April 23, 2007

Well, first of all...

...Middle Girl's team won their game against Gadsden on Friday 4-0, and so they were happy about that. And I made it all the way there in an hour, which is pretty good, considering most of that time was spent just getting out of Birmingham at 5:00. But it was a bad, BAD, feeling when I followed the directions to the high school, and was about to pull in the main gate, and I noticed the main gate was locked. And there were no cars around anywhere. Like a ghost town, or one of those Twilight Zone episode where everyone's disappeared.

Everything goes through your mind--Is this the right school? Did it get called off? Has there been an emergency? Should I maybe drive on around the backside of the school and maybe then run across peoples?

Yes, drive on around, silly man.

Hmm. No one there, either. Drive some more. WAIT! Hey, they've got a soccer stadium tucked back there!


And I mean that.

Some acknowledgement of that fact to visitors might be kinda nice, but I won't gripe too much since my blood pressure and racing mind did return to normal rather quickly after parking.

Afterwards, stopped and got some food, and then on back to the house and got started getting Boy to get his camping stuff together while simultaneously trying to get some laundry done and figure out what would happen on Saturday.

We had to make sure Rebecca got to her tournament, and that Boy got to the assembly point, and that Reba got up and went to some thing the women were doing at church (about which I know better than to ask for too much information, because then I'd know, and I don't want to know, ignorance being bliss in spades when it comes to this kind of thing) and there was still that issue of making sure all the laundry got did.

I felt like we pretty much had it taken care of when we went to bed Friday night.

UP EARLY SATURDAY, at the usual time of 5:30, because I thought (rather, Boy thought) he was supposed to be at the Scout hut (a misnomer if there ever was one, in that it's a converted duplex house) at 6:30. Up, went through the checklist:

Tent: check
Tarp: check
Gear bag: check
Canteen: check
Camp chair: check
Food box: check
Cold food into cooler: check

Ready to go?

No. Realized as I was loading up someone was going to be awfully uncomfortable without a sleeping bag. Went and got that and loaded it up. Got him in the car, and away we went, with plenty of time to stop at Sonic for him to get some breakfast.

To the Scout hut.

No one.

"I think maybe that they said 7:30, Dad."

Probably so.

Well, an hour early, then. I figured that I'd run to the grocery store and get some cash for later on in the day so I could contribute to the coach's gift and get into the park, and then back to the Scout hut.




FINALLY got some folks showing up around 7:20 or so, so we got out and began the delicate unloading process. And then I got all riled up.

Not enough sleep? Mr. Coffee Diet Coke Nerves got me by the scruff of the neck?

Who knows.

But folks, you'd do well to teach your children if they're gonna sass their elders, they'd better expect some blowback. Especially if one of those old farts happens to be working on a sleep deficit stretching back to 1991.

Anyway, Jonathan had been given the task of buying food and implements of eatitude, which meant I had to go get stuff. For some reason, the kids think of all this stuff they want to eat as if they're going to a restaurant, so the supper menu consisted of shish kebobs, baked potatoes, brownies (from a mix--no just buying a box of brownies, nosireebob) and corn (mercifully not cut from the cob with a stone axe, but the regular old canned variety, because there's nothing like consistency in your inconsistency), and then for breakfast they wanted eggs and bacon and sausage and French toast and orange juice and all that kind of thing. And then they had to replenish their supply of paper towels and plates and forks and junk. SO the tab for all that came up to a bit over 78 bucks. Meat will do that.

Divied up five ways (since there were five members of Boy's patrol going) came close to $16, but I just rounded it down to $15.

Back to Saturday, and the unloading, and the young man who came up and asked how much it was going to cost, and when Jonathan told him $15 each, he started whining--"Gaah, why's it so MUCH!?"

"Gentlemen," I intoned in my best Hugh Beaumont timbre, "let me tell you, if you want to eat all that meat--steak for supper and sausage and bacon for breakfast, it's gonna cost you money."

At that point, I was still avuncular enough.

"But when we last did it, it only cost us twelve dollars and..."

Okay, now you're pissing me off, Junior.

"Boys--look, you want this food, this is how much it cost--next time don't put down such expensive stuff."

Give the little pissant this much--he was persistent.

"Let me give you a tip..."

Okay, enough of this crap--I might do many things, but allowing myself to be lectured to by a pimple-faced thirteen year old ain't one of them.

I told him to keep his tips to himself in my quietly psychotic grouchy crazyman voice, then absented myself to go ask the Scoutmaster what time they'd be back Sunday, then told Boy goodbye and to go ask what he needed to do to help out, and off I went.

Anyway, I stewed about this little exchange all weekend--I really didn't get all weird and crazy about it like it might sound, but still, it was offputting as all get-out to have to deal civilly with it. We've tried to get this across to our kids that you have some respect for people who are older than you or have some authority, but even with that, Oldest can be as snooty and rude as anyone you'll come across. Sometimes it just doesn't sink in. I blame global warming.

Back to home, where it was time to get Rebecca up and dressed and ready for her day of sports. And found that Reba was bedfast--she'd felt bad the previous day, and by Saturday morning she was awful. I washed some more clothes, kissed her goodbye, told her I'd see her later, and was met coming down the stairs by Catherine, who was hungry for breakfast. I fixed her something forgettable, kissed her and told her to watch out for Mommy. In retrospect, it was probably not the best idea to leave the house with only a ten year old awake and ambulatory.

Oh, well.

Off to Mountain Brook, but with a stop at the grocery store AGAIN to pick up some drinks for my little cooler and some Slim Jims to snack on and to use as smelly and delicious way to keep people from invading my personal space.

Got there in time to see the boys win their first game, then found a nice shady spot on the bleachers.

Well, the girls played really well, but they still managed to let themselves get skunked 4-0 that first game. At least we got to sit in the shade.

We all took a break for lunch, which consisted of the team taking over the Dairy Queen on Overton Road. One thing can be said for them--they ARE a team. One of the other teams was there when we arrived, and were sitting in several quiet groups eating and chatting, and then five minutes later the place was utter pandemonium. They do have a good time together, even if they haven't managed to win as many games as their attitude would have you believe. If they can manage to keep that attitude and work just a bit harder on skills, they have the makings of a multi-year state champ squad. They're a scrappy bunch.

After lunch, I made a break for it with Rebecca to go see if we could find some sunscreen and a hat for me. Silly forgetful Dad forgot that the giant glowing yellow ball in the sky would be out all day, and left appropriate protective gear at home. First stop, The Pig (i.e., Piggly Wiggly, or as I have come to call it, Hoggly Woggly) over at River Run, which didn't have sunscreen OR hats, but luckily had a restroom, because Rebecca was about to pop. She stayed in there for ten minutes while I cooled my jets at the lobster tank.

Poor lobsters.

After the restroom break, we looked all through the store and were accosted by YET ANOTHER SHRIEKING GROUP OF OUR SOCCER PLAYERS. Not sure why they had come in the store, but they were loud, proud, and rowdy, yet somehow still very ladylike. I'm not sure how they managed that. Especially with the de-pantsing incident and accompanying thong exposure.

Glad I wasn't there for that.

ANYway, since the store didn't have what I needed, we made a mad dash down to the Publix in Cahaba Heights (i.e., New Merkle) where I did find some sunblock, but still, no hat. Dern.

On back to the stadium and this time out onto the football field, which was devoid of shade trees around the bleachers. This time was against Gadsden, the team they played the night before, and the result was about the same, although this time Gadsden did score a point, and we only scored three. But our girls played exceptionally well this game, with lots of good passing and aggressive (but sportsmanlike) defense.

Apparently, that took a lot out of them.

Since we had a long break before the next game, I decided we'd go on back to the house for a bit and check on everyone. Catherine was nursing a cat scratch on her knee.

I did not find out until later that--when I was trying to get into her room and couldn't because of the giant sack of toys behind the door--that she'd put the toys there to keep the cat from coming into her room. Because the cat had been brought into the house. To shed everywhere and scratch her knee.

As I mentioned earlier, leaving a 10 year old as the only person up and moving before leaving was a very bad idea.

Did some more laundry, called back the charity place that had promised to come pick up the washer and dryer on Friday, then first thing Saturday, then NEXT Friday that they needed to come on and get it and not wait until next Friday. "Monday okay?" Well, no--Friday was okay, but Monday's better than NEXT Friday.

Rested for five minutes, then got Rebecca dressed again and out the door for her final game.

The girls were overconfident, and it nearly cost them. They played Pell City, who only had ten players. Full complement is eleven. No substitutes, and playing a man down. Folks--those PC girls played themselves a whale of a game. We did win it, but the two points we got were terribly difficult to obtain, and the other girls played very effectively, and were on our side of the field a lot more than we were on theirs. Call that one a gift of fortune.

After all was said and done, our girls managed to snag themselves a second place trophy! And the boys came in first!

Those were some happy kids.

On back to the house, and after several more rounds of folding and washing, it was time for bed.

And boy, was I ever glad.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at April 23, 2007 10:41 AM

I still remember painfully the thrill of being a soccer dad. Most of the time for two boys in two age groups and two different game times and practices on opposite sides of town. Saturdays were too often take one to a game, watch, return first kid to the ranch, wait, take 2nd kid to his game, watch, yell, return home the 2nd time.

I feel your pain.

Posted by: Nate at April 23, 2007 12:08 PM

Oh, it's not nearly so bad as it was a couple of years ago when we had three playing club ball. That was enough to kill me.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at April 23, 2007 12:29 PM

I have two boys playing this spring. Occasionally they have a game at the same time. While it's sometimes fun to watch 4 and 5 y.o.'s running after a ball, I'd much rather watch my 9 y.o. playing something resembling a soccer game. Guess I had been "spoiled" for the last few years with an only child. My wife is already talking about taking a season "off".

Posted by: Marc V at April 23, 2007 12:49 PM

Yeah, it can get frustrating--they clump together like iron filings to a magnet around that ball.

It can be good to let things rest for a while. Rebecca got burnt out, I think. She's had a lot more fun this year, and has kept her grades at straight A's, too.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at April 23, 2007 01:12 PM