Friday, November 28, 2008

Sex and Suburbia, High Maintenance

Sex and Suburbia, High Maintenance
By Julie Stankowski

“High Maintenance.” Interesting phrase. Lots of ways to look at it. A High Maintenance car may require being in the shop way too much for your taste. A High Maintenance girlfriend may drive you crazy because all she does is complain about her weight and she is 5’2 and weighs only 100 pounds. A High Maintenance kid may drive you to drink because you cannot turn your back for one second without hearing, “Mommmmmm.” A High Maintenance housekeeper may force you to never want to be in your own house because she doesn’t stop chit-chatting with you and she thinks you are her very best friend rather than her employer. A High Maintenance husband is just, well, a typical guy.

Did you think Carrie Bradshaw and her sexy friends were High Maintenance? Samantha with her botox and chemical peels, lying to Lucy Lui and the sales person at Louis Vuitton (or whatever Madison Avenue store it was) just for a purse, trying to decide if her flavor of the month this month is male or female, agonizing over whether Richard was having an affair to the point where she had to buy a wig and costume to catch him, but then forgive him. Charlotte with her over-the-top my apartment needs to look like Martha Stewart lives and cooks here on a daily basis, I can’t find the perfect Burberry sweater for my perfect dog, Elizabeth Taylor, and for that matter, I can’t find my G spot because I’m too scared to look down there. Miranda with her I love Steve, I don’t love Steve, I love the hot Knicks’ team doctor who lives upstairs, no I love Steve, but I hate his mother and I don’t want to move to Brooklyn, I hate Magda, I don’t hate Magda, I love Steve again drama. And Carrie, my stylish special Carrie who we all know I love and wannabe and who is truly my inspiration, with her should I have sex with the sexy and passionate Big or should I have sex with the studly and manly Aidan or maybe I’ll just have sex with both and oy, should I tell Aidan I cheated on him with Big or should I just go out and buy a new pair of Prada shoes. Let’s face it, Carrie and company needed to look great, dress great, have great sex, have great apartments, have great hair styles, great friends, great boyfriends, great shoes, great accessories, great bodies - - whew - - that all takes a lot of work and would be considered by most “High Maintenance.”

Well, here’s the deal my dear suburban friends, I’m not sure those adorable girls even knew the meaning of High Maintenance. I’m not sure I knew the meaning of High Maintenance until now (I’m 40, married with children and having sex in suburbia). I have come to learn that the phrase High Maintenance has at least two very different definitions. Not quite sure if Webster’s is on board (or if they even define phrases), but I think you’ll agree with me . . .

There’s High Maintenance-Sex and the City: a woman who, in order to feel fabulous, must sleep until 10:00 a.m., have a leisurely decaf nonfat mocha latte while watching Matt Lauer on the Today Show, enjoy a mind-calming yoga class with a super hot instructor followed by a massage and a facial, linger in a hot shower, slip on a Cynthia Rowley sheath dress, share some juicy gossip with celeb-stylist Jose Eber while he gives her a star-studded blow out, meet her girlfriends for lunch and more fab gossip over a Waldorf salad and a very dry martini with three olives, take an afternoon nap after watching her Tivo’d episode of Project Runway, change into her Marc Jacobs evening attire, stroll over to Babbo to meet her bestest friend in the world, the guy we all wish was our best friend (the one who stars in Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), for some delicious al dente pasta and a bottle (or two) of Chianti and then saunter off to Big’s penthouse for a 1:00 a.m. booty call, simply the whipped cream on her Sundae (no pun intended).

Then there’s High Maintenance-Sex and Suburbia: Definition so long it requires four paragraphs:

A woman who, in order to feel fabulous, must wake up at 5:00 a.m. to start her work day as Mom (okay, she can hit snooze 5 times and wake up at 5:35 a.m., but my goodness, it still feels like the middle of the night). She rushes around to get the kids off to school (like a chicken with her head cut off, as if she’s never done this before, and thinks to herself that only a completely pathetic disorganized mom would not have laid out her kids’ clothes and gotten their lunches and backpacks ready the night before and certainly would not have forgotten that the diorama project was due today). She stays in her pajamas, however, since she will have time to shower when she gets home; not many people will see her at drop-off anyway. Oops, on her way home from drop-off, she notices that her gas light is on empty (the light is more like a flashing neon sign reading “you idiot, I’ve been on for two days, you didn’t pay attention and now you must detour, in your pajamas, to the nearest gas station to spend $107.00 to fill up your humungo Escalade). Her gorgeous gyno whom she has always had a secret crush on is, of course, filling up next to her and is chattier and friendlier than ever, all the while she is cringing inside because she’s wearing her raggedy pajamas with smiley faces printed all over them, hasn’t brushed her hair and has no make-up on. She gets through the gas station embarrassment and happily arrives home with three hours to herself to shower and get things done while the kids are in school and her husband is at work.

She goes into her bathroom to take a long, hot shower, excited at the prospect of having time to shave her legs and armpits, put her make-up on and blow dry her hair, a rarity in her job. As she’s stepping into the shower, she gets a quick, unintentional glimpse of herself in the mirror. Not good. She realizes she desperately needs a bikini wax (why didn’t her husband mention that?) and a lip wax and an eyebrow wax. She steps away from the shower and closer to the mirror and is horrified to see she also has hair growing out of her nose, her chin, her chest, her stomach, in between her eyebrows, and actually, her entire face is covered with peach fuzz that seems to have quadrupled in thickness since last night’s face cleansing. When did she go through the reverse Darwinian process of morphing from human to ape? How did this happen and why have none of her close friends mentioned anything, at least about that one long disgusting hair growing out of her neck? I mean it is so rude to let your best friend walk around with spinach between her teeth all day - - isn’t this worse? At this moment, she wishes she could be drinking an iced caffe mocha nonfat vodka valium latte (and maybe she is).

She decides to forgo a shower (being clean and smelling nice is irrelevant if your entire body is covered with hair) and instead calls for an emergency waxing appointment. She gets in her gas-guzzling SUV to go see Atilla the Wax Hun and realizes, as she practically runs a red light, that she must make an appointment with an ophthalmologist because she can’t see as well as she used to. She blasts the car’s air conditioner because she is having her own personal summer. She catches another unintentional glimpse of herself in the rearview mirror and realizes that not only is she as hairy as King Kong, but the hair she is supposed to have on her head is totally thinning and very much gray! She is freaking out, trying to decide what she will do after her wax - - should she try to get into the hair salon or should she try to get into the therapist to get some Prozac? Before having a chance to decide, she’s laying on the table getting her unwanted hair torn off (even getting her nostrils waxed), but luckily, she makes it through her waxing appointment without throwing up. She decides trying to fix her hair may be a better drug than Prozac so she frantically calls her hairdresser for an emergency color and cut, and threatens to cry like a baby in his chair if he does not put in some hair extensions to mask the thinning.

Exhausted and smelly, but proud she has attempted to “maintain” herself, she picks up the kids up at school and continues to perform her mom duties. Once home, she orders Chinese take-out; obviously she didn’t have time to go to the market today. By the time the kids are asleep, she says a quick hello to her husband, lets him know that she had an exhausting day and is going upstairs to relax. No lingerie, no glitz, no glamour, no sex. She grabs a bottle of wine (not a glass, a bottle - - give her a break - - she chose hair over Prozac) and this week’s People magazine, but gets yet another unintentional glimpse of herself in the hallway mirror on the way up (why are there so many damn mirrors?) and realizes she friggin’ needs a manicure, pedicure, body check at the dermatologist, mammogram and pap smear. And decides maybe she won’t go the eye doctor - - maybe if she lets her eyes get worse, she won’t notice all of these imperfections! Finally, at 11:00 p.m., she sits down to watch her Tivo’d Discovery channel show, “How in the hell did I ever get this old - - I am so High Maintenance I can’t even keep up with myself.”

Okay, Carrie and company don’t seem so High Maintenance now, do they? Am I exaggerating? I think not. At this point, maintaining me seems like a full-time job! Seriously! I’m exhausted with me! Internists, gynecologists, endocrinologists, dermatologists, ophthalmologists, boob-smushing mammographers, estheticians, hairdressers, manicurists, blah, blah, blah. It’s too much! Can you hear me? Are you there, God? It’s me, Julie.

So I am writing to Webster’s. I will argue that the phrase High Maintenance should be clearly defined for us all. It should have delineations. Like small, medium and large. Regular or decaf. Mild or spicy. Salt or no salt. Straight up or on the rocks. We need to know where we are and where we’ll end up on the maintenance scale. So we will not ignorantly label ourselves High Maintenance when we’re having single sex in the city and we will not suffer a mouth-opening shock stroke when we’re having married sex in suburbia. In the city, we’ll know that we are “Pebbles in the Manolos High-ish Maintenance.” And in suburbia, we’ll know that we are “Bunions in the Uggs High-est Maintenance.”

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving
By Julie Stankowski

Wow. It’s Thanksgiving again. Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday that we were getting ready for Thanksgiving last year? It does to me. But another year has passed. I know, it went by so fast! Our kids have grown, our lives have evolved. But here we are, at this beautiful time of year when the leaves turn amber and start to drop and the air turns cool and crisp and is perfect for a roaring fire. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. A special day to show everyone we love how much we care about them and how thankful we are for all that we have. In my eyes, no Chanukah or Christmas gift could even come close to the joy Thanksgiving brings.

Okay, my friends. Here is my message: with all that’s happening in our world and our economy, we need to step back tomorrow and celebrate life this Thanksgiving. We must appreciate every day we have on this Earth. We must appreciate our friends and family and give thanks, in whatever way works for us, for their presence here and in our lives. We must realize how precious life is and how fragile it is. Let petty things remain petty. Let work stay at work and appreciate our families. Let the wrinkles on our faces signify our luck to be alive rather than our need for botox shots. Love the fact that your three-year-old son wants to crawl in bed with you and cuddle instead of thinking it’s a problem. For when your baby decides he is too big to cuddle with his parents, you will be sad. You will miss those days.

Treasure today’s moments! Enjoy your Thanksgiving and really be thankful for what you have. Your mother, your father, your children, your health, your spouse, your friends, your home, whatever. Just be thankful. This is a holiday which allows us to show our appreciation. And we should. Each of us has our crosses to bear, but sometimes we do not see our blessings. Take the time to think about yours. Even make a list of the things you are thankful for - - it makes you feel good! On November 27, 2008, I will be truly thankful for all that I have been blessed with and I sincerely hope that you will too. Let this Thanksgiving bring you joy, peace and happiness for what you do have, not sadness for what you do not. That is reserved for another day. My sincere best wishes to all of you for a beautiful and happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

[Today is my wonderful parents' 44th anniversary. Of course, I had to post about it! Disclaimer: I'm not a poet and I know it! Just thought it would be more ambitious and more fun than writing a plain note. But don't forget, you can just scroll down to read my first two Sex and Suburbia Stories. And look for my latest column, Sex and Suburbia, High Maintenance, scheduled to post on Friday!]


ODE TO MY PARENTS ON THEIR 44TH ANNIVERSARY!
By Julie Stankowski on November 25, 2008

Today, please celebrate with me
The ultimate meaning of “We.”

My mom and dad should prove to us all
How special love can be, above and beyond call.

They’ve spent 44 years as each other’s Prince and Princess
And today their love for each other is even more, not less.

They hold hands and kiss and reminisce
And enjoy special moments together, that they never miss.

Stronger than ever is their precious love affair
It’s truly amazing how much they care and share.

True best friends is what they are
In my opinion, they’ve really raised the bar.

As parents, they are stellar
Nobody could ever be better.

As individuals, they are divine
Each so special and one of a kind.

At last, they both have Medicare
So they’ll still have money to buy cute clothes to wear.

And they can now both go to the movies at a discount
So they’ll still have money to take their children out.

And let’s not forget the senior early bird specials
So they’ll still have money for whatever Nordstrom sells.

Inspirational is the description and despite their “old age”
They’re anything but beige.

Nobody loves them more than I
No matter how hard any one may try.

They are my heroes and I can’t adequately express
How very much I love them, even if I’m a teary mess!

May they enjoy many more years of health and happiness
And many more years of wedded bliss!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, M&D
XOXOXOXOXOXOX

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sex and Suburbia, Never say Never

Sex and Suburbia, Never say Never
By Julie Stankowski

A week later and, yes, I am still a Carrie Bradshaw wannabe. What is it about that character that draws so many people in? Is it the ultra chic wardrobe? Is it her girl-next-door despite working for Vogue sweetness? Or is it the fact that, in spite of her absolute glamour, she personifies the typical gal. The gal in all of us who wants to look great, wants to pursue a career she actually enjoys, wants to be in love, wants a “Big” in her life, wants amazing girlfriends, but also has normal problems.

On the one hand, I like to think of myself as this fabulous Carrie Bradshawesque type of girl, who is sexy, stylish and of course, totally hip. On the other hand, however, I sometimes think of myself as this completely boring, unaccomplished mom whose biggest decision of the day is what to serve for dinner. My days are filled not with Jimmy Choo shoes, bottles of Crystal, CEO’s or IPO’s, but instead with a myriad of KIO’s “Kid-Issues-Oh how to handle them!”

KIO’s can range from minimal to severe. Think tiny pricks you-can-barely feel of botox injections versus a full-on chemical peel that leaves your face red, raw and blotchy and forces you to not leave your house for a week (remember Samantha with the black veil over her face at Carrie’s huge book party?). KIO’s can be as insignificant as your child wanting to survive on Captain Crunch alone for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or KIO’s can be much more serious. The stomach flu, for example, (aka vomit on your designer couch, Frette linens and the fabulous, expensive rug you bought on your cruise to Turkey). Or the ear infection (aka mind-numbing screaming for hours which starts at 1:00 a.m. when no doctor’s office is open and your children’s Motrin must be defective since it seems like a placebo with no effect whatsoever). Or, what about when your kindergartener comes home from school crying because her best friend yesterday is her arch enemy today and wouldn’t let her play with the “cool” group on the monkey bars (when did high school start at 5 years old?). Or, what about every mom’s most dreaded KIO, the biggest whopper of all, worse than your son throwing up all over your brand new Mercedes - - Lice!

Omigod - - the big “L”. A front row seat at Fashion week in Bryant Park wearing a designer Ralph Lauren suit and drinking a cosmopolitan versus hair fairies, Nix, vacuums, trash bags, sweats and laundry, laundry, laundry. Oh, and did I mention laundry? Okay, pretty clear, Carrie Bradshaw - - I am not (at least not this week).

But then I got to thinking. How would a married in suburbia Carrie Bradshaw deal with a massive KIO? Would she sit at her laptop, look out her window and ponder the philosophical reasons of what she did so wrong in her life that colic, chickenpox, bullying of her kids, or even the big “L” would be thrust upon her? The one issue she prayed she would never have to deal with. Worse than Miranda’s water breaking on Carrie’s brand new hot pink Manolos. Would she sit there scratching her head, wishing God would have given her a yeast infection instead? Would she call her good friends and whine and feel sorry for herself? And open a bottle of chardonnay and a pint of Coffee Haagan Daaz in the hopes that wine and ice cream would help drown her sorrows? Maybe. And maybe I am more like Carrie than I thought.

When you’re still single (and childless) in the city, you are quite sure of what your future will look like, and it does not involve any KIO’s. First, when you marry your prince charming, you will NEVER stop wearing sexy lingerie and you and your husband will continue to have sex at least 5 times a week. You will NEVER wear frumpy sweat pants and an old t-shirt when you leave the house. You will continue to wear your chic clothes (with high heels) even if you’re just dropping your kids off at school. Speaking of kids, yours will NEVER run around in a restaurant, screaming, going under the table and clanking their spoons together creating a headache-causing noise akin to the scratching of a chalk board. NEVER will your kids be allowed to act like that and NEVER will you be the kind of parent who accepts such behavior. And what about while you are at the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade watching those parents with three kids who are all attached to leashes, like they’re animals! What are those parents thinking? Treating their precious children like dogs? You will NEVER do that. And finally, your clean, well-dressed and well-groomed kids will NEVER get the big “L.”

However, you’ve now made that journey from single sex and the city to married sex and suburbia. You have 2.4 kids and a dog. And all of the sudden, you realize that the prior you was the most ignorant, na├»ve and judgmental human being alive. That realization hits you constantly, like a pesky fly which flew into your house while you were bringing in the groceries and you just can’t seem to catch (even with your really cute flip-flops-attached-to-a-stick fly swatter). And you discover KIO’s.

When dealing with a moderate to severe KIO in married suburbia, as soon as you walk in the door, you take off your bra (if you were even wearing one to begin with) and change from your sweats with no holes in them to the 15-year-old sweats which look like you bought them when Miami Vice was the hottest show on TV, but who cares, they’re the most comfortable clothes you own. Go away, fly. In KIO suburbia, after you’ve shuffled getting the kids to three different schools, soccer, ballet, softball, tutoring and religious school and after you’ve done snack, homework, dinner, baths and bedtime (all before your husband gets home from work), you crawl into bed yourself and go to sleep - - no lingerie, no sex, just Don Johnson-era sweats serving as pajamas. Go away, fly.

Now, when you are out to dinner, you ignore the fact that your kids are crawling under the table trying to pull some stranger’s chewed gum from underneath it just so you and your husband can have a moment of quiet, chew one piece of food in peace and finish one conversation (the conversation is about how soon you can get your parents to watch the kids for the weekend so the two of you can get out of town to have sex, something you haven’t done in months). Go away, fly. When you go to Disneyland and you’re freaking out about losing one of your kids in the happiest place on Earth, you curse yourself for not having a child leash with you. After all, it’s better to not lose your kids than to have judgmental childless thirty-somethings looking at you with a disapproving eye for “treating your children like animals,” right? Go away, fly.

In married suburbia, when your kids come home from school with the stomach flu, chickenpox or even the big “L”, you go into super-mom mode (because you have no choice). You call the hair fairies to come and do their magic on everybody’s heads. You make the dreaded phone call to the parents of the girl whose house your daughter had a sleepover the night before. You continue to comb the kids’ hair for hours and days on end, using oils, mayonnaise, potions, voodoo and anything else you’ve heard may help. You do more laundry and vacuuming than you ever thought was possible in a lifetime. During this time, you feel you are the epitome of the un-Carrie Bradshaw. You’re way more like Mrs. Cunningham (not that she wasn’t cool for her time, but you know what I mean).

And at the end of the day when you sit down at your computer to check your email and you are happily gazing at your peacefully sleeping, big “L”-free child, you may think to yourself that in suburbia, being a combination of Carrie and Marion is not so bad. You have a husband and kids you love and adore. You surprised even yourself that you could actually get through colic, vomiting, poop, bullying and the big “L” without having a nervous breakdown. You secretly enjoyed having sugar cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And despite all the KIO’s, you wouldn’t trade this week with anyone, even someone with a front row ticket to fashion week in NYC.

BUT, the fabulous sex and the city Carrie Bradshawish gal in you is yearning for some blingy-over-the-top-type of sexy fun. So you call your parents to confirm the babysitting arrangement for next weekend and you log onto Expedia to make reservations for a childless, KIO-free, alcohol, gourmet food and gambling filled weekend in Las Vegas. Dreaming of Martinis, Manolos and Men (well, your man, of course), you log off the computer and start putting away the kids’ toys so the house will be clean enough for them to mess it up again tomorrow. And there you are, almost ready to get into bed, not pondering what cute outfit to wear tomorrow, but instead, remembering your sex and the city days and thinking to yourself, I will NEVER use the word NEVER again.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cabo San Lucas, a restaurant review

Hi All:

I hope you enjoyed my introduction to Sex and Suburbia. If you haven't read it yet, please scroll down and take a look! I intend to post a new "Sex" column each week. In a couple of days, I will post Sex and Suburbia, Never say Never. In the meantime, as promised, I will include posts of my unsolicited opinions about restaurants, vacation spots, shops, bargains and just about anything I think is worth talking about.

I am a total "foodie" and lately I have been writing restaurant reviews. Since I also love to travel, I am posting my review of a restaurant in Cabo San Lucas. While cruising is my favorite way to vacation, my family also enjoys hanging out in Cabo a couple of times a year. Several months ago, we stayed at Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach (which we loved!). Here is my review of one of the hotel's restaurants, La Nao.

La Wow at “La Nao!”
Ideally situated just steps from the sparkling Pacific Ocean in Cabo San Lucas, on the grounds of the spectacular Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Resort, sits La Nao, an internationally themed restaurant with upscale service, superb food and a breathtaking view of the azure blue sea.

While dining at La Nao, the sound of the crashing waves and the sight of the setting sun glistening off the water provide the perfect transition from your day in paradise to your evening in paradise. And if your view of paradise includes al fresco dining on an elegant veranda while sipping a peach daiquiri, umbrella and all, you’re in luck here. If wine is more your style, however, La Nao’s extremely knowledgeable sommelier will happily help you choose the perfect bottle from the restaurant’s impressive cellar (I hope you have your Platinum Card for this though - - wine here is about the only thing I would say is very expensive). At this outdoor oasis, each table is adorned with a candle and fresh flowers and is shaded by an oversized, romantically lit palapa. Of course, every outside table has a magnificent view of the ocean. Should you prefer sitting indoors, La Nao’s glass and marble pavilion also offers ocean view tables, but the atmosphere inside is a bit noisier, more hectic and more generic than the relaxing and serene loggia.

La Nao features a wonderfully diverse menu consisting primarily of California cuisine with Asian and Mexican undertones. Among our favorite dishes were the crab-stuffed jalapenos, the ahi and mango ceviche (which was so fresh that each bite was like a burst of the tropics) and the grilled-to-perfection guajillo marinated lamb. In addition to the regular menu, each evening La Nao offers an internationally themed buffet, different every night of the week. The first night we were there, the buffet was Italian and included everything from fresh antipasto and heirloom tomatoes with imported buffalo mozzarella (which melted in my mouth) to a cooked-to-order pasta bar with a myriad of sauces to choose from, a variety of specialty pizzas, a wide selection of hot delicacies such as osso bucco, spinach aglio olio, twice baked potatoes and much more. The selection is sure to satisfy any palate. Amazingly, the food on the buffet tasted like it was made especially for you upon order.

It doesn’t end there. Each night, the buffet also includes an abundance of sumptuous desserts to match the theme. On Mexican night, we ordered the buffet simply to try the more than 20 mouth watering desserts beautifully displayed. We were not disappointed. The Biscochitos, traditional Mexican sugar cookies which are very thick and dusted with cinnamon-sugar, were to die for, as were the Bananas Foster Chimichangas, fried and sweet burrito-like bundles generously stuffed with banana slices, butter, brown sugar and spiced rum! Simply delicious.

Wait, there’s more. If excellent service is what you seek, you will definitely find it here. The several times we dined at La Nao, at least two wait staff took care of our every need. They were friendly and attentive, but never intrusive. A further benefit, La Nao features nightly live music to match the theme of its international buffet. The music is set up inside, but piped through the superior stereo system to the outdoor eating area for all to enjoy.

And perhaps best of all in these crazy economic times, the buffet costs only $30.00 US per person. A true bargain given the quality of the staff and the food coupled with the unbeatable ambiance of a candlelit dinner overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Among the array of Cabo San Lucas’ restaurants, La Nao is a “Wow!”

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sex and Suburbia, an introduction

SEX AND SUBURBIA, an introduction
By Julie Stankowski

Okay, I admit it, I am a complete Carrie Bradshaw wannabe. I was addicted to Sex and the City when it originally aired as a series on HBO, continued to be addicted to reruns on TBS and now, after seeing the Sex and the City Movie (which, by the way, did not disappoint!) am even more in love with Carrie Bradshaw than ever. No, I’m not some crazy nut who heads Sarah Jessica Parker’s internet fan club. I’m just a wife and mom of two in Westlake Village, California who, even though I love being a wife and mom, misses (and sometimes even yearns for) the fabulousness of Carrie and her friends in New York City.

That got me to thinking . . . How different, really, are the single thirty somethings in NYC than the married 40 somethings in the throws of suburbia? Um, let’s see . . . There’s taxi cabs or convertibles versus SUVs or minivans. There’s dinner at Mario Batalli’s newest restaurant and then off to see the Matisse exhibit at the MOMA versus dinner at Chili’s and then off to see Kung Fu Panda at the Mann. There’s the burning desire (and the extra spending money) to have those fabulous Manolos in the window at that very chic store on Fifth Avenue versus the utter excitement that Costco finally has cute colored Crocs in sizes for the whole family. There’s pole dancing exercise classes with a martini and Botox shots at the end (oh wait, do we have that too?) versus mommy and me classes with poopy diapers to change at the end. Okay, point made.

So, the question becomes: Does going from single sex in the city to married sex in suburbia totally change who we are and what we want? Can we have that feeling of sexy fabulousness (and fabulous sex, for that matter) and at the same time have the proud feeling of being the cupcake baking Brownie mom? Can we seamlessly meld the two, like an apple martini? Or, once we make that journey from city to suburbia, do we lose our right to occasionally be selfish, spur-of-the-moment cosmo-drinking fashionistas who still want romantic sex? A complete division, like (310) and (818)?

I, for one, think (wishfully or realistically) we can have both. We may have to study our daytimers, line up all the kids’ activity schedules and our husband’s work schedule, scramble for some babysitters, change our carpool schedule and dip into our household account just a little to ink in some Carrie Bradshaw time for ourselves, but isn‘t it worth the effort?

Recently, for the first time in 7 years (when my oldest child was born), I decided to leave the kids alone with my husband and fly to San Francisco to visit one of my closest, most special friends. My “Charlotte” or my “Samantha” so to speak. Actually, she’s my “Miranda,” since she is not domestic enough to be on the cover of House Beautiful and she is not sex-crazed enough to sleep with the check-out boy at the supermarket. She also, by the way, is a lawyer. So we’ll call her Miranda.

Anyway, I was completely freaked out about leaving my little ones alone with my husband, able-bodied as he may be. Would he give them chocolate cake for breakfast? Put sunscreen on their pale, soft skin? Make sure there was paper on the toilet seat in the restaurant bathroom my daughter inevitably needs to use? Or God forbid, lose one of them at the amusement park he intended to take them to while I was away? Despite my neuroses, I bit the bullet and made reservations for one night and two full days in the wine country to hang out with Miranda.

All I can say is from the moment she picked me up at the airport to the moment she dropped me off in the same spot just 32 hours later, Miranda and I experienced suburban fabulousness in our forties (minus the sex). We stopped off to see her new house and say a quick hello to her husband and kids. I called my husband to make sure our kids were wearing hats; it was really hot here. We grabbed her overnight bag (definitely couldn’t stay at her house; there were kids there) and headed out. I called my husband to remind him that my daughter was not old enough to go into the girls’ bathroom by herself and he had to take her into the oh-so-gross men’s room. We headed to Healdsburg to have a fantastic lunch with, of course, a sumptuous glass of Pinot Grigio, shopped around the upscale square with the upscale people (think the Hamptons in July) and had some heavenly dark chocolate from an adorable candy shop. I called my husband to remind him the kids needed to drink lots of water so they didn’t get dehydrated.

Since Miranda and I didn’t want to drink and drive (one great and important difference from one’s thinking in her early thirties to one’s thinking in her early forties), we checked into our hotel and headed (on foot) to the cute town of Petaluma for some more shopping and cocktails! I called my husband to make sure he hadn’t yet lost a child at the amusement park. Miranda and I found some great antiques and some great martinis! I didn’t call my husband anymore since he had, during the last phone call, expressed his extreme irritation at all my phone calls (and I was otherwise occupied by the world of Martiniville, Miranda and minute upon minute of fabulous girl talk).

The next morning, we sobered up at this old world Manhattan-like diner with the best cornmeal pancakes ever (didn’t even know there was such a thing). I called my husband and much to my delight (and relief), my kids were home and happy and couldn’t stop talking about going to Camp Snoopy with their Daddy. Feeling full, well-rested and secure knowing that my kids were not abducted by Snoopy, we headed to the local theater for the morning showing of Sex and the City. OMG, it was so much fun - - we loved, loved, loved it! With a few more hours left of our girls-only weekend, we were off to a hip Mexican restaurant for more food, drink and catching up. Off to the airport, via Miranda‘s SUV, we still couldn‘t stop talking until we had to; a moment longer and I would have missed my plane.

Admittedly, we didn’t go to some new, hip night club filled with hot twenty somethings who we no longer find interesting or even sexy and we didn’t buy any Manolos (because we now spend our extra cash on camp, karate, baseball, ballet and hip kids‘ clothes), but we had the most incredible time! Just two great friends able to have a whole conversation without hearing, “Mommy, mommy, mommy.” I’m not saying you need to get on an airplane to get some alone-girlie-fabulousness time, but I am saying that with a little planning and effort, even an hour or two of being able to act like our younger selves goes a long way in rejuvenating our mind, body and spirit.

Yeah so, we‘re in suburbia and not the city. A house next to a playground rather than a loft next to Barney’s. But we can still have fabulous girl time, relaxing alone time and hopefully, romantic sex. Perhaps, we just have to change our vision. Instead of spontaneous passion (which almost always is interrupted by somebody needing to go pee-pee), maybe we get a babysitter and a local hotel room with blackout curtains?! How romantic is that?! And let’s be honest, even a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck, shared with the mom of your kid’s play date, can be utterly fabulous if you make it that way.

P.S. My husband is a fantastic Daddy; I’m just a neurotic, paranoid Mommy.

This is the first in a series of columns addressing the topic of sex in the city versus sex in suburbia. Stay tuned for my next column - - “Never say Never.” If you have any questions, comments or stories you would like to share, I would love to hear from you!