Friday, October 24, 2008

The Matron for Vice President

Hey there, Sarah Palin. The Matron understands that one Mr. Larson was the mercurial mind behind the $150,000 Minnesota shopping spree?

Gee, the Matron bets that was fun.

Turns out, that on Fiscal Policy, the Matron is FAR more qualified to be Vice President. Why, she should've dressed you! Forget Joe the Plumber (who is making the most out of his 15 minuts of fame) and his Joe Six Pack minions! We'd have Matrons for Thrift lining up behind you for miles.

She could turn you out in this, for $42.47.

That's a brand new Coach Purse ($22) , Komarov blouse, ($2.99 );

Ann Taylor skirt ($4.99); vintage unbranded boots ($6.00) and Vintage Borgazia coat for $7.49.

Where the Matron, Joes both Pumber and Six-Pack, recent immigrants from around the world, working class folks white, black and everything in between and cross-gendered, ordinary Americans shop.

Hey! Is that Alaska the Matron sees from her window? That seals it. The Matron is definitely VP Material.


The Matron is trying to pick up yesterday's spirit, buff that sentiment up a bit and set it down in front of her, all shiny. It's there, trust her. She has terrific dental insurance.

But also. . . she's feeling a little sorry for herself!

Today, she experienced the delicacies of the dental chair--shuttling between not just one but two separate offices--for just under three hours. The end result? One tooth and root, gone. Bone graft. And the ever popular 'flipper' or retainer with a fake front tooth. Front tooth! Which she must gum and muck through for four months.

Dentist Two: "Good weight loss plan, though! Most everybody who wears one that long drops a few pounds."

Dr. R, did you notice that the Matron weighs about, oh, ZERO!??

Better yet? This is how the instructions start on the antibiotic she was given:


WARNING: This medication may cause a severe (rarely fatal) intestinal condition (pseudomembranous colitis) due to a type of resistant bacteria. This condition may occur during treatment or weeks to months after treatment has stopped.

Thank God the Matron has this material, undoubtedly which will result in a trip to the Emergency Room sometime down the road -- months out!

Time to gum some dinner!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Luck of the Draw

While the Matron was driving to College XX today, she received a hint of the blog post. Just an impression, really, of how much her children frightened her, given all that Brain, Drama, and Pyromanic Tendency (yup, a new 'cute'? story about Merrick) swillin' up in her household.

At College XX, she was one of the first two people at a meeting. The other, a man about her own age, always struck the Matron as lonely. He never stood in the hall or lingered in someone's office, making small talk. No, he strolled to his space with purpose, taught the class, and left. She imagined him living a solitary life.

Well, the Matron can do small talk (although hers nearly always crystallizes to 'how much money do you make' and 'do you believe in an afterlife' in about 6.45 minutes) so she asked Professor X if he was married?




Now, he started to pull out a picture, and in that instant, the Matron understood they were to bond over children. She was pleased, that Matron! Just like the earlier blog post came to her as an impression, a general sense of thrust and intent, she realized how much she liked talking about her children and how she would do so, here.

And in that instant, as he was pulling out the picture from his worn brown wallet, she knew she would tell him how Stryker joined the Junior High School Computer Club and came home with a laptop he built himself, using disparate abandoned parts (she knew, although she wasn't really thinking this, that she wouldn't say how the Computer Club teacher emailed her to say: Wow, not standard 7th grade experience in 2 hours). She wouldn't talk about the girl's fabulous acting gigs, but would alude to drama with a discussion of this morning's Act I, wherein Scarlett spent 45 minutes weeping at the kitchen table becasue she was "cold inside my stomach, the kind you can do nothing about."

Merrick? That five-year old knows how to read! Scarlett told her, yesterday.

Scarlett: "Mama? Did you know that Merrick can read. It's been three whole weeks. Did you notice?"

She knew, in that instant that the photo was sliding out that she would laught at herself, as she does on the blog and in life, for not noticing, when in fact, she is all about these three sweet amazing children.

Professor X hands the Matron his photo of himself, his wife, two boys and a girl in the middle. What follows was a bit more of a conversation, but the Matron is cutting to the chase.

He says: "The reason I'm holding my oldestin the picture is that he has severe Autism, combined with a rare neurological cluster of syndromes. He can't stand up, really. He's constantly having seizures. He doesn't go more than 2 to 4 minutes without a seizure. The doctors pretty much have tossed their hands--but don't get me wrong -- we've been to the University and the Mayo Clinic. Nobody can help him. Now we're hoping he can learn how to feed himself and know when he needs to use the bathroom. He spends his days mostly on a mat with a Special Education assistant, working on walking. He's 10."

Next comes some (pained but managing) Matronly inquiry after the others, handling all of this?

"My youngest son is Autistic and mentally retarded. He has fewer physical problems, but is really unable to do more than the things we want our oldest to do -- use the bathroom, feed himself, walk. He's in Special Education, too, and needs pretty much round-the-clock monitoring. We have someone who helps at night, thank goodness."

"Our daughter is fine. We try really hard to pay a lot of attention to her becase the boys demand so much. She's 8 and vacilates between defending her brother's in public: "He can't help it!" to being really embarassed by them. Friends really don't want to come to our house, so we try to get her to playdates as much as possible, and find babysitters so we can take her normal places. She's doing okay, but not great. I think she's depressed. Our house is sort of like an institution."

And the Matron wanted to throw her arms around this man and weep for those five precious people, suffering their seperate and shared pain. Now she knows what he carries when he trudges through the halls with that insular focus. She thinks about that mother.

The Matron never spoke of her children. He didn't ask.

The blog post? On one level: Lucky, lucky, lucky.

But on a deeper level, the place where she strives to reside, we each suffer. We will grow old and ill. We will die. We'll lose the people we love to death. Terrible pain awaits each of us in the morning-- at least, it might. For most of us, that pain is packaged and delivered in neat, limited quantities. The illness, the loved one's death and the aftermath, the temporary challenge.

So she shoulders his pain a bit, and knows she is one head injury or serious illness away from a similar life. There are no guarantees. The Buddhist cornerstone: Life is suffering.

When the suffering is limited and piddling? The late night or crabby child? Remember to be grateful that our own private greatest personal suffering is not here. Not yet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

When the Matron Does the Math

Ah, yesterday's blog post makes the Matron sound professorial, doctoral - - all that.



Earlier today, she decided to calculate the cost of driving from her doorstep to Hudson, Wisconsin, so she could give Mary Poppins a gas card.

There was Mapquest. Followed by Matronly furrowed brow.

17.3 miles, from hearth to Phipps. Because things like . in between numbers causes new wrinkles and sweat stains on expensive second-hand clothing, the Matron rounded up to 20.

Next, she googled 'average gas price in St. Paul,' a number which appeared to bounce more erratically than Satan's Familiar on his onto the kitchen table. Because she's thinking generously -- wanting to halve the cost of gas for the dear sainted soul who is driving her daughter, and maybe then some -- she settles on the highest possible current prices (things could get worse again!), $2.69 a gallon.

Dr. Matron then pauses to consider (damn you, new wrinkle, deepening crease!) how to proceed. Oh! There are two ways to Hudson - there, and back. So she settles on the nice round 40 miles per trip while thanking Buddha-Allah-Oprah-God that she is not the one driving.

Next, she counts the number of times Frau Schmidt drives Marta. She gets 23.

Straining, she multiplies 2.69 x 40 and gets $107.60. She then multiplies $107.60 by those 23 trips for a tidy total of $2474.80. Wow! Here, the Matron has a pang of compassion for the sweet lady driver, forking over so much cash. What sacrifice! What generosity! (yes for those of you who see how stupid she is already, she actually experienced said emotion)

The final steps is halving that $2474.80, which she does. The damage is $1237.40 . Plus a tip.

Doing this math, the Matron realized that she had NO IDEA that transportation was so expensive! Why, she must spend, like one million dollars a month just driving children around! How come she never noticed this before? No wonder Alaskan oil sounds good! Maybe Sarah Palin ws onto something.

Still, as she got out the check book, that large number gave the Matron pause.

So emailed her thought process, calculation and dollar amount to John, querying: "This $1237.40 for gas seems sort of high, but I think we should pay half, and then some."

To which, he shot back: "Have you been taking the emergency-only-air-travel-and-job-interviews Xanax again?"

In the end, the gas card will be for a generous $80.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Administrative Bling

The Matron likes applause.

Has she told this story? Good heavens! She absolutely cannot remember! Considering her labels are each a confusing string of "Mary, Politics, Scarlett Bedtime, War and Peace, Let's Eat Toast" and "Meatloaf Mary, Teaching, Grandma, Yellow, Satan" and otherwise utterly hopeless, she'll never know if she's repeating herself.

The best part is she has no idea why her labels are all funky like that, how "Mary" got connected to "Teaching" or "Blethic" to "Politics" or "old time leftie card-carrying ACLU member."

Digression! Speaking of technological drool, the Matron now is the worried and confused owner of this:

which would be a Samsung Instinct cell phone. Friends, this phone speaks to her and offers wide variety of Commerce and Game. She can check email and surf the net. This phone can drive the van and quite possibly prove that Santa Claus does exist and that it IS actually possible for human beings with penises to put down the toilet seat. Well, in can do all these things, in theory, because she's still perplexed about the whole on/off feature.

And Instinct? Hers is this. She is the M-A-T-R-O-N.

Yes, yes, the Matron is married to a realtor and therefore, Cash Flow has become the Hoover Dam, all blocked up and such. But during a simple maintenance phone call for the old cells, John somehow spoke just the right Indian dialect and got two Instinct phones for $9.99 apiece and no monthly fee increase. Yes, he did have to toss in Satan's Familiar for the deal, but -- in troubled times, sacrifices are required by all, right?

Back to that story she might be telling again (hint, hint: she is humored and adored at parties where people have heard her stories for years).

About seven years ago, she had a staggering realization. She ran to her dear husband with this: "Oh my goodness!! I just realized that for the past six months, everything has been about me, me, me!!! All the drama, the books, the children -- everything!! We've all been focused on me!! I promise you -- now it's your turn! You can be the center of attention. Let's focus on you!!"

John: "Mary, you've been the center of attention since the day I met you. Forget the past six months. We're talking ten years."

Matron (felled by truth): "Oh my God. You're right. This is terrible."

John: "Not really. I like being the audience. It's okay. Let's go ahead and keep the focus on YOU."

Matron (felled again by truth): "Thank GOD! I sort of hoped you would say that!"

Thus they have continued, lo these 17 years of Matron in the Spotlight!

In that spirit, she would like to thank Ree of Hotfessional for this:

Amy of Knit Think for this, which originated, here:

And Lynda, out there on Art on a Limb, for this:

Thank you, sweethearts. The Matron likes bling, even if she doesn't understand how to operate it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Scarlett, This isn't Helping

Wednesday night, the Matron picked up her 10 year old daughter in the blue-black mystery of Minnesota October night after 9 pm. Actually, they started out in Wisconsin and journeyed back to the Minnesota Mother Ship.

On the freeway, the van flew, one more set of head light, hurtling between narrow white lines at high speeds.

Scarlett: "Mama?"

Matron: "Yes?"

Scarlett: "Where's your cell phone?"

Matron (squinting into the impossibly dark night and revving the engine): "Uh. . in my purse."

Scarlett: "Where exactly in your purse?"

Matron: "Uh, the little pocket right at the top but also in the back. Do you know what I mean?"

Scarlett: "Can I feel it? Just to be safe?"

The Matron tosses her purse and phone is located.

Few minutes later.

Scarlett: "If you pass out or die all of a sudden, should I dial 911?"

Matron: "Well, I sure would."

Scarlett: "Because I'm not sure of an area code, do I get to dial 9-1-1 no matter where we are?"

Matron: "Yes! Just dial 911."

Scarlett: "And if you pass out or die, would you pull over to the side of the road first? Or is there a danger that the car will just keep driving?"

Matron: "If I pass out or die, I would TOTALLY pull over to the side of the road first, hand you the cell phone, and then pass out or die. That's how it works."

Scarlett: "Good! I was kind of worried about that whole dying while driving, because what would happen to me? If I knew where the brake was, that would be different."

Matron (understanding how little the actual Mother mattered in this whole Dramatic Scene): "Yes. That would be different."

Scarlett: "Because I could stop the van and save myself."

Matron: "That's right. But nothing's going to happen."

Scarlett: "But after you pull over to pass out or die, should I call Daddy first or 911?"

Matron (oh my GOD! can this conversation be completed!!!!): "You should 100% definitely call 911, not Daddy."

Scarlett: "That's what I thought. And I've been noticing these big green signs with names on them, like Highway 694 and Radio Drive. When you pull over to pass out or die, would those signs tell the police where to find me?"

Matron: "Absolutely!"

Scarlett: "Well, I'm going to keep watching them then. Thanks, Mama! And I'll tell the 911 worker to call Daddy."

And the Matron did not pull over to pass out or die. Not that she worries.

The Matron's Sinus Cancer?

Is actually just a wretched head cold. When will she learn?



Is that headache just a wee bit tumor-like to you?

The Matronly Sense of Holiday

Oh! What's that atop the street light outside of the Matron's house?

Martha Stewart, be damned. She's decorating the great outdoors.