February 27, 2020

Backstory to one of the coolest stories ever unwritten - till Monday, that is

Coach and I met when I moved to his neighborhood the DAY before my freshman year of high school started.  Technically, I don't remember exactly when we met but our paths crossed once we lived in the same Chicago suburb.  

His family lived at the end of the street from us.  He was basically 'the boy next door.'  My younger brother, Pat, was enrolled in the Catholic grammar school.  Well, Coach ended up being Pat's 8th grade classmate and one of his good friends.   

Pat played on the 8th grade basketball team and so did Coach.  Pat made friends at the new school, and when he had guys over to hang out Coach was usually there.

Coach and I are both the middle of 5 kids.  We each have 2 older sisters and we each have 2 younger brothers.  Since I am older than Pat by less than a year, I was a sophomore in high school when Pat and Coach started high school the next year.  

I was the sophomore with the unfortunate boy haircut (thanks, Mom), the slouchy posture (thanks low self-esteem and trickle down effect compliments of that same homemade haircut), and ill-fitting wardrobe (thanks to my tall genes that skipped my older and shorter sisters and gifted me with their short hand-me-downs).  

Coach never noticed me.  Pat and I carpooled with Coach and his sisters.  I don't think Coach ever realized that I was gracefully flipping over the backseat of his sister's station wagon to sit in my sanctioned 'way-back' seat while trying to hold my Catholic uniform skirt in place.  It was 1986 and chivalry WAS dead as Pat, Coach, and Coach's neighbor, Jay, who was my age monopolized the back seat row while I tried to keep my skirt from giving everyone a show each morning.  

I kept busy in high school faking my talent on the basketball team.  I made the team following tryouts where I exhibited the best basketball skills of my life, and honestly many other lives combined.  These skills were unquestionably completely ill-representative of my true lacking talent.  

Woe is me, even my BK uniform pants were floods.
 This is me walking to work and NOT
wanting to be photographed. 
Can you blame me?
I also held down a job at Burger King where hours after I was done with my shift my Mainstreet (department store now known as Kohls) perm remained formed in a fluffy circle exaggerated by the indented curls that were flattened by my Burger King uniform visor.  

People, I was a catch.  

There are many in-between stories here, but I think we should jump ahead to the next chapter:

Coach moved to Rochester, New York with his family during his senior year of high school while I was busy being a college freshman with long hair at long last and contact lenses.  He and I did not cross paths again until after I graduated college and his family moved back into the house at the end of my street.  They had rented it out for 4 years.

The night before my college graduation pig roast a group of us walked to a nearby bar.  Two of my college friends who I met while I studied in Ireland my junior year were in town from Ireland and were living with my family that summer.  

I was blessed with an Irish match-making mom who instructed Pat to invite some of his friends to go out with us.  Mom hoped to surround 'the girls' (her pet name for my Irish friends) with cute boys.  

That night before we left for the bar, Mom debriefed the girls after Pat told her that Coach was joining us.  "Oh, girls!  Wait till you meet Coach.  He's a very cute Irish boy."  The girls found Mom entertaining.  In their estimation actual 'Irish boys' were fellas who hailed from their home country.  They were not as hell bent on meeting an 'Irish boy' as Mom assumed they were.

Coach and I ended up talking at the bar most of the night having not seen one another since back in high school.  I was a recent college grad and he had one year of college left to complete.  

The next morning I raced downstairs despite a slight headache. The girls were staying in the first floor guest room and I suddenly realized that I had failed to give them specific instructions about leaving out certain details when speaking to Mom.

Timing:  impeccable.  Mom had already entered the room to wake the girls up.  It was an all-hands-on-deck kind of morning to prepare for the big pig roast.  The two of them sat propped up in bed and I stood behind Mom out of her line of vision.  I waved dramatically to signal my so-called friends NOT to tell Mom that I had been all chatty-Kathy with Coach.  Too late.

'Well, Mrs. R.  We couldn't get a word it edge wise with yer man, Coach.  Ya see, Ernie was after talking to him the WHOLE night long.'
This is a photo of 'the girls'
in their waitress uniforms.
 I took the photo while the pic remained in my
 album surrounded by other photos of
 our adventures.  Not all of which were
 snapped during the soberest of times.  

Mom spun around and saw me.  Her mouth dropped open.  She got this glassy-eyed look on her face and I swear for a minute she was not able to see me.  That was because she was distracted by the vision of that 'cute, Irish boy, Coach' walking down the isle with me at our wedding.  

I tried to downplay it to undo her excitement.  "Mom, we just hadn't seen each other since his folks moved to Rochester.  No big deal."  

For the next several weeks, every time Pat and I took the girls out on the town I CASUALLY suggested to Pat that he reach out to Coach and see if he wanted to join us, you know- for 'the girls' benefit.  

At a bar one night, I suggested to Coach that we plan to take the girls to the Old St. Pat's block party downtown in a few weeks.  

Coach:  Why do we always have to invite the girls to go places?  Why can't we ever go out just me and you?

Me:  (trying to play it cool, like he hadn't just admitted out loud that we had a THING for each other)  Well, I would go out with you, but it's not like you're ever going to ask.

Coach:  I think I just did.  Tomorrow night.  Pick you up at 8.

Be still my heart.  

The next night I hung out in my front hall.  Mom was busy in the kitchen.  I did NOT want her to see Coach pick me up.  Pat had already left to go somewhere with the girls.  Our house was at the end of the street, so I could see Coach driving straight for my house.  

Me:  Bye, my ride is here.  (screen door slams as I jog out to Coach's car)

Mom:  (who has never moved so fast in all her life and was at the screen door probably before it even slammed shut)  HI COACH!  Have fun!  Good-night, Ernie!

I hopped in the front seat and sighed.  Coach chuckled as he waved to Mom, "Hey there, Mrs. R!"

From the backseat I hear ANOTHER greeting.  "Uh, hey there, Ernie.  How's it going?"

Me:  (in my head) WHAT ON EARTH?  

I spun around and there sitting in the middle of the bench in the backseat leaning slightly forward towards the front seats was Coach's neighbor, Jay.  Why the hell had Coach invited his goofy neighbor?  

Me:  Oh, hi Jay.

Coach:  So, should we go to Buffalo Bar?  My sister Flo said she would meet us after work.  

Me:  Sure.  (WTF is wrong with Coach, does he not know what a date is?)

We hung out at the Buffalo Bar and we ALL had a good time.  Flo is super fun, and when she finished waitressing at Ruby Tuesdays she met us at Buffalo Bar where there was karaoke happening.  I don't think any of us sang, but we laughed at the people who did.  
This was a different night, but this is Coach
and his sister Flo dancing.  In a bar
- I think that was implied.

When it was time to go, we all walked to the parking lot together.  Jay angled himself towards Coach's car and began walking with Coach and I to where we had parked. . . until my now favorite sister in law called to him from where she was walking towards her car, "Jay.  Come on.  You're driving home with me."  

Coach parked down the street from my house.  He said he didn't want Mom to hear the car engine pull up.  After a nearly covert mission of avoiding Mom's tuned in ears and dodging driving home our third wheel, Jay, we shared our first kiss.  

The rest is sorta history.  I share this with you in order to give you some backstory to an interesting twist.  This story gets a whole lot nuttier and downright unbelievable in the most unexpected way EVER when certain paths cross and certain blog posts are read some 25 plus years after our first, ahem, date (?). 

TUNE IN MONDAY (I know not one of my posting days, but this is a special edition), AND BE PREPARED TO BE BLOWN AWAY! 

February 25, 2020

RED ALERT: input needed

If you saw another post pop up this morning and you planned to read it later but it was not named 'RED ALERT' - do not be alarmed, I mean feel free to be alarmed by the red alert title, but rest assured it is not life threatening.  I think 2 people saw the initial post for today before I decided to yank it for this more pressing topic:

Friday I am headed to Lake Geneva, WI for the night.  It is about 1.5 hours from here.  Curly competes in a dancing competition Saturday morning.  Mini is planning to come to cheer her on and meet up with old dancing buds.  I might drag Reg because the fancy hotel has an amazing gym and he can shoot hoops.  Less bodies at home might simplify things.  

The deal is Coach leaves on Friday till Sunday for a course he is teaching.  In Ohio, maybe?

I am trying to figure out what to do with Tank and possibly Reg.  I texted my sister, Ann, to see if she would be in town.  Maybe the boys could stay one night at her house.  Or would she want to hang out here till 11 pm or so until she was convinced there was no nonsense?  Ann lives alone.  She is divorced.  She loves hosting cousin sleepovers and chilling out with her nieces and nephews in general, which I am very grateful for.  
This photo has nothing to do with the post, but I 'started' my crockpot last week and realized a bit later that I had not plugged it in.  I discovered it in plenty of time for us to eat.  Just when I think I have it all going on . . . see that tinfoil pile - I made several loaves of chocolate chip banana bread too.  These people should be bracing themselves for March 9th when I start my class.  Life might be full of unplugged crockpots and an absence of fresh baked yummy breads.

In the fall, I posted on FB a video of Curly crying when Ed came home from college and surprised her at dancing class.  

Ann told a mutual friend:  That was so sweet, but that is what Ernie's kids are like.  They all get along so well.  It's great.  

I prefaced my request for teenage help with the fact that if it was just Tank, then he would most likely opt to just sleep at a buddy's house that night - so her help might not even be necessary.  

BUT - the following weekend I have a bigger issue, Coach and I are once again out of town in two different places.  (I know, I know - talk about two ships passing in the night.  The conversation went like this:  "Wait you are out of town? Oh, shit.  So am I."  oops).

Would she possibly be able to help us out Saturday, March 7th?  That is when Coach takes a class in Oklahoma (maybe?) departing Saturday night and returning Monday.  I am driving to see Ed at college for his fraternity's mom's weekend on late afternoon Friday the 6th and returning early Sunday the 8th.  

I am really looking forward to the mom's weekend, in part because I am planning to carpool with another mom.   Her son is one of Ed's best friends from high school.  When kids make friends in high school, I find that the parents do not always meet or don't get to know one another very well.  

Hello, 4 hour car drive.  This is my chance to become better acquainted with her, right?

You already know my sob story about not necessarily belonging to a 'group.'  I know this woman enough to know that she is fun and friendly.  Her son is a great kid.  We texted one another and decided to drive there on Friday, March 6th in the late afternoon.  She flies out of town for business really early on Sunday morning from an airport near the college, so I will then drive home solo.  We also decided to get rooms in the same hotel.   

Sigh, how to describe the sister conundrum . . . 

Ann texted me right back.  She said she could possibly help out this Friday night.  Then she reminded me that she wanted to tag along with me whenever I ended up going to see Ed.  Her daughter Beast goes to the same school as Ed.  Translation:  instead of watching my kids March 7th, she invited herself along to the college visit.  

Beast doesn't really talk to Ann.  Long story, but to sum it up:  

1.  Ann's ex husband is a sick monster.  He is a narcissist.  He does whatever he can to entice the kids to spend more time with him than with Ann.  Not because he likes his kids, but because he knows it riles up Ann.  In a nutshell, he is very lenient with them, and he is loaded and pulls this:  'Oh mom took your car.  I will buy you one.  Come live with me.'  Enough said?

2.  Ann is INCREDIBLY controlling.  She plays right into her ex's hand.  (full disclosure:  I COULD not handle this disaster.  It is a tough situation and I do not envy her one bit.  I am not heartless.  I feel for her, but I also think there are other approaches or counselors or help of some sort that might need to be given a try).  I like to say that Ann suffers from the Brady Bunch mentality.  Everything has to be 'just so.'  Case in point, Ann cannot rest if she does not see Beast's apartment each year she is away at college.  It is a 'thing' with her.  

Side note:  I never say where Lad lived last year.  Over it.  Have not even asked him to drive me by it when I go out there.  

Another example:  If she took a photo of her oldest kid in front of a tree on their first day of kindergarten, then each kid after that needed to have said photo taken in front of same tree.  Follow? 

I do not really care at all if Ann shares my hotel room.  She will not attend the stuff I am attending with Ed and his fraternity.  She will do her own thing.  I can handle her in small doses.  I don't care if she drives home with me.

BUT:  I cannot be myself when she is in my car.  So I will not be able to be my legit self while attempting to become better acquainted with my carpool pal for almost 4 hours.   

For example:  I am not telling my family that I am enrolled in a writing course.  They have not been really supportive of my writing efforts in the past, so I decided a while ago to clam up about my goal of writing a book.  There are other topics I would steer clear from.  Could I manage this for a 4 hour car ride?  Yes.  Do I want to?  No.  

Back when the kitchen was ALMOST complete (2 years ago- um and 2 years later it is status quo:  UNFINISHED), I hosted a girls' night out thing at my house to share my new kitchen with my friends.  Ann and I have some friends in common because we live in somewhat close proximity to one another.  I invited her.  

Becky, my good friend who also babysits and anxiously awaits summer as much as I do, told me something that surprised her.  

Becky: Your sister did not take her eyes off of you.  She could be talking in a group several groups away from where you were talking to other people, but she was more interested in what you were talking about.  

Me:  So true.  

Remember just a few weeks ago when Ann arrived at the doc office as I was recovering from my allergic reaction?  She told the mom who came to pick up her baby who was in my care at the time:  'I am the quiet sister.  She never stops talking.'  RUDE!

That sums it up.  I try to keep my judgy family members at a safe distance, because it is just easier.  

So, what would you do?  

1.   SURE, COME ALONG:  Tell my sister she can come with me, but alert her that I am trying to get better acquainted with my other passenger.  Instruct her to avoid criticizing me in general.  (in this case, I still have to clam up about stuff I would normally tell someone I am building a friendship with)

2.  SORRY, I AM DRIVING WITH SOMEONE, CAN YOU MEET ME THERE?  This seems goofy.  I have not determined though if Ann can leave work early enough to plan to drive with us, but I assume she would.

3.  DOES BEAST KNOW YOU ARE COMING?  It isn't my business or my problem if she plans to show-up unannounced and demand to see Beast's apartment, so doubt I would say this.  I am not one to dictate how she handles the mangled relationships she has with her kids.  

4.  OFFER ME AN ALTERNATIVE, GIVE ME A SUGGESTION, SAVE ME! Counting on you, my blog friends.  Share some wisdom.  Am I missing an option I have not considered yet.  The clock is ticking.  I have not responded to her text.  

February 20, 2020

circling wagons while hobbled

This has been a day . . .
Icing my knee and rocking
my Smart Wool socks. 
If I ever do a favorite
things post for winter
stuff Smart Wool socks will
be at the top of the list. 
Reggie's Bears
 throw blanket next to
 me is not all bad either.

I attended my early morning workout class (Wed., Feb. 12) today at 5:45 am.  During the class my newly recovered knee froze up a few times.  (It has been at like 85% but recently I have noticed a few ouch moments that have sprung up.  I have been back at full-on workouts since mid January.  Still cannot grab my ankle and pull it up to my butt from behind easily when I stretch).  I bent it back and forth and waited for it to snap back into good-to-go status then finished my workout.

Later walking in my kitchen my knee gave out on me.  BITCH!  It happened a few times.  I texted Coach.  Before he could respond, it clicked three times and then I had a new pain shoot down the inside of my knee that crippled me for a few minutes.  I had just told the preschooler to get his shoes on so I could take the gang to library story time.  I considered skipping it, but I limped my way through it totally distracted by:

1.  the realization that I might need to miss my workouts AGAIN, and 

2.  teenage crap that was making me nuts.

Backing up to the teenage crap . . . I have been pondering the Tank situation that I detailed a few posts ago.  I feel like his behavior started to unravel and gradually became the new norm since fall.  Us calling out corrections to him as he is racing out the door is doing no good.  Shock.

My timeline of his transformation into an ungracious pain in the neck:  I think that things shifted a bit when Ed left for college.  I don’t think Tank really misses Ed all that much (he found Ed to be a goodie-goodie who policed other people too much, whereas I found Ed to be a kid always willing to pitch in and always concerned about others).  

Instead I think t could be that Tank is a junior and he is not as goofy as he once was.  (Although I am CONFIDENT that he is goofy when he is with his friends).  He IS definitely more focused on school work.  Maybe it is stressing him out?  Trying to get good grades (a real struggle for him, but this is a new leaf and it is self imposed.  We don’t really obsess over grades) and be college ready, etc.  He has decided that he wants to do ROTC.  I suspect that this mission has prompted the new outlook on school.

Then last week he texted me from school that he was having his worst day ever . . . His case worker from school was helping him reach out to ROTC and ask questions.  Turns out they  don’t take students who have an IEP or who have been taking medication for ADD, etc.  The next day he learned about a possible waiver, so he is still trying to figure out if it will work.

I am not going to tell him that he cannot do ROTC but I have shared with him that I feel like that program might be a tad too rigid for a kid who is not one to conform.  Or workout.  Or eat healthy or be on time for school.  I have asked him to be open to other possibilities.

Other influences or contributing factors:  he decided to start working during the school year by skipping a season as an athlete.  Until now he had done a sport each season.  I like that plan for my kids - it keeps them busy and they all benefit from being part of a team.  Tank figured he would not make the varsity basketball team and he took a pass when they begged him to just act as the team manager.  (He is well known for his sense of humor and the coaches know him and really tried to get him to take on this role).  Instead he got a job at our friend’s family business.  Lots of teens from the high school work there (including his good friend) sweeping floors and packing boxes, etc.  We told him he could only work 3 days a week.

Well, Tank was already doing travel volleyball 8-10 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  He ended up deciding to work 5 days a week after school till 6 and sometimes on a Saturday.  I attempted to get his attention by saying he would have to miss work unless he took care of things at our home, ie:. Messes he tends to make.  No sense in sweeping up at work if you refuse to sweep up at home - my mentality.

Well, that threat turned out to be an idle threat because Coach is not on board with having Tank cancel out on work at the last minute.  (Coach has teenagers work at his office).  So, busy Tank rushes off to work right from school, races in after work at 6, rolls his eyes at dinners that I prepare, leaves a trail and then rushes out the door to volleyball.  When we try to argue that he is working more than we agreed to, he counters that if he was managing the basketball team he would be spending the same amount of time after school at practices.  He did make the honor roll.

I have a hard time punishing my teenagers, not because it makes me feel bad - just tough to find something that 'gets' them.  There is very little I can take away from them without totally inconveniencing me.  Last week I texted Tank and asked him where his whistle was because Reg was reffing a basketball game for adult with special needs group.  Tank's response:  “It’s in my fucking drawer.”  He was ticked that Reg was going to borrow it.  Um, who texts their mother like that?  I told Coach tonight that we still had yet to punish Tank for that infraction.

We had a pow wow with Tank tonight.  We have taken the car from him for a week.  When we pointed out some of the ways he has been disrespectful and unappreciative I reminded him of a time in 6th grade when he expressed concern about me spending money on something for him (adding him to the Irish dancing rip to Disney).

Tank:  “I was in 6th grade!”

Me:  “And now you are a junior in high school and you should have more sense than you did back then.  You should be more appreciative and gracious - not LESS.”

I was already on red alert with his attitude, but today my high school kids had a half day.  Mini had to take the bus this morning.  Tank left early for a meeting.  OH, and I got an email that Tank was late for school.  I texted him, what gives?  You were at school an hour early, how are you late.  

His  response:  “The bell rang before I was in class so I was tardy what’s hard to understand?”  Exhibit A!!!  

I get emails about his tardiness daily, but this one stuck out - he usually leaves late for school but he was there meeting with a teacher so . . .  get in your classroom you butt head.

I digress, Mini missed the bus this morning.  I had to leave Reg and Curly home with the babies when I drove her to school.  Mini got home late from an away b-all game last night, but I sensed she was ticked at us so I asked her what the issue was when I drove her to school.

She started crying.  Monday night (same night as Girl Scout cookie garbage littered the island) a kid left a dinner plate in the family room, where they are not allowed to eat.  This mystery person dropped Italian Beef on the carpet and on the end table AND WALKED AWAY.  Coach assumed it was Tank and texted him at open gym to say ‘Why’d you leave your plate in the family room?’

Tank later insisted it was not him and then threw Mini under the bus.  “Mini told me to just take the fall for it, because she didn’t want to be in trouble.”  Mini denied eating in the family room until I shared Tank’s bean spilling.  Then Coach let loose on her for lying.

Later that morning I texted both Tank and Mini.  “You are to leave your cell phones in the kitchen from now on.  They are not allowed upstairs.  If you need them to do homework, then do your homework on the first floor.  Serious consequences if you break the rule.”

There is a new sheriff in town.  A sheriff who in the quiet of a hotel room thought ‘we need to take back our fricking house.’  The rule has always been that they charge their phones on the first floor.  Never.  Happens.  Mini has a horrible habit of turning her room into a sty.  I believe firmly that if she spent 10 minutes dealing with laundry, it would not be an issue.  So, remove the phone that she claims she rarely uses and I still say that 10 minutes will be found to deal with the room.

Anyway, on our drive to school after the missed bus Mini explained that she thought the not-so-new but suddenly enforced phone rule was in response to her eating in the family room.  She was mistaken and that is why we were all getting the silent treatment.  

I asked her if she and her friends wanted to hang out at our house at noon today and then I could move my dermatologist appointment up to nap time and Coach would not have to come home from work early.

She texted on her way home with Tank that her friends did not want to come over, they opted to go out to lunch.  (These half days are e-learning days, so the kids are supposed to go home and get work done.  They sometimes go to one person’s house to study.)  I texted back that she didn't HAVE TO come home, and she should go out to lunch.

Knowing that she was not talking to us due to the phones remaining on the first floor rule, I gathered that she would come home and sulk because I 'made' her miss lunch with her friends.

Meanwhile I had instructed both of them to stop and buy me some chicken for dinner on their way home.  Tank was all eye-rolly and objecting because he wanted to hang with his friends.  I said you can do this quick errand for me.  

From the grocery store he called me while Mini sulked in the car.  They were out of the individually wrapped, boneless chicken breasts I usually buy.  I was giving him backup chicken instructions through his deep sighs and gasps.  

Finally I yelled into the phone:  "I AM FEEDING YOU!"  Because it wasn't as if I asked him to stop and get me by favorite chocolate bonbons or something.  This was a dinner essential and clearly an oversight on my part for running out of it.  I often send kids to the basement freezer and never getting a  low inventory message threw me off my A game.

Before Tank got home with the chicken I texted Mini's BFF.  "Where are you guys for lunch?"  When Tank got home, I ordered him to drop Mini at Chick Fillet.  He ranted.  I RANTED LOUDER.  Meanwhile Mini stood in my mudroom poised to pout all afternoon.  I HOLLERED AT HER TO GET RIGHT BACK IN THE CAR.    She tried to tell me Tank would never drive her.  I was all:  YOU WANNA BET?

They chugged away in the teen car shouting at one another and I hobbled over to the phone and called Coach in tears before I flopped on the couch to feed a wiggly baby his bottle while attempting to ice my knee.  

Curly is skipping dancing for a few days - story to follow - so we were home tonight.  At the same time.  Coach and I circled our wagons.  Agreed on reigning in the nonsense.  Tank tried to defend himself during our 'discussion' of offenses.  

Tank:  "I told you good dinner tonight."  

Yeah, I noticed.  It's a start.  

February 18, 2020

a plan that will NEVER work, plus sibling devotion

So, I am wondering how long the empty girl scout cookie boxes can sit on the island.  Will they still be there when we host a dinner for Reggie's confirmation in April?  How far will we take this?  

When I gave Tank his 'talking to' on my now infamous drive home from St. Louis I touched on a few things:

1.  Be prepared to pitch in more while I am taking this writing class.  Tank's idea is an interesting plan that will NEVER work, but it is so darn tempting.

Tank:  "Why don't you just stay in by your computer and NOT come out of the study to yell at us and tell us to clean up the kitchen and do jobs?"

Me:  "What the hell?  That will mean that we have no clean dishes the next morning because how will the dishwasher get loaded and  started?  What happens when there are no clean clothes?  How long do you think it will take before someone does something about the bathroom garbage bins that will undoubtedly overflow if I do not remind someone to empty them?"

I must admit that this plan is REALLY tempting.  We can go the way of the girl scout cookie boxes and just NOT say a thing to any of them and see how they hate living in the kind of conditions obliviousness creates. 

The only real problem I have with this plan is that Coach and I still have to live here.  

2.  As I touched on how annoyed I am that he is not kinder to his family members (particularly Mini) I reminded him of a story about Mini.  

He and Mini are only 16 months apart.  Mini has always been devoted to him.  When she was a tot she could not say  his name.  We called Tank by his first and last name all of the time.  It just has a nice ring to it.  Tank's real life middle name is Micheal.  Since Mini could not say his first name, she called Tank 'Michael.'  He would jump up and come running to her when she called to him:  'Michael, Michael.'  She was probably not quite 2 years old.    

We used to try to see if he would respond to us when we called him Michael.  I would call to him over and over and he would totally ignore me.  Coach and I just about died laughing.

Tank did not speak until he was almost 3.  Ah, the glory days.  Just joking.  He had a serious speech delay, but he would communicate with grunts and facial expressions.  I have hilarious home movies of him.  His big cheeks would shake as he ran across the room to see what it was that Mini wanted when she summoned him.  They were quite the twosome.

A few years later, Tank got in trouble for something.  It was shortly after Halloween and if the kids had behaved they got to pick a Halloween candy treat.  I put Tank's pumpkin head filled with treats on the fridge and said, "Tank you cannot have a treat because (insert whatever he did)."  

Mini:  With arms crossed over her chest, "If Tank is not getting a Halloween treat, then I don't want one either."

Fast forward to 2020.  Tank is rotten to his buddy Mini.  I cannot tolerate it any longer.  

A few weeks ago Tank was in the basement with his buddies playing ping pong.  I was about to go to bed, but I tossed some of my hot-commodity frozen cookies on a plate and carried them down.  

Tank objected to my presence in the basement.  I told him to stick it.  

Me:  "Hey guys.  Here are some cookies.  Now I just took them out of the freezer, but you can eat them in a few minutes.  BUT before you do, I invite you to have a cookie if you agree to one thing.  Only take a cookie if you agree that Tank needs to treat Mini better."

Tank's friends erupted in scoldings towards their leader:  "Yeah Tank!  What's your problem anyway?  You are so bad to her.  It's so dumb.  She's cool."  

Me:  "See Tank.  Even they agree."

Tank:  "Whatever, they just want your cookies."

In case you have not gathered what Mini is like, allow me:  Mini is hilarious.  She is NOT boy crazy.  Totally into hanging with her girls.  Surrounds herself with a close knit group of pure-as-the-driven-snow friends.  Doesn't do drama.  Makes for a very loyal friend.  Is friendly with various  groups at school and most kids greet her or know her.  I do not think anyone dislikes her.  Is interested in the happenings in the world, and understands what is going on in foreign places (unlike her mother).  Rocks the messy bun, or beautiful curly/wavy hair compliments of her towel turban depending on the day.  Fairly athletic in a not overly competitive kind of way.  She has only ever worn makeup for Irish dancing competition and has no interest in wearing it in real life.  Plays the fiddle.  Has serious artistic ability.  She is VERY devoted to her grades and is pretty dang bright.  Cannot keep a room organized to save her soul.  Never knows where her phone is.  Steer clear if she has not gotten enough sleep (just like her mother before her).  

Tank and his friends could hang with these girls and not act so superior because they could do a lot worse as far as buddies go.  His friends don't seem to object.  I pointed out what a great opportunity it is that they are so close in age.  They have always enjoyed each other's company.  

On Mother's Day Tank and Mini tried to recreate some fragrance or hair product commercial.  It was right before bed.  Early riser Coach was already in bed.  We laughed so hard as they tried to get thru their script with french accents without cracking up, that I feared we might wake Daddy.  I was about to wet my pants as I tried to video a perfect take with my phone.  Ed (in the background) could barely stand up, he was laughing so hard. Trying to insert that video here and yes, I have refrained from hiding their faces.  The video is just too funny to NOT share.

Both kids initially expressed an interest in hosting friends here for New Year's Eve, but when Tank caught wind of the possible sharing of space/overcrowding situation, he baled.  I even offered to have them rotate out of the basement and hang in the family room and kitchen while Coach and I and the younger kids scurried up to  my bedroom.  

Tank feared flaws to my plan that might lead to possible overlap, so Mini hosted her peeps and he went to a friend's house.

What I am saying here is:  This is not over.