Monday, June 18, 2012


Moving on to day 4....a glorious day for doing absolutely nothing outside because it was rainy and cloudy. BUT then again....there was still THE LIST. It was a perfect time to start construction on the MAIN event for the next weekend. This project was a covert operation. No one knew about it except for my niece, nephew and husband. The theme of the Bachelorette (STAGETTE) party was CAMP MANDYLANE. In keeping with that, Uncle FEEVE was required to build a few things for the party.

Two main signs were constructed (stained a dark espresso brown and then painted by Little Miss Pregnant...uh...I mean Party).

For the area of the buffet table, a long tree branch was created to hold hanging lanterns and the letter M for MANDYLANE. We were not finished yet. Since there were Bridesmaids attending,there was a sunroom set up with a Mani-Pedi Area. This was a true exercise in "glamping" (glamourous camping).We set up a pseudo Santa's Workshop to create gift boxes for each of the guests. This is where I came into play in the arts and crafts program at CAMP HAMPS.

Here's another piece of history you didn't know about me. When I was in my 20's (about 10 years ago...NOT!)...I had my own gift basket business. Hated it....BUT I did have an artistic flair and these Stagette Gift boxes got my creative juices flowing again. Between the artwork, the painting, the drilling, the stickering and getting all the supplies for the gift boxes at TARGET....there was one more thing that had to be done on THE LIST.

My niece (pregnant or not pregnant) is obsessed with my mom's Apple Strudel. Of course there is no one on earth that can duplicate this recipe except for yours truly. Let's just say I've spent a lot of time watching over my mother's shoulder while she poured NON measured ingredients into a bowl and created a masterpiece which looked more like two TORAHS than Apple Strudels.

Here's something you need to know...making strudels in the Hamptons is very different from making strudels at home in Toronto.

Some of the issues include:

1. The eggs
2. The size of the eggs
3. The color of the eggs
4. The misleading information on the side of the egg carton
5. The brand of flour
6. The location of the utensils in the kitchen ( I can never find them)
7. The small child on the battery operated motorcycle driving through the kitchen waving and yelling Hiiiiiiiiii!!!
8. The Apples (There was nothing wrong with the apples. The purchaser of the apples (Steve) thought that the recipe called for 6 apples no matter what size, when it clearly called for 8 small apples OR 6 large ones. He returned with 6 small apples and stated that it was be fine as long as you spread them out.
9. Did I mention the eggs?
10. Here's where it gets sketchy...
My niece has a state of the art kitchen, with state of the art equipment... with the exception of .......
The type of PIN I am accustomed to is one with two handles on either end. The type of PIN she presented me resembles A CHAIR LEG. Who uses a chair leg to roll out dough? Impossible. With all these challenges the end result looked like it fell out of the oven and onto the floor. can't judge a strudel by its still tasted divine.

As we moved on to day 5 we hoped for a change in weather and our wish came true. The sun finally peaked through the clouds, the air was warm and we were ready to party in the pool. One of the things that Uncle Feeve is famous for...along with terrorizing crustaceans is his knack for having fun with kids. Please be advised, that if you are ever tempted to leave your children with Uncle Steve/Feeve they may be subjected to some "airborne" activities. Yes, you heard me right... AIRBORNE. Mr. G. squealed with delight as he was thrown from FEEVE to FATHER back and forth in the pool. When all was said and done, they tuckered the poor little guy out and naptime ensued. This gave us enough time to prepare for the next meal. It seems that when we are at CAMP HAMPS our motto is " we live to eat and not eat to live". Each meal is a unique creation (even when it involves disguising leftovers into an unrecognizable dish).

The menu for the evening included my nephew's famous DAY LONG SMOKED ribs (cooked on the Big Green Egg). I am really tempted to purchase one of these babies. The only issue..I'm leary about walking away from this thing while it is "smoking". My fear is that it will take off like a UFO along with the contents of our meal and there goes dinner. Mr. G.'s grandparents joined us for the afternoon and evening (and grandpa was the lucky recipient of a piece of strudel for the trip back to Long Island). Our stay was quickly coming to an end (I still had two full days left) but Steve and my nephew had to get back to work.

My nephew left on Sunday night and Steve prepared for another long journey VIA the two-wheeler the next day. Fast Forward to Monday morning. The clouds moved in once again. The temperature dropped significantly and it started to drizzle. A spectacular day for a motorcycle ride....especially an 11.5 hour trip. Uncle Feeve prepared his "wheels of steel" and packed his gear for the trip. I forgot to mention that when I came down I had 1/2 a suitcase to use because the majority of my husband's clothing were in the other half. This was probably one of the first times I had no choice but to deal with "sharing" my suitcase space. An extremely difficult task for me to accomplish.

First of all, I hate sharing (reminder of how I deal with popcorn at the movies?) I want to eat the largest bag without anybody touching it.

Secondly, I don't have enough room for my own stuff let alone someone elses. What I didn't know until I started packing to return home was that Steve had given me "extra" goods to pack. I was once again suffering from (O.S.S.) Overpacked Suitcase Syndrome. Getting back to Steve. He revved up the engines of his big red bike...donned his Snoopy googles..and drove away while Mr. G. ran after him yelling...Bye Feeve! Bye Feeve!!!!!!

So now we were alone. The grown men had left and we had a plan in place for my last two days. We need to talk about Gavin's rehab program that has been set into place for the past few months. You see, at the tender age of 2, he has become a Children's Show Junkie.

Among them are, Sesame Street (his favorite character is MELMO ...not sure why he added an M to Elmo's name), YO GABBA GABBA. WONDER PETS (of which he knows the words to the theme song) and FIREMAN SAM. These three shows come in handy when you need to have some quiet time. Not only for the adults but for patrons in restaurants as well. My niece restricts the amount of time Mr. G. is glued to the TV, Ipad or Iphone. On occasion it is a tough battle to close any of these devices and say "that's enough". Day 6 was one of those days. Both of us needed some "down time" so we put YO GABBA GABBA on for the Li'l guy to watch. The deal was...ONE episode and then Mommy gets to watch MADMEN. Great deal right? Has anyone ever watched this show? I decided to give it a try while feverishly Pinning stuff onto Pinterest. If you haven't already become a PINTEREST addict....DON'T DO IT ! It will consume your life and you will never create, cook, wear or do half of the things YOU have PINNED. I'm never giving it up by the way....and to be honest with you ...if I could PIN for a living I would.

To preface this next incident I want to make this perfectly clear..99.9 % of the time Mr. G. is an absolute ANGEL(but so was I as kid...wink wink).

Back to YO GABBA GABBA. This is the type of children's show that makes you want to poke yourself repeatedly in both eyes. It's loud. It's irritating. It's downright obnoxious. To keep our sanity in check we  turned to our computers. After giving in to two episodes, I overheard my niece state that his shows were now over and it was time to give Mommy a turn with the TV. This is when our peaceful afternoon took a turn down hells highway.

TERRIBLE TWOS: Definition -

A stage of development in which toddler behavior is a particular challenge.

Example: Alternately clingy, whiny, negative, fearful, and loud, their unpredictable behavior is epic, and it's often been written off as the Terrible Twos. (Somewhat similar to what I behave like when Steve flips on Hillbilly Hand Fishin and Swamp People)

"Epic" was the word of the day. What ensued after the YO GABBA disconnection was this....a full out tantrum with Mr. G. right up in my niece's face screaming YO GABBA GABBA! YO GABBA GABBA! YO GABBA GABBA! YO GABBA GABBA! YO GABBA GABBA! YO YO YO !!!
The interesting thing niece kept her cool...held him close to her and WAITED. Once the YO GABBA GABBA'S turned into a softer version of wimpering she simply asked if he was DONE. She spoke to him calmly and explained that they had a "deal". The deal was ....Mommy needs to watch MADMEN and Mr. G. needs to find something else to do. Believe it or not....he settled for playing with his Auntie D. which in my opinion was a much better choice since we could now belt out the following song while Mommy watched her show...

*Wonder Pets!

Wonder Pets!

We're on our way

To help a friend

And save the day

We're not too big

And we're not too tough

But when we work together

We've got the right stuff

Gooooooo, Wonder Pets, ya'ay!

*(sidenote: I was still singing this tune in my head at the airport, during the flight, all the way home in the car and the next day at work until I stabbed myself with a pencil just so I would have something to distract me from the pain). Oh G-d...I'm singing it again.

Just a sec......we forgot about Steve. His goal on this journey back home was to make it back for an 8:30 p.m. baseball game. He plays catcher on his league and of course they can't do without him and he can't do without a game since he is looking forward to his predictable "next" injury. He drove through all elements of weather, cold, warm, wind, rain, hail, sun, clouds, was a meteorologist's potpourri. As he approached his final destination he decided to stop "one more time" for gas. Frozen, wet, hungry and stiff...he forged onwards...THE TEAM NEEDED THEIR CATCHER!

Here's the chronological chain of events:
At 8:00 p.m. 13 players are expected to arrive
At 8:30 p.m. there were 6 players on the bench (legally they need 7 players for a game)
Steve was their 7th man
Steve stopped for gas (one more time)
Steve was 5 minutes late
Steve arrived at 8:35 p.m.
The game was forfeited due to lack of players

8:45 p.m. Steve went home to thaw out over a half chicken dinner from Swiss Chalet.

Moving on to Day 7: STARGAZING in the EAST HAMPTONS.

Each and every time I have been out to visit, we've never had the chance to drive to the Eastern portion of the Hamps. This is where you will find the homes of Jerry Seinfeld, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kelsey Grammer. As well as homes belonging to the cast members of The Real Housewives of New York (which I'm hooked on watching when not PINTERING). I was determined to see one of these real housewives when we went out to sightsee on Tuesday.

Our itinerary included a stop at the Children's Museum (which was closed Tuesdays), rerouting to a local park for some serious SeeSawing and then off to see if we could find the STARS...which we didn't because who is out in East Hampton during the week except for us? No one. We stopped at a local foodery called Sam's Bar and Grill where I had the BEST lobster roll sammie I have ever eaten in my life...and yes I had fries with it...ya that's right...fries and ketchup and loads of deliciousness (a treat to make up for the starless day).

DAY 8 -  My final day in the Hamps. As we were making breakfast, Mr. G. asked if I was leaving today. He looked at me with his big blue eyes and said "debi...Me going to miss you". As I melted into a puddle, I couldn't help but leave him with a lasting memory from our visit. A chalkboard drawing of Auntie D., his mommy and him. Please note the baby belly and the armless child. I was in a hurry to catch a plane.

I ended the trip the same way as it began - with another visit to McDonalds. I rarely eat this stuff but I'm going to blame this fast food foe on my niece who is a BAD influence while with child and the fact that Canadian franchises no longer have the ORANGE POP that GOES with my filet o fish...who could say NO to a meal deal? I can't even describe in words how much I love that little soft bun, the square piece of fake fried fish, the yummy, drippy, creamy tarter sauce and those fries OH GAWD those FRIES!

Now that you have actually made it to this part...which surprises me because this could very well be the world's longest blog post....I'm going to wind up with the last key notes from the journey home + the day after I arrived back in Toronto. Good news and Bad News....

  • Held up the security line again with my granny grocery cart which refused to fold up
  • started talking to random travellers who had similar blackberrys as mine...I wanted to see if they also had problems retaining their battery life...(this was only bad news for those folks that I approached so I'm putting this under this category)
  • Boarded Air Canada Flight 712 - La Guardia to Toronto ON TIME (this is only in the bad news category because I don't like flying)
  • My seatmate was a young lady who laughed out loud at the mini screen set into the seat in front of us for the entire flight.
  • The flight attendant handed me free pretzels and I lost them. I have no idea where they went but later found them at the bottom of my broken "FOOIE".
  • Landed in Toronto ON TIME (this sounds like good news but wait until the next bullet)
  • They wouldn't let us OFF the plane.


  • A severe storm rolled through just after we landed and we were placed in an EMERGENCY RED ZONE with every single incoming flight in the entire world until the GATEKEEPERS could bring us in. *I could have flown to Europe in less time. 


Mike Holmes
I finally saw a "STAR" who was stuck in the plane with the rest of us... as I was reaching for my hot pink camera he saw me coming and quickly closed his eyes (similar to what Mr. G. did when he sent me on my way) seems that I have this effect on men lately.

Mr. G.

DAY 9: I get a call from my niece at my office...she was unsure but thinks there is a Star Sighting in a nice uptown restaurant in the City.

Ramona Singer of ....

at least they all had their eyes open.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Welcome to Camp Hamps - PART ONE

Did you know that I never went to CAMP? Going back to my childhood days I remember watching the majority of my friends pack their duffle bags and hop on a large bus headed for Camp Timberlane and I wondered why I was not allowed to be part of this Summer tradition. Perhaps it was because my parents just couldn't get enough of me or was it that they would miss me too much if I was gone for almost 2 months? Whatever the reason, I did have a couple of leftover friends with whom I would hang out with when school was out for the Summer. They both happened to have pools in their backyards so let's just say I attended CAMP SMITHERS and CAMP GOZ for arguments sake. Oh yes, and if memory serves me correctly, my parents did attempt to leave me in a "day camp" scenario when I was about 6 or 7 at a Catskill Mountain Resort. I spent exactly 2 hours in the camp and showed up on their laps after complaining that I didn't like the food they were serving.

That is most likely where I began to know the difference between a plain white bread sandwich with plastic orange cheese and a BUFFET bonanza. My sister's children both attended Camp Timberlane during their Summer vacations. They made loads of friends at camp and to this day their memories are instilled with the wonderful experiences they had there. As a matter of fact, a story of "romance" was part of my youngest niece's life during the years she was at Timberlane. It was there that she met the love of her life, and it was there that he went back to propose to her last year. As you know, prior to a wedding there are loads of fun celebrations that are planned for the bride and groom to be. Engagement parties, showers, brunches, toasts and last but not least...the stag and stagette (otherwise known as the bachelor and bachelorette parties). When it comes to hosting a fabulous party, who none other than Little Miss Party would be on call (albeit 8 months pregnant) to throw her sister a bash that she would never forget? As part and parcel of this event, there were a few projects that entailed the expert hands of Uncle Steve and Auntie Debs to partake in. The project list also included a side-bar with a much needed task - Uncle Steve needed to plant a vegetable/flower garden this year in the Hamps. Here's what took place over the course of the first 3 days of our trip out east.

Day one: Steve arrives after his 11 + hour motorcycle tour of toll booths.

Day two: Debi departs from Toronto/Pearson International Airport while Steve lounges around the pool, enjoying the peace and quiet and waiting for our arrival.

Day three: The List is presented to Steve. It includes a two hour outting to Home Depot to buy supplies for the "projects" as well as purchase all the gardening stuff.

I'm going to turn to another subject for a second and describe my  first day with Mr. G. The intent was to have a few good quality hours with him while my niece and Steve were making their way through THE LIST. I had planned an outdoor exercise class (with a 2 year that was going to happen?), followed by a lunch break and possibly a chill out session with Thomas the Train on the tube. Here is what really took place and I will be inserting a WARNING label because parts of this story will get graphic, gross and you can choose to close this page right now if you want to...I will totally understand...don't worry...

9:30 a.m. - Mommy and Steve depart for Riverhead - Where the stores are...

9:35 a.m. - Mr. G. and I make our way out to the backyard for our "class". I'm equipped with my gymboss interval timer and dressed in my workout gear. Our routine went something like this....jumping jacks, running up and down the hill while doing  "high fives" as we passed each other, froggie jumps, rolling down the hill and last but not least (his favorite) yoga stretches. It took a while for him to warm up to the idea that this was actually a serious class but when all was said and done he ran past me waving his hands wildly in the air screaming "push, push, push that tush"!
We boogied up and down that hill together until he ended up with the following two issues: A very full diaper and the need to blow his nose (he required the BPT "BOOGER PATROL TEAM" to be called in). On a scale of 1 to 10 this is probably considered a gross factor of 20 here...don't say I didn't warn you. And as far as this pictorial of the said "booger" on the said 'boogie" ....don't get the wrong NO TIME did he ever consume his snot. Are you gagging yet? Thought so.

I have changed many diapers in my life (3 boys) but I don't recall if they had pullups 21 years ago. My thoughts were...NO. My niece left his porta-potty on the porch for me and asked if I would mind training him while she was gone for 2 hours....OH SURE....that didn't exactly work....although I gave it my best shot by asking Mr. G. if he thought his potty was cool to which he replied "yes" as he ran past it.
So what exactly is a pullup? It is a diaper that resembles a pair of underpants but is really a diaper without the tabs. There is a front and a back...which looked the same to me. After our long and exhausting workout, I asked if he would like to make a peepee in the potty. He said "no thank you". Very polite don't you think? Approximately 2 minutes later, he approached me to announce that he has a poopoo in his pants. Ohhhkaay..I quickly grab him and we make our way up to his room to change his bum. Keep in mind...there are no tabs on the diaper so how would anyone take this thing off? The most logical way is to Pull Down the Pull up Well, no is the right answer...I proceeded to pull down the pull up and OUT flew the contents of the pull up onto the change table. My first reaction would be to scream..which I did...resulting in Mr. G. laughing at me. I bet he could have explained the instructions on how NOT to pull down a pull up. (According to the directions you must tear the diaper off down the side...HOW WOULD I KNOW TO DO THIS?). The other lesson learned was the natural instinct to pick up the contents you pulled down and dropped while in screaming mode. I quickly grabbed the deposit with a WetOne and lost grip of it....Mr. G. continued laughing at me and concluded (in his own mind) that he was more capable of dealing with this Pull Up situation better than his Aunt. Once I was finished pulling up and down, my niece arrived home and I recanted the story to her. She checked my work and pointed out that his diaper was placed on him incorrectly. I checked the status of the Pulled up Pulled Down diaper and opted for the HOME DEPOT excursion next time. My niece handed me my pink slip: *Grounds for Dismissal - lousy babysitter who couldn't figure out a PULLUP.

Vegetable Gardening 101 (How to plant a vegetable garden with an assistant who is 2):  
Uncle Steve, otherwise known as "the Manny", or as Mr. G. calls him Uncle FEEVE organized all the plantings for a vegetable and flower garden. When Uncle FEEVE tackles a project such as this he does so with finesse and SPEED. It is always great to have an extra pair of hands to help you get the job done quickly. Mr. G. was delighted to assist UNTIL the act of planting the plant occured and he actually got DIRT on his hands. At this point he hopped into his motorized vehicle and quickly sped away after being FIRED by Uncle FEEVE. Mr. G. was handed his pink slip which stated the grounds for dismissal:  Employee is a LOUSY GARDENER. *Now we had something in common...we both lost our jobs that day.


All I can say about this one is I have to hand it to Steve to turn a meal preparation into a scene from DEXTER. The short version of this story is the correct and incorrect way to conduct yourself while making steamed lobster in another person's home.

CORRECT WAY: Place your lobsters in the sink and rinse them gently while boiling a large pot of water on the stove. Do not remove rubber bands to release the claws until ready for immersion.

INCORRECT WAY (or Steve Dexter's WAY): Place your lobsters in the sink and fling off the rubber bands with a knife. Turn the water on full blast and aim it on a lobster to see if it starts moving. Pick up two lobsters in your hands and place them close to each other to see if they will FIGHT. Have the lobster slip from your hands and fall into the sink causing them to get distressed.

Water them again until one of the lobsters sh*t themselves in the sink sending the hostess into a tizzy. At this point even though the lobsters looked amazing my niece was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder associated with the serial killing of these sea creatures. Not to mention the poo that hit her sink in a very unappetizing way. That however didn't stop her from a "photo-op" with her red friends. If you are ever in the mood for seafood, Steve is thinking of opening up a restaurant and calling it "The Lobster Mobster".  

Days 4,5,6,7,8 and be continued.. Stay with me for CAMP HAMPS - PART TWO