Where Have I Been?

It’s been crazy-hectic here at Life of A Suburban Misfit headquarters. All of us got sick. At the same time. Worst thing about this particular germ? We’ve been battling it for, no exaggeration, an entire month. Tyler got it first. Then Jesse. Next was Frankie’s turn. Finally, it got me. And it’s been brutal. In fact, I’m actually still sick, but thankfully on the mend. Working while sick has been challenging. And, of course, none of us have been able to take a moment and rest off this cold…or possible flu…

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Sample of Infertility Sucks #1

Tell me I can’t do something and I’ll do it twice and take pictures.While I waited for my period to arrive, I panicked at the thought of those needles. But then the arrogant ER doctor’s voice echoed in my head.

“You can’t have children.”

Oh, yes I will, you son-of-a-bitch.

During IVF, your reproductive organs are carefully regulated. First, you take birth control (BCP) to prevent follicle production. Then comes Lupron to down-regulate the pituitary gland. This suppresses FSH and LH hormones. In normal-person terms, this shit puts you in a pseudo-menopausal state…

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Once Upon A Time...

As some of you know, once upon a time I was an author. And I don’t mean when I wrote Infertility Sucks. That memoir came years after I’d published four paranormal romances. Three novels and one novella. I’d written them directly after I lost my older brother in a hit-and-run. I was also a new mother dealing with a dangerously destructive bout of depression that lasted nearly three years. Those books helped me cope with crippling grief and helped me make sense of my emotions. But, I was spinning out of control and pretty much sabotaged my family and career. While on the road to recovery, I, along with Frankie, launched Lyrical Press. The company became an anchor in which I clung to while I pulled myself out of the muck. We have since sold the house to Kensington Publishing, where I currently enjoy a, incredible career working behind the scenes with a fantastic team that makes every workday one I genuinely look forward to each morning.

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The Secret to Maintaining a Good Relationship With A Teenager Daughter

Jesse is turning fourteen in December. Technically, she’s supposed to hate me. We’re supposed to fight daily - maybe even hourly. She’s supposed to be bitchy and miserable to be be around. She’s supposed to give me major attitude and roll her eyes…a lot. Yeah, no. Look, Jesse’s not perfect. She’s human, after all, and a teenage girl going through a crap-ton of hormonal changes. She’s still trying to figure out her place in the world while maintaining good grades and establishing a social circle. I remember what that was like when I was her age, and I know it sucks. Big time. So, I cut the kid some slack. Not too much, mind you, because I don’t want to raise two assholes, but just enough to give her breathing room to grow while letting her know I’m close enough to catch her when she falls…

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Surviving Suburbia in One Simple Step

Now, look. I can give you a longwinded, drawn-out post outlining a million tiny ways a misfit mom can survive suburbia. Let’s be real. It’s Saturday. We both have too much crap to do…which mainly consists of being our kids’ bitch all day. So, I’ll cut right to the chase. Surviving Suburbia Step 1: Be yourself and stop caring what the other moms think of you. There. That’s it. One simple step. You’d be surprised how freeing it is when you stop giving a damn about the other mom’s.

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Sorry, no. You Can't Have That.

When I left my parents house and branched off on my own, I was dirt poor. I received more than one nail-and-mail because living on $145-ish dollars a week as a supermarket clerk didn’t exactly allow me to pay all my monthly bills. After the divorce from my first husband when I was 27, I began the arduous task of figuring out who I was and what I wanted to do with myself career-wise. I had exactly zero skills. Thanks to an incident when I was 16 - coupled with being in a rather controlling relationship - I left High School wen I was in 11th grade. My lack of finances and abysmal self-esteem kept me from college. So, I had to build a career from the basement up with a broken hammer and dull nails. And somehow I made it work. For a while, at least.

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New Beginnings

In the spirit of establishing a separate identity for Life of A Suburban Misfit (as opposed to tying it in to my alter ego Renee Rocco), I’ve decided to give this blog its own online home. By separating my two personas, I can be a bit more…real…when it comes to truth-bombs about my domestic disasters. And trust me, there are plenty of those. Finding balance when it comes to a full-time career - even one that allows me to remain home to raise my daughters - and my personal life is challenging. It’s difficult for me to ‘unplug’ from work. It’s also pretty much impossible for me to not have my everyday awkwardness bleed into my professional world.

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Getting Healthy: Update #1

So, it’s been three weeks since I first stepped foot on the road to healthier living. I gotta be honest, those first two weeks nearly broke me. I’m used to sitting for long stretches of time at my desk. I’m also used to a carb-heavy diet that consisted of lots of pasta, pizza, and bread. Man, oh man, do I love me some bread. All that sitting and crappy eating had me tipping the scale at a weight far too large for my 4 foot 10 inches frame. I fluctuated between 128 - 130 for over a year, always telling myself I’ll start eating better and moving more next week. 52+ weeks later, I was till lying to myself. Not good.

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The Neil deGrasse Tyson Effect

If you're a regular reader of my blog, or you've read Infertility Sucks, you know I was told that I was worthless and stupid for twelve years. Those insults left a mark on my psyche. For better and for worse, they helped shape me into the person I am today. It took incredible fortitude that I hadn’t realized I possessed to walk away from that all-consuming situation. Moreover, I had no idea who I was outside of that relationship.

While on my journey of self-discovery, I came across a scientist by the name of Neil Something-Or-Other, and thought no more about him…

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Getting Healthy with Better Eating Habits, Getting Active, and Intermittent Fasting

In twenty-nine days, I'll be attending the wedding of my friend's son in Florida. I’ll be wearing a gown. If you know me, then you get why this is a...thing.  1. I haven't worn a gown since my own wedding back in 2002. 2. Last time I wore heels and a dress was at my cousin's wedding, oddly enough also in Florida, back in 2005. 3. I've gained an ungodly amount of weight over the years, and now I look lumpy and fat. To some, a starting weight of 128 lbs. might not be that big a deal. In fact, I know some women who would give their left boob to be my weight. But, keep in mind that I'm only four feet ten inches short…

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Mr. Rogers and the Unimaginable Pressure Teenagers Face In A World of Unrealistic Social Media Standards

As a kid, I had a unibrow that my mother, legit, held me down to tweeze into two separate ones. My hair was a big brown poof of frizz. And let's not forget the buckteeth. Needless to say, I wasn't considered one of the pretty and popular girls. As for my first kiss... I'll never forget that debacle. I'd been hanging with my "boyfriend". And yes, I had to put that word in quotes because he was more of a gloried friend who pitted me rather than actually liked me. We'd been waiting for my bus to arrive to take me home. When it got there, he gave me a quick peck on the lips. A billion butterflies erupt din my belly. Thrilled to death, I spun around and proceeded to bolt up the steps into the bus...

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Words, Words, Words...

Question. Are you even a parent if you haven't secretly thought, just stop friggin' talking, while your child is yammering on and on and on? Look, I love my kids. I truly do. But they can use up an entire dictionary's worth of words by 8:00 a.m. I've caught myself nodded absently, gritting my teeth, or outright ignoring them while they prattle on about a dream they've had, or a video game they like. And I don't feel not one iota of guilt.

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The Rewards and Challenges of Adopting A Special Needs Animal

One of the toughest decisions we've made as a family was adopting Daisy. Our girl was a ten year old Boxer who'd spent her life neglected by a drug addicted owner. The police and animal control had been called on multiple times during Daisy's year with him. It took the third visit for animal control to finally have enough evidence of abuse to remover her from his filthy home. He couldn't even tell the police her name because he didn't remember it.

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Potty Training: Domestic Disaster Style

I'm not the type of person who has the time, nor the patience, to deal with modern parenting. I'm more old school. I'm the mom. I'm the leader of the pack. The boss. Sure, I give my kids a voice and respect their opinions, but in the end, I'm the parent. Period. This old school approach to parenting has, so far, worked in my favor. Just as it has for millions (and millions) of parents before me throughout the ages.

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I Just Want to Pee In Private

Way back, about a billion years ago, I took advantage of a closed door. Then I had kids. These days, a closed door is a cue for my girls to need me right this very second. I can go an entire day out in the open and totally available and no one will need a damn thing from me. But the moment I have the audacity to shut the bathroom door and sit my fat ass on the toilet, suddenly the whole world needs me.

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I Wish It Was Five Years Ago

I hate when Facebook shows 'memories' that date back to when Lyrical thrived, and our family had, not only financial stability, but a bit of a surplus. More than being able to take vacations, we laid our head on our pillows each night and slipped off to sleep without a care in the world. We weren't wealthy. Not by any means. But our bills were paid (often in advance). If our daughters needed something, we were able to provide it for them without life's little 'extras' hitting us in the wallet. And yes, we took vacations. Whether it was a day trip, or a week-long stay at Disney World, we could pack up and go on a adventure. Back then, Frankie loved his job. He was a bakery manager for Pathmark, which went bankrupt in a spectacularly awful implosion. 

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Things My Kids Have Thrown Away

Do you like owning silverware? Cool. Then don't have kids.

Like using pens? All ours are gone.

Drinking glasses and dishes? Broken.

Toys? Offered up to the garbage gods.

We're down to three spoons and six forks. We once had a set of dishes that fed eight. We now have only enough to feed four. If we have people over for dinner, we have to pull out the holiday china - complete with mistletoe design.

Whenever I tell Tyler (who's seven) to clean her room, she emerges carrying a load of shopping bags filled with toys she doesn't want. Rather than toss them, we have a toy graveyard in the basement. No joke, whenever Tyler goes down there, she inevitably gravitates to that cemetery, ultimately asking Frankie to "please bring them upstairs" because she suddenly loves them again.

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When Life Gave Me Lemons I Grabbed Tequila and Salt

Over the last few years, life beat the crap out of us. The Hits Kept Coming Punch #1: A&P, the company that owned Pathmark - where Frankie had been a manager for nearly 20 years - announced it was going bankrupt in 2015. Key Food eventually bought the store Frankie worked in but slashed every full-time worker's hours to part-time. That was a huge financial hit. Adding insult to injury, they cut family medical benefits. Unable to afford (the ironically named) Affordable Health Care, the girls and I went without medical insurance for about two years.

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The After-Effects of Depression

For those of us who've suffered, or are currently suffering from, depression, it's an incredibly individual and personal experience. My ordeal began days after the birth of our first child. I'm 99.9% positive I had postpartum depression, but since I never got an official diagnosis, I'm reluctant to label it as such. Instead, I refer to those dark days as a more generalized depression.

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Moms Need to Be Selfish Sometimes...And That's Okay

As parents, we are the foundation of our families. If someone is sick, we care for them. If someone is hungry, we cook for them. When the house is messy, we clean it. When groceries need buying, we go to the supermarket. We wrap the presents. We organize the closets. We hand out the snacks. We wipe the butts. We de-snot the noses. Etc.... By the end of a day, most of us have been working since dawn. If you're like me, you also work a full-time job. I'm lucky in that I work from home, so I can only imagine how much harder it is for parents who work outside the home.

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