Shhhhhh. Highlights

The day after my surgery, deadlines still loomed. I mean, really doesn’t the Board of Education know that my vocal cords take precedence over the mission of closing the achievement gap for inner-city children? 

So off I went to the New Jersey Department of Education to take a health exam (necessary due to the fact that my bachelor’s degree is in tap dancing and lacks the credits necessary to teach children.) Or something like that. 

I couldn’t find the correct building and ended up in a police parking lot. I got out of the car and handed a cop my phone on which I had typed a message,  similar to all other messages I have written anytime I have needed to communicate with strangers since Wednesday. 

 I just had vocal surgery and can’t speak. I need —–

What I find most amusing about this practice is observing the unanimous expressions in the faces of all those being handed my phone. It’s the same every time. It goes from a scrunched nose, pinchy-eyed sneer – a “who is this yahoo handing me her phone?” sort of look.  Then about 4.5 seconds through the message the wrinkles melt to an “Oh. I’m an asshole. Let me be nice to make up for being an asshole” look. 

Every time. Makes me giggle. Of course not out loud because laughing is forbidden on vocal rest.  Terrible for your cords. Right up there with whispering which is on the same level as screaming. No joke. Who knew?

Ok, so that was fun. And so was the test which could have been passed by the world’s largest imbecile. One of the questions:

True or False: 

Drinking beer is a good substitute for whisky because it is less likely to affect liver function and create addiction. 


I Handed in the test and exited the building wearing an expression of “look at me crossing things off the list exactly one day after surgery.   Who is more incredible than I?”

The next stop was a family trip to Target for diapers.  But on the way in, I spotted a sundress which I felt I simply must try on. It’s hotter than bejesus here and you just can’t have too many Target sundresses, wouldn’t you agree?

I left my mother with Isabelle, my husband with Zachary and sauntered (how do you walk through Target?) to the dressing room. I put the dress on and went searching for my mom to see what she thought of it. A minute and a half later, I returned to an empty dressing room. I found three red-shirted employees to whom I mouthed with frantic and slightly psychotic hand gestures “where are my clothes?!”   I had left my phone with my mom and was therefore without my electronic crutch.   They looked at me with a mixture of pity, confusion and I swear, a glimmer of fear.  I searched myself while they watched, quite amused, and found my dress in the trash under the counter. 

Now, herein lies the greatest lesson vocal rest might have to offer for one who is incapable of letting things lie. I so badly wanted to ask why on earth my dress was thrown away. Put on a hanger? On the desk? Left in the room?  Sure. But why would it be thrown in the trash during my minute and a half absence? 

Here is where we learn “economy of language” folks.  Ask yourself this:

If you had to type out everything you wanted to say on a blasted auto-correcting iPhone, just how many things would be slashed off of the “need to know” list? 


Still on the day’s to do list was a trip to the bank. Now this, I suggest everyone try, just once. Hold up your phone to the teller’s window and don’t say a word. Watch her expression as she reads your message.

 Jolly Good Fun. 

Communication with the kids is a whole different entry as I am reeling from today’s nightmare of having to leave my son on the side of the road with my mother because his behavior was so atrocious he could no longer be allowed in the car. 

I do believe that no matter how much my mother and others have stepped in to make this doable, children do actually need their mothers to speak to them. With actual words. (Or sign language if both parties know more than the handful of baby signs we learned before our kids learned to speak). I know. Shocking revelation.

But, God bless my mother who has royally saved my ass this week, stepping in to tend to every squabble, whine and need. (Hubby is directing and choreographing a show and has been gone all day, everyday). I do believe there has only been one “My children never acted like this” comment. Ironically, this came no less than five minutes after I snapped my fingers at her to ask her something. 

 Another entry….

 About my children. Not hers. That’s her blog to write and deny. 


3 responses to “Shhhhhh. Highlights

  1. Laura Kahabka

    Oh Em…even without a voice you crack me up!! How long before you can speak? The parenting part would be the hardest for me. I love the part about snapping your fingers to get your mom’s attention! My mom used to get laryngitis a lot and to this day Erin and I both stand at attention if mom snaps her fingers!!! Hang in there!!

  2. Rosalie Grady

    Dear Em,
    I would like to hear that denial of “not my child”. Jim called today to say that his son through a stone at a car which his father did at the same age, and which his grandfather ( Phil) did also . Love those genes…it is not the upbringing. Jim and Jake both cried quite a bit. Not sure about Phil, though.

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