The “Don’t talk to me, it’s too early” ritual:
Scoop three tablespoons of coffee grinds into French press 
Add boiling water
Steep six minutes
Pour steaming coffee into large mug
Add splash of cream and two tablespoons sugar
Take first sip
Feel mouth pucker
Motion like frenzied chimpanzee
Run to sink
Spit out Dead Sea
Feel tongue swell like blow up raft
Hear teenage daughter cackle in background 


Make second pot of coffee
Realize too late “sugar,” not coffee, is offender
Fall victim to same prank again
Hear teenage daughter cackle louder




Make third pot of coffee 
Continue morning routine with coffee cup in hand 
Boot-up computer 
Watch home page pop up
See sudden close up of charging bull 
Hear bull bellow, HRROOONNNHHH
Fling coffee cup into air 
Bellow louder than bull
Slosh back to kitchen
Hear son who reset homepage howl with laughter from safe distance


Make fourth pot of coffee
Refill coffee cup 
Drain and wash pot 
Check e-mail 
Find series of messages from previous night’s cocktail hour


Mary:  Hi Lisa, I stepped up and paid your share for the drinks and appies last night after you left.  It came to $57.24 per person.  Just pay me when you can. . .


Debbie:  I paid your share last night.  It was $67.25 each.  No rush, just pay me when you see me.


Christie:  Hey Lisa, last night was fun, huh?  I paid your part of the bill--- $77.25.   You can pay me back tomorrow at the gym.  See you soon. 


Retrieve morning paper
Notice “For Sale” sign on front lawn 
Hear faint giggles from across street 
Catch glimpse of neighbor lurking behind bushes
Watch as husband enters kitchen
Happy April Fool’s Day!
Observes soiled wife with swollen tongue protruding from mouth
Looks confused 
Glances around room
What, no coffee?
Hand him cup from first pot








When Jersey Girl Lisa Tognola traded her job as freelance writer for that of full-time mother of three children, it didn’t take long before her writing was reduced to grocery lists, notes to school nurses excusing her kids from gym class, and e-mails to her husband reminding him to call his mother.  Daily life as a suburban mom was fraught with challenges and unexpected dangers like adult dinner groups, town hall meetings and home shopping parties.  Rather than fight her fate, this mom embraced it by unleashing her inner columnist.  Her weekly column, Main Street Musings, reflects on life in the suburbs---the good, the bad, and the ugly.   She lives in Chatham, New Jersey with her family. Follow her on twitter @lisatognola  Past articles can be found at