Sunday, February 08, 2009

Who Says Soccer is Boring?

Kyra's been bugging us for about a year to sign her up for a soccer league. Here's the rub, she hates running. Despite our numerous reminders that soccer is NOTHING BUT running (with a little kicking on the side), and against our better judgment, we finally caved in. If anything, it'll be good exercise for her, and who knows, she might end up enjoying running her tail off.

Her first practice was this week, and her coaches started them off with a number of drills: 2 lines, kick the ball this way, kick the ball that way, kick the ball this other way. Watching little kids with barely any control over their motor skills trying to maneuver a soccer ball in and out of a line of orange cones was less than enthralling. I nodded off in my camping chair when, out of nowhere, one of the fathers sitting near me bursts out, "HEY!". I started, then looked around and figured he was yelling at his kid who was screwing around in his drill line. ALL the kids were screwing around in the drill lines. I nodded off again when barely a minute later the dude exploded.


In a flash he was out of his chair, racing toward the nearest line of kids. I looked up and noticed a little blonde-haired kid doubled over on the ground, clutching his stomach and bawling. Another boy stood next to him, wide-eyed. Crazy Dad towered over him, then got right in his face, "WHO'S YOUR PARENT?"

One of the coaches looked up, startled at the stream of events unfolding before her, and sighed, "He's mine. What did he do?"


Coach sat her kid down under a tree and Crazy Dad returned to his seat while all of us other parents pretended not to notice his insane outburst. He seemed to go a little over the top, but who knows, maybe I would have reacted the same way if it was my kid getting punched. Regardless, it was a tense first practice and an interesting introduction to the sport of soccer. After practice, I gave Kyra two directives: stay away from the coach's kid, and don't piss off the blonde-haired kid, thus pissing off the blonde-haired kid's dad. Actually, #2 was for more for me. I'd rather not have to tangle with that guy.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Long Time, No See

Hey everybody! Remember me? Yeah, I'm the guy who "runs" this site. It's pretty dusty and cob-webby right now, but I'm hoping to clean it off and get it back into shape. In my last post, I wrote about how I'd get back to you on Across the Universe, then you never heard from me again.

Until now.

Well a couple of events have transpired since then. You see, I wrote that post, then proceeded to enjoy the movie, or most of it, when the phone rang. I investigated the caller ID before answering and discovered it was my boss. Calling me from his home. When he should have been at work. Which = not good. He'd been canned, and I saw my plans for a little self-medicating "me" time spiraling straight down the drain.

I was called into work the next morning and immediately invited into my ex-boss's boss's office, along with the station manager and the corporate VP of engineering. I was calculating in my head how much I could possibly collect in unemployment when they turned the tables on me and offered me my ex-boss's job. Part of me was flattered while the other 99% wanted to throw up. The opportunity was a good one, but the responsibility of leading the department through a major transition was daunting. I told them I'd think about it.

Then I went on vacation to Mexico with the fam.

Here's our boat...

...and the dolphin we swam with in Cabo San Lucas (his name's Ricardo)...

...and the resort pool in Puerto Vallarta where I drank WAY too much tequila.

I returned from vacation and took the job, and life has been an adjustment ever since, mostly for the better. For the first time in what seems like forever, I'm working normal hours, Monday through Friday. I'm having dinner with my family, attending every softball practice, every softball game, and tucking the girls into bed every night. I'm catching up on what I feel has been lost time with my family, and that feels great.

But on the other hand, there's been a loss of personal time that allowed me to be able to engage in activities that I really enjoyed, like writing and updating this blog. That's OK, though, because I'm doing what I need to be doing right now. I hope not to go so long before my next post, but I'm not making any promises.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

It's All About Me, Baby

I've made no secret that my work over the past few months has (high-pitched falsetto voice) sucked, but this week has taken the cake. I've been called in the past two nights (on my days off) to help put out raging fires, the equivalent of throwing a bucket of water on the towering inferno. Needless to say, I'm stressed. My heart feels like it's tied in a double knot, and I'm waking up every morning at 3 am and tossing and turning until 6. So in my free mornings, for the time being, I've decided it's "me" time. I'm going to do the things I "want" to do instead of the things I feel like I "need" to do. That is until I become totally swamped with those "need to do" items, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

I'm watching movies. Yesterday's feature was the uplifting Into the Wild, the true story of Christopher McCandless, who died of starvation in the Alaskan wilderness. Great movie. Bad timing.

This morning I'm shooting for something a little more lighthearted, something like, say, Julie Taymor's hallucinogenic rock musical, Across the Universe. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Little Things

Kyra tied her shoes all by herself this morning. Both of them. And I wasn't even badgering her about it. Just told her to put her shoes on. She usually puts them on, tightens the laces, then waits for me to finish the job. "You're going to have to learn to do this on your own someday," I chide. She just sighs and rolls her eyes.

But not today.

Today she put her shoes on while I brushed her hair, making life difficult for me as her little body bobbed and weaved, little hands navigating shoes on little feet. I usually tell her to knock it off, to wait until I'm done brushing, that it's hard to hit a moving target. But today I didn't. Don't know why. It seemed like an eternity for her to get those shoes on, but I soon discovered why. She raised her head enough for me to see her imperfectly tied right shoe. "Is it tight enough for you?" I asked. She pulled on the shoe, testing it, then nodded. Then she went to work on the left one.

I watched her as she worked. Bunny ear, bunny ear, around the tree and through the hole. My critical instincts screamed at me...the bunny ears are too small...the ends are too long...she'll never have enough slack to go for the double knot...and I even reached out to give her a hand. Twice. But each time, for some unknown reason, I told my critical inner being to suck it and leave her alone. Instead, I chose to listen to that other, smaller, wiser voice that said, Let her do it herself. I wish I did that more often. Because the payoff was huge.

"Daddy, I tied both of my shoes! All by myself!"

Her face beamed with pride and amazement and wonder, which made me want to hug her and cuddle her and never let my baby girl go. Never let her go. But I have to, little by little. She needs to learn how to do things on her own, in her own way. That can be a tough parenting pill to swallow. I released her from my bear hug and she skipped through the door wearing shoes with the bunny ears just barely peeking through the double knots and the long ends of her shoelaces flapping freely in the breeze. Not how I would have done it. But that's OK.

Really. It's OK.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Child Labor Day

Here at the Battered Ham residence, we decided to apply a literal interpretation to the Labor Day holiday and put the girls to work. Assigning housework to the girls is a little hit or miss: some days they really want to help and get into it, most days, not. Yesterday we happened to catch them on a good day, probably because Diane and I were already working. Diane took the inside while I conquered backyard weeds spurred on by a month's worth of monsoon rains. My back hurts.

The MVP of Child Labor Day had to be Kyra. She attacked the house with gusto and positive mental attitude. She washed dishes. She picked up her room. She also volunteered to clean the most god-forsaken room in the house: the bathroom. Kyra couldn't wait to get at it, following closely on Diane's heels and inquiring in a frenzied, high-pitched voice, "Can I clean the toilet too?"

Bless her heart.

Nobody wants to clean toilets. They're dirty and gross and smelly and disgusting, and ours has that stubborn hard water ring around it that you have to scrub and scrub and scrub and scrub some more but you never fully get rid of it. Diane and I usually have a contest to see who can withstand the disgustingness of the toilets the longest before the other caves in and cleans the darn things. I usually win. No more! Now (for the time being) we have a willing champion of toilets in our household...Kyra the Brave!

We realize that Kyra's fascination with toilet-cleaning is a flash in the pan at best, and that we need to capitalize on her willingness to clean as much as possible. What she needs is incentive. This is where my brilliant wife came up with a plan. At one point I checked in on Kyra, toilet brush in hand, to see how she was doing.

"Dad, guess what?"

"What, Sweetie."

"Mom says if I put on rubber gloves, I can touch the toilet water!"

I heard her, I just didn't quite believe her. "What?"

"Mom's getting me rubber gloves so I can touch the toilet water!" she repeated with a maniacal giggle.


Sure enough, as I emerged into the hallway, I passed Diane who was carrying a pair of yellow rubber cleaning gloves. We just looked at each other, grinned, and shrugged. I love my wife. If that's the price we have to pay for sparkly clean toilets, I say ring us up!


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