Thursday, May 31, 2007

Agog with excitement

Dear Patience Crabstick,
I am pleased to inform you that the Nursing Program Admissions Committee has recommended you for admission into the program beginning Fall 2007. You now need to let me know in writing by June 18, 2007 (5:30pm) whether you accept this offer of admission. Admission applications are highly competative this year. If we do not hear from you by this date, your place will be awarded to another applicant.
...I welcome you to our program and look forward to working with you in the fall.

At last! I have been haunting my mailbox for two weeks. Naturally, I am going to accept. The past year was difficult. On many days I worked from 7:00am-3:00pm, walked a mile and a half home from work, had a short time to eat and rest and supervise my kids' homework and then went to school, sometimes for as much as 4 and a half hours, not getting home until after 10:00pm. I took anatomy & physiology, a two semester course, plus developmental psych and microbiology. The science classes had labs, with their own exams and their own assignments. And now that work has paid off.

Long ago I got a BA in English from a liberal arts college in upstate, NY. I'm glad I majored in English, but now it is time for a new career.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


I feel guilty playing when my next-door neighbors are working so diligently, just a few feet from where I sit. They painted that whole side of their house in one day, while my day consisted of fifteen minute stints demolishing my bathroom interspersed with long tea breaks. I did run the vacuum cleaner for a while. Sheesh. They're right outside my window. Not looking...not looking...assume serious facial expression and pretend am writing something important.

Jon and I are having a disagreement about prioritzing the long list of things that need to be done on our house. I feel like our semi-functional bathroom is a serious liability. What if something happened and we had to sell our house? No one would buy it with a torn-apart bath with no door and no sink. Jon, on the other hand, feels that what our house needs most is new paint and new gutters. We've hired some gutter guys, so that's one thing taken care of.

The painting, we'll have to do ourselves and are now trying to decide on colors. The current color scheme of tan with cream trim is unobjectionable but boring.

We are limited by the fact that our tin roof is painted bright red. We're thinking gray with whitish/pale gray trim, but I worry that might look gloomy or muddy. Brown is a possibility, but risky, since we don't want the neighbors secretly wondering why we wanted a shit colored house. There's a house several blocks away that is freshly painted pink. Pink stucco is fabulous, and I would totally go for a pink house if it weren't for the red roof. Purple--yes, purple--is another possibility.

Anyway, Jon is right that the house needs paint, but I am also right that we must finish this bathroom. Last night Jon washed his hands of it, saying that the bathroom was entirely my project. At first I was taken aback, now I feel liberated. If this is my project then it's 100% mine and my first executive decision is that the shower has got to go. I don't care if it's functional, it's completely insane to redo an entire bathroom and leave this execresence in the middle of it.

While the neighbors took their lunch break, I removed the last few tiles from a nearly inaccessible spot of floor behind the toilet. This would have been much easier if the toilet had been taken out. The toilet will have to go eventually, but I am trying to postphone that evil day for as long as possible. A while back, I read a hilarious article in The Washington Post about a couple who renovated the bathroom in their Georgetown townhouse. They were literally peeing into the hole in the floor where their toilet used to be. The female half of the couple achieved this with a funnel and a long tube. For nature's other call, they used neighbors and public bathrooms, and lived in this toiletless state for months. But they had no children.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hail Holy Queen

St. Benedict's school, Eggertsville, NY.

Did you know that May is the month of Mary? One of the observances that the Catholic church seems to have quietly dropped is May Crowning. At least, I haven't noticed it lately. When I was a kid, May Crowning was a big deal. The ceremony took place on a weekday, during a special mass, and the whole school participated. A second grade girl was chosen to put the crown of flowers on Mary's head, second-graders being the most holy children in the school, since we'd all just made our first communion.
Naturally, there was much speculation among the second grade girls as to who would be chosen. Generally the prettiest and best-behaved girl got the honor. I was far from the prettiest girl in the second grade, and while I was well behaved most of the time, my second grade teacher, Sister Maurice, hated me with a passion. She really did. The only thing I had going for me was that I was relatively tall and could reach Mary's head without falling off the stool and making an ass of myself. I knew I didn't have a chance, and if bets had been placed, I'd have put my money on Rachel Joyce who was beautiful, blond, tall, and angelic. Instead, the chosen one was Joanne Cole, which came as a shock, since she was the only girl I thought had even less of a chance than I did. She wasn't particularly pretty, was not well-behaved, and she was the shortest girl in the entire second grade. Rehearsals began. This involved Joanne Cole simulating the act of placing a crown of flowers on the head of a statue of Mary, placed prominently near the altar. Then we practiced the songs I have great fondness for the Mary antiphons. The nuns would go into paroxysms of joy singing “Hail Holy Queen” which is one of my all-time favorite favorite hymns. I even paused in this trip down memory lane to buy it from itunes.
May crowning day was usually hot. It was strange attending mass on a weekday afternoon. All our parents, indeed the entire town, were in attendance, although my mom always absented herself. Joanne Cole, dressed in her first communion dress, was surrounded by a court of girls also in fluffy dresses. I don't know if they were second-graders or not, all I know is that I wasn't one of them. I was stuck in the human rosary.
The human rosary was a line of fifty kids in groups of ten, representing the five decades of the rosary. A single eighth grader stood between each decade, representing the bead on which you pray the “Glory Be.” The human rosary was grouped to surround all the pews, in effect, a chain of bouncers preventing anyone from sneaking out of mass early. I can think of few experiences in my life more dismal than standing through an entire mass, on a hot May afternoon buried in the middle of the second decade of the human rosary, enviously watching Joanne Cole crowing Mary with flowers.
This is me during the May Crowning era. Actually, this is third grade. I'm the girl in the very front, on the right, with the Dorothy Hamil haircut.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Introducing George

There are a million things I ought to have accomplished in my few moments of free time, that never got done. What did I do instead? I aquired another pet. This is George.

My children had been begging for a bunny for over a year. I had reservations. When I was a child, I thought a bunny would make an ideal pet, and any time I met a kid who had a bunny, I'd ask to see it and was always taken to a shabby hutch back of the garage that housed a depressed dutch bunny that refused to come out of his nest box.
It was with scepticism that I read the bunny care books that claimed that bunnies are affectionate pets. Nevertheless, after a year of research, we went to Pet Forum and parted with the considerable amount of cash needed to help a bunny set up housekeeping in my daughters' bedroom. And he is sweet. The books are right, bunnies are affectionate. They show their love by hopping around you in circles. George is not particularly discrminating, and lavishes his affection on whoever happens to open his cage door. He'll fall asleep lying across your chest, or cuddle up against your side. He purrs--a sound so faint you aren't sure you're really hearing it. A bunny's purr is a quiet buzzing, combined with gentle clicks of the teeth. We bought a bunny leash and take him for walks in Belmont Park. He has achieved an uneasy detente with our older dog, Luna. They can be in the same room together, unrestrained, but need constant supervision. Our younger dog, Sancho, can not be trusted around the bunny yet.