Joanne Palmer: A son’s perspective |

Joanne Palmer: A son’s perspective

The pros and cons of being birthed by Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

Note: People often ask me how my 13-year-old son feels about being the topic of so many of my columns. At first he wanted $1 every time I mentioned his name, which, while clever, could be costly. So I nixed it. I decided to let him be the guest columnist this week and speak for himself. Turnaround is fair play. It's time for him to tell what it is like to live with me … yikes!

— Joanne Palmer

This week's column is going to be a little bit different. No, this is not Joanne Palmer, this is Peter Bollenbacher, her son, and a large topic in most of her writing. I am going to write about the pros and cons of living with Joanne Palmer. You may think it would be fun to live with a well-known writer. It is, but it's also, well, different.

The first pro is that things are always very interesting because she is always asking me for ideas for her column, which is pretty fun.

We have lots of adventures, looking for column ideas — for example, we took our dog, Kizzy, to agility class. While the other dogs happily scampered around cones and raced up ramps, our dog would not follow a single command. We spent the entire class watching the teacher's dog do everything but wash the dishes.

At a certain point, our dog jumped up in a chair as if to say, "That's agility, now leave me alone."

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Here is the first con: She took me shopping at her favorite store, Déjà Vu. This was particularly annoying because every five seconds she would flip through the clothes, pull one out that she liked, snap together her reading glasses, study the price tag, look at me with a terrorized look on her face and whisper, "$10." And guess what? We would go over to the other side of the store and, of course, she meets some long-lost friend and has a 30-minute conversation with them. I was so bored.

Another con is that if I haven't seen her for 24 hours, she thinks I have grown and am as tall as the Empire State Building. So for the next five minutes, all I hear is, "You've grown so much," along with an assortment of screams.

More cons: Wherever I go in town, I am recognized by many nice people. The only problem is that I haven't the slightest idea of who they are or why they want to talk to me — they must think I am exactly how my mom portrays me. I am really quite different in many ways. She also has written many things that are, well, embarrassing, but I still love her.

Now, I know that you all know my mom is a little bit crazy, but here's the thing: I see her as really crazy. To tell you the truth, she's a great mom who always treats me perfectly.

Another pro: When I hurt myself during a lacrosse game, she came onto the field to check on me. Even if their kid gets hurt, parents aren't allowed onto the field. But I knew she would gallop right out there. And she did.

Of course, that's balanced by the fact that she hates TV. She hates TV so much that she's canceling it for the summer. Now, regardless of whether it's raining or sunny, there is no TV.

We'll end it on a good note. Not only does she help me with all my problems, but she's a loving mother who only wants the best for me. And yes, I love her, too.