Today, the Matron left her children to the wolves.
She and John were out of the house at 7 am and said to Stryker: "Good luck." To complicate matters, Stryker and Scarlett both were having friends over, leaving Stryker as King of the Flock of five.
The Matron did this today. When Stryker called and said, "We're hungry" she said, "If you can't cook something, open a bag."
Why? The Matron is married to a realtor. Thank you. She just felt your stab of pain and prayer. Thankfully, John had a record year in 2007 (she thinks it's because he's a leftie tree-hugger Buddhist realtor and somebody has to serve that crowd!) and an ace in his back pocket: the Matron. So when the market ground to a halt, she was able to step up and earn a paycheck.
But in his real estate travels, John stumbled across a mini-miracle! A house in (sadly for one family) foreclosure, with gleaming woodwork and built-in cabinets, bling and two sweet bedrooms -- for $50,000! The house is also one block down from theirs!
So he bought it. Just like that. Given the tax value is like $180,000. And it cost $50,000. You do the math.
Now, the Matron is accustomed to being poor folk. She is the under-achiever in her family (more on that soon and it will be good). Financial security? Ha! Retirement fund? Can you define that?
But tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. when the very fine tenant moves in, she will be a landlord.
Aside! The Matron has never understood the second-hand status of renters. She and John rented their first house on Stryker Avenue for for five years and were always reminded by neighbors that they were, ahem, renting. That attitude continues to bother the Matron. So the guy renting this house? She owes HIM.
Back to today. The landed gentry - meaning the Matron -- needed to help John and the contracting crew prepare the house. By prepare the Matron basically means rebuild.
Because this is an adorable steal of a house that hasn't been cleaned or updated in about, oh, 200 years.
Earlier today, Stryker visited and said: "You'd think the major appliances would be in by now, don't you, Mom?"
She does! She is actually in a full throttle panic. She will be back at the new house at 5 am tomorrow morning, once again leaving Stryker in charge.
The Matron knows women who can bake a pie and wield a power tool. She is not one of them. But when you're cleaning two feet of dust and gunk from drawers and the harried contractor says, "drop that and paint this wall," you do.
And when the plumber tells you how he knows some neighborhoods are good because they are WHITE and others are bad because they are NOT, you say this and SOOO enjoy yourself:
"This actually isn't a white neighborhood because I'm Black. I'm mixing it up. I know I don't look like I'm African-American, but my father is Black and my mother is white. I got her genes but his soul! Do you want to listen to some hip-hop? Rap?"
(the Matron is entirely Scottish and pale but that made for one awkward, honest to God learning moment!)
So while the Matron was having all this fun, her children were entirely alone. She got some screaming phone calls and knew things were falling apart when nobody had lunch. Then Stryker called at 3 pm.
"Mom. Merrick is totally crazy. All he's eating today is candy and gum. He just hurled himself on me and head-butted Scarlett. I don't know what to do."
The Matron hung up and called a dear, sweet Mama friend and asked this woman to drive over to her house, drive her children to her house, feed and mother them and keep them till bedtime.
And she said, "I'll be right there."
That's why the Matron loves women.