Monday, May 09, 2005

don't panic

Before I jump into work headfirst (as the impending coffee rush is suggesting I do) I want to send out an update on happenings and stuff.

Duckie’s day care was closed unexpectedly on Thursday and Friday – they called me Thursday morning and said “Come pick her up as soon as you can.” My coworkers could probably hear the panic demon screaming in the background: Oh, nooooooo! Don’t mess up the routiiiiiiiine! BAAAAAD things will happen if you mess up the routine! I called Brian to see how flexible his schedule was. We decided that I would go pick up Duckie from school then he would meet me and take over the afternoon so that I could go back to work. At this point, there was no word on whether the school would be open on Friday. I had to train internal auditors Friday morning, so I had to be there, or else just reschedule.

Brian ended up taking off the whole workday on Thursday (saving me having to go pick her up) as well as Friday morning. I came home Thursday evening and smelled anxiety in the atmosphere (or maybe it was the cats, there’s no telling with them.) He was working on a side job and clicking furiously away at his very intimidating-looking computer drawing, trying to finish it up so he could go somewhere and email the file out that night. So I took Duckie to rehearsal with me so he could get some work done, he took over Friday morning so I could get some work done, and we switched off again Friday afternoon.

Duckie is significantly more challenging to take care of now that she’s a little older. She’s endlessly mobile, darting from one activity to another, each with its own potential dangers. It’s a full-time job as a parent just to keep your heart beating when you hear her yell “WHEEE!” from another room. The inevitable thought that crosses my mind is, “Oh, dear God, what is she diving off now?” The trick is to not panic, because if you yell loudly or run at her, it will likely trigger a spontaneous take-off. The trick is to approach slowly, same as you would a wild animal – except if you get her in a good mood and keep your fingers out of her mouth, she probably won’t bite you. No promises, though, especially if she thinks your feet look interesting.

As parents, I think Brian and I have come to a mutual understanding that there’s only so many hours you can watch her in the day without a break – on your own, that is. As a team, we’re starting to share an odd serendipitous child-minding telepathy – if he’s taking a bite out of his meal, my eyes go automatically to Duckie, and if I’m otherwise occupied for a moment or two, he’ll jump in to make sure she doesn’t make a break for freedom.

This was a big issue over the weekend, at the Renaissance Faire. TWS were scheduled for two shows each day, and Brian brought Duckie on Saturday. I had finished her gown on Friday night (five hours are seldom so well-spent) so she wore it along with the precious little fairy wings that Sam got her at the Charlotte faire a while back. Oh, be still my beating heart. She was so dainty and so pretty – every time the wind blew, I thought she would just take off into the air. (Not jump off, you see – there’s a slight difference.) She ruined the “dainty” impression when she chased two boys with swords twice her size around and around their parents – they weren’t really scared, but it was incredibly cute. (I think she really wanted their swords.) Most of the afternoon she was barefoot, running at top speed, burning tons of calories, and getting completely overstimulated. Several meltdowns ensued that afternoon, but once she got home, Brian was able to jump back into the routine and put her to bed pretty easily.


My reaction to our first set showed a somewhat less-than-Zen-like composure. (Sorry, Buffy, I’m not proud of my own petty meltdown.) We had awful sound problems the first day. The rental microphones hadn’t been set up yet, and when they did, the design of the tent caused a constant whine from feedback. The hand-held cordless mike kept cutting in and out, and the clip-on microphone I was using screamed feedback every time I passed in front of the speaker – which made getting on and off stage kind of tricky, to say the least.

I did not respond well. We limped through the second set with slightly better success, then got spoiled that evening when the Sonic Witch of Emerald Rose (or maybe she was with Gael Warning) ran the tech for the Celtic music benefit concert that night. But Buffy saved Sunday when she brought our own microphones and stands from her house. It made all the difference in the world, and along with some small but vital set changes, the Sunday shows were a complete and happy turnaround. I finally felt comfortable enough with the script and the songs that I could stop censoring myself and let fly. It was a lot of fun. And we learned that the inconvenience of lugging around stands and microphones really is worth it, when you don’t have to struggle to be heard.

Thanks to my husband’s child-watching fortitude, I was also able to catch Sam’s comedy troupe Periwig at the extra afternoon show. I can attest that it is the damn funniest thing I’ve ever seen at a Ren Faire, and I’ve been to a few. The feature skit was a 15-minute version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but my particular favorite was the closing bit – Dueling Monologues. The two guys (both very strong actors and voices in their own right) started lines from Julius Caesar (“Friends, Romans, countrymen…”) and Hamlet (“To be or not to be, that is the question…”) respectively. Then the guitar accompaniment started – you guessed it, Dueling Banjos from Deliverance. Oh. My. God. Freaking brilliant. And not terribly easy to do, either – at one point both guys were right up in each others’ faces, screaming their lines at each other and I know from experience that that ain’t easy. Meanwhile, off to the side, the two women in the troupe were looking very concerned and swilling heavily from a wine bottle. Sam told me afterward that they were going to a festival in Asheville somewhere (the details escape me, but as soon as she sends them to me, I will post them here) and she was a little concerned about the price. Don’t you worry, Sam – if I can get childcare for the day or evening, I’m there.

I changed back into civvies at the car and headed home, enjoying the speed of the car and the fantastic spring weather (much better when you’re not laced into a bodice.) At home things were stressed – Duckie had had enough of the non-Mommy time and had spent the afternoon getting into everything she wasn’t supposed to. Brian had that strained, hunted look of having had to say “no” too many times and endure one too many toddler meltdowns that day. I took over, he escaped for a few hours, and by the end of the evening things had started to level out. Whew. Hell of a weekend.

So Duckie’s school is back open today, and here I am back at work (although I not-so-secretly hoped that it would be closed again today so I could get a nap.) There’s a lot to do, and for some reason it doesn’t scare me that much anymore. I’m probably in denial.

Love to everyone, as always.


Sam said...

thank you SOOOOO much for the dazzling review - and coming from seasoned vets (both on the "real" theatre - serious shakespeare, etc. - front as well as the faire circuit), that means a TREMENDOUS great deal!!! i will be certain to print this out and share with the rest of the troupe. they will be veryvery pleased indeed! i had almost as much fun watching YOU watch 'duelling thespians' as i did watching the duel itself! :D
much love dear. you have no idea how badly i needed to hear some kind words today. thank you,
-sister sam ("hex-cuuuuse me, that's LADY sam, thankyouverymuch!)

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