Saturday, April 4, 2009


One hot summer day, the Matron decided to take her children to the zoo!  With friends!  The Matron hates the zoo and isn't fond of 90 degree August days, which this one was.  So you see the magnitude of Love for children and the desperate, end of summer need of entertainment that did not involve screaming through the kitchen (that would be the Matron).

The zoo was its usual animal imprisonment, a condition the Matron just doesn't quite understand or enjoy -- which is probably why she's only been to the local zoo, once.   So she spent the afternoon tinkering with her moral compass, all Peter Singer-like.  The children flitted and flowed and enjoyed themselves, although Stryker revealed this:  "I don't like zoos either Mom.  Seems mean."

And zoos aren't really even the point of the story!  (Speaking of which, the point of the story is a wee bit delicate, so please exercise peace and love for all in comments.)

When they were tired, hot and hungry, the Matron got in a very long line for an ice cream.  Because she is this kind of mama on 90 degree August, shadeless days, the children sat three feet away, under an awning at a table while the Matron waited in the blazing, long line.    

Many slow, agonizing minutes into the wait, Merrick fell off his bench!  And started crying!  He was 4.  So the Matron said to the woman in line behind her:  "Exccuse me just a second while I pick him up!   I'll be right back!"  

The Matron lifted her guy and landed a kiss in a single fell swoop and went back to her spot in about 45 seconds.

Except. . . . the spot was taken.  By the woman in line behind her.  Who pointedly took three steps forward.

Who said:  "Looks to me like you LEFT this line.  What kind of world is it when you think you can just say to ME -- I'll be right back?  That's the world before the civil rights movement.  That's the world before the civil war.  What world are you living in when you can say 'I'll be right back?"

Now, the Matron had thought that she and this other mama were sorta exactly the same--both with a gaggle of children in tow, who were all now watching the two grown-up women.   One white (the Matron), the other black (the other mama).

The Matron wishes she could say she just immediately conceded.  She did not.  She had been in line for a considerable amount of time and could not endure the thought of starting all over when the children were so spent that they were falling off benches and crying.  

Matron:  "What in the world are you talking about?   You saw him fall.  I was gone for like 30 seconds.  I left my purse here!"  (isn't leaving the purse as good as staking a claim in 1840?)

Other Mama:  "And you're arguing with me?  This seems like a mighty unChristian thing to do.  You seem pretty unChristian to me.  Get to the back of the line or I might have to take some stronger action-- a nonChristian stealing my place in line!  Who do you think you are?"

The children were now PEELED to this exchange, as were the 40 million people waiting in that endless line.  Which was LONG and they were near the front by this point.

Matron:  "UnChristian?  Oh my God -- what would you call not letting someone pick up a hurt child and return to her place in line?"

At which point the other woman completely flipped out and started screaming at the Matron -- largely about her lack of Christianity, but there were some white supremacist observations as well.

During the onslaught, the Matron understood that her children were seeing how she would handle this assault.   They were frightened.   The other woman's children?   Looked equally out of sorts as they watched their mother on the attack.

Indeed, the entire line was holding its collective breath as the Matron (known to them as "you white unChristian thoughtless bitch") picked up her purse and waited until her character assessment had been completed.

Matron:  "I apologize.  I'll go to the end of the line."

The relief from the line and the children lowered the temperature to 85.  Really.  And while the woman continued to mutter about the Matron's march toward hell, the man DIRECTLY behind this woman, also African-American and about the Matron's age and with a similar crew of children in tow (also watching), took a large step back and held out his arms to the Matron.

"Here," he said.  "Please take this spot in line, sister."

And when the Matron's eyes welled up and she stood next to him, he put his arm around her and said, "Just you never mind."

The Matron is still saying thank you.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Here's How it Happens

The Matron understands that some people instantly write her off Evil-Driven-Washedup-Overinvested-Stage Mother Bitch based on Scarlett's theatrical endeavors.  

Trust her.  She's seen the look in their eyes.  First, there's the assessment by the other parent or theatre person.  Oh?  Non-stop work for Scarlett,  starting at seven?  

Then there's the look at the Matron, sizing her up:  non-stop work starting at seven?  Certainly, a parent is responsible!   Uh, insane.

And friends?  That SO makes sense.   Wouldn't a parent be responsible or insane?  She means, in normal situations and lives, don't the parents arrange the play dates, pick the leagues, organize the schedules?

It's at this juncture that she wants to tell these strangers who already hate her that her daughter wrote, directed, produced and starred in her first play AT seven --  with completely tangental parental involvement related only to FOOD.  This is a child who reads the Twin Cities audition web site before breakfast--EVERY SINGLE DAY.


So recent events were characteristic.

It's been frequently suggested to the Matron that she sign up Scarlett for lesson in Dance, Movement and such.  This would be training for that theatrical career.  Indeed, the Matron has received a bit of heavy pressure to this end.

Now, the Matron wants her daughter to meet all those beautiful goals, whatever they be, so she asked her.

"Scarlett, do you want to take dance lessons?"

Scarlett:  "NO."

Matron:   "Let me give you all the information.   Some of the other parents have said this is important--training to dance.  Lots of other kids in shows take dance lessons.  It's your choice.  Do you want to?"

Scarlett:  "NO.  If a director of a show I'm in tells me to, I will.  Otherwise, no."

Matron:   "Okay."

And that's the end of that.

But . . . . when a casting agent called recently and asked if Miss S wanted to work in commericial and film?

The Matron said she'd have to ask her daughter.

The answer?   Yes, yes, yes.  

Really.  Who's running this show?  And still awake from a 9 hour day at rehearsal?

(aside:  the Matron has made a full recovery from Tuesday's Dental Shoppe of Horrors, being able to laugh at herself again).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Still Recovering from Yesterday

A friend emailed to inquire after actual degree of hyperbole in yesterday's post?   

Alas, there is none.   The Matron has the oozing hole in her head to prove it.  Stephen King penned her day.

The Matron is still shaking off of that Complete Psychological Collapse.  Comment there and she'll be back tomorrow.  This one requires two nights of drinking.  

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Big Girls Don't Cry

But the Matron did.

This morning--in the midst of an economic downturn (and she's married to a realtor!), the home invasion (turns out they're shrews)  the 100 + students she's carrying this semester -- in the midst of all this, the Matron woke to one beautiful, glistening jewel of a thought:  "Today the implant goes in!   NO MORE RETAINER!!!"

You see, she has been wearing a retainer with a fake front tooth since November!    Ugh!

Being the excitable sort, the Matron has been sharing this very important news about her retainer with everyone she knows.  Her 100 students know that after today at 5 pm, she will be able to lecture without drooling!

Her husband is hoping for renewed interest in Kiss!

Members of the search committee she's serving on are pleased that on Wednesday, the Matron will be able to ask her questions without sounding tipsy! 

The children's anticipation level is nigh-about Christmas, as the Matron has been kissing and hugging and generally dancing around the house as the day drew near!

Food, on actual palatte!  Be still, thou beating heart!!

Yes, friends.  The Matron was hugely happy about her two hour dental engagement, wherein a screw would go into a bone, holding in a crown and replacing the retainer!!   Two hours because her dentist likes extra time--in case of Untoward Event.

Which happened.

First, the novacaine couldn't quite work.  The drill kept hitting some nerve in the Matron -- who, a veteran in the dental chair - is normally quite zen and nearly sleepy in this position.  Today?  She was jumpy and screamy.

And when that drill zoomed in and that screw went into the Matronly bone?  

Dentist:  "Uh oh.  I hit something."

Resulting in blood.  As in the drill made some sort of Error, hitting a vein or otherwise breaking through some undesirable area.   It took the dentist one hour and a hospital phone consultation before he was able to stop the bleeding.

Conveniently, that gave the Matron one hour to play out the likelihood of bleeding to death from a dental appointment.  This might seem strange, except during said contemplation, she was part of the blood stoppage team, mopping up the buckets streaming from her mouth.   It was messy.

FINALLY some sponge-like stoppage was inserted and sticthes applied and the Matron was ordered not to exercise or exert herself for two days so that all systems could clot and clog according to Mother Nature.  

If nearly bleeding to death wasn't so exciting, the Universe gave the Matron another little gift:  the incident meant no finished implant.   She gets to keep her retainer two more weeks, and then try this little fun-fest again!

So when the spent, bloody Matron crawled into her van for the 30 minute drive to teach the 3 hour night class in Creative Writing (during which she must be well, the creative-upbeat type), she sat in the van for a few minutes -- and the weight of being the main breadwinner in a household that's halved its income; the shrews requiring capture and removal; the hormonal early teen hell-bent on an expensive web camera; the six-year old who can't read; the van itself with the upcoming $400 repair; the prolapsed uterus requiring 20 million bathroom trips a day; the spring garden screaming for someone with time to help it; the house that hasn't been thoroughly cleaned in a month; and the daughter whose driving and scheduling needs are a 3rd or 4th full time job (yesterday, an agent called to ask if Scarlett could audition for a Microsoft commercial-which she had to turn down because the child is already booked that week) -- okay, in the midst of all this and STILL with the retainer, the Matron cried -- just for a few self-sorry minutes.

She's better now.  A little.

Monday, March 30, 2009

In Which the Matronly Ecosystem Experiences Actual Revolution!

You see, the Matronly ecosystem?   That highly fragile constellation that is the Matron's mind and matter?

May never be the same.

Because those moles living in the basement?

They've moved. 


Conveniently discovered at about 10:15 pm last night, when the daughter saw a dark creature 'scurry' across the floor and into her closet.   The actual real vermin existence was confirmed by John, who was in the room wrangling the family's most reliable night owl into bed.  

Now, the real issue is who was more hysterical, the Matron or her theatrical offshoot.  Wait!  You know that phrase -- 'the apple doesn't fall far from the tree?'.    This describes her household.  So let's just say the daughter gave her mama a run for the money but the Matron's psychological collapse simply had more staying power.

Scarlett is now afraid to even ENTER her bedroom, let alone sleep in it.  The Matron is hesitant, actually, to return home from work -- for all kinds of reasons-- but especially because she lives in a forest!

Sometimes the Matron wishes her life afforded her less blog material.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Oh!  The  Matron could NOT adore this  more!

Remember the time Mother Nature deposited a 15 ton, 100 foot tree onto the (hugely pregnant) Youngish Miss's house a decade ago?

Well.  That fun unleashed itself on the heels of a dark series of events.  John and his brother fell out of sorts over business, leaving John unemployed.   He was just beginning as a realtor and money?  It wasn't tight.   Money was non-existent.  

The Youngish Miss was boarding baby #2 while working part-time as a consultant WHILE trying to finish her dissertation.   Actually, she told people she was finishing her dissertation but hadn't done a darn thing after Stryker had been born.  Except breastfeed and procreate.

So there's no money, no doctorate, no real job in the entire household and after the storm there was also a huge tree in the house waiting for the crane required for removal.  They lived with the tree and without electricity for four days.

During those four days, friends and neighbors brought them food.   Indeed, their generosity was boundless and pure.  But then . . . 

a deeply religious neighbor offered this comment to Youngish Miss along with her hot dish:  "Disaster actualy isn't bad.  It is the Lord's way of reminding the rest of us to do service."

Youngish Miss wanted to dump that goulash over that woman's head, even though otherwise she liked her very much.    A few years later, life-threatening illness struck that woman's family.  When she wasn't genuinely worrying about the family, The Matron used to wonder how that disaster theory held up, in a small-minded little way.

But today -- after reading and chortling over the facebook fodder -- the Matron suddenly understood!

If you understand that 'the rest of us' means 'those of us who are currently not suffering but will some day,' disaster IS the time to serve -- to wake up and make the hot-dish.  Instead of sending the mylar balloon. 

She guesses she just wasn't ready to HEAR the heart of that message, then.