Guest Post from Elaine (The Vision Begins)

Well, now that I’ve taken your breath away with the very thought of having the perfect home, let’s get to work and RAKE THAT SHAG!

Rake That Shag, you ask? Why is Elaine using the metaphor of shag carpeting maintenance?

Well, truth be told, I first began compiling these tips in the 1970’s…but I find them just as useful today! I live my life like it’s still the 70’s – and you can, too. After all, the 70’s were when the feminist movement truly began to take hold, and women first realized that they can have it all.

So, I’m here to show you how to do just that.

Of course, I’m not excluding my male readers! After all, maintaining a home at Levitz Furniture Showroom levels requires the help of ALL family members, even those who typically spend their time lolling around like inmates in a prison yard.

Just imagine: what could provide more satisfaction than attempting to have complete and utter control over your home environment?

What could bring more joy than mastering the minutiae of life?

Sound too daunting? Don’t think you can manage it?


The handy tips I’ll be proffering will deliver simple yet essential steps for creating a home that will make you the envy of the neighborhood, and have others marveling at your work ethic and wishing you were dead for years to come.

You’re welcome.

2019-04-17T07:06:57+00:00April 17th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Guest Post from Elaine Poole (Eric’s visionary mother)

Hello, dear slovenly readers! My name is Elaine, and I’m Eric’s beloved mother, the woman who – with only the help of a shag carpeting rake and an iron will – shaped Eric into the semi-successful, not-currently-incarcerated adult he is today.

Because I’m always offering Eric unsolicited and terribly helpful tips on keeping his home looking like the display model it was meant to be, he suggested that I get off his back and offer them here, instead.

Well, the opportunity to impact the masses didn’t go unnoticed by yours truly. I can almost smell the excitement coming from you disheveled homemakers already!

After all, what woman doesn’t dream of having a perfect home? A home that has others muttering, “Smell HER”? A home that positively screams “Overachieving Nutcase”?

Well, I do.

And soon, you will, too.

2019-04-13T11:01:27+00:00April 13th, 2019|Uncategorized|

December 4, 2018

My nephew passed away in October.

I know what you’re thinking: “Dude, I don’t read this blog to cry. My mascara isn’t waterproof.” (The women probably feel that way, too.)

But don’t worry – this isn’t a sad post.

Brian was a special kid. Severely handicapped, he couldn’t walk by himself, feed or bathe himself. He required care 24/7. But he was, as all these kids are, an absolute bundle of love, and he gave our family so much joy.

And my sister was a SUPERMOM to him. She gave up any semblance of a normal life and cared for him until the day he died. It was the most consummately selfless act I have ever witnessed.

And it really got me wondering: what kind of karmic reward comes with a sacrifice like this?

Is there stadium seating in Heaven? Does she get a box seat?

Does she get to come back as a queen, or Alexis Colby Carrington, or Beyonce?

Will she get to sit up there with God and gossip like mean girls, while he forces all the lesser souls to eat lunch alone?

I picture my sister getting awards (“And the winner for Best Performance by a Mother in a Sacrificial Role is…?”) as she strides to the stage in that famous Jennifer Lopez gown. (Hopefully, we’re all 25 in Heaven.)

I picture her getting to be bouncer at the Pearly Gates. “You, with the wheelchair and the voicebox. Come on down!”

I imagine her having a mansion so big you need Segways to get from the screening room to the wine cellar. (“I’m sorry it’s such a long walk,” she would apologize to guests, “but you know that crazy God. He does love to spoil us.”)

I picture her getting to be guardian angel to Oprah, which essentially just amounts to live streaming Oprah’s dinners with famous people and stopping her from eating carbs.

I imagine a lot of great things for her, for one simple reason:

Because I have to.


2018-12-04T08:47:15+00:00December 4th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Nov 23, 2018

There was a woman on my flight this morning who was doing her level best to cough up both her lungs. Nonstop.

It was Thanksgiving morning. I, along with everyone else on the plane, was flying home to see family. And holidays are, for those of us traveling from a blue state to a red – or  vice versa – fraught with its own special brand of terror. And none of us really wanted to add the flu or Tuberculosis to the fun factor.

The woman – a tiny, fashionable lady around 60 –  clearly felt that covering her mouth would consume energy best conserved for things like lying to the gate agent. As  she handed him her ticket, coughing directly into his face, she said, “Someone is SMOKING in here.”

Because, you know, that’s legal.

This was Southwest Airlines, so it was open seating on boarding. Several people around me and I all whispered together as we walked down the jetway.

“Sit way behind her.”

“Sit on the other side.”

“Why do I feel,” I said, “like we’re gonna have to divert to a hospital when her lung lining lands on the floor?”

Needless to say, as we boarded, everyone on the plane was clued in, and, since the flight was only 85 or 90% full, passengers were giving her a wide berth. No one sat in her row – an exit row with the coveted extra legroom. No one sat in the row in front of her, or across from her. We all crammed into the remaining rows like oarsmen on a slave ship.

One of the flight attendants was standing in the row in front of me during boarding, and she recognized me from another flight. As we chatted, I nodded in the direction of the emphysema victim – like I needed to – and said, “Do you guys have masks?”

She smiled. “I’ll take care of it.”

Once everyone was boarded, she brought a mask and politely ordered the woman to wear it if she wanted to remain on the flight. The woman complied.

And then, 15 minutes into the flight, I realized something: Typhoid Mary, who had been coughing to the point that everyone within 20 feet was  busy breathing through cocktail napkins, was silent. An hour passed. No coughs. People began to move into the abandoned rows around her. Another hour passed. She laid across her luxurious exit row, thumbing through a magazine as though expecting a pedicurist to show up any second. Not a single cough – until we landed, when she began hurling up another lung and everyone moved out of her way once again. (Clearly, she had somewhere to be.)

And I realized the truth: she had faked this little performance to guarantee herself extra personal space.

I really should have been incensed at her manipulation. How f-ing selfish and greedy. And on a day that’s all about giving thanks and being – at least until the stores open at 6pm – a little kinder and gentler with one another.

But instead, I realized that I was impressed. Because this chick had really committed. And I wished I’d thought of it. Not that I’d ever do it. But this is what the airlines – by shoving more and more seats into planes – have reduced us to.

Maybe when I’m boarding my next Southwest flight, I’ll fake fake sneeze a few dozen times. I can keep one of those perfume atomizers in my pocket (note to self: replace Britney Spears Fantasy with water) and I’ll just covertly press the little air bulb as I sneeze, spraying mist across the rows around me.

It’ll be as close to flying private as I’ll probably ever get.

2018-11-23T11:58:30+00:00November 23rd, 2018|Uncategorized|

November 6, 2018

The Audible version of my latest book just came out, and everyone seems to be asking me the same question:

“Why didn’t YOU read it?”

Those of you who’ve heard me speak aloud can’t be blamed for posing such a question, since you’d likely agree that my rich, velvety voice would caress the ears of listeners far and wide. (As my college voice teacher once said, in what I’m sure was a compliment: “I know you think your voice is candy for the ears, but it’s giving me diabetes.”)

But that’s just the problem. In this book, I am in my teens and early 20’s. And “rich and velvety” does not particularly describe the sound of a kid in his teens and 20’s.  (Sadly, I must report that in real life, I’m in my Extremely Late Early 30’s, or, as my friend Robert says, PREPOSTEROUSLY Late.)

And since I feel like the voice should sound as close to the age of the character as possible – it makes for a better listening experience – I chose someone else to do the narration, a wonderful actor named Kirby Heyborne. Kirby has a sweet, hilarious innocence to his voice that works perfectly.

So, much as I’d love a chance to ham it up on audio, I decided, in yet another example of my typical graciousness and benevolence, to give someone else the opportunity to shine.

Plus, Audible didn’t ask.

2018-11-06T14:44:55+00:00November 6th, 2018|Uncategorized|