Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Divide and Conquer

I’m coaching softball. And by “coaching” I mean herding fifteen 7-8 year old girls around a ball field for an hour twice a week.

I don’t get a horse and I don’t get a dog. But I do get three assistant coaches.

I think I’d prefer the dog.


Tonight is our second official practice of the four we’re allotted before games begin. I say official since one of our other coaches has kindly – foolishly, ignorantly, questionably – offered his yard for extra practices if necessary. Mind you, “necessary” is a relative term here.

Can the girls benefit from more than four practices?

Seeing as though, many are afraid of the ball, and most have never even played a friendly game of catch before, yeah more practice would definitely be beneficial.

Is it appropriate to invite fifteen first and second graders back to your house for private tutoring?

Not in my mind. Maybe it’s the paranoid mom in me having read far too many news articles that started out this way, but….red flags. Everywhere.

Another important thing to note here is that even twenty practices aren’t going to change the fact that these girls are seven and eight. This is their first foray into the sport – even a sport for some of them – and winning is not even on the docket. Granted that’s because we can’t technically keep score, but also because few would even know what constituted a “score.”

Have I mentioned when I told them all to meet me at first base to kick off our first practice, fewer than a third actually settled for the correct bag? /sigh

But all – not including the new girl who couldn’t be pried from her mom’s thigh – at least stayed in the dirt. Bonus!

So, tonight we start again. This time I feel a little better armed for the battle. I still don’t have a horse or a dog, but I’ve some ideas on how to better utilize the eager dads wanting to help. I’m not drawing comparisons.

Nor am I ignoring them.

That said, their eagerness means I’m not going in alone. There are still more of them than of us, but we’re bigger. We’re stronger. And I have a whistle.

Divide and conquer.

That’s the plan.

Divide and conquer.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Our $7000 Landscape Addition OR Yet Another Reason for Mom to say NO!

It’s hot here in Lansing, Michigan. The actual temperature is only 78. Not all that impressive, really, unless you factor in the humidity. The air truly feels as if you could slice it with a knife. Even the plastic kind I allow the children to use. Three small bodies in this house with me, all wanting to cuddle, add not only degrees of happiness but of heat. I’ve opened the windows, anticipating - or rather desperately hoping for - a cool breeze. The trees are perfectly still. But I still hope. My oldest not-yet-in-school asks innocently why mommy hasn’t turned on the air conditioner.

“We bought a new truck, baby.” I tell him.

He looks at me understandably confused, but lets it go, and returns to Scooby-Doo.

Even I struggle with my new static answer.

“Why can’t we have the good pizza tonight, mom?

“We bought a new truck, honey.”

“Can’t I have new sandals this year?”

“Hello? The truck?”

“We haven’t gotten a new Wii game in months.”

“What’s that in the driveway, darling? Yes, that’s it. The truck.”

Said truck sits there in the driveway most hours of the day. We’ve owned it a week. Bought it with a full tank of gas, and are still well above the ½ tank line.

The kids are slowly beginning to understand that an inevitable “no” waits at the end of most their requests, even if they don’t understand the “whys” of it. Picking up on the importance of this new purchase, they’ve taken to altering their inquiries.

Now it’s:

“Can we take the new truck to the store today, mommy?”

“Of course not, darling. I’ve told you gas is too expensive.”

“Aren’t we going to drive the new truck to Grandma’s house so everyone can see?”


“No, sweetheart.”

For days, they were actually very excited about the new family vehicle. They crawled around in it. Got a ride around the subdivision in it. Since then, it’s sat rather sadly in the driveway next to the Granger cart. I’ve contemplated buying a tarp for it, as it’s become a source of some shame.

Nothing like announcing to the world you couldn’t care less about the oil crisis.

“We’re paying $4.15 a gallon.”

“Hey, check out our new truck!”

But, yes, I can own up to our purchase. It was a heck of a deal. Probably close to half the blue book value. Never mind what that says about the industry or the resale value.

Never mind how it shadows all our new spring flowers from the sun, leaving them wilting and weak. It’s like the gold-laced oil is leaking straight from the tank and into our soil.

But hey we got a new truck!

But seriously, we can fit our entire family – carseats, boosters, diaper bags, and all – and with still enough room to breathe its fumed air. That’s a bonus, right? We’re a two-car family again. And trust me, with 2 adults and 5 small children, two vehicles is pretty much a necessity.

There’s few things more stressful than calling Dad, 25 minutes away, out of an important business meeting to pick up our vomiting daughter from Elementary school, all the while mom sits at home, 5 miles away, ready and more than willing to “make it all better.”

Ok, so that never actually happened, but in my stressed-out, prepare-for-the-worst, mom-brain, it was an inevitability.

So, now, we’ve rectified the vomiting child dilemma with a bank account depleting truck dilemma.

Per usual, my second-guessing mommy-brain has now reared its inevitable head, so to speak.

So, yes, it’s hot here in Lansing, and looking to get even hotter. Struggling not to repeat the horrible “when I was a kid” lines to our children, I just point to the truck when requests for the air conditioner arise.

/sigh. It’s going to be a hot summer.