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Archive for September, 2012

Those that knew me in my high school/early college days know that I was not only a band geek, but a theatre geek as well. For a brief moment in time, I thought that I was ready to give it everything I had, to move to New York, to make it big on, of all places, Broadway! Alas, one learns the hard way that getting most of the leading roles in high school does always not a good actor make. When I got to Wayne State, I had a major taste of “small fish in a big pond syndrome”. I auditioned for plays and was crushed when I wasn’t chosen for anything significant. I finished out my year of classes with a crushed ego and decided to try something else.

At about that same time, I ran out of money for college, went to trade school, worked my butt off at several jobs, and went back to college. I fell in love (with a theatre guy, no less!), married him, and we started a family. I missed acting but there was no time for that in between diaper changes, homework, and working part-time, never mind trying to be a good wife! I was able to play a little at Greenfield Village, Katrina Van Tassel in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and as part of an angry mob finding the “monster” during the Halloween Walk, but I still envied friends who were able to actually act in the shows. I thought about going to audition once or twice, but many of those folks are professionals and they’re incredible performers. I knew that I wouldn’t stand a chance after all of their years of training and so, self-consciously, I watched and admired from the sidelines.

Fast forward to about a year and a half ago. A good friend of mine and Marty’s got a role in a play at The Players Guild of Dearborn. He’s about my age and hadn’t acted before, yet he was having a blast in his very first play! Marty and I went to see him and were very impressed. I began to think that maybe I’d go for something like that, too, but I was working in an incredibly stressful environment at that point, so adding one more thing to it all was not feasible then. Maybe one day…

I really began to think about it again this summer after landing a new job and seeing that a life outside of teaching might be possible again. Looking at the audition notices, I saw that they’d be auditioning for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I didn’t know the show well but saw that they would be having a large cast, a cast that maybe I’d have a chance of joining: you know, way in the background somewhere, but still getting to play.

To make a long story short, I watched the movie, learned some of the songs, auditioned (with shaky knees, stomach, and all; it had been about 18 years since I’d done a show), and got a role in the chorus! It’s been a little over a week since rehearsals started and I’m having so much fun! It’s a trick to learn the dance moves at 37 years old and learning to sing 2nd soprano is challenging, especially after losing my voice for a bit this week, but  everyone is so supportive and I’m far from the only new person there. Marty and the boys are excited to see it, although they have to put in the extra work at home when I’m gone at rehearsals and there are some absolutely fantastic people in the lead roles for them to see when they go.

I’m not looking to make a second career out of this and I’m at peace with the fact that I’ll only get to Broadway by buying a ticket, but for the moment, I get to play on stage and feel that excitement all over again.

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I am a murderer of a mouse. Well, technically, if you count setting mouse traps, I’ve murdered several, but the trap usually does the dirty work. Marty Man and I set the trap, go to sleep, and voila… mouse taken care of.

That doesn’t mean that I enjoy doing this. I hate it, as a matter of fact. I wish wholeheartedly every year that no mice decide to find a refuge in my kitchen cupboards and, thankfully, for the past several years, none have. This past spring was the first time we had a mouse since the year we moved in and we had two that were gone in just a few days. It’s always a brutal business and I really hate that it has to be done, but I would hate having a fire in my house from chewed wires or eating food seasoned by mouse poo even more.

Yesterday morning, I found the tell-tale signs of a mouse: little poos everywhere in the round-about cupboard and a shredded bag of animal crackers. My heart sank. The killing would have to begin again. Boy #3 and I drove to Aco to buy the obligatory traps. Marty and I set the peanut butter- filled traps in two strategic locations and went to bed, expecting the usual gross-but-normal outcome in the morning.

Flash forward to this morning. Boy #3, despite my warnings to never look at the mousetrap the next day, came up to me as soon as I came downstairs saying, “The mouse is still moving!” I was sure he was mistaken. A trick of the light, perhaps, or a young boy’s imagination. Nevertheless, as I went to open the round-about, I took a deep breath, just in case. I slowly turned the cabinet open and almost immediately, there was a sharp quick movement. No, I did not scream. I’m not much of a screamer. I did jump however and shut the door, heart racing. It was still moving. My worst nightmare. I deliberately avoid sticky traps for that very reason. I think they’re cruel and unusual punishment for a rodent just looking for food and shelter. At least the traditional traps kill quickly enough so that the poor mouse doesn’t know what hit him. (At least, that’s what I hope.)

Anyway, I opened the cabinet again, and there it was: beady black eyes looking right at me. At closer inspection, I saw that it was caught by one back leg, which I knew had to hurt. What now? I really didn’t know what to do. Fling the whole thing outside as an easy meal for Cleo next door? Tie up the plastic bag the trap was in and just throw it away? (I’m shuddering at the cruelty of both of those options.) Letting it go was not an option. I knew I’d get the heck bitten out of my hands if I tried and then what? Let it go just so it would find its way back inside? No, the poor thing had to die and I wanted it to be fast and painless.

I finally decided on a plan that, while really difficult to carry out, for me, seemed to be the only viable one. I went and got an old towel that we use for when rain water starts leaking in. I tossed the towel over the frightened thing, judged its position, and gave it a huge whack with a rolled up ESPN magazine through the towel. Just to be sure, I gave it a couple more and then, with shaking hands, nudged the towel gently to make sure I got it. It seemed I had, so I gingerly scooped up the whole towel and dumped it into a small cardboard box. The box went into a garbage bag and the bag into the can. I cleaned up after the mouse with bleach disinfectant and took a breath. It had taken me almost an hour to go through this whole ordeal. I know, I know, it’s nothing compared to what the mouse went through, but I think that I was probaly a better alternative than the neighborhood cats. At least I hope so.

After I washed my hands, I went to seek out Boy #2 for a hug. I really needed one at that point. I was a mess, wiping away tears and apologizing to a mouse for what I had to do. He’s the one who’s as sensitive as I am and even though he hated what was going on, he knew it was really difficult to do. Boy #3 joined in and we had a nice group hug for a moment before I went off to start the rest of my day.

We’re setting the traps again tonight, just in case. I bleached out the cupboards and took all of the cardboard containers so nothing gets chewed if Mouse #2 happens to be waiting for us to sleep. This is definitely not the way I planned on spending my weekend, maiming and killing. I feel so much more horrible that I would if it was a simple trap clean-up this morning. Hopefully, there are no more mice or the next one will have vital body parts in the right spot. I don’t need anything else on my record.

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