Wednesday, August 31, 2016

School has always started the day after Labor Day in Oregon, just as you put your straw boaters, and white buck shoes away for winter, right up until last year, when it didn't. 

It started uncouthly the last week of August. 

Willy nilly

Out of turn.

I must have been in some kind of fit of denial, because I scheduled Freyja's orthodontist appointment for August 30th, at 10:00am as if that were a reasonable thing to do for a child that was starting MIDDLE SCHOOL.

Thank goodness I am married to Father Of The Year

He went to the orientation for middle school.

He knew damn well she would not be free at 10:00am on the 30th.

I often feel that because I nearly DIED giving birth to both of my children, and have sewn all the Halloween costumes, that it is Mark's unstated duty to deal with the first day of school.

Needless to say, we rescheduled the ortho for later in the month.

I always, always, always work early in the mornings, and September is my busy time.

So Mark does the first day of school snipe hunt.

Mark is uniquely suited to this duty because he secretly longs to be a stay at home parent.

He lives for meetings and paperwork. 

I live for coffee, and routine.

The first day of school is chaotic and messy.

I don't like to see my children upset.

This is how we handled things.

I went to work before my family woke.

Maxwell (who goes to a civilized Oregonian charter school that starts like normal people, the day after Labor Day) walked Freyja to her bus stop, waited for the LATE bus, put her on the bus and went home.

Freyja arrived late, because the bus was LATE.

   -Being a Capricorn, she had an anxiety attack over the threat of a tardy slip.

   -She then went to school all day.

   -Got on the wrong bus (the close, but no cigar bus, that dropped her about a half mile from home).

Mark called home to see how things were going, only to discover that our very babe in the woods girl had not gotten off the bus to meet her punk rock brother and his band.

Maxwell, worried sick about his missing sister, sent Zach P.  and Zak L. off toward the middle school looking for the lost girl.

Rolf, upon arriving home with Pearl Bakery bread for a celebratory snack, joined the search.

As four greasy gentlemen scoured the mean streets of East Tabor, Freyja made her way home by cutting through the park, just in time to meet her frantic father, at 5:00pm

I walked in at 6:00 to find my baby eating baguette and jam to the muffled sounds of death metal coming from the basement.

Mark was seated talking Freyja down.

Rolf was serving food.

As I got up to date, I could hear that Freyja's biggest concern was over the late slip.

"Do you want me to call them? Because I will totally call them, you don't need to worry, there will be no late slip.I will burn that shit down"

"Mommy is not burning anything down"

a smile cracks

"you know I would if you needed me to though,  right?"

The mood lightens

Long haired boys emerge from the basement for bread.

Many hugs and commiserations are given. People admit to peeing of pants, getting lost, crying. 

Mark texts me, even though we are in the same room.

"middle school is OVERWHELMING!"


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Backup Pants

I gave my bosses daughter a ride home this evening.

When she got into the passenger seat, she sat on a pair of jeans.

"Oh just toss those into the backseat." I told her.

"Those are my backup pants."

She looked at me like she didn't know the importance of backup pants.

"You know, in case your pants rip."

I had been wearing my favorite pair of threadbare jeans this week and knew full well they could go at any time.

The ass had been worn through for years, covered with a series of gold zigzag thread and patches.

It was really just a matter of time before the inner thighs gave way.

Working with children had instilled the importance of backup clothing in me long ago.

I carry an outfit in my bag, and wetwipes in the car, along with water, chains, oil, jumper cables and granola bars.

I have an extra car-seat in my trunk.

And a fire extinguisher.


Hair ties.


My bag typically has underpants and leggings, snacks, and wipes, CPR mouthguard, plastic barf bag, fountain pen, change, sunblock lipbalm.

I have bailed out many children and few adults in my life.

When I got home and checked my Facebook, I saw that my hilarious, smart friend Monica had written a poem on backup dresses.

Monica rides the bus.

Her struggle is real.

It made me feel good to see that other people are out there prepared.

Once, when Mark and I were traveling to Mexico, I used the restroom in the LA airport, and some rude, nasty lady had peed all over the floor.

Unfortunately, I didn't notice this until I went to pull up my pants and noticed that my hems were WET.

Thank goodness I had backup pants, a plastic bag and wipes.

When I was a child my mother once turned my shirt backward, to take advantage of a Free color, 8X10 photo special at Grant's Variety store in Tigard.

The front of my shirt was covered in red sucker juice, but the back was perfectly clean.

There is a lovely color photo of me wearing what looks like a boatneck top, but is in reality, a backward t-shirt.

Mom may not have carried back up gear, but by golly she knew how to cope with a mess in a pinch, and that is really what this boils down to.

Cover your ass, literally. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

I went to get my roots touched up Friday, but my regular hair dresser was out.  The woman that was in, seemed offended that I wanted to wait, so I said how bad could it be to myself and sat down in her chair.
She was a bright and cheerful gal I'd seen many times in the many years that I've been coming to the salon.
A sort of second string player, waiting to get her big chance, to get off the bench.
The salon is run by a Vietnamese woman, and I have never seen another white person in there, except for folks I send, like my mom and my friend Marta.
I like them because they use a straight-razor, instead of scissors, which works well on my thick hair.
Xien the owner started coloring my hair in 1999 when Maxwell was a baby, then Kim took over, when she retired.
They both do amazing work.
The gal I saw on Friday did not do amazing work.
Instead of a fine weave of ash blonde, I had bold strips and stripes of honey yellow and Beach Barbie BLONDE.

It was not ideal.

I went home and calmed myself.

Mark said that it wasn't


Not that bad if you are trying to get a part as an aging prostitute on Barney Miller, perhaps, but in every other scenario, it was that bad.

I worked my food cart shift Saturday, feeling like each customer was silently judging me.

When I got off a bit early, I raced to the salon, and found Kim, who wordlessly sat me down and and began weaving in darker blonde sections, followed by toner.

An hour and a half later, I walked out, hair dripping wet, because I was hosting a dinner party at 6:00.

It's still a little too light for my taste, but it's much better than it was.

Thank goodness.