Being Broughton: Me Time
Check out Julie's blog for her take on everything -- and nothing
Now that we're a little more than three months into the new year, I'm wondering how your New Year's resolutions are going. Are you super skinny and organized now? I do hope so.
I don't typically make resolutions. I've pretty much accepted that, for the most part, I am what I am. I've been roughly the same weight for two years, give or take 5 pounds. When I creep to the upper limits of that 5-pound window, be it January or July, I have a procedure.
First, I run in a circle screaming. Then I text all my weight-conscious friends with the number in question, along with all the possible reasons for the gain (sugar, which is totally the devil, but such a delicious evil force).
And finally, after answering viewer email asking if I'm pregnant ("Yes, but I'm actually expecting a burrito, not a bambino. I'm registered at Chipotle."), I simply lock down the carbs, eat like humans are designed to eat, and, within a week or so, I blissfully return to my happy place.
So I don't necessarily think of this as a resolution, but this year I decided to enjoy more adult time. I'm a single parent who works unusual hours, so this isn't quite as easy as it sounds.
But after my first child-free, work-free weekend in nearly three years, I decided to book more me time.
This is how I spent 48 hours of Adult Fun:
Friday Noon-Kiss Mini Me Goodbye. Assure her I still love her and will return soon. She plays with babysitter's dog and shoos me out the door.
Friday 2 p.m.-Arrive at Handsome Gay Boyfriend's (HGB) condo. Admire candles and other dangerous objects on coffee table.
Friday 7 p.m.-Request blanket on couch. Instead HGB's partner gives me a cup of coffee.
Friday 11:20 p.m.-Fall asleep at table in restaurant.
Saturday 9 a.m.-Peacefully awaken without help of alarm clock or small blonde person.
Saturday 11 a.m.-Enjoy brunch without kid's menu.
Saturday 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Read trashy magazines on couch. Nap. Repeat.
Saturday 11:30 p.m.-Watch SNL live, as the universe and Justin Timberlake intended. Notice how much clearer picture looks without small handprints and butter on screen.
Sunday 10 a.m.-Enjoy long bath. Soak in the nice sensation of warm water. Do not miss pain caused by stepping on plastic Dora Mermaid doll.
Sunday 1 p.m.-Visit old friend at his new childless condo.
Sunday 1:30 p.m.-Enviously touch said friend's point art. Ask to use bathroom. Peek into shower. Shed a tear over shiny black tile. Note that it looks slippery and dangerous.
Sunday 2:00 p.m. -Say goodbye to Pointy-Art Loving friend. Descend his short stairway. Lack of safety gate simultaneously delights and terrifies me.
Sunday 5:00 p.m. Return home to Mini Me. Look at giant play kitchen in dining room. Silently curse fabulous condos and toddler-slicing art of my friends.
Sunday 5:15 p.m..-Snuggle Mini Me. Watch in horror as Greek yogurt tumbles in what seem like slow motion onto purple couch
Sunday 6:00 p.m.- Mini Me presents me with this. Look! Her tiny princess feet are a butterfly!
Sunday 6:10 p.m.- Realize there's no place like home.
My Parenting Hangover
I'm on week five of "Being Broughton." Technically, I suppose, I've "been Broughton" my whole life, but this is week five of my blog by that name. I've gotten into a nice rhythm of posting on Mondays. So that means I typically write Sunday evening after my Mini Me sails off into toddler slumberland. It's a nice little wind down from my weekend and gives me some "me time" that doesn't involve the Real Housewives of Anywhere and lets me use my brain in a non-forecasting way.
So Sunday night, as I'm happily sinking into my couch with my laptop, I hear coughing from the small person's room. I do the typical parent move -- freezing, then listening intently. It stops. Whew. I select my Justin Timberlake Pandora station (BTW...is it just me, or are you excited about the Jay Z/JT tour coming up?). Then I hear it again.
The hacking starts again, so I decide to go crawl into bed with her. Mini Me is 3 years old and, in so many ways, is like hanging out with a really short 35-year-old. But, in so many other ways, she is still a tiny baby and loves snuggle time. Still asleep, she instinctively crawls onto me and settles down. I'm enjoying toddler cuddle time as I mentally debate what to blog about this week. Should I write about my resistance to e-readers? Or maybe my New Year's resolution for more adult time?
That's when my train of thought is broken because the coughing has resumed. Not only has it resumed, but it quickly takes that awful turn of "coughing until she pukes." Maybe "awful" is a strong word, because she didn't even wake up, really. And perhaps medically speaking, it isn't so awful. In fact, her pediatrician has actually told me this is a great way to clear out whatever is causing the issue in the first place.
But when you are single parent, nighttime illness like this is one of the biggest challenges. And when I say "biggest challenge," I'm talking about in the scheme of normal life and normal challenges. I'm sure if your co-parent is a criminal, or really horrible person, then a little nighttime puke seems like small potatoes compared to what you deal with on a day-to-day basis.
Even if you aren't a parent, you probably had a drunk friend in college who would occasionally have a few too many Natural Lights and spew all over his or her bed. You know the challenges this presents. Now imagine that with a small person who you can't just leave to deal with the consequences while you eat a box of blueberry Pop Tarts.
In a two-parent or two-adult household, a team mentality quickly takes control. One person tends to the Small Sick Person, cleaning, wiping, changing. The other assumes laundry patrol, ripping the dirty linens off the bed and into the washing machine with lightning-quick precision. Often as this happens, the Small Sick Person is relocated and may already be back asleep. Fresh sheets are put onto the mattress and it's as if nothing ever happened. A really experienced duo can complete all this in about 6 minutes. I've seen it. I've done it.
But when the defense is man-to-man, such as in my house, you are required to prioritize tasks. For example, last night, my Small Sick Person wanted me to lay in bed and hold her, even though she seemed much better after the initial incident. So the laundry isn't finished and her bed is still sheetless.
It's often in the midst of this one-woman show that I think of some petty complaints I've heard from friends and family about their partners. Here are my top five favorites:
1. Chews too loudly, specifically peanuts.
2. Inefficient at smoothie making, especially regarding milk-to-ice ratio.
3. Wears pleated khaki pants.
4. Dispenses toothpaste incorrectly, often squeezing from about 3/4 down the tube.
5. Drinks from bowls (OK, that one is mine. It's just not right and I can't support it).
I admit, there are many things I really like about being a single parent. The Mini Me and I are a great team, and she spends enough bonding time with her dad to allow me some adult time.
And you're right, I probably don't want to spend most of my time with Loud Chewing, Bad-Smoothie Making, Questionable-Pants Wearing dude, who hasn't mastered the basics of toothpaste or cups.
But, I wouldn't mind borrowing him for about five minutes, just so I can throw some sheets in the washer, during those rare occasions when Mini Me isn't feeling so hot. Or maybe he could stop by while I nap today?
So in case you're wondering, that's why my blog is a day late this week.
Beer Goggles for Parents
You may have figured out by now that I have a bit of a social media addiction. I do like Facebook, but if I ever had to choose just one social-media love, Twitter would win. From a professional standpoint, you can peruse Twitter for five minutes and pretty much know all the big happenings in the world. And because Twitter is so quick and easy, a lot of celebrities maintain their own accounts and actually do interact with their followers. So while I’m pretty sure Lady Gaga is never going to send me a post card, she might type 140 characters or less to answer a fan’s tweet.
Because I have a 3-year-old, I follow The Wiggles on Twitter. So when one of the actual Wiggles (Anthony, the Blue one) favorited one of my tweets, I squealed. And promptly posted about it on Facebook.
Sidebar: If someone “favorites” a tweet, it just means that they’ve saved it so they can admire it over and over again. When I was recently telling a friend about some of my tweets being “favorited,” he informed me that I sometimes speak in a language non-social media lovers don’t understand. So there you go. Favorite that.
Since a lot of my Facebook friends are not parents, they don’t quite get my love of the Blue Wiggle.
Here’s what parents know that non-parents haven’t yet learned:
Sleep deprivation and exhaustion are the beer goggles of parenthood.
I didn’t work for the first 10 months of my daughter’s life. Since my co-parent had a “real job,” he went off to every day, and I took on about 99.3 percent of the nighttime duty. So imagine a life where you really don’t have much adult contact during the day, with the exception of a few mom friends who are as zombie-like as you are.
“Yeah, let’s meet at Millenia. The Macy’s lounge is really comfortable, so when one of us starts hormonally crying over being fat, we can go sit in there.”
So you spend your day going to play groups and making macaroni art, then the sun goes down. That’s when the rest of the world drifts off to sleep. You snooze a few hours (if you’re lucky) before your small boss demands to be fed. When my daughter was about 15 months old, she went through a nine-week phase (not that I counted), where she would only sleep in sporadic bursts on me in a recliner. I’m so embarrassed that you now know I used to have a recliner. It was brown and really ugly.
Anyway, during those long nights, the “Kids-On-Demand” channel became my savior. The Mini Me would actually happily watch the Wiggles. She would clap and bob her little sleepless head along to the music, while my mind would wander, in awe of these singing, dancing baby-soothing gods.
“I really admire a man who can wear skinny pants and a mock turtleneck.”
“I had no idea the word ‘banana’ is so sexy when said in an Australian accent.”
“That blue one, he really looks like he works out. I bet I could Google and find shirtless pictures.”
“I wonder if The Wiggles are just friends who live together or maybe they’re polyamorous? ”
“I wish Anthony Wiggle would come rescue me in his Big Red Car. I bet no one would even notice I’m gone.”
“I love the way he makes fruit salad, and sings about it. You’d never know by those shirtless pix on the Internet that he eats so much fructose. Maybe ‘fruit salad’ is code for something else.”
Talking to other moms, I learned my little fantasy is not so uncommon. Seriously, when you are deep in the trenches of parenthood, sometimes you just have to pick an unlikely object of lust to survive the day.
I did an informal poll and here are the most dateable children’s entertainers, in no particular order. Since these fantasies exist in a delusional world where breast pumps speak (mine used to say “cat nip” in the middle of the night), cartoons are indeed eligible for the list:
- Anthony Field (aka Anthony Wiggle): Who doesn’t adore a man who loves healthy eating, supports gay rights, and can really work a trapeze?
- Rich from the Imagination Movers: Rich’s name came up several times in my research. One mom said, “I met him in person and he’s even hotter and nicer than on TV.” And he plays the drums and does Maroon 5 covers on YouTube.
- Genevieve from Choo Choo Soul: She is a favorite among dads. And really, anyone who can look smokin’ in a horrific conductor uniform is pretty fabulous. Bonus: she likes trains. You know, because men love all thing transportation related, right?
- Twist from the Fresh Beat Band: He’s funny, beatboxes AND dances like a noodle. The possibilities are endless.
- Flynn Rider from Tangled: Never underestimate a man with great knife skills. Not only can he protect you and do emergency surgery in the tower, but he gave Rapunzel a great hair cut with just one swipe of the blade. Winner winner chicken dinner.
Honorable mention goes to Steve from "Blues Clues," Diego of "Go, Diego, Go" (he actually didn’t make the cut because he might be underage) and "Phineas and Ferb’s" mom.
Who is your fav?
Surgery! And I helped!
A big part of what has kept me in TV news for the last dozen or so years is curiosity. Some might call it nosiness, but I prefer to think of it as healthy curiosity and interest in the world. Think about it…the job of a reporter or anchor is to find out stuff, and then tell everyone. Sure, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the general idea. Good gig, right?
So if you spend more than five minutes with me, there’s a good chance I’ll interrogate you about your job.
“You’re a lunch lady? Here’s what I’m dying to know. Does anyone really like the open-faced pizza burger?”
“Grave digger? Amazing. Tell me what kind of hole you would do for me! How would it affect your vision if I lost 10 pounds?”
“Attorney! I’m considering suing my dog. Do you think a jury would be too sympathetic to a Shih Tzu with a bad underbite?”
It’s true what they say…everyone does have a story. I also had about 20 different majors in college, so I often say, “Oh, speech pathology. Cool. I majored in that right after journalism but before political science.”
Reality TV has also made me a bit of an expert in everything, especially medicine. Nothing makes me weep more than a successful conjoined twin surgery. And you know those women who think they have indigestion, but really they are pregnant? I’m an awesome labor coach from the comfort of my own couch, although I usually advise against delivering your indigestion baby into the toilet.
So you can imagine any time spent with a real-life, not-on-TV surgeon could turn into a feeding frenzy:
“Is your life just like Grey’s Anatomy?” (No)
“Do you ever yell at nurses?” (No)
“Have you ever operated on the wrong body part?” (No)
"Do you stay up all night before surgery, mapping out a plan?" (No)
My incessant questioning led to this…an invitation to watch the action (So maybe by "help," I really meant "observe"). Don’t I look legit?
Here is my front row view. There’s a real person under that draping, undergoing an insane foot surgery. It was a raging success, by the way, and everyone lived happily ever after. Kudos to me for not gasping (loudly, anyway) as actual bones were plucked out. Plucked is a term those of us in the medical field like to throw around.
Here’s what I learned on my OR field trip:
- People who cut open other people and do it well are crazy smart. Like for real, y’all.
- Surgeons should moonlight as eyelash-extension techs. Three words: Mad tweezer skills.
- There may be occasional humming along to Flo Rida, even as bones are being sawed. Sawed may be a strong word, but you get the idea.
- The sound of Velcro ripping as the doctor’s surgical gown comes off is kind of hot. There. I said it. Judge me. I’m actually judging myself a little on that one.
- I’m not 100% sure on this, but I’m fairly confident you can’t eat Junior Mints in the OR. Seinfeld reference.
- If you ever need surgery, seek out a rock star team like the one I watched. Amazing.
One of the nurses seemed a little confused as to why I was spending my day off watching surgery, when I have no interest in becoming a doctor myself. I explained that it is better for all of us if I just keep doing the TV thing. That way, my curiosity is an obvious job requirement, not some sort of neurosis that I have to diagnose through a medical drama.
My Celebrity Hand-Me-Downs
I know this probably makes me seem morbid, but whenever I see someone trending online, I automatically assume they are dead. After I panic (“Oh no, Grumpy Cat died! I wonder if he drank antifreeze!”), I click the link and usually learn that is something much less tragic, like a new haircut or poor fashion choice.
So as a devoted fan of the original 90210, my heart almost stopped when I saw Tori Spelling trending last week. With great trepidation I clicked, and braced myself for the untimely end of Donna Martin. Relief flooded over me as I saw she simply had car trouble last week and ended up stranded roadside with her four small people. That’s certainly a bad day, but I took comfort knowing that I could look forward to many more Tori and Dean reality shows. Come on, you know you watch, too.
You’re probably wondering why I’m so concerned about Tori Spelling. I feel like you and know each other pretty well. After all, you’ve allowed me into your home for the last 12 years. Well almost 12 years…our anniversary is April 30. The traditional gift is linen or silk. Just sayin’.
Anyway, I digress. You know how some people collect strange things, like creepy dolls or spoons or small plastic ponies?
Well…sometimes I like to wear Tori Spelling’s old clothes.
I mean, not all the time. That would be weird. Just occasionally. Like as a swimsuit cover.
Do you remember back in 2006 when Aaron Spelling died and allegedly left Tori “only” a million dollars? Tori sold oodles of stuff on eBay, like old clothes.
Yep, I bought a dress. It was a cute little C & C California strapless, drawstring number. The big challenge was buying something I could actually wear, being that Tori was probably a size smaller than me at that time. What fun is it simply to hoard celebrity hand-me-downs? I wanted to strut the streets of the 32801 in my 90210 duds.
The dress arrived with a jazzy little certificate of authenticity signed by Tori herself. Tori now designs a line of clothing and jewelry. I have bought my daughter a few things from her Little Maven line, but haven’t made any purchases for myself. Somehow I only want her stuff if she’s actually worn it.
You know what they say ... the first step is admitting you have a problem. If you need me, I'll be on Twitter making sure all my favorite celebrities survived the Grammys. And I might just search eBay for for some shoes to go with my Tori dress.
Why I strayed
Everyone says when you meet “The One,” you’ll just know. And as cliché as it sounds, I did. I knew the way the highlights and lowlights danced through my hair, and the way my layers laid just so, that I had indeed met my perfect hairstylist.
My relationship with Arnie began about six years ago. I was going through a painful break up with another stylist after an ill-advised phase featuring bright copper low lights. From the moment I sat in his chair, Arnie and I just clicked. He quickly learned that a partnership with me had special challenges.
Me: “So the back of my hair is wavy and hard to blow dry, but since no one can really see it, I don’t bother.”
Arnie: “Actually you’re the only one who can’t see it, so that’s a problem.”
And together we worked through my poor styling skills. He gracefully reshaped what can best be described as a “Rachel” circa 1995 haircut (But this was 2007. Don’t ask). He introduced me to one of my true loves, dry shampoo. And when I set my hair on fire ONE WEEK BEFORE MY WEDDING, he expertly removed the charred tresses and blended the damage perfectly.
This is the part where you’re probably thinking I’m exaggerating about the fire. Nope. There were actual Michael Jackson Pepsi Commercial style flames shooting from the left side of my head. Details are irrelevant at this point, but let’s just say alcohol-based products and 350-degree curling irons don’t mix.
So after all of that, you may be wondering why I did it...
I cheated on my hairstylist.
It started out innocently enough, as these things often do, casual chitchat here, a text message there. And then the words that no salon-loving woman could refuse: “I’d be happy to come over and blow out your hair.”
I wanted to say no, but I couldn’t. And soon, in my very own bathroom, someone else’s brushes and blow dryer were working on my hair. And I liked it. A lot. So much so that I tweeted about it.
And I knew the moment I hit “send” on that tweet, I had to confess. I texted Arnie.
Me: “I just tweeted a picture you may see and it’s going to make your eyes bleed.”
Me: “I let someone else blow out my hair. But that's as far as it will go.”
Arnie: “I love you.”
A less secure stylist would have asked questions. So by his simple response, he confirmed that he is indeed The One. But I’m thinking another blow dry or two on the side never hurt anyone.
Thanks for stopping by my new blog. When my managers asked what it would be about, I kind of stole a line from Seinfeld and said “everything and nothing.” One thing I’ve loved so much about social media is that viewer interaction has become much more of a two-way conversation, so this is just one more way to keep that conversation going.
In just a few months, I will mark 12 years in the Orlando market. Having lived here for more than a decade, I’ve had some semblance of this conversation dozens of times.
Viewer: “You go on air at 5? I can’t imagine being at work at 5 in the morning.”
Me: “That’s just what time the show starts. I go in around 3:30.”
Viewer: “Why? Don’t you have someone to do everything for you?”
Why, yes, I do have someone to do everything for me and that person is me. So often people ask what we do that takes us a few hours to get ready to go on air. I actually have my weekend morning routine planned to the minute, starting with my alarm going off at 2:45. Do I get up at 2:45? Rarely, but it’s a nice goal.
My first order of business when I arrive at work is to let producer Kevin know I made it safely (hey, driving around in the middle of the night can be dangerous!) then I crank my “making my forecast" music. The studio crew can always tell if I’m in the weather office by the sweet sounds of Britney, Rihanna and Beyonce flowing into the studio.
I typically take about 30-40 minutes creating my forecast by looking through model data, satellite/radar imagery, surface maps and current conditions. After that, I build my graphics and stack them in my show.
My goal is to always be in the makeup room 45 minutes before the show. It doesn’t actually take 45 minutes to transform in “Camera Ready Julie,” but when you build in chat time with my co-anchor, Kala Rama, things can take a little longer. That’s also the time when we discuss different segments in the show and catch up a bit before going on air.
We often leave a path of destruction that looks a lot like this:
On days I’m not doing the weather, you’ll find me in field reporting on everything from weather trends, gardening, monster trucks and cat fashion. Yes, I said cat fashion.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’d like to see hear. After all, everything and nothing is a lot to cover!