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I've Got Sand in All the Wrong Places

I've Got Sand in All the Wrong Places

I've Got Sand in All the Wrong Places

I've Got Sand in All the Wrong Places


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“The mother-daughter duo returns with a collection of breezy summer essays, perfect for the beach, the pool or even the couch. This witty, insightful assortment of stories is a wonderfully entertaining look into the lives of two modern women.” –Parade Magazine

The New York Times bestselling mother-daughter team returns with a new collection in the series that Oprah Magazine calls the "Perfect Summer Must-Read," of funny and relatable true stories in the everyday lives of modern women. Lisa and Francesca give their multigenerational take on a variety of topics, from the terrors of Tinder to the indignities of the gym, and from fleece as formalwear to playing the lotto as financial planning, sounding like two girlfriends you’ve known your whole life. As with all mothers and daughters, Lisa and Francesca sometimes joke, sometimes fight, but always love their way through life’s best and worst moments. You’ll laugh along with them, and when you finish, you will want to share the fun with your mother, daughter, or best friend.

So join Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella as they travel from the beach to the city to the suburbs and all the places in between, exasperating, supporting, and enjoying each other along the way.

"Lisa and Francesca, mother and daughter, bring you the laughter of their lives." —Delia Ephron, bestselling author

“True tales of how we live now from a mother and daughter who are best pals—and a very funny writing team.” –People (Best Beach Book)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250059987
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/13/2017
Series: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman , #7
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 581,907
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

LISA SCOTTOLINE is a New York Times bestselling and Edgar award-winning author of more than twenty-eight novels and coauthor of The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman books, including Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog. She also writes a Sunday column for The Philadelphia Inquirer. She has 30 million copies of her books in print, and she has been published in thirty countries. She lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with an array of disobedient pets.

FRANCESCA SERRITELLA is a New York Times bestselling author and a columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer. She graduated cum laude from Harvard University, where she won the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize for her novella. She is the co-author of The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman books, including Have a Nice Guilt Trip. Francesca lives in New York City with one dog and one cat, so far.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Date of Birth:

July 1, 1955

Place of Birth:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1976; J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1981

Read an Excerpt

I've Got Sand in All the Wrong Places

By Lisa Scottoline, Francesca Serritella

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2016 Smart Blonde, LLC.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-6525-9


I've Got Sand in All the Wrong Places


Who doesn't love summer?

It is our reward for three seasons of going full speed, twenty-four/seven, in a world that is too complex and way too fast.

We all need a break, especially mothers.

All year-round, we have to get everybody ready in the morning, while we pack lunches and find somebody's missing sneaker.

But it's summertime, and we get a breather and if we're lucky, an actual vacation.

During which we get everybody ready in the morning, while we pack lunches and find somebody's missing sneaker.

But at least we do it in a nicer place.

To me, the best part of summer is that the entire world relaxes just a bit, letting down mentally, easing off the gas emotionally.

That's what we all truly need, a July of the mind.

A time to wear mental flip-flops.

Fewer clothes.

More laughter.

An excess of wasted time.

Life, unplugged.

To me, the best part of summer is the beach.

It's all about the beach.

Every time I drive into a shore town, I can feel my mood lift and my spirit lighten.

I drive into town, past the saltwater-taffy and fudge stores, then the swirly-custard stands, fried-clam joints, and the drugstores that sell suntan lotion, where the only bottles left will have an SPF of 2 or 18326.

And nothing in between.

I know I'm at the beach when I pass my favorite store, which is the one that sells inflatable toys for kids, so outside will be oversized inflatable alligators, puffy rings like multicolored Life Savers, funky boogie boards, and foam noodles growing out of a barrel like so many Gerbera daisies.

Minus the Gerbera daisy part.

The salt air, the warm sun, the happy smiles; all of it is the stuff of summer.

And the great thing is, I feel that way whether I'm on vacation or not.

In fact, Francesca and I go on book tour every summer to promote these books, and even that feels like a vacation, just because it's summertime.

We drive around together, switching off on the driving and making our way through Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach, the Hamptons, Mystic, Connecticut, and Westerly, Rhode Island. We even took three ferries during our last tour, and this year we're expanding to Virginia Beach and Cape Cod beaches.

We might even take a paddleboat.

Why not?

It's summertime!

And that's the point of this little book, come to think of it. It's the seventh in this series, which Francesca and I have written about our lives alone and together, as mother and daughter. We're really ordinary and normal, and the more you read about us, the more you'll see your own life and your own families reflected herein.

Except that you probably behave better.

Because although our relationship is wonderful and we are truly each other's best friends, that doesn't mean we don't fight.

I'm here to say that we have fought our way through beaches along the East Coast and, as I mentioned above, we'll soon be expanding our fighting to Virginia and Massachusetts.


Which brings me to my point.

Even in summertime, there will be problems.

You'll get in fights with your kids.

Or you'll get in fights with your mother or father.

Everybody knows that a family vacation is hardest on the family.

Also, things will go wrong, like the weather won't cooperate.

You'll find yourself with five days of vacation and four days of clouds, which means you'll stare at your phone, laptop, or television, mentally calculating how much it's costing you to be depressed in a new location.

Plus, you'll find yourself spending way too much time in the local grocery store, which will gouge you on price.

Also the drugstore, which will gouge you on price.

And any restaurant, which will gouge you on price.

Finally, you will get sand in all the wrong places.

You'll get sand in your sneakers.

You won't be able to shake all of it out.

You'll get sand stuck in the elastic in your bathing suit.

You won't be able to rinse all of it out.

You'll even get sand in your hair, blown by the wind off the sea onto your very scalp.

You won't be able to wash it out.

The sand will come back to the rental house with you, where it will fall on the floor, and when you drive home, it will be in the well underneath the gas pedal. You will track it inside your own house, and you will feel a grittiness under your toes in your very own bedroom, maybe even your sheets.

Don't let the sand bother you.

And above all, don't nag each other about it or whine about it, because that misses the point.

Flip it.

Think of the sand as fairy dust.

Because it is.

It's a magical sprinkling of a summertime mood.

If you're lucky, the sand will always be with you, wherever you go. A gritty little reminder under your feet.

And in your undies.

Summer is truly a state of mind.

If you keep that with you at all times — by that I mean, the mentally easing of worry, the emotional letting go, and more smiles in general — you will have a happier and healthier year.

Until summer rolls around again, and you get to go back to the beach.

To bring home more sand.



Fighting Like ...


My kids are fighting.

They're not my kids, I should stop personifying them.

My cat is being mean to my son.

Sorry, my cat is being aggressive with my dog.

Like any parent knows, it's heartbreaking. It's keeping me up at night.

Literally. Last night at 2:45 A.M., a cat yowl woke me up. I had to take Pip into the bed for protective custody.

It wasn't always like this. A year and a half ago, I borrowed Mimi from my mother to catch a mouse in my apartment. But what was supposed to be a monthlong stay became permanent after I fell in love with this sweet, little, tuxedo cat.

Now she's just little and tuxedo.

Her bad cattitude came out of nowhere. My cat and dog used to get along perfectly. They cuddled together on my bed, he gave her space, and she'd occasionally rub up against him.

Basically, they had my ideal relationship.

Until a month ago, when she started attacking him.

Can a cat have a midlife crisis?


That pun deserves hissing.

Her mood swings come without warning. Pip will be minding his own business, padding toward the kitchen in hopes I'll feed him breakfast twice, when suddenly, Mimi will dart after him, chase him into a corner, and go full-blown cat-ninja on him, swiping the air, caterwauling, and hissing.

Poor Pip never retaliates, he just scampers behind my legs like a frightened toddler, while Mimi saunters away.

She feels about as much guilt as Robert Durst.

I took Mimi to the vet, but she's perfectly healthy. The vet suggested she might be bored.

I didn't take offense.

But I've bought Mimi tons of toys since I got her, and the only game I've ever seen her enjoy is chasing after Pip's leash when it drags behind him.

I hoped this was more about the dragging leash and less about tormenting Pip.

So I got crafty and made a custom lure out of ribbon for Mimi's cat teaser, a fishing pole–type toy. She seems entertained, but I think I'm more into it than she is. In an effort to tire her out, I find myself doing a full gymnastic ribbon-dancing routine.

I thought I was pretty good, too, but then my neighbors across the street held up two fives and a three.

Despite the increased playtime, Mimi still finds energy to lash out at the dog. So I decided instead of winding her up, I needed to help her unwind.

With recreational drugs.

I have dime bags of catnip stashed all over the house. Anything to keep it mellow when the cat's eyes look a little too focused.

We're not casual users anymore. I'm now growing "cosmic cat grass" on my windowsill, which is semi-legal in New York.

It's medicinal, okay?

But Mimi has the tolerance of Seth Rogen, because the vibes remain harsh.

Pip is normally calm and submissive, but now I see how anxious he's become, especially when the cat is nearby. Last week, I came home and found what looked like a scratch wound on his back.

The worst part is, this drama has manifested a secret fear I have about my ability to mother. I've always imagined myself having a child, specifically one child. I was an only child myself, but secretly, I have another reason:

I'm afraid I'll play favorites.

How can you not? But maybe it's the way I'm wired. I'm very loyal, I love fiercely, and my brain naturally categorizes things.

For instance, Mimi is my beloved cat.

But Pip is my baby.

My mom said she'd be happy to take Mimi back, but I can't give up on her. I do love her, and there was peace between them for so long, I have to think we can get back there.

And this morning, after another rough night, when I was browsing cat-behavior books online and feeling hopeless, Mimi leapt into my lap and began to purr.

She has a favorite, too.


Little Black Dress?


The Internet exploded over a dress, and my first thought was, who cares?

Until I figured out that I did, very much.

We begin when somebody on the Internet circulated a photo of a cocktail dress with horizontal stripes. The caption to the dress photo asked, What color is this dress?

I thought they were kidding, because the stripes were obviously black and blue.

So what?

I didn't really get it, and I certainly didn't share it because it wasn't very interesting. On the Internet, I only share really interesting things like adorable pictures of kittens and adorable pictures of puppies. On occasion I share adorable pictures of baby otters and baby squirrels, and occasionally a baby monkey.

If you're two months old and covered with fur, I'm your girl.

The only person I share anything with on the Internet is Daughter Francesca, and she shares with me, too. Whether by nature or nurture, her tastes are similar, and so we often generate an electronic stream of adorable baby animals, crossing each other in email, undoubtedly colliding in the ether, but none of them hurting each other, because they're cute and cuddly and soft.

I didn't share the dress with her because I didn't care.

Then I noticed online, specifically on Facebook and Twitter, that not everybody saw the dress as black and blue. Some people thought it was white and gold. At first I thought they were kidding, so I went to look at the picture again, and oddly enough, the dress started looking white and gold to me.

Which was scary.

I didn't understand, and I like to understand, so then I started clicking on the articles about why we were all seeing the dress in different colors, and the articles explained something about rods and cones in the eye, and I got the gist, which was that everybody's eyes are different.

But then I started to notice online that people were taking sides. The people who saw the white-and-gold dress started finding each other online, and the people who saw the blue-and-black dress got together, and they formed teams, since they already had team colors.

And then, as the Internet would have it, they started yelling at each other, online. The white-and-gold people thought the blue-and-black people were wrong. The blue-and-black people thought the white-and-gold people were wrong. Then there was a third group who thought that this was too much yelling over a dress and it was really boring and it didn't make any sense.

I confess that I was in the last group.

I saw both colors, so I didn't like either team.

Plus I had better things to do in general.

Like my job.

I'm supposed to be in front of a computer writing a book, making my quota of two thousand words a day, and I'm happiest when I do that and don't find myself drawn into Internet feuds over clothes.

Then somebody online said that we should stop fighting about the dress because we all had more important things to worry about in the world.

I nodded yes.

Then I realized I was wrong.

The way everybody reacted to the dress is exactly what we should be worrying about in the world. In fact, it mirrors everything we're worried about in the world.

We tend to group around into teams, over shared beliefs. I think that's part of a human need to belong, and that can be a wonderful thing. Nothing feels better than sitting in a cheering section where everybody's wearing the same color jersey.

We are the champions, my friend!

But sometimes, we think that if the other team doesn't see things our way, the other team is wrong.

We forget that the difference in perspective is simply a difference, and not all differences are wrong.

Everybody's moral rods and cones are individual, and we will always see the world in different ways.

The important thing is to respect the views of others, even when we secretly think they have no idea what the hell they're talking about, or are completely and obviously wrong, or might even be out of their minds because the facts are so clear to anyone with half a brain.

It's a lot to learn from a dress.

Imagine what shoes have to teach us.


Ho Ho Ho


You might be reading this book in the summertime, but it chronicles a whole year in our lives, both the good and the bad, and beginning with the holidays, both the naughty and the nice.

What gets you in the mood?

I'm not talking about that mood, I'm talking about a holiday mood.

For the record, what gets me inthat mood is Bradley Cooper, but I have a feeling I'm not getting him for Christmas.


The holidays are upon us, and we're all performing the three hundred tasks required thereby, primarily shopping. So this year, to make my life easier, I had the great idea to do all my shopping online.

But, like many of my allegedly great ideas, it had a downside.

What happened was that my tour for my last book just ended, leaving me no time to go shopping, so I'd thought all online was the way to go. And I've just been online shopping for two hours, on the computer at my desk, where I sit every day, tapping on the keyboard, seeing no other human beings.

If you don't count a dog in a sweater.

Yes, my dogs wear sweaters this time of year, not only because I'm too cheap to turn up the heat, but also because they look completely adorable.

Plus I like dressing them in their sweaters because it makes me feel like I have children I don't have to send to college.

So to me, dogs in sweaters count as human beings.

Anyway, as regards online shopping, I got almost all of it done. I think I got pretty good deals, too, because it was so easy to switch around to the different websites and compare.

There was no rush for a parking space.

There were no long lines to wait in.

There was no begging a salesperson for a cardboard box.

There were no other shoppers, harried and exhausted, walking in circles around the mall, going through the same thing I was.

But now, two hours later, the disadvantage is completely obvious.

I'm not in a holiday mood.

There is no holiday mood, anywhere in sight.


There was no rush for a parking space.

There were no long lines to wait in.

There was no begging a salesperson for a cardboard box.

There were no other shoppers, harried and exhausted, walking in circles around the mall, going through the same thing I was.

In short, I saved myself the time and the trouble, but the time and the trouble were exactly what put me in a holiday mood.

It turns out that a stress-free holiday is no holiday at all.

Maybe I have to hate the holiday to love the holiday?

It got me thinking about online shopping in general, and lately I've been thinking about that a lot, especially having been on book tour. It comes as no surprise to anyone that there are fewer bookstores in the world. Plenty of wonderful independent bookstores have closed, and even a big chain bookstore like Borders is now a thing of the past.

What worries me is that bookstores could become a thing of the past.

And if bookstores become a thing of the past, then it's only a matter of time until reading becomes a thing of the past.

And if that happens, I think we are worse for that, as a society.

It may be obvious as an abstract matter, but I realized that many other types of stores could go belly-up, if I keep shopping on my butt.

So I taught myself a lesson:

Vote with my feet.

If I want to live in a community that has bookstores and all other kinds of stores, as well as local people happily employed in those stores, I have to go out and buy stuff.

I'm putting on my coat and going shopping.

I look forward to the cranky shoppers, the waiting in lines, and the fighting over the parking space.

And I'm wishing you and yours a happily stressful holiday.


Not a Creature Was Stirring


Wanna hear what I got for Christmas?


Don't know what that is?

Allow me to explain.

Rewind to a few days before Christmas, when Daughter Francesca came home for the holidays and was about to build us a fire, so I got in the car to go buy firewood since we didn't have any split logs.

I may be hardy but I don't know how to split logs.

I'm not a lumberjack, I just dress like one.

So I hop in the car and take off to the store, but I'm thirsty, plus I had a canker sore, which considering my pain threshold, feels like childbirth.

All week, I'd been painting my tongue with every canker-sore remedy they sell. I am the biggest baby on the planet, especially for mouth things, because they interfere with talking and eating, which are my hobbies.


Excerpted from I've Got Sand in All the Wrong Places by Lisa Scottoline, Francesca Serritella. Copyright © 2016 Smart Blonde, LLC.. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

I've Got Sand in All the Wrong Places Lisa 1

Fighting Like … Francesca 6

Little Black Dress? Lisa 11

Ho Ho Ho Lisa 14

Not a Creature Was Stirring Lisa 17

Auld Lang Sayonara Francesca 21

Changing Tide Lisa 24

Love Match Lisa 27

SWF Seeking Tamiflu Francesca 31

With Apologies to Mother Mary Lisa 35

The Storm Has Passed Lisa 39

Swipe Me Tender Francesca 43

Requiem for a Meal Lisa 46

People of Earth Lisa 50

The Quitters Club Francesca 53

Spanked Lisa 57

Advice to a Young Tradeswoman, Written by an Old One Lisa 61

How Much Is a Tracksuit? Francesca 64

Doggie Dramz Lisa 68

Mommy's Day Out Francesca 72

Celebrity Crushed Lisa 76

This Is the Pits Lisa 83

Judge Doorman Francesca 87

Got Limes? Lisa 91

I Saw the Sign Lisa 95

Incident Report Francesca 99

Laugh at My Pain Francesca 104

It's Not About Me Lisa 113

Mother Mary Flunks Time Magazine Lisa 117

Barbarians at the Frontgate Lisa 121

Milestone or Millstone? Lisa 125

Topping the Leader Board Lisa 129

Upgrading the Macaroni Necklace Francesca 133

The Amazing Disappearing Middle-Aged Woman Lisa 139

Bachelorette Bouncer Francesca 144

Tan, Don't Burn Lisa 148

Protect the Candle Lisa 151

Unhappy Madison Lisa 156

Breaking and Renter-ing Francesca 160

Spaghetti and Salad Lisa 165

Holiday FOMO Francesca 169

Game of Thrones Lisa 174

Facets of a Stone Francesca 177

This Call Is Being Monitored for Quality Assurance Purposes Lisa 184

A Thing of Beauty Francesca 187

Over Troubled Waters Lisa 193

Party Hearty Lisa 193

Rings of Love Francesca 200

Thanks for Asking! Lisa 204

Looking at My Garden Lisa 208

Pop Goes the Pill Lisa 212

Those Who Can't Date, Set Up Francesca 216

Empty Nesting for Experts Lisa 221

Empty Nesting for Experts, Part Two Lisa 225

Undefined Francesca 229

Everything Old Is Nude Again Lisa 233

The Unofficial Wedding Party Francesca 237

My Brain Hurts Lisa 240

Mother Time Lisa 244

God Gave You Two Francesca 247

In the Soup Lisa 250

Look Out! There's a Feminist Behind You. Francesca 255

Muted Lisa 259

AARP, or American Association of Retired Pets Lisa 265

They're Playing My Song Francesca 271

To Error Is Human Lisa 277

Conditional Lisa 281

Dog Must Love Francesca 285

The Godmother Lisa 289

Friendship on the Flip Side Lisa 295

You Aren't What You Eat Lisa 300

Acknowledgments 305

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