Friday, March 6, 2009

The State of the Union

Are hospitals unable to afford heat? Because the Matron has never been in a hospital that didn't require an additonal layers of clothing. Immediately.

So she and John have been shivering for two days as they take their seperate shifts with Grandma Mary. The situation is serious and has potential to worsen. Or it could just get better. But she knows her mother wouldn't want Detail, Writ Large.

The following is representative of their 'quality time.' The Matron is barreling south on 35E toward the small town where she grew up and her mother still lives. John is speeding north on same freeway.

Intelligently, they risk leaving their three small children orphans by talking on their cell phones.

John: "Where are you?"

Matron: "Just passed Yankee Doodle Road."

John: "Oh! I'm at Pilot. Our paths will cross! We can see each other!"

Matron: "Omigod that is SO cool! Why am I so excited?"

John: "I'll see you because of the peace sign. There! I see the van! There! I'm waving!"

Matron: "I couldn't see you. But that was WAY cool."

John: "Did we just have sex?"

Matron: "Why don't you just say yes so things seem all rosy for the rest of the week?"

John: "Is there a hidden message in that sentence?"

Matron: "Hmmmmm. . . . "

Thanks in advance for all that love and light and friendship. She needs this crisis to be over. Soon.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

When the Day Start with a Call to 911

That's right, friends.   Grandma Mary.  She'll recover but today's travails make yesterday look simple.  Whole story, brewing.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

And Your Day?

6:00; Alarm signals Matronly arousal (sorry sweetie not that kind)

6:10: Clean whatever mess the geriatric Jekyll has left on the first floor. Feed both dogs (reluctantly for many reasons unique to each).

6:19.5: "Good morning, Stryker!"

6:19.7: Feed, probe, buoy, consider and generally support the oldest.

6:51: School bus! Which comes right to the house-- miracle of God-Buddha-Oprah-Allah. Plus, the driver is Santa.

6:52-7:14: Matron quickly checks email, brushes teeth, finishes coffee and flees before Scarlett's alarm goes off in one minute and All the World's a Stage.

7:25: Arrive at LifeTime Fitness where she secures her position in size 1 jeans. Sorry.

9:20: Arrive at College XX where she deftly avoids the colleagues who plan to retire (and have30 years of stories to tell) in the spring and settles in for a guerrilla grading.

10:45-1:00: Office hours and amazing array of Student Distress, including stroke, gunshot and jail time.

1:00-1:50: Class! In which students experience breathrough and inquiry and all kinds of amazing breakthrough take place. Oh! Beautiful moment.

2:00: Workshop on Best Online Teaching Practices

3:00: Rendezvous with Tech Department, during which the Matron receives her college-issued laptop and a tour of said instrument.

4:00-4:45: Panicked emails and online communication with completely lost student desperately seeking all of her assignments.

Intermittent through Day: Phone, text, and email with the husband, the children, their teachers, and extended family/social network

4:45-5:45: Drive one hour to Grandma Mary, who is suddenly, desperately ill and alone at home, post-surgery.

5:45-6:15: Because the Matron knows her mother has no food in the house, she buys some.

6:15-9:00: General Care of the mother, including eventual understanding that the current crisis is a side-effect of Oxycotin. Further pharmacueticals are required so the Matron purchases, stocks and administers.

9:00-10:00: Drive home.

10:00: Arrive home to 2 out of 3 children wide awake and Needy in honor of her arrival.

10:55: Typing this to the tune of David Letterman. Oh--and the background sound of Scarlett's feigned illness, this time manifested as a dry cough. That girl has staying power.

Bed, anyone? Only to start again tomorrow . . . and your day?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Nostalgia Or if your Yard is a Mess, Feel Better

When the Matron was a Wee Miss, she skipped kindergarten and went right into the first grade, thanks to Era of Looser Policy and the very fine brain which is still serving her well (except when the hypochondriacal lobe takes over).

The week before that momentous event, Wee Miss's mother -- just 26 years old with three children - practiced the near-mile long walk to and from school with the great big 5 year old Wee Miss! Every day, Mother and Wee Miss walked down a long dirt driveway, took a right and walked 10 city blocks, took a left ("Where there will be crossing guards on Monday, I promise"), turned a sharp right on their heels at the corner, crossed a street and went right up to the front door. Then they practiced going home: straight to cross the street, quick left, turn left and walk 10 blocks to the driveway.

Wee Miss knew those steps as intimately as she knew her invisible Bear Family that went everywhere with her: Papa Art, Mama Jane, Little Art, and Janie. These bears were always at her side, rustling up trouble and going on tremendous Odyssey-like adventures that offered Wee Miss hours and hours of entertainment and escape.

Of course, only when she got older did she appreciate the deep-sea plumbing of the human psyche that gave allowed her child-self to give the imaginary family the names of the family she longed to be in -- that of her wealthy Uncle Art and Aunt Jane. But that's another story.

On the big day, Wee Miss - adorable as all get-out in a gingham dress and black patent leather shoes -- confidently waved good-bye to her weepy Mama and headed down that drive way. Right. March, march, march. Left. Cross the street. Sharp right! Cross and in!

She did it!

Wee Miss had a rock star first day! She adored every last little thing about Education -- from the graham cracker snack to the endless supply of Intellectual Task. Truly, mostly the Task. Indeed, forty (ahem) some years later, and she's still in a classroom.

At the end of the day, the class lined up and two straight lines of untested lives obediently trudged to the doorway, where the teacher set them free.

Wee Miss frowned. This doorway didn't look familiar. This spot? Was this the same door she entered?

It had been a long day and she was of Great Faith. So she crossed the street, took a sharp left to cross another, turned right and started walking.

And walking and walking and walking and walking and walking and walking and walking.

By the time she got four times as far as ten blocks, she knew she was in trouble. She knew she went out the wrong door. Wee Miss, five years old in blue gingham and braids, stopped walking and stood deep in the middle of a great big city with no idea where she was or where to go.

The Matron so remembers this little girl's feeling! She was horribly afraid and really wanted her mama, or at least to sit down and have a really BIG cry. But Wee Miss was overcome with certainty regarding her situation: she must take charge and be very very wise.

As she stood there, thinking, an idea came to her -- the idea came in so perfectly, all wrapped up and shining and singing to her: do this, do this!

Wee Miss decided she would find somebody else's mama to save her. She knew a mama was the key. So she started looking at yards, houses, sidewalks to see which ones held toys. Wee Miss actually walked past a few trim yards with a lone trike or doll. Insufficient evidence. She wanted guaranteed-bona fide Maternity by the barrels!

Finally, she saw the house! The yard was a wreck! Toy guns, buckets, shovels, balls, dolls, wagons, trains, trucks and tea sets! A mama lived here, for certain!

Wee Miss carefully climbed the stairs and rang the bell. Five children flew to the door at once.

"Mama! Mama! There's a little girl at the door! She's lost!" Children parted like the Red Sea and Moses appeared.

That mama swept up Wee Miss in a great big hug that was nearly the child's undoing. She handed her a cookie and poured the milk.

"Your poor mother is probably a nervous wreck!" The Mama lit a cigarette to contemplate. No Wee Miss didn't know her address or her phone number. All she knew was straight left, left, step.

The Mama slapped the table. "That's what we'll do! We'll drive to the elementary school, go to the right door -- why, we'll go to all the doors if you don't recognize one -- and we'll follow those directions!"

Then she stood up and her perfect, beautiful self said: "Let's go find your mother."

And they did! They piled in a station wagon like puppies. Drove to the school where the Wee Miss quickly identified the right door. And before they were five blocks down, the street was full of flashing red lights and patrol cars -- and her Mama!

Hard to say who suffered most --the Mother or Wee Miss because both were pretty much puddles, as was the woman who saved the day. She and Wee Miss's Mama hugged for a long, long time.

And the next day, Wee Miss walked to school alone--with a note--and her teacher brought her to the right door.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Matron?

About two weeks ago, the Matron and a friend had dinner at this very fine Thai restaurant. The Matron's 50-something friend wears dangling earrings, and upon the right occasion, a formal gown and stockings. Nobody has ever confused him for the Matron's boyfriend and that night was no exception.

Now, the Matron thought the waiter sort of smiled at her a little too much. She didn't think she was quite that funny nor did she warrant that extra conversation. But she didn't think much of it until her friend went back into the restaurant last night.

The waiter inquired after the Matron's availability! He found her 'quite attractive' and was disappointed by her friend's prim response: "She is a married woman and the respectable mother of three."

Wait a minute here! That was before she had options.

Well, one can just bask in the impossible glory anyway. Thank goodness that pesky uterus didn't fall out and ruin the whole thing!