Coin Toss


Six months ago, we leapt with naiveté from our home in Southern California in search of greener pastures in the Northeast.

One mishap after the other has hailed with vengeance onto our path since we hit the road in our secretly igniting Toyota Sienna.  That first phone call, imparting drastic news of the corroded engine in our freshly purchased mini-van should have served as a warning for the choppy waters ahead.

Forging on, we made our way to New Jersey to start over with fresh optimism.  But, before we could work up our speed to a slow and steady clip, we lost our transmission on the New Jersey turnpike.

Days after, before we could utter the words, “what could possibly be next”, the furnace in our rental home cracked beyond repair leaving us for four days in January with no heat.

The first warmth of spring awoke from its wintry hibernation, and we came home one morning to find the house crawling with termites.

The employment that seemed to come rather easily when last we lived in the East, is scarce and more competitive than a decade ago, and I have now broken my own unemployment record.  Ironically, at 25 and single, I had no need for the generous salaries I made with very little thought.  Now, with a family to support, it is imperative.

Recently, within a matter of one week, I was asked to return to Los Angeles for a well-paying teaching gig for four days at the beginning of July, and then on the heals of that offer, booked a regional show, not too far from home that would run through August and make up the rest of the bills for the summer.

Last week went as follows…

on Monday, I got a call from my agent saying the show wasn’t selling and was cancelled,

on Tuesday, my son broke his femur,

on Wednesday, I had to cancel my teaching trip to Los Angeles to stay with my broken son,

on Thursday, I learned that ambulance services are not covered by our insurance,

and on Friday, with quite a stomach-ache, I looked for a nice green leaf to eat through before burrowing into a cocoon as I watched the dollar signs turn into butterflies and flutter out the window with the remainder of our nest egg.

I give up. I always had tenacious faith in the saying “leap and the net will appear”. Right now, I am wondering if that is referring more to a slotted spatula to scrape us off the steaming hard ground after we have hit with a resounding splat.


These past six months have been interesting to say the least!  We have been graciously caught by too many nets to count as the universe has thrown its humorous curve balls.

The excitement began with a corroded engine in Albuquerque, NM, en route from Los Angeles to New Jersey, giving us an unexpected reprieve from our endless hours of driving. How amazing that that sticky situation turned out the way it did!

The car company who sold us the vehicle took the hit of the hotel and food expenses, 15,000 dollars worth of repairs and a rental vehicle so we could continue our trip while the car was being serviced.  If that wasn’t enough of a blessing,  the hotel upgraded us to a two-bedroom suite for the remainder of our stay.

Shortly after settling into our cozy new home, we became profoundly grateful that we are the renters and not the owners!  The furnace cracked and died in the middle of January, and a couple of months after, we discovered a termite infestation.  Both of these hefty expenses were taken care of by the landlord within a matter of days, we had lower monthly heat bills than the previous tenants, and there has been no sign of creepy-crawlies since.

As far as re-starting the engine of my performing career, after a six and a half-year absence from New York City, I was pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome I received from the Business.  I have found myself up for a few jobs with small numbers of extremely talented performers with whom I was humbly proud to be counted.

While I have yet to book a long-running show, I am grateful for the precious gifts of scattered, but lucrative employment in the form of concerts and commercials to carry us through until just the right opportunity comes our way.

I must say that while I am disappointed about the cancellation of a show I was looking forward to being a part of, I can’t help but believe that its demise was a divine intervention of sorts.  Leaving Zachary for long hours of rehearsal in his current injured state would have been heart-wrenching.  How blessed are we to have the savings, (dwindling as it is) to allow us this time at home to focus on the healing of our baby boy?

As far as this injury, I am extremely relieved by our choice in private health insurance.  With a minimal co-pay, every minute detail of the excellent care he received at the Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai  is 100 percent covered.  With a lower rate plan, we would be out thousands, making the mere 1,000 dollar ambulance bill seem like pocket-change in comparison.

I am eternally grateful for all of the grace that our family has been shown through these past six months and am cautiously optimistic about the next six!


There are many different reasons that people write blogs.

-to practice writing
-hopes to one day be published
-journal therapy
-a desire to have stories preserved for their children

The list goes on. On any given day, my personal motivation falls under any or all of the above.

Because of my desire to keep readers, coupled with my belief that very few want to read post after post of laments and tirades of how horrible things are, I am always inspired to take a situation and spin it to the light as best as I can.

I’ll let you guess which section poured onto the keys with the momentum of raging waters, and which felt like it was yanked while swimming upstream in a river of taffy.  It doesn’t really matter. Both perspectives are valid.

But one makes for a more pleasant read and a more enjoyable life, for sure!

So, I write this to thank all of you for forcing me to keep my “heads” up through a tumultuous six months.

What side of the coin is facing you?


12 responses to “Coin Toss

  1. Love this! Hugs to you all.

  2. FANTASTIC. Loved this Em–what a beautiful reminder to always count your blessings 🙂 (and pick your battles?! LOL–sorry i couldn’t resist!)…Sometimes it just feels like I’ve built my life on a mountain of manure. But when I finally clear my head, change my perspective and look at all the good in my life, I realize that maybe I’ve only just stepped in manure–which is a heck of a lot more manageable! I count the fact that I can walk 5 blocks in our beautiful neighborhood right to your doorstep as a major MAJOR blessing.

    • As i always say, my friend…you should have your own blog! i love this metaphor. I am happy to be walking through the manure right along with you…as long as there is a field of lush green ahead! Please?!

  3. Sometimes it is helpful to just lay it all out for a good analysis, isn’t it? It definitely has been an eventful ride for you and your family, so I hope that things settle down on the tails side for awhile. I think you (and your family) have definitely proven your strength and tenacity.

    And, thanks for the reminder to focus on the positives and disguised blessings that come our way. I’ve had a bit of an employment snafu arise in regards to my teaching schedule for the Fall semester, and yet I am beginning to realize that it might be just what I needed to happen. At least that is my current thought – tomorrow I might be back to thinking it is horrendous and there is nothing good that can come of it – let’s hope not.

    • It does depend on the day, doesn’t it, Rita? I do still believe that things work out for the best. This stretch of time however has been the longest stretch without some inkling of an understanding! I’m sorry about your teaching snafu. I am sure it will all work out, but your allowed to be frustrated about it too! Both sides of the coin are an important part of the journey, no?

  4. All to often I find myself focusing on the negative and totally missing out on whats right in front of me, blessings of my babies, husband, family and friends and a job I love! Thank you for making it clear that it is easy to focus on the negative, but so much more rewarding to accentuate the positive! I always think of a saying when things are rough…”God never gives you more than you can handle”, he sure thinks you are one strong woman, and I agree.

  5. When we meet at a bar or cafe, I want the Tails version because it’s honest and begs for commiseration. When you post on Facebook or are interviewed by Oprah, everyone prefers the Heads perspective. As a reader, o really like the juxtaposition.
    Aphorisms are for small minded people. Finding the truth on both sides takes work. Too bad we aren’t paying you for it!

    • Christine, Thank you for this thoughtful comment…and for a new vocab word. I had to look up aphorism and am excited to add it to my word vault! (although even after reading the definition, I’m not entirely sure what it means and how it differs from “cliche”. enlighten me?)

      As for the fact that finding truth on both sides takes work, it certainly does. Ironically, I was excited about the concept of this entry and wrote it backwards. When I went to write the Tails side, it was extremely hard. Not because that perspective does not line up more authentically with how I’m actually feeling, but because God forbid I let people know that’s how I’m feeling! All in all, it was a nice therapy exercise. Glad you enjoyed it. And about that pay…..;)

  6. Thanks, I needed that.

    Blessings, and hoping things are looking up.

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