The Luck of the Not-Quite Irish

Posted: March 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

A little part of me has always wanted to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Between the freckles, the binge drinking, and the spontaneous singing of Danny Boy, what’s not to love about those people?

Most other days of the year I wouldn’t dream of changing my half-Italian, half-Polish background. But I’m sure I’m not the only person who suffers from intermittent cultural jealousy. I mean, think of all those Irish-Americans yip-yip-yipping and twirling to accordion music at big polka festivals. They stuff themselves silly with kielbasa and just wish they had some of what I’ve got.

I married into Irish blood. But I never really felt I could claim it until we had kids. Somehow their Irishness embodied with my genes made me feel a closer kinship to Guinness beer. I’m not running out to get a four-leaf clover tattoo mind you, but in the past several days I’ve been experiencing what has just got to be the luck of the Irish.

On Friday we heard back from schools. Of the three we applied to for Kate, she was accepted at two, wait-listed at one. Or rather, “wait-pooled.” I wonder if that sounds more European—being in the pool rather than on the list? Or does the term ‘waiting pool’ conjure some sort of contented foot-bathing images in ones mind, making it seem like not a bad place to be?

At any rate, one of the acceptances was from my first choice. (Mark’s second runner-up.) I am SO WICKED EXCITED about this place. All three schools deemed Kate ready for kindergarten, and even though there’s plenty of time and potential for me to beat myself up over this decision later, we’re pulling the trigger and starting her next year.

Yesterday the girls and I drove to the school and happily handed over a check. And even though there are 19 (not 20) steps leading to the main entrance—something that left Paigey and I, who were counting as we walked, hanging a bit—I’m confident that we are going to love love love the place. I’ve already mentally signed up for every committee and volunteer opp.

Still riding high on the news about kindergarten, we went to Kate’s preschool auction Friday night. And I was feeling thrifty. Already we were shelling out for tickets to the event and babysitting. The last thing we should endeavor to do was get into a bidding war with some other family over a set of gymnastics classes or a weekend in Napa. (Because finally, a year or so into the recession, Mark and I are trying to be good about spending.)

But open bars tend to weaken people’s resolves. And after just one turn through the silent auction tables I’d bid on a painting (several times over), and Mark succumbed to the roving raffle ticket sellers.

Seconds before the auction closed I placed the winning bid on the painting. Yee-ha! It now hangs above our bed, and should The Big One hit, at least Mark and I will be clocked on the heads with a lovely work of art, the sale of which benefited a deserving preschool.

Desperate to get more drinks down before the school’s babysitting ran out, we were leaving for a restaurant when the bellowing auctioneer announced the raffle drawing.

“Please forgive me,” he muttered, squinting down at the square of paper. “I’m terrible pronouncing names.”

I had a twinge.

“Mark, uh… Mik-CLUSS-kee?” he said, looking up from the mic hopefully.

A roar of cheers went up amongst our friends, and I double high-fived Mark who’d already edged himself nearly out the door. We are the proud new owners of an “instant wine cellar,” a collection of 40 bottles of first-rate wine, each contributed by different families at the school. (Of course, Mark has already logged them all into our online wine cellar app, cackling with delight like a kindly Ebenezer counting his money.)

Saturday morning’s hangover made me useful for only one thing. Shopping. Specifically thrift shopping. I headed to San Fran with Kate to hit up my favorite stores for used kids duds. Nothing thrills me more than finding a lightly-used Oilily frock for $9.

The car ride over was Kate talking NON STOP. Now, I have no one but myself to blame for her propensity for chatter, but MY GOD, do these kids sense when you have a hang-over and set out to jabber like they’re filibustering? Ouch! “Blah blah ballet class. Blah blah dancing Swan Lake. Blah blah the bee-oooo-tiful princess turns into a swan. He turns into a swan too. Have I ever seen a swan, Mama? Is a swan like a goose? Where is Swan Lake, Mama? Can we go there? Pleeeeez, can we? Can we get the book? Can we see Swan Lake some time?”

I said something that a non-abusive college-educated woman who is gently trying to shut her blathering child up might say. I mean, I’m not even certain now what it was. But there was a LOT of talk, and I was softly muttering hopefully conversation-curbing responses.

At our first store, after grabbing all the fabulous French outfits I could clutch, I scanned the book and toy shelf. And there, front and center was a pristine, hard cover copy of none other than Swan Lake. 99 cents.

“Oh, Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” I muttered in my best Irish brogue, as I slid the book off the shelf. “Would you look at that?” A little more luck of the not-quite Irish.


2 Comments on “The Luck of the Not-Quite Irish”

  1. 1 Drea said at 9:40 am on March 17th, 2010:

    Congrats on the school acceptances and the wine bounty! And just a word of caution, Marcia Brady: don’t sign up for ALL the committee and volunteer opps right out of the gate…you’ll never get your life back. Take it from a seasoned mama who learned the hard way!

  2. 2 FAB said at 6:41 pm on March 23rd, 2010:

    Any gambler will tell you that if you are on a streak and have a run like you certainly seemed to have, you should immediately run out and buy a dozen lottery tickets. When the Gods smile down on you, grab all that you can

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