Friday, June 6, 2008

The Matron Winds Down. Uh, Gears Up? Falls to Pieces?

This week has offered the Matron plenty of diverse experiences.

Tuesday, she spent the entire morning at Woodwinds Hospital--and loved every minute! Indeed, she purposely booked three necessary appointments--chiropractor (these blog posts cost her!) annual mammogram, and first-ever bone density test--back-to-back so she could wallow in Woodwind luxury.

Indeed, when the day was done and time came for the Matron to leave her overstuffed leather armchair, set aside her tea tree oil aroma-therapeutic complimentary napkin, and close the Sunday New York Times as she passed the man playing the grand piano in the lobby with forty foot ceilings -- when that moment came and the Matron had to return to real life, she felt genuine sadness.

This is what she wrote on her 'make a comment' card:

"I loved every minute of my day at Woodwinds! From the piano to the perfumes, the bookstore, the coffeeshop, the essential oils in the bathrooms and lush gardens, I felt more like I was at a spa than a hospital."

Given the economy, the Matron understands that Tuesday morning might be the most pampering she gets.

Except for the part when her baby boobies were reduced to the width of paper. The Matron made a joke about her tiny (nearly non-existent) endowment and then said to the technician: "Well, I suppose you see breasts this tiny all the time!"

Technician: "Well, we do some men, too."

Oh, now the Matron is totally reassured.

The week held two baseball games, if the T-ball tangle-jump-pile-run can be called anything as structured as a 'game.' The last day of school! REM for Stryker last night! He came home fully lit, wowed and ready to sign on as Groupie.

Barack Obama! Less than a mile away! Change we can believe in!

Stage Mother emerged briefly midweek when Scarlett was offered a role in a small art film. Well, the lead role. Oh - and Scarlett was actually inspiration for the movie itself as the director/writer is familiar with the daughter's work. Who knew Scarlett could seep under somebody's else skin? The Matron thought she was special that way.

Filming in July! Too early for details and names. Artists are cautious that way.

The Matron survived last night's sleepover even though -- because many many small children (other people's children!) were in her care - - she was unable to prop herself up by the wine glass in order to get through serious weather.

Mother Nature? You missed. The tree that fell fifty feet away from the Matron and onto a car? The tree and car belonged to somebody else.

So yes, after a long complex week, the Matron woke up this morning and considered the expanse of her day only to remember, to fully realize that --

Tomorrow she is throwing a high school graduation party with 100 invited guests -- for someone else's child! She totally forgot or didn't fully realize that, say shopping, work and money was now required!!

She rather frantically shopped and cleaned and prepped today (the friend is a single mother with cancer) and took her children and some friends to Kung Fu Panda.

Now, the Matron is sure that Kung Fu Panda is a high-end artistic event. But she cannot watch one more animated children's movie again. Not ever. For the rest of her life. She hesitates over the title. Kung Fu Tofu, now Kung Fu Pando? You can just sorta toss "Kung Fu" in front of any old thing.

So she organized the young people in the darkness and took her laptop to the hallway where she checked email, cleaned up electronically and went over to the dark side. You see the Matron and her husband are joining other greedy soulless fools in an effort to rent their houses during the Republican National Convention. The Matron wrote her ad (traitor, hissed the voices).

And then tonight, as she contemplated feeding 100 people tomorrow and cleaning all those bathrooms in advance, she did what any sane woman would do.

She threw a bunch of asparagus, mushrooms and onions in the broiler and called her neighbors (a family she adores) and said: "Come right on over!"

The Matron takes a break! With wine. . . .

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The End of the World as We Know It

The Matron still happily hums that tune, from time to time.

And tonight?

John and Stryker are going to this concert!


John won tickets from The Current-- which is THE best radio station on the planet and the Matron does not exaggerate, not ever. Nope. You know this, already, right?

Oh, if that isn't enough to rock the Matronly world, the last big ticket at the Xcel Center was this:

Now, at about 6 pm, the Matron had a brilliant and unique idea: "Family! Let's all go downtown and see if we can get in!"

Yes, the Matron and about 30,000 other people, half of whom watched the event on two tremendously huge screens outside the center. Thankfully, Stryker had been monitoring the entire process.

"Mom? Didn't you notice the mile long line when we drove past after school?" Uh, she woulda missed that. "Mom? Did you go online? It's like thousands of people who can't get in already."

So even though they were less than one mile away from all that LOVE they watched the event on TV. But she heard all about it from pumped-up energized friends who made the scene.

(she cried a little during Obama's speech, but don't tell anyone)

Tonight, while John and Stryker rock out, the Matron will be hosting four of Scarlett's friends in a End Of The School Year Sleepover. Apparently, major life events must be marked by snuggling under sleeping bags with best friends.

Lovely. This leaves the Matron alone to protect many many small children--other people's children!-- from the weather and perhaps from the Matron herself! The threat of severe weather or tornado? This morning's public radio projection was more like how bad will it be than will it come.

Considering the Matronly history with severe weather, tonight should be fun!

Or the end of the world as she knows it? And those of you who read the link above understand: she is only half kidding.

Off to make the safe house in the basement.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Stop That Trend!

The Matron is alarmed! Horrified. Unable to contain herself -- or sleep, even. This is a serious situation, friends.

When the Matron was a Wee Miss and even a Young Lass, she considered Orphanage Director to be the perfect occupation! The Orphanage Director would have no actual contact with small children, mind you, but would get to name those children -- hundreds of them!

Wee Miss could never imagine settling on a single name, because so many were so beautiful! The Matronly memory mangles much, but Felicity, Hope, Charity, Elizabeth, Stephanie, Victoria and Virginia stand out as being popular among the orphans. Boys were Benjamin, Frederick, Oscar, Bobby, Edward or Lance. Yes, Lance.

Throughout her life, the Matron has always felt that her name belies: she is far more singular than, say, Mary. Indeed, when the unmarried and unfettered Young Miss changed her last name at age 19 for complex reasons, she considered changing her first! To Madison. But she didn't (thank you, God-Oprah for not letting her pick a name soon to be as popular as the old shoe she already had and if your daughter bears that name, know the Matron still likes it, very much!).

So when the Matron became pregnant, she determined that the child's name should sparkle and shine -- stand out as the singular creatures he would be. Yet she didn't want anything obviously made up, like shoving together John & Mary for Jomary or concocting Lilliannaloubella or Frehenry.

If your children bear either of the three names above and you are offended, the Matron is very sorry (for the offspring).

Naming Stryker after the street on which he was conceived not only made perfect sense (at least to his parents) but also met the Singularity Criteria. To be safe, the Matron entered "Stryker" on the Social Security list of top baby names. Never once in 100 years has that name been in the top 1000. The Matron felt safe!

But look what is happening to her daughter!!!

Popularity of the female name Scarlett
Year of birth Rank
2007 219
2006 297
2005 423
2004 527
2003 762
2002 806
2001 939
2000 941
1999 877
1998 834
1997 884
1996 816
1995 751
1994 850
1993 807
1992 949

When the Matron selected the name 'Scarlett' in 1998, she was not pleased that the name was in the top thousand at all - but at 834, the Matron felt the selection was safe. She checked out all other names in the 800's and was pleased to realize that she rarely, if ever, met any of their actual acquaintance: Valentina, Kinsey, Darlene, Emerald or Jill.

Merrick does not enter the top 1000 names, not once in the past 100 years. The Matron knows this for sure, because she just double-checked! History might rewrite itself if she's not watching. She must be on top of all situations, at all times.

The Matron blames Scarlett Johanson for this current issue. Scarlett!! Stop being so damn cute, with those lips and that impossible body and those incredible acting skills. Get Thee away from the cultural psyche! Can't you develop a drug problem like all of your famous twentysomething female acting peers? Maybe a career switch to something less visible, like Walgreen's cashier?

As long as she is wagging her finger-- Ellen! Why did you have to go pick a Stryker to put on national TV? The Matron would like to remind the planet that this man's first name is actually Ted. But, as of 1 pm Central Standard Time on a Tuesday afternoon in Minnesota, Stryker still has not appeared in the list of the top thousand most popular names in 100 years.

The Matron must be in control of all situations at all times (not that she has issues) so she cannot bear that she appears to have absolutely no control over the slow slide of Scarlett up that list.

Mrs. G? If Oprah calls you, please tell her to head over here next. She must ban the use of Scarlett, real quick.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday Morning Is The New Friday Night

And not just because the children are in school!

Because at least two Monday mornings a month, the Matron experiences Nirvana, which arrives in the gritty form of ValuThrift.

Yes. That is Value without the 'e' and thrift, altogether. Clever, those folks!

The Matron has fawned and fainted over this store before. But after yesterday's travel marathon, ValuThrift became a necessity. You see, some frazzled Mamas eat ice cream or chips to blow off stress. Others might shop Retail. The Matron? She cruises ValuThrift. You get to BINGE with no adverse side effects!

Mondays are 25% off ValuThrift, which is an already base-rate thrift store, a for-profity entity with clean bathrooms, dressing rooms and not one employee who speaks English (The Matron has tested this observation and is completely fine with those statistics!).

Today, the frazzled Matron spent $22 for this $298. Coach purse -- in perfect, lush condition.

Altogether--between two pairs of capris for Scarlett, sweatshirt for Merrick, Tommy Hilfiger jeans and shorts for Stryker, Levi's for Stryker, FOUR Ann Taylor and Eileen Fischer ensembles for the Matron and a kick-ass JJ Jill dress, two pair of cheapo Merrick pants and the gem below -- the Matron spent $52.

And $48was the original cost of this:

Now, let us digress to the Matron's feeble photography skills. She staged this photo! Selected a black backdrop and -- planned! Managed light and sun and angle. You judge the result. And this desperate second shot?

So this is a stunning necklace with the Chico $48 price tag still attached that was part of the Matron's $52 haul. She spent FOUR more dollars than the original price of this necklace for all that stash. She understands her great good thrifty luck!! The photos do not do this justice.

But if she was in charge of photography? You'd be booking air fare for next Monday's 25% discount at ValuThrift.

Later, the Matron spent one hour in the rain watching Merrick's T-Ball game. This is not a sport event, but comic relief. Speaking of which, more on that, tomorrow.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

At Your (and the rest of Humanity's) Service

Yes, the Matron spent Friday weeping as her son exited elementary school. This is how ordinary, how circumspect her child appeared.

See how everyone else is wearing a top hat?

Today, the Matron spent her day contributing to the Saudi oil economy.

Well, most of it. She tossed in a little bit of this, for spice and sass:

Ring! Ring! Ring! This is the telephone at 7:15 a. (#$#%^^$^) m. on a Sunday morning. A parent who also has a child performing at SteppingStone Theater who wants the full scoop on a morning parade in which the actors are walking - which starts at 10.

The Matron filled in this parent--here's the starting time, the location, the duration, the end game and all the players and their clothing sizes--and wondered once again what neon sign (CALL ME I WILL HELP YOU WHEN IT IS WILDLY INCONVENIENT) she was wearing.

The parent said this: "Oh, I know it's way too early to call!"

Yes! So why are you?

Those of you living in Norway, Hell, or even, say New York or Minneapolis, who are planning to track down the Matron and phone her should know that--aside from lice infestation or the discovery that Vampires actually exist --one thing terrifies her beyond all else: the early morning call.

Yes, she can run 6 miles and clean up voluminous doggie doo, but she cannot communicate with grace until she has ingested coffee and calorie. And she actually wasn't at all gracious this morning (sorry, parent, but if you go online you see the parade doesn't start till 10 and maybe even an 8:00 phone call would do and even that is too early).

So the Matron was crabby.

Bent on insuring that she cannot afford to retire until she is 97, at another early hour the Matron hopped in her van and drove Stryker to a morning baseball game in a suburb half an hour away.
Then, the Matron drove home, grabbed Scarlett and brought her to the parade. Seeing that the theater company had fewer water bottles than children, the Matron ran to a store and purchased more -- the unsolicited sort of assistance which she does not mind, one wit.

Soon, she drove to the suburb again in order to retrieve Stryker for his 1:00 call at SteppingStone (back to St. Paul) , where he is both Student Stage Manager and Baby Snake (on stage! he's the understudy, called up!).

Immediately upon returning home with Merrick, that child's friend -- who lives just two blocks from SteppingStone --confirmed an immediate playdate which the Matron (never mind Merrick) very much needed.

She drove right back from whence she came, deployed Merrick, and zoomed home to spend one hour cleaning up the mess that one morning of regular family life had made before heading back to SteppingStone to get Stryker to go BACK to the suburb for the tournament.

Alas, the game -- vying for the 3rd place trophy --started at the very same time the final performance of Anansi The Trickster Spider ended! The coach called her cell - in order to play, Stryker had to be there when up to bat. His team was up first! Stryker was the last in the order -- but! Hurry!

Odds against her, she went five miles over the speed limit (wild one!) and prayed for the best. The two-minute cell phone updates from parents in the stands looked grim! Stryker was screaming: "OH MY GOD. I CANNOT MISS THIS GAME. I WILL NOT SURVIVE!" For half an hour.

And as the Matron screeched up next to the dugout, the coach screamed: "OH MY GOD. STRYKER YOU ARE UP!" The boy lurched from the van, someone threw a helmet and bat at him and the Matron let the rest of the sweat pour down her back. Sweat is the new shower.

Then, while watching this nerve-shattering game, the Matron had the horrifying realization that she forgot Scarlett!!! The actors had a one hour work obligation after the show: the Matron was with Stryker but Scarlett was at SteppingStone and needed a ride --somewhere?!

So she became the VERY parent that annoys and begged someone else to care for and transport her child, at the last inconvenient and emergency minute.

Remember how great baseball season is going, bench time and right field, all that?

Stryker hit a triple! Then, at the bottom of the final inning with bases loaded, the other team up, two outs and a score of 3/3, Stryker caught a tremendously high, hugely alarming fly ball and sent the game into extra innings!!

Thus far, Stryker has not caught one damn thing. Not even grounders, wobbling along at 1 mile per month. Not a virus, not a hot dog in a basket. He drops balls that aren't even moving. After the Matron's heart rebooted, she got on her knees and praised The Powers That Be (God, Allah, Buddha, Mother Nature and Oprah): "Oh My Oprah! Thank you for not letting my child drop that ball!"

The team went on to win third place which includes medals!

Spent, the Matron drove back to St. Paul, picked up Merrick, went somewhere else to retrieve Scarlett and finally limped home where upon she unlocked the front door and Stryker said: "When's dinner? I'm starving!"

Monday morning when the children are in school? It's the Matron's Friday night.