5:30 a.m. 
On goes the TV. The rule at this time of day is simple: She can watch anything she wants as long as it doesn't star Harvey Bad Lieutenant, no Reservoir Dogs, no Taxi Driver. You have to draw the line somewhere. 

6:15 a.m. 
My little Goof Noodle is contemplative during her bath: "What are you thinking about, Jules?" "Mommy," she asks, "is Big Bird a boy or a girl?" I explain that we used to wonder the same thing about cousin Dale and that some answers are simply unknowable. 

7:45 a.m. 
We have painted, we have Play-Dohed, we have read Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus nine times in a row. 

8:00 a.m. 
One of us is now wearing my lipstick, my jewelry, my sunglasses, my shoes, and two oven mitts. 

8:30 a.m. 
I used to read the Arts & Leisure section and meet friends for scrambled eggs and a Bloody Mary. Now I skim the Week in Review, toast a slice of low-glycemic Ezekiel bread, and follow it up with 15 milligrams of Lipitor. Time is a thief. 

10:00 a.m. 
The babysitter has arrived! I fully intend to have Lidra Basha babysit Captain Monkey Toes until the day she leaves for college, at which point she can babysit me. For the record, I am well aware that there are women with more than one child and nobody to help them out, and if I could, I'd buy each and every one of them a single-malt scotch and a ridiculously expensive pedicure. 

10:30 a.m. 
The trainer has arrived...or as I've come to think of him, Hitler in Nikes. After approximately 15 minutes, I feel compelled to remind him that he has to marry me before he can actually collect on any life insurance policy. He ignores my plea for leniency, hands me two 15 pound weights, and tells me to "tighten my core." Where's Amnesty International when I need it? And, for that matter, where is my core and when did it get saggy? One minute you and your boyfriend are finishing off a mushroom pizza with extra mozzarella, and the next minute you're realizing he didn't actually eat any. 

12:00 p.m. 
I shower, change, and head for the supermarket, the dry cleaner, and the pharmacy, where I run smack into my evil neighbor. We are currently having a huge fight, but because I am not good at confrontation, she doesn't realize that we are having a huge fight and regales me with stories of her upcoming trip to Nepal. I glare at her and say in the iciest tone imaginable, "You, madame, are a gravy-sucking weasel, and I hope that you're forced to fly coach with an Ebola-riddled gibbon monkey stuck in your lap for 16 straight hours." But because I am not good at intentional bitchiness, it comes out, "Great! Have a safe trip and let me know if you need someone to water your plants." Somewhere on the Upper West Side, a psychiatrist is cringing. 

1:30 to 2:00 p.m. 
I miss my friends, so I try to hop off the hamster wheel and return a few calls. But Valerie has her daughter visiting from college, Brenda has her parents visiting from Detroit, Francesca is buried in paperwork, Mark is seeing clients, Jack and Sarah have four couples coming for dinner, Steffi has three weeks to find a new apartment, Peter is finishing his book proposal, Michael is in rehearsals, and Tori has set the day aside to "have a complete nervous breakdown." She assures me she'll be fine by 7:00, as she's got to get to Jack and Sarah's for dinner. 


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