Friday, March 23, 2007


With HOBB’s arrival home from India (if ya haven’t already done so, check out the action on, my resolve to flee to a sanatorium in Switzerland was sidetracked when he showed up sick that he slept for two days straight, emerging from the bedroom only to stagger through the Urban Bungalow in a state of complete and utter disorientation.

As Alfie the Pomeranian ( had failed to learn how to keep house -- and as HOBB looked like he might die without someone to tend to him -- I cancelled my Swiss Miss adventure and turned into Bungalow Nursebabe.

Bereft of my relaxing retreat, I drowned my sorrows in Low-Carb Mini Bundt Cakes instead, courtesy of a home-delivery from the Fat Free Experience. You can read about it two posts back or visit

But as HOBB’s illness receded, I began harboring escape fantasies once again. Not that I’m keeping count or anything, but after a week of driving Little Babe to school twice, attending Parent-Teacher conferences by myself, parking the car and doing massive food shopping and shlepping all the bags upstairs myself, I did feel entitled to a vacation…if only for one night.

HOBB good-naturedly agreed, assuring me that I should take off while he retrieved Little Babe from his after school class and spent the evening in a special Dad ‘n Son-a-thon. In his e-mail to me of 5:25 today, he wrote (and I quote): “Make sure you go to the gym tonight! I want a happy [embarrassing term of endearment deleted] on my hands.”

Well…here is how my “happy” night turned out.

5:45: Leave the Urban Bungalow with Katie the Intern for the ATM at Lerner Hall. Pay her, chuck plan to take subway down to gym and opt to walk in unseasonable warm weather.

6:00: Call from Little Babe, expressing surprise that I did not pick him up. I reassure him that he will have a great night with Dad and I’ll be home to say sh’ma with him.

6:10: Stop in to peruse cute yet shockingly expensive frocks at Liberty House. Flee store and find solace at Steps, where entire outfits can be had for $15.

6:15: Enjoy walk down Broadway though the sidewalks seem covered in smeary dog poop, the gutters are filled with filthy slush and the corners are populated by screaming bands of high school kids.

6:30: Opt for manicure at under-populated salon where staff wear red satin Chinese tunics. Two seconds into manicure, I ask for 10-minute backrub.

6:35: HOBB calls. Wants to know how I am. Wants to know where I am. Wants to know what time I’ll be home. I pretend I can barely hear him and hang up.

6:45: Backrub commences. Joy, joy, joy.

6:47: Cellphone rings. Two feet away from me. Chatter commences. I am relaxed, taking in the sound as ambience. No stress.

6:50: The bitch is still at it. I lift my head suddenly and demand that she shut the $%^ up. I ask her if she has failed to see me having a backrub about 24 inches from her blabbering mouth. She looks shocked. Then she retaliates, telling her caller that she is being “accosted” by a customer. (I will skip over the particulars of this fight. It is very depressing that the concept of consideration needs to be disputed. Readers, weigh in on this issue, please.)

7:00: I leave the salon feeling furious, upset, shaken, disappointed, confused and agitated. I run into two cops on the beat, a guy and a woman. I ask them about indoor cellphone usage laws or regulations. They report that there are none; that it is up to the proprietor of the business. I tell them the story of what just went down in the nail salon. They express shock at the behavior of inconsiderate cellphone gal. Their empathy actually makes me feel a heck of a lot better.

7:10: I start composing an Op-Ed in my head about indoor cellphone use being a lot more dangerous than in-car cellphone use because it leads people like me to thoughts of murder, whereas in-car cellphone use might only result in a car accident. I decide to take up arms against the sea of cellphone talkers invading these bastions of R and R. I reflect upon the feasibility of petitioning nail salon owners to enforce cellphone restriction rules…and then abide by them. I recall another incident in the not-so-recent past, where another nail salon visit was utterly ruined by another yapper…and where the owner of the salon was similarly passive. (You can read about it in a previous post).

7:18: I stop at a Starbucks and order a Grande Americano. I ask the barista about obnoxious cellphone users. She tells me she wants to write a book about being a barista in NYC. She said that most of her customers are major a-holes.

7:20: I realize I ought to high-tail it to the gym, which I haven’t visited since earlier in the week if I want to have a good workout, a steam room visit and a shower. After all, I have to be home in two hours.

7:30: I stop in at the Gap on 86th Street. I try on four pair of knee-length shorts, all of which make me look like a middle-aged camp counselor.

7:40: I stop in at Origins and buy some products. I ask the cashier if the store has a cellphone use policy. She tells me that there is no such policy but she is amazed by how loud and inconsiderate many of the customers are. I find solace in this and tell her my story. She nods in grave commiseration.

8:00: I stop in at Filene’s and use the bathroom. I meander through the store and then leave, realizing I will have less than an hour at the gym. Nearly everyone at Filene's is yapping on their cellphones.

8:10: I get to the gym. While I am changing, I realize that I smell of stress sweat.

8:15: I wash my pits and spritz myself with perfume.

8:17: I climb aboard a treadmill and tune in to Law and Order. Bliss.

8:20: My cellphone rings. It is Little Babe. He is tearful. I whisper to him that I cannot talk; I’m on a treadmill. It’s not nice to talk inside the gym. He is upset. His mouth hurts. He’s tired. He wants to go to sleep. When will I be home?

I tell him to brush his teeth and call me when he’s in bed and ready to say sh'ma.

8:30: Little Babe calls. He’s in bed. I whisper sh'ma to him over my cellphone. I am gasping from the effort of walking at 4 miles an hour and climbing at an incline of 7 while singing in Hebrew. I tell him not to wait up for me.

8:45: Little Babe calls. He cannot fall asleep. What time will I be home?

8:50: Little Babe calls. He’s not sure his friend should come for the weekend. What time will I be home?

9:00: Two and a quarter miles on the treadmill; three-quarters of a mile to go. I run to the bathroom. My phone rings. It is HOBB. “What time will you be home?” he asks. I remind him that I have been on home duty for two solid weeks and deserve a bit of a break.

9:03: I forget about finishing my treadmill workout. Instead, I do three sets on the pull-down machine. I vow to finish my weights at home. I vow to do my abs at home. I vow to go to the gym the next day. I vow to leave for Switzerland after Shabbat.

9:10: I shower hurriedly.

9:13: I duck into the steam room for an un-relaxing two minutes.

9:15: I shower and hurriedly slather lotion on myself.

9:17: I throw on clothes, while talking a mile a minute to a friend (mostly about how much in a hurry I am), put a baseball cap over my wet hair, grab all my stuff together and run out of the locker room.

9:23: Hail a cab. Think about stuff I might have left in the locker room. Call HOBB en route. Find out I need to repark the car.

9:36: Arrive home. Find the car. Drive around a few million blocks. Find a spot. Call my mother as I am walking down Morningside Drive to find out about her latest injury. She's semi-hysterical that I'm walking along Morningside Drive by myself at night. In the middle of the conversation with my mother, Little Babe calls.

I thought he was asleep. He is not. He is in tears. He is in pain from the sores in his mouth.

What he wants to know is, when will I be home?

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