Friday, July 10, 2009

Breaking news on the farm


So Tuesday I scrambled. I scrambled farm fresh eggs for breakfast and then I scrambled to make deadlines. It came on without warning. Monday was rather uneventful: only the normal amount of post-weekend freaking out about scheduling issues and sleep deprivation. Madeleine was to spend the day at the barn; Sarah had a play date with her friend Noelle; my former neighbor Christy visited with her brand-new baby. Joy! Monday was fun and a fitting calm-before-the-storm-0f-Tuesday.
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Little did I know as I cracked the eggs into the pan on Tuesday morning that I'd be facing crises on what seemed to be every front: real estate, personal finance, parenting, business, health. As I told my husband, by the end of the day my insides were tangled barbed wire. My thought processes were so disconnected that I'd dial the phone while repeating my intention for the call, out loud, to myself, so as not to forget it by the time someone answered. (I'm aware this makes me sound more than a little nuts.) And heaven forbid the phone should ring! So of course it did, incessantly bringing more news of urgency and import.
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A client's short sale was barely beating the scheduled sheriff's sale of foreclosure and so naturally hit a big snag that threatened the deal and necessitated my administering real estate mouth-to-mouth (just as gross as CPR; even more spit involved). Another listing was inexplicably the victim of an attempted break-in. Long-promised and financially essential receivables were delayed (again). The girls were uncharacteristically snappish with one another, picking up on my stress no doubt. We visited the dentist: Grace needed work. We saw the doctor: Sarah added asthma to her list of crosses to bear.
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Tuesday, in short, was lousy. I felt like Sandra Bullock in "Speed," an adrenaline-powered flick that requires the heroes to keep their miles per hour above 65 in a crazy car chase of doom without crashing the bus or (hmm... how did that work?) running out of gas. Of course I drank a couple of quadruple-shot lattes, so that probably didn't help with my jitters either.
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Wednesday continued the theme. After waking up still possessed of a tangled-wire constitution, I put more than 200 miles on the Suburban. And to quote Sarah I "didn't even go anywhere good." Place lockboxes. Meet locksmith. Plant signs. Prepare invoices. Answer cell phone ad nauseum. (Try not to remember that it's illegal now to drive while talking on the phone.) Pick up checks. Fax eighty seven thousand pages. Drop off checks. Call mortgage companies, title companies, other Realtors-who-don't-work-as-hard-as-I. Drop off kids. Pick up kids. Forget ballet lesson. Remember horses, chickens, rabbits, gargantuan garden. Deer have walked through the as-yet-unbuilt gates and eaten the tops of the tomato plants. Forget to hang bathing suits to dry. Curse silently in lieu of self-lullaby while husband works late. (Or early into Thursday, to tell the truth.)
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Thursday. Oh. My. Word. If it could have gone on like that, I'm not sure I'd even have the heart to blog it for you.
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Let me just say that on Thursday, I re-enrolled in school. The President wants me to finish my MFA. Did you know that? Yeah, he pretty much called me from Russia to say, "Hold on Michelle, I'm on the line with Miriam. Yes. Miriam, I am thinking maybe you need to immerse yourself in academia where you can return to your bookworm ways. I'm thinking there are grants for this and then you can stop running around like a proverbial chicken with its... well... that's a little graphic for an international phone line....
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"Thanks for taking my call, Miriam. Michelle sends her best."
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All kidding aside. (And here, although it's probably not necessary, I feel the need to tell you that in fabricating that phone call I am making a lame joke about the even-lamer-yet-oddly-compelling ads running all over the Internet. Obama wants moms to go back to school. I took it personally.)
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Thursday I actually pulled into my alma mater, parked the biggest vehicle seen on campus ever (not counting the 22-passenger Outdoor Adventure van) and spoke with the English Department about getting back into the MFA program. I went by the registrar's office and, you know, four kids later, re-enrolled. For Fall Term. A nice woman even said, "welcome back," which I thought was funny since it's been more than a decade.
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Is this fantastic or what?
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I may freak out later (okay, that's pretty much a given) but for right now I just feel so much better. It doesn't make the real estate crises go away, or the business climate improve, or my tomato plants whole again, but it sure does lighten my perspective.
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Also it added a little brick of solid gold to something I like to call hope for the future.
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Last night, after impetuously choosing this huge life change, I stopped in at the regular Thursday night gathering called "Bread Club" in a small town near me. I bought some homemade feta cheese and a few onions from a woman who actually lives across the road from my farmhouse. I burst out with my story. She was the second person I'd told (I did call my husband) and I was just so joyous that my artesian news bubbled right out and laid itself on the Bread Club table for the first near-stranger I saw.
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People, I am not even ashamed to admit that I had tears in my eyes. It was not the onions.
"What will you do with your kids?" she asked. She knows I home school our children. I don't see it as a contradiction at all, to be truthful. Why shouldn't I be immersed in learning along with my children? It seems much more natural than carting my kids along whilst selling houses or making collection calls for my husband's engineering firm, frankly.
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I told her I'd figure it out as I go along. Pretty much like everything else.
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For Christmas my friend Katie gave me a book called something along the lines of "How To Get Your Groove Back After Mommyhood Mush Takes Over Your Brain." Or some such thing. I didn't think I'd lost my groove. And then I remember: that's because it's a rut.
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I keep hearing that nice woman in the academic advising office with her genuine words.
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"Welcome back."
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Is that like getting my groove back? To do something so huge, that's just for me? I don't know, but I'm excited to figure it out as I go along.

3 comments:

Carolyn said...

Take a deep breath. I'm so sorry you had a rough week. Find something small and love it. That always helps me. From reading your blog it seems you already know how to do this.

Then (when your head stops spinning) tell me where you found a grant for a Master's. I can only find money for undergrad and I already have my BA.

Barb said...

So proud of you --for all of this you're handling and for making your own joy. You rule.

Grumpy Momma said...

I've had days like that...though it seems days like that just aren't going to end anytime soon for me. :)

That's wonderful - going back to school.

Wishing you the best of luck...and calmer, more peaceful days ahead...