Mary Anne Mohanraj

Journal

September 14 -- 3:02 PM

The four children invited Kevin up to the playroom for a puppet show. Apparently, the play focused on a three-way, three-species marriage, until one of them found a tornado gun and shot them all. Kavya insisted they try to find a come-back-alive potion, but Anand shut the curtains and said, "The end!"

The end!

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September 14 -- 11:59 AM

Very broken sleep last night, sigh -- first my own insomnia and cough, then Anand's cough. Trying to be productive today anyway. Spent the sleepy morning first knitting, then sorting kids' clothes for consignment. (New for us; we'll see how it goes. They grow so fast; it'd be nice to get some money back for the next round!) Warehouse 13 kept me entertaining company -- thanks to Kevin for figuring out that the last two seasons were free on Amazon (Hulu only lets you watch them on your computer, and Netflix only has the first three seasons). Light, enjoyable show, along the lines of Eureka, Fringe, Haven, etc.

Now Kat is dropping off 650 flyers for the Kriti Festival for me -- last two weeks are heavy-promotion times. I'm making pasta for me and the four kids (who are now playing in the backyard, enjoying a stunningly beautiful day), and will shortly be answering a long set of questions from India Abroad re: the festival, and then doing what is hopefully the final round of scheduling (adding in films and other small bits, reconciling conflicts). I'd really like to have a final schedule by tomorrow; we'll see if it happens, given that I'm so groggy today.

If I could just get eight hours of sleep a night, I swear, I could take over the world.

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September 13 -- 7:54 PM

This may be a record -- I've now helped host two parties in the same day. Party 1 was Alex's fairy tale-themed party -- pink and silver and blue and princesses and dragons and knights -- and also various other random costumes, such as Spiderman. Kat did face-painting; we met a lot of kindergarten parents from Kavi's school. It was chaotic and great.

And Party 2 (which started two hours after the end of Party 1) was Michael's rainbow-ninja party. I wish I'd gotten a photo of Michael in his rainbow mask with bandana -- he really did look surprisingly like a rainbow ninja. We did a quick-change on tablecloth, paper products, and balloons, and Kat and Elliott did tie-dye. Pizza and cake and presents, and everyone went home happy. (And yes, just a little tired. :-) )

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September 12 -- 6:16 AM

Last night, my elementary school friend, Dan Foster, (who is visiting Chicago for a few days) helped me wind the ball of yarn for my next knitting project (the awfully pretty Spinel color pictured below), which reminded me that I never posted the finished Man Hat photos, so here you go. I decided not to bother blocking it -- it's a hat, after all, and a nubbly pattern. Love the self-striping Noro yarn, and I will likely make Kevin a scarf to coordinate with it a bit later in the year. And I am now thinking vaguely about possible Noro projects for myself… but first, there is an adorable baby to knit in Spinel for…

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September 10 -- 6:00 PM

Musing on class privilege, visible and invisible. We're filing a tax appeal, and having a lawyer do it, and it needs to be notarized. I noticed the time at 4:45, jumped in my car, drove a few blocks to the free Oak Park township notary, found 25 cent parking right outside (even though it's the center of town), stepped in at 4:50, found no line, and had it signed and notarized and was out the door before they closed at 5, no problem. Then I drove a few more blocks to the UPS store, walked in and was helped immediately, had a cheerful employee chat with me while he simultaneously loaded up my ten different things that I needed mailed AND took care of other customers on another register, so no one had too long a wait. He remembered me from the last time I mailed a bunch of books out, a few months ago, and asked about the Kickstarter. I was home by 5:30, in time to start dinner.

Signs of privilege:

- we own a house, hence the tax appeal
- we can afford to pay a lawyer his $50 filing fee and his significant percentage on whatever he gets us in reduction. If we couldn't afford that, we've have to struggle to try to figure out how to file the appeal ourselves -- which we could do, and in fact, have done, but it takes time, and education, and patience that hasn't been worn thin by a thousand other small aggravations…
- I had a car, so I could get where I wanted to go quickly; I wouldn't have made it in time if I'd had to walk. - of course, if I'd started ten minutes earlier, I could have walked there, because we can afford to live so close to the heart of town
- the notary was free -- I'm guessing the city of Chicago doesn't provide free notary service. There's also a free notary at the library, but you need to make an appointment for that one
- the notary didn't have a line in front of them -- when we lived in Chicago, there would totally have been a line, *especially* just before closing at 5, as people would try to squeeze it in after leaving work a little early
- the notary's hours are 9-5, M-F. It's only useful to people who don't have to work those hours. No early morning or evening hours, no weekend hours.
- the notary was cheerful and pleasant (clearly not exhausted from a long day of people yelling at her)
- the UPS store was close enough that I could have walked there in ten minutes or less
- there was 25 cent parking within a block of the UPS store too -- and in fact, there was free parking a tiny bit further away in a lot; I paid the 25 cents to save a little time/hassle, and because I could afford to
- the UPS store employee was very competent
- the UPS store employee was cheerful and pleasant (see above re: not exhausted)
- I could drive home in good time for dinner -- if I hadn't had a car, the whole thing would have taken me an hour and a half, instead of 45 min.
- Kevin was at home, and perfectly capable of getting the family dinner ready; having an live-in partner meant that I didn't have to worry about getting delayed and making the kids' dinner late (and making them cranky)
- Kevin at home also meant that he and Kavi picked up Anand from preschool while I was out; if I'd had to do that, I might not have had time for the UPS errand at all today
- Kevin at home also meant that I didn't have to take children with me in the car, which slows everything down (and would have made the errands exceedingly difficult without a car, if I'd had to walk to them, since they are small and whiny about long walks)
- any delays would have left me less time to prep for tomorrow's classes, so I'd either have been a less prepared teacher tomorrow, or had to cut into my eight hours of sleep tonight

I'm sure there are more signs I'm not even noticing. How much does my polite upper-middle-class demeanor and use of standard English affect how people treat me? I did notice that one of the other UPS customers was a black man who was prominently missing a front tooth; in the city, that might or might not have affected the kind of service he got; in a different suburb, ditto.

And yes, you can live in Oak Park in a little apartment that isn't a *ton* more expensive than in some parts of the city (although still some more) and get most of these services too. This is a large part of what I love about Oak Park. But those services exist mostly because of all the homeowners paying very high property taxes.

Wealth makes everything so much easier.

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