Go The F**k to Sleep: The Teenage Years

If you read our Curse of the Cussing Skier post, you know I’m not the potty mouth of the family. But over the summer, Tanner hosted his annual Los Gatos Youth Theatre co-ed slumber party.

Some teenage boys might think doing theatre is uncool, but my guys are no dummies. For every one guy at the soiree, there were five funny, creative, head-on-straight girls. As a mom to dudes, I’m a sucker for having these exotic creatures in our home.

Everyone showed up around 5 p.m. Jimmy & I waited on the kids, offering poolside service on a par with the Four Seasons—young, unlined faces were spritzed with Evian, snacks and soda were delivered to the jacuzzi, and the whole backyard twinkled with colorful lights.

The gang finished swimming well after dark, and crammed into our long, narrow family room (aka “the bowling alley”) where they began perusing movies On Demand. Around 11, Jimmy and I retired to our bedroom. Right before my head hit the pillow, I whispered sweetly, “That wasn’t so bad!”

An hour later I was still wide awake. Our home is small. I could hear everything.  All I could think of was “Go the F**k to Sleep.” If you aren’t familiar, the NY Times best selling bedtime story for parents was written by an exhausted and exasperated dad, Adam Mansbach. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the story captures the frustrations of sealing the bedtime deal with procrastinating kids.

As I lay seething in bed that night too pissed off to count sheep, I wrote my own version of Go the F**k to Sleep…

Mom, can I have my theatre friends over, you begged. I’ll clean the house, even sweep.

We’ll swim, hang out and by a decent hour, fall fast asleep!

Okay, I agreed, but after midnight, I don’t want to hear a peep.

Mama’s almost 50, lookin’ a little haggard. Needs her Botox and f**kin’ beauty sleep.

It’s almost 1 a.m. now and through thin walls laughter continues to seep.

Don’t make me come out there in my mouthguard and lecture you. Please go the f**k to sleep.

All right, I’ll slice up more nectarines from Whole Foods, this organic sh*t ain’t cheap.

If you swear you’ll finish watching “Hairspray,”and get the f**k to sleep!

Hungry again? We just served DiGiorgno and popcorn when the microwave went “beep!”

Your bellies are full, now wrap up the massage train, and get to freakin’ SLEEP!

I get it, girls: “Pitch Perfect” best movie ever. Nick Jonas is hot. Harry Styles, a creep.

See? We’re on the same page? Now get the f**k to sleep.

The LEMON sign has dimmed, the jacuzzi jets silenced, so still is the pool sweep.

Hell no, you can’t go night swimming. You know where you can go? The f**k to sleep!

I come out & see Kevin* face planted on the sofa, probably counting sheep.

Can’t the rest of you follow his lead? Now lie the f**k down,  and sleep!

It’s late now, well past two, my Hushers are crammed so deep.

Stop twerking in my kitchen, and for the love of Miley f**kin’ Cyrus: sleep!

Seriously? Sourpatch popsicles at 3 a.m.? Your blood sugar’s gonna take a soaring leap

Sure, fine, whatever. How about some Red Bull, too. Who the f**k cares? You’re not gonna sleep.

Bleary eyed and dazed, I awaken at 5, the price of being a cool mom is way steep.

What on earth made me ever think you kids would go the f**k to sleep?

It’s morning now, bodies and sleeping bags tangled in a heap, I’ve tiptoed through the house long enough.

It’s 10 a.m., you little sh*ts! Now you’re gonna sleep?

Yogurt and fresh fruit—who told you breakfast came with the deal? A little birdie—”cheep cheep?”

The second your parents pick you up, I’m going the f**k back to sleep!

Around the piano you harmonize to Coldplay, voices so angelic it almost makes me weep.

Come back soon, my darling thespians. Who cares what time you go the f**k to sleep!

Love,

Mrs. Ratcliff

PS: If Samuel L. Jackson is busy, maybe we can get Zac Efron to narrate “GTFTS: The Teenage Years.”

*name changed to protect the sleep deprived.

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Barry Bringing It!

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Yesterday I scored a free pair of Barry Manilow tickets from my mechanic. The only dilemma? My man is NOT into Barry. Mr. Manilow may have sold more than 80 million records, but Jimmy would rather get a colonoscopy sans anesthesia than see him in concert.

“Dude, I did a 7:30 surgery today,” he whined when I bugged him at the office. “I put a titanium screw in somebody’s foot. I’m exhausted, plus the Raiders are playing. I’m not into this at all.”

So what I did was trick him. “Totally empathize, but since you’re commuting on 280 from Menlo Park anyway, want to grab dinner?”

We met at our fave Vietnamese place, 19 Market. After we’d polished off the last of the garlic prawns, I said coyly, “You know…HP Pavillion is right down the street. Let’s go to the concert. Just a fly-by. I PROMISE!“

“Oh, alright. But we’re OUT after two songs.”

When we arrived, the arena was packed-ish.

“Are you sitting in the wheelchair section?” Laura, my music snob friend texted me.

“Yeah! And my hearing aid is cranked to 10!” I cheerfully texted back.

Despite the median age of 65, the audience was showing Barry some serious glow stick love. That arena was an undulating sea of neon green.

Botoxed and bronzed, Barry looked fabulous and sounded even better–and, he was strutting his stuff with a sexy, black back up dancer half his age. He also played piano on most songs. Luckily we were late, so we only had to endure a couple of his lesser-known cheesy songs.

At first Jimmy was a total dud. He just sat there, arms crossed while checking SportsCenter on his iPhone.

“Let me take your pic,” I said.

“No way. I don’t want anyone to know I was here!”

Barry couldn’t have been more personable. Right before he launched into the Christmas-song schmaltz , he revealed that he’d attended a sketchy high school in a tough part of Brooklyn. “Being in the orchestra saved me,“ he said. “Obviously, I wasn’t sporty and can you image me in a gang?“

Not in that sequined fuchsia blazer I couldn’t. Or any of his other 20 other costume changes for that matter.

Finally Mr. Manilow delivered a tune I recognized. “I’m going to play the most romantic song in my catalog now. If you can’t get lucky to this one…” Barry laughed, before performing “Weekend in New England.”

I don’t know if it was the crashing waves projected on the big screen or Barry’s superb showmanship, but the song totally brought me right back to sloshing around on my waterbed, making out with my 7th grade boyfriend, Paul Michael.

“When will I see you againnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn?” Barry hit the high notes like a pro. Even Jimmy seemed impressed.  “He’s got a nice set of pipes and I like his piano playing. How old is Barry, anyway?“

“Hold on, let me Google it…OMG he’s 69!”

“Wow! Barry’s BRINGING it!“

Then things started getting really good. Barry sang “Can’t Smile without You” which totally reminded me of sloshing around on my waterbed, trying not to lock braces with my 8th grade boyfriend, Joe DiDuca, then “Mandy“ (slutty/sloshy–you know the drill) and finally, the piece de resistance–“Copacobana.”

The AARP crowd went wild for Lola and Rico, twirling their glow sticks, and when Barry thrust his mic toward the audience, hot damn if we didn’t whip ourselves into a frenzy singing the chorus…

“At the copa (CO!) Copacabana (Copacabana) / The hottest spot north of Havana / At the copa (CO!) Copacabana / Music and passion were always in fashion…”

He wasn’t dancing in the aisles like me, but even Jimmy seemed into it.

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Barry might have done an encore, but I can’t say for sure; we hightailed it out to beat the wheelchair gridlock.

On the street, I was positively high–it was as if I’d just taken a couple hits off a big joint of medicinal Barry-juana. “LOOKS LIKE WE MADE IT—through the concert, that is!” I crooned, locking arms with Jimmy as we headed to our car. “So what was your favorite? “Mandy?“ “I Write the Songs?“ Wait, I know—“Copacabana?”

“No, it was that I love you, baby one,” he said.

“Oh, you mean ‘Can’t Take My Eyes off You?’ That was Barry covering Frankie Valli,” I said. “Yay! That means we can go see “Jersey Boys,” the musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.“

“Don’t push your luck.”