Today is a bad day. There are three reasons:
1) My mother appears not to be speaking to me;
2) I’m pretty sure Lemon isn’t, either; and
3) We’ve had a second unexpected change in our directing staff for the school play I am producing.
I’m also in the midst of an over-stuffed weekend — plans all three nights — which I do not like.
Saga the first — My Mother
There is a cabin in Vermont. I have been going to it since I was 2. With my parents. Since I moved back to the east coast, I have been revisiting the cabin. Sometimes with my parents, sometimes just with my family. My dad’s boss owns the cabin, and he and his family use it primarily for skiing. We have always used it off-season from them (because we don’t ski). I worked for my dad’s company for years, so it’s not that awkward that I use the cabin sometimes now, as an adult. The owner’s grandson and I used to work together in the company, and now he’s the one who manages its use, and it works out well.
We tried to go to this cabin for Mouse’s birthday (with lots ‘o girls), back in May. It didn’t work out. But now Columbus Day weekend is coming up. Enough kids on Mouse’s soccer team were going away for the weekend that their soccer game was postponed. We had toyed with going to Niagara Falls over this weekend, but when push comes to shove, it just seems too far. Eight hours of driving on either end of even a long weekend seems like too much. Especially since we all still have our hours of driving during vacation on our minds (which went well, but it isn’t yet far enough in the past to have triggered our driving “reset” button).
I brought up the cabin in Vermont. WD said, “Wow, that could be 10 kinds of awesome.”
Vermont? Peak foliage? Alpine slides? Amazing independent bookstore that somehow swallows the girls for hours on end just like it does their parents? Rushing river in the backyard? Decent restaurants nearby? Only a 2.5 hour drive from home? And did I mention — FREE????
I emailed my friend-of-old to see if it was free, offered to pay some $$ for the privilege (refused), chatted a bit about how the town we’re headed to was “destroyed” by Irene (why? why did she have to wreck EVERY SINGLE PLACE we want to go???)
I told WD, “you know my parents are going to want to come?” He said yea, but that’s fine. They can come along with the things we’re doing, or they’ll go do something else (i.e., my mom’s knees aren’t in good shape, so a hike wouldn’t work for her).
I emailed my dad, told him what were doing. He was happy for us. I said, “do you think you guys will try and visit during some of it?” He said “Eh, we’re traveling the weekends on either side, and we’re probably on call. But maybe we’ll try.” Seemed fine to me.
But then later, I get an email from my mom. ”What do you think we if invite your brother and his wife and their 2 kids, too?”
First, the cabin is not that big. Two of the three usable bedrooms are open loft rooms. So when the toddlers (2 and 4) need to go to sleep at 8 or something, what do the rest of us do? Well, I guarantee you that we’ll be told by my very demanding brother that we will be SILENT. And because he has a temper, woe to the person who disobeys.
And then, in the morning? What happens when the teens are looking to sleep in past 6 a.m., and the toddlers are squealing and screeching?
And did you see what I said up there? 3 usable bedrooms? I didn’t mention 1 usable bathroom. There’s only one usable bathroom!!!
So you take a family of 4, and you put them in this quaint cabin. They have a blast. The girls can share a room if they want, they can refuse to do so if they want. You then stuff SIX MORE PEOPLE in, and you know what? It’s kind of not fun anymore. Especially if some of the personalities in the over-stuffed cabin are not easy ones. Not flexible ones.
My mom’s email also said, “I haven’t said anything to them yet, so if you want to say ‘no’, that’s fine.”
So I did. I said no. I said I was sorry, but it really changed the weekend in a way that we weren’t up for right now. To have a break from the busy-busy-busy is a treat. That having mom and dad come is one thing, but another family of 4 with their very different needs and schedules is a lot to stuff in the cabin.
But really – the biggest problem is that my mother can’t just let me make plans. She has to co-opt things. To decide the right way to do things, and then push until her version is what happens.
Knowing this, I should have known better. I should have known that she didn’t MEAN that “if you want to say ‘no,’ that’s fine.’”
Because she’s now not speaking to me.
2) Lemon is a Sourpuss
Less of a big deal. She was rather rudely demanding a ride to crew, instead of her riding her bike (like she does every day). I said no. I had things to do. The play (see #3), dinner company tonight, etc. WD said no. He was on his way out for a run, and he’s the cook for the dinner party tonight.
Everybody said no.
Therefore, Lemon was a tearful martyr. Then an angry martyr. I was not amused.
But for a little while, she wasn’t speaking to me. Fortunately, she came home with apologies.
3) The play. Which is not all fun & games, but rather – work.
Last year, I think I refrained from blogging about it too much, out of fear of being discovered, and making things public that didn’t need to be, we went through HELL with this play.
We hired a director for our fall play in JUNE. I, as the producer, was in touch with him throughout the summer to confirm his continued availability. A group of us met in August, to get the process started. We worked together in September, to do auditions and casting. He started the rehearsal process in early October.
After the third day of rehearsal, he wrote me an email that was a very formal – yet unexplained – resignation letter.
Unheard of. It’s a 10 week process. We were 2 weeks in. And he quit. Contract be damned, kids be damned, commitment be damned. He was gone. He didn’t respond to our emails asking he finish out the week. He didn’t return our phone calls. He didn’t give a single reason for his abhorrent behavior. (We can imagine some reasons — but none of which should have been unexpected when directing a play in a junior high school … they are very typical. Parent-issues, principal issues, volunteer issues. He had experience working on school plays. This should have been anticipated.)
Fortunately, we were able to pull things together and get a new team in place (including moving our Assistant Director up to Lead Director). Some things were rocky going forward: The first (loser) Director had chosen the show, and the new directing team didn’t love it. The first Director cast the show. The first Director edited the script (or didn’t … in this case … leaving very age-inappropriate material in the script). But we pulled it together. We had a great show. Things were fine.
This year, we are having odd shadows of what happened last year. Our lead-director called right before our start up meeting and asked to switch places with the Assistant Director. It was fine. They are both well-qualified. I had a moment of hyperventilation, after last year’s trauma (it was horrible, you know), but I knew it was going to be fine.
But then today – another phone call! The now-assistant director got an acting gig, starting 2 weeks before our show. Which is dress rehearsal week. Tech week. PERFORMANCE WEEK. And the now-assistant director is ALSO the choreographer.
This, too, will be fine. The rug is not pulled out from under us (as it was last year). We have time to figure out a transition and coverage over the last weeks. But it’s still not what I would have chosen to happen today. On top of the other stuff.
The rest of the day was full of frantic emails trying to get the audition schedule squared away, juggling kids’ conflicts and preferences, working on getting all the kids registered, and generally fussing through the details.