Here’s the Situation

I don’t mean Mike from Jersey Shore. Who, by the way, might be the most clueless dense loser I have ever witnessed on TV. This guy named himself “the situation.” That much arrogance so laughably misplaced is remarkable.

Anyway, here’s the situation: I pick up Kinz and Bails from daycare today after work. Rye is down at Grandma camp this week. I recommend this camp to every single parent on the planet. At least until Pelosi and Reid figure out a way to start taxing it to pay for health care. Shedding one kid changes the dynamic in your house. Bails and Kinz have been goofy all week. It’s like they are long lost pals seeing each for the first time every time they see each other. There has been virtually no order at all in our house. It’s like Arnold’s first day as a teacher in Kindergarten Cop. They haven’t gotten along this well since…well…since the last time Rye was at Grandma camp. Hmmm….

So they are telling me a story about playing “outdoor kickball” at daycare today. Yeah, I didn’t realize there was indoor kickball either. And they were a little tad bit confused when I asked what the differences were between the two versions.

Regardless, they are playing outdoor kickball with a boy named Ryan. Only three of them playing. Ryan is kicking, Bails is on third and Kinz is in the field. Basic baseball base running rules evidently apply. Except Bails still isn’t real clear on all of said rules. Ryan lofts one into the air…Bails takes off for home because “I wanted to get home because that’s how your score points.” Kinsey drifts over to her right and catches the ball. Ryan is out. And Bails needs to get back to third before Kinsey touches the base.

Except for two things.

1-One of the rules in outdoor kickball is that you don’t have to actually “tag” people with the ball or step on a base while holding the ball. You can throw the ball at the base and if the ball hits the base before the runner gets back, the runner is out. Or you can just rifle the ball directly at the runner and if it hits the runner, he or she is out.

2-Bails wasn’t really familiar with the tagging up rule. So she’s running full speed, head down for home. And Bails is fast. She’s also pretty serious about being fast. Serious enough that we’ve already decided that we’re forcing her to run track. I’m not kidding. She’s The Flash. Remember Michael Johnson in the ’96 Olympics? She’s that fast. Except she’s blond. And only 6.

Anyhow, Kinz throws the ball at Bailey as she’s running for home. And after watching Kinsey play softball, it’s safe to say that the one thing that stood out was that the girl has a freaking bazooka for an arm. She nailed Bails like she was Elway throwing to Vance Johnson to end The Drive. Knocked Bails right off her feet.

Bailey did not react well. She started launching woodchips at Kinsey like Will Ferrell throwing snowballs in Elf. She actually started crying while they were telling me the story she was so upset that she was out.

How the hell do you handle all of that?

I mean I’m pretty clear on the whole hurling wooden projectiles isn’t really a good choice on the decision tree of how to act when you make an out in outdoor kickball.

But Bailey, as you may have gathered, is a slight bit competitive. Which is good. That will serve her well as she strives to achieve things. But you don’t want her to be that kid who stomps away if things don’t go her way. You remember that kid. The one who wouldn’t play unless they could win every time.

She’s also a team player by instinct too. So when her sister tags her out, she takes it like some sort of betrayal.

You can take several strategies here:

Tough Love/Low Sympathy Strategy: “Suck it up. You got out. Big deal. Next time watch for the ball and you won’t get out. Now finish your peas and leave me alone.”

Helicopter Parent Strategy: “I can’t believe they even let you play a game where someone could get hit with something. That’s irresponsible and horrible leadership from your teachers. I’m calling right now to complain about this.”

The Obama Strategy: “First of all, why is Ryan out? The rules are stacked against him. He should be awarded first base because of the years of unfair outs with which he has had to deal. Second, why is their only one ball. Everybody deserves a ball. And if they don’t have one this country certainly has the resources to design a system so everyone who wants a ball can have one. And not just the crappy balls you buy at Wal-Mart, but the really good ones that the privileged kids out in the suburbs have. Last, Kinsey cannot be allowed to prevent Bailey from getting home simply because history, tradition and the Constitution say she can. Outdoor kickball needs transformational change!”

Turns out the thing that really mad her mad was that she didn’t know the rules. So Kinsey and I explained them. No idea if it helped but she stopped crying long enough to finish her dinner.

Ugh.

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Unscheduled Creativity

The girls generation will have its set of unique peculiarities just like every other generation. I’ve concluded that one of them will be the fact that they become extremely bored if they don’t have an activity scheduled. And not the normal, “Dad, I’m bored,” kinda stuff. I’m talking Browns fans watching Super Bowl highlights. If they could, they’d start shutting down on non-essential brain functions and motor skills.

Theirs is the generation that has been going to daycare their whole lives. They have constantly had activities scheduled for them. Now don’t get me wrong. The girls have “open play” time at the daycare. But it is scheduled. Which means it is scheduled unscheduled time.

They are rarely faced with a situation where they wake up on a summer morning and have absolutely nothing on the docket. No daycare, no swimming lessons, no dance class, no softball practice…nothing. This, as I recall, was how every single summer day was for me growing up. And it was freaking awesome. We roamed up and down the street and made up games. They usually centered around our plastic M-16’s or pseudo-baseball. We didn’t have enough kids to really play baseball so we made up our own version. Kept stats and everything. If it wasn’t a homer, it didn’t count. That’s the way it works when you only have four players. Plus we played with a tennis ball. Here’s an actual photo of me batting:

Recently the girls had a whole Saturday with nothing planned. The boredom however unleashed the magic power of the music in Riley. She goes outside and comes back in with what looks a lot like a three foot twig. She grabs some medical tape, a ball of rubber bands, the scissors, two old plastic Easter eggs and an empty box that previously contained juice boxes.

She comes up with this:

Yes, that’s a microphone, two maracas and a guitar.

Meanwhile Kinsey and Bailey are down in the basement playing barbies. As a testament to their generation, they came up a schedule for their barbies. Here’s the list:

1-Mall
2-Beach
3-Date at best night ever
4-Take private jet to France
5-Hair salon
6-Movie theater
7-Limo to pretty girls karate class
8-Walk down the red carpet

Those are some tough logistics, not to mention a pretty busy day.

Published in: on July 26, 2010 at 6:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Trueblood and Jersey Boys

Mom sucked me into watching season 2 of Trueblood with her on DVD. It’s weird. And not in a LOST way but in just weird way. Listen, I’m the first to admit I haven’t been infected by the vampire fever which took hold of America last year some time. I’m evidently immune. America though is evidently fascinated by vampires. They come from Europe, glamour you with their words and then suck every bit of life out of you. Sorta like Obama and the liberals running Congress.

Trueblood is populated by vampires, fairies, banshees, shapeshifters, werewolves and humans. But the humans are mostly from Louisiana. I’m just sayin’ cause James Carville is from Louisiana nobody is really sure what he is.

Plus, and I didn’t know this, but wolves are not the only weres. Apparently, there are werepanthers, weretigers, werelions and everything. Seriously. But the weres are still in the closet while vampires have already come out. Then I found about the fairies and the banshees. Brace yourself – the fairies are fierce fighters. Now I bought the whole heart of the island on LOST and that Ben and Hurley became buds and ran the place for awhile. But telling me to believe that fairies are fierce fighters is like telling me Mean Joe Greene was a role player for the Steel Curtain.

Anyhow, she watches this freakshow at night after the kids are in bed because language and content aren’t what most people would describe as suitable viewing for a kid who might accidently see it. Although we did go see Jersey Boys last night and that show has more f-bombs than Trueblood. But those guys are from Jersey. And the vampires have nothing on them.

They should come up with a musical about hair metal. Bet there’s never been crowd surfing at a musical.

Anyway, I don’t go to very many musicals. I saw Grease 13 years ago. Saw Movin’ Out too. I really liked that even though it wasn’t really a musical. It was more like interpretive dance to cool songs. I didn’t see Wicked. Not even sure what it was about. Assumed it was about a witch. Or maybe dudes from Boston. People told me the costumes in The Lion King were really cool. But I find it hard to believe they were better than the Oilers baby blue uni’s from the late 70’s.

Regardless, one of things they evidently do at musicals is to slip little cheatsheets into your program in case there is a line up change. For example, last night there was a slip of paper that informed us that “The roles usually played by John Edwards will be played by Nathan Scherich.”

Um…thanks.

I mean first of all I didn’t know John Edwards had moved on from Democratic politics and lying so quickly. Good for him I guess.

Second, do I really need to know this? I concluded that this must be for the folks who field musical fantasy teams and they had Edwards in their starting lineups. No idea on the scouting reports on Scherich but he played last night so he probably produced a few more points than he normally does. Bonus for the Scherich owners out there.

Not really sure how the scoring works but there has to be bonus points for standing ovations and audience laughs. Don’t think Scherich had any of those however. After seeing the show, I think he’s more like a #4 running back. Maybe a #5 receiver. Like Ernest Jackson for the Buccaneers or Legedu Naanee for the Chargers. You keep him on the roster in case of injury and maybe you’ll get lucky that he starts or plays or sings or however you describe that in musical fantasy sports.

Last night he busted out as the French rapper in the opening song and received a noticeable but far from thunderous applause. But then it’s back to the bench aside from a few appearances as various move-the-story-along-characters. I was thinking maybe he has value as a third down back kinda guy but in reality he’s really a deep reserve that usually only holds a roster spot on teams where the owner went to the same college as him.

But maybe that’s just me.

Things I Learned Today

1-Our family runs in tall ears. Like elves. Kinz wore her hair in pig tails to daycare today. As I’m putting on my shoes this morning, she walks over, points to her ears and tells me, “Dad, our family runs in tall ears.”

Perplexed, I asked her to repeat what she said.

“Our family runs in tall ears. Like elves. Look my ears. They are some tall buggers.”

“All right kiddo, first, you don’t have tall ears.”

“Sure do. Check ‘em out.”

“Riiiiight. Um…whatever. Second thing is I think you mean tall ears run in our family. But they don’t and ears aren’t tall.”

“Then what do you call these Mr. Smarty Pants?”

“Ooooookay…how about we just go eat breakfast.”

2-Bailey not only is an observant kid she’s also talented in stating the obvious. Why? Well, the last couple days at daycare Bails and one of her friends have been folding up pieces of paper and turning them into cellphones. They draw a screen and keyboard on them and pretend to talk to each other. Today they made them into little books. As I pick her up today she shows me this:

I congratulate her on her first book.

“Dad, you know what’s in it?”

“Nope. What’s in there?

Don’t really get the peace symbol but the other part is pretty funny. Mostly because it’s true…

Published in: on July 15, 2010 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Past is a Funny Thing

Have you ever noticed how it’s never raining in your memories of summer? I don’t think I have a single memory of it ever raining back on Fox Shores Drive. I’m sure it did but some things just have a way of disappearing into history without much fanfare – the Allied invasion of southern France in August of 1944, the success of Don Coryell’s Cardinals in the mid-70’s, Val Kilmer.

To prove to the girls that the stories I tell are indeed true, I took the opportunity to show them a few places from my history. We drove out to visit a couple of my good buddies from high school last weekend. While we were there I checked out two of the houses I lived in growing up. Not many people can say this but by the time I was 16 I had lived in 4 different states and 5 different houses. Six if you count the one we rented for a few months in the summer of ’86.

Anyway, I took the opportunity to take the girls and Mom past not only the houses but also my old grade school. If memory serves, and it might not since gray hairs are becoming more common on my head than pork-barrel spending in a federal stimulus bill, it’s been 26 years since I’ve been at my grade school. Last time I was there we were walking around in our parachute pants singing “Ghostbusters.”

Ray Parker, Jr. aside, the girls weren’t nearly as interested as I hoped. Well maybe Riley was because she’s just like me and it interesting to her to actually see history and hear the stories that go along with it.

“Right there is my 4th grade classroom. We used to line up before school right here. Out in that field over there we played ‘Kill the Guy with the Ball until the nuns shut us down.’”

“Great Dad. Can we eat lunch now?”

“Nope. Let’s take some pictures.”

“Awwww…why…it’s hot…”

What happens to your spatial perception between childhood and adulthood? Between being a kid and being a grown-up? The whole place seemed so much bigger back when disco ruled the world. But aside from a lot more landscaping, the building looks the same. Which is kinda nice.

Since that wasn’t nearly enough nostalgia, we drove by the house we moved into in December of ’77. Lived there until the summer of ’84. Here’s a pic.

“Dad is this where you played Ghost in the Graveyard?”

“This is the place Kinsey.”

“Wow. It looks like it might be scary at night.”

“Yeah, if scary means awesome!”

Not only did my old my house serve as an excellent setting for Ghost in the Graveyard it also was an ideal site for Capture the Flag. Bow in your reverence for the greatest summertime game ever invented. I actually stopped the car and pointed out the property line that served as the territory border during our games. Pointed out the junction box that was jail and how the street was out of bounds.

None of this was nearly as remarkable to them as the fact that I also grew up living a stone’s throw from a river.

“Dad, did you swim in the river?”

“Sometimes but it was gross. Grandma made us take showers as soon as we got home.”

“Did you have a boat?”

“No. But a few of our neighbors did so we went out on the river a lot.”

“Are there fish in the river?”

“Catfish and carp. But carp aren’t really fish as much as they are an organic garbage disposal.”

“It looks like the Ozarks but skinnier.”

The river looked like the Dan Ryan Expressway on Saturdays. Except there weren’t any lanes or guard rails. And virtually no rules other than don’t crash. We’d build these intricate sand forts and reinforce the front with clay because, well, that was extent of our engineering knowledge. But the wake from these boats would obliterate the wall from time to time. Which isn’t surprising since it is entirely plausible that the propellers on these oversized behemoths were dragging the bottom of the river.

It was a pretty cool place to be a kid. Lots of other kids on the street. We lived at the bottom of the hill which meant we could sit on our skateboards and lock arms and legs and ride down the whole street. We kinda looked like a mini skateboard catamaran.

If we did that now, I’m sure my folks would have been reported for child endangerment for not outfitting us with helmets, pads and a protective inflatable bubble. Although the bubble would have been helpful that nice spring morning back in 1980 when my sister and I decided it would be a good idea to roll down the hill before school. In our uniforms. Turns out the cotton/rayon blend in my uniform shirt didn’t hold up all that well when it skidded across the pavement. Still have a scar on my right shoulder.

Didn’t tell the kids that story.

Just to be clear…

If you haven’t seen this yet, its hilarious.

And just to be clear…I refuse to drive a mini-van, my khaki’s don’t have pleats, there are no hand held devices on my belt and I have a push mower…but there aren’t any weeds in my fescue…

Published in: on July 7, 2010 at 8:53 pm  Comments (2)  
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