If you are new to Sharon Wheatley’s blog, welcome! I write stories in “blogisodes”, and to start at the beginning of this story, go here: http://wp.me/p1zRyr-j6
Welcome to Blogisode two of the *Tony award winning series, “I Wish I Could Go Back To College”. (*And by “Tony Award” I mean my brother-in-law Tony might give it an award if I asked him to——>).
Today’s blogisode is brought to you by the playroom at Ikea, which was the greatest thing that happened to me and my kids today. Let me be completely clear–I didn’t need to go to Ikea, I have no need for a book shelf I have to build with a souped up bobby pin. I went purely for the playroom. Why? (This question is only being asked by people without children–and I will explain). Thursday and Friday of this week, there is no school because of the Jewish New Year, so I have my two non-Jewish and bored kids at home. And it is pouring down rain. And Rob has to work.
As an added bonus (!!), they are working on the plumbing in our building. Just in case you are picturing something simple– like a guy with a wrench under a sink–let me break it down for you. The ____ (fill in name of a really important drain pipe) ruptured (it was 100 years old) and it rained all over the building while spewing brown mystery sludge up the drains of our showers, which was just as pretty and smelled just as delicious as you are imagining.
Cut to: The plumber and the building super had to knock through our floor and the ceiling of our downstairs neighbors to get to the busted pipe. So there is a huge hole in our floor. As in, I walked into our bathroom and could see what kind shampoo our neighbors use (Head and Shoulders). As in, Beatrix saw it and said, “We can go fishing down that hole with my Dora fishing pole!”. The plumber and super were in different bathroom screaming Spanish to each other and using power tools.
We needed to leave.
Couple that with the money talk Rob and I had this morning, which had words like, “can’t” “rent” and “September’s always bad” and “We have to change things” and “worse ever”. So, if you are keeping track, I have to get the kids out of the house all day in the rain and not spend any money. Perfect! We’ll drive around! (I’m not kidding). Charlotte grabbed her iPod, Beatrix grabbed her DVD player and her Tom and Jerry cartoons and we hopped
in the car. Where did we go?
Stop # One, we drove Rob to work–which is an hour’s drive from our upper Manhattan apartment to Rob’s gig at the Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey. One hour down. Seventy thousand hours to go.
Stop #2, lunch at The Garden State Plaza (no shopping, just lunch in a super crowded mall).
Stop #3 Ikea (!!) where we checked Beatrix in for an hour of free play in the playroom. The last time we were at Ikea, Beatrix screamed and cried because they wouldn’t let her in (the kid has to be potty trained and she was still in pullups) This time, Beatrix marched in all proud of herself in her Minnie Mouse underpants, while Charlotte and I had some older girl and Mommy time looking for a (cheap) shelf for her bedroom. I bought a coffee for $.54, which I will file under “essentials” in our tax return.
Ugh. Total truth. I spent $74 stupid dollars at dumb Ikea because a big blue bag full of $3.99 items adds up to $74 really fast. So basically? I paid $74 an hour for babysitting. OH! And guess what Beazer did for the whole hour?? She watched the movie on the big movie screen which was–Tom and Jerry. Why do they have a TV on in a playroom when it should just be toys and coloring? Ikea playroom, you’re fired.
This blogisode is brought to you by the 4 packages of Christmas gift bags, the plant, the spoons, the three bath mats, the shelf, the lamp, the bin and the 4 light bulbs I purchased today that will now forever mark me as the person the MOST likely to spend $74 (plus coffee) while promising not to spend any money. The only good news? I don’t have to build anything with a bobby pin.
But ENOUGH about that. Tomorrow I am staying home no matter what. Wallet is locked away. Don’t tempt me.
Let’s get back to our story. Where did we leave off? I have the “I’m cranky and sad because it is getting dark early*” disease (*official name), my living room is painted yellow, I am no longer in Avenue Q and I made a wish on a star that I could go back to college to chase away my winter blahs.
But allow me to clarify one thing. I did go to college at one point—although I’d kind of love it if the story was that I came to New York right out of high school, all fresh off the bus from
Cincinnati, Ohio with corn silk in my hair, landing Broadway shows left and right. But, no. The truth is, I’d gone to a prestigious conservatory in Cincinnati to study Musical Theater for four years and slept through most of my classes, apparently on a quest to get a Rip Van Winkle degree. At the end of the four years I had just over half the classes done, a ton of incompletes, no money left, but I was well slept. I was the poster child of the “add/drop” office. Clarification: I was the poster child of “drop”. Conveniently, the majority of my “performance” classes were complete, because I could manage to drag my lazy self to an acting class, but Western Civilization wasn’t even worth setting the alarm for. A stage? I’m there, but you wouldn’t catch me dead in a desk.
At the end of my “senior” year (and by “senior” year I mean the year that other people in
my class were graduating), I got a great job. I was cast in a national tour of The Sound of Music which actual money, and meant I could see a lot of the country if I could make it to the bus every morning without sleeping through my alarm clock. The heads of the program were happy to wish me luck and kiss me goodbye, so I left college and no matter how much my mother said, “Someday you will wish you had that degree”, I never looked back.
What probably started the whole ball rolling was the phone call telling me I’d won the “Young Alumnae Award”. You might wonder, (as I did), if there is an “Old Alumnae Award” but as of this writing, there is not. I think I managed to eke past other talented alums who’d won awards that qualified them more–like a TONY award—simply because I recently published a book.
To give you an idea of how shaky my winning this award was, I was told in the phone call that if I could not get myself to Cincinnati (on my own dime) to receive the award, it would be given to someone else. This might bother someone else, but years of being an actress and being told, “There are 1,000 other people who would love to have your job” had prepared me well for offers based on conditions.
The conversation was friendlier than that makes it seem because I was (of course) honored to be selected, and they were genuinely proud of my achievements, but I do remember exactly one thing I said to the department head. “Uh. You know I never really graduated, right?” He encouraged me not to mention that fact, which I had to remind my mother because the first thing she said when I told her (okay, the second thing, the first thing she said was, “You’re coming home!!! Are you bringing Charlotte?”) The second thing she said
was, “They can’t give you the alumnae award, you never graduated.”
Is it unethical? Should I accept an award like this and under these conditions? Find out Monday!
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