Friday, February 5, 2010

If You Have a Sore Throat Please Don't Tell Her

For about two weeks, the Matron and her husband have been preparing for this Thursday and Friday, the two most scheduled days of the decade. Because they must pick both a junior and senior high school (Scarlett and Stryker) the past month has been a whirlwind of school tour and pedagogical pitches. Pile onto that plays, school, work, voice lessons, hockey, debate, computer club, and play dates.

Thursday was the big debate meet, huge work meeting for the Matron, evening conferences at Stryker's school (can you say all A+?!!! DYING of pride) and an evening show for Scarlett. Friday started at 7:30 with the first of three high school tours, culminating in a day of shadowing at a prospective high school for Stryker, tossing in an after school play date for Merrick and a dance for Scarlett. Throughout the week, there was also Merrick in the mix --who can drive the six-year old when everyone else is peering into some school, driving to a performance or schlepping to some lesson? Don't forget that the Matron and her husband also have full time jobs (cough, cough). Amazing how many hours of work you can squeeze into a single afternoon.

Sooooo. . . the Matron woke at 6 am on Thursday morning ready to go 48 hours at full throttle. Which she did until 1:47 pm later that day.

Ring! Ring!

Matron: "Hello?"

Stryker: "Mom? It's me, Stryker. I'm in the nurse's office and I have a fever of 101. I'd really like to go home."

Matron: "What do you mean, "it's me, Stryker"? Don't you know that I will recognize your voice for the next 50 years?"

Stryker: "Do we have to have this particular conversation when I'm nearly dying?"

No. She immediately retrieved him, only to pick up Scarlett and Merrick at school later, and be subjected to this:


Merrick: "My tummy huwts and why awe my eyes all wed?"

Thus, the much anticipated 48 hour whirlwind disappeared to be replaced by a whirlwind of a different nature.

Last night was a circus of Kleenex, cough drop, thermometer and pill. With a fever of 100, Scarlett dragged herself to her show at The History Theater at 7L30 pm, weeping the entire way there. The Matron felt HORRIBLE but both she and her actor knew that no understudy -- especially a novice to theater -- should go on with half an hour notice.

Scarlett soldiered on. Stryker missed his debate (sorry, team). Stryker missed all the school tours. There was no dance for Scarlett. The Matron volunteered today in Merrick's classroom without her son around to witness her heroism. Instead, the Matron has spent the past 24 hours ministering to sick children. . . all three propped up on the couch with ginger ale and video instead of at school (and this did indeed screw up the whole concept of parents and employment).

This afternoon? The doctor! The results are in! Three cases of strep (there are three children so you can match that up), in addition to one bronchial infection (Stryker) and one case of pink eye (Merrick).

Really. Don't you wish you were here?

But the biggest drama, as it so often does, centers around Scarlett whose current show features all teenage actors and one adult. Scarlett has strep--is contagious. And is a centerpiece of a show where there is hugging, touching and contact. That child could theoretically take down the entire cast with her virus.

For the first time in four years, Scarlett is missing a performance. Her understudy is THRILLED when not puking in a hallway wastebasket. That young teen understudies THE ENTIRE SHOW. Yes -- she has memorized every line and movement in a two hour performance. The Matron wishes this beautiful girl-- who has never been in a professional theater show before -- godspeed on a night she probably won't forget.

In the meantime, she is off to administer sympathies, drugs and mama's best medicine everywhere - TLC. All three children are languishing on various couches, exhibiting various degrees of Need. Let's just say that the child who has only one diagnosable illness has by far the most HEIGHTENED set of symptoms.



The parents are relying on wine.

And here's a peek at the show Scarlett won't be in tonight. Yes, she's the wee one moaning and being ferried.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Oh the Pressure!!!!!!

Today, the Matron made the mistake of picking up Poets and Writers magazine, a little rag to which she subscribes but rarely reads (time, children, job, inertia).

She stumbled across the writer Michelle Wildgell (editor of the literary rag Tin House) and was subjected to this:

Poets and Writers: "You write fiction, you're an active cook and you edit Tin House, you're married. How do you balance all of it?"

OMIGOD. Let's just unpack that. Pare down to actual duty (cooking and eating do NOT count) and basically this person has a job and writes. Without children but with (in theory) a supportive spouse. He might be a jerk but he exists, regardless.

How does she balance all that work, writing and marriage (and eating) indeed?

The Matron?

6 am: up with Stryker for the bus
7:30: wake up the other two
8:40: drive littler ones to school
9:10-11:55: manage children's lives (new schools, auditions, doctors and dentists, play dates, lessons) by internet and telephone.
11:55-12:15: gobble food
12:15-1:50: squeeze in 15 hours of full time job
2:00-3:30: world's most worthless work meeting
4:00-6:00: backpacks, laundry, cleaning, witness to myriad narratives about day etc.
6:00-6:45: prepare dinner children will sniff, inspect and reject
7:30-8:00: fret about homework
8:00-9:00: this blog post and American Idol
9:00-10:00: bed time

Wow. How does one balance all that work and cooking?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In Just One Day OR The Matron Lives Life Like the Princess Sleeping on the Pea

Heavens! Who sent this meteorological hailstorm her way!? In a single day -- today -- ALL OF THESE THINGS DEEPLY DISTURBED THE MATRON!!!

1. A colleague was compelled to pop open her partially shut office door and share with her the fact that he just walked by a 20 something male student with one finger up his nose and the other down his pants, scratching his butt. If this image and the interruption weren't unpleasant enough, the colleague then went onto say the student was experiencing complete pleasure on many levels. This would be a male colleague. The Matron sorta thought the student crude and disgusting (and completely unaware of social convention) but the complete pleasure comment and the wistful expression on her (gulp) colleague's face gave her pause. And fear.

2. NASA is going to outsource space flight to the Space Station. Shall we let that one sink in? The federal government is turning over flight in space -- in big scary rockets -- to private companies. Oh,now she gets it. Sorta like how they outsource war.

3. California Representative Duncan Hunter was on NPR fretting -- she means, FRETTING as in one could hear the sweat poppin' off his forehead -- about repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law that prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the military. Hunter kept repeating: "We are talking about serving in CLOSE QUARTERS" about one million times and with such anxiety that every listener knew damn well how scared that man is at the mere thought of bumping elbows next to a man who thinks Hunter's ass looks fine. It was when Hunter dangled the horror of transgender people and eunuchs serving on the home team that the Matron had to turn of the radio in complete exasperation.

4. Not only can Merrick still not read, he announced today that he has decided NOT to join his classroom's book, for which the Matron is the sole parent volunteer.

Merrick: "I just don't want to. Do you need to know how to wead if you want to be a westlew when you gwow up?"

Freud, are you doing this for fun in the afterlife?

5. After eating a high-end lunch of a bagel with peanut butter, she stood up to discover that half of the peanut butter was creating art on her newly laundered black pencil skirt. Oil stains well, friends.

6. Her mother decided to move to New Jersey to live next to her brother and forgot to let the Matron in on the move. Thanks, Mom.

7. A friend/colleague of whom the Matron is openly (okay at least behind closed doors with her husband) jealous sent the Matron an email at 4:22 in the morning--this morning. The Matron queried and it appears there is among us a Super Woman who rises at 4, travels the world, writes numerous books, wins teaching awards and still has sex with her husband twice a week. She schedules it.

8. Say it ain't so, Darling!!

9. A student who has never once come to class in the three plus weeks since the semester started showed up in her office with this: "Hey yo I've missed class because I was in the Bahamas with my family and then after that ten day cruise I needed to chill and feel like, 100%,, for this class. Dude, it took me a full week to recover. After that my girlfriend wanted to have movie week where we spent every day scoping flicks, so that week was a loss too. Waddya think?"

10. She lives in Minnesota. Six inches of snow. Again.

David Letterman, top this.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Company She Keeps

Last week, a colleague at the Matron's very fine community college sent an email message to a professional listserve.

The listserve goes out to over 2000 English instructors teaching in community and state colleges throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. These are people who hold advanced degrees. Why, the Matron herself is the proud owner of a P-H-D. Dang! Her colleagues, by nature of their employment, must also own such a degree, or a Masters at the least.

The people on the listserve are responsible for shaping minds! For passing on essential information, appropriately.

The message the Matron's colleague sent? Completely appropriate! Professionally valuable, even, asking for feedback and discourse about developmental writing at the college level. Bring it on, thought the Matron, when she saw the message in her inbox.

Instead, this popped in the inbox next:

Remove me from this list!

Please delete me from this list.

Who put me on this list in the first place? Take me off?


Get me off this damn list!

Why am I getting these emails! Take me off the list!!!


My, my, these people are testy! Demands to removed from the list fairly flew into the inbox. All of these fine, well-educated people appearing incapable of reading the instructions for how to unsubscribe at the bottom of the message.

Finally! A voice of reason and calm!

Hello colleagues! If you want to be removed from this listserve please do one of two things. Follow the instructions for how to be removed from the list, copied here, or contact the listserve administrator, Dr. Very Nice Guy, at here's his email. Please don't continue to hit 'reply all' and perpetuate the very problem we're trying to avoid. Thank you and have a good day!

Whew, went the Matron! Back to blogging and coffee now that this drama's all wrapped up. But wait! What is this she is seeing?

Take me off this damn list.

Please remove me from the list.

Get me out of here!

You're all stupid which means your school must be stupid too.

Are there more morons on this list than anywhere on the planet?

Get me off this list.

Please remove me from the list.

People get a brain! Are you idiots allowed to drive let alone teach?!

F$(#k off or get me off this list.

Remove me too.

Take me off.

Reason and decorum vanished. Chaos ensured. People fell apart before her very eyes. Supposedly well-balanced professionals turned into L.A. drivers during rush hour: road rage by email! Email mania meant it was OKAY to call your professional colleague a "whining meanie."

The thing that REALLY amazed the Matron (okay, the entire toddler-like squall blew her away) was that these people were not anonymous: everyone sent an email with,well, NAME and EMAIL address and institutional information attached!!

So Dr. Doo-Doo at College Q can tell 2000 of his professional colleagues to: "F$(%K off."

She can't wait to see him at the next conference.

The Matron even googled several people to see if she could find a picture of someone who can be conscious and still write "your school is stupid and you are too." Middle-aged white woman wearing a really bad sweater, it turns out. Honest to God-Buddha-Oprah-Universe-Allah she wishes she would have saved that link to show you.

Forget Actual Student Email. Check out who's doing the teaching!

why cant u weanies get a live?

Didn't know such high end people were helping to shape our nation's future, did you?