When words are your currency

I still can’t recall the very first day,

My mom’s brilliant mind began slipping away,

Perhaps it was the first time she burned our favorite dish,

Or our phone conversations that always ended with a wish,

I wish you stay well and I love you so much,

She’d repeat on our calls, yet seemed so out of touch,

When words are your currency, there is nothing more cruel,

Then a disease that slowly takes away the things that made you, you

The shoulder I could lean on, pour my heart out when I was down,

She encouraged me to go after everything – even beauty pageant crowns,

My best friend, my champion, a true North Star,

As the light in her eyes dim, those memories seem so far,

Mom was always so wise and her advice so sage,

I truly believed she would defy her age,

She did everything right and she challenged her mind,

But something began to change with those telltale signs,

Alzheimer’s disease is a villain, that doesn’t care who it afflicts,

The brilliant, the devoted, the one who cares for the sick,

As loved ones we watch, we hope and we pray,

That somehow her words will come back to her one day,

“I love you, I love you” is the message she imparts,

While her mind fights back, it truly breaks my heart,

No matter what happens, life’s plan is unclear,

We can no longer live in this constant state of fear,

It’s time to share stories and words that make her smile,

I love you too Mom and will see you in a short while,

Stay focused on the present and live for today,

And cherish the words she still knows before they all fade away

The long goodbye…

“They shoot horses don’t they?”

I will never forget what my mom said to me more than 25 years ago when my grandmother was suffering from the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease and she feared she would one day confront the same uncertain fate.

“Oh mom, stop it. It’s not going to happen to you,” I reassured her, but in the back of my mind, I secretly feared that my mom would face the same treacherous journey as my beloved grandmother.

And now here we are. 22 years after my grandmother passed away, my mother, who turns 80 this November, has slipped into the latter stages of dementia. The part where you can no longer perform basic tasks and your short term memory is gone completely. While she continues to deteriorate at what seems like a rapid pace, what I miss the most about my mom are our conversations.

Whenever I was feeling down in the dumps or had great news to share, Mom was the first person I would call. When my kids were born, she was by my side helping out whenever she could. Mom and Dad even moved to an apartment that was about 20 minutes away just so they could be on hand whenever we needed them and when my kids were babies, I needed them a lot.

But now here we are.

When I first started blogging, I shared the milestones and funny stories my kids were experiencing during their young lives. From first steps, to first words, to performances, to the things they did that made us laugh out loud or burst with pride, sharing the stories of my children was truly cathartic for me. If I was able to make a reader laugh out loud with those toddler tales and make them feel like they weren’t alone, then I knew I had found my passion as a writer.

After a few years, my kids stepped in to inform me they didn’t want me sharing their stories anymore so my blog kind of faded away a bit as I focused on supporting them behind the scenes and celebrating their achievements on Facebook.

Today, I’m at a much different place in my life. I’m now the parent of young adults. My daughter is a college graduate and my son is 19 and I find myself dealing much more with health issues that are confronting my parents and in-laws than for my kids, who know exactly what to do if they need to visit urgent care.

The sad part about aging – especially when you have a parent who is losing their memory – is that all those milestones that you captured with your kids literally start happening in reverse. I first started noticing that my mom was forgetting things when we would connect on the phone and she began losing her words. When my dad was in the hospital for a heart procedure, she couldn’t think of the name for “nurse” or “doctor” and kept calling them “the person.” As her daughter, I picked up on these subtle memory slips quickly and urged her to visit a neurologist. It took several months and when she did, she decided to go without my dad (she didn’t want him to worry about her) and the doctor broke the news with the worst bedside manner you could ever imagine. She actually told her point blank she had Alzheimer’s disease and that she only had a few years left before she wouldn’t be able to care for herself.

My mom left the office completely devastated and I was crushed because the last thing I wanted was for her to receive this news without the support of her family. We quickly found another doctor who was much more reassuring and attempted to ease her fears of the unknown. At the time, she was suffering from mild cognitive impairment and while she would forget a few words and talk about how she “wrote everything down in her book,” she was still driving, handling the finances, cooking, cleaning and reading. I silently prayed that if this was the worst of it, she’d be okay.

But it wasn’t.

Mom’s diagnosis was nearly five years ago and over the last month, she slipped into the latter half of her journey. To say it’s scary to imagine what she’s about to face is an understatement. You see, when my grandmother faced the same dismal prognosis, my mom wouldn’t even let me see her. She told me she didn’t want me to remember her that way so she told me not to worry and handled everything just like she always did. Today, my mom is in Florida with my dad so I can’t visit her all the time and feel as if we are on a race against the clock before she starts forgetting our names and faces. I typically do FaceTime calls with her and our conversations these days consists of her telling me how much she loves me and only wants the best for me. I truly believe that’s her brain fighting back against this insidious disease. You’re not going to keep me from telling the people I treasure most in this life how much I love them. My mom is a fighter and sadly, this battle is going to get the best of her. But in the meantime, I’m going to share her journey and the memories we have made along the way.

So welcome to Role Mommy 3.0…The Panini Generation. I hope my stories are cathartic for you too if you are going through a similar experience and be rest assured that no matter what you are facing, you are not alone.

Go F**k Yourself Friday…the Hurry up and Wait Edition

When one of our pipes broke the morning of Passover this year, I realized how lucky I am that technology has enabled me to find plumbers, upholstery cleaners and appliance repairmen at a moment’s notice. I also have discovered that the easier it is to find people to fix things, there are plenty more who still drive me bonkers because they are like speed bumps – I may be driving at 60 mph but BAM! out of nowhere I hit a speed bump and everything just stops. In honor of all those human speed bumps who drive impatient people like me crazy, I present to you, Go F**k Yourself Friday, the hurry up and wait edition…

Go F**k Yourself Roto Rooter – You totally took advantage of me when I first moved into my house and didn’t know a good plumber after the previous owner’s kid flushed a pen down the toilet and clogged the whole system. Roto Rooter sounded familiar so I flipped through the phone book (remember those days) and the Roto Rooter service man came over within a few hours, diagnosed the problem and then charged us an arm, a leg and the name of our first born to fix it. Fast forward to Passover morning when I instantly found a very nice plumber on Thumbtack, he proceeded to stop by within an hour of our corresponding and quoted me a totally reasonable price to fix my pipes. Sayonara Roto Rooter – looks like your price gauging plumbing disaster days are over. 

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Go F**k Yourself Bank Rep Who Wanted to Eat Lunch Instead of Deal With Me – Truth be told, I hardly visit my local bank anymore. I can deposit checks from my phone and pay bills online so I really have no need to stop inside and speak to someone. But this week, I needed to get one document notarized and also had to get a letter from the bank as part of my daughter’s student visa application. What I thought would take 10 minutes turned into a 90 minute ordeal when I stopped into my local bank and it felt like a ghost town. As I looked around for someone to help me a woman who was returning with her lunch proceeded to tell me they didn’t have a notary on staff and I needed to get that letter via online customer service and not at my local bank branch. She then sent me to another location to get the letter notarized and when I got there, their notary told me she couldn’t do it. Thankfully, I did get the other letter I needed which means the bank rep at the first branch just didn’t want to deal with me in the first place. Listen up bank reps – if I hardly every visit your bank, you may want to be a little more helpful when I stop by for something important. Otherwise, I will close my accounts and take my business to a place where people are more than happy to help me with whatever I ask for. Incidentally, when my bank wouldn’t notarize my letter, we walked over to HSBC and one of their reps did it instead – even though I don’t even have a bank account at their bank. Hey there reps at my current bank, I’ve got some choice words for you but I’m going to let Julia Roberts do it for me…

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Go F**k Yourself to the Pricey Salad Place in my Neighborhood where the workers always seem to be filling online orders instead of waiting on customers who are literally staring at them in the face. There’s a well known franchise in my area that makes ridiculously expensive salads that I typically cave in and visit at least once a week. However, it’s been pretty frustrating lately trying to get the workers’ attention because they always seem to be filling orders for people who aren’t even there. You see, even though the place has been empty on the few occasions I have visited, the salad makers behind the counter always seemed preoccupied fulfilling online orders, so I stand there like an idiot waiting at least five minutes to place my romaine lettuce with grilled shrimp, tomatoes, cucumbers, apples and Greek yogurt dressing because someone ahead of me who isn’t even there is having their salad made because they ordered it first on their app. Seriously, if you see a real live person staring you in the face waiting to place an order, then stop what you are doing and take care of them. I don’t care if people are ordering from Uber Eats, Door Dash, Postmates or the app for your pricey salad joint – if you see me, ask me what I want NOW or you probably won’t see me again…at least not until next week. 

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Go F**k Yourself to Ride Share Drivers Who Say they are 3 minutes away but it’s more like 10 – here’s another pet peeve of mine. If it’s cold or rainy outside, the last thing I want to be is standing outside braving the elements because my Uber driver claims to be three minutes from picking me up. As I stare at the app watching as his car goes backwards and forwards and then backwards again, I’m left wondering what the hell that driver is doing. Even though the app keeps saying he’s 3 minutes away, suddenly, it increases to 4, then 8 then back to 6 and back up to 10. It’s one thing if it’s 70 degrees and I’m enjoying the fresh air but if all I want to do is get in a car so I can warm up, don’t tell me you’re around the corner when you’re clearly lost, dropping off another passenger or just too damn slow.

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Go F**k Yourself to the ‘I’ll Be there Tomorrow’ Guy – I happen to have many of these people in my life. Something breaks down in my house and Mr. Fixit assures me that he’ll be there tomorrow morning. But then the morning passes by and he says he’ll be there later in the day. And one day leads into the next and soon another week goes by until suddenly, when you’re nowhere near your house, the repairman shows up and wonders where you are and why you weren’t waiting around for him. Here’s the deal. I don’t work well with people who say they’ll be there that day and don’t show up for another two to three weeks. If I’m not home when you finally decide to stop by, I guess I’m going to have to deal with going yet another day with a broken appliance and you’re going to have to deal with not being paid because I’m not there. Here’s a piece of advice, when you tell someone you’re going to be at their house the same day, don’t leave them waiting, wondering and checking to see if you’re receiving their urgent texts. Ditch the excuses and just show up!

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Go F**k Yourself Friday – the week of WTF

Sometimes, a series of events happen throughout the week that cause you to give people the side eye while you make a mental note that they just made it into your column without them even realizing it. So this week, as I juggled work and life events that kept me busy, annoyed and on my toes, I decided to devote this week’s column to the random acts of crazy that made me stop a minute and say WTF?

Go F**k Yourself to Politically Correct College Tour Guides – I’d like to start this missive by first saying, I am totally on board the politically correct bandwagon, but sometimes, I think my progressive friends have seriously gone off the deep end and this week was no exception. While at a college tour with my son, four of the tour guides introduced themselves by stating their names and they added that they go by the pronouns “He, him, his” or “Her or she.” I looked at my son and asked him, is this a thing now? Because, honestly if it is, I’d like to be addressed as “Miss,” “Hey lady,” “Bitch” but whatever you do, don’t ever think of calling me ma’am. 

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Go F**k Yourself to the Second Guesser – You haven’t worked in my industry for at least half a dozen years and yet, you decide to start questioning my work and then insult me in an email and cc my client. You know what? What if I take a little break and you take over from here? Just use your rotary phone to call your contacts who no longer have landlines, don’t respond to emails or are out of work looking for jobs too. Don’t ever claim you know how to do my job unless you’re in the trenches right along side me. Otherwise, STFU and get out of my way.

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Go F**k Yourself to the Steamroller – I used to work with someone who would literally push you out of the way if it meant she would get ahead faster than you. While the people around her were minding their business and doing their jobs, she used her connections and pushy attitude to get whatever she wanted and didn’t care if she stepped on her co-workers along the way. This week, I met someone who totally reminded me of the steamroller and as I watched her in action, it took me back to those awful days when I always found myself watching my back. The good news is, I’m my own boss now and she’s someone else’s nightmare, not mine.

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Go F**k Yourself to People with Hidden Agendas – This past week, I invited a few media contacts and bloggers to a really fun event and for the most part, everyone was really nice, had a great time and wrote positively about their experience. But there always has to be a few bad apples in the bunch and this was no exception. First, there was the pushy paparazzi photographer whose unflattering video promoting the event literally made me cringe. When I told him to take it down, he then got mad at me because he said it took him an hour to create it. Well, take 5 seconds to delete it and you’ll make my day. Then, a reporter who works for a major gossip magazine interviewed my client and proceeded to write something that had absolutely nothing to do with the event I had invited her to see. Lesson learned – even though it’s great when people say they’d love to attend an event, sometimes you’re just better off telling them to stay home or attend another event where they can totally annoy someone else.

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Go F**k Yourself to Supermarkets with Super Small Kosher for Passover Selections – For my fellow tribe members who host seders this time of year, is it just me or have supermarkets really started carrying less and less Passover fare? I mean, I shouldn’t have to travel to three supermarkets to find a jar of red horseradish and would it kill you to carry something other than coconut macaroons? This week, after striking out three times on the horseradish, I finally broke down and went to the uber expensive kosher supermarket that just opened in my neighborhood. Not only did I find the horseradish, but I even tracked down two packages of pupiks for my grandmother’s classic fricassee recipe. Granted, when I asked one of the workers if they carried pupiks, he looked at me like I was nuts but I was determined. Plus, I knew there was no way my neighborhood supermarket carried pupiks since I’m lucky if they carried gefilte fish. Thankfully, after searching through one of their freezers, I struck pay dirt and found the pupiks myself. Here’s the deal with Passover – if you work in a kosher supermarket, when Passover is around the corner, you need to brush up on some Yiddish food lingo stat. And if you’re the store manager for Stop & Shop or ACME, it’s time to give Passover an entire aisle and not just three shelves filled with gluten free matzoh, white horseradish and borscht. For the record, while the Catskills might have been known as the “Borscht Belt” during the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel era, no one I know eats borscht at their seder. Now pupiks on the other hand…that’s a whole different story.

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And on that note, I have to go make some matzoh ball soup. Happy Holidays!!!

Go F**k Yourself Friday…the Distracted Edition

These days, it’s literally impossible to have a conversation with people because they are either texting someone, scrolling their social media feed or they’ve zoned out thinking about their weekend plans. Without further ado, it’s time to call out all those F**kers who don’t have time to pay attention.

Go F**k Yourself to the Person Who Texts During a Meeting You just landed a new meeting with a potential client and you’re about to present to the team. The problem is, half the people in the room are attached to their phones and can’t pay attention to what you’re saying since they’re too busy planning their wedding, a Bar Mitzvah or just figuring out what they’re having for dinner. If you’re required to attend meetings, then put the phone down for once and listen!

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Go F**k Yourself to the Person who takes phone calls in restaurants – You’re in a cozy restaurant with your significant other and the tables are thisclose together. The ceilings are also pretty high so you feel like you’re in an echo chamber and can’t hear yourself speak. And then the girl next to you picks up her phone and starts up-talking with her friend (translation: ends every sentence with a question even though she’s not actually asking any questions at all).  You’re still waiting for your appetizers to arrive and she doesn’t seem to be hanging up any time soon. If your phone rings, don’t answer and proceed to talk for 10 minutes while your partner stares at you or the people next to you eavesdrop. Stand up, walk outside and take your calls in private!

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Go F**k Yourself to People Who Don’t Read Anymore – there are a few new abbreviations I recently heard about from a friend who told me that if you send someone an email and it’s longer than one paragraph, nine times out of 10, they won’t read it. In fact, the practice of not reading long emails is called TLDR (too long, didn’t read). For those of you who don’t have 60 seconds to read, comprehend and respond, seriously, take a break and get a grip. Sure my message may be a little long winded, but it’s not like I’m asking you to read Gone with the Wind.

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Go F**k Yourself to the Guy in Front of Me Who is Clearly Texting and Driving – the light has been green for at least 10 seconds and yet, you’re still not moving. Could it be that you’ve been too busy scrolling your Facebook feed to realize that you just caused a traffic jam? You are not the only one on the road and the world won’t fall apart if you don’t like or heart an Instagram post. Put the phone down and drive!

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Go F**k Yourself to the Person Who Has No Time for Small Talk – You and I aren’t friends but you still begrudgingly walk over to me with that fake grin plastered on your face and give me an air kiss. I can clearly see you are looking over my head hoping you can talk to someone else but I try to make small talk nevertheless. If you really don’t want to talk to me, then seriously, don’t even say hello in the first place.  To be honest, I’d rather stick needles in my eyes then have a conversation with you anyway.

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Hope you have a fantastic distraction-free weekend. I’m going to try to read a book, not look at my phone and maybe have a conversation without texting in between. Oh who am I kidding? I am so not doing any of those things. Better go refresh my social media feed before we hit the restaurant!

Go F**k Yourself Friday…the Furniture and Appliance Edition

Truth be told, I have had a lot of topics that were rattling in my brain lately and I really wanted to channel that anger and frustration into this week’s column, but like a fine wine, I think my toxic thoughts need to simmer a bit before they become funny. And so, I decided instead to tackle a topic that everyone can relate to whether you own a home, rent a home or live in an apartment. So without further ado, I present to you Go F**k Yourself Friday the furniture and appliance edition.

Go F**k Yourself to the moving company that was oh so nice to my dad when he was moving all his stuff to my cousin’s house, my house and his place in Florida. Anything he wanted, no problem, they’d take care of it. But when they delivered his entertainment center to my house with a HUGE scratch on one of the doors, my dad gave me their number to call because they told him they’d fix anything that broke or had an issue. When I called them and emailed a photo of the damage, they said they’d get right on it. That was seven days ago. Today I called again and got a busy signal. What is this, 1985? I haven’t experienced a busy signal since I had a rotary phone in my bedroom – and that was in Canarsie when I lived with my parents! Get it together movers and fix my furniture or else I’m going to keep calling, emailing and texting until you get back to me. Busy signals do not scare me!

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Go F**k Yourself Slipcover Company and other products that are supposed to deter my cats from wrecking my furniture but never seem to work. This past week, after my parents gave me a few couches and a bed, it only took a few days for my cats to start making trouble. First they began digging their claws into the arms of my new sofa. Then they left their mark on the bedding and mattress upstairs. Eventually, their cat hair was tracking every piece of furniture we just added to the living room and den. And so, I did what any person who is trying to outsmart her pets would do. I ordered pet slip covers from Sure Fit and bought sticky tape from the pet store. After the slipcovers arrived, I put them on the couches but the cats managed to still claw at the only parts that weren’t covered – the arms. So I put the sticky tape on those parts and by the time I came home last night from an event, the tape was already peeling off. As far as the bed upstairs, my only saving grace is I can close the doors to keep them out. But either way, no matter how much I spend on trying to protect my furniture, nothing is going to help. Those cats are always two steps and three claws ahead of me and it drives me nuts.

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Go F**k Yourself Washer & Dryer that always breaks down right after the warranty runs out. Out of all the appliances in my house, the one thing I have had to replace over and over again has been my washing machine and dryer. I know that we do a lot of laundry each week, but the washer really shouldn’t be filled with water after the spin cycle is done and it shouldn’t take 90 minutes to dry socks. Sure, they don’t make appliances like they used to, but we shouldn’t have to replace them every 2-3 years like an iPhone. Just let me throw the stuff in and clean my clothes already. Oh and if someone can come up with an appliance that folds laundry and puts it away, I’ll take that too.

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Go F**k Yourself Refrigerators with Really Small Freezers. Sure, the double door refrigerator seemed like such a cute choice when we picked it out at the appliance store but then we brought it home and found out that we can’t open the freezer door all the way since it slams against the wall. Then, every time I forget that I have already bought a box of Elio’s pizza for my son, I have to figure out how to fit all those frozen boxes in the fridge like I’m putting together a Jenga puzzle or something. One false move and the chicken, meatballs and frozen shrimp will come tumbling out of the bottom shelf. One day, I’ll get one of those fridges with a big bottom freezer. For now, it’s shove everything in and hope that my Halo Top ice cream doesn’t melt.

Go F**k Yourself in Advance to my Heat and AC Unit. You’ve literally been hanging by a thread every year and each time our plumber comes over for yet another repair he warns that this could be the year we need to replace you. Yet, we still hang on, hoping you’ll survive another season. Whether it’s the coldest day of the year or it feels like we’re living in a sauna, that’s exactly when my HVAC unit decides to crap out on me. Unfortunately, my plumber now has a full time job so he fits me in about two weeks after I text him that we have lost feeling in our lower extremities. Sure all we have to do is throw on a few more sweaters or buy a fan, but I just want to be able to turn on the heat or AC without it involving a prayer session.

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Go F**k Yourself Friday…the Pet Peeve Edition

These last few weeks have been a bit stressful to the point where things that usually roll off my shoulders really got under my skin. But that means all of you are in luck this week because I am sure you have all experienced these annoyances in our lives that force us to silently scream at someone in our heads even though we’d really love to go postal and make a scene. And on that note, I present to you dear readers, Go F**k Yourself, the Pet Peeve edition!

Go F**k Yourself to the person who never responds to my emails when I request something from them. Yes, I know there are people out there who just don’t read emails or don’t respond to texts that I know they have read because it says “READ” after I sent it. They go through their day ignoring incoming messages and when they look back at their phone or computer a few hours later, they suddenly realize they have amassed about 100 emails and texts. They then spend the rest of the evening playing catch up and that one email that came in from me asking for something OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN somehow gets forgotten about until I am totally up against my deadline and then miraculously, after I send a terse – I NEED IT NOW or you won’t be included message, it suddenly shows up. I know not everyone can be like me and instantly respond to an email or text at a moment’s notice, but if I ask you a question and there’s a deadline attached to it, change the settings on your phone if you don’t want me to see that you’ve read my message or for F**k’s sake, JUST RESPOND!!!!!

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Go F**k Yourself to People who Display Bad Buffet Line Etiquette – For the record, I really don’t like buffets – I like to sit down, place an order, enjoy conversation with my friends and family and not deal with other people I don’t know. But when you’re on a buffet line, all bets are off. From the super slow senior who is taking his time deciding between the salmon and the whitefish salad, to the double dipper who grabs a veggie stick, dips it in ranch dressing, takes a bite and then dips it again, to the buffet tray hog who sees the hostess coming his way and cleans her out of pigs in blankets, when you’re on a buffet line, I’ve got a newsflash for you…you’re not the only one there! Move it along Gramps, dip once or put a dollop of dressing on your plate and whatever you do, don’t ransack the cocktail frank tray – you know everyone loves them, except the vegans – so let the rest of us carnivores enjoy the appetizers and take two or three for yourself.

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Go F**k Yourself to Urgent Emails from Politicians – I know I’m back to emails, but since I spend so much time online and I just checked my email, I had to call this one out too. I know that politicians have a hard time reaching voters but for some reason, my name has wound up on so many email lists that I can’t keep track of how many people want money from me. It’s urgent! The world is about to fall apart! You must do this now or else we stand to lose everything! Or my personal favorite, the subject line that seems like it’s from my best friend but in actuality, it’s from the Cheri Bustos campaign. Who the hell is Cheri Bustos anyway and how did I even get on her list??? Before I start unsubscribing from all those political e-blasts, here’s my word of advice to politicians – do not send me a message every single day of the week. I know you want my donation but if you keep asking, you will get what Grandma Dora used to say to people who pissed her off: Ice in Winter. 

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Go F**k Yourself to People Who Cancel Commitments at the Last Minute Due to “Family Emergencies” Now don’t get me wrong – if you truly are experiencing a family emergency, I have no problem accepting the fact that you won’t be able to make it to work today. But if you are on your fifth family emergency of the month, then something tells me you either have a lot of drama going on at home or you need to come up with way better excuses for why you can’t get your a** to your job like everyone else. Better to tell the truth about why you can’t honor a commitment than wait until the last minute to drop a bomb on someone who was totally counting on you.

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Go F**k Yourself to People Who Are All Talk and No Action – If anyone knows me, I’m a person who gets s**t done. You give me the goods to be successful on a project and nine times out of 10, I will get results that will blow you away. But on those occasions when I have to work with people who do nothing but bark orders and give me nothing back in return, I find myself counting the days until the project is over.  The problem with people who make ridiculous demands but do nothing to support their team, is that in the end, we all know you are an asshole.

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Go F**k Yourself Friday…the Finance Edition

If you’re like me and have kids in college or teens on their way to higher education, then you probably are facing the same financial squeeze that we’re experiencing right now. Back when we scrimped and saved to pay for our kids’ Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, we weren’t really thinking that we’d have to pay about eight years worth of B’nai Mitzvahs to put both our kids through college. The good news is, our money woes have inspired this week’s column. Without further ado I present Go F**k Yourself Friday, the Finance Edition…

Go F**k Yourself Property Tax Bills…Just as we were getting ready to celebrate the New Year, that unmistakable blue bill wound up in my mailbox on December 31. Go F**k Yourself property tax manager who thought it would brighten my spirits to receive a whopping bill the day before I started 2019. Seriously, you couldn’t wait until January 2? Once I send in a kidney to cover this bill, I cannot wait until the next one arrives in April – just in time for tax season. Oh, and now that we can no longer write off part of our property tax bill due to the changes in our tax laws, I hate you even more. Here’s hoping that in a few years we can sell our house and move somewhere like Maine where they have no taxes and cheap lobster. 

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Go F**k Yourself FAFSA…If you are a parent of a college bound student, then FAFSA has become the bain of your existence. While I have a masters degree and my husband has an MBA, we always seem to screw up this application year after to year to the point where it always gets rejected at the 11th hour. This time, we’ve filed the wrong IRS form for our daughter from 2016 even though it’s the only form we filed for her. Huh? With tuition rates skyrocketing at colleges across the country, applying for FAFSA is worse than a visit to an oral surgeon – no offense to oral surgeons out there but I can’t imagine root canal being fun.

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Go F**k Yourself People Who Can Afford to Take Over the Top Vacations During the Holidays…Yes, we saw you relaxing by the pool with your perfectly pedicured toes. We caught your family beach shots in Cabo. We even saw you skiing in the Alps, biking in Costa Rica and zip lining in Hawaii. Please understand, we are thrilled you were able to afford to pay top dollar for your vacation getaway and you totally deserve it, but here’s the thing. We scrounge up cash every year to travel to the hottest places on earth during the summer months because it’s cheaper and we can’t afford to travel during the holidays. Maybe I just need to delete my Facebook account this time of year so I don’t get jealous. Or maybe I can fast forward to six years from now when my kids will be off the payroll and we can finally travel to the Caribbean or South America when the temperature outside isn’t 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Go F**k Yourself Health Insurance Companies….When I became an entrepreneur, I never thought I’d have to pay the salary of an entry level teacher for my health care insurance but fast forward a decade and here we are. Since we no longer have an employer covering our medical expenses, we now pay more than what it costs to send one of our kids to a New York State school for a plan that doesn’t even cover certain prescription meds. The other day, my daughter had to get a prescription for eye drops and her doctor gave her two choices – a $10 version and a more expensive one that wouldn’t burn her eyes. When she found out the pain free eye drops was $150, she opted for the stinging sensation in order to save us a few bucks. Thankfully, my daughter is already learning the value of a dollar but seriously, what kind of madman is setting prices at those drug companies anyway, forcing people to choose between medication that will burn your eyes or a more expensive version that won’t? That’s just seriously wrong and there’s nothing funny about that at all. 

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If you’re like me and feel like you’re in a canoe that’s sprung a leak, I hope you got some laughs before you start paying your bills this month. The good news is, you’re not alone. The bad news is, it still sucks. Here’s to a debt free Friday and a fabulous weekend!

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Go F**k Yourself Friday…the Graduation Edition

In this week’s edition of Go F**k Yourself Friday, I’d like to dedicate the column to parents of kids all over our country celebrating one of the biggest milestones in their life. Well, some of them are. But for the others, this one’s for you.

Go F**k Yourself to the Doggy Obedience School who Has a Graduation Ceremony -Truth be told, when my puppy got to have her picture taken with a graduation cap for learning how to sort of not pee on a carpet, I was pretty excited for her graduation but then reality set in. I paid about $200 for a class where my dog still wasn’t house broken, she was tough to walk and constantly whined until we gave her a treat. Then there was the time she ate my computer keyboard and had the runs for a week. That’s like allowing someone with a D average to graduate. Totally not cool. The good news is, she’s finally house broken but she recently ate a piece of tin foil. No matter how hard we try, Santana will never be a straight A student.

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Go F**k Yourself to Pre-School and Kindergarten Graduation – Another cute as a button moment that truly trivializes what it means to graduate from school. Honestly, if a kid can’t even read yet, then they don’t deserve to wear a cap and gown. Let’s stop celebrating kids every time they get a year older so that by the time they do graduate from high school or college, they will really appreciate it.

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Go F**k Yourself to Parents who Buy their Kids Cars for Graduation – Seriously? You had to buy your kid a convertible Jeep for graduation? I’m sure your kid is thrilled with his new wheels but you just make it tough for the rest of us who have to explain to our kids that they’re just going to have to share the car with us until we qualify for social security.

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Go F**k Yourself to Bills, Bills and More Bills – The high school graduation is a distant memory and you’ve already got an email from your kids’ new college that the tuition bill is due. The next thing you know, your kid is hounding you about getting all their dorm stuff together and within seconds, you’ve just dropped several hundred dollars on a monochromatic comforter and a few throw pillows from Dormify. Then there’s the marathon shopping spree at Bed, Bath & Beyond where I forgot my coupons and we bought the wrong size sheets. Seriously, I know graduation is code word for kiss your money goodbye but I wish these schools would give us a day or two to breathe in between graduation, orientation and move in day.

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Go F**k Yourself Uber – For parents with kids who have graduated high school and are now enrolled in college, Uber will become the bane of your existence. Every time you look at your phone, you will inevitably see that Uber notification pop up and that’s probably because your kid doesn’t want to walk to class in the rain; went to a late night party or just felt like ordering Uber Eats instead of using the money you have already set aside for their meal plan. I never realized how something so convenient could totally suck away cash I wasn’t intending to spend in the first place. A word of advice to parents of kids with an Uber account – make sure they link it to their bank account and not yours. Trust me, they’ll be walking a lot more once they realize that the Uber is on them.

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If you’re the parent of a recent graduate, I want to wish you only the best. Enjoy this very special time before they move on to the next chapter of their lives. And if you’re the parent of a kindergarten graduate, make sure you start their 529 plan and don’t introduce them to Uber until they get a job.

Go F**k Yourself Friday the Holiday Weekend Edition

Summer is finally here and that means one thing. Most people I know are making plans for road trips, barbecues and beaches. Sadly, my plans this year don’t include any of those things. And so, I present to you Go F**k Yourself the Holiday Weekend Edition.

Go F**k Yourself to the People Who Bought My Parents Hamptons House – In a previous column, I took aim at my parents’ realtor so today, as I think about the countless summers I got to spend in the Hamptons, I’m cursing the people who will get to spend their weekend in what used to be my family’s summer getaway. Sure, it’s not your fault you wanted to get a nice place in Southampton but that means there will be no more visits to my favorite boutique, no more Sunday mornings at the Farmers Market and no more lobster at Oakland’s with a view of the Long Island Sound. Yes, I know these are totally first world problems but there’s something to be said about having a Hamptons house. I guess next time around, we need to buy our own. Time to purchase some scratch off tickets because that won’t be happening anytime soon.

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Go F**k Yourself Party Hosts with Out of Control Kids – I know that when it’s a holiday weekend you’re not supposed to complain when your neighbors invite all their friends over for a huge barbecue but here’s the problem. First, everyone parks their car in front of our house which riles up our dog because she thinks someone is coming to visit. Except they’re not. Next, you’ve invited a ton of families with little kids and since we don’t have a fence, they are running all over our yard, jumping on the trampoline we haven’t used in years and using the swing set and monkey bars that could very well be infected with termites. We wouldn’t know since our kids haven’t used those in 10 years either. But it gets better. Your party goes on all day into the night and while you and your friends head inside, your kids are still running around and screaming at the top of their lungs even though it’s 1:00 am. Seriously, if you’re going to host a barbecue – either invite me to it or tell your kids to stay the hell off my jungle gym.

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Go F**k Yourself Loud Beachgoers – You get to the beach after everyone has claimed their perfect spot and you camp out within inches of our blankets and lounge chairs. You then set up your portable speaker and sync your iPhone and within seconds, the peaceful sound we were enjoying of seagulls and crashing waves is rudely interrupted by Kanye West and some other rapper whose lyrics are laced with so many curse words that I can’t concentrate on my novel anymore. I know you think no one else exists except you, but newsflash…there’s a reason Dr. Dre invented Beats. Why not invest in a pair so we can go back to enjoying a peaceful day at the beach.

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Go F**k Yourself Highway Patrolmen with Ticket Quotas –  I know it’s important that we don’t speed, drink under the influence or text while driving out to the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore, but do you really need to do a random seatbelt check right when we get off the highway? It’s already taken us 39 hours to get out there but to cause a traffic jam just so you can make your ticket quota for the month really drives me to drink. Except I can’t since I’m driving. So there’s that.

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Go F**k Yourself to People Who Schedule Late Meetings on a Holiday Weekend – Just because you don’t have anywhere to go this weekend doesn’t mean the rest of us want to stick around for an afternoon powwow. The next time you decide to plan a meeting after 4pm on a holiday weekend, make sure you do it poolside with complimentary Mai Tais.

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On that note, no matter where you go or what you do, I hope you have a fantastic Memorial Day weekend!

Go F**k Yourself Friday the Small Business Edition

If you’re a small business owner, then you’ve probably experienced a lot of headaches along the road to success. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I’m walking on a cloud because I’ve landed a huge placement and other times, I just want to pack it in and open a flower shop. When those moments arise, I do what I do best….write. Without further ado, I present, Go F**k Yourself Friday, the Small Business Edition!

Go F**k Yourself to the “ROI” Client – As a publicist, it’s sometimes difficult to measure how a media placement can immediately lead to sales. In some cases, it’s pretty straight forward – an author appears on a TV show and they see a spike in Amazon sales. But in other instances, it’s really tough to predict what will motivate someone to buy a product. That’s why every time a client is fixated on ROI (return on investment) I know I am doomed. When you hire a publicist it’s like going to Vegas and playing the slots. Sometimes you’ll win a bunch of quarters, other times you’ll keep feeding the beast and every once in a while, you’ll hit the jackpot. If you don’t have the stomach for gambling, then please do us both a favor and don’t hire me. But if you’re ready for a fun ride, then hit me up with some quarters and let’s do this!

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Go F**k Yourself to Subscription Services that Suck Away My Cash – I finally bit the bullet and cancelled a Quickbooks account for a business I have that’s no longer generating revenue. But it took me several months to finally log onto my Quickbooks account and figure out how to cancel it in the first place. That’s the thing about expensive subscription services – they hide their cancellation button so well that you just decide to give up and keep paying the fees. Thankfully, I took the time to finally cut the cord and am glad I’m not flushing cash down the toilet anymore.

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Go F**k Yourself to Clients Who Trade Chickens in Lieu of Checks  – I keep hearing from friends that instead of paying them what they are worth, their clients are offering them a free hotel stay, a fancy dinner, or free haircuts for life. While it’s always wonderful to have perks in your life, perks don’t pay the bills. I’d rather pay my own way, get paid for what I’m worth and then pay my bills on time.

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Go F**k Yourself to Big Clients Who Take Forever to Pay– There is nothing worse than landing a new client who takes advantage of your good nature and decides to pay you on their timeline – which can sometimes be a month from now, 60 days away and in some cases, never. If you were on a construction site and didn’t pay your workers, do you think they’d come back each day to operate the crane? I don’t think so. Pay up or stop wasting my time.

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Go F**k Yourself to Toxic Clients – I learned this lesson a few years ago when a client would literally interrogate my team during meetings and her yelling and verbal abuse became so intense that we actually fired her. No matter what someone is willing to pay, there is nothing worse than getting sucked into the world of someone with a toxic personality. If you meet a client who is prone to yelling, belittling your work or just being rude to you no matter what you to do, then life is too short. Fire them first before they fire you.

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And on that note, it’s time to start the weekend. Yabba Dabba Doo…I’m outta here!

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Go F**k Yourself Friday the Mother’s Day Edition

Well, it’s that time of year again where moms everywhere are celebrated but for some of us, even Mother’s Day has a way of pissing us off…

Go F**k Yourself to Prix Fixe brunches – Why is it that on Mother’s Day, the price of a regular brunch is triple the price just because you’re celebrating moms? If you really want to pay tribute to me, then all moms should get free bottomless mimosas. Now that’s a promotion I can get behind.

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Go F**k Yourself Flower Companies – I know I waited until the last minute to send my mom a gift and that means the only thing that will arrive on time is a bouquet of flowers that I can have delivered to her home this weekend, but that comes with a $20 surcharge. Yes I know I could be better at buying gifts in advance, but it’s like those flower companies prey on people like me who are notoriously late purchasing gifts for their mothers. Cut me some slack and for that extra $20, throw in a few more roses instead.

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Go F**k Yourself Greeting Card Companies – I don’t know what’s happening with greeting cards these days but why does it seem like it’s always slim pickings for Mother’s Day? There used to be a time where I’d find my signature Peanuts card in record time, write a little note inside and be on my merry way. These days, the cards are so boring, sappy and loud (what’s with all those cards with the blaring music) that I just want to go back to the days when cards said something sweet and funny and didn’t cost a fortune. Don’t even get me started with card stores like Papyrus which suck you in because they have beautiful cards but they’re a small fortune and while you’re waiting at the register, you wind up buying an inappropriate joke book and a notepad laced with your favorite curse words. 

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Go F**k Yourself Dirty Laundry – The problem with Mother’s Day is that it takes place on a Sunday and the problem with Sunday is that’s the day I typically do laundry. So if I’m supposed to technically take a day off so I can be pampered by my family, either someone is going to be missing clean underwear or their favorite shirt won’t be clean in time for brunch. Sure, I know I just have to teach my family how to wash their own clothes but it’s just easier for me to complain about how much laundry I have to do and then make them feel bad for me. Damn you laundry. Every time the pile seems to be getting smaller, my son takes another shower and the towel collection just continues to grow. 

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Go F**k Yourself Indecisive Shoppers – When I go into a store to buy a gift, I am a woman on a mission. Mom likes pins, my mother-in-law loves flashy earrings, my cousin loves cookbooks and I’m on my way. Except the woman in front of me is taking her sweet time at the jewelry display cabinet asking the sales girl to show her at least a dozen pieces and she still can’t make a decision. When I give up and try to find another salesperson, they just went on break and now I can’t take a look at anything in her cabinet. And when I’m at Barnes & Noble, the line is so damn long to buy one book that I decide instead to go to CVS to pick up a gift card. If people could just get their s**t together, find a gift, pay for it and leave, the world would be a much happier place. 

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In all seriousness, hope you and your family have a fabulous Mother’s Day no matter what you do. Now I better getting going so I can start shopping for some gifts. 

Go F**k Yourself Friday…the Politician Edition

For the most part, our columns try not to take any political sides because thankfully, we have fans on both sides of the aisle. With that in mind, I’ve decided to delve into politics in a way where we can still call out bad behavior no matter your party affiliation. So without further ado, I present to you, Go F**k Yourself Friday, the Politician Edition…

Go F**k Yourself to the I’m Going to Call Out a Random Guy Politician – You have probably seen this dozens of times but don’t even realize it’s part of a formula for the perfect political speech. Mention the name of some poor schnook you met in the middle of nowhere. Share his story of how he and his family are just struggling to survive ever since he was downsized at the coal mine. Share some random statistics about how many people can’t find jobs now that they’re being replaced by robots and then end with how you’re going to fix the problem. Boom! You just learned speechwriting 101 for politicians. Make it personal, add a dose of stats and then promise something you know you probably won’t deliver. 

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Go F**k Yourself to the Blow Smoke Up My Butt Politician – Free college tuition for everyone! Health care for all! Everyone gets a job! You get a car, she gets a car, sure you can’t drive, but you get a car too! I have to admit – I would love to not fork over my life savings to fund college for my two kids and health insurance for my family but I am realistic and know that if someone could come in and just devise a way to lower the costs significantly, I would totally appreciate that too. I’m not an all or nothing kind of person — save me some money, and I’ll support you for life but if you promise me the moon and deliver air instead, then peace out, I have to go pay some bills.

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Go F**k Yourself to the Will You Donate to My Campaign Politician – I totally get it. You need to fund your campaign but just because someone somewhere got their grubby hands on my email address doesn’t mean you need to send me emails every single day asking for money. If I don’t respond the first or fifth or hundredth time, it’s time to take a hint. Less is more. If you stop spamming me so much, maybe I’ll consider tossing some change your way. All I want now is to hit unsubscribe.

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Go F**k Yourself to the Flip Flopper Politician – There’s nothing more that drives me nuts than when I see video of a politician bashing a person who clearly has no moral compass only to see him cozy up to him and be his biggest defender because he’s either being blackmailed or has lost his cotton picking mind. Either way, I’d love to fast forward to 2024 to see if you really like the person you now play golf with on a regular basis or will you be flip flopping again when he no longer is relevant to your existence.

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Go F**k Yourself to the Kill them With Kindness Politician – If you are way too nice to me then I’m going to tell you right now, I don’t trust you. I mean, I can be happy too but on most days, I get pissed off a lot. There’s no way I can smile when people are feeding me a line of BS. Sometimes, you just can’t be nice to everyone – especially if they are not being nice to you. 

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