BOB'S ALARM GOES OFF at 5:30 a.m. Fortunately he's not a breakfast eater, so I don't have to get up yet. I put my pilow over my head so I won't hear his electric razor.
At 6:30, my alarm rings, just as he leaves for work. I wash my eight asthma pills down with a glass of milk, use my two inhalers, and make sure that Alan, 17, is awake and getting himself ready to catch the commuter bus to his summer job at Naval Research Lab. Becky, 18, is already up, ready for her bank job. I let our youngest, Robbie, 16, sleep late. The cats, Giner and Marilyn, are waiting for breakfast, and Squeaky is in the windowbox outside. I start a load of laundry.
This is my day off.
At 3 I leave to do some shopping and run errands. Robbie is off playing soccer with friends. I leave a note about dinner since I won't be home 'til late.
George Mason University Summer Chorus rehearsal begins at 7 and ends at 10, just in time for me to enjoy WGMS' "Royal Instrument" program on the 20-mile drive home. When I arrive, everyone except Robbie is in bed. He is watching TV. sneak a few Hershey kisses from my cache in the kitlchen, take my medication, and retire. Tuesday
At Sears at Fair Oaks Mall, I check out my camera and prepare supplies before the store opens. My boss Jeanine comes in, followed by a parade of children with their mothers.
The new student trainee, Jennifer, is a good worker. We take turns photographing and selling. It's a reasonably calm day. There's even time for some back filing and paperwork. I can leave early, at 3, and the trip home takes only 45 minutes.
Ginger starts yowling for her dinner as soon as she hears the key turn in the lock. There are phone messages. Please write publicity for Robbie's high-school band. Would I run the snack bar for the high-school football games? Would I participate in an asthma study? After dinner, I watch "Universe" with the family. Wednesday
There is an unusually large number of customers this morning. Or does it just seem that way since Jeanie hasn't arrived yet? I'm alone, trying to work as fast as I can. The phone rings constantly, distracting the children from the moods I'm trying to get them in for good photographs. Someone from the store manager's office comes to see why I'm not answering all the phone calls, takes one look at the crowd, and shakes her head sympathetically.
A baby spits up all over my blouse. Jeanie calls -- she's been in an accident and can't get in today.
Most of the customers are understanding, except for one old grump who doesn't want to wait his turn and tells me in blunt language what I can do with his pictures. I flash him my angelic smile and kturn to speak to someone else. I'im glad he leaves. A cute tyke in the terrible-two phase screams bloody murder every time I look at her. It takes 10 minutes before I can coax a tiny smile from her. I use all my tricks to keep a pair of twins from jumping off the posing table.
No time for medicaiton, bathroom, or lunch.
Jennifer comes in at 3, but lshe has not had enough experience to run the studio by herself. I cancel my appointment at Walter Reed.
A lesbian couple comes in for a sitting, and they are both very nervous. When my colleague Pam arrives at 6, I leve, grabbing a hot dog at the snack counter. I make the GMU Chorus rehearsal on time at 7, but don't feel much like singing. Dr. Smith cuts the practice short, so I'm home before 10:30. Bob is reading in bid. Aaargh? Someone has found my Hershey kisses, and they're ALL gone!!! Thursday
6:30 a.m. I check on Becky and Alan, who overslept, and fall back into bed with a ferocious headache. I'm out of Tylenol and can't take aspirin with asthma drugs.
I have to have the day off for our GMU concert at the Hilton.
Robbie is off mowing lawns. I worry he might cut off his foot or something. I leave a note about supper.
Hooray! Karen, the fellow chorus member I pick up, has Tylenol! We rehearse with the Mike Crotty Band from 2 to 4, and are served sandwiches and chips for supper.
We are disappointed with the lukewarm reception of our performance of Persechetti. The audience is drinking and chatting as we sing. And we worked so hard! Oh well, at least my headache is better.
After dropping Karen off, I'm home lby 11:30. Bob is snoring loudly. I doze with one ear cocked toward the door, waiting for Becky to get home. She comes in at 12:30, so now I can sleep. Friday
Jeanie has the day off so I have to handle the studio alone again. Around noon, right in the middle of a sitting, the camera runs out of film. It takes close to 30 minutes to reload. I brace myself and announce this fact to the wlating customers, who are pretty nice about the whole thing. But a few of lthem leave.
A sweet little girl wearing her best pink dress poses with her baby brother. When I pick him up off her lap, his diaper leaks all over her dress and me.
This is another day of no breaks no lunch. After I make two goofs in a row on the cash register, I give myself a pep talk, which does not help. Then comes monica, a polite and cooperative 5-year-old. She's a reeze to photograph, and provides all the relief I need.
I count 65 customers on the day's sign-up sheet when Pam arrives. What has happened? We usually do about 100 sittings a week!
On the way home, I have to drop off some medieval banners that belong to the Reston Chorale. Carrying the banners acros the parking lot is enormously difficult, and I have to catch my breath before I can speak. Another stop at Giant, and I'm home lby 8:30 p.m. Luckily, the family has saved me some of Robbie's spaghetti. At 10:30, Becky and her boyfriend Chris are horsing around in the living room, laughing. I cover my ears and drift off. Saturday
Everyone is asleep when I leave for work -- this time I am needed at Sears' Landmark store. Will the kids se the chore list. I've taped to the refrigerator? The Landmark studio is busy, but with four of us working it isn't too bad. My old boss, Cindy, is leaving the job, and we sneak bites of her goodbye cade in between sittings. I photograph a family with a Down's Syndrome infant, and it is impossible to get a response from her. After the sitting I hold her for a minute and give her an extra special hug.
Some of my old customers are in today, and I'm glad to see them.
I am off at 2. I swing by the Loudoun campus of Northern Virginia Community College to pick up Robbie and his tuba. He is all excited about his performance with the Brass Ensemble next month. I want to thank his director, Art Beveridge, but can't find him.
At home, Bob has brought in potatoes and carrots from our garden. It's nice to have a family meal together. After supper, everyone except me watches TV. I sit alone on the front steps, watching lthe changing sky. Marilyn comes out from under a bush and wants her back scratched. Together we sit and listen to the treefrogs and the crickets. I am the only person in my family who likes to listen to crickets.
I wonder what happended to the little girl with the spinal tumor. Or to the bag lady in her 60s who came in a few weeks ago to be photographed for the first time in her life, counted out 99 cents very carefully but never returned to pay the balance or to pick up her pictures. How is that grandmother doing, raising her grandosn who mother died suddenly? What about the lady who went into labor as I photographed her adopted child? How is Peter, the blind boy?
The stars are beautiful tonight.