I see life through rose.., p.1

I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses, page 1

 

I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses
 


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I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses


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  Table of Contents

  About the Authors

  Copyright Page

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  St. Martin’s Press ebook.

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  To our beloved Ruby, and to pets everywhere, because animals make us human

  I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses

  Lisa

  Welcome to our fun and fizzy collection of stories, taken from our actual lives as a mother and a daughter.

  Sometimes we fight.

  Sometimes we make up.

  And sometimes, yes, we drink.

  One of the pleasures of having an adult daughter is that you can share a glass of rosé with her, and by the second one, you forget what you were fighting about.

  But that’s not the point of this book or its title.

  We’re not that literal.

  This is the eighth book in a bestselling series, chronicling our lives, which I bet happens to look like your lives.

  If less well behaved.

  Like you, we’ve had our ups and downs, but in this book, we look at the upside of ups and downs.

  And that’s the meaning of the title.

  You know how you feel after a few sips of rosé?

  That life is good?

  That none of your troubles are really that troubling?

  That you’re lucky just to be alive, to taste something sweet on your tongue, to feel the sun on your face and shoulders, and to share the company of your family, friends, or even your dog or cat?

  By the way, animals are family to Francesca and me.

  We’re both dog-and cat-crazy, and you’d know that as soon as you met us, because lint rollers can only do so much.

  Anyway, that rosé feeling is one you can capture even if there’s no alcohol in sight.

  Anytime you get a moment, or take one, just to pause and savor the simple pleasures.

  Of course the best time to do that is in summer, when you’re officially allowed to slack for vacation, which turns out to be just more work for Mom, by the seaside.

  Still, even a change of scenery can help you exhale, set aside your stress, and take a hiatus from tasks and things-to-do lists.

  This book is like that too, and I guarantee that if you take it on vacation, you’ll LOL.

  For example, I write about what it’s like to get older, namely that your eyebrows will vanish and your eyelids acquire hoods. You may look permanently sleepy, but on the plus side, nobody can see the crappy job you did on your eyeliner.

  I also write about not being able to zip up my dresses anymore, so now I routinely beg baristas in Starbucks to dress me. And I can’t work my jewelry fasteners either, so I only buy necklaces like nooses.

  Fun facts about aging!

  And Daughter Francesca writes about life as a single thirtysomething in New York City. And she has an active dating life, unlike me, who’s dead below the waist.

  Like I care.

  Francesca writes about the light side of dating, and since she’s getting older and wiser herself, she’s learning to spot the red flags that separate the men from the boys. She’s dodged her share of man-bullets, and she’s not shy about telling you about them. She even writes about how to break up with a guy, with lots of laughs and better advice than “slip out the back, Jack.”

  Of course, mothers and daughters may be different, but the similarities are undeniable. Like I write about cleaning out my refrigerator and finding aspirational condiments, and she writes about cleaning out her purse and finding past lives, in her Handbag Time Machine.

  You get the idea.

  We take real life and make it funny.

  And summer vacation is all about fun. And even if you don’t get any vacation, you should read this book, because it’ll make you feel like you’re on one.

  And isn’t that the purpose of a book?

  To help you escape the everyday.

  To make you laugh out loud.

  And to make you feel centered and relaxed.

  It’s like a glass of rosé, between two covers.

  Read between the wines.

  Pull up a beach chair.

  Sit back.

  Turn the page.

  And take a sip.

  Can You Hear Me Now?

  Francesca

  “Can you hear me now?” is the question my mom and I ask each other most often over the phone, even beating, “What did you have for dinner?”

  Do other people talk about food like we do?

  I like to know what I’m missing, and my mom needs to know I’m not starving.

  For two women who talk a lot, we suffer from bad cell-phone reception—and only for our calls to one another. It’s like the universe is playing a cruel trick on us, or maybe saying “enough already,” but whenever we call each other, the sound cuts in and out.

  And every time, we take it personally.

  We know the problem is external, and yet we inevitably start blaming each other. It shows the limits of human nature, or at least mother-daughter nature.

  I’ll be telling my mom a story, and all of a sudden she’ll go, “You just cut out, I’m not hearing you.”

  “Oh no, let me move. Can you hear me now?”

  “I hear nothing. Are you there?”

  “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?” I repeat while running around my apartment, none of which she hears.

  “Do you know that I can’t hear you? You. Cut. Out,” she’ll say louder, although I hear her perfectly.

  Meanwhile, I’m getting more and more aggravated changing locations and repeating, “can you hear me now?” so that by the time the reception finally returns, I sound like, “ARGH, CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?”

  “Hey, don’t yell at me, I didn’t do anything!”

  “Ugh, Mom, I know, I wasn’t yelling at you—”

  “Well, that’s not a very nice tone! It’s not my fault the service is bad, don’t get mad at me, be mad at the phone.”

  “I AM MAD AT THE PHONE!”

  “BUT YOU’RE YELLING AT ME!”

  And we’re off to the races. We take turns switching roles, but the script is roughly the same.

  Trust me, we’ve looked into fixing this—changing phones, changing providers, getting a brain-cancer-inducing signal-booster installed in my apartment—but we haven’t found an effective and appealing solution.

  We’re so good at fighting as it is.

  I’ve narrowed down where the service is the worst in my apartment: my kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and entryway, which leaves me about a hundred square feet, so I call her most often during my dog walks; then our call is interrupted only by people admiring Pip. Attempts to learn where the service is worst at my mom’s house have been unsuccessful, because my mom doesn’t understand how to check the cell strength.

  “Mom, how many bars do you have where you are?”

  “What bars?”

  “The bars at the top left.”

  “The Wi-Fi is g
ood, I’m right next to the thingy.”

  “Not the Wi-Fi, that’s the Internet, next to that, the bars beside AT&T.”

  “Oh, I don’t know, it’s too small to see.”

  But our misunderstanding gave me a different idea: FaceTime.

  Our cell signal may suck, but the Wi-Fi thingy is strong, and that’s all you need for video chatting. Plus, my mom has a theory that our fights over the phone and in the car start because we can’t see each other’s facial expressions (which are surely beatific and empathy-inducing, definitely not attitudinal or eyerolling), so FaceTiming should solve that.

  She’s half-right—because she’s usually only half in the frame.

  A booming voice cuts through a choir of angels: “And what did you have for dinner?”

  FaceTime is supposed to be easy. People do it with babies. But have you ever tried it with an adult mother? I can’t seem to teach my mom how to center herself in the camera when we video chat.

  For my generation, FaceTime is intuitive. Like all millennials, I went through a secret selfie-certification course where I learned how to find good light, extend my arm, tilt my head at a flattering angle, and keep my fingertips out of the frame.

  I have not blinked in a photo since 2007.

  If anything, my problem is breaking the habit of looking at myself in the corner window.

  My mom insisted we use this picture in the book. I tried to dissuade her. But we keep it real!

  My mother, on the other hand, holds the phone under her chin and talks directly into the microphone, so I’m looking up her nose. Or she holds the phone upright but too high, so I am looking at her forehead.

  “Are you looking at my roots?” she’ll ask.

  “Your roots are all I can see.”

  In either case, she holds it one inch from her face, so I can check out her pores while we’re talking. She could up her moisturizer.

  Sometimes she sets the phone down so it points directly at the ceiling lights, and then I get to feel like I’m FaceTiming with God.

  Not far off, if you ask Her.

  But I will say, we’ve had more laughs than fights. It’s fun; we pull the dogs into the frame and occasionally an unsuspecting cat, I show her new shoes that I bought, she shows me the latest blooms in the garden, and of course, we each show each other what we’re cooking.

  Call it DinnerTime.

  Whatever the technology, communication between mothers and daughters may never be perfect. But my mom is still my first phone call when something really good or really bad happens.

  And so that she can see that I ate.

  Please Put the Lid Down

  Lisa

  Lately everyone is hating on fake news.

  I’m hating on news I wish were fake.

  Of course I’m talking about the snake in the toilet.

  I read the story on Facebook, source of all reliable news.

  I believe everything I read on Facebook, and so should you.

  According to Facebook, everyone’s marriage is perfect, everyone’s children are brilliant, and everyone’s vacation is better than yours.

  Facebook people live a different life from the rest of us. Their cats are affectionate, their dogs don’t poop on the floor, and their meals are photogenic.

  They don’t eat anything that comes out of a can.

  Me, I’m the opposite.

  If it doesn’t come out of a can, I’m not having it for lunch.

  Namely, Amy’s soups. Try the Southwestern Chipotle and the Mixed Vegetable.

  I change it up for dinner by eating things that come out of jars.

  If it doesn’t come out of the jar, I cannot be bothered. Rao’s spaghetti sauce comes out of a jar, and I can’t be the only Italian-American who uses tomato sauce out of a jar.

  It’s not my secret shame, it’s my secret sauce, and who has time to stand in front of a pot all day?

  Anyway, to stay on point, it was on Facebook that I read the story of a boy from Texas who woke up in the morning, went to the bathroom, and found a rattlesnake inside his toilet.

  I didn’t believe it, but there was a picture of a snake coming out of a toilet.

  I’m not going to show you because you will never be able to unsee it.

  I still think of pictures as proof-positive that something happened, even though nowadays people Photoshop their pictures to look thinner and/or to add or subtract a person.

  Like an ex-husband.

  I would never Photoshop Thing One or Thing Two out of a picture. Instead I would rip the picture in half, tear the half into pieces, burn the pieces to ashes, jump up and down on the ashes, then sweep the ashes off a cliff.

  Which would be so much more satisfying.

  But still, the Facebook photo did not look doctored to me at all. On the contrary, it looked exactly like what it purported to be, which was a snake coming out of a toilet.

  The story was especially horrifying to me because I’m easy to horrify. I estimate I spend half of my time walking around in horror. I’m horrified by politics, world events, and people who are mean to animals.

  Animals never horrify me, except when they come out of toilets.

  The other reason this is especially horrifying to me is because I have a garden populated with snakes. I didn’t know this until I found a giant ball of snakes rolling around my front yard, which I later found out was a snake mating ball. And the only thing more horrifying than snakes coming out of your toilet is snakes having sex in your front yard.

  To return to my point, I went online to verify the snake-in-a-toilet story, and you know what?

  The reports agreed that it was possible for a snake to get inside your toilet, but it was unlikely.

  Unlikely is not good enough for me.

  I need to hear zero possibility.

  But nobody is saying that.

  On the contrary, National Geographic on Twitter stated, “The chances of finding a snake in your toilet are extremely low, but unfortunately not zero.”

  Now, this is where I reveal that I go to the bathroom to pee approximately thirty-five times a day.

  Seventeen of those are at night.

  Women pee constantly, and we all know it. That’s why the line to the ladies’ room is always disproportionately long at any public event, and why some completely frustrated women will get sick of waiting and use the men’s room.

  (That’s me. I’m that woman. No man is ever in there. It’s just me, needing to pee. And until the bathroom police come after me, I’m not stopping.)

  Anyway, for the past two weeks when I go to the bathroom at night, I cannot bring myself to sit down without checking to see if there is a snake in my toilet. I have to turn on the light, but this wakes me up, so when I go back to bed, I’m nervous and ultimately sleepless.

  With no one to blame it on.

  Surely not myself.

  Maybe Facebook.

  Or snakes.

  They’ve been our frenemy ever since they offered Eve the apple.

  Trick Question

  Lisa

  There’s something special about an old dog.

  No, I don’t mean me.

  How dare you.

  I’m talking about Ruby The Crazy Corgi, who is now thirteen and using her little wheelie cart, since her back legs are paralyzed. This unfortunately means that she’s incontinent, so she wears a doggy diaper, but apart from that, she’s only gotten better as she’s gotten older.

  For example, corgis are herding dogs and in her younger days she would try to herd anything in sight, including the other dogs, since we didn’t have sheep.

  I know, believe me I thought about it.

  It would be nice to have a few sheep.

  They could live out back like little clouds with feet, and I could have real homemade wool sweaters. This was before I wore fleece constantly, so now I would need them to grow polyester.

  In any event, Ruby has learned to stop herding things, since with old age comes the wisdom that we need
to not live in constant fear.

  Of course she doesn’t watch the news.

  Lately, I don’t either.

  Anyway, Ruby isn’t the only old dog I’ve had, since I had a toy poodle named Rosie who lived until the age of sixteen, though for the last five years of her life she was completely blind.

  You might be saying aww, but you should be saying, that rocks!

  Because the blind years of Rosie’s life were her best.

  Like Ruby, Rosie had less and less to be worried about, since she couldn’t see any of the bad things that she used to see earlier. She settled into a nice comfy contentment, and at the same time, was able to navigate the house with ease, knowing where everything was. The only problem was when I had to take her outside and even that she turned to an advantage. Those were the days when I didn’t have a fence in the backyard, so if I put the dogs out, I had to walk them around on a leash.

  I did that for fifteen years.

  Tell me who the blind one is, am I right?

  In any event, I never had to walk Rosie because as soon as she went blind, when she got out in the backyard, she would walk only in a small circle. This turned out to be the best thing in the world for me, because I never had to walk her, and for her, because she got a ton of exercise. She would just make circles all around the lawn, whatever the weather, and you haven’t lived until you’ve seen yellow circles in your snow.

  It was artistic.

  And precise.

  You would’ve thought this dog had a protractor.

  Some days it looked like the Olympic rings, only one color.

  The thing about Rosie in her dotage was that if I left a room, she wouldn’t know it, so she had to be picked up and carried from room to room. This isn’t as much of a pain as it sounds. First off she only weighed six pounds.

  Extremely portable.

  I got completely used to picking up something before I left the room, which was excellent practice for the cell phones that would come much later. I swear, part of the reason I never leave my phone anywhere is because Rosie trained me.

  We both know that our dogs train us and not vice versa, don’t we?

  We do all sorts of tricks for our dogs.

  Tricks that we never thought we could do, or would ever want to. Like diapering a dog.

  Ruby and her new wheels!

  Believe me, if you asked me if I would ever put a diaper on a dog, I would’ve laughed. But now, quite seriously, I’m noticing that more and more she’s having a hard time getting around with her front legs in her wheelchair, and I’m facing the notion that Ruby’s front legs might become paralyzed too.

 
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