Stuff I Learned Whilst On Hiatus

In the zombie apocalypse I’m reasonably certain that I’ll survive the initial wave. Pay attention, take the signs seriously and hunker down. But after that I’m dead. Why? I don’t really have any skills that lend themselves to survival in that kind of world. I’m no good with a cross bow, my sniper skills are limited to Call of Duty and I have no idea how to make a fire or determine what is or is not edible in the wild. I have, on the other hand, developed a few skills during my years as a Dad.

The girls forced me to learn how to paint toenails. I have three daughters. If you had three daughters, you’d know how to do it too. You’d also know how to use a flat iron on your soon to be 6th grader’s hair. Why? Because just like Recon Platoon in Heartbreak Ridge you have improvise, overcome, adapt. Plus, little known fact here, but my hair in the winter of 1988/1989 was in reality long enough to be eligible for flat iron use. I didn’t know what a flat iron was or what one looked like back then…but I did know what awesomeness looked like and it was my hair, a Milwaukee’s Best Light and a Poison video on a Friday night in the dorms. Boom.

During my hiatus from writing this blog I also learned how to remove stitches. Yeah, like a freaking doctor. Guess that makes me the field medic in my house. Anyway, Mom had this weird bump under her skin right behind her left ear. Like any other Gen Xer who saw Kindergarten Cop I unceasingly stated in reference to said growth, “it could be a tumor.” She had it checked out and it was a cyst. Which, at least to me, sounds much grosser than a tumor. A cyst sounds like something that will mutate and turn you into the Kathoga from The Relic.

Regardless, Mom thought it would be a good idea if I removed the stitches. Yes, you read that correctly. She suggested this knowing that the only things I’m good at removing are nachos from their plate, beer from its can, and any sense of rationality from my reaction to the Steelers losing. Despite this she still handed me a seam ripper and the tweezers.

Oh, you don’t know what a seam ripper is? Me either. Still don’t. But Mom does. She learned how to use it in 4-H. Now don’t get me wrong, using something called a ripper sounds completely and utterly awesome. Using it on my Mom’s head? Suddenly not awesome.

“So you want me to take this seam ripper and sever this line of stitches kinda in the middle about here?”

“Yes.”

“And you are doing this of your own free will and are totally aware that said stitches are in fact in your skin? The skin that is on your head?”

“Yes.”

“Then you want me to grab the end this here piece of string that is woven into the skin on the base of your skull with these tweezers and you want me to pull on it until it comes out?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure? Because this seems like a trick. Like I’m going to do it and it’ll immediately cause horrendous pain and you’ll hold it over my head and use it as weapon until we’re 85 and it’ll come up in some argument we’re having about Depends undergarments.”

“Just do it.”

So I did. And it turns out I am a stitch removing savant. Either that or it is incredibly simple to remove stitches. I’m going with the former…

Return From Hiatus

So sorry for the long hiatus. I have several excuses. First, work got the best of me. Or if you were to put it in plain language, it kicked my ass and sucked the life out of me. It was like watching Steel Magnolias and listening to Ed Sheeran over and over again while you are intermittently interrupted by that guy at work whose only contribution in every meeting is to point out what you’re doing wrong without offering any solutions of his own. And this is all happening right as you get out of your car in the work parking lot, in the rain, only to find out that your freaking kids have pilfered your umbrella. Oh and once you make it into the building there’s that other guy who asks, “Wow, raining out?” No, it’s not raining. I took one of those selfie sticks and put a watering can on the end and walked under it all the way into the office. Then, after putting your money in the pop machine, you realize there isn’t any freaking Diet Pepsi. That’s what it was like. For all of May and the first week in June.

Second, it turns out April, May and June are, in fact, the busiest months of the year in our family. Not only was work tough on me but softball cranks up, every freaking club the girls are in at school needs to have some sort of spring performance, Rye’s dance team was in what seemed like 427 competitions and Mom was busy. In April, she went to Tacoma for a week for for work, then to Orlando for four days with Rye’s dance team. In May, she was in Kansas City for a weekend with the dance team again and then in June she went to Chicago for four days with some friends from high school. To all you single parents out there, especially the ones with multiple kids…you guys are freaking rock stars. You are the Robocops of parents. I have an entirely different appreciation for my Mom and how she took care of my sister’s and I when my Dad was traveling to West Germany, England, Alaska, Iran, Japan, etc. Normally, if you were in my shoes, you’d just fight your way through the week doing your job and carting the kids around looking forward to the weekend. But the weekends weren’t a break. There are nine weekends between May 1 and today. We had softball tournaments on all of them including this weekend. Last weekend, we were down in Kansas City with Kinz’ team. We had a great time, they won the tournament and the parents exhibited the mental toughness to sit through five games and 100 degree heat on Saturday. Then on Sunday the girls won their first three games which put them in the championship game. A game which was scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Sunday evening. But a 17U game went long so we didn’t get on the field until a bit after that. Except while the girls are warming up we find out that the tournament director had rescheduled the 10U championship game to our field which pushed our game back to 8:30 or so. And remember, we all have a three hour drive home after the game. And we all are sweaty, covered with infield dust and dirt and, I’m just spitballin’ here, but I’m reasonably certain we all smell like a foot covered with goat cheese after it had been wrapped in a wet towel and left in the sun for two days. The aggravating part was that right behind our field were two other fields. Fields that weren’t being used and would take 15 minutes to get ready. And we had umpires available. Logic dictates that since the game was already scheduled to go at 6:30 both teams would be ready to go. The tournament director just needed to make the call to switch fields and tell both teams. We decided to expedite the process a little by expressing our approval of the field switch immediately to everyone within a 2 or 3 mile radius. The problem? The tournament director said he’d already told the other team that we wouldn’t start until 8:30 and they all had left to go get some dinner. Seemed reasonable until we noticed that they were actually about 300 feet from us sitting under a big oak tree doing nothing. Well, I mean except for a few of their parents who were out in the FREAKING PARKING LOT DRINKING BEERS. Not kidding. It seemed to us to be a reasonable thing to ask the tourney director to simply go over to the other team’s coach and say, “since you guys all seem to be here and you’ve found the time to booze, we’re going to go ahead and start the game in about 20 minutes and get going so everybody gets home before midnight.”

Their reaction? “Nope.”

Our reaction? “This is how parent-on-parent violence happens.”

So we had to sit around until about 9:00 before the game started. Finished about 10:15. Thankfully, Kinz’ coach and his family decided enough was enough and got themselves and us hotel rooms for Sunday night. I figured that was a better idea than getting home at 1:30 in the morning. And we got a shower. Which is better than smelling like the aforementioned foot all the way home.