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June 29, 2023

when envisioning myself hanging at the Jersey Shore isn't enough to make it happen

Mini flies out this weekend to visit friends at the Jersey Shore. Almost half of her group of friends are from New Jersey, New York, and the surrounding area. I wanted to go. I'm not even joking - I had a vision of us taking a family trip and incorporating time to hang out with Mini's friends' families. Mini was like WAIT. YOU THINK YOU'RE COMING? Yeah, so it was a brief hallucination. One that didn't even require me to smoke anything or ingest an illegal substance. It was a good, albeit brief trip. I'm just a creative type. I guess.

The other day I asked whose house she is staying at and she rattled off all.the.houses. and all.the.parents who we've met and really enjoy. One family is hosting a party for all the local parents and are you surprised that I woke up and thought MAYBE I'LL JUST BUY A FLIGHT FOR MYSELF AND GO FOR LIKE ONE NIGHT? 

FOMO much? 

Flights for her were pricey - and no, I haven't bought myself a flight and I probably won't I think I'll be in Indianapolis that weekend with Curly for basketball. Sounds just as fun, right? I used that flight search engine where a bunch of suggestions pop up. Priceline maybe? The cheapest one was on something called Foggyfly.com. Is there a worse name for a travel ticket place, ever? 

I was like YEAH, WELL IT'S HERE ON PRICELINE. MUST BE FINE. We booked it.

A few days later, Mini was freaking out because she hadn't gotten an email confirmation. She'd taken a photo of the screen, so we called and gave her confirmation number. 

Turns out they'd been trying to call her. The flight included NO carry on or personal item or anything, so if she wanted to bring ANYTHING with her, she'd have to pay extra. There were some thick accents involved and I was using Bluetooth to make the call while Mini and I were both in the car. I was squinting, because even when you aren't reading squinting makes things so much clearer. 

Mini:  OH, I DON'T KNOW HOW TO LISTEN TO MY VOICEMAIL ON MY PHONE, SO I DIDN'T GET ANY MESSAGES.

Me:  YEAH, WE WILL JUST CANCEL. NOT PAYING TO BRING ON A PERSONAL ITEM. 

After we bought the flight, we'd read some reviews and no one in the world had a positive thing to say about this group. Oops. 

Foggy peeps tried to tell me that we could no longer cancel because it had been more than 24 hours and they'd tried to reach my 'how-does-voicemail-work?' daughter. I told them I'd just tell my credit card company that I don't authorize the charge since they weren't upfront with us when we bought the ticket. I'd read the small print. There was NOTHING about not being able to walk on the flight with not so much as a small wallet or phone case. Not happening. 

I alerted my credit card company and I've checked and as of now foggy has not charged anything to my credit card. 

While Mini was in Ireland all of her college crew went to Florida for spring break. Two girls booked on Kiwi airlines or something, paying next to nothing. I guess after they bought the tix they read reviews and these two were so worried they were never gonna get to Florida. They made it, but it was kind of a running joke. 

Enter Mini and I and the Foggy ordeal. Her friend group chat (no, I'm not ON the group text, but if I can find a way to be added - I will def be joining. Open to tips) exploded with HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING YET? And other little jabs at how stupid we'd been.

Then the girls were all like - yeah -but Mrs. Shenanigan isn't gonna take that sitting down, etc. Mini shared this with me and I was like, HUH? 

She reminded me that when her friends stayed here at Easter and admired the new kitchen, I'd shared the tales of how we were ripped off by our contractor and how I went to his office and raised enough hell that the police were called. 

I apparently also told them the story of me vs the junior high principal who stuck Tank in a lunch with no peers because "WELL, HE'S NOT WORKING AT GRADE LEVEL FOR MATH" (in order to make his special ed math class work in his schedule) as if he's not deserving of time with his peers. I told that God-awful principal:  MARK MY WORDS, TANK'LL BE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL STUDENT YOUR SCHOOL EVER PRODUCES . . . among other, possibly less polite, things. 

Plus that same principal had to deal with my wrath when Tank was kicked out of 8th grade a few hours before graduation after a kid started pummeling him in the head on a field trip and Tank defended himself. Mini and I told her friends about the Halloween costume she wore to school the next year. 

Of course those girls witnessed my dad's blatant 'MY SMARTEST GRANDCHILD . . . DIDN'T GET INTO ND BECAUSE HER PARENTS MAKE TOO MUCH MONEY' crap and I had some.things.to.say about that. 

Apparently I'm now known to her friends as a hell-raising, vigilante and I think that means that her friends really want me to find a way to get out to the Jersey Shore to hang with all of them next week. Right? 


June 26, 2023

Mini's home: how she brings it

I picked Mini up from ND the Friday before Mother's Day. It's great to have her home. I initially drafted this after she'd been home 8 days and her bins and plastic drawers were still in the front hall. I thought you'd enjoy a few Mini-infused moments of late.

Have we been shopping
 since Mini came
 home? Yes, we have. Is she
drawn to Kelly green
 clothing to wear for
 game days? Yes
 she is. A green skirt should be
 arriving from
 Von Maur any day now. 

When Mini was home for a few days after Ireland before heading back to school, I got a text message from a woman, Terry, whose kids attended the same Catholic grade school as ours years ago. I hadn't seen her in awhile. She and her husband have 4 boys. A few lined up with our kids. Her youngest is Curly's age.

She's a nice lady. Like me, she did not work outside the home back then. Unlike me, she employed a staff, including multiple sitters - some at home and some with her out and about. I can't make this up. Mutual friends once met them at the beach. She walked up to the meeting spot and a few minutes later they spotted her husband, looking like a sherpa. He had a gazillion bags, a beach umbrella, and their toddler. 

When we decided to switch the kids to public school from Catholic in 2011, Terry called me. WE WILL JUST PAY YOUR TUITION. THIS IS RIDICULOUS. THE SHENANIGANS ARE CENTRAL TO OUR SCHOOL. WE CAN'T HAVE FAMILIES LIKE YOURS LEAVING. IT ISN'T RIGHT. WE CAN JUST COVER YOUR TUITION FOR A FEW YEARS. She didn't want to take no for an answer. 

I thanked her profusely and we really DID want to stay. We could not afford it anymore, but we also didn't feel comfortable accepting that offer. We were touched by the number of people who reached out and begged us not to leave. Her generosity was mind blowing. We didn't share the same lifestyle, but her boys were always very well behaved and very sweet and she is obviously a kind person.

Anyway, Terry texted in mid March, asking if Mini or Curly would be interested in cooking or cleaning for her - for $25/hour. Surprisingly enough, my mind instantly toyed with how I could manage to cook and clean for this other family, while also managing my own home front duties and my daycare. 

I read the text aloud to the girls, assuming they'd say NO WAY. 

Mini:  COOKING AND CLEANING? OH MY GOSH, ALL OF MY WEAKNESSES RIGHT THERE. 

Curly cringed a little, but decided to give it a try. She hates caddying. Like HATES. Coach and I are like, well, that's too bad - but you still gotta do it. Great money and the scholarship possibility is impossible to ignore. 

Unrelated, but I meant to include this in
 my last post about Ego. Ed sent it
to Coach and I in a text. Ego is a known
 socialist and Coach fully supported Ed
 texting Coach this meme,
but that didn't happen. 

Curly has gone over a handful of times and emptied some basement cabinets and cleaned the patio furniture. Vacuumed the dog beds, etc. She's run into the boy her age a few times and that is not her favorite part of the arrangement. They played on a soccer team together as little 3rd or 4th graders. He's very cute, by the way and when she was on the team with him we all noted how she relived every pass and every high five he gave her after the game. Wink, wink. 

Recently she was vacuuming in a room where he was playing video games. He had to pick up his feet so she could vacuum under him. *eye roll*. Both girls have gone and they both say it's weird to help clean a house that's already so clean. They say this as they glance around our house, eyes raised. Yeah, I hear you. Maybe try to explain how it is that when I asked Mini to clean my bathroom counter last week, she cleaned THE counter - but skipped the sinks. What now? 

A few weeks ago, Mini didn't want to caddy. She had evening plans with friends and she worried that she'd not be finished with her loop in time to meet up. I suggested she reach out to Terry to see if she needed anything. *up until this point, only Curly had gone over there* I was like, that way you're guaranteed $50, better than doing nothing.

She came home and walked in hollering TA-DA! As she did this, she held up a bandaged, bloody finger. I was like WHAT? DO YOU NEED STITCHES? DID TERRY KNOW?

She explained that Terry asked her to do some dinner prep. She wanted her to chop veggies. While Mini was chopping, Terry told her to go look on the front step for an Amazon package. Sure enough, her knew vegetable chopper had arrived. She showed Mini how to work it and after she left the room, Mini promptly cut a chunk of skin off of her finger. 

She was so embarrassed. She asked for a Band-Aid, but one Band-Aid was not sufficient and it kept falling off. At one point, Terry picked it up off the floor and handed it back to her. I'm sure you are all grateful that I'm not sharing a photo. 

What interesting summer job have you had, or which one did you hate? Any on the job injuries? I once sliced off part of my thumb while slaving working at Burger King. If you had 4 sons, would you be enlisting them to cook and clean or would you be bringing in a few girls to get it done/chop off their appendages? 


June 22, 2023

HE GONE! - update, Ego Worm clarification, and a mini start to Mini stories

HE GONE!  

Last week my phone rang just as I dropped Curly at b-ball camp. 

Principal:  HAVE A MINUTE?

Me:  I'M IN THE PARKING LOT . . .

Principal:  CAN YOU MEET ME IN THE CIRCLE DRIVE SO WE CAN TALK?

I met him. He explained that I was going to get an email from the superintendent stating that they didn't find that Ego violated the school bully/harassment policy, BUT that he was not meeting school standards (and some other policy) SO Henrietta and the principal would decide how to proceed. He couldn't tell me what action would be taken because it was a personnel issues, but I would see changes right away.

Then he rambled on for 35 minutes. I could win an award for talking too much, just ask Delilah - but this guy? He makes me look like the cat has my tongue. 

While I had an audience, I managed to speak about 10 words, including:  THE AD IS NOT DOING HIS JOB. NOT JUST IN B-BALL, BUT ACROSS MOST SPORTS. I HOPE YOU LOOK INTO IT. 

Our district just hired a new assistant to the superintendent for $200,000 a year. ASSISTANT, mind you. The AD makes $143K and he does nothing. In our district, we pay for our kids to be involved in sports, which wasn't the way it was when Lad started out in public high school. Why does the AD just grope around at the bottom of the barrel and hire unqualified folks for all of our sport teams and pretend they are coaches? Something is off. 

*Ok, maybe that was more than 10 words.

I drove home feeling I was on top of the world. Ego would not be coaching anymore - right?

Ed:  ASSUME THE WORST. HE'S PROBABLY JUST GONNA GET A SLAP ON THE WRIST.

Reg came back from b-ball the next two days saying EGO IS STILL THERE. I KNEW THEY WEREN'T GOING TO DO ANYTHING. 

I left principal a strongly worded voice message. DID I MISUNDERSTAND SOMETHING? I KNOW YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN, BUT SEEING CHANGES RIGHT AWAY? I SEE NOTHING. WE HAVE OPTIONS (including filing an appeal, but we only had so many days to do that. Was he stalling? Hoping I would miss that opportunity?) AND WE NEED TO DECIDE WHAT WE ARE DOING. (if Ego was going to coach I would've asked Reg  if he wanted to attend a Catholic school for his senior year). 

The next day at Reg's b-ball camp, Ego said:  SO I'M RESIGNING FROM COACHING VARSITY. DO ME A FAVOR AND DON'T ASK ME WHY. I'LL STILL BE INVOVLED IN THE PROGRAM. 

Were they just letting him finish out the week? Why? Ed wanted to know if I needed him to draft an apology email to the principal for jumping the gun. Early on the AD told me that I'd see changes right away and that turned out to be the AD talking to Ego. That was the big change. I feared I'd been duped AGAIN. I sincerely hope that he isn't allowed to coach freshmen again, but we are taking him not coaching varsity as a WIN. 

Clarify

There have been two b-ball team issues for Reg and I want to clarify. 

Ego - high school coach, very LOW b-ball IQ, said degrading things to our kid on and off the court, in class he told Reg he thought he was to blame for all the varsity games lost. 

Worm -  AAU coach - like a travel team, knows everything there is to know about b-ball, but pretends he cares about getting his players college looks and that this is not a business for him. It is definitely a business and despite what he says he makes bank on his AAU team. He wasn't upfront with Reg for this season. I wish he'd held a new tryout for the new season and then told certain boys (like Reg) that they might be better switching teams. 

Clueless or nervy 

Remember when Reg and I had the wrestling match with the phone in the kitchen? Reg asked Worm if he could still attend the June workouts. High school teams play a summer league in June, so AAU teams take a break. 

Worm:  SURE, REG. YOU PAID FOR THEM - YOU CAN GO TO THAT STUFF. *remember he wouldn't refund any of our money.

Last week Reg told me that he'd texted Worm to ask when the June workout were. Worm didn't respond. That night at dinner, I told Coach about Reg's text. 

Reg:  YEAH, HE NEVER RESPONDED. SO I TEXTED HIM AGAIN.

People, I almost fell off of my chair. Clearly Worm didn't want Reg attending workouts since he'd jumped ship - regardless of whether or not we'd paid. The fact that Reg didn't pick up on that floored me. I cackled, pounding the table. Reg could've just texted his former teammates and asked them when the workout were, but he ended up surrendering. 

This might shock you, but I FULLY SUPPORTED Reg showing up to workouts whether he was welcomed of not. Eat it Worm!

Eat it Worm  

I regularly attend weekend HS bball tournies and games on Tu/Th nights for both Reg and Curly, in case you thought I'm kicking back during these here summer days of no babysitting.

Reg played in a tournie on Father's Day. One game was against a high school attended by one of Reg's former Worm teammates. Worm (remember he coaches AAU - not HS) came to the high school game to watch 'TP', one of his potential D1 top prospects.  

When Reg guarded TP, TP couldn't get a shot off even though he rarely misses his 3 pointers. Reg is a great defender, so he forced TP to pass the ball vs take a shot. Reg had about 23 points in that game. Each basket he made or turnover he forced or rebound he grabbed, I mumbled EAT THAT, WORM

I labeled Worm in the photo. It's blurry, but I'm guessing you can see the resemblance. He was on the
 other side of the gym from me, a safe distance.
Admittedly Reg's 3 point shot is off. Remember when sophomore Reg went down state for the 3 point competition? Well, his knee tendinopathy has messed with his stance or somethingCurly's AAU coach has agreed to work with him, but he is tough to nail down. 

Taylor teasers  


I thought the Swiffer
 attachments resembled
 giant maxipads, and I didn't really
 think that was the look
 they were going for. 
Ed, Mini, and Tank (pictured above in that order) went downtown to their friends' boat the night of the Taylor Swift concert. They weren't going to the concert, but everyone was dressing in a Taylor theme. For a bit they were going to dress as Swiffers. Mini went to Target and bought Swiffer products to decorate their shirts. Taylor fans are knows as Swiftees, so Mini was just playin'. 

Then the three of them decided to sport homemade shirts featuring Kanye West quotes. If you don't live under a rock, like I do, then you might get that Kanye and Taylor dislike one another. 

They had a blast, but Ed's girlfriend was still trying to get tickets to the concert and spent a lot of time checking her phone, apparently. She was also not happy with the Shenanigans' shirt goofiness. Hmmm. 

Did you know about Taylor vs Kanye? Did you go to the Taylor concert - or know anyone who did? Are you shocked that Ego was removed from his coaching position? Don't you think Reg should still go to the workout that we paid for? 


 

June 19, 2023

Mr. Plumb at a PT clinic with the FOB

On the flip side of the Shenanigans winning at finding Reg a new AAU team:  a true and laughable tale of how the Shenanigans have been losing. 

We own 4 cars. 

1. GW (the Great White - former airport shuttle, 12 seater Chevy Express) -The car seats have been removed for the summer though, so hop aboard. It guzzles gas. Reg doesn't drive it and Mini can drive it - but only if I LOOK AWAY

2. Honda navy minivan - bought last summer after Mini totaled the red minivan that had no working radio and had a knocking sound in the inner wall in the backseat that could only be attributed to a lurking, angry elf. 

3. Gray car- the kid car, a kia Sorrento

4. Tex-  Ford Fusion bought from Uncle Marty

A month before we bought Tex, Mini had a loop scheduled at the golf course (caddy term for a bag to carry). I took 3 kids to a play area about 22 minutes from home. Meanwhile, two additional kids hopped off the preK bus at my house and were hanging out with Mini until I got home. I decided that I wasn't going to make it home in time for Mini to head to her loop (this was an oversight on my part. I had a toddler wet her pants before we left the house and it slowed me down). Mini was going to drop the two preK kids at my folks' house  before her loop till I could get there. 

At the last minute, she realized she had NO FOB for the minivan. It was in Coach's pocket at work. The other FOB needs a new battery. I ordered batteries before we left for Ireland and our house swallowed them whole apparently while we were gone. (I've ordered new batteries since drafting this post so we are back to being a 2 FOB family for the minivan). Dad drove Mini and two preschoolers to the golf course in his car. I met him at the golf course so he wasn't driving around with preschoolers needlessly. Mini was steamed. It was an unpleasant, panicky afternoon. 

Last week, Coach drove GW to his prayer meeting, thinking it was the least 'needed' vehicle. Unfortunately, he drove away WITH the FOB to Tex. Tex only has one FOB until we get batteries for the other FOB. That evening, Tex was parked behind the Minivan, so no one could go ANYWHERE until Reg got home from b-ball in the Kia, which was the same time Coach got home with GW. 

This was most of the shoes,
but not all. The
 surface area of the mudroom
 is about half of
 the space the shoes are
covering here. WHY????
Tuesday Reg was in a panic before school. He couldn't find the gray car keys. Keys hang on hooks in the mudroom, OR kids drop them on the island. He woke up Tank asking where the keys were, but Tank had driven GW the night before when Coach got home. I deduced that Reg was the last one with the gray keys, think Mr. Plumb in the study with the candlestick. Reg had to drive the minivan to school. We were once again a 4 car family with 3 cars. This was a bad time to learn that somewhere along the way someone has misplaced (permanently?) the second set of Kia car keys. 

I emptied the mudroom, assuming someone knocked the key off the holder and they got kicked into a locker. This is NOT my first rodeo. Midway through emptying the lockers, I looked up. Reg's b-ball high tops were on his top shelf. I figured he dropped the keys in the shoe on his way into the house with all of his basketball gear the night before. Bingo. 

Look at me, I found the keys, and while I didn't NEED to empty the mudroom, that apparently is not something my offspring are capable of doing on their own. 

I'm about to launch into a series of posts focused on Mini. Get excited. This girl doesn't disappoint in the entertainment arena. 

Who here, like me, thought that us owning 4 cars was going to simplify things? 



June 15, 2023

to follow, or not to follow the script, that is the challenge

Remember when I met with Henrietta? I was steamed. An hour after that meeting, Reg and I had a scheduled call with Worm (Reg's AAU Prestige coach). Reg needed to let him know that he was ditching the team. Coach wanted a refund. That would've been nice, but I wasn't holding my breath. We'd tried to schedule the call for the morning, because it was Coach's late start day, but that didn't work for Worm. 

Coach printed out a conversation prompt for me. Can I speak my mind? Yes, I can. Do I like to speak my mind freely? Yes, I do. Were the other family members worried that I would tell Worm things, like what I thought he could do with his decision to add 4 new players to a roster and not make people aware that they were gonna warm the bench despite paying $$$? Yes, they were nervous. 

I was bothered by Henrietta and here Reg was - trying to deal with another crappy coach situation. He put the call on speaker phone and I stuck to the script . . . till the end. 

Script:  Reg enjoyed playing for Prestige last year. He worked hard - there is no  harder working player. He was excited for this season. We were disappointed that adding new players impacted Reg's playing time and wish that was communicated to us upfront. Reg not getting to play was frustrating, etc. Reg just wants to play. Considering all of this, Reg has accepted another offer to play for another team. We hope you will consider giving us a refund for half of the season.

Worm scoffed at my request. NO REFUNDS. THE UNIFORM ALONE COSTS $500. I DON'T MAKE MONEY OFF OF THESE TEAMS. 

*not sure how versed he is in math, but his bottom line is definitely boosted by his AAU league standings. I get it. I do. He wants to win games on the national circuit, because he can add those bragging rights to his marketing materials. He runs basketball camps and any success he has nationally promotes his other leagues, camps, and ultimately his brand. He skipped a weekend of games that we were scheduled to play in early May, because majority of his starters were hurt. He still had most of his players available to play, but he didn't want to risk losing games and lose his spot in the standings, so he skipped a weekend WHEN WE WERE READY AND WILLING TO PLAY, WHICH IS WHY WE ARE ON THIS SCOUT TEAM. All this means is that I do not, for one minute, buy his bull shit that he doesn't make any money off of his AAU teams. Why do you think he orders $500 uniforms? How stupid does he think we are? 

Worm might not be the brightest bulb. He missed the point.

We never would've paid to be on this team or for the pretty uniforms if he'd been upfront and honest about how much our kid would play.

I'd had a DAY, remember . . .  so I reverted to my unscripted dialogue and let it rip:  Well, I hope that moving forward you communicate upfront with players and families because at the end of the day - I think that's only fair. 12 players is probably too many to keep on a roster.

Worm:  HEY, REG PLAYED 10TH, 11TH,12TH ON THE TEAM BECAUSE OF HOW HE PERFORMED IN PRACTICE. THAT'S ON HIM. HE KNOWS THAT. ARE YOU LEAVING EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY? BECAUSE YOU WERE GONNA PLAY THIS WEEKEND. WELL, THERE ARE PLENTY OF D3 SCHOOLS THAT WILL BE EXCITED ABOUT YOU (I took that as the insult it was intended to be). WHEN YOU PLAY IN COLLEGE AND THERE ARE KIDS SITTING ON THE BENCH, YOU'LL NOW HAVE SOME EMPATHY FOR THEM, BECAUSE YOU'VE BEEN THERE. 

(I didn't say this but at some point I will share this sentiment with him):  

Wait now. What's this horse shit? You think you taught my kid empathy? No siree-Bob. You taught my kid nothing. You schmoozed him and showered him with love last year, convincing all of us that you had the boys' best interest at heart- not doing this for the money, etc. If he had the boys' best interest at heart, he would've given people a heads up, why not say:  MY VISION FOR THE TEAM HAS CHANGED/I'VE ADDED SOME NEW TALENT. NOT SURE HOW MUCH PLAYING TIME YOU WILL GET. IF YOU WANNA MAKE A CHANGE BEOFRE THE SEASON STARTS AND BEFORE YOU PAY OUT THE ASS ON FLIGHTS AND HOTEL ROOMS, THEN I THINK YOU SHOULD LOOK AT XYZ TEAM.

I have no photo evidence of this phone call, sadly.
But here is my recent Costco receipt. More later
 as to why SO MUCH. But here we are - not thrilled
 that this guy's misleading approach
 cost us hard earned money. 

At this point, I tried to say MORE, because as per my usual Irish-temper, middle-child, had-to-fight-my-way-to-be-heard -my-whole-life THINGS TO SAY. Reg and I got into an arm wrestling match/tap dance. The phone was a tug of war item - me trying to put Worm in his place (below the sole of my shoe) and Reg trying to escape to another room so I couldn't speak my mind. 

I'm so sorry there is not video footage of us in this moment. Oh, and a mom walked in to pick up her kid and was across the room saying WAIT, IS THIS THE COACH?

 Mini was perched at the island asking me nonchalantly, as if there WASN'T A WRESTLING MATCH GOING ON, why I couldn't just 'be nice'. It was a scene from a movie - with me trying to keep my voice even so as not to reveal the phone-fumbling, family-feud phenomenon that was taking place in my kitchen. 

I didn't think he'd give us a dime back. It's fine, but seriously - how badly did he miss the point about the money? We paid to be a part of a showcase team - so our son could play and get college looks - that was the pitch Worm sold to us, not so Reg could sit on the bench in case the true showcase-worthy kids got hurt. 

I'd like to write a little article about this topic and get it published locally and then wallpaper Worm's car with a thousand copies of The Truth. 

Have you had a person refuse a refund after they misled you or has someone not been upfront about his/her motives or given a fake sales pitch? If so, did you stick to a script? 

June 12, 2023

kismet much?

While Ed, Dad, and I were gone the weekend of May 20th to help Uncle Marty move, Coach was scheduled to teach a class in Saint Louis. Reg had an AAU (travel/scout basketball) tournament in Chicago with the 'Prestigious' team, coached by Worm. This is the team that we were begging him to walk away from (remember:  he wasn't playing much since they added 4 new players, 3 of whom will get high-level D1 offers).

The week before Texas, my brother, Mike, messaged Coach. A team he knew of had an opportunity/opening. Did Reg want to play for them? This new team plays in a lower bracket than Prestigious. Reg was previously uninterested in playing for a less fabulous team. Have I mentioned that he was drinking the Kool Aid that the Worm-coach was serving?

Reg was tuning into a false narrative in his head. "NO COLLEGES WILL LOOK AT KIDS WHO DON'T PLAY FOR PRESTIGE." Oh, sweet mother. Not true. 

Reg REALLY wanted to play in Chicago that weekend, because a number of his Prestige teammates were injured or sick. Reg believed this was his moment to shine, because Worm kept telling him to be ready. He was gonna need him. 

New 'Hope' team chatted with Coach and Reg. Guy (otherwise known as the coach, but let's not get overly confusing) explained that in order for Reg to join the team, he'd have to play THAT weekend, in Saint Louis of all places. Can you even?

That remained a sticking point for Reg. He had his heart set on playing with Prestige and didn't want to skip it to play with New Hope in St. Louis. 

Me:  You can bypass this opportunity with New Hope, but come July (high schools run their summer leagues in June, so AAU teams take June off) we are NOT travelling to Atlanta and staying in a hotel for 5 nights AGAIN. Plus Worm added a tournament in Vegas. We're not attending that either (too far to go for him to only play a few minutes), so consider that. 

Coach and Reg met New Hope's Guy, who put Reg through a workout. They chatted afterwards and Reg decided to change teams. Note:  I'd mentioned this team to Reg months ago when we were first blindsided by the reality of Prestige's lineup and how it didn't really include Reg. Reg initially said no because there were a few cocky kids on New Hope, who he didn't care for. If there's anything a Shenanigan CANNOT stand, it's a cocky athlete. 

Guess which player/s left the team, leaving them with only 6 players? The cocky kids, that's who. BOOM- YA. 

The Shenanigans needed this break and it still makes me laugh to think of how it all fell into place. 

Unrelated, but I drove behind this car the other day. Someone enjoys slasher movies. The bumper sticker at the bottom says:  I HAVE THE PERFECT BODY, AT HOME IN MY FREEZER. There was a theme happening here and we were very entertained by it.

Me (to Coach):  Are you driving to St. Louis or are you flying? *I don't typically track how Coach gets to his teaching gigs. He might tell me, but my brain only manages so much. I cringed while waiting for him to answer. 

Coach:  I'm renting a car -the company is paying. I'm driving. My hotel is paid for, because I'm teaching. He'll have to Uber to his games because my hotel isn't near the other players, but otherwise it's perfect. 

*Coach was able to see one of his four games. 

** Mini and I were a little worked up about Reg trying to Uber on his own for the first time. He managed. Do any of you remember the time Uber failed me when I was trying to Uber to court after I'd lost my license for too many speeding tickets in a year (really for me it was too many in a few months)? Now that I've revealed my sordid past, are we still friends? 

Reg played a TON. His team won all of their games. He was 100% for 3 pointers, but he only took 4. Coach was bummed he didn't shoot more, but I reminded him - he's been through a confidence depleting ORDEAL between Ego and Worm. Give it time.

If I hadn't been going to Texas, I would've probably hopped in the car and driven to St. Louis with Coach and Reg in order to watch Reg play while Coach was teaching. Tank's best friend's parents live in St. Louis and I would've attempted to wrangle a few drinks with this couple who Coach and I really connect with. That was the only bummer, but in the grand scheme . . . can you believe an opening on a local team, cocky kids left, and the mandatory games were in a city where we were headed. Kismet much? 

What situation have you had when all the pieces just fell into place? Ever had an Uber fail?  Tune in next time for the phone call to Worm informing him that Reg would no longer be playing for him. 


June 8, 2023

Ego vs the Shenanigans & "those poor pigs"

On Friday, Henrietta and the principal interviewed Reg. Coach and I attended. It was tough. Reg did a good job. He's not always great at expressing his thoughts - he stumbles over words quite a bit. I'd urged him to take his time and not feel rushed. He did a good job. Henrietta hopes to have her report done by the end of this week. She will submit it to the superintendent, and then he will decide what happens to Ego. 

It became clear in the interview that Ego had lied. The principal shared that they'd interviewed Edo. He must've tried to dig himself out of the this hole. 

Principal asked Reg:  AFTER EGO SAID TO YOU, HEARD YOU'RE JUST A BENCH WARMER, DID HE THEN SAY SOMETHING LIKE 'BUT YOU KNOW YOU'RE ALWAYS NUMBER ONE WITH ME ON OUR HIGH SCHOOL TEAM'? 

Reg almost laughed, NO. HE DID NOT. 

Principal:  WHEN YOU TALKED ABOUT YOUR KNEE PAIN, DID HE DESCRIBE HIS CHRONIC PAIN THAT HE DEALS WITH?

Reg:  NO. HE DID NOT. 

It was also clear that Ego told the principal that the reason he threatened to kick Reg off the team at practice one night was because Reg had mouthed off to him. HELLO - false narrative. (*One of Mini's friends who stayed with us Easter weekend used the phrase 'false narrative' frequently and I've been working it into conversation whenever possible. Mini always recognizes it as a shout out to her friend, which makes her giggle).

Coach teared up a bit when he gave a little speach at the end. They asked Reg what his preference was for how this would be RESOLVED, not that he would necessarily get his way - but if he could choose.

Reg said he doesn't want Ego to coach him anymore, which implied that Reg thought it was fine if Ego continued to coach freshmen or teach in the classroom.

Coach:  HEY REG - WHAT ABOUT ALL THE OTHER KIDS? KIDS IN CLASS? KIDS THAT WILL HAVE TO PUT UP WITH HIM ON A FRESHMAN TEAM? THAT ISN'T RIGHT. 

(then he turned to the principal and Henrietta) AND AS FAR AS RESOLVING THIS . . . THIS WON'T BE 'RESOLVED' FOR US. LISTEN TO WHAT MY KID WENT THROUGH. THIS WASN'T RIGHT. IT WENT ON FOR A LONG TIME AND REG HAD TO DEAL WITH THIS GUY ON THE COURT AND IN THE CLASSROOM. NO - THERE'S NO RESOLVING THIS. IT HAPPENED. IT'S HARD TO SIT HERE AND RELIVE IT AND HEAR ALL THAT THIS GUY DID. IT SHOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED. IT'S THAT SIMPLE. 

This is a photo of Mom in her first year as a teacher in the 60's. It hangs on the wall in her house. Look at how MANY kids were in her class. She was an amazing teacher and always made her students feel special - opposite of Ego. 
I said a few words (also a little choked up) and of course I wish I'd said more, but I
pointed out that I'm a very trusting person. I mentioned that my mom was a teacher and this situation was mind blowing. It was hard to believe that a teacher could behave this way and that my fear is that Ego won't be reprimanded because of tenure. I said he shouldn't be allowed to be in a classroom unless it is co-taught. I assume they don't have that in their budget. 

I'm glad it's over. I feel like we've done all that we can. I fear that Reg's teammates might not have been honest, because they think Ego is funny. Not sure how they will handle it. We hope that they will take action. 

On a lighter note: 

 The hot dog saga.  I wanted to share this in a recent post, but as I wove in the various stresses of the airport tale the post got lengthy. (shock)

Dad had worked up an appetite during our stressful ride to O'Hare. Not all of us can make a frozen GF pizza and fold it up in a purse like a sandwich and pretend it's socially acceptable to yank a cold, fragrant pizza out and eat it mid-flight. I'm not a monster, I stored it in a Ziploc freezer bag  still it was a mess. No easy way to eat it. 

As we walked past the food court, Dad announced his quest for a hot dog. Since Mom has Alzheimer's, Dad makes his own lunch, a new development. He listed each day of the week and the coordinating sandwich he prepares for himself, which made Ed chuckle. Saturday dictates a hot dog lunch. Apparently my father has morphed into Rain Man. 

We'd convinced him that he wasn't getting a hot dog  . . .  THEN, low and behold - there was a hot dog stand mere steps from our gate. 

New and improved hot dog story:  A week later after Uncle had moved here, I drove Uncle Marty to meet his new internist. Dr. G is Dad's internist, too. Dad insisted on joining us. Uncle Marty has stage 4 cancer. It's in his bones and his lymph nodes. He met 2 of his other doctors the following week with Ann and Marie. 

Dad, who sat in the backseat, shouted at Uncle Marty:  WHAT TIME DO THEY FEED YOU BREAKFAST ON MONDAY (memorial day)? I'M GONNA COME PICK YOU UP. YOU CAN SPEND THE DAY AT MY HOUSE. 

Gentle-soul Uncle Marty, in a whisper:  9 am.

Filter-less Dad didn't hear him, so he shouted again. I continuously relayed Uncle's responses to Dad in the backseat. 

Dad:  DO YOU LIKE HOT DOGS. I'LL GRILL HOT DOGS.

Uncle Marty:  No! I don't like hot dogs. I watched a documentary about how they make hot dogs. Those poor pigs. Those poor, poor pigs. 

Dad still missed his response, so I shouted:  NO, DAD. HE DOESN'T LIKE HOT DOGS. HE SAYS POOR, POOR PIGS. 

Mini was in the car too, because I was dropping her at a friend's houseafter the doctor appointment, because even with 4 cars in our fleet now - there's always a shortage. We didn't realize that the doctor appointment would take an hour and 15 minutes, so afterwards I had to race to load 2 elderly men into my car, which it turns out is NOT  a thing. Her friends' plans had changed while we were in the appointment and she was in the waiting room and they wanted to hang out earlier and I was messing all of that up.

Anyway -  Mini and I died laughing at the pig conversation. How can two brothers be so different?

Have you seen a hot dog documentary? Do you eat them? Would you be upset if you sat next to GF me on a plane and I yanked a cold pizza out of my purse and snarfed it down?  I think the principal figured out that Ego was lying and I hope that means he'll come down on him harder. Can you believe I didn't hop up on the table and lose my sh*t when I realized Ego had lied? 

June 5, 2023

Texas trip: don't say ANYTHING, lost, and found

Minutes after walking into Uncle Marty's house, Dad marched around with a clipboard checking things off his list. Items for our car ride home and some for the moving van the next morning.

Uncle Marty went to bed fairly early. He had a busy day bird watching with his friends and he was exhausted. Their bird outing was part of his farewell. 

cute loveseat, sigh
Backing up the bus:  When we were in the airport, I told Ann that I'd decided not to take the furniture or the sewing machine that I'd initially requested to buy from Uncle Marty. *I told her this the week prior after I heard about the estate sale issue that had arisen but she said, "It's fine." Now I was like, NO REALLY. NOT TAKING ANY OF IT. 

I didn't really need anything. I hoped this would make more sense for the estate sale lady, 'Stella'. Ann had texted in the sibling group chat (remember, our folks don't text) that Uncle Marty had given away/sold many high end items to his friends and neighbors without consulting Stella. 

We could always use more
seating in our family room. Oh well.
Stella had posted items on her website and some things that were now gone had already been promised to people. At the sale, she planned to hire security and a credit card machine. She wondered if she would end up making a profit. 

Ann was beside herself. She'd told Uncle Marty the way the sale worked, but he either forgot, or didn't understand.

I was most excited about
 this. I have a china cabinet
 in my dining room,
but this would've been a
 lovely place to display things
that don't fit in there
At the airport, Dad asked Ann what the issue was with Stella. Ann filled him in but prefaced the story with:  DON'T MENTION TO UNCLE MARTY THAT HE MESSED THIS UP. HE ALREADY KNOWS BECAUSE I HAD TO CALL  HIM AND TELL HIM AND EXPLAIN. HE FEELS BAD. DAD, I'M SERIOUS - NOT A WORD. HE REALIZES AND HE CALLED ME TO APOLOGY. DON'T BRING IT UP. 

Dad agreed.  

After dinner at his house, Uncle Marty sat at one end of the parlor. Dad was shuttling back and forth with his clipboard and Ed and I were across the very large parlor packing things and organizing piles to go in the car.

Dad:  HEY, MART . . . WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TWO YELLOW CHAIRS THAT WERE HERE? 

Me:  *snapping my fingers loudly, waving at him from across the room, and finally resorting to whisper SHOUTING his name. TO.NO.AVAIL. 

Marty:  WELL, I SOLD THEM TO A FEW OF MY NURSES. 

Dad:  THEY PAID YOU FOR THEM? HMM. OK.

Ed and I were thrashing around in the background trying to get Dad to KEEP.HIS.PROMISE to not mention the pre-sale-screw-up. Marty didn't really seem to connect those dots and Dad eventually dropped it. Ed is convinced that Dad saw us trying to shut him down. Soon after Uncle Marty went to bed, but not before Dad, aka Mr.-No-Filter asked him where the ashes were for his three deceased family members. Ed and I were transporting the ashes in the car. 

Uncle Marty told us they were in Young Cousin's room. I already knew this and I told Dad as much. "I'll find them - I think they're just in there on Young Cousin's dresser. Leave him alone." 

As Ed says, Dad has the emotional maturity of a 6 year old.

Well, there were two urns. The third one was no where to be found. Dad hollered to Marty as he was getting into bed, HEY - WE ONLY SEE TWO URNS. WHERE'S THE OTHER ONE? 

*And the Mr. Sensitivity Award goes to . . . . anyone in the universe besides Dad.*

Since Uncle Marty's move - his town experienced weird flooding and fish are swimming in the street. His move might've thrown off the equilibrium of Texas. 

Uncle Marty is a gentle soul. He sort of crumbled, I'M WORTHLESS. THIS IS HORRIBLE.

Ed and I were getting Uncle Marty into bed, and I assured him that it was not a problem. I'd just go look a little more. 

Well, there was no urn. Marty had said it was in a white box. I searched everywhere in that room. I opened boxes that I wish I'd never opened, discovered a Christmas stocking with Young Cousin's name embroidered on it. There was a plastic bag with my two cousins' baby pacifiers in it. There were little trophies with Young Cousin's name engraved. A Pinewood derby car. I was sleeping in that room, so I tossed the Pinewood derby car into my overnight bag. My emotions were ramping up. There was no one left to cherish all of the little mementos that this family had saved over the years. This was hard.

The next morning, I was getting a little concerned about Aunt's ashes. We'd looked under beds, in closets. EVERYWHERE. I texted in the sibling chat.

ANY OF YOU RECALL SEEING AUNT PAULINE'S ASHES? WE CAN'T FIND THEM ANYWHERE. UNCLE MARTY THINKS IT'S A WHITE BOX.

Pat said he didn't recall seeing them. 

Marie texted:  I'VE CREATED A NEW GROUP CHAT. PLEASE USE THIS CHAT MOVING FORWARD AS ANN IS AT BETH'S GRADUATION TODAY. 

Me:  HEY MARIE, WELL AWARE OF WHERE ANN IS. WE ARE IN A CRISIS HERE. WE NEED TO FIND AUNT PAULINE. I'M ASKING EVERYONE. 

I recently attended Ed's graduation. I was perfectly capable of looking at my phone while there - particularly if there was a CRISIS and someone's ashes had been misplaced hours before a house was being vacated. I just can't with my sisters anymore.

I texted neighbors. Marie texted nurses. A sweet neighbor showed up and called me over to consult with him. I TOOK MARTY TO COMBINE YOUNG COUSIN'S ASHES RECENTLY. THEY HAD PART OF HIS ASHES AT THE HOUSE (they'd planned to sprinkle in the ocean one day, I believe - because of his love of dolphins) AND THE OTHER PART WAS AT THE MAUSOLEUM. THE BOX FROM THE HOUSE WAS REALLY FULL, I DON'T KNOW THAT IT WOULD'VE BEEN HALF OF YOUNG COUSIN AT THE MAUSOLEUM. I WONDER IF WE COMBINED YOUNG COUSIN WITH AUNT PAULINE? 

We shared this scenario with Uncle Marty. He agreed. That must've been what he'd done. Aunt Pauline was found. All was well. Uncle Marty relaxed. Pat arrived to handle the flight home, and Ed and I squeezed into the car with the things we were transporting. Ed couldn't help but chuckle periodically throughout our drive home about temporarily losing Aunt P's ashes. 

Not gonna lie - it felt a little like we were in a Vacation movie with Chevy Chase. 



 

June 1, 2023

odds & ends: OK, mostly odd

Published: This is not chronological, forgive me. Ed and I stayed in a hotel as we drove Uncle's car home. Monday morning, I checked my email and there was a message from a publisher called Free Spirit. They selected one of my chapters to publish in an upcoming book of compiled stories. The book's theme is 'competition.' My chapter is about when my brothers and I sold candy bars for a school fundraiser. 

The sale ordeal was frustrating, so imagine my delight that I'm scoring points with it some 41 years later. 

Say what?:  My mom decided to join Curly and I on our quick visit to Mini mid-April. Mom was very excited about my collage banner-creations and she wanted to tag along when I handed them out to Mini's friends. 

A week later, my sister, Marie, attended a few of Curly's b-ball games in Milwaukee. That was very nice of her, considering one practically needs to take out a second mortgage to afford the basketball entrance fees. I suggested we meet up outside of the games because who owns a money tree, but she insisted. 

Marie:  So, I'm going to Notre Dame next week to watch youngest daughter sing in her choir concert. I asked Mom to come with me, but she keeps saying she'll think about it. I got a room and planned to do some work during the day before the concert. I thought Mom could walk around campus while I'm working. I think she's gonna say no, because she was just at Notre Dame with you. ***Who talks like that? 

*Mom did NOT end up going to Notre Dame. 

Long time readers will recall that my two older sisters did lunches, shopping sprees, or weekend trips with Mom and excluded me over the years. Bottom line - Ann doesn't like spending time with me. The fam caters to what Ann wants because of her divorce. (whispered/hushed tones). Honestly that divorce was a nightmare and I'm not suggesting otherwise, but enabling Ann and her controlling behaviors by excluding me is not, in my opinion, the healthiest approach. 

Ann dislikes hanging with me, I think, because I say it like it is and because I like to tell a good story. When I used to spend more time with Ann (I don't do that very often anymore), she'd bat a hand at me MID-STORY, shaking her head:  OK ERNIE, THAT'S ENOUGH.

How can she be Irish? 

Fast-forward, Mom has Alzheimer's and I was pleasantly surprised that she agreed to go with Curly and I to visit Mini for a few hours. Exactly what am I supposed to feel here -  guilty? Was I expected to apologize? I never, ever would - but I felt like Marie saying this to me was off the rails. 

*I share this now, because my upcoming Texas adventure has a Marie component that is easier to appreciate with a little background. 

It's the little things - or in this case, the lid things:  I love Pyrex. I cook big batches of meals and then store leftovers in my glass Pyrex containers. I like Pyrex better than Tupperware, because I feel like Tupperware retains smells - and I already have 4 sons who retain plenty of smells. 

The lids to my wonderful Pyrex collection have not held up. Do my children use claws when claiming their leftovers? Perhaps. 

I finally realized I might be able to order replacements. Amazon sells small groups of lids that didn't align with the sizes I needed. Instead I ordered directly from the Pyrex website. I'm tickled with my refreshed lid collection.

Did I place my order and then 10  minutes later cancel said order when I realized that I had a few more lids that I needed to replace? Well, yes. Yes, I did. It was buy one get one (lowest value) half price, which was nice and shipping wasn't free - so I wanted to get it right the first time.

Is it just me? I sometimes feel like Amazon owns me. Don't get me wrong, I love and appreciate Amazon so much. I like to feel independent though. Like I can make my own decisions and I don't rely on a huge company for EVERYTHING. I'm no lemming, damn it. Buying without Amazon was freeing, even if the shipping wasn't. 

A rock by any other name:  Have I mentioned that Tank arrived home Sunday evening? It's great to have him home.

Monday morning, I got a text from Ed - in the wee hours while I was sleeping. He invited me to stick my head into the boys' room (Tank, Ed, and Reg) and take a whiff. He equated the smell to a horse's ass. Believe it or not, I took a pass. Ed feared that Tank hadn't showered before he went to bed. 

Tank: (the next morning, when I asked about the smell) Oh, no -that's my luggage. I showered. My luggage smells really bad though. I need to do laundry. 

Later, he came downstairs looking confused. 

Tank:  Someone put this rock in my bag. No idea who.

Someone wrote ROCK OF CASHEL on it. Rock of Cashel is a castle, so it was clearly a joke. The next day, it dawned on me. It was Victor. 

Tank stayed with my friend's folks in Ireland before flying to Budapest. He left his big bag there, then he flew back to Ireland, stayed with Vic and wife, picked up his bag, and flew home. He'd shared that when he told Victor that he bought a piece of the Berlin Wall, he'd teased him about it. 

Victor: Ah, now. I would've sold you a piece of the Berlin Wall, sure. I could just go into the garden, just there - grab a rock and write Berlin Wall on it. Ya see?

Victor is hilarious. He's around 80 years old. When I told Tank it had to be Victor, he was like OF COURSE.

Did you know you can replace Pyrex lids? Strong feelings about Amazon? Have you bought a rock from a place, or something else that might not have been legit?