Saturday, December 1, 2012
The Critical Mom's Crisis Management
"On the whole," said an Oscar Wilde character, "the secret of life is to take things very, very easily." He didn't, and I usually hyperventilate. So it was that on a Thursday afternoon when I was mentally calculating that three midterms had to be produced before Monday, that passport photos of the children had to be mailed someplace important, that several classes I teach had to be prepared, and that I thought I could just about manage 85% of all that in the time required because my daughter and I are both dancing this weekend in two performances, and before that there's a day of dress rehearsals . . . on the drive home I had just about figured how actually I could do 99% of this by not doing the laundry and getting one of the children to clean the guinea pig cage, when I opened an official looking letter. Just as I was slitting the envelope thinking, "Oh, it's an assessment from my co-op. Must be. Do I have an extra $300 somewhere, because usually that's around how much it is," I got the letter unfolded and it told me that I had to tell my tenant to leave immediately because her lease was up in July. I folded the letter, observed that although it was dated Nov. 1 it was postmarked Nov. 23, and began to gasp. Phone calls were made. The situation . . . her lease is indeed up in July but in July 2013, not 2012 . . . was communicated by me. What the co-op will decide, since I have no proof, since the e-mails detailing the whole business no longer exist, remains way up in the proverbial air that won't seem to come down into my lungs these days. Meanwhile, an editor whose slightly wacky e-mails praising the "brilliance" of an essay of mine always seemed slightly too good to be true now mumbles that some other editor, apparently her superior, says the essay is poorly written and poorly structured. Reader, would I send an editor anything that was either? But there's no time to think about that, since I have to make the sandwiches and slice the cucumbers for the group of little girls who are trotting out onstage in their tutus to dance scenes from the Four Seasons and then scenes from the Nutcracker about an hour before the mommy of one of them, i.e. yours truly, will dance to "Sitting Pretty" and "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby," after running into her daughter's dressing room, handing her her lavender "bon bons" costume, making sure she's not eating the junk food the other moms brought and then racing back to my dressing room to get in my second costume and then hoofing back onstage in "La Cage Aux Folles." Here's the crisis management part: the whole time I was dancing I forgot about the co-op board and the editor. My husband and sons were sitting front row center and if they say they enjoyed it I believe them. I enjoyed it myself. That's crisis management. I guess I took things very, very easily for a few nanoseconds there.