and cloudy days, planes fly unconsciously by. 
 
Televisions blare endlessly on, airing the latest accounts. We see horrific images again and again. More buildings are falling as countless lives are lost. War is a real threat. It is beyond belief. This is the United States of America. New York, Washington, Pennsylvania. So far away from our house. But it is our American family that has been killed. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, kids, friends, lovers. Altering the lives of millions of people forever. Entire companies wiped out. The whole scenario is completely mind boggling.
 
We will continue to go to work, our children to school. Our prayers will take a little more effort and time. 
 
As the sun sets on the American flag, it brightens our house on Londonberry Lane. 
 
So quiet, one could hear a pin drop.
 
No children playing.
 
No women walking.
 
No laughter.
 
No planes. 
 

We remember.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Confession Friday: I Have a Planning Problem

In the last several weeks, we’ve been browsing house after house after house looking for OUR house. From hundreds of houses online to dozens of showings, we’ve/I’ve spent countless hours looking for just the right house.

Several times in the last few weeks, we’ve even thought to ourselves is this our home? And truly meant it. So we plan. We plan what we would need to do to it to make it ours and often…it’s too much.

Well, we’d have to knock out that wall.

We’d want to add on an entire section to make that room fit for a grown adult and not a gnome.

We should refinish those kitchen cabinets.

We need to remodel the entire kitchen.

Why don’t we just MAKE that room part of the kitchen?

That bathroom needs a nice tub.

I veto the claustrophobic shower.

We need wood trim throughout the house.

Oh dear God! Why would they paint that beautiful trim?

The list of random suburban home planning goes on. We realized that none of those houses were our house. We need a mix of old house bones and charm wirh modern conveniences like air conditioning for hot Chicago summers and a large kitchen for all the parties I can’t wait to host.

I also plan for parties. How we would decorate for Halloween and Christmas. Because I want to host Christmas. And you already know how I feel about Halloween.

The other day, Brian tried to rein in my Christmas tree problem by telling me that we couldn’t get a new tree if we end up with vaulted ceilings…which is ridiculous because I’ve already planned for the giant ass Christmas tree I’m going to put in whatever giant ass room I can.

So I have a planning problem. Because right now, I’m sitting here with a notebook and a pen…writing a list…drawing diagrams…planning.

For a house we haven’t bought.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!