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November 19, 2018

All I want for Christmas is for them to keep their teeth!

Remember how Coach left for Reno on Wednesday straight from work?

I am accustomed to juggling the driving on the nights when Coach works late.  Wednesday, though, is typically awesome.  No juggling act required.  USUALLY.  Thursday Coach grabs Curly after dancing at 8:30 on his 'long-way' home.

With Coach at this conference for Physical Therapy, I braced myself to have no help on Wednesday or on Thursday (never-mind the entire weekend).

On Wednesday I picked up Reggie after basketball practice at school at 5:00.  I let Curly skip her b-ball practice because she was going to dance from 6-9 that night.  Enough is enough.  Reggie got in the car and told me that a kid 'who didn't even know where the ball was' ran full-speed right into Reg's mouth.  He bumped Reggie's front tooth.  HARD.

Before I could pull away, the coach came out to the car to be sure that Reg had told me about his hurt tooth.  'He seems OK, but his tooth got knocked pretty hard.'  Swell.  Reg assured me that he thought it was going to be OK, but that it felt a bit wiggly.  Not OK!

I didn't think to take a pic when we were in
the thick of it - this was after the fact,
so no blood visible.
  The dentist asked him to try not to use
his front teeth while he eats.  I told the
 dentist that since Reg sort of has a Homer
Simpson thing happening with his teeth and
all, it didn't seem like his front teeth
were necessary to eat.  And yes,
braces are in his future.
Once home I switched into task-master mode.  I put dinner on the table for Curly and hustled her into the car so she wouldn't be late for dancing.  I got home about 50 minutes later (after driving right past the dentist office) and sat down to eat my dinner.  Coach texted to say that he had landed, and was about to get on his next flight.  I texted him about Reg's tooth.  While I ate, I googled what to do with a bumped tooth.  The advice:  get it looked at within the first 24 hours.  Swell.

Coach:  'get him to the dentist'.  Coach has more dental emergency experience than moi.  I called the dentist.  'Is there any bleeding?'  I told them 'no', but then I had Reg pull up his upper lip and there was blood at the gum-line.  Not dripping, but blood just there, looking alarming and all.

'Get in the car, Reg.  We are going to the dentist.  You will be late for travel basketball.'  The dentist office was now the wrong direction for my next stop.  While Reg was moaning and groaning, I shared with him the fact that his father's tooth issues cost us 10 grand.  Unfamiliar with Coach's epic tooth debacle?  I am going to re-post it after this post.  It is a quite the ordeal, with some humor tossed in - of course.

I ordered 5 mouth guards on Amazon the next morning. 
Three of them have arrived so far, but not the color
 I chose for Reg.  Ed laughed at me.  He assured
 me that he will never wear a mouth guard
 because he needs to communicate with his team. 
Incidentally, the dentist informed me that
 these puppies can also help prevent a concussion.  
In addition to the astronomical cost of losing a permanent front tooth (as Coach did), the process makes for lots of discomfort.  Reg got in the car.

The dentist, who told me before he touched the tooth, that he probably wouldn't need to take an x-ray.  He tapped the tooth with an instrument, and then said words that made my gut flip:  'Yeah, this is mobile.  We are going to take an x-ray.'  Dang.

The x-ray looked good, and he hoped that it would just heal on its own.  If there were any changes, then at least we had an x-ray as a baseline.

Fun fact:  when the dentist walked in, he shook my hand and said, 'Nice to meet you.'  I stopped him right there.  He is new to his dad's dental practice, but I used to babysit for him when he was a newborn.  No joke.  'Um, we've met before.  Phil, I was your first babysitter.'  He chuckled a little and admitted that his dad had told him that my family and I were patients.  I didn't expect him to remember me.

Can you believe that back in the mid 80's this trusting couple hired my 7th-grade-self to babysit for their 10 month and 1 month old baby boys?

November 17, 2018

re-configuring my dance-mom mission, yuck

Tots checking out the otters.  One of my favorites! 
They did not disappoint.
In true dance-mom (gulp) fashion, I planned an outing to the zoo last Friday (and when it snowed that morning, we pressed on like the zoo-lovers that we are) with the tykes.  Curly brought her BFF.  Both girls love babies and they still enjoy the zoo.  A win-win.

Curly was going to require a relaxing treat considering that I had just booked for her three private lessons over her long weekend.  She kept arguing with me that it was her weekend off.

Um, Curly has gone thru a growth spurt and as a result is struggling a bit to keep her body from wobbling (while dancing . . . that was implied, right?  I mean, the kid is tall, but she CAN walk).  To begin with my kid is several inches, if not a full head taller, than most of the other dancers her age.  And with a late December birthday, she is one of the youngest girls in her age group:  cut off Jan 1.

Some might argue that those long legs would wow the judges in competition.  Well, if those long legs aren't in control and there is so damn much of them to see, then the judges are gonna notice.  Oh, how I don't wish to be a dance mom, but I have been down this path before.

I know how hard it is to pick a disappointed kid up off the floor and put the pieces of her broken heart back together again.  Last year Curly placed 4th.  In the Midwest.  It was huge.  Don't think for a minute though that I was not keenly aware of the flip-side.  There really is no where to go from there.  The top three places are fairly locked in by three amazing dancers.  I just hope that Curly is happy with her placement on the 25th.

After the zoo, the crazy bus driven by my crazy-dance-mom-self drove the long way home (as in the wrong direction, but hey we were already out and the smalls were already buckled in car-seats).  I dropped Curly at the studio.

I spoon-fed the baby her lunch in the indoor children's play zoo.  I passed out the other lunches on paper plates and assigned Curly the task of breaking off bites of food to hand to the 16 month old.  It worked great that a few of the kids I normally sit for, didn't come that day.

The 4.5 yr old shared that he didn't want to eat lunch in the car.  He would like to eat at home.  'Oh, I didn't ask you where you want to eat.'  Love this guy, but he also exclusively drinks chocolate milk.  Translation:  at my house he drinks water.  I don't jump thru hoops, peeps.  I often distribute lunch in the car, because it saves time.  Do you want more time to see the cute baby orangutan, or do you want to leave early so you can eat at my kitchen table?  Work with me, damn it.  Besides, we were being re-routed to the dance studio, so it was going to be awhile before we were home. 

The night before all of this went down, Ed came home from practice and informed me that his basketball practice time changed.  Sure, why the Hell not?!  He could no longer drive to the studio to get Curly after her lesson at 3:30.

I cancelled the haircut I needed so desperately, and asked the moms I sit for to pick up as soon as they possibly could because Curly was at a dance lesson waiting for meSo Curly's two hour dance lesson, morphed into 3 hours by the time my shaggy, bad-haired self arrived to pick her up.

November 15, 2018

You fly where? When? For how long? . . . Out of the loop

Being the good dance-mom that I am (yes, those words tasted foul even though I was only typing them . . . choke, choke), I have been cramming private dance lessons into every spare opening in Curly's day.  Midwest Championships for Irish dancing are happening over Thanksgiving weekend.  Crunch time.

Someone got a new dress.
Curly had no school on Friday November 9th because the school had parent/teacher conferences.  I was babysitting, but I was trying to figure out a way to get Curly to the dance studio in order to score her a lengthy private lesson.

A dancer, who is usually away at college, was in town for the weekend.  She had nothing else going on and would be available and happy to give Curly a lengthy lesson.   Between nap times and feeding the troops their lunch, I was struggling to find a way to get Curly to the studio.

Then I had a brilliant idea.  (I have brilliant ideas all the time -executing them is often the challenge).  Coach was heading out of town to attend a class in Reno for the weekend.  When he got home that night, I asked him, 'Hey, what time is your flight on Friday?'  Depending on what airport he was flying out of, he might be able to drop Curly at the studio on his way.

That's when he dropped way #4 that made me wish for just a few moments that I could be him:  'Oh, I don't fly out on Friday.  I leave on Wednesday.  Straight from work.' 

How did I not know this?

My laundry room is often in this chaotic state.
 NOT when I leave town though. 
See the bin on the right?  Note that it is cracked.
The guys that have spent 10 weeks
to fix my kids' bathroom shower must have
knocked it off the high shelf it was on when they
were hammering on the other side of the wall. 
Time for a new bin.  And hey, maybe
TIME FOR THE SHOWER TO BE FIXED!
You understand, of course, that if I were to go out of town I practically tattoo my plans to Coach's forehead.  I run my itinerary past him - usually offering several different options to see what would work best for him prior to booking anything.  I arrange rides for the kids to as many activities as possible.  I make multiple meals well in advance to feed the masses.  In my spare time, I race to the laundry room to wash, dry, repeat as many times as it takes to clear the heaps of laundry from the floor.

His class ran from Thursday till Sunday - not just Sat/Sun as I had originally thought.  He would be taking the red-eye home early Monday morning, and then he would go straight to work.   Awesome.

My private lesson mission did not die there.

November 13, 2018

that, by definition, is a preference

Here is another 'wonder what it would be like to be Coach?' scenario:

#3.  On election morning, I was trying to map out where everyone was going to be and when.

In order to make my point, I need to illustrate Coach's schedule.  Coach works late two nights a week.  He is technically not working on Tuesday evenings, but for the last SEVERAL months, he has been teaching an online physical therapy class from 6 - 9 pm.  He does this in our bedroom from his laptop while hidden away from the family chaos.

OK, I was going to make a joke about him maybe conducting a different kind of class because after I typed that last sentence, it sounds very secretive given his location and the need for space from the fam, but this isn't that kind of blog.  And Coach isn't that kind of Coach.  Trust me.

Translation about his schedule:  he cannot drive anyone anywhere on those nights.  He does gets paid.  He just got the check for this course that FINALLY, MERCIFULLY ended week before last.  I told him, NOT WORTH IT.

⌻ Check this box to vote no more Tuesday night classes for Coach.  
(couldn't resist - election day and all.  I would totally be carefully filling in the box on this one).

So election day was a Tuesday, and Coach would be a participant in family activities this particular Tuesday (and hopefully every Tuesday following).   Before they walked to school I thought to ask Reggie and Curly if they had a preference as to who came to which game.  Mommy or Daddy.  When Reggie plays at home, Curly plays away and vice versa because they both play for the 7th grade junior high teams - boy team/girl team.

They both shook their heads.  No.  They didn't care.  Slight pause.

'Well, I mean.  I would rather have Daddy come to my game,' Reg admitted.

Defense by Ed.  Lookie there, I know 
what defense is.  Hey, I am no slouch when
 it comes to following their sports.  
I am just not 'Dad'.  
I truly was not offended.  I just had to chuckle, because Reg had just said 'no preference'.  I pointed out to him that this was in fact a preference.

Eddie and I get along great.  He is very aware of tensions that might crop up in my day.  He can joke with me, and assure me that things are going to work out.  He is a good listener and offers to help me out whenever possible (while he is taking 7 AP classes and filling out college applications, not so much in the helping out department - but there are other, less crazy times when he is good enough to pitch in and drive someone or do some other chore).

I don't miss his basketball games or water polo games unless I absolutely have to.  I ask him about practice.  I enjoy hosting the team for pasta dinners and I love to learn about the team dynamics and personalities.  I cheer whole-heartily.  BUT, when it comes time to talk about a game or a stat or a play or an encouraging comment from a coach, Ed singles out his father and shares the details with him fairly exclusively.

All good.  I am fine with it.  Guy talk.  It makes me wonder though, once again
. . . what would it be like to be Coach.

I mean, I am lucky because all the kids come to their mother when they are about to vomit - especially in the middle of the night.  So, I got that going for me!

November 11, 2018

Would you like a sticker for that?

If you are just tuning in, this is the second way that I recently thought, 'hmm . . . I wonder what it would be like to be Coach.'

#2.  The night got a bit more confusing (as in, the night when I was trying to vote after catching Curly's basketball game and racing to the bank - and hoping that I could have time to woof down a meal - that Coach was grilling - and cart Curly to a private Irish dancing lesson), because I realized as I drove in the wrong direction from the high school to my voting spot, that we would have two kids done with basketball at the high school at any minute.  I called Coach.  'I am cooking dinner.  I can't go pick them up,' he told me.

Fair enough.  They could wait.  Better them, than me.  That is my chauffeuring motto - so long as coaches don't have to stand around and wait.  That I try desperately to avoid.

Imagine how many stickers I could collect
 if they handed them out for other exciting
 adventures each day like:  making dinner
 and timing it not to interfere with
 chauffeuring duties, 

remembering to pick up kids,
 making time for the bank
 separate from my husband's visit, cheering
for a 5th grader in her 7th grade b-ball game
Mini forgot her phone that morning, and Tank's phone is broken - although he has managed to send and receive the occasional text.  We question whether or not he is just jones-ing for a new phone.  Can't blame him, since his phone is INCREDIBLY cheap, but he has caused more than his share of frustrations lately - laundry hijackings, DMV nightmares, corneal abrasions, etc.  Have I not written about those yet?  Oh, hold on to your hat peeps.  I will soon share the Tank dairies with you.

I digress, b-ball coaches don't always end basketball practice/tryouts when they say they are going to.  I had no idea how I would communicate with Mini and Tank.  I was pressed for time, because I still had to vote, get them at the high school, double-back to get home, eat dinner, and drive Curly to her money pit private lesson.

Getting back to my point - how I wish I could be Coach:  I cook dinner most nights.  I have NEVER been eligible to use the 'I'm-cooking-dinner-I-can't-pick-so-and-so-up' card.  Really, this doesn't count and I know it.  There is some kind of state mandate that my dinners must all be in the oven well in advance, so there isn't a chauffeuring conflict.  Coach grills, and that damn grill can be downright unforgiving.  This is why I stick to the stove/oven/crock pot variety dinners.  I never grill.

Let me just add though - I don't usually have someone to differ to for pick up, because most of the time I am flying solo.  Cussing a blue streak, but flying solo none the less.

Just as I was pulling into the parking lot where I needed to vote, Tank called me on a borrowed phone.  'We are done.  Come get us.'  I am voting now, but the lot doesn't look full, so it should be fast.  Like 15 minutes, I explained.  Excessive amount of grumbling.

I voted quicker than you can say, I-am-elated-that-I-don't-have-to-hear-any-more-horrible-political-ads.  On my way to the high school, I got a text from Coach.  I asked Ms. Bluetooth Voice to read it to me.  It sounded like:  'Eee walked home.  In shorts.'  Now I was super confused.  There was no way that Tank could have physically walked home from the high school in the time it took me to vote.  What on earth was Coach texting me about?

Ms. Bluetooth Voice pronounced the 'B' as 'Eee'.  'B' in truth is the first initial of Reggie's real name and the initial that Coach and I text to avoid typing Reg's entire name.  I thought Ms. Bluetooth was trying to say 'He' but dropping the 'H'.  Kind of like when I call someone with the last name Jensen and the phone turns the 'J' into a 'Y':  Yensen.  Any-who, the text was telling me that 'B' aka 'Reg' had just walked home in shorts (it was freezing out) the 5 blocks from our junior high.  Reg was supposed to borrow a cell phone to let us know when he was back at our junior high and ready to be picked up.

What kind of mother am I if I admit that I had completely forgotten about Reggie needing to be picked up from the junior high after he watched the away game bench-warmer scrimmage?  I guess I am the kind of mother that occasionally wishes that I was my kids' father.



November 9, 2018

Hey, how's Reno?

Coach just sent me this picture of the view of his hotel room.  In Reno.  He is there taking a class.  He teaches classes and gets paid sometimes.  This isn't one of those times.

Lately I have been wondering what it would be like to be 'him.'  It would certainly suck to bear the weight as the breadwinner for this crew.  That would translate to a lot 'o babysitting for moi.  Anyway, aside from the salary issue - there have been a few things that have cropped up recently that have given me pause.  It is either pause, or a serious headache - I choose to pause.  And take deep breaths.

#1.  On Tuesday, I arranged for the kids that typically get picked up last (life 4:15) from my little babysitting service to be collected before 4:00.  I wanted to make it to Curly's girls' 7th grade home basketball game 5 blocks away at 4:15.  Zach's mom, who usually arrives to grab her 16 month old  by 3:40 latest, didn't show up until 4:01.  I raced out the door, as soon as it was polite.

After the game, I called Coach to touch base.  It was going to be a 'who-is-getting-who' kind of night.  Reggie plays on the boys' 7th grade team, so when the girls are home the boys are away.  Coach was leaving Reg's game to go home and grill dinner.  This away game was like a mile and a half from our house.  Coach informed me that Reg was required to stay for a scrimmage that the coaches had arranged for their bench warmers.  Reg wouldn't play, but that meant someone had to go back and pick him up after the bus brought him back to our school.

Swell.  One more thing.

I told Coach that I still needed to vote, and I needed to get to the bank.  That's when I head Coach say, 'Oh, shit!'  What?  Are you getting pulled over, I inquired.  No, he wasn't.  That's definitely more my speed.  (Get it?!).

My husband was 'Oh-shitting' the fact that he had gone to the bank earlier - as in, the SAME FLIPPING DAY.  What?!  Now that Coach gets checks in the mail for teaching, he occasionally deposits them himself at the bank.  (I was chatting with Coach's former-and-desperately-missed-office-manager and she told me that we could be depositing these checks with our phones.  Now I fear that Coach and I have turned into my parents.  We are not keeping up with technology).  Prior to Coach's new interest in depositing his checks, I was the sole bank-goer.  Why, oh why, had he not asked me if I needed anything from the bank?  Like, I don't know, CASH!!!

Deep breaths.

The Midwest Irish dancing championships are approaching and I am springing for private lessons for Curly left and right.  I don't exactly like to share with Coach how costly these extra lessons are, so I suppose it was just as well. 


November 7, 2018

want not, waste not, right?!

We did enjoy some good weather. 
The whole family rented kayaks.
Just a few more vacation tidbits to share.  Have you ever stayed in a Stay-bridge?  Well, if you have then you might recall that this hotel chain offers a complimentary breakfast AND a complimentary dinner.

Do you know where this is headed?  So, Coach didn't remember that detail.  He may be able to pop open a shower drain with ease, but he neglected to share this key info with me.  Coach booked the hotel and didn't think to utter something along the lines of 'So, no need to pack a ton of meals, unless you need something gluten free for you.'

Imagine how thrilled I was that I had prepared LOADS of food.  Now, most of it wasn't needed.  I did eat my secret supply of food a few times when I was a little nervous about whether or not I was going to be contaminated with gluten - or when I was just grossed out . . .

In general I am not a huge fan of cafeteria style, buffet type meals.  Too many people can dip God-knows-what into tubs of God-knows-what without my knowledge.  My kids, on the other hand, were all about burgers being grilled and the taco night.

Ed and Lad took full advantage of the Stay-bridge workout room.  If we spent time in the sun during the day, then they began their workout late at night when we returned to the hotel.  Weird, but a few less bodies in the room when people were going to sleep wasn't a horrible thing.

Ed checking out one of
University of Michigan gyms after our tour.
One morning, I woke up early and decided to go workout.  I was tip-toeing thru the living area (which consisted of two of our three air mattresses, a pull out, and Curly's makeshift ottoman bed) and into the kitchen area.  I felt around for a key card that would get me in the workout room.  Guess how easy those things were to track?

There on the counter top in our little kitchen-ette was a turkey breast.  It was morning.  Translation:  Ed or Tank returned after a late night workout and wanted to ingest some protein.  One or both of them pulled out the turkey breast dinner that I had packed to feed us one night, and then didn't need.  After the feast, no one put it back in the fridge.  It sat out all night.

Now I was ticked.  If I was not going to feed turkey to the masses, then I sure as Hell wasn't planning to throw it away.  Now, I had no choice.  Ed woke up and owned responsibility for the forgotten food.  It isn't easy to eat a full meal apparently in the dark when surrounded by sleeping bodies.

I still agreed to drive him to University of Michigan for a day trip.  I insisted that he stay awake on the 2 plus hour drive, so that he would chat with me and keep me from dozing.  Turns out sleeping in a hotel room with 8 family members does not lead to fabulous nights of sleep.

Guess what?  Late night workouts and turkey meals in the middle of the night lead to?  Sleepy passengers.