Charles and Camilla visit, I clean house.

Not because they are visiting my apartment, mind, but the Royals being within such close proximity to my zip code brings out the banzai-cleaning housemistress in me.

On that note, I will say that I, like President Bush, have color-coded our apartment messiness according to the levels in which it may terrorize our guests:

- Green = Clean. Spic and span, everything smells good. Flowers are on the kitchen table.
- Blue = Napoleon's shedded fur has not been swept up in a couple of days. But you can't really tell, can you?
- Yellow = Things are smelling funny in the refrigerator. A dish or two manages to overnight in the sink.
- Orange = There is a ring in the toilet bowl. In fact, there's a ring in the bathtub. The laundry is overflowing in the hamper.
- Red = The sink looks like something out of "Silence of the Lambs."

I won't tell what color code level we were this weekend, but let's just say Sir Anthony Hopkins has been on my mind a lot.

Also this weekend, I met a school admissions consultant. I don't wish to get into too much detail, but she did tell me that one of the schools we are applying to is "worthless" and one of the schools we're applying to is "a gem."

How did I manage to cast such a wide net? Fear. Plain and simple fear. Reach schools (Dalton, Collegiate) won't look at us, Bucolic campus school and Wild Card have talked to us, and Downtown Progressive School send us stuff in the mail every day. The ones that behave like a desperate girlfriend, though, are the ones you have to be careful about.

So the school admissions consultant told me what to do, now that we're down to the admissions wire. Decisions are out February 14/15 from private schools. March for public schools.

I have been told I have to reach out to three certain people at my place of employment. They are well liked by one of the schools A really wants to get into. "Call Blankety-blank. She works on that Sunday Night News Magazine Show," said the advisor. As if I can actually call up Blankety-Blank at the drop of a hat.

Of course, tomorrow morning, I will find a clip or two from the Sunday Night News Magazine Show and I will find reason to call up Blankety-Blank about those one or two clips. And then suddenly talk about Blankety-Blank's private school. Out of the blue. Just like that.

I now know why Park Avenue mothers drink themselves silly as a regular habit. Please let this process be over soon.

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