Huffington Post

No Time to Pee

Okay, raise of hands, who will admit that they wait until their significant other is home from work so they can poop in privacy?

How many of us dutifully fill our water bottles with the daily recommended 64oz only to completely avoid hydrating during the day because you dread being trailed by an entourage every time the urge to pee strikes.

Now, just the mommies? How many would admit that if changing your pad/tampon were an Olympic sport, the speed of which you make the change would qualify you for a Silver, maybe even a Gold?

I certainly did not experience these issues when I was a working mom in the corporate world. Sure, there were some similarities: you couldn’t always pee when you wanted, pooping was held off until you got home, and your lunch break was a frenzy of eating with one hand, responding to personal texts and voicemails with the other hand, and potty time was an exercise in speed and efficiency, not unlike the small, oh so tiny, window of me time when you finally get all the kids asleep for naptime.

Recently, working from home, and caring for other children as well as my own, pooping and peeing has entered a new level of potty hell. Not only do I have my own children screaming with a heart-stopping intensity of a horror movie actress, “MOMMY!” when they realize I am not in their immediate presence, but I also have 2-3 other toddlers wanting to know where that woman with the yummy Goldfish crackers has gone. 

Most parents have the experience of dragging their diaper-clad little one into the bathroom. We all are under this illusion that if they watch us on a potty that they will suddenly be overwhelmed with the urge to tear-off their diaper and poop on the potty, too. It is all fine and dandy the first and second years, but sometime around age three or so, it becomes this creepy little voyeuristic adventure where their eyes follow every motion, movement, and wipe. And, that’s when your sudden desire for privacy kicks in — sure, you have been walking around them naked since birth, popping out the boobies when they are hungry, showering with them when there are just not enough wipes to clean up that poop explosion, occasionally catching mommy and daddy in an embrace — but the pooping and peeing sightseeing ride is shrieking to a halt.

These days…*cue the Mission Impossible theme music*…it is all cloak and daggers. “Hey, kids! Look at that large pile of Goldfish over there!”, “I think I hear someone knocking at the front door?”, “Who wants to watch Frozen?”.

These distractions will usually give me 30 seconds on the clock — and I make it work with a little determination and a lot of mental preparedness — and double-checking to ensure the path is clear of Legos

Do I cut corners? Sure! I leave the bathroom door open for ease of entry and exiting. I wash my hands in the kitchen sink where I can oversee the children noshing on the last few Goldfish like zombies grasping at entrails of a fresh body. I don’t wear pants that require a belt.

In and out of the bathroom. Thirty seconds or less. Who knew parenthood would make potty time such an adventure?

Originally posted in Huffington Post 11/11/2016


The Music, a short film review

The Music is the sixth film by award-winning New England director/producer/writer Mark Battle of Sweven Films – sequel to his second, The Janitor. Despite six years separating the two films, the cadence and tone have remained the same. However, something phenomenal has happened — Mark has accomplished what many filmmakers fail to pull off — the sequel transcends the first!

The Janitor (2013), winner of Best in Fest at the 2013 SNOB Film Festival, introduced us to Dominic, a cleaner for hitmen. Dominic is a quiet man, private and living modestly. In The Janitor, Dominic is faced with cleaning up a botched hit. In The Music, Dominic is still cleaning hits but he’s tired. He wants out.

Dominic is played by Michael Anthony Coppola. Michael, a handsome, broad-shoulder Gregory Peck-looking actor with a tousle of gray in his wavy dark hair, plays Dominic to perfection. He does not have many lines of dialogue – 20 lines – which he speaks in a low-pitched, slightly accented voice, sometimes in Czech. But what Michael doesn’t say, he expresses with movements of his eyes, hesitations, and facial expressions. Michael skillfully conveys Dominic’s story on his face. It’s an execution guaranteed to win awards.

The film is aptly titled. The music is not simply melody accompanying the story, rather it’s like a rudder on a boat changing the course of characters actions. When Dominic listens to music, he sails smoothly, methodically through the process of clean-up, but when the music abruptly stops, reality of his actions floods his consciousness. He heaves from the foulness of it all. When the character, Miklos, Dominic’s handler listens to music, his conduct is altered, outcomes are affected.

The Music is filmed in black and white, and as with every Mark Battle composition of genius, it is a work of art. The clarity and depth of each scene is stunning, like an Ansel Adams photo – pure and focused. The beauty of the visual backdrop against the anguished story plays in perfect harmony. And, Mark’s clever lack of color for literal interpretation – Dominic lives in a clearly defined black and white construct, despite his profession, burden, and legitimacy being muddled – is absolute brilliance!

The Janitor being my favorite among the Sweven Film oeuvre; it’s what began my admiration of Mark’s writing and cinematography. When I read that he was working on a sequel, I was ecstatic. It took a few years for the symphony to find its tempo, but it was well worth the wait! The Music now tops my list. Standalone, or as a sequel, it will be the short film that I guarantee audiences and film festival judges will be talking about this year.

Want to see The Music? Watch it in November in Concord, NH at the 18th Annual SNOB Film Festival! Dates & times TBA —