Friday, November 21, 2014

More! Says The Matron

The Matron was the beneficiary of a small but beautiful blessing when she stumbled across this review on Goodreads yesterday! 

"I went into the book with few expectations, and emerged with the feeling that whatever else Mary writes, I'll read it. It took a couple of chapters for me to fall in love, but I did without a doubt. My pace picked up, my sleep was forfeited, and I raced to the finish. The magic was beautifully woven in, and Delphi's attitude towards it absolutely believable. Holly's character is beautifully drawn, and Leilani's delightfully complex. Loved it."

Everyone likes a good review, but the Matron felt undue pleasure over this one.  Joy!  Goosebumps!  Incredulation!   She let these sensations simmer a bit and then examined them. 
It turns that she does not quite believe she is the real deal after all.   
You know the imposter issue, where you sorta feel like you're faking it?

The Matron felt that way (at first) about being a mother.  That sense of pretending or being half-hearted mama persisted until her third child was born.   Indeed, that is part of the reason the Matron felt the need to have one more child-- to prove (to herself and everyone else) that she was doing the deed, really rocking this mama thing.  Look at me!  I have three!  
Somehow, a boat load of children finally made her a mother.  
The fact that she required external validation was not lost on the Matron.  The fact that she laboriously orchestrated (really? a pregnancy?) said external validation was also duly noted.  She is still attending to that product, too. He is 11. 
So yesterday's glowing review -- by a complete stranger, nonetheless -- was that outsider, looking in, to say:  "yes indeed.  The real deal."
And this real deal writer also feels the sweet satisfaction of someone enjoying her work!   How lovely to think of these characters she created, keeping a reader up at night.   
Way to go, Leilani!
Way to go, Matron!   Well done, if she does say so herself this time.  
But of course . . . wouldn't one more book tighten the whole thing up?  Just like Merrick did for the mama problem?
So the psyche spins . . . 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Yes. Writing about Weather Again

Dear God-Buddha-Oprah-Allah-Universe,
The Matron thinks there has been a misunderstanding. You know, this January weather before Thanksgiving? Ice-packed roads, single-digit temperatures, biting wind, feet of blowing snow. Ring a celestial bell? It occurs to me that You - in all Your wisdom, of course, but being also VERY busy running the world -- may have mistaken the Matron for a trooper. And thus sent January in November? 
God-Buddha-Oprah-Allah-Universe:  it is official.  The Matron is not a trooper.  She is not rising to the challenge of ice and chill.  She is not gamely moving forward.She is not embracing winter's edge, with my wool cap pulled tight and attitude, chipper. Nope.  The Matron would be the woman wrapped in numerous layers of clothing with a space heater by her side, shaking her fist at the sky (not at You, of course. The sky) and saying: "Too soon! Too soon!"
She hopes this clears up any misunderstanding and sheds light on her actual position here in the world -- not a trooper. Cold. A wee bit bitter, actually.
Thank You for rectifying this situation. She looks foward to the thrill of throwing open the shades tomorrow morning and seeing November's 40 degree return.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Say It Ain't Snow, So (Much Too)

When will the Matron ever learn?
Because Panic and Crisis prevail every first snow.  It is all:  "where are my boots! I need better gloves! Don't you remember that my coat ripped to shreds last year?! I want a BLUE hat not a red one! These boots aren't *right* on me!"
Dear children: no piece of clothing or footware designed to save you from arctic death is *right.* Everything about a boatload of snow way before Thanksgiving is entirely *wrong.* Merrick, your mother is sorry that she forgot that you wore your coat -- literally -- to shreds last year. Of course you did. She will get you a new one. Tonight, it would appear.  
Then there are the texts from the teenager taking the city bus "STILL not here!" and Merrick's return from his bus stop: "I forgot to put shoes in my backpack!" So off she goes, driving Merrick back to the bus while praying that Scarlett's actually comes so that yours turly doesn't have to also drive downtown during their winter rush hour dramas.
Thank Buddha-Oprah-Allah-Universe-God.  The bus came.
Space heaters are now spread throughout the Matron's four story, 2800 square foot, 100 year old house with over 50 windows. Described thus so you understannd when she says "I work from home" this is code for:  " I am wearing wool socks, slippers, jeans, tank top, long-sleeved t-shirt, sweater, sweatshirt and sometimes hat in a wind-blown structure that eats our theoretical retirement savings as monthly heating bill."
If you discover the Matron's head in theoven, it's not because she went all Sylvia Plath. Swear. Just cooking up creative heat here in St. Paul while she waits for the next emergency snow-related text to arrive -- or even better, May

Sunday, November 2, 2014

That Magic Touch

The Matron's youngest - sliding along through the middle of 11 -- recently learned to wink.  He's been practicing.   And folks?  He and that wink are irresistable.
Last Monday morning . . . . .
Matron: "Merrrick are you ready for the big book presentation in English today?"
Merrick: "What book?"
Friends, this is where the Matron sits down on the floor and rocks herself a little, like someone institutionalized or soon to be.   The Matron has devoted herself to that presentation, that book, Merrick's homework.   He is so unorganized that he sometimes thinks he attends an entirely different school!!
Matron: "The book you've been reading for a month - Granny -- the one you wrote all those notecards for and are preparing the presentation on."
Merrick: "I have no idea what that's all about."
Matron: "So you have these 10 note cards outlining the main points of the book. You've read the book. There's the worksheet on 'how to do a presentation.' Does any of this ring a bell?"
Merrick: "WELL. Just because I have all that STUFF done doesn't mean I know what I'm supposed to say during the presentation. Does it?"
No, apparantly, it does not.
Merrick: "Don't worry, Mom. I have it under control."
Matron: "And?"
Merrick (BIG WINK): "I got this one. Check out this face. Is it working on you?"

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wherein the Matron Gets Her Seinfeld On . . .

You were warned.  If you pettiness gives you cause to recoil, do so now or walk away.

For the Matron is whining about last week's wrestling match yoga class with Mr. Heave, Grunt, Rattle, & Roll.    She can take the grunts. The groans. The heaving with whistle and chur, and this in a space where there's supposed to be silence. Look! Here is the Matron, all stoic, when Mr. Heave, Grunt, Rattle & Roll falls out of a posture and tumbles his 6 foot self onto her mat, nearly knocking her MUCH tinier self right over. Here is the Matron, all saint-like, when Mr. HGRR -- who if you haven't yet noticed is COMPLETELY unaware of his surroundings and anything remotely akin to personal space --- shakes his jowels like a dog so that his spit and sweat can spatter the delicate skin of yours truly.


But then . . . in the most shocking and unacceptable turn of events . . . Mr. HGRR sops up his sweat with a steaming, soaking towel which he promptly tosses onto The MATRON'S MAT!

For folks who've never been to a yoga class -- that mat is sacred space. Your space. The universe. Nobody in the Matron's 20 years (that's right!) of committed yoga practice has used her mat as a laundry baset, let alone put a toe on it. Until last week.

Of course, yours truly pointedly picked up said disgusting item --- with her FOOT (because she was laying down) and HURLED it sideways. Which turned out to be highly conveniently for HGRR because now the towel was resituated right next to him, making it just that easy to swipe more sweat and, yes, send it right back -- splat-- to the middle of the Matron's mat again.
Here's where the situation took a turn for the juvenile, wherein she HURLS the towel back -- with any body part other than a hand --and tosses the death glare, but of course: Mr. HGRR doesn't notice. He's just all like - "oh, reach down and there's that towel again" -- as if it's perfectly natural. Just. The scheme of things.
. .
At one point, Matronly rage simmers into marvel. Wow. How is it possible to be so absolutely clueless to anyone or anything around you?

Next week, she's bringing a whistle.

Friday, October 17, 2014

That Other Child Speaks French, Too

Last night the Matron and her husband had good friends over for dinner.  Despite the fact that their child and hers have nothing in common except age (11), she is pretty sure that the two were switched at birth.
 Guess which child is reading which book?
 Guess which child was FORCED by a school assignment to read said book and which is on a Cather kick -- at age 11.
Matron: "Merrick, would you like to go to the library today?"
Merrick: "Are you forcing me?"
Matron: "Of course not! I just thought maybe you wanted to just check out some books."
Merrick: "Do you know me at all?"

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Matron Plans Panic

The Matron follows news of Ebola with growing panic interest.    Germany, Spain, United States.   West Africa.     That death rate?   Tip-toeing toward 70%.

The Matron appreciates how the discourse and language have changed.    Initially, that death rate was 50%.  Now it's a BIT bigger.  

The Director of the CDC initially said:  Ebola will never come to the U.S.


"We have to work now so that it is not the world's next new AIDS." 

Let us pause here and consider the Matron's response to Public Health Concern or Threat, generally.  Important psychological background information ahead:

About a month ago, the Matron found a bat sleeping on the basement stairs. After a few shrieks and faints, she managed to haul her husband down there to remove said villain. Leather gloves were used and cardboard, not human flesh, made contact with the vermin.

But, UGH! My, what teeth you have, Dracula! This is SO a picture from google!

Alas, that bat was to be the Matron's psychological undoing. She remembered the northern Minnesota man who died of rabies this summer: he didn't even know he had been bitten. Still, reason prevailed until she listened to This American Life's Halloween Real Life Horror stories on RABIES. Specifically, about a woman who couldn't rip the rabid raccoon off of her.

Oh My God. While listening, the Matron peeked outside by the garbage can, checking for raccoons. Or skunks. Wildlife, in general.

Then, the radio narrator issued this warning: if you ever find a sleeping bat in a child's bedroom, that child must be vaccinated against rabies! Children or the infirm can be bitten without knowing, while they sleep. Now, being the infirm herself, Matron did what any rational, phobia and panic-oriented person might do at that moment.

She got online and starting researching bats and rabies. Yup. Dropped everything in the middle of a busy day and got going on THAT special project.

The upshot of this endeavor was that the Matron became inclined to - and did! -- type her very own little email message to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, querying those good folk about the sleeping bat in her basement and the possibility that her entire family was already doomed but didn't know it. Now, do you know anyone else who sends email messages to the CDC?

The CDC is THE hot spot for fueling the Matronly fears.

They actually answered! Suggestions for psychiatric care aside, there were reassurances that Official Government Word is on a sleeping bat, far far away from humanity in the household, poses no vaccine-warranting danger.

But there's still that issue of future bats, sleeping in bedrooms. This is a pesky problem because there's that whole issue of finding the sleeping bat in the first place. It occurred to the Matron -- as she rationally thought the entire logistical endeavor through--that one would have to actively seek sleeping bats, keep an eye out. Unless that bat was going to lounge like Satan's Familiar, cozy on the bed or conveniently located on a bookshelf or floor (like, look, over here! here I am, rabid bat!) , the Matron would need to deploy some kind of tactical search and retreive team throughout her children's bedrooms -- every day.

Days like today, when she's on campus, communication with the spouse goes something like this:

"John, I didn't get a chance to search the children's bedrooms, but would you please check for sleeping bats? Oh, and pick up the prescription at the drugstore."

Email message, sent from school: "John, how's the sleeping bat search going? Did I mention that you should look in closets and under doors?"

Phone: "You know, sweetie, the CDC website says to patch holes to prevent bats from entering. There's that huge hole in our smaller closet that needs attention. In the meantime, can you duct tape the bottom of the door shut? We don't need to go in there."

The Matronly state of panicked affairs is reminiscent of Y2K, when a very strange thing happened to her.

She was convinced that there was at least potential for complete global collapse. Anarchy. Food shortages, gas crises, riot in the street. The internet can be a dangerous thing in unstable hands, and the Matron's? Her hands were shaking (literally -- and that's a clue)!

In the six months leading up to January 1 2000, the Matron was a shaking, quaking, weight-losing mess. She spent as much time as possible online, hanging out on survivalist web sites and reading all about the mayhem promised ahead.

Her neighbors did not help. There was much discussion of 'living off the grid.' How to make your own heat, fuel and electricity. Now, the Matron very much liked 'the grid' and had no intention of living off it it: she just didn't want that municipal network of heat and electricity to go away or be threatened!

How about that family slaughtering rabbits for food? Right down the block. All those adorable bunnies' heads hacked off and the rest popped in the freezer. That family butchered and froze bunnies for the entire year of 1999. The backyard was a row after row of cages.

The Matron would stand on street corners with these people, plotting.

The entire situation peaked one fall night when the Matron came downstairs and laid out their survival plan to her husband. They would pack the dogs, children and vital ingredients and flee to Leech Lake Indian Reservation where their dearest friends lived.

Indians know how to live off the grid, she reasoned. We can stay with them. We might not need to, but there's Plan B. Go Native.

Now, the Matron doesn't know how John knew to do this, but he did. He held her hands and said this:  "Let me take care of the survival plan. Stop the research. Don't think about it. I'll do everything - - assess the risk, make the plan, stockpile food and water. Please just hand this problem over to me. Trust me to take care of you."

And she did! Literally, just like that. She turned it over, relieved.

Occasionally, she'd check in: "Are we storing fuel in the garage? Do you think canned food would be a good idea?"

John: "I'm all over it! No worries!"

Still, one day, the Matron took her quaking shaking weight-losing, hair-falling out self to the doctor because she just didn't feel quite right, impending apocalypse aside --hadn't, ever since Scarlett was about six months old. Turns out?

The Matron had Graves Disease. Hyperthyroidism. Which can result in? Weight loss. Hair loss. Anxiety. Outright paranoia. FEAR.

Which helped explain her penchant for survivalist web sites. Still, post-diagnosis (and the drama of getting that thyroid in line will be another story), the Matron found herself standing in front of 200 count packs of Q-Tips, dirt cheap on sale.

Naturally, she put 20 packages in her cart. She just had to stock up on something!

On December 31st, 1999, John remembered to fill up the car with gas. He bought nary a bottle of water nor can of corn. And the Matron hasn't purchased a Q-Tip in approximately 8 years.

Maybe she'll check her thyroid levels in between forages for rabid bats.



1995 -- Big movie! Outbreak.
2011 - Big movie! Contagion.
2015 -- Your iPhone! Ebola.

Let the new Age of Anxiety Begin.