Thursday, October 16, 2008

Scoop that Poop (and the Marbles, Leggos, Balls, and Half-Eaten Polly Pockets)

No school in Minnesota!! From the state college system (where the Matron works) to preschool, the doors close so that teachers can be all Professional Development and Important Workshop.

Now, the Matron knows not a SINGLE teacher doing this. Including her.

Instead, after tripping over one too many remote control police cars (minus the remote, long lost) she took a big green plastic garbage bag and went through every square inch of the house, finding and eliminating toys no longer in play.

The best part wasn't filling five bags.

No. The best part was that Merrick loved every little bit. He stayed at her side, secure and true to the path, throwing heaps of junk into the bag.

Merrick: "I like my woom clean, Mama. Let's thwow out all the extras."

That apple!! Staying by the tree!

All of her 'isms' and assumptions came out and she was certain he was gay, after all (please? can't she get one gay son to happily take her shopping for the rest of her long, dictatorial life?), what with so much focus on clean and tidy.

She also tended to Command Central, the basement. This is where all the Stuff sleeps, until the Matron needs it.

Okay. Everything sounds all "Matron Prevailed and Maybe Has a Gay Son After All so Life is Good."

But really? There remains, Scarlett's room.

The Matron didn't even enter that black hole. And, part of her cleaning mission?

One week ago today, Satan's Familiar dropped 87.3 pounds of soggy poop in Scarlett's room. John had enough. Since Thursday, October 9 at 3:43 pm, S.F. has been tethered to a leash that the Matron or husband or sometimes a child, carries.

Briefly, they tried to put him in a canvas kennel. He ate himself out, chewing three big holes.

During this past week, Satan's Familiar has been taken Out of Doors for Elimination, many times. Rewarded with treats and ticker tape parade for every bodily function. Still. He's escaped exactly three times.

And pooped and peed in the house? Those three times. As in, he is free for, oh, 18 seconds? Just enough time to dash away, focused, for a pile of poop in the kitchen.

It's like he is PLANNING his next indoor poop. Ten seconds of freedom and that damn dog is bent on defecation.

So today the Matron worked on some of Scruffy's stains.

And late at night--just before this blog post---when she noticed that the Familiar had created a hole in the back yard fence (again), providing him access to Neighborhood and Freedom, with all that adventure (and cars, pitbulls, potential thieves) at his cloven toenail?

Did she run out and plug said hole?

You know.

Yes, when she closed the back door, it was with a smile.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

When the Quarterback Throws to the Third Baseman

The Matron and her husband are a team.

They learned this early on, in Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) parenting classes. Always agree. Be on the same page. Subject thee not, to Manipulation.

Now, they liked that. Unified front, clear rules for children and all.

But more than that, they liked the idea of being a Team. Supporting each other--sort of akin to the 'in sickness and health' sort of stuff. Sometimes (she admits) after a day of Snipe and Accusation, they clutched one another, bewildered, in the kitchen and reminded themselves: We Are The Team.

So Merrick is all about this.

"Mom!! Can I have candy right now?

Matron: "No, not until after dinner."

So young lad scuttles to another room and, he hopes, to a weaker heart.

"Daddy? Can I have a Tootsie roll?"

John: "What did Mama say?"

Merrick: "Not till the dinner."

John: "That's what I say. We're on the same team."


Merrick: "Mama, can I stay up aftew Swyker?"

Matron: "What did Daddy say?"

Merrick: "No."

Matron: "That's what I say. We're on the same team."

Imagine the above, rewinding for poor Merrick's ENTIRE LIFE TIME.

Tonight, Merrick queried both parents about Chex Snack Mix before dinner, several times. The Team replied in unison: No.

Finally, after bumping his head against this roadblock for --oh, 5 years, --- Merick fell to his knees and screamed: " I HATE THE TEAM!!!!!"

And then stood up. "But can I be on it?"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Day Late and Some Body Parts Short

What a day. Typical--and not.

The Matron slept in while John hustled Stryker onto the bus (which Thank Buddha-God-Oprah-Allah) comes to their front door. Sleeping in means she goes on her 4 or 5 mile run at 7 instead of 6. With Satan's Familiar. Here's how Merrick volunteered to be on the blog:

John brings the younger two to school, too. She hops in the van and appreciates the random boot, left in:

St. Paul traffic (not much)

She's here at 8:50

where she gets her first piece of bad news for the day. Last December, the Matron finally fixed the results of a serious fall when she was 10: and knocked out 4 teeth!!! In December, she got new gorgeous caps on the front four. Damn, she looked good.

But last night, when she bit into an apple -- one of those teeth nearly popped right out. Verdict? She needs a tooth extraction--FOUR MONTHS of a retainer and fake tooth - and then an implant. Think trailer park grannies. She can pop a tooth for a few months.

Ugh!!! She was not happy.

Distraction? The dentist is down the block from a monolith she loves and hates. She bought lunch fixings-to enjoy while she still has teeth.

These signs greeted her at home.

She went immediately to work in her home office, grading papers and whatnot, here.

The view from the computer.

Then she went to renew her driver's license. NOT a pretty scene.

But this is. She went back home.

Kissed this 15.5 year old snout.

Took in a view from the third floor.

Marveled that she -- and she alone--made a project out of painting garbage cans. Nobody's trash has more bling.

Cleaned this!

And this

Sigh. . . and this. . . (she has problems this way)

Um . . yes, this too

Took time to make good use of those salad fixins'.

Then, she hustled down to an OB-BYN appointment for the official declaration that her uterus is atop the bladder. She really took this picture while she was getting dressed!!

Not only are the teeth malfunctioning -- the Matron must get a tummy tuck on her uterus. She is officially in need of more reconstruction than the Civil War. Afterward, she remembered that she's making dinner for Merrick's teacher tomorrow night and needed to stop, here.

She also decided it was time for Retail Therapy, here.

This would be the print of the new Gap skirt she bought for $2.49. A lavender wool Banana Republic sweater also made its way into her shopping cart. She spent $29 and bought 8 items.

Then pick up Merrick and Scarlett from school. Plus two friends.

Nobody wanted their actual face on a blog, but Merrick's friend Jack offered that his "brand new really cool messenger bag" should be documented.

Kindergarten homework

After dinner, the Matron put this in the van (and Scarlett)

And drove here for Sound of Music Rehearsal (this would be driving to another STATE)

Here's the hallway where the Matron sat and worked while her daughter pranced about onstage.

Home, late, as in after 9:30.

Scarlett had a bedtime snack while the Matron chatted with Stryker and made her daughter's lunch.

Time Scarlett went to bed. She's 10. Oh, Stage Mother has so much fun.

Here's how she finishes.

After she hits "publish post" she will take her defective body parts (and a wee bit of self-pity for all those surgical moves ahead) to bed.

Monday, October 13, 2008

You Know You're Behind and Online Too Much When . . . .

you forgot a blogging obligation (or are so vested in the blog that you MAKE said commitments).

The Matron signed up to document a day and forgot. Instead, lucky readers get the two saucy and sharp posts below. Tomorrow, duly documented. Perhaps even the Princess will wiggle around that Pea for you. . . .


Last night, before tending to the hysteric in the house, the Matron attended a kick-ass, fabulous Obama fundraiser--hundreds of people and Minnesota talent to the tune of Prudence Johnson and The Honeydogs.

Goosebumps were had by all! Checks written!!!

But the Matron was bothered by the Obama campaign representative who used the words "smear" and "accuse" to describe the Republican assertions that Barack Obama is a Muslim or an Arab.

She's heard those words before: on the radio, on the tv, in the paper. The language -- smear and accuse -- implies that there is something instrinsicly suspect about said conditions, Arab or Muslim. Something from which one runs, screaming.

This unexamined prejudice in the media and on the campaign trail bothers the Matron -- and so does the fact that if Obama is to win (and he must), he cannot be a Muslim or Arab.

We're not there yet, as a nation. And that deeply rooted prejudice is what nobody's talking about.

When All the World is a Pea

At the Ivy Awards, the Matron had this exchange with the fictitiously named Bonnie, mother of an 8 year old actor. Now, the Matron had already been liking this fellow stage mother very much before the following conversation sealed their Eternal Friendship. They chatted while their daughters skipped and bounced through the crowd, hand-in-hand, yards ahead.

Bonnie: "Oh my God. You are so lucky. Scarlett is so cheerful and normal. Not at all like Clara, who is completely impossible."

Matron: "Normal? Scarlett? Are you kidding me? She's a massive hysterical wreck at home."

Bonnie: "You're kidding me! Does she sleep? Because Clara cannot sleep. She's 8 years old, wandering the house at midnight. Simply incapable, all that stuff, spinning, in her head."

Matron: "Midnight? That's like the new 'lights out at 8.' How about The Tummy Ache? Does Clara have The Tummy Ache? All day long, every day, the tummy ache. The pain wanders, like a rabbit, across her belly. It's track-able, sort of on an inch-basis. I am so sick of it, we're taking her to the doctor."

Bonnie: "Don't bother. Clara's been to the gastroenterologist. Twice. She absolutely has The Tummy Ache, 24/7. Completely psychosomatic. How about dizziness? Clara can barely walk, she's so overcome."

Matron (clutching Bonnie for balance herself): "Oh my God. Same with Scarlett! She can barely get out of bed in the morning -- dizzy, weak, exhausted. That's at 8 am. And she's allergic to weather. Can't get up in the morning without crying. Or go to sleep. Or eat lunch."

Bonnie: "Clara cried the whole way here. Wept."

Matron: "So did Scarlett! Why was Clara crying?"

Bonnie: "She claims she didn't eat a good enough dinner at home. Scarlett?"

Matron: "Never has any time to read."

Bonnie: "Clara requires an audience at all times."

Matron: "So does Scarlett. Yesterday, she suffered, simultaneously, from constipation AND diarrhea. While narrating that unusual experience, loudly, from the bathroom."

That night, adrift, mothers of neurotic and dramatic daughters, Bonnie and the Matron found each other. Where other mothers might share stories of math quizzes, school yard quibbles or homework not done, she and Bonnie discussed audition mayhem, the day Scarlett spent in the closet, and survival strategies when your daughter claims her head will simply not lift off the pillow.

This conversation replayed itself in the Matronly mind late last night when she tiptoed into the house, about 10:00 pm, praying for a few minutes to gather her thoughts before bed.

Alas, her husband was waiting in the kitchen, with these fateful words: "She can't possibly sleep unless she knows you're in the house."

Of course, not.

So the Matron went upstairs to console while the weeping daughter spent several minutes detailing the difficulties of sleep without both parents in the house, the way the wind sounded outside the window, how the air appeared chillier around her bed than near the dresser, why the sheets felt wrinkled rather than taut, how the shirt sleeved rubbed just-so on her wrist, how The Tummy Ache had shifted to the lower belly, the way her hair fell on the cheek and how the next day's school work weighed on her psyche.

Of course, Scarlett also sleeps fully dressed for the following day, because putting on clothes in the morning is entirely traumatic.

The Matron made her last visit around 11:15 pm, just before going to bed. Scarlett was thrashing.

And had one moment of accurate self-evaluation.

"Mom? This bed is so lumpy all the time. I feel just like the Princess and the Pea. Have you ever thought about that? That I'm like the Princess and the Pea?"

Only instead of a mattress as environs, we're talking the entire planet.