Easy As 1, 2, 3

posted by Momo Fali on September 11, 2008

When I recently took a job as a teacher’s aide, I stipulated that I could never assist in a classroom above second grade. Why? Because I wouldn’t be able to handle the math.

When I was in the eighth grade, I was in an advanced math class. I don’t know how I got there, but I do know that any skill I had in the numbers department ended in that class. Not only that, but it seems my brain went through some sort of regression in the summer before high school. Once I started ninth grade, algebra seemed as easy as studying metaphysics…in Latin.

This did not lead to a stellar academic path. My grades were excellent in anything involving language arts, journalism and communications, but by my senior year I was taking “College Prep Math” which was taught by the football coach.

People mostly referred to the class as “College Football Math”, though that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. The goth girls and burn-out’s who sat around me didn’t know offense from defense.

Now, I have a fourth grader who is bringing home real math homework and who is participating in something called the Metric Olympics at her school. Last year, she memorized her multiplication tables in no time flat, and would finish timed-tests so quickly that I think she once gave herself a pedicure before the next kid turned in his paper.

That’s my girl! She’s a regular chip off the old block. Her father, that is. I may be bad with numbers, but I’m smart as a whip.

I married a math major.

Not Your Typical Tourist

posted by Momo Fali on September 8, 2008

The picture at the bottom of the last post was taken last week on our vacation in Virginia. Moments after I captured the shot, I joined my daughter in the ocean.

I was in hip-deep water as we were lightheartedly jumping in the waves. Since I was trying not to get my hair wet, I had my sunglasses on top of my head to prevent fly-aways from getting whipped with saltwater.

After a few minutes, we turned to head back toward the beach. My daughter was wading ahead of me so I could keep my eye on her, but she kept looking back to watch the waves. Apparently, she’s much smarter than her mother, because I suddenly heard her yell, “Mom! Look out!”

I soon realized she had warned me a little too late, because as the last syllable left her lips, I was blindsided by a massive wave. I was knocked to my knees and as I flailed about under the water, all I could think about were my new sunglasses. What? Seven dollars is a lot for shades when your line of work is mortgage lending. Hi Fannie! Hi Freddie! Need bailed out much?

When I came up for air, I sputtered and spit, then immediately set about looking for my glasses. But, after a few moments of searching I realized sun in my eyes was the least of my worries. Was that a breeze I felt across my chest?

As I faced the beach, I looked down to find that my halter had come undone, and my entire bathing suit top was around my waist. I stood there mortified as I flashed the Labor Day crowd.

At least if I had found my sunglasses I could’ve hid some of my embarrassment…because I sure wasn’t hiding much else.

Special, Indeed

posted by Momo Fali on September 7, 2008

My six year old son was born with multiple heart defects, one of which is very rare. It is called Cor Triatrium Dexter and has to do with the trabeculated anterior, sinoatrial orifice, crista terminalis, and the super-cali-fragil-istic-expi-ali-docious.

Basically, the right side of his heart is jacked up.

For the first year of his life, he was cyanotic a lot. For people who are fortunate enough not to understand that term…it means that he was blue. He often had discolored skin around his mouth, which was a constant reminder that his blood didn’t have enough oxygen in it.

When he was 13 months old, he had angioplasty and valvuloplasty. This wasn’t because he was eating too much butter and bacon, but rather because this one weird defect had created a blockage, and that’s why he looked like Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

The benefit of the surgery was that he suddenly had energy he never had before. The downside is, that in stretching out the valve the cardiologist created a leak. Not because he messed up, but because that is what happens when you expand a valve.

And that means in the near future my kid will need open heart surgery.

One good thing? Well, he’s always been too young to understand just how messed up his ticker really is. He knows there is something different about him…and how could he not? He may as well have a stethoscope permanently affixed to his chest. But, we never talk to him about having any limitations.

The other night, we saw that he has grasped what we’ve been telling him all along. Because when my daughter was upset and crying hard (Note to Dad: Let’s not tell the nine year old that someday her dog will die), my son walked over to his sister and said, “It’s okay. Don’t cry. I love you. I love you with all of my special heart.”

And if that doesn’t warm your cockles, I don’t know what will.

Dirty Work

posted by Momo Fali on September 4, 2008

My last post really got me thinking about my employment history. Having gone from fast-paced, corporate America to a job where I use glue sticks, goes to show how varied my work background really is.

When I was 15 years old, I got my first job. Sure, there had been a paper route and babysitting, but this was a REAL job. Like with a paycheck.

It was a very glamorous work environment. So glamorous that I had to wear a hairnet. To make matters worse, I would often have to ride my bike to get there…looking a lot like this.

I worked at a local restaurant well-known for its cafeteria style food service. It was also notorious for having patrons who are very old.

The doors opened at 4:00 PM and there would already be people in line for dinner. I was a salad girl, so their first stop after picking up their tray and flatware was at my station.

For the next three hours, I had to practically yell at every person who slid their tray past me.

“Would you like Jello today? Or, maybe a carrot and raisin salad?”



Patron turns to equally age-challenged acquaintance, “What’d she say?”

“She said she wants to know if you’ll sing a ballad.”

Patron exclaims, “OH! Pardon me boy, is that the Chatanooga Choo Choo…”

After battling with elderly people over things like whether their ambrosia had enough marshmallows, I would have to get down on my hands and knees and scrub out the refrigerators. After that, I got to wash dishes and clean mayonnaise off the decorative lettuce. I know, I know…you can clearly see the allure which drove me to such a coveted job.

Needless to say, after that summer I swore off food service for good.

Through college, I had odd jobs and slowly worked my way into the mortgage industry. Given the state of the real estate market, maybe I should’ve stuck with salads.

Tell me boys and girls, what was the worst job you have ever had?