There are times I think God reaches down to test me. Other times to just teach me a lesson. But sometimes I think he’s just screwing around, hanging with Gabriel, and they see my granddad walk by and the three of them decide to mess with me. My Granddad’s nickname when he was young was “Sparky” cause, well, he liked to party. He also liked to poke people in the eye which might explain why he was a union member and a Republican.
Anyway, Saturday evening is the carnival for the girl’s school. Mom had mentioned early that morning that she thought we should go. I, however, had strategically ignored the comment in hopes that it would fade into quietly into history. Kinda like the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands in 1942.
Instead Mom announces that we’re going and the girls went freaking crazy. I couldn’t contain the blast. Too much momentum to hold back. It was like the Celtics trying to guard Michael Jordan in the Garden back in ’85 when in went off for 63 wearing those sweet black and red Nikes.
After about 75 minutes, we make it out of there. It really wasn’t too bad. Except some of the prizes the girls won were these inflatable things. We’re in the car they start blowing them up. Rye has a guitar, Kinz and great big set of lips and Bails has a bat. So that’s my first sign that God is messing with me. Bails has a bat. Really? C’mon…
So they start singing. Rye is working the guitar and Kinz is singing holding her lips up doing a credible Mick Jagger impression with accent and everyting. Anyhow, it’s about 6:45 and I’m pretty hungry so I foolishly say, “Hey, let’s go get something to eat. How about Applebee’s? They have Pepsi products. I’m not drinking any Diet Coke.”
We get there, park the car and Mom goes into the restaurant. We didn’t follow because evidently the seats either became really sticky or there was some type of giant vacuum sucking the girls into the car because they were suddenly incapable of leaving the vehicle.
“C’mon, what the heck is happening with you guys? Aren’t you hungry? I am and I’m cold. Let’s go.”
“Hey Dad, c’mere, I’m going to give you a REALLY big kiss.”
This cracked up Rye and Bails so thoroughly they couldn’t even make sound. Bailey physically fell over in hysterical silent laughter.
They managed to collect themselves well enough to walk into the building. 20 minute wait. Hmmm…this could be bad. Girls are already hungry and now kinda worked up. And we’re going to ask them to stand relatively still for 20 minutes. This, as all parents know, is what is called a “gamble.” It’s Tom Osborne going for two in the ’84 Orange Bowl against Miami – it’s all or nothing.
All the seats in the waiting area are taken so we lined them up against the wall and had them sit on the floor. We tried to separate them but we were about as successful as the Maginot Line against Germans in the spring of 1940. Bails simply could not keep from touching the other two. Which elicited several different responses. Retaliatory hits. Giggles. Whining. And tattling. So I pick up Bails and tell her that because of how she’s acted to this point, she’s headed to her room when she gets home and if she keeps it up, it’ll be right to bed. Bails hates going to bed first. Hates it. Sending her to bed first is like asking Dick Vitale to say nothing but bad things about Duke. Just can’t deal with it.
She shaped up for about 28 seconds and then she kicked Rye in the melon. Thankfully it was at just about the same time our table was ready.
As soon as we sit down, Kinsey starts whining because she didn’t get all the crayons she wanted. She didn’t get a blue one but Rye and Bails did. She actually manufactured some tears.
Mom dropped the hammer so fast it was a little disconcerting. People say “zero tolerance” all the time but rarely do you see it. Plus this wasn’t zero tolerance, it was like negative 8 tolerance.
Didn’t matter because then she started whining about how I was playing tic-tac-toe with Bails but not with her. Mom dropped a bag of hammers.
Like the 3rd Army relieving Bastogne, the food arrives just in time. Dinner goes pretty well mainly because we set a big basket of fries in front the girls.
Then this morning we’re teaching Rye’s 3rd grade Sunday school class. I actually like this class. We never have any problems and the kids are almost always good.
Not today. God evidently was testing the hypothesis, “How bad does a kid have to be at Sunday School before the teachers bring the pain?”
We had a boy this morning, who on all other occasions has been pretty good. He participates and genuinely likes being there. Today he was like a Terminator whose mission was to make noise incessantly, complain about all activities, and drop his paper and pencil on the floor every 12 seconds.
He was so bad the other kids started disciplining him. It was damn close to turning into an unruly mob. The scary part was I was the one holding torch and pitchfork. Mom had to step in and deescalate. She was like Kissinger in the Mideast. Thankfully we had a guest come to our room today to talk to the kids about summer camp. He had a video, a guitar (a real one, not an inflatable one) and some songs. By the time he got to the third song I thought he was going to all Pete Townsend on his guitar and go after the kid.
At this point I was pretty certain, that Gabriel was up there with my Granddad telling God, “Hey, hey…let’s have the kid say “boing” 114 times in row? Yeah, this is gonna be awesome.”
You ever try to teach nine third graders how to look things up in Bible while one of them is saying “boing” over and over while he’s tapping his pencil to each “boing?” If I had had Bailey’s inflatable bat…