Posts Tagged ‘ballet’

Wrapped Up In Cookie Dough

October 10, 2012

When our oldest was in Girl Scouts my wife was the “Cookie Chair Person”.  That meant we warehoused cookies while the girls….er ummm their parents took the cookie sheet into work and danced the dosido to get their coworkers to buy a box of Dosidos, or Thin Mints or…Our phone rang night and day as Girl Scout parents called needing more.  My wife put a message on our voice mail mentioning the cookies.  My friends would all call and leave lewd comments about the cookies.  As the sale was wrapping up I was a little cukoo about the cookies.  So I changed the voice mail to say, “If you are calling about Girl Scout Cookies, my wife isn’t here.  She took the money and went on a vacation to Florida.  She’ll catch you when she gets back.”  Well one of the mom’s…one who was wound too tight…turned us in to the cookie police.  We were investigated and when it was determined that my story was half baked…we were cleared, but asked to turn in our apron and not return as a cookie chairperson again.

I still buy the cookies because I want to help the girls.  I also buy popcorn from the Boy Scouts and when the band kid comes around I shell out ten dollars for the scented candle with a scent only a great aunt could love.  That’s because her olfactory nerves were burned out by years of lavender perfume abuse.  I’ve bought cookie dough and then wondered what the heck I’m going to do with a ten pound cask of macadamia nut/white chocolate cookie dough…feed it to the birds in the winter?  One year I bought Chanukah wrapping paper to use at Christmas….just because.

So when our youngest, Grace, had an opportunity to go to France as a foreign exchange student I braced myself for “the Fund Raiser” speech.  Then a friend told me about Crowd Funding.  There are websites dedicated to helping you raise money for things like…an educational trip to France without schlepping peanut brittle.  I think we all realize that the company rolling in the dough when it comes to Girl Scout Cookies is the bakery not the girl scouts.  So why not cut out the middleman?    If we really want our money to go to good use…donate the 10 bucks we would spend on a pumpkin spice candle…straight to the kid with the cause…that way at the end of the day…the cause ends up with a lot more money.  It sounded like a great idea so we are doing that for Grace and her opportunity to be a foreign exchange student in France.  Here’s a link if you’d like to donate.   http://www.gofundme.com/1b20zg

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Grandparent’s Day

October 20, 2011

When I hear the name grandpa I have this visual in my mind and my face isn’t on it.  Don’t get me wrong I love being one.  I look forward to seeing the twins every week, but the title seems surreal.  I keep feeling like… a dad.  There is this age connotation that comes with the title, Grandpa, and I can’t seem to get past it.  Carly will say something like, “Girls, look at Grandpa”, and I turn around expecting my dad to be standing in the door.  Then I realize she’s talking about me and it’s…just …out of body.  There are certain titles that I’m good with like, Uncle Greg…I’ve worn that hat for eighteen years and I dig it.  Mr. Phelps is a little formal, but I can connect the dots on the right day.  Sir….that one strikes at the core of my internal struggle between young at heart and the fact that my high school graduating class just celebrated our THIRTY year reunion. 

On the other hand Keely has thoroughly embraced the title Grandma.  She found out on her fiftieth birthday.  She had been half a century for about half a day when she took the call from the home office.   By the next day she’d digested the news (with the help of soft food and tea:-)).  She picked up the knitting needles, reading glasses, and her Martha Washington cap, and began making blankets and sweaters.  Our house looks like a third world sweat shop with all of the yarn, patterns and needle point.  She even bought extra car seats so we’d have a set.  The girls will be a year old at the end of the month.   I think she’s knitting them a birthday cake.  She answers to Grandma…she is Grandma. 

Every Thursday and Friday evening at our house is Grandparent’s Day.  Alexis works evenings so the twins come over to magically transform our home from the teen lounge into camp run-a-muck.  We put up the barricades so they are confined to the family room where they drag, paw, pull, and chew everything they can get their soggy paws on.  Really at eleven months the only thing that separates baby humans from puppies is the fact that puppies are faster at learning where to poop.  They both chew everything.  When the twins first started pulling themselves up they were teething on our glass top tables, the frame of the tables, DVD boxes, shoes.  If you turn your back on them, they switch from chewing on toys to eating cat food and drinking from the watering bowl.  I saw it before with our kids, but our baby is fifteen now.  We haven’t covered the sockets or locked the cabinets for fourteen years.  They are also really good at showing us how inferior we are at mopping floors.  We can wash our floors three times a week and it doesn’t seem to matter.  The girls come over, crawl around for ten minutes, and their knees and socks look like they’ve been visiting the Clampett’s dirt floor cabin.  I should strap sponges to their knees so they can mop while they crawl.

I pick them up at day care each Thursday.  The first thing I had to master, aside from telling them apart, was juggling.  One baby is easy to manage.  I did that all the time.  When you carry one you still have a hand free for keys, a door knob, car seat straps…you get the picture.  Two is a whole different ball game.  The first time I picked them up it was raining.  I had two babies in my arms, their backpack, car keys in my pocket, rain on my head, and a locked car.  Nice!  And I thought Sales as challenging!  When I got to the car I found it easiest to hold them like squirming footballs together in one arm so I could unlock the door.  I really didn’t care what the passing motorists thought.  Years of hearing my coach yell “Don’t drop that football Phelps!” suddenly came rushing back.  You don’t want to be the guy who drops a baby in the day care parking lot.  The next challenge was strapping one in the car seat without the other one escaping.  If I put her down by my feet she’d immediately get wet in the puddle, crawl under the car like a turtle, and try to eat gravel…maybe if I stick her in my shirt like a kangaroo baby I can manage this!  Then we pick up Grace, take her to ballet, change diapers…theirs…not mine… and return home to the magical land of barricades, yarn, and soft food.  Thankfully the soft food isn’t for me either …yet.

 

 

Vom – Part 1

September 30, 2011

It was late one Halloween night.  The goblins had all come and gone.  The girls had compared loot and talked about their experiences.  The candles inside our jack o’ lanterns had flickered out and everyone was asleep.   Our dog Nick, a black lab who’d never grown up, decided he wanted in on the Halloween treats.  He ate all of the girl’s loot.  Every last piece of the candy was quietly consumed.  Sometime later that night as his stomach became upset he sought shelter in Carly’s room.  She was in preschool at the time.  In the darkness of her room he began to puke.  Immediately screams of freight erupted and late night mayhem ensued.  The sound of Nick’s Halloween lurching would torment Carly for years.  After the incident we had to rearrange her room so that furniture covered the area where the event occurred.   There wasn’t a physical stain, but there was a mental one.  Changing the view somehow made a difference.  Once we moved her furniture around and made sure the dog slept in another room we were able to reclaim our room and once again there was peace at night.

 Some people are better at coping with sickness than others.  As parents we are forced to deal with it.  I mean you can’t just move every time someone pukes and misses the intended target.  Someone has to play janitor and remedy the situation.  The vom episode as Carly now calls it has shaped her tolerance for the hurl.  I’d say her threshold is somewhere south of extremely low.  If she was married and starting a family today she would give the janitorial supplies to her husband and say, “Congratulations you’ve been selected.”  As Murphy’s Law would have it, Carly’s younger sister Grace is a world champion barfer.  So every year when school is back in session, the weather cools, and stomach bugs begin to sweep the nation, Grace’s number is called, and Carly does the, Serenity Now, chant until the storm passes and the sun prevails.  I’ve never seen someone so susceptible to stomach flues.  Luckily Carly, Keely, and I have pretty strong immune systems.  So the bugs Grace brings home seem to bounce off us more often than not.  However this year, we also have grand kids in the picture.  They brought over something wicked.  Forget the fact that we washed hands like we were OCD, we’re fit, and that we get more than our recommended dose of fruits and veggies.  None of that mattered.  This bug had claws or tentacles or little fists that grabbed us by the hair and pulled us kicking and screaming to the porcelain god.  Like an Olympic relay team we passed the baton to each family member and Grace ended up being the anchor of the team.  Apparently it gained some steam as it reached her.  The day I had it I received a call from the school nurse saying Grace had it too.  I couldn’t walk to the kitchen without falling down in a pile of sweat.  So I phoned a friend who donned her hazmat suit and picked Grace up from school. 

This semester Carly doesn’t have classes on Monday.  The night before, as we watched the Payton less Colts flop on Sunday night football, she made the comment that it was too bad that she would be home alone on her day off.  Twelve hours later when Grace came home and hurled she took it all back.  She was in hell.  Halloween came flashing back…again and again every hour on the hour all day long.  Grace doesn’t just vom.  She goes at it with a decibel level that is slightly less than lightning strikes, airport noise, and indoor concerts.  Relatives in California hear the sound, recoil, and call to make sure she’s alright.  Combine that with the fact she never hits the target and you get the picture of what it’s like…all…day…long!  Carly weighed her options.  Her friends were all in classes.  She saw me in the fetal position in my room.  I could have emerged to lay sick on the couch instead, but she didn’t ask, so I didn’t offer.  She could have fled to Starbucks, but she didn’t.  She stayed, found her happy place above the gaging…serenity now…serenity now!!!…and helped her sister.  That evening after Keely came home from the ER to find her home had been turned into a vomitorium she and Carly laughed about the episode as they sanitized the house.  She’d taken a step.  It took 17 years and a hurling sister to begin to exercise the demons of that Halloween night when her dog had one too many at the Snicker Bar.

Sexting the Wrong Number and Other Goofs

February 14, 2010

When Carly’s boyfriend went to college she lobbied for me to get a web cam so they could Skype.  She missed him and felt that if she could see him when they spoke it would make the distance seem shorter.  I was a boy in college once too.  If I had this technology I know what I would do.  I would enjoy talking with and seeing my girlfriend on the computer for about a week.  I would spend the next week trying to talk her into taking off her shirt.

After weeks of hearing her beg, I agreed to split the cost of a web cam provided she only used it in the family room when I’m there.  Using it in the family room if I’m gone …doesn’t work.  I can hear the conversation.  Boyfriend, “Just show me real quick while your dad’s gone.  Come on just real quick.  No one’s here.  No one will know.  If you love me you’ll do it.  Please!”  I know the tricks.  I was eighteen. 

Skype is only one of the tools boys can use to see the goods.  Sexting is another.  As much as I try to educate my daughters on boys and the do’s and don’ts it only takes one bad decision to cause heartache or worse.  Just ask Greg Oden or a parade of other public figures that have had candid photos posted on the internet. 

My favorite digital gaffe came from my ex boss who sent an email to all of our customers and prospects as we headed into the New Year, 2002.  He told them, (I’m paraphrasing), “Thanks for all of your support.  We are going out of business in 2002.”  That comment came at the end of an inspirational email that he sent without proofing.  We started getting calls from shocked customers almost immediately.  He was on suicide watch for about a week after that.  I was one of two sales people fielding the calls.  We asked him if he had anyone proof the email before he sent it.  He picked his head up off his desk, shook his head no, and went back to sobbing.  That was just one of a million things he did wrong, but it was my favorite.

Just recently my wife did something similar.  She sent me a steamy thought provoking text, but it didn’t go to me.  It went to a dance mom whose name started with “G”.  Wow!  Could you also copy Grace’s teachers?  Maybe my mom would like to know what you want me to do!”  After she hit send and realized what she’d done she called to tell me what happened.  I burst out laughing.  You can’t get it back…it’s out there.  I’d rather it hadn’t happened.  Now the mom will look at me with a little more knowledge of my abilities.  The mom responded saying, “I’m not Greg.  Maybe if you texted the right person he will grant your wish…good luck with that!”  Rather than letting sleeping dogs lie Keely tried to text an apology.  The mom responded saying, “Don’t know you or Greg, but good luck.”  Keely’s schedule hasn’t been dance class friendly for a long time so most of the moms don’t know her.  This one had forgotten who she was.  Add the fact that it was so out of context.  One minute this mom is in domestic mode and the next minute she is receiving a Penthouse Forum request.  So Keely sent another text saying, “You know us.  It’s Greg and Keely with the daughter Grace.”  I was saying, “Leave it alone you freak!  Who cares if she knows us?”  She ended up texting Keely the next day saying, “Oh yeah Keely!  It’s good to see you and Greg are keeping it fresh after being married all these years.”  Super!  Now she can put a face with the request. 

So Keely will be away at grad school for another seventeen months.  I guess the next step is Skype.  I’ll be content seeing her on the computer for a week.  The she’ll hear, “Are your room mates gone?  Take off your shirt!  Come on…no one will find out!”

The BMV and Me

February 6, 2010

It was a rainy, cold afternoon in mid November 2009.  I was driving north on I-65 headed back to the office after meeting with a few clients in downtown Indianapolis.  A gold Saturn zipped past me at about 70 miles per hour.  Not super sonic, but he caught my attention.  That part of the interstate makes a sweeping 90 degree bank as it changes direction from west to north heading away from downtown.  As Mr Saturn pulled three car lengths in front of me he made a spastic, hard left maneuver.  He over corrected that with a hard right, then hard left again,  causing him to lose control and smack the inside concrete retaining wall head on.  That totally caught my attention!  I don’t know if he was texting, or fighting with himself.  I am sure there wasn’t a bee in his car because it was winter, but it was that kind of evasive move inside the vehicle.  His car went air born then landed perpendicular to my line of travel like a bad NASCAR wreck causing me to take evasive action.  He continued his series of crazy corrections then slowly limped to the shoulder of the interstate and stopped.  Miraculously no one was collected in the accident.  The angels were looking over me.  However the collision caused his car to jettison parts which flew right into mine.  Hub caps, headlight assembly, fender parts, all hit my driver side as if I were a magnet.   I pulled to the side of the interstate and called 911, then ran back to see if he was OK.  He had no idea who I was, why I was there, or that the state police were on the way.  There were so many cars whizzing past.  I still couldn’t believe no one was hit.  Eventually we swapped insurance info, spoke with the state police, and witnessed another spinout caused by someone freaking out when they saw the cop.  He spun a 180 and nearly ran over, The Man, while coming to rest facing on coming traffic in the slow lane.  Miraculously, no one drilled him either.  Plenty of drivers quickly switched lanes to avoid tragedy.  At that point the cop adopted that cynical, “Idiots” look on his face.  I’m sure he would rather be hiding in the median, near a bridge, with a radar gun, collecting revenue.  Instead he had to deal with bad drivers while standing in the mist!  “Why did I bother to press my uniform today,” he thought to himself in a stern voice.  (They always talk in a stern voice…with cop hair!)

Two months later on January 5th I received this threatening letter from the Indiana BMV stating that I was in an accident (No kidding) and if I didn’t provide proof of insurance & financial responsibility my license would be suspended.  I scanned it in…

Ahhh our government at it’s finest!  Two months after the accident they jump into action. Wow, they’re on it!  I had to fax the form to my insurance company, they took the time to fill it out and fax it back.  Apparently the proof of insurance we provide when plating the vehicle each year isn’t good enough.  The fact that this case was closed and I wasn’t at fault wasn’t good enough.  The fact that I gave proof of insurance to the state policeman wasn’t good enough either.  As my granddad use to say with a southern accent, “Ain’t they some distrustful sons a bitches!”  Is this exercise designed to keep state employees busy?  My insurance company complied and I sent the completed paper work back to the BMV…because I had no choice.  This week I received another letter from them.  It had the same look as the previous official letter which made my butt pucker.  I thought, “Now what?”….  I love the title, Notice of Suspension Cancellation.   They were letting me know my license won’t be suspended for something I didn’t do.  How back handedly nice of them!  Well here’s my notice to you, Indiana BMV – Kiss my ass!

Coffee, Zest, Blocks & Stalls

February 4, 2010

His glasses were so crooked they formed a diagonal line pointing across his face from his temple to his ear lobe.  I haven’t seen glasses worn like that since Grace played dress up as a three year old.  Was this a test?  Was he baiting me?  Should I pluck the glasses off his face, straighten them, and put them back on him…with a straight face no pun intended?  It was hard to take him seriously yet the conversation was just that.  Finding your passion, living with zest, eliminating blocks and stalls from your life.  So you can achieve your goals and thrive.  He was a life coach and he spoke with passion while wearing crooked glasses.  I wasn’t paying him for this lecture.  I hadn’t signed up for his seminar.  He wasn’t my coach until I sat down at the table next to him inside the Borders on the corner of Randolph and State streets in downtown Chicago. 

I believe God sends people into our life for a reason.  He sent this gentleman, Dr Richard Talsky motivational lecturer extraordinaire, to me.  I had a fresh cup of coffee and no where to go for the next hour and a half.  He seemed entertaining, insightful, and passionate.  So much to my wife’s chagrin I listed to his teachings while she studied grad school stuff across the table from me.  I was as much held captive as I was captivated because I already believed everything he was preaching.  There are random times these days when my motivation lacks high octane drive, but I do a lot more than just get by.  That day I’d planned on writing a blog about zest and as luck would have it, he was teaching, preaching, to me about it.  My blog had more to do with the opposite of his lecture, but irony is good, God is good.  Dr Talsky has good intentions, so for that hour and a half I became a student.

He was the poster child for the word savant.  Smart guy, disheveled look, books piled around him in disarray.  I can’t confirm this, but it looked like he was using the Borders as a library.  There were easily ten books, two magazines, and one newspaper scattered around him on the table.  He was studying about successful business people like Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple.  He wanted to know their philosophy on business and how they cultivate that special zest that separates them from everyone else. 

He told me he was renting a turn of the century theatre on Chicago’s west side.  That theatre would become the epicenter for all things motivational.  People would flock there to hear all types of successful people teach about zest.  I’m sure they would serve only the best popcorn at the snack bar…ok I made that up.  Any way this will be the only theatre of it’s kind…all motivation…all the time.  I bet it the resulting positive energy will cast light in that neighborhood 24/7.  He believes the area will become a cultural haven for zest.  One of the components for spreading the word is a radio show on WIND 820 AM.  He also has a web site for all things positive, http://www.thewowcenter.com.  He has a vision of the cost, the profit, the future.  He has eliminated the blocks and stalls that prevent success.  He wants me to eliminate blocks and stalls that hold me back from experiencing my ultimate success.  At this point my wife and everyone around us want me to eliminate the blocks and stalls that are preventing me from breaking it off with Dr Talsky so that he will go back to studying quietly.

He is a published author.  His book, 50 Ways to Thrive, is available for $15.00.  I didn’t have cash, so I bought a Borders gift card for $15.00 and gave that to him for a copy of the book, which he signed.  My wife sighed.  I didn’t care.  I want him to reach his goals.  I want to see him on Oprah discussing the 50 Ways to Thrive.  I want him to notice that all wildly successful people wear glasses horizontally across their face.

Grandmas & Pat Boone

January 28, 2010

During the Nutcracker I got to know most of the parents of the young dancers. One little girl was always accompanied by her grandmother.  The mom was non existent.  I thought it was so cool that the Grandmother took such an active roll in her granddaughter’s life.  One Saturday afternoon I was sitting with Grace outside the third floor studio in Lilly Hall.  There was a break between rehearsals.  The Butler students had left the building. The young dancers and parents hung out, ate lunch, and chatted.  The elevator door opened and the little girl’s mom stepped out in an outfit that was …tragic at best.  She was trying to reclaim youth that….had also left the building…years ago.  She seemed startled at the laughing kids.  As she navigated the hall she looked at them like they were piles of dog poop in the back yard.  Later that day she belittled her mom, the helpful grandma, in front of me and the stage manager.  She accused her of being unorganized, less than helpful, and a bunch of other garbage.  The distasteful barrage was reminiscent of a tantrum thrown by a spoiled thirteen year old.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had the grandma’s email address.  After the verbal flogging I sent her an email saying I thought she was doing a great job.  I didn’t see that woman again until the week of the shows.  She was an ass during that week too.

Apparently I endeared myself to the grandmother because she started sending me emails.  They weren’t personal emails.  They were the ones you get that say, “Microsoft is giving away a free vacation to Disney if you forward this email to everyone in the world”.  Or…”Traffic cops in California were using a radar gun to catch speeders when an Air Force jet on a training exercise locked onto the gun, thought it was enemy radar, and nearly fired missiles at the cops”.  You know the emails.  You get them too.  If there was a fake news story circulating on the web, she would send it to me with a note saying, I thought you should know this.  Today she sent me one that said Barack Obama is anti Christian.  It was a speech by Pat Boone…the singer.  First of all I thought Pat was dead.  Apparently just his career died.  As proof of our president’s anti Christian views Pat’s speech sites quotes from speeches Mr. Obama has given around the world like this, “You might say that America is a Muslim nation.”- President Barack Obama, Egypt 2009.  I love quotes that are taken out of context.  Kennedy said, “Ich bin ein Berliner” He was a Berliner?  What a commie!  What was President Obama supposed to say when he was in Egypt trying to find common ground with a different culture?  Should he have said, “You’re not welcome in America unless you eat happy meals and drive a Ford F150?”  My first reaction was to send her that picture of Pat Boone in leather from his heavy metal CD, No More Mr Nice Guy. (See photo below) I thought about adding a caption that said, “Jesus died for his sins”.  Apparently Pat wasn’t talented enough to write his own metal songs so in 1997 he covered songs from Guns N Roses, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, and Judas Priest in an attempt to revive his career.  You know Christian artists.  He wore the dog collar, leather, and fake tattoos on stage because that outfit is commonly associated with god fearing Southern Baptists.  Now he should wear a straight jacket because he’s crazy if he thinks I’m buying into this publicity stunt.

I’d like to turn the table on her.  The next time she orders a frosty for her granddaughter I could say, “She only feeds her granddaughter Frosties.  See, here is a photo of her buying one at a Wendy’s on 86th street on January 28th.  The poor child needs real nourishment”!  I could also remind her that America is a melting pot.  I could show her that there are Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Atheists, Jews (several danced in the Nutcracker!) and a host of other cultures.  I should remind her that the Pledge of Allegiance ends by saying, “With Liberty and Justice for All” – key word – ALL which includes bone heads like Pat Boone, Pat Robertson,  spamming grandmas…

The Boys of Fall

September 26, 2009

About 6 years ago I was raking leaves in the fall when a pack of boys Carly’s age came walking down the street tossing a football.  I heard my mom’s voice, “Please play touch. No one needs to get hurt.”  The truth is any time a group of boys get together someone may get hurt.  It has nothing to do with sports.  If there are five boys in a room full of feathers one of them could end up with a quill sticking out of his eye.  We played touch if the game was up near the house where parents could see.  We always played with three rules.  Defense had a five apple rush and no blitzes.  The offense couldn’t use running plays.  Running plays led to an endless string of touchdowns which took all of the challenge and fun out of the game.  A five apple rush is this; you have to count out loud, one apple, two apple, three apple, four apple, five apple, before you rush the quarterback.  It made up for no blocking.  Those are really universal rules for any sand lot game, any where in the country.  The count may change from apples to Mississippi’s, but everything else is the same.

Playing football in a house full of ballerinas just doesn’t happen.  My girls love to watch it, but that is where it ends.  I felt the need to get grass stained and sweaty.  When they made it to our yard I said, “Are you done playing or going to play?”  They said, “Waiting on some other guys before we play.”  I really wanted to play. I went straight for the justification. I can rake these leaves Monday evening. So I said,” Come get me if you need another player.”  One of them said, “Mr Phelps, you’re funny”.  I said, “Seriously, come get me if you need another guy.”  They never showed.  The following week there were even more of them walking down the street with football in hand.  Again I was raking.  Again I felt the tugging of childhood. So I threw out the offer…again.  They stopped, “Seriously?”  I said, “Yeah!  I wouldn’t offer if I was kidding.”  “OK Mr. Phelps we’ll call you before we play”. They agreed just because they are nice.  I had just finished raking when my wife came outside saying, “Some boys from the neighborhood want to know if you can come down and play football?”  She thought it was cute.  I thought it was cool.  I’ve known them since they were in preschool.  Now they were old enough I didn’t have to worry about hurting anyone.  On my way out the door she said, “Honey, please don’t play tackle.”  It had come full circle. 

Our neighborhood has a creek that runs along one border.  The homes that line that creek have perfect back yards for football.  I walked down there wearing a T-shirt about ballet, jeans, and tennis shoes.  I wasn’t even thinking about it.  That’s what I was wearing to rake leaves.  They were all dressed in NFL jerseys and athletic shorts.  I could tell by the looks it was like showing up wearing black socks and dress shoes.  Half the kids were from our neighborhood and the other half were school friends who rode their bikes or were dropped off by parents.  I think our neighborhood kids were embarrassed.   “Ballet shirt?  Jeans?”  Wisdom taught me that at this stage of my life, Russian Pointe shoes at $85.00 a pop, are a better investment than a Polamalu jersey.  I was picked last.  Truth be told I was picked at all because they felt sorry for me.  The dad who lived there came out and tried to convince me not to play.  He was permanently on the “Physically unable to perform” list.  Said another way, he was too old to play.   He wanted me to be too.  He tried to talk the kids into making me the all time quarterback so I wouldn’t get hurt.  I knew him.  I like him.  I said, “Bill I’m not ready for the wrinkle ranch.  I came down here to have fun.”  He mumbled, “Make sure you guys play touch,” and went back inside.  I had a blast.  Mr Ballerina shirt could still play ball.  They saw me as something more than a stale dad.  I came home dirty, wet with sweat, the knees ripped out of my jeans, and the feeling of youth in my heart.  It sounds funny, but I was happy to be accepted.  I hadn’t been one of the guys, since college.  Carly thought it was funny.  They talked about it on the way to school Monday.  “Your dad can play!”  From that point forward I was on the list.  Friday night we went to the high school football games and every Sunday the phone rang.  My wife would answer, smile, and say, “The boys want to know if you can play.”  For the last five years we played.  This year it ended.  Most of them have responsibilities that come with getting older.   Others went in a less productive direction.  For a while I was given a second chance at childhood, another opportunity to be one of the boys.  It was cool.

football

Scheduling the Week

September 12, 2009

I had a friend contact me last week with a business proposal.  It was a great idea, but he’s got more drama in his life than a collection of ER’s greatest hits.  With the girls back in school and ballet training every night our schedule is more choreographed than a Dance Kaleidoscope  show rehearsal.   Dealing with the drama of the day is not on my to-do list.

I need to make sure everything is organized so nothing gets overlooked.  Our dinners and the girls dance schedule are posted on the fridge Sunday evening for the week ahead.  That morning I plan the meals over coffee.  Then I go grocery shopping.  I know what we need which saves time and money.  My grocery list is built with the flow of the store in mind.  It saves time and makes shopping easy.  Then I compulsively wash my hands 50 times like Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets.  Not really, but I sound like I have a compulsive disorder.  I should wash my hands after shopping though with H1N1 lurking around every corner.  Those shopping carts are probably a breading ground for the flu, scabies, and five kinds of flesh eating bacteria…sleep well tonight!  Any way, I hit Costco for the big stuff and Meijer for the other stuff.  I could take the easy way out.  We could do carry-out every night.  I have two problems with that…actually three.  (1) We live on a budget and carry-out is way more expensive than cooking.  (2) We need to eat healthy.  My girls are athletes and I like my fruits and veggies.  Carry-out is…bad.  Just shoot a wad of butter in my veins and toss the dirt over my head (3) Leftover’s make a great low cost lunch and I like them.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to choke anything down just to save money.  I like cooking and leftovers. 

If you haven’t figured it out yet I have a type “A” personality.  Numbering, lists, scheduling…where’s my coffee?!  Seriously though, we as a family and a society need to eat healthy and stick to a budget.  Financial crisis…hello!  Health crisis….we’re fat!  I was thinking about this when I walked into Meijer last Sunday.  The first seven adults I saw had a combined mass slightly greater than the state of Texas make that Tex-ass.  Obviously they were all passing the produce section in search of the breaded, frozen, fried cheese sticks and dip. 

Each morning I make breakfast and lunch for the girls, ride my bike (see my last blog) exercise (me time), and start working.  At lunch I make dinner for the girls then go back to work.  Carly gets home from school at 3:30.  She grabs their dinner, & snack then leaves to pick up Grace at 4:00 and head to Jordan.   They start dancing at 4:30 and that usually goes to 9:00.  So they need to take dinner.  While they are at dance I work until about 7:00.  Then I clock out and hit our veggie garden, other yard work, or other domestic stuff.  When they get home it’s time to hit the books.  I write my blog or unwind with them until 10:00.  So you see I have no time for someone else’s drama.  It just drags you down.  At some point I call my wife to catch up with her, tell her fun stuff like I was hit on at the grocery …by a guy.  That wasn’t on my to-do list either.  At forty-eight years old I’m flattered that anyone is attracted to me, but if I had my choice I’d rather be propositioned in the produce section by a well educated woman who snuck home to surprise her husband with fresh strawberries and candles. That would be great, sadly it’s not on my to-do list either…until this weekend.  She didn’t buy the strawberries or candles I did.  Some times it’s good to lose the list, unplug the clock, and let the people you love know they are appreciated.