am one great big contradiction.  What you see, is most definitely not what you get.  I think I dress fairly normal.  Sometimes I dress a little funky and sometimes I wear things that are considered super preppy.  Sometimes I mix funky and super preppy because I have eclectic taste.  When JC and I were engaged and planning our wedding, we went to pick out our china.  I had already picked out my silver pattern and basically told him he could like it or not: Repousse by Kirk Stieff. We went to this little boutique shop in Sandy Springs, and the lady kept telling me that I simply could not put Repousse with Kusumam by Rosenthal.  It was so horrible a faux pas, it was practically illegal. Wellllllll, you know how I love me some illegal anything… I was waiting for someone to walk out and make a Citizen’s Arrest.  We left that little boutique that day, fully registered for Kusumam by Rosenthal, as well as Repousse by Kirk Stieff.  The lady was horrified.  I did not give a rat’s ass.  It was not her future table I was going to be setting, It was mine, and  I was not even going to be inviting her to dinner.  Why did she care what I chose? It was none of her damn business which china I wanted to put with Repousse by Kirk Stieff! Who really gives a shit what china I put with Repousse by Kirk Stieff? I bet Kirk Stieff would not give a shit which china I wanted to put with Repousse.  I would have left that shop, but it was the only place we could find Kusumam by Rosenthal.  Go figure.  The picture has to be big, so you can see how big the wine goblets are.  I still drank wine back then, and I chose the largest goblets known to man.  You can fit a half bottle of wine in those suckers.  IMG_2536.JPG

Even with my eccentricities, I am not sure that “let me tell you about my first tattoo” is something that most people expect to ever hear me say.  And, to be fair, I do not actually say that-ever!  The story is mortifying and I don’t really like telling it, but I will, because it is necessary.   I did not even get my first tattoo until I was 33 or 34, and had been sober for a couple of years.  My husband and I went to San Francisco, and for some strange reason, I got this idea in my head that I was going to get a tattoo in the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco.  JC was like: Whatever.  He knows how I am.  When I get an idea in my head, there is just no turning back.  We found a tattoo parlor (I hate that word: parlor ) that looked decent and the artist gave me some stuff to look at since I had not yet decided what I wanted my tattoo to be. Now that was a problem. Tattoos are very personal.  I should have known what I wanted before going in.  I learned that lesson and did not need to learn it again.  All of my other tattoos have a reason behind them.  We learn from our mistakes, I suppose.  I picked out a yellow crescent moon and some stars.  The location was the middle of my lower back.  I decided this would be the best spot because I could cover it up easily.  It did not hurt as badly as I had expected.  Don’t get me wrong–it hurt! But I had been afraid that I might cry, and it just wasn’t that kind of pain.    A few days after we got home, I was driving down the road, listening to a local radio show.  I felt my face turn red, as I picked up on the conversation…something about a tramp stamp.  I had never heard this term before, but it did not take me long to realize that I now had one.  Fuckety fuck me.  Of course I did.  Of course I had a fucking tramp stamp!  Great.  Later that week,  I almost ran off the road as I had a sickening revelation that my lovely tramp stamp looked very much- too much –like the logo for the Crescent Moon Diner…fuckety fuck me AGAIN. Since it was located on my back, if I wanted to look at it there, I had to look in a mirror.  I could pretty much forget about the damn thing and pretend it never even happened….well…unless I was bending over to get something out of my bag at the kids’ school and my shirt and my jeans were separated for that split second that Suzy Q. Homemaker from the neighborhood happened to be looking down my way.  Those little incidents were so much fun, they almost made me want to wear things that invited the opportunity.  I loved hearing the shock in their voices. “YOU have a tattoo?!” It was almost too much for some of them.  I did actually get,” Jennifer, is it REAL? “ several times, as if I would actually apply a fake tramp stamp just for the hell of it.  Seriously, people? Is it real?  Come on.  When I clocked in at a hefty 225 the day before The Baby was born, it looked like it was the size of a paper plate.  There have been lots of times when I would have made a different decision regarding that particular tattoo. The good thing about it is that  I don’t have to look at it, and neither do you, so we are all good.   I have a Sons of Anarchy tattoo on the inside of my right forearm.  I got that one at Kat Von D’s L.A. Ink.  It’s about the size of a quarter.  I have a Buddhist symbol for mindfulness on the inside of my left ankle and a skull and crossbones on the outside of my right ankle. All three of those tattoos have meaning for me.  Nothing is larger than a half dollar. When Mini Me started talking about getting a tattoo awhile back, I was not surprised.  I expected it, actually.  What I did not expect, was for him to ask permission to get it.  I think I just thought he would go to college and show up with one someday.    Tuesday, I got a text from Mini Me, saying he really needed to talk to me about something, but wanted to make sure he wasn’t bothering me at work.  This sort of text is not usually a good sign, as it means I might go ape-shit, so he wants to make sure I am not around other people who would matter.  Finally, he asked me if I would mind if he went and got his tattoo. I was disappointed.  I had secretly envisioned the two of us going to Liberty Tattoo together, on a mother/son field trip before he leaves for college next weekend.  We could get tattoos together!  It would be so much fun! What 18 year old boy wouldn’t want to go get a tattoo with his mother??? I sent him a text with my idea and asked him if he would just consider it.  He responded that it had to be today because it was the anniversary of Jerry’s death. Today was not an option for me. Even though I was disappointed that our little tattoo bonding experience would not be happening (yet! ;) ,  I totally understood this utmost importance and pressing need.      Mothah remembers where she was when JFK was shot.  I remember where I was when it was announced that Jerry Garcia died.  It was like 6:00am.  JC and I were dating.  We had stayed up all night with JC’s brother, re-decorating their mother’s kitchen as a surprise.  She was due in from a trip later that day.  I had made an early morning Krispy Kreme run.  This was before cell phones, so I had to actually wait until I got back to the house to let anyone else know this tragic news.  My kids think that is the worst part of that story-that I could not call people and share the news on my way home.   I told Mini Me that I had to tell (warn) his father that he was going to get a tattoo, so I texted this information to my husband and got no response.  I got tired of waiting, so I called him.  His response was this: I do not have time to deal with this.  Oh, okay. I knew he was coming home late. I told him that I had to be up extra early for work and asked him not to wake me up when he got home.  A little while later, I was getting ready to go to bed and Mini Me texted me a picture of his tattoo.  I thought I might pass out.  It was HUGE.  It looked like it might be 4 or 5 inches long. Mother of GOD.  I asked him if he was happy. He was, and very.  I asked him if it hurt and he said HELL YES.  I told him that I did not expect it to be that big, and I am pretty damn sure that he knew all along that I had no idea how big that thing was going to be.  And now, as a result,  Tuesday night, August 9, will now be forever known as The Night FUUUCK  Was Heard ‘Round the Neighborhood.  JC got home, got in bed, and got on his Instagram,  and saw a photo of  Mini Me’s tattoo.  I was awakened to FUUUCK!!! GOD DAMN IT! The kind when you are so mad that it sounds like: GOT TAM IT!  JENNIFER!  WAKE UP! Have you seen this? OH MY GOD! etc. etc.  I was livid. Of course I had seen it.  It wasn’t my favorite thing in the world, but it wasn’t worth all of this drama queen bullshit.  The ONE thing I had asked–was that I not be awakened, and damn it, here I was, awakened.    I know it is supposed to be Jerry Garcia’s hand print, but I can’t help it.  To me, it looks like it could be Harambe the Gorilla’s hand print.  I am sure it will be much better when Mini Me’s skin calms down.  One can hope… As for the size, Mini Me originally said, and I quote, “as small as possible”.  I assumed  (obviously incorrectly) that this meant he could get it as small as my quarter-sized tattoos.  This is as small as he could get this tattoo, and now that I think about it, I really should have known that this would be a design that could never go a small as a quarter! It’s way too intricate.  It’s someone’s actual hand print. but that is really my only issue with it.  Like I said before, tattoos are very personal.  It does not matter to me if you like my tattoos or not-they are not for you, they are for me.  Mini Me’s tattoo is not for me. It’s for Mini Me. If it makes him happy, then he can rock right on with his bad ass self, and it’s really nobody else’s damn business.  As for me, I can certainly say that Jerry Garcia has, posthumously, left an indelible mark on my son, and I am not exactly sure what to think about that!😉


Fifth Grade Cynic

I have been a cynic since the fifth grade.  In my opinion, I’m lucky I made it that far. I can pinpoint the exact moment that my life changed for the worse.  It was going so well.   We lived in a nice neighborhood.  We had a pool at our house.  We had a sauna in our house.  We had a bidet in our house.  We moved into this house in 1978, people.  Mothah, who is like 5 ft. 2 (if that) , drove a Cadillac.  Granted, it did look like a pimp mobile.  It was navy blue with some glitter in the paint and it was a two door.  It was loooong.  I think it may have been called a sedan-de-ville. It had crackled white leather seats and a white leather top and wire wheels. Can’t you just hear some Curtis Mayfield playing in the background as you are reading? Superfly…. I know you are laughing your asses off, just imagining this.  When my brother or I would get out of the car, the doors were so heavy, we could not hold onto them and they would go flying off onto the sidewalk and get stuck, making this awful scraping sound. ( I am laughing my ass off just typing this)  We could lay in the back window, on the speaker area- and we loved to do that. I think Eli and I could lay up there at the same time-one of our head’s at each end.   Seat belts existed back then, but of course were not a requirement.  Daddy had an orange Corvette.  God, that thing was U-G-L-Y-it-didn’t-have-no-alibi-it was UGLY, but baby, we were stylin’ and profilin’.   I walked to school or rode my bike, and guess what? The school was not in sight from my house. In fact, it was about a mile away.  I don’t remember anything sinister ever happening.  Imagine that. Well….except for the time that I cut through a yard I was not supposed to cut through, and these people’s dog bit me on the butt.  Mothah said, “Well, Jennifah, you shouldn’t have cut through their yahd.”  Imagine that.   We used to roller skate up and down the hill in front of my house in boot skates with metal wheels.  I can remember saving up my babysitting money (.50 an hour) to buy the skates.  They were $12.99.  Skating down that hill is how I broke my wrist.  We played in the creek behind my house.  We played “Cowboys and Indians” and none of us had ever heard the phrase politically correct before.  We played with all different kinds of toy weapons-guns, knives, bows and arrows.  We loved cap guns too-those were lots of fun!  None of it was never deemed inappropriate.  We ran in a pack of neighborhood kids-after school and in the summer.  It was just the way it was.  Life was carefree and fun-until the fifth grade.  I almost hit a snag before the fifth grade , when a friend of mine told me about the horrors of sex.   I think that was around the third or fourth grade.  I was certain she was wrong about all of that.  That was such vile and disgusting information– I had to go to Mothah and ask-just to make sure that something so nasty was not in my future.   I was instantly sorry I had opened that can of worms.  It resulted in my having to watch NOVA’s The Miracle of Life  video and then having a Q and A session with Mothah afterwards, that was mostly silent. NOVA had explained it all very well.  The only real question I had was, “How could I get out of doing it ?” and I don’t recall asking Mothah that.    I could forget about sex, I decided.  I just put that nasty junk out of my mind, as it was a long way off for me. Sex was nothing compared to the complete and utter devastation that came in fifth grade, when this same friend, who shall remain nameless, as we are still friends today,  informed me that indeed, there was no Santa.   I assured her that this time, she was dead up wrong and how dare she take the name of Santa in vain like that? She started laughing and asked me how I could actually believe that a fat man in a red suit traveled in a sleigh, with reindeer, to every house on earth, in one night, delivering gifts to every child?  I thought about that for a moment and had to admit that the idea was a bit ludicrous….yet I went back to defending the great name of Santa….When I got home from school, I went to Mothah, hoping like hell she was going to tell me that of course, my friend had it all wrong, Santa was totally real! He was magic! Magic was real!  Yet, to my disappointment, that is not what happened.  She told me a beautiful story about how Santa is love.  Santa is how your parents show their love for you at Christmas time.  I can’t remember now exactly how she said it, but it was beautiful and we both cried.  I looked at her, sobbing, and I said, “Well, I guess this means that there is no Easter Bunny and no Tooth Fairy either?” and she nodded her head.  And that was it. Fuckety fuck me.  Life, as I knew it, was over.  And things have never been the same again, and they never will be.  I will say that things improved, somewhat, when I had children of my own, and could do the whole Santa-Easter Bunny-Tooth Fairy-thing myself, but,  it’s still not the same as it was .  It will never be the same as it was.  Damn it.



Heartsick, With A Month To Go…



Time is closing in on me.  I can feel it–as if I am in a room and the walls are closing in.  The air is getting thin and I am finding it harder and harder to breathe.  If I think about it too long-5 seconds or more-I can work myself into a panic attack.  My stomach starts to flip flop and I can even break a sweat.  It is actually going to happen. And soon.  On Wednesday, it will be a mere month away.  We will take Mini Me to college on August 20.  Part of me would like to lock him in the dog crate.  He would fit.  I could put a padlock on the outside and just keep him there.  I know I would never get away with that.  He is far to loud and boisterous.  He has started doing his own laundry this summer.  Do not say a word. NO, I haven’t ever made him do it before! I have enjoyed every moment of doing his laundry! Okay, well maybe not every moment, but I have not hated it!  Okay, okay. At times, yes, I have hated it-but only because I knew he was putting dirty clothes on top of clean clothes that he had not put away, and I was having to do all of the laundry over again!  His laundry has been my job, and I have done it well.  I have sort of missed doing his laundry.  NO, I do not want him to mail it to me from Nashville.  He can keep on doing it himself.  He says he is actually going to hand wash everything.  I am interested to see how long that will last!😉  I am getting sick just writing this.  I want to trash it and go do something else and pretend I never started this.  Maybe that will make it all go away.  I know it won’t.  I know that Mini Me is perfectly capable of taking care of himself while he is at school.   I don’t want him to make the same mistakes I made.   How do I stop that from happening? I know I can’t.  I  can only hope that I have taught him well.  I know that everyone has to make their own choices and mistakes and learn from both.  I want to hold his hand. I want to be there to tuck him in at night, and be there when he wakes up in the morning.  I want to protect him from all of the evils that lurk in the shadows of college…..Then I remember that he is not going to Athens.  He isn’t me.  He hasn’t already started off on the wrong foot.  He pretty much knows what he wants to do–I did not at his age, or 5 years later, or even now.  God, I am going to miss him, and his music that has filled our home since he was 10 years old.  It’s going to be too quiet-even with The Middle Child and The Baby still here.  Maybe I will take up guitar at the ripe old age of 45….IMG_1087

Click/Boom, Then IT Happened…


I cannot, for the life of me, remember when The Middle Child, who I will call by her actual name: Eliza, (periodically, in this piece, for just reason) introduced me to Hamilton, but I know it was some time ago. This is my child who stays in her room a lot, on her iPad too much, yet I have checked her browsing history and all I can ever find are Broadway links and such.  There is much eye rolling that goes on between us and I have longed for a connection. I have often thought maybe it would come when her brother goes off to college. She thinks I don’t get her at all, but I do-if only a little. I had an Annie obsession in the early 1980’s and would go to the library and research Andrea McArdle on occasion, as the internet was not at my fingertips!   I can distinctly remember thinking to myself, how silly-to be so taken with a Broadway musical about Alexander Hamilton! (like my obsession with an orphan girl was any better?)  At the same time, I was ever so thankful to have a self-proclaimed Broadway Nerd for a 14 year old daughter.  There were far worse things to get involved in at her age-I knew from my own experience as a teenager.  The things that I started doing at just about her age are what have led to my having just about 14 years of sobriety today.  The Middle Child could have as much Hamilton as her heart desired!  She knew every word to every song-all 46 of them!  She would excitedly tell me things about the Schuyler Sisters when she could get a minute of my attention.  Last school year was a blur, what with one brother a senior (Mini Me) and another a second grader (The Baby).  I would tell myself to stop and listen to her.  I knew it was important–she was trying to share something that she loved with me.  I would catch bits and pieces here and there.  I caught that Hamilton’s wife’s name was Eliza Schuyler Hamilton.  AHA! A name connection.  This, I got. Strange…I know. It’s just how my mind works. After that, when my Eliza would talk to me about Hamilton, I was a little more receptive to hearing about it.  I would hear her singing the songs in her room.  There is one song, The Schuyler Sisters,  where the chorus goes: Angelicaa, Eliiizaaa, and Peggy: The Schuyler Sisters! Work! Work!  I started calling The Middle child Eliiizaaa just like in the song.  It drove her nuts, which of course egged me on. The more time went by, the more I heard about Hamilton, and the dude who wrote it: Lin-Manuel Miranda. LIN WHO? I remember saying. The Middle Child told me all about him, and about how he had written In The Heights, which Dekalb School of the Arts (our beloved school) had put on two years ago.  Oohhhh, I said,  remembering going to see In The Heights  with Eliza and my mother in law and being slightly embarrassed.  I could not resist. I had to ask. Is it sexy like In The Heights?  I will never forget her answer. MOM!!!!NO!!! IT’S A HIP HOP MUSICAL ABOUT OUR FOUNDING FATHERS!!! ….. Broadway Nerd, much?😉   So…little by little, I learned more and more about Hamilton and its founding father, Lin-Manuel Miranda….and the more I became intrigued.  When Eliza showed me a picture of Lin, I said, he looks like Shakespeare.  HE HAS BEEN COMPARED TO SHAKESPEARE, MOM!!! The Middle Child practically squealed at me.  Sheesh. I had not seen her so excited over something and/or someone in quite awhile.  It reminded me of my adoration of Adam Ant ….okay…I won’t go there.  Eliza would play the Hamilton soundtrack in my car whenever we went anywhere. It was always, MOM! YOU HAVE GOT TO HEAR THIS ONE!  So I heard it.  Usually more than once.  And I liked them. All of them.  I found myself picking up the words-most especially to You’ll Be Back.    I would make Eliza play that one over and over.  Finally, she got sick of it and refused to play it for me. I figured out how to YouTube it and then eventually just broke down and bought the album on iTunes.  Summer came and we would go out to the pool and play the Hamilton soundtrack. Loud. Yes, even with OH! Southern motherfucking (uh-huh) Democratic-Republicans! from “Washington On Your Side”….I did not care. It was Hamilton or nothing.  When we were in NYC in June for Eliza to sing at Carnegie Hall with her choir, we entered the lottery for tickets numerous times and lost.  I told The Middle Child how sorry I was that I could not buy us tickets. Hamilton is sold out until 2017 and resale tickets average around $1250.   We did not have $2500-$3000 for 2 of us to buy tickets to go see a show!  Even if we did, my conscience would never allow it.  I would never sleep again if I spent that kind of money on something like that.(We aren’t destitute…just average, middle class Americans with a kid going off to a private college in August and two other kids, a mortgage, etc.)  MOM!!! I KNOW!! I WOULD NEVER EXPECT ANYTHING LIKE THAT EVER!!! I KNEW WE COULD NOT SEE IT!!! my sweet, sweet Eliiizaaa said to me.   I tried to put it out of my mind, but it simply would not go away.  Lin (Manuel Miranda-we are now on a first name basis LOL) held a sweepstakes to benefit the Hispanic Federation. The Grand Prize was to be 2 tickets to his LAST performance in Hamilton on July 9, complete with 2 airline tickets, and hotel accommodations, as well as getting to go to an after party with the cast.  There were different levels at which you could enter.  There was an Eliza level for $225.  This gave you 2,250 entries, a hoodie and a beanie with the sweepstakes logo “I Did Not Throw Away My Shot” on it.  The Middle Child used some of her own money to enter.  When it was getting close, I had a mental snap, and well, let’s just say I had 750 entries and  will be receiving a t-shirt ;)  We spent the last week of June at the beach in South Carolina.- Laurens is in South Carolina, redefining brav’ry-I now have  Hamilton lyrics for every occasion😉   I began reading stories online about people camping out for cancellation line tickets outside of the theater. I had camped out for concert tickets before-back in the day-The Grateful Dead, in particular.  I began to view this option as somewhat of a dare, if you will…so I took myself up on it.  I did not realize that Eliiizaaa had not taken me seriously when I had been talking about it.  When I told her I had bought our plane tickets, she jumped out of her beach chair and started screaming. Looking back now,  the me that she knows is far more mundane, I suppose.  She has never known me to be spontaneous and compulsive in this way.  I may have scared her a little.

When we got to NYC, it did not take long for me to figure out that talking about this and doing this were two completely different things!  Sleeping on 46th Street in a kid-sized Lightning McQueen sleeping bag, which was stuffed inside a Hefty Cinch Sack because of rain, was, in my mind, a new low for me. And, sleeping in a kid-sized sleeping bag at 5 feet 5 inches is like sleeping in a short-sheeted bed.  It was hot-a different kind of hot than in Atlanta.  On the very first day, not long after we arrived there, I thought to myself, what the fuck have I done? , though later that night-watching my Eliiizaaa sing the songs from Hamilton with all of our fellow Hamilcampers, on the steps of The Richard Rodgers Theater, that question was answered for me….I had done the right thing.  I never questioned myself again.

The Cancellation Line (CL) is a few different things, and probably more than what I know. And, what I think I know, may or may not be true! It is just what I was told by others.  Seats become available for different reasons.  Cast and crew have seats for family and friends. If their family and friends are not using the tickets, those tickets may go to the CL.  If a lottery ticket winner does not pay for their ticket by the specified time, that ticket may go to the CL.  Ticket re-sellers may sell unsold tickets back to the theater at the last minute and the theater may sell those tickets to the CL.  For whatever reason, the tickets that go to the CL do not go there until the last minute. This means that if you have been sleeping out in the line for days and you get tickets, you go in exactly as you are. You do not get to go take a shower and get dressed up.  What happened for us was better than it could have been.  On Tuesday, when we did not get in, the line had to disperse for the duration of the show.  We hopped on a train and went to our friend’s house in Pelham.  We took a shower and re-packed our backpack’s and left our big suitcase there.  That was the best shower of MY LIFE.  We got back to Hamilcamp around 11:00 and it had cooled off, so we did not get all sweaty and nasty again-we went to sleep.  Wednesday  was a complete clusterfuck.  Ham 4 Ham happens on Wednesday’s.  This is when some of the cast comes out and does a skit and they have a live lottery.  The lottery tickets cost $10. A Hamilton for a Hamilton-get it?  This was to be Lin-Manuel Miranda’s last Ham 4 Ham.  Over 5000 people showed up–the most ever.  I started to get nervous.  The theater recognizes the first 20 in the line.  We were barricaded off to the side.  We even had NYPD protection for awhile-it was wild.  Some dishonest people tried to lie and say they had been in the headcount.  I have never seen grown adults lie outright like that.    I was greatly disappointed in humanity that day.   There were so many people.  I had a feeling that everything line-related was about to fall apart.  The lady from the theater started coming out and offering us premium tickets.  These cost $544 each.  I really did not want to do that.  I wanted to hold out, but I was scared.  A few people bought premium’s.I decided to wait one more day, then I decided I was going to cave.  I was up next for premium’s when they came out with regular tickets-$199 each, but there was someone in front of me for one regular, which meant one for him and one for us.  I looked at Eliza and I said YOU GO!   MOM! Are you SURE? she asked me, with tears in her eyes.  Tears sprang to my eyes.  ABSOLUTELY!, I said, without hesitation, we came here for you!  with my heart breaking in half because I was dying to see it with her, and we had done all of this together, as the only mother/daughter Hamilcampers at that time!  I handed her a credit card and when she left,  people started cheering.  I had not really noticed that there was still a long line of people next to us-getting ready to go into the theater.  These people had watched all of this go down.  The tears started flowing and I couldn’t make them stop.  Please let there be one more ticket. The Middle Child sent me a text message that said, you have reached a new level of awesome momness among the group. More tears. She had already told me several times that the others had said they thought I was an awesome mom for doing this.  This really had been a great bonding experience for the two of us.  We had not fought a single second.  There had not been a single eye roll.    About 10 minutes went by.  I kept thinking that it had been too long-the lady was not coming back.  One of the guys in line came up to me and told me we still had 15 minutes and I should not worry!  About that time, the lady came around the corner again, I have two more!! she said. I just need one! I said with my voice shaking and tears streaming down my face.  Okay, is there someone else who will take the other one? the lady asked. Of course there was-there always is for Hamilton!  As I ran in the theater with the lady, I heard everyone cheering.  Let me just say that this was serious Lifetime Movie Material, people.  I could not have scripted it better, myself! I was shaking so hard I could hardly pay for my ticket.  When I got inside the theater,  my heart was pounding so hard I thought surely it could be heard outside my body.  I WAS IN!  WE WERE  BOTH IN!  WE WERE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS! OH MY GOD.  When I got to my seat in the center orchestra section, and there was my Eliiizaaa, and all of our new BFF’s we had been sleeping on the sidewalk with since Monday morning,  Eliza jumped up , and we hugged and our little group cheered, and the people all around us cheered , and everyone was crying…I am totally serious. At that moment-we were the stars of this show!  Eliza and I did not sit next to each other, but our whole little group was together, and it was all good. The lights dimmed and it began….How does a >>bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman >>dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean>>by providence  Impoverished, in squalor>>Grow up to be a hero and a scholar?>>….  People were cheering and audibly gasping. Then it got to the world is gonna know your name…what’s your name, man?….and Lin-Manuel Miranda came out, and I thought I might pass out right there.  People were screaming and cheering-I among them.  There was a noticeable pause-there had to be-before Lin could sing his next line…Alexander Hamilton>>My name is Alexander Hamilton.   I had read about the pause, and how it had grown.  The audience goes completely nuts when Lin comes out at the beginning.  In fact, we got a couple of  glimpses of Lin on Tuesday, and the same thing happened each time-uncontrollable screaming from everyone who is around.  He is charming and  marvelous and adorable.   The entire play is in song. One right after the next. There is no way for me to adequately describe how magnificent it all is–the costumes, the set, the rotating stage floor design, the dancing, the singing, the music, it is all perfect.  I cried through most of it-not only because I was so happy to be there, but because the whole thing is really so beautiful and wonderful and GRAND.   I thought my heart might burst with love for Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and Lafayette! Whoever would have thought it? It is so fabulous that you can hear people openly weeping during parts of it.  I was one of those people.  I could not help myself.  I was a wreck.  It was that much.  

I could see The Middle Child’s face from the side.  I could see that she was having the same spiritual experience that I was having.  When it was over, I could not stop crying.  I was taken aback that the cast did one curtain call as a whole. Nobody came out by themselves for applause. They held hands together because they had worked together and made all of this wonderment happen together.  For me, it symbolized that not one person had done anything alone.  It was sort of the same with all of us sitting there together on the right sides of those 2 rows in the center orchestra section–we had not done this alone.  During Cabinet Battle #1, after Thomas Jefferson did his rap, Lin did his, and after we know who’s really doing the planting, our wonderful Jawan gave Lin a thumbs up, and I swear to you, Lin gave one back! Our little group felt like Lin gave that thumb’s up to all of us-not just to Jawan ;)  I just got chills while typing that sentence!

The most important piece happened after the show.  The Middle Child and I went to grab some dinner at Junior’s before heading out to Pelham for another shower.  While we were there, my Eliza said to me, Mom, thank you. Thank you so much for finally getting one of my Broadway obsessions! Oh. I got it, alright.  I got it baaaaaaddddddddd.  And it has made all the difference in our relationship.  How weird is it to think that my daughter and I have been brought closer together by one of America’s Founding Father’s? Or was it Lin-Manuel Miranda?  Or maybe it is that we slept on the sidewalk in NYC…..? I guess it’s just the whole shebang. IMG_1019

Throughout our big adventure, I gave updates on Facebook and on, with #ATL2Lin_Manuel, created by my friend Wendy Weir (Greater Than Gravity )-thanks Wendy! You ROCK!   When I started, I fully expected people to tell me I had lost my mind.  I never, in a million years, expected the outpouring of love and support that I got from family and friends and friends of friends as well as complete strangers who just happened to hear about me.  Some of the comments were things like you are showing Eliza how to make something happen for herself–which was a view I had not yet taken.  See, what some of you do not know is that I wanted to see Hamilton as much as she did.  As I sat there, in my sweaty Belmont t-shirt, old Lilly shorts, and purple running shoes,  Lin’s words were resonating in my heart and in my head….And I wanted what I got>>When you got skin in the game, you stay in the game  But you don’t get a win unless you play in the game>> Oh, you get love for it. You get hate for it You get nothing if you…Wait for it, wait for it, wait>> And then click boom, and it happened….my Eliiizaaa and I were in the room where it happened.

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Good Morning from Hamilcamp! #ATL2Lin_Manuel

Good Morning! Today is Wednesday, and that means it’s Ham for Ham day. This is when part of the cast of Hamilton comes out and does a little skit and there is a live lottery for matinee tickets. I’m told it is a complete and total clusterfuck, with about 3,000 people out here in front of the Richard Rodgers Theater. You know how I feel about crowds…So…last night, The Middle Child and I booked it on out to Pelham on the train to take the World’s Greatest Shower at the home of our friends, the Kapplows. Jon has been one of JC’s friends since college and was in our wedding.  We don’t get to see him and his wife Nancy very often, but thank God they are the type of friends that we have known so long that we can call (or text) and say I’m coming to NYC to sleep on the street, can I please come shower at your house randomly? And they just automatically say by all means, yes, without hesitation. Jon picked us up at the train station and announced that he had left the car windows down, to which we both instantly replied GOOD! thinking he meant because we smelled so badly. He started laughing and said we had not let him finish. He had left the car windows down and it had rained and then it had gotten hot and the car smelled badly is what he was trying to say! We told him we were quite sure we wouldn’t notice and neither would he! So we showered and repacked our backpacks and left our suitcase at their house and rode the train back to Hamilcamp. There were a lot of people milling about, waiting on the actors to come out-they never did. We were finally able to do a head count. The Middle Child and I are #17. Some people got a hotel room across the street and asked The Middle Child if she wanted to sleep on the floor. She asked if I minded. Hell no! I said. Poor thing had 3 hours of sleep the night before. I’m the psychomother. I will sleep on the sidewalk! So, last night, the Church of Scientology kept me awake most of the night with their dual video screens with sound that run continuously. But, right before I went to bed, I got to see Pam, a Hamilcamper, mom of 3, who made it in last night. She got an unclaimed lottery seat for $199! Her eyes were still glistening as she told a small group of us how wonderful it was. She cried through most of it. Lin winked at her. OH. MY. GOD. This is where I simply die! I was so very happy for her.  I went to sleep feeling a little less helpless and a little more hopeful that it will happen for us.

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Wait For It, Wait For It #ATL2Lin_Manuel

1:30pm update….Mack daddy battery pack decided to work again! The day is looking up! I sent The Middle Child to Starbucks when my lack-of-caffeine headache got unbearable.  They accidentally gave us venti frappucinos, but charged us for grande. Most people would be thrilled at this mistake, but I hate it when they do this! I do not want the extra calories, dammit! And, I don’t have the will power to throw it out! Ugh! Oh, the struggles!😂 A few of us went to The Paramount Hotel and hijacked their lobby restroom to freshen up.  A sponge bath and a change of clothes does wonders after spending the night on the sidewalk in a child sized Lightning McQueen sleeping bag that’s inside a Hefty Cinch Sack-let me tell you!  The line breaker asshat and his daughters are still here. The digital lottery ends at 4:00pm and then they will start coming out to try to sell us the Premium $544 seats that are available.  Most people will hold out for $200 seats.  I just got back from a restroom run to The Marriott, and was relieved that today, I don’t look high😂 I was also excited to find my very favorite Voss Sparkling Water in the Marriott gift shop, yet a bit less enamored to pay $4.99 for it, alas….I did it anyway….. Go figure😂 It’s me we are talking about here, People. Until later…..

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Good morning from the Big Apple! I must say that The Middle Child and I did just fine for Day 1 of Hamilcamp. Let me explain how it all works at night. If your place in line lands you outside the overhang of the Richard Rodgers Theater awning, which ours does, you go across the street to sleep under the awning of Finding Neverland. This is not a bad thing, because you cannot hear the video screens that run from The Church of Scientology 24/7.  Unfortunately, The Middle Child got about 3 hours of sleep. I, on the other hand, take medication that allows me to sleep like a baby, under any and all conditions. This proved to be most beneficial last night, as I was on the concrete, inside The Baby’s Lightning McQueen child sized sleeping bag, which was stuffed inside a Hefty cinch sack, since it was blowing rain.

Some of our new friends woke us up around 7am and let us know that earlier this morning, this asshat and his daughters had broken in line where the split was between the sleepers under the Richard Rodgers awning and those of us who were across the street. 

He was told how the line works and refuses to move. Since the theater does not endorse or support Hamilcamp, we cannot make a huge stink over it; however, Psychomother that I am, I went up to him and told him that I flew up here with my daughter yesterday and got here at 9:00AM and WE are numbers 21 and 22 and it is going to stay that way! He just looked at me. Some people have heard his daughters tell him they need to move. He refuses. We are banning together.  Someone said that this guy from the theater is on our side and is coming to do an official headcount and he will use the list. Stay tuned for further news! We are ONE! WE ARE HAMILCAMP!