Friday, October 15, 2010

Gone Fishing?

No, the Matron does not fish.

She actually hates nature.

By this she means nature that involves camping, hiking, or otherwise peering at wildlife. If you've seen one deer, you've seen them all. Hiking? What's the destination? End goal? She is not about process, which may not psychologically sound but her reality.

Spot that bird? Um . . is that available online?

Nature exists in the wide open air between bars, coffee shops and bookstores, where she thrives. Air is everywhere. Breathe. . .. that's nature, even if you're at Target or walking out of a bookstore. Or wondering where the next gin and tonic is at the restaurant patio. Isn't there grass nearby?

This is an official digression.

Real post on Monday . . . .

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The Matron loves birth stories. Loves the kinship that the herculean effort inspires. It's strange how giving birth is both so highly personal and significant, yet universal. Even cats do it. And rats.

Please don't tell her that cockroaches share their birth stories. Far too much detail for this delicate psyche.

When she was pregnant with her first, the Matron - then a Youngish Miss -- decided that she should finish her dissertation and be all singularly up to date and professional before the young man arrived in the world. Instead, she watched cooking shows on PBS and read People magazine all day long.

She accomplished nothing but gestation.

This haphazard attitude extended to the actual birth of said baby (remember this is He Who Cannot Be Named).

John: "Do you want an epidural? Pain medications lower than that? Water birth?"

Youngish Miss: "Whatever. . . as long as this thing comes out."

At around 10 pm on July 15th, 1995, the Matron was subject to a strange sensation--which turned out to be the beginning of labor. This is not a comfortable way to spend the night. Because she had a regularly scheduled O.B. appointment the next day at 5 p.m. and she knows how slowly these things can go, she just settled in and waited.

The next day was an endurance test of sort--still, she managed to go out for a huge breakfast at her favorite joint and see a movie.

Here is the Matron at her O.B. GYN appointment--at 5 pm. Remember, alarm bells went off a good 14 hours earlier.

Midwife: "Mary, your water broke -- probably long ago. You need to check into the hospital right now."

Youngish Miss: "Is this why I'm vomiting and doubled over in between movies and meals?"

Midwife: "Do you know who the president is? What year it is?"

Youngish Miss: "Uh, not sure I know what you mean by "president."

Hospitalization immediately ensued.

It is now July 16th, at 8 pm. Labor is well under way and even the Queen of Repression and Denial understands what's going on. She notes that this has been going on for 22 hours.

And continues.

Finally, after a long sleepless night filled with Nina Simone (thank you, John for thinking of music), the baby is jumping ship. It's time for the big push. . . which last about 10 minutes.

Stryker's head is in the world!

But just his head.

Without getting overly graphic, let's just say that shoulder dysplasia was involved. The baby's shoulder was stuck under the delicate pelvic bone and could not be lodged --- even with 33 hours of labor under her belt (but she's not counting), the Matron had energy -- energy of a mama -- but could not dislodge this child.

Whose little face was turning blue.

She wishes she remembers more, but John tells her that suddenly the hospital lit up. Blue lights, emergency codes, a c-section table immediately wheeled into the room. Big announcements blaring: Code Bad! Code VERY Bad!

Nurse One: "We're doing an emergency c-section. The doctor's on his way but I'm going to start the incision. We have about 90 seconds. Are we all clear on this?"

John: "All clear! Don't let them die!"

Nurse Two: "I have an alternate idea -- stand back."

The c-section team roared in. The doctor ran in and yelled: "there's no time to scrub" and grabbed his tools.

The nurse-- of heft --held up a hand and said "give me three seconds" and jumped on the hospital bed and straddled the Matron, facing her feet and the dying blue baby. She jumped a foot in the air and --using her balled fists-- came down with the full force of desperation and hope for life -- right above the baby, slamming into the top of the uterus with all her force.

Stryker shot right out.

Every single person in the room started crying. Every, single, person. The doctor took off his glasses and collapsed into the sink.

Except the then Youngish Miss who was sort of dazed by the amount of pain one person can experience.

Youngish Miss, later: "John? Did I make a noise when she belly-slammed me? It seemed like I screamed. It hurt an awful lot."

John: "The entire hospital staff called 911. Nobody missed that noise. But it's okay."

From time to time, the Matron thinks about that blue baby and this nurse. Actually, she wants to lay down by her feet and send her children to college. And arrange that heaven thing.

Thank you.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wherein the Matron Provides Entertainment for Others

Yesterday at 7:00 pm, the Matron (still mulling over the home schooling issue) picked up Scarlett from a rehearsal at Mixed Blood to take her to an audition at the Children's Theatre . The child needed to be immediately returned to the first theater for the remainder of the evening rehearsal.

Driving! Homework! Merrick's violin lessons! Over 100 students who all turned in essays at once! Varsity debate team for HWCBN! Committee work, running the Parent Teacher Organization, yard work and that 55 lb ill-advised blood hound puppy. But here she was, driving the daughter.

Foreshadowing for disorientation.

Let's just say the Matronly head gave Regan in The Exorcist a run for its money.

But for a few minutes, yours truly was ever so organized. Before retrieving the thespian -- who had just half an hour in between commitments -- she stopped at a restaurant and ordered take out, which would be ready when she drove by after grabbing Scarlett. They arrived fifteen minutes early for the audition. The Matron remembered everything--head shots, resumes, conflict information -- oh, she had it nailed. She even brought her laptop!

Matron to Scarlett: "Break a leg, honey. I'm going to grab my laptop from the car and work while you're auditioning."

So they departed.

And the Matron could not find her van.

She knew EXACTLY where she parked. She walked by that spot 500 times, eventually reverting to clicking on the 'emergency horn' button on her keys, hoping to locate said vehicle. Every inch of that parking lot was scrutinized, every detail reviewed.

No van.

Stolen--with her laptop (and that dinner!) inside.

Calm was the first requirement. Thus composed, she dialed the number for security. A very nice older man showed up in the jeep with lights and symbols within 20 seconds. she assured him that the van was unmistakable: a green Mazda with big magnetic peace signs (blue and yellow) on the side.

They drove through all the parking lots and the neighborhoods. He consoled her. No van.

Security Guard: "This is highly unusual. We have break-ins but haven't had a theft in years. I'm really sorry! You seem pretty pulled together, considering the computer and car are both gone."

Matron: "In about two minutes, my 12 year old will come bursting through that door. I don't want to unduly alarm her. When she's gone, I'll probably cry."

They pulled up to the stage door and Scarlett emerged, with a friend and most importantly, the friend's mother (also a friend to the Matron) who knew about the stolen vehicle and was on board to shuttle Scarlett back to rehearsal and the Matron, home. Or to the psych ward.

Security Guard: "Well, it's time to call 911 and report a missing vehicle."

He got out his phone.

Matron: "Scarlett, everything is okay, but we have a small problem. Someone stole our car. It's gone."

Scarlett (screaming): "SOMEONE STOLE DAD'S NEW CAR?"

Oh, if only she had a visual. This is where the Matron collapsed into the side of the security jeep and said, "OH MY GOD. I DROVE DAD'S CAR." And not the van.

The car was right there where she left it, lap top and dinner secure.

The security guard said it was the most fun he's had at six months and nobody offered to drive her to the psych ward. Because she could drive herself.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fictional Conversation with Teenager

Mother: "How are you this morning?"

Of course, it might be -- if this was real -- 6 am and a moment in which everyone else is still temporarily asleep. The mother woke at 5:40 to craft a nice breakfast requiring actual stove usage: pancakes, bacon, good orange juice. All this might -- if this was real -- be on the table.

Teenager (of indeterminate gender and age, although let's veer below 16): "Why do you always expect me to be hungry when I wake up? That really annoys me."

Mother: "No worries. I'm hungry. I'll eat so there's time well spent."

Teenager: "THAT really annoys me too. You always put such a positive spin on everything. I hate that."

Mother (floundering about for a non-positive spin that doesn't escalate to "OH MY GOD YOU INGRATE"): "Ummm. . . pass the orange juice, please."

Remember it's just 6 am and our fictional heroine would be groggy, and perhaps at the mercy of a 55 lb blood hound puppy.

Teenager: "It's just crazy how someone can't walk down and have a simple bowl of cereal in silence instead of all this fuss. Who eats pancakes on a Monday morning?"

Tick, tock, tick, tock. Our fictional maternal unit might --if this was real -- be about 90 seconds away from taking the pancake griddle to a certain someone's head.

Teenager: "What? Now you made this huge ridiculous breakfast and you're also not talking to me?"

Mother: "What about the silence request?"

Teenager: "I never made that request. Now you're imagining things."

Mother: "Okay then."

Teenager: "Okay then?! What does THAT mean? Is that CODE for something?"

Yes, my dear, it is. Code for: within a few short years, you'll be living somewhere else. And your mother will miss and worry about you. So she's putting maple syrup on the pancakes and skirting around your edges. With love --and mostly -- understanding.