Elle Severe Presents

What It’s Like To Quit Drinking, Too

In Authors, Life, Musings, One Beer In, Past Loves on August 22, 2014 by Pabby MFNP

Last August I celebrated my 10th anniversary of sobriety. The year before that I had a nice question and answer session with myself about my sobriety. It was something of a hit, relatively speaking. If you have not read it, please feel free to read it here before you read this.

Q: Well, congratulations on 11 years. How has it been going since we last spoke?
A: They say the 10th year is the hardest but I got through it okay. Just kidding. The first year was the hardest and without a doubt the most difficult thing I have ever done, but then after that, I would have to say that it got progressively easier. For the most part.

Q: The ten year anniversary was kind of a big deal as it was a full decade and represented over 25% of your life. But I would imagine that 11 is not a big deal after you’ve knocked down 10.
A: Yes, it’s not really a big deal now. I try not to think about it too much. I used to have nightmares that I slipped and then I’d have to start the count all over again. I used to celebrate every anniversary and spend the whole day doing anything and everything that I wanted to do. Gambling, Six Flags, pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Basically spending it like it was like my last day on Earth.  I’d even celebrate it like girls in their 20’s celebrate their birthday months.  But now that I’m almost 40, just like them, “I can’t even.”  Also,I eventually started dedicating my weekends to my kids and I would start to feel guilty leaving them behind. Then they’d find out I was doing fun stuff and get pissed. On another note, in the beginning, I expected some kind of parade to be thrown in my honor which never came. But now I treat it like birthdays; if cake is involved and even if I buy and eat said cake by myself while crying, that is good enough for me.

Q: Oh God, I love cake. Thank God you don’t have to quit that. Did you have any setbacks or did you come close to having a drink at all?
A: No, not really. During the Superbowl two years ago, I was in Vegas and I paid like $100 for an all you can eat, all you can drink Superbowl party. There was a long line for the food and then once you got through, it wasn’t even all that good. We also got there too late to get a good seat near a TV and we had to sit on chairs that were these big saddles like they were on a horse. The cheap bastard in me came out and I said this is a GD rip off. Then the cheap bastard in me thought “if you still drank, you could get your money’s worth”. But I didn’t really consider it because I have come too f’ing far to stop now. But my mind wandered: What if I did drink one more time? Who would know? Couldn’t I just stop all over again like I did last time? But I would know, and I have a very good feeling that if I were ever to start drinking again, everyone would know and it would be even harder to quit.

Q: This reminds me of when you quit smoking in the early 90’s.
A: Yes, it was exactly like that. One day, I got fed up with smoking and realized it was terrible for me so I up and quit. I went several months without it. Then one day I got bored and said, “Well I quit before so I’ll be able to quit again.”
Q: Except the next time you went to quit, it was much harder right?
A: Yes, much harder. I ended up wishing I had never started up again. It took becoming super broke in college and having to choose between food and cigarettes and anything else I needed. Food won.

Q: Wow, you quit drinking and smoking? You have a lot of will power for someone who is always putting up Facebook posts from the Wendy’s Late Night drive thru window.
A: Hahahahaha. I’m human, alright? In any case, whenever I have been tasked with quitting something, it always seems to be the exact right time. I would stumble and stumble and never learn from my mistakes until one day I would finally wake up and say, “You know what, jackass? It’s about time you quit.”

Q: Logic rarely comes into play in situations like this. Is it true that admitting you have a problem is the first step?
A: For me being open to the idea that I might have a problem was the first step. I had spent so long telling myself that nothing was wrong because I always handled my business and I never put myself or others in danger but then the blackouts became more frequent and that was that.

Q: I remember blackouts. Those could be scary.
A: Yes, for sure. But part of me really enjoyed hearing about my adventures the next day. I’d always be terrified at first but then it would be exciting. I’d hear things and be like, “Oh wow, I did that? I said that? Oh man, I am one funny, fascinating, crazy motherfucker!”. Oddly enough, even though they were bad for me, I miss those kinds of experiences. Sure, knowing where you’re going to sleep and where you’re going to wake up certainly has its merits but there is something to be said for handing over the keys to someone else.

Q: That was a poor choice of words if I ever saw it.
A: Not literally. Except for about three early exceptions in my early 20’s, I never allowed myself near keys if I knew I was going to get drunk. Getting f’d up was something I planned way in advance. The extent to which I would plan things makes me think that perhaps I could have worked for NASA.

Q: Hahahahahaha. Oh. You were serious. Well, while you’re on the subject, what else do you miss about drinking?
A: I miss the feeling of waking up and going through the day knowing that there is going to be a reward later involving alcohol. I miss the 4th and 5th gears of having fun. I miss the simple act of unpacking a case of beer and loading it into the fridge one by one, lining it up perfectly then sitting back and admiring the view.

Q: But then eventually the beers would be taken out and the beautiful view would be gone.
A: That is just like you to bring up something like that, but yes, that is one thing that I don’t miss. Eventually the beers would go one by one and no matter how many you buy, it never seems to be enough.

Q: That is sad. Take me through becoming open to the idea that you might have a problem. Who did you discuss this with?
A: I talked it over with a good friend who was about to get her PhD and she was super helpful. She asked me a bunch of questions and challenged me to question my beliefs and my priorities. At the end of the conversation, she let me know her verdict and it was just like the scene in the Matrix when Neo met the Oracle to find out from her if he was “The One.” But instead of being told I was not the One, she confirmed that I had a drinking problem. Also, she never said, “I’m sorry, kiddo, I really am. You have a good soul and I hate giving good people bad news”, but I always wished she did. I think it would have helped.

Q: I guess I should have known you would sneak the Matrix into this. So then what happened?
A: Then I started the long arduous task of retraining my mind and changing all of my habits. When I think back to how I was and how I am now, it feels like two completely different lives. I feel like two completely different people. Sadly, I like the other person much more and he really was a funny bastard. But in this life, I have so many more opportunities than I did in the other one and I don’t make my family and friends worry about me which may be the best thing you can give someone with the exception of cannoli from Mike’s Pastry.

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A Little Taste of Masshole

In Bitch Please, Life, Musings, Random, Rants on April 6, 2013 by Elle Severe

There’s a writer on Gawker.com named Hamilton Nolan who absolutely hates Boston.  He hates Boston like I hate rats – with the passion and fury of a thousand suns.  He hates Boston the way I hated the Yankees prior to October of 2004.  He hates Boston so much that every time he writes about Boston it’s so angry that it borders on the absurd.  It’s become comical.  I can’t even begin to try to understand having so much hatred for a city that has done nothing to you.  I’m trying to think if there is a city I hate…I do hate Providence a little bit.  But that’s more my fault than Providence’s fault.  I mistakenly bought a home across the street from drug dealers.  I have to believe if I had bought a home elsewhere I wouldn’t have such terrible memories of Providence.  And in fairness, Providence has fantastic food. And Pauly D.  So Providence isn’t all bad.  I certainly don’t hate it enough that if I were a blogger I would devote more than maybe passing mention of my dislike for Providence, unlike Mr. Nolan who spends wayyyyy too much time badmouthing my beloved little seaside city.  HamNo’s hatred of Boston leads me to believe that at some point in life Boston somehow broke his little heart.  Maybe he and Boston were dating and Boston slept with his best friend? It’s certainly possible, Boston IS a sassy little minx.  Whatever the issue, he claims that all people from Boston are jerks.  Obviously I disagree.  I’m from Boston and I’m not a jerk.  My friends are from Boston and I’m not typically friends with jerks, so again, I have to disagree.  Also worth noting is that Mr. Nolan is from the Florida panhandle.  I’ll be honest, I have no idea what that means but it sounds poor.  I could take 10 minutes and Wiki it, gain some knowledge, but I honestly couldn’t be bothered.  Maybe that makes me a Boston jerk.  All I know for certain is that anyone from the Florida panhandle (is panhandle supposed to be capitalized?) needs to relax a little bit about Boston.  Moreover, HamNo lives in NYC and writes for Gawker now, so congrats! Leave Boston alone and enjoy your hipster self.  Why am I writing about this you ask? I’ll tell ya why: because last Sunday I had a little taste of Nolan’s Boston Jerks.  And it really bummed me out.

Splish Splash I’m costing you a shit-ton!

My four year old son is obsessed with the Duckboats.  We actually live in Boston so whenever we’re out and about, we see them and he goes bananas.  We’ve been wanting to take him on a Duckboat for a while now, but those bitches are pricey.  $33 for adults, $22 for kids 3 to 11 and $10 for 3 and under.  These people are not kidding around.  For my family, that’s going to cost $98 for 80 minutes of entertainment.  That’s a lot.  We’re in a recession.  And sure I spend $98 on stuff all the time.  You could argue that I can drop $98 inside of 8 minutes, nevermind 80, in a Christmas Tree Shop.  You would be right.  But I would respond to your argument by politely explaining that I will be using those frames and plastic flowers and paper goods and candles and mason jars to make fun things for the family.  Thus my dropping $98 on crap is entertainment far beyond an 80 minute history lesson that I can repeat verbatim in my sleep at this point.  When you live in the city of Boston, the cheapest, easiest “field trip” your grammar school can afford is putting you on the Red Line, trotting you downtown and taking you on the Freedom Trail.

5th grade field trip. Hahahahaha, you don’t know which one I am!

Therefore I know my Boston history already, thanks.  Combine that with my innate cheapness, the Duckboats are not happening.  That is until last Friday when Living Social offered a sweet little deal that I quickly snapped up.  I was so excited.  I couldn’t wait to tell this kid that we were going on the Duckboats,  I just knew he was going to shit his little pants.  As an aside, my kids make me nuts, but there is nothing more satisfying in the world than making them happy.   I love when they get excited, it gets me excited.  So I bought the reduced tickets (take that Duckboat mafia),  and then I pulled two rookie parenting maneuvers back to back:  that Saturday after baking cupcakes and decorating eggs, I told the kids we had a surprise for them (wrong number 1) BEFORE reading the fine print on the tickets (wrong number 2).  Parents are already groaning because they know exactly what I did wrong.  For those of you who are not parents yet, allow me to explain this major parenting faux pas:


1.  I told the kids that we had a surprise for them. When pressed, I caved and told them it was the Duckboats.  This got them excited.  The first rule of Parent Club is that you do NOT EVER, UNDER any circumstance, EVER, tell your kids about an event until you’re pulling up in the parking lot of said event.  Even DisneyWorld.  Don’t tell those kids you’re going to DisneyWorld until you have your  new sneakers on and your fannypack strapped tight and it’s chock full of Magic Kingdom passes and Mickey dollars.  Seriously.  Tell them you’re going to visit a sick relative or something.  It’s too long to get into the ‘why nots’ of it, just please trust me on this one, for the love of God.

2.  I didn’t read the fine print.  Every idiot on the planet knows that when you get something on Groupon or Living Social or Eversave, you need to read the flippin’ fine print.  Chances are your 72% reduced mani/pedi/laser bikini line hair removal is good only on Tuesdays at midnight when the moon is full.  And yet, I didn’t read the fine print.  The fine print where it said “…excluding Saturdays…”.  I am what the French call Les Incompetent.  Or what my mother would call a moron.

So I got the kids all jacked up and then immediately deflated inside of 15 minutes.  That’s not good parenting.  Not because you’re torturing them, no…because you’re torturing yourself.  I now have to make good on that somehow, some way and immediately.  Kids are not stupid and they have nothing else to think about except what’s happening to them in that very moment so they are obsessive by nature.  Believe that.   To right this horrific wrong I perpetrated on my beloved children, I set it up for the next day, Easter Sunday.  We would have brunch with the family in Cambridge and then head to the Duckboats at the Museum of Science.  Win win.  Wrong wrong.

ROAR, you’re about to go on a nightmare ride, ROARRRR!

Even though we are literally down the street from the Museum of Science, we’re late to the Duckboats.  I guess they ask you to arrive 30 minutes before departure time.  Not sure why, but I’m sure it’s in the fine print.  My husband drops us off so he can go park and I take the kids and get in line.  We’re the last people in line.  This does not bode well.  A family arrives behind us.  I’m psyched because this means that we’re not going to get the bad seats up front.  Nope, these poor losers behind me are getting them.  And they are all tall so they are going to be cramped and miserable, yay! Just kidding, that’s Boston Jerky of me.

Here’s where I blow it AGAIN.  While in line, anxiously waiting for my husband and busy trying to keep my kids from doing something dangerous and/or stupid, I spy what I think is a check-in area.  I panic.  I proceed to have a full blown argument in my head with myself.  It goes like this:

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Google for the Win

In Musings, Random, WhiteBread on March 27, 2013 by WhiteBread

I haven’t written in a while.  I’m sorry.  And while normally I’m not one to make excuses for my poor performance, I can’t help but offer some justification for my pathetic behavior.  I figured it was best to finally come clean about my recent disappearance so I could least pacify the concerned mind of that one dedicated member of my fan base.  Yes, I’m looking at you Lena Dunham.

The reason I haven’t written in such a long time – and this is really hard for me to admit to all of you – is because, well, I temporarily lost my vision in a terrible yoga accident.  I downward dogged way too hard.  My sight finally came back though after I climbed to the top of Mount Everest topless and stared God directly in his one, good eye.

You don’t look like you believe anything I just said.  Sorry, I don’t know why I thought you were foolish enough to believe such a heinous lie.  After all, everyone who knows me, realizes I don’t do anything without a shirt on. Ok, fine, the real reason is because I have actually been mourning the death of Pope Benedict.

Oh he’s not dead?  Wait, for serious?


Alright, ok.  So, then I have no excuse other than a total lack of inspiration lately.    However, that has changed as of recent thanks to the following two things: the wonderful people at Google as well as the second most talented musical duo of all time: Hall and Oates, (with the #1 spot belonging to the prolific Milli Vanilli).

Here’s the back-story: one day I was perusing the Internets and happened to fall upon a YouTube clip on an important topic that sparked my interest.  However before I could begin watching this highly anticipated video of a monkey kicking a human in the balls, YouTube was going to force me to watch one of their dreaded advertisements.  These ads are normally terrible nuisances to me.  Even their expedited 5 second wait time which allows you to skip the full advertisement is too long for me.  I am so adverse to these ads that I end up closing my eyes to avoid the sight, which only results in me falling asleep for hours.  I’ve been fired from 4 jobs.

But this time, something was different.  No, this wasn’t a 5 to 30 second advertisement for Revlon products, tax software or douches (Justin Bieber album plugs).  No, instead, I was subjected to 30 heavenly seconds that may have resulted in tears appearing in my eyes – though I’m still not sure they were my own.  Here’s the ad I’m talking about http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0hHaQgdypI .

Google uses this half minute plug to demonstrate how the song Maneater was actually written.  In using Google Docs to write their song in 1982, Hall and Oates only further proves that their music was wayyyyy ahead of their time.  Also, to put the humor witnessed in context, these 30 seconds are way funnier than Hall and Oates’s dancing in the music video for Maneater, slightly funnier than the cover of their H2O album but perhaps a tad less funny than Oates’s mustache.

Few things in life make me so purely happy, the short list including: rainbow sprinkles, the song Jesse’s Girl and Harrison Ford, or as I refer to it: Steph’s sexy, salacious sundae.  However, now I think I may have one more thing to add to my list.  And while I may never get the connection between angry tiger and mangobbler,  I can at least enjoy these 30 seconds of heaven and a confirmation of what I already knew was true, Oates is clearly the Ben Affleck of this relationship.

Oh, Mangobbler.  Get’s me every time.

There’s no such thing as a free Chinese Food Lunch.

In Musings, Random, Rants, Uncategorized on December 7, 2012 by Pabby MFNP


Hide yo ribs, hide yo rice, hide yo ribs, hide yo rice.
-Some unknown lyrical gangster

The first time a Chinese food injustice happened to us we were confused and depressed.  The second time it happened to us we got annoyed and a little angry. The third time it happened to us we were shocked and hurt and made rash public declarations; we swore it would never happen again.  We swore that we would never again be victimized.  Like so many promises in life, these were empty.  Once again, here we were smack dab in the middle of yet another Chinese Food Injustice.  So by the time the fourth and final time it happened to us, we were numb. Despite our many proclamations otherwise, being in this situation felt familiar, almost comfortable.  But how many times can people fall for the same mistake?  We had fallen into the very definition of insanity, being in the same situation but expecting a different result. In chronological order here is the detailed story of the Chinese food Injustices.

Incident 1: The Investment Company Outrage

Elle and I were working at an investment company and we didn’t get paid much but there some weird little perks that when added up, almost made it all worth it.  One of those perks was an occasional catered lunch.  When you live paycheck to paycheck like we did (and sometimes still do, thanks stupid economy and inflation), free food was gold.  And when it was Chinese food, it was platinum, assuming that is better than gold.  One Friday, whispers went through the office about free Chinese food coming for lunch.   Automatically, everyone was reminded of the last time there was free Chinese food and what an amazing feast it was.  That lunch was so good that even just the memory of it provided some sustenance.  It was so perfect that we’d spend the rest of our lives, trying to chase the feelings brought about by that free lunch but we would never get there.  I believe that’s called Chasing the Dragon in some circles. But back to that Friday, smiles were formed.  Spirits were lifted.  Suddenly life at a low salary didn’t seem so bad and what a great way to start the weekend!  But then more whispers went through the office again, this time bearing bad and startling news:  The Chinese food was not going to be for everyone.  And by “not for everyone”, I mean not for our group, specifically.  Our director couldn’t be talked into sharing the cost, so the department right next to us was going to be the only one to partake in the free Chinese food.  Oh and did I mention there weren’t any walls separating us from the other department because yeah, there weren’t any walls separating us from the other department.  With the evident lack of physical boundaries I couldn’t believe we would not be allowed to share the free food. So I checked in with our Director and he confirmed my worst fear.  He said he wanted to show his appreciation in “a different way.”  He had the look of a man that was going to continue on the path he had chosen no matter what:  no matter what the detractors say, no matter what the consequences were, no matter if he knows he could be wrong.  I know this look now that I am a father.  I see it every time I’m with my kids and I happen to look in the mirror.  So that was it.  Done deal.  No Chinese food for Elle and I and the rest of our team.

At around 11:30am the other teams began setting up for the Chinese food.  Long folding tables were set up end to end and the air was electric, people were excited and rightfully so.  When the Chinese food came, there was a sound of unabashed joy in the air.  It smelled delicious and it looked amazing.  Our whole department had to watch while ALL the other teams formed lines giddy with anticipation….this was easily in the top ten most cruel things to ever happen to us in life.  And we grew up in Dorchester. Then Elle and I said that we were not going to be victimized like this so we high-tailed it out of there, went over to the mall and got our own damn Chinese food.  It was a poor substitute.  When you are expecting to have good Chinese food from a real restaurant and for free, no less, only to end up at the mall eating Chinese in the food court out of a Styrofoam container, it’s like expecting to get laid but then having to spend your night watching Skinemax; we were devastated.  At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, it was one of the most traumatic food incidents of our lives, this is even counting Elle’s Ham and Cheese Sub Incident of the early 90’s which is not something I will go into right now because you can only deal with so much trauma in one day.  But I believe we changed that day.  Not unlike any of the attractive female leads in any given romantic comedy, we were burned and didn’t see it coming and from then on, we were scared to trust anything or anyone, pretty much ever again.

Incident 2: Schweta’d

Elle and I eventually moved on from the investment company.   We had healed from our previous Chinese Food Injustice and were enjoying a period of calm in our lives that can only be characterized by describing it as that innocent time right before something very bad happens to you.  That time you look back on and think “I was so happy, unafraid and carefree”.  And then in the blink of eye it happens again and you simply cannot believe you’re here in this place for a second time.

Now Elle and I were working for a large non-profit and enjoying decent paychecks and were finally at a point where if we wanted to, we could always buy our own Chinese food.  If health were not a concern, we could have Chinese at every meal.  But the idea of free Chinese food still really appealed to us.  We always wanted to recapture the glory of that first free Chinese food lunch but also overcome the emotional trauma over that other Chinese food lunch.  Almost like how you still drive by an old girlfriend’s house and look over at it, trying to remember what it felt like back then.  Then eventually you become a realtor and you have easy access to public record and you can see that her mother sold the house back in 1997 so maybe you should stop driving by there, you creep.

But anyway, even though we could afford our own Chinese food, we still liked free food and we still loved free Chinese food.  So when the idea was floated that this year’s holiday party would be catered by a coworker’s father and it turned out that he owned a Chinese food restaurant, it was icing on the cake.

On that day, a few coworkers went to get the food and bring it back to the conference room where we set up.  I remember being overwhelmed and delighted by the sheer number of trays and sternos being set up.  It was magical.  To this day, that Chinese food remains some of the most delicious Chinese food that any of us have ever had.  And there was so much of it.  People went back for seconds and thirds and still there were whole platters left over.  We all talked about it and then made a group decision to put it in the fridge and have it for lunch the next day.

The next day at work people were still cheerful and happy, basking in the afterglow of free delicious Chinese food from the day before and the promise of more that day for lunch. At 11:30am, promptly, the biggest guy in our group headed to the fridge to prep lunch for everyone.  He was graciously going to pull out all the Chinese food and set it up. Everyone was excited. Plates were grabbed, utensils distributed…and then disaster struck.  Our coworker opened the fridge, looked in, pulled out a massive tray of rice and one of lo mein…and that was it.  He yelled “Hey, uh, where’s the rest of it?”, ‘Where’s the rest of it? What does he mean? What does this mean? What’s going on? Where’s the rest of it?!’ Elle stepped up, took a look in the fridge and I could tell we were in trouble. “There’s nothing! It’s all gone! Oh my God! It’s all gone.” There was confusion and outrage.  Some were just saddened to the point of watery eyes.  What the hell happened to all of our leftovers?  Where were the crab rangoons?  Where was the General Gau’s?  Where were the chicken fingers?  What happened to our innocence?  Is that gone, too?

An investigation ensued.  There was a whole lot of she said, she said and then someone, who asked not to be named, remembered seeing a very small coworker named Schweta with several Tupperware containers…word spread like wildfire and by 3pm, in the court of public opinion, our co-worker named Schweta was found guilty of helping herself to trays of leftovers of all of the best stuff.  The chicken fingers, rangoons, spring rolls and General Gau’s.  She left the rice and lo mein.  Wow, thanks Schweta.  Thanks for that.  Schweta, in one fell swoop, had severely, egregiously violated Work Lunch Leftover Protocol. We had previously made a group decision to not touch the remaining Chinese food. A group of over 20 people agreed. And one person, a very small tiny person, no less, stole our food.

Schweta soon moved on to another employer and presumably other food theft opportunities.  No one was sorry to see her go.  However, we were delighted that we could use “Schweta” as verb to indicate some kind of food theft, as in, “I’m going to Schweta that last piece of cake and bring it home.”   Then “To Schweta”  was further defined as not just to steal food because leftovers by and large are fair game in work situations, but to pick and choose the best leftovers, making whatever you leave obsolete since it is useless without the other parts there were taken, even though it was decided that the group would have it the next day for lunch and you were there when it was discussed.  The offense was even more devastating because not only had she stolen food from an entire group of over 20 people, but now all of those 20 people had to go purchase food…through no fault of their own, they now had to spend money on lunch. She stole  AND cost us money. Some people laughed it off and thought it was funny,  Elle and I were not one of those people.

Elle and I had been burned again, but this time by a tiny little girl named Schweta and again, we said “never again”.  Then we were Chef Chang’d.

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Rant: Summer is NOT Over

In Life, Musings, Rants on September 7, 2012 by Elle Severe

On Saturday while driving home from Old Silver beach in Falmouth, we lost a boogie board.  I didn’t get too upset about this because I knew the Christmas Tree Shop would have a ton of them.  On Sunday I drove by the Christmas Tree Shop just to make sure; sure enough, that bin full of them that’s been out there since May is still there.  However, the very next day, Monday, Labor Day, September 3, in the early evening, approximately 6:00pm, guess what? They were gone.  Not ONE f*cking boogie board to be found.

FYI, Christmas Tree Shops, summer ends on September 21st.

In fact, not even the slightest vestige of summer was left…not a tube or spray can of cheap sunblock to lube up the kids with, not a bag of decorative seashells or sea glass that would make such a lovely centerpiece at your beach themed wedding in Falmouth later this month for only 99 cents a bag! No oversized nautical themed canvas tote just perfect for all your beach towels, no $40 beach carriage that everyone had this summer, not one piece of white Nantucket furniture that would look super cute in a guest room if you had a guest room, no 10 for $1.99 plastic lobster plates complete with bibs just perfect for a late summer lobster boil, not one bright, colorful, cheap beach towel or a plastic bucket sand castle playset for $4.99, no starfish candle holders…I mean, NOTHING! It was as if summer never happened!  It smelled of cinnamon and apples and I swear to you that it even felt a little crisp and cool in there – I was furious! This place was Fall from head to toe! Front to back! Top to bottom! Pumpkins, autumn wreaths, orange, black, maroon…as far as the eye could see.  WHAT. THE. F*CK.  It was still Labor Day – not even the day after Labor Day, but Labor Day itself! It was almost like the Grinch Who Stole Summer came in and wiped out Summer and left Fall in its place.  I’m thinking that they had the overnight crew come in at 7pm on Sunday and worked straight through until Monday morning putting up all the Fall stuff.  It was BEYOND disturbing.  But that’s okay, so fine, as far as the Christmas Tree Shop is concerned, summer is over around noon-ish on Labor Day, duly noted.

To ease my annoyance I headed over to Dunkin Donuts.  Guess What? HOT APPLE CIDER, that’s what.   Oh yeah.  Signs plastered all over the place talking about “Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall Flavors!”, hey Dunks, get effed.  How am I going to enjoy my my Hot Apple Cider or my orange Pumpkin Dunkachino when it’s almost 80 degrees out? Didja think of that Dunks? Sidebar: my two traitor kids absolutely love the new munchkin flavors, apple orchard and pumpkin.  Aholes.

Pumpkin struesel muffin my ass. (don’t be mad Muffin, I just said that to seem tough, I’ll see you on the 21st, wear something pretty, love you, shhhh)

After Dunks betrayed me I headed over to Shaw’s where I was promptly greeted with this sign:


I’m still tan! I do NOT get my flu shot until my summer color has faded, that’s my new rule! This is RIDICULOUS.

And you know what didn’t help my cause? The fact that it was rainy and gray on Tuesday when we all had to head back to work.  Thanks a lot.  It was like the weather was like “Alright guys, the Christmas Tree Shop and Dunks have decided that summer is over, so go get your flu shot, here’s some rain, peace out”.  Nothing like adding to the misery.

The thing is, we’re in New England, why are we in a rush to end summer? You know it’s going to be over soon enough.  As my friend Chelsea pointed out the other day, we only get about 8-9 weeks AT MOST of real summer weather! Now believe me, I get it, it’s hot, it’s muggy, it’s annoying.  And I’m overweight so in the summer I’m sticky and moist starting on or around May 28th right on up through September 30th, so I understand better than most.  To add to that, I have two September babies.  This means that I have been pregnant; really, really, really heavily pregnant two times in the dead of summer.  In 2010 when I was pregnant for the second time (cause apparently I didn’t learn my lesson the first time), we had the most God awful stretch of heat where it was like 10 days straight days of 98 degrees with 100% humidity.  I would go to my OB and beg and cry to be induced.  It was so bad and I was so uncomfortable that I contemplated coming up with some cockamamie story about how I was going to hurt myself if they didn’t do an emergency c-section.  But then I got scared they would do it but keep the baby because I was cuckoo.  Then I got even more scared that even thinking up this plan was cuckoo.  The combination of the pregnancy and the heat made me legitimately crazy.  My point is that I have been emotionally scarred and traumatized by summer, yet I cannot and will not let it go until it’s officially over and that my friends, is on September 21st.  Hell, I’m trying to figure out if I can still squeeze in another Cape visit.  If that doesn’t work I’m going to hit up Nan-trash-basket and ride some waves and maybe hit the damn carousel, get a hot dog, maybe some cotton candy.  You can sip on your pumpkin struedul half caf decaf nonsense, I’m drinking some more lemonade  because as far as I’m concerned, I’m going to goof off and act summer-y for 15 more days.  If you want to go apple-picking or some sh!t, call someone else.

Weight limit? No? Good.

Like I said, I get it, I really do,  it’s gross out and you just want to cool off for a bit.  But that’s why God made pools.  Or the ocean.  And remember this one very important truth I’m about to share with you, ready, here it is: the rest of the year sucks.  It usually rains from March 1st until June 30th, then we get sun for 8-9 weeks, then we get precisely 4 weeks of Fall and then it’s Winter.  For like 8 months.  So come on, will ya? And make no mistake, this winter is going to be ugly.  You remember last year how nice Winter was? How we had 60 degree days in December? Yeah, you liked that didn’t you? Guess what? That was a freak show.  That will NEVER happen again.  You really think God’s going to let us  get away with that two years in row? Remember the Winter 2010 into 2011? Snowmageddon ring a bell? Yeah, don’t get cocky.  Don’t sleep on the weather.  We only got a break this year because of that hellish 2010-2011 Winter and also God knew he was going to f*ck with us regarding the Sox so he decided to be nice to us.

There was nothing fun about this.

The irony of this is that I LOVE the Fall.  Yeah, I really do.  I love apple-picking, baking pies, burning Macintosh scented Yankee Candles, the smell of cinnamon and spices, drinking apple cider by the gallon, sweaters and boots, nice walks in the evening and the color brown…and I will enjoy all of those things…on September 21st.  I’m even planning to try out those pumpkin and apple munchkins, but not until September 21st.


If we were in Ireland, this rushing into Fall would be fine because summer ends on August 1 over there, but we’re NOT in Ireland.  We’re in Boston and we have until Setpember 21st.  So instead of groaning that summer is over, why don’t you go outside and enjoy these last 15 days.  Meet me at ‘Tasket, I’ll be the only freak in the water, join me so I’m not so lonely.

It’s not THAT cold…

Teen Duck Mom

In Life, Married Life, Musings, Random on August 30, 2012 by Elle Severe

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I took our 2 and 4 year old down to the Charles River to hit a couple playgrounds, frolic in the pool, count the Duck Boats on the Charles, and have some good old fashioned family fun.

We took a break from all this exciting family fun around 12:30pm to have some snacks. We settled in to one of the picnic tables by the concession stand near the Hatch Shell. Because my kids are complete wack-a-doos, we all ended up sitting on the same side of the picnic table.  I think there was some nonsense about wanting to sit with Daddy but Daddy needed to sit on this side…you know what, who gives an eff,  it’s only pertinent to the story because we were all facing the same way, which was towards the Charles.  This allowed an awesome view of all the people and the boats.  My 2 year old likes to scream out “FERRY” whenever she sees a boat of any kind.  I’ve stopped trying to correct her.  Whatever floats your boat kid. (See what i did there?)

Anyway, there was some commotion over by the water’s edge and then we saw people clearing a path and the next thing you know, this Mommy Duck comes up out of the water with her 5 baby ducklings – it was cute overload.  I mean, let’s be honest, there are few things more precious in the world than ducklings, amirite? And I loved how everyone immediately cleared the area to let her and her babies pass.  I love when people come together as a group and behave in a unified way that benefits someone or something other than themselves.  It’s those little moments in life that restore my faith in humanity. Unfortunately that didn’t last very long.  Some moron tourist pretty much bumrushed Mommy Duck with her iPhone in order to get pictures.  Maybe they don’t have ducks in Europe?  In an effort to avoid the duck paparazzi, Mommy Duck veered a little to the left, more towards the Hatch Shell than she probably wanted to go, but it was okay.  This allowed me to get a nice shot of her and her sweet little babies.

Mommy Duck and her fluffy, sweet, precious babies.


She continued on and everyone kind of just stopped what they were doing and watched.  A truck driver trying to get past her just cut the engine and waited;  the people setting up for National India Day all paused…it was a sweet sight…riiiiiight up until Mommy Duck decided to take her and her babies on some sort of kamikaze suicide mission.

Not a duck crossing.

This batty bird decided to cross Storrow Drive with her babies in tow! WTF! (For the New Yorkers who read this, Storrow Drive is similar to your West Side Highway or the FDR) Thankfully some Good Samaritan type stood in front of her trying to shoo her back until the Park Rangers came flying over on their golf cart and immediately took care of business.  I am still left to wonder if someone there called 911 and started screaming “WE HAVE A DUCK EMERGENCY ON STORROW! SEND IN THE RANGERS!”.  The bravest one of them all jumped out of that golf cart with a quickness and stepped right the f*ck into Storrow and began stopping traffic! Let me just pause here and explain to you that at this very moment time stood still…not a single solitary soul in the park was looking anywhere but at the drama unfolding with Mommy Duck and her Precious Babies.  We were in the middle of a real life Duck Drama! For those of you not from Boston, our ducks are pretty sacred.  We have a whole industry here built on our duck situation.

Robert McCloskey’s “Make Way for Ducklings” is a children’s classic.

Caldecott Award Winner.


We’ve got Swan Boats that go around a lagoon devoted to the preservation of swans and ducks.

Swan Boats. Best Bahhhgin in the city for family “fun”.



Duck Sanctuary.








We have Duck Boat Tours.  We have duck statues.  We have a lot of duck going on.  Probably more than your average city.



and WATER! Take THAT Trolley Tours!

To continue:  the Park Ranger stops traffic on Storrow Drive, Mommy Duck and her five babies pass to the median and everyone breathes a sigh of relief…except me.  I’m freaking the f*ck out! Where is she taking them?? There’s ANOTHER side of Storrow Drive! How the hell is she going to get them across that side? Mr. Park Ranger’s jurisdiction apparently ends at the traffic divider as he immediately jumps back in his golf cart and takes off to his next duck-related emergency.  But what’s going to happen here?? All I can think is that she’s trying to get them over to the safety of the island in the Swan Boat lagoon, in the Garden, but sh!t, that’s another two full blocks away! She’s got to get these sweet little fluffy babies down Charles Street, across Beacon Street and into the Public Garden without getting smashed to smithereens! Not. Going. To. Happen.

For love of God, someone DO something!

And that’s when I lose my sh!t.  Here she is in the center divider on Storrow with her babies just hanging out and then, it gets better…she just disappears! It looked almost as if she ducked under some grassy knoll and now she and her babies were gone and at that point I could draw only one logical conclusion: this Mommy Duck was a teenage mom. I’ve been watching 16 and Pregnant since 2008 and Teen Mom since 2009, plus I’m from Dorchester so you know I can spot a teen mom a mile away in the dark with sunglasses on.

Just ducky.

Now I don’t judge (yes I do), but I’m telling you, she had all the classic hallmarks of a teen duck mom.  Irresponsible, stubborn, treating her progeny with reckless disregard, entrusting strangers to help her out and then acting entitled the entire time…oh yeah, there was no doubt in my mind that I had just seen Teen Duck Mom.  Because there is no other logical explanation.  None.  Because no one in their right mind takes their babies across Storrow Drive. ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Bruins ducks.

Once I realize this, I turned to my husband and said what I always say whenever I see a teen mom and her baby: “I’m about to run over there and snatch that baby up and take it home” – only this time it was more like “I’m going to bundle them up and run them over to the Garden”. And that was the very moment when my son decided to do that super annoying thing all toddlers do when there’s a serious situation:  start asking a MILLION questions.  And that’s when I want to scream “SHUT THE F*CK UP, WE’RE ABOUT TO LOSE SOME PRECIOUS BABY DUCKS HERE”.  I just don’t have time to explain what “bundle up” means in the midst of all this drama, come on kid, get with it, willya!

Sidebar, why do kids do that thing? Because they do, every single time, without fail.  It’s as if they inherently know that this is really bad time and decide, “Hmm, how can I make this situation worse…ohhhh, I know, I’ll ask the same question 17 times in a row, perfect!”.

Back to the drama at hand.  So my husband says “Okay, let’s go, she’s going to be fine”. No she’s not.  And we all know she’s not! I appreciate that he’s trying to just get me out of there as I’m a very emotional person and the idea of these beautiful fluffy little critters getting run over by some aholes driving a Lumina on Storrow is making me sick,  but he can’t blow sunshine up my ass.  I think we all know that by tonight either those babies are going to be orphans or that Teen Duck Mom is going to be very, very regretful about the life decisions she made today.

Christmas ducks. Or if you’re an asshole, Holiday ducks.

Now listen, I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t know if they made it across to the other side safely; I sure as hell hope so.  I was physically dragged out of there and over to the nice pool about a block down because my husband was not going to tolerate some sort of ill-advised Teen Duck Mom rescue.  But I’ll tell you what, I haven’t stopped thinking about those babies and their Teen Duck Mom since.  FRICK!

She pretty much haunts my dreams.  Did they make it? Are they alive? Are they happily settled in the lagoon? Are they eating a well balanced diet of local grass and organic breadcrumbs? I just don’t know.  I guess you have to come up with you’re own happy or unhappy ending.  Sorry.

Last week in Vegas my husband and I went out for a fancy dinner.  He ordered duck.  I thought that was in poor taste given what I’m going through.

Oh Mama Duck, where are you?