Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Odd Moments of the Day

Last weekend I attended an opening for an art gallery. My daughter Brooke insisted she come along. It was my intention to stay only as long as needed to meet the owner, see what her gallery was about and check out (evaluate) the work on display. She and I have been communicating back and forth about potentially putting a couple of my pieces in her gallery. As of right now, I am almost finished with two paper mache' sculptures but also have no less than six loads of laundry waiting to be put away and no one in the house has undies in their drawers. Choices, it's all about choices!

So we found the gallery in an odd part of town, on an unlikely street for a gallery both of which piqued my interest immediately. What's the story? Why here? Does she own the building already? Is this part of town one of those funky destination spots that cool urbanites just already know about?

The interior is the typical for an old 1900's business. Really high ceilings covered in tin panels. Exposed brick walls. Long and narrow, front to back floorplan. Perfect for an art gallery.

My search was mostly for the owner so I was reading every name tag that came along. At the back of the store you could see a glimpse of sunlight. I headed towards that pulling Brooke with me while she tried to pull me towards the jewelry she wanted me to buy her. Her attention switched when she saw people with plates of food and like a blood hound she followed the trail.

Fine, I thought, I'll have a bite to eat with my daughter, that will be a nice moment. We sat on a concrete ledge that was part of the driveway we were in. I noticed a cute little girl somewhat younger than Brooke eyeballing us. Kids are attracted to kids like fireflies to light, I thought. The little girl sidled up to me and asked if she could play with my daughter. Of course, I said, but she has to eat first. The little girl assured me that she could wait. Patiently.

She sat down on the ledge next to us. Between bites I asked what her age was. Four, she said. We all smiled. Then with a coy voice she made a general announcement. "I'm the prettiest."

I chewed. I thought. I pondered the rudeness of her statement. Should I be offended? Sure, she was pretty. Was she prettier than my Brooke? Not in my world, not on my Mommy-planet. Should I inform her of her in-correctness? Should I let it pass completely as she was only four? How would the socially concious, politically correct mom of 2009 respond? I tried to form a comment in my mind something like-"I am sure, that to your mom, you are the prettiest" but kept wanting to add something else like- "when she's tossed back a few cocktails!" But instead I chewed and looked at Brooke to see if she had been devasted, if her self image and self esteem had teetered any. She was looking down at the ground so I wasn't sure but my distress was rising.

"YOU SHOULD...." she started to speak in that voice that children have when it's something important they need to share with you, the voice that starts on a high note at the beginning of each word and pulls out each syllable to match the importance of the message. I leaned in, anxious to be prepared to stop her if necessary or to mediate.

"YOU SHOULD....tell your mom to wash your shoes, THEY'RE DIRTY!" Brooke said to the little girl.

I sat back up and took another bite. "Well played, Brooke, well played!" I thought.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Morning Coffee

So there I was at Starbucks, counting out change to pay for my coffee.....

Odd Moments of The Day

This is a new category for my blog. Most every day something I observe strikes me as odd, intriguing or as a sign somehow. So just to educate you on how I view the world I am sharing these "collectible" odd moments of my day.

Today, I found treasure in my tub. Serioulsy. No, this isn't some pornographic bit where I explore previously unexplored facets of my persona or person. There I was, soaping up the ole' noggin when a glint of something caught my eye. I should explain I am blind. Almost, not quite, but let's just say the one day when I couldn't wear my contacts and realized I had left my glasses at work and drove myself and my mother 15 miles to Fremont to get them before we continued on another hour in our journey, let's just say I won't ever be driving without corrective lenses again. It was that day I realized that "faster than the speed of sound" can be segwayed over into "faster than the sight of a very nearsighted girl who shouldn't be driving a moving weapon as she can not see the other cars on the road until it's too late." Oh, the things my mother let go by...

So this morning when something glinted at me I squinted back at it, reached down to move a wash cloth out of the way to find- treasure! Many, many coins of the assorted shapes and colors were laying on the floor of my tub! Secret message from God? Secret message from a loved one who moved to another realm? (They supposedly leave things around, like coins, things easily moved. Well, they had better start leaving Post It notes because with my girls there's lots of little trinkets laying around!)
Well most likely, Kayla or Brooke had decided to wash their stash of cash, coins to be exact, so that they could glisten even more brightly. Of course, in this house we never finish anything we start (they get that from me)so after the washing the coins were left there in the tub half covered by a washcloth. Now that the "oddity" of finding a cache o' coins in my tub is explained we are only left with the dilemma- Do I make them get the "damn money out of my tub!" or do I keep it and buy myself a coffee tommorrow?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another Update

Even though her phone message says that Wednesdays are a paperwork only day and that messages will not be returned until Thursday I recieved another message later on that same day, rescheduling my appointment from 9:00 to 2:00PM.
One may think that I am jumping up and down with joy at this victory but, you see, the battle is not over. (the worst part begins- trudging through all that paper, filing- bleh! finding records of all our assets to prove we are poor enough to recieve benefits except that we automatically are qualified to recieve them because we care for someone else's child and even if we were millionaire's we would be eligable to recieve these funds but go ahead, waste the precious hours of my life because why not? It's not like I have other stuff that I am behind on as well- I hate you- State of Michigan for making it soooo very difficult to do the right thing!!!!)
But now here is the part of the battle where I go to the meeting and make Margie Fuller my minion by making her like me. Yes, I am evil. But I won't have won until she thinks that she is glad she rescheduled to a time that suited me. I won't have really won untill I get a genuine smile out of her. Don't think I won't know a fake one. I won't have won until she looks at me and sees a real person and not just a case file. I won't have won until she shares a little something of herself with me. Then, I will have won and the battle will be over. The planets will re-align and I will walk out of the building, throw all the paper I collected in the front seat of my car, vowing to make copies and keep them in a sacred spot so next year I can take some of the work out of the process. Then I will go buy myself a present to soothe my ego and in the remains of the day I shall swab my self with alcohol and bleach to make sure I removed any living parasite I may have picked up in the waiting room of the Department Of Human Services.

False Alarm

Earlier this week I had experienced an alarming moment when picking up my girls at daycare. They were playing outside as usual. I like to observe them from outside the fence as it's chance to get a little synapses of how they interact with other children. I was, however, a little surprised to see my daughter, Brooke, being approached by two boys, taken by both arms and led into a closed in area of some playground equipment. I thought perhaps I should alert some government agency or maybe even Margie Fuller, that human trafficking was occurring at my daycare. Quick to respond, I jumped the fence and ran over to Emily, the playground attendant. Always careful not to expose my paranoia I casually said "Hey, my daughter was kidnapped by two boys- they're over there, in there with two other boys making it a total of four boys and one girl." "Yes," she said, "we've had a lot of kidnappings lately but luckily a lot of escapes have occurred as well."
"Oh," I thought, "how cute, the small humans are practicing wedding rituals!"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I came to work this A.M. to find the only message on our machine was Margie Fuller telling me she had scheduled an appointment for me next Monday at 9:00. OH No, Mrs. Fuller, I actually have a 9;00 appointment (with my coffee) in Muskegon, an hour away- but am available from 12:00 to 3:00. You see, Mrs. Fuller, during the winter I work two jobs to help make ends meet as we have two girls to feed and these days jobs don't pay enough to make it on one. So, you see, Mrs. Fuller, I am a little backed up on things like- Drs. appointments, paying bills, dentist appointments, hair appointments, filing paper work, cleaning my house, cleaning my car...You see Mrs. Fuller, I am not actually available at your whim even if you are with a government agency. Not that I don't respect the very difficult job you have, not that I don't understand that at least once a day you have to deal with someone who is trying to cheat the system- I get that. But it's not me, I am not cheating. and you see Mrs. Fuller, I will do this yearly determination because I understand I have to but, Mrs. Fuller, it will be my way. I will win.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dear Mrs. Fuller,

First- a couple of things to go over-
1) I have an appointment to (don't know if I will keep it or not) take Kayla to be evaluated for placement in a karate class. She needs something to harness her powers for good not evil. Do you question the decision to give her the ability to beat me up? I do.

2) I hate my job. It's like having a boyfriend that cheats on you, lives off of ya, wrecks your car and makes you feel bad, but- you are afraid of hurting his feelings because that, too, would make you feel bad so you stick with him. I am probably NOT going to be laid off. Why? because then my boss would actually have to come to- and stay at- work! I am so sorry for all my friends who have to listen to me bitch all the time while choosing not to actually do something about the problem. I think it's why I bought not one but two astrology books. So I can hide my head in things that are not real to make up for not doing anything about the things that are.

OK< on to business- I am on the run, on the lam, on the down lo, sneakin' out the back, Jack, from Kayla's case worker. It's THAT time. Yes, it's time- for the State of Michigan to re-evaluate and determine whether or not I should receive the 150.00 a month I get to house, feed and clothe her but more importantly whether or not they feel I should receive day care benefits for her, thus making it feasible for me to work and take home a small paycheck. Now, maybe just maybe I am a petulant, spoiled, ungrateful citizen but you have to understand that filling out forms with accurate information is not my strong point. I don't like to do it- it's yucky-FOR GOD"S SAKE- I AM AN ARTIST! Or at least I am trying to be, but for sure, I have mastered the flighty, unreliable, part of being an artist.

You also have to understand that for the most part- I am a trooper. All the things I rant and rave about on my blog are true and have happened. Every day, day after day, I get up and wrestle my way through the morning. Every night I go to bed with self- recriminations echoing in my head about how I could have handled the day better. Intent to do better weaves it's way in and out of my crazy dreams, along with all my other to do lists that manifest themselves. The other thing you have to remember is "HEY! I didn't sign up for this!" Not my kid! Not an easy kid! But I do it. I do it because, I love her and I don't want her in the system. It's the right thing to do and that's the thought I exhale on- it's the right thing, for her and me. But I don't do it gracefully.

So, I get a letter on a Thursday informing me of my meeting the following Monday. I'm like "umm, yeah, I don't care which government agency you're with, CIA, FBI, NRA- unless you are going to go to work in my stead, pick up from day care, shower, feed and wrestle my kids to bed- this ain't happenin'. It has nothing to do with you Mrs. Margie Fuller- it's just not possible, kinda like me climbin' the clouds to the moon isn't possible." And then I contemplate the piles of papers waiting for the day I feel attuned to the task of filing them after one of the hardest semesters of teaching I have ever had, in which I ditched the task of filing any piece of paper, realizing this has to be done- before I can even physically reach the documentation needed to fill out the forms.

Then I think of the last four years that I have gone to the appointments in which the case worker says- oh yeah, you're a guardian, no problem- we just have to see the paperwork. Then they stamp every side of the papers without looking at them and then we chit chat after which I go home, jump in the shower and delouse myself- yes folks, the Department of Human Services really is that creepy. I am not germaphobic, it would not serve me well to be so.

So, that following Monday I was getting ready to make the call to a one Mrs. Margie Fuller to explain to her that I would need at least two more weeks as this one was completely devoted to the situation currently at hand of my mother-in-law having a six hour surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. Bonus to me, but not Norma, that this was true. When...drama building... the phone rings. I choose not to answer it- it was before nine, before my second cup of coffee and fully into the onslaught of cramps.

It was the aforementioned Mrs. Margie Fuller explaining to my answering machine that she would have to cancel our appointment for later that day- but- she had an opening on Wednesday. This is important- she said Wednesday. I ran to the phone, barely remembering to pretend I had just entered the room to hear her on the machine, and started blubbering about how today was just awful for me as well- I only just got the letter late last week and could I have two weeks to prepare for the meeting. Well, no, she couldn't "give" me two weeks, that was too long but she had an opening on "WEDNESDAY" of this week. Well, no I can't do Wednesday- my mother in law is having surgery. She says- and I quote- "What time is her surgery?"

At this very moment my brain split in two- because as I was realizing I had mis-spoke and her surgery was actually on Thursday and realized also that I no longer sounded "truthful" as I stumbled over the words- I don't know- it's either Wednesday or Thursday and we'll know the time the night before" I was also realizing

THIS WOMAN HAD ASKED ME WHAT TIME THE SURGERY WAS -AS IF- in between the anesthesia and the recovery room I could just bebop down to her office to get the meeting out of the way!!!! THE UNMITIGATED GALL OF MRS. MARGIE FULLER! Well, of course I couldn't be at her office! I had to work that day and be available (by phone) for OTHER family members to give me updates. REALLY- MRS.FULLER- Who do you think you are dealing with?

So, we made a date for the following Monday and I figured I would find some way, some way, between visits to the hospital and showers for six year olds that I would get the filing done by then so I could find the information to fill out her forms. But here's the best part- Friday- I get a call from MS. Fuller- obviously going down a list- as there is no sign of recognition in her voice for the woman who's mother in law may or may not have been having a life threatening surgery- she has to reschedule as her office is being moved to another building the day of our (re)scheduled appointment.

So Mrs. Fuller- I want to know- what hours will you be moving your office????

Currently, I am enjoying a rousing game of phone tag with Mrs. Fuller and am still awaiting the cosmic forces to align themselves to create a day wherein I will feel compelled to file all that paper downstairs.....or be an artist- one of the two. Good Day, Mrs. Fuller.