Friday, June 25, 2010

From the Mouths of Babes? --

Neither the Matron nor her husband can remember how this started.


This weekend is the Gay Pride Parade in Minneapolis. Perhaps this was this focus, and discussion surrounding John's business partner--let's call him X-- and X's partner of 25 years. Let's call him Y.

The conversation started out about business and swerved toward other things.

Scarlett: "X is gay? I had no idea."

Merrick: "What's gay?"

Scarlett: "That's a boy marrying a boy, or girl marrying a girl. Then they have babies. This is instead of girl and boy."

Delightful summation.

Merrick: "Like Billy and Tom, and Elliott and Freddy?" These would be the very out gay neighbors that live on each end of the block.

Matron (progressive teaching moment): "That's right. It's totally COOL TO BE GAY. If you want to live with a man, that would be awesome. Or with a woman. Or an elephant. Just follow your heart. Let's stop short of Llamas."

Merrick: "Can two girls be together?"

Please excuse him. He doesn't quite know the word 'woman' but would be awfully cute saying it.

Matron: "Yes! You can have any combination. And what do you call two women or girls who love each other and live together?"

Merrick: "Jewish!"

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Message to the Dieties

Dear Universe-God-Buddha-Oprah-Allah (heretofore referred to as UGOBU),

The Matron must take up an issue with the entities that guide the globe. Her is a pressing concern, one that has a dramatic effect on the lives of millions, daily. Morality, money, quality of life, commerce and eternity are all at stake

Honorable UGOBU, the Matron is required to remind you that Satan has set forth much evil in the world: tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, serial killers and adults who purposely hurt the feelings of small children. To these evils, she has adjusted. She has even softened some of the crust on her heart in the face of Satan’s Familiar, the dog He of All Bad Intent planted beside her. Indeed, Scruffy’s presence has made the Matron practice daily gratitude, as in “things could be worse you still have your legs and don’t need diapers.”

But she has recently been introduced to a new, alarming and apparently uncontrollable and all-powerful calamity.


Need she write more?

The web site itself instigates the wicked spell. Navigation is pretty much impossible and when one does call the ‘customer service’ number, querying about a ticket’s return, ‘customer service’ turns out to be a sales person who in turn tells you to hold while he connects to customer service. Then you get sales again, no matter what number from the web site you dial.

And she has nothing against India as a nation and people, but wonders if the nuances of language, time and distance render the conversation complex.

Matron: “I’m wondering what your policy about returning a ticket is?”

Person Probably Not Making Enough Money for the Tortuous Job (heretofore referred to as PPNMEMTJ): “Pardon? Earning a ticket? You buy ticket.”

Matron: “I’m wondering what your policy is about returning tickets.” Notice how she switched around some verbs, aiming for better understanding.

PPNMEMTJ: “Pardon? There is no way to earn your ticket.”

And so on.

UGOBU, the Matron was on hold for 30 minutes. She dialed 22 numbers and spent another forty minutes on the web site running through circles of language without substance or concrete outcomes. She thought she spent $40 and then realized that in the world that is Ticketmaster, $40 is actually $69. Or $80.

The other problem here is that one cannot avoid the behemoth that controls all events, including Public Radio shows like Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, which is the very sharp, innocent, non-rock-n-roll event the Matron initially intended to see. The hidden fees, the monopoly, the complexity, the tyranny – if Ticketmaster was a government there would be talk of Sadam Hussein.

Suggestion? Human beings should be allowed to call or drive to a theater box office and purchase a ticket. Period.

The Matron appreciates UGOBU’s attention to this urgent matter – and while Your Greatness is attending, could she please just have her $69 refunded?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gotta Love This Guy

He Who Cannot Be Named (new readers -- this is code for oldest child who doesn't want to be blogged about) needed red baseball socks, for well, baseball.

The Matron went on a trek for the socks. She took Merrick with her to a mega-sports store.

Merrick: "I want to be in and out. In and out of the store."

Matron: "Great idea! Me too. What do you mean by in and out?"

Merrick: "In and out means buying MY EQUIPMENT FIWST."

Guess who left with a hockey puck, baseball bat, basketball, tennis racket, tennis racket carrying bag and red baseball socks -- all within 10 minutes.

In and out.

And 75 dollars. That's the price she is prepared to pay for sanity and convenience . . .

She's really not proud of this character flaw. It's why retirement will be slim.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Oh What A Beautiful Morning

And it is.

The Matron knows, because some weird hormonal, aging cocktail means she is only allowed five to six hours of sleep a night.

The 5:00 a.m. wake up call introduced a glorious day --and memories of yesterday's surreal trip to the University of Minnesota's Hospital and Clinic's emergency room.

After decades of bad teeth, the Matron's husband (John) -- can we just pause here to note how proper she is? New readers might not know that the husband is "John," so he must be introduced in paretheses. Love that! She's referenced these issues before and will do so again. If she wasn't so lazy, she'd link that reference.

Anyway, back to the point. Yesterday, John went to the U of MN School of Dentistry to inquire about the braces he should have gotten 30 years ago.

Waiting for said appintment, poor husband fell ill.

Staggered against a door. Required assistance from professionals. Endured indescribable stomach pain. Pale as a ghost. Was immediately carried to the Emergency Room.

Yours truly was headed to a sporting goods store with the younger two, in search of the perfect bathing suit, sandals and shorts for Saturday's summer vacation (more on that marathon later). Now, the perfect bathing suit, sandals and shorts would be for Scarlett. Let's just say that these are not easy to secure.

She got the call from the ER and immediately flipped about and soared there. John was in agony on a cot in a dreary room.

Merrick, en route to hospital: "Mama? I hate to say this, but the whole thing is VEWY exciting!"

No one, in the history of humans and hospitals, has ever had more fun in an emergency room than Merrick.

He got ice from the machine in the hallway. He moved the bed up and down. He navigated the lights. That child turned on the television, called for the nurse (without permission but oh, how they loved him), tested blood pressure (really, he watched and learned), used his Mama's cell phone, took temperatures, arm-wrestled anyone willing and made full and exotic use of the sink --with the ice from the hallway.

It's possible to spin 59 times in a row on the little doctor's stool. With an audience.

He also stood just outside the examining room -- room number 3 out of 17 -- to watch all the action, too. A county sheriff brought in a 'bad guy' which sent poor Merrick over the edge.

Merrick: "MOM DAD! The police are here with a huwt BAD GUY! He's in a LOCKED WOOM! Can I go in thewe?"

Friendly Nurse Who is Paying Attention: "Hey there buddy. Would you like a Popsicle instead?"

Merrick: "A WEAL Popsicle? YES!!"

He is so easy.

And John?


This from a woman who gave birth to three babies without pain medication, who has now stood by her mother's bedside for constipation (four days) and her husband's for bowel woes.

If there is a God, she is getting a really good spot in Heaven. Like the throne, with tiara and vodka.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer Blogging

Matron to family: "I'm not working this summer, so I'll have all the time in the world to be with everyone and do EVERYTHING!! Who wants fresh cookies and home-made salsa? I just cleaned all the bathrooms and spent six hours driving children to summer camps and play dates! How fun is this! Here, eat some cookie dough! It's organic and from scratch."

John: "Uh . . . . can I say something about that?"

Matron: "Maybe. You'd prefer chip dip?"

John: "Do you remember that last week, you signed a book contract? The title of the book -- in case you've forgotten - is "How to Advocate for Quality Health Care: A Guide for Patients and Families." This treatise is due October 10, which is about 120 days, not weeks, away. "

Matron: "Your point?"

John: "Do you also remember that you're now the Gender and Women Studies ENTIRE DEPARTMENT at your college, single-handedly developing, designing and deploying a new degree program? For which you have to develop five new classes over the summer?"

Matron: Determined silence.

John: "And you're teaching a new class in English, too, and have to put that up online AND you're doing a big technology training for faculty in July. And you're writing an article for that national technology publication, right? Due in three weeks?"

Matron: Getting really good at the silence thing.

John: "You are totally working. But you're just not teaching because you're doing every other possible thing under the sun. Can I reiterate: you have 120 days to write a book and have signed the contract, for which you've recieved money."

Matron: "Effective rhetorical strategy, John."

John: "It's called truth."

And then she had a martini, a mental breakdown and went to bed.

Happy Father's Day, honey!