Thursday, March 11, 2010

Youth sports are not supposed to be FUN, dammit!

Today, I was all set to blog about Gracie Lou's first week as a member of our family but I just keep thinking about something that occurred at Thing 2's hockey game on Tuesday and I'm still chuckling about it so that's what I decided to blog about today instead of a recap of Week One with Gracie Lou who probably should have been named "Velcro" because she is pretty much attached to my lower leg.

Anyway.  Tuesday night was, as usual, Hockey Night for Thing 2.  A couple of seasons ago, there was a Change in Management and since then, things have been, how shall I put this, unfair and unbalanced as far as how teams are decided.  Each season, there is one team that is totally "stacked," rules aren't enforced and there's always at least one player, sometimes more, who thinks their last name is "Hanson" and they play for the Charlestown Chiefs.

But Thing 2 loves her hockey and she's just out there to have fun. She doesn't take it too serious and as long as she's happy, I'm fine sitting in my chair at the end of the rink cheering her on and watching the drama unfold.  And lately, there's A LOT of drama.

This weeks game was against one of the "stacked" teams and it was clear from the first few minutes of the game that it was going to be completely lopsided.  Again.  Thing 2's coach knew from the outset it was going to be ugly and told his players to just go out there, do their best and have fun.

So I'm sitting there and one of the other moms comes and stands next to me, watching the carnage.  This particular mom is very neurotic high-strung and takes the game VERY serious. She was going on about how lousy the new management is, how things have gone downhill, how she doesn't know if "they'll" be back next season blah blah blah.  While she was going on, Thing 2 skated by with a big smile on her face and I said something like, "yeah, it's been pretty bad but Thing 2 says she's having fun and that's what's important here."  And let me interject here to say that this is an Inline Youth Recreation League.  It's not Club or Travel or Jr. Olympics or the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.  It's for Fun.  Well, it's supposed to be.

So I make my "having fun" comment and Hockey Mom looks at me and sputters, "I am not paying $150 a season for my son to have FUN."  I blinked at her a couple of times and said, "Allrighty then" and went back to watching our team lose 0-8.  After the game, I asked Thing 2 if she was still having fun and she told me that even though things are pretty dismal, if she wasn't having fun, she wouldn't be out there.

I dunno, Hockey Mom's comment just struck me as funny even though I guarantee that was NOT her intent because hockey and youth sports aren't supposed to be fun, dammit!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Frankly, I'm puzzled

Ok, so yesterday I actually got some mail, snail mail, addressed to me.  How excited was I to find out I was to be congratulated because I have been Pre-Qualified to receive a Genuine Chevron (with Techron) credit card.  And because I'm so extra special, I don't have to go through that pesky application process because I am Pre-Qualified!

Are you jealous yet?  Yeah, I knew you would be.  Because not everyone is Pre-Qualified to get their very own Chevron (with Techron) credit card that is good at over 9,500 Chevron and Texaco (also with Techron) gas stations across this great land of ours.

Ok, I actually get credit card offers all the time and they all get sent right into my cross-cut shredder but this one just cracked me up.  Why, you ask?  I'll tell you.  It was the little letter/card that came with it.  It was from "Robert" and says, "Dear Friend, Frankly I'm puzzled that you would say "no" to this offer..."

Well Robert, frankly I'm puzzled that you honestly expect me to sign up for a credit card with an annual percentage rate of 26.99.  I just about crapped my pants when I saw the interest rate.  Seriously, my local loan shark (Thing 2) charges less interest than that and believe me, her rates are pretty high.  And if you don't pay up, she WILL extract her pound of flesh and then charge you for the labor of extracting said pound of flesh.  And then tax you on it.  Thing 2 may look all sweet and innocent but she takes money matters VERY serious.  Trust me, you don't want to be in arrears with her.

So the fact that I do not have an income-producing job doesn't faze Chevron (with Techron) a bit.  They still want to issue me one of their credit cards.  Sadly, I will have to say "no" to their offer, even if it, frankly, puzzles ol' Robert there.  Maybe when the money tree in the backyard starts producing even though it seems to have been in a dormant state for a few decades, I'll throw caution to the wind and accept Robert's generous offer.  Or not, especially with that interest rate.  I'll pass, thanks.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Cremains of the Day

Over at one of my favoritest blogs, Bye Bye Pie, June posted about why she's taking the ashes of her late cat with her to Seattle and voila!  I had my blog topic o' the day.

Not that I'm going to Seattle and taking the cremated remains, or "cremains" of my dead cat with me because I haven't had a cat in well over twenty years but I DO happen to have in my possession the cremains of not only my two doggies but my dad and father-in-law as well.

My father-in-law is in the big urn.  When he died, there was no funeral or service of any kind and my mother-in-law didn't know what to do with him so since I seem to be the Family Funeral Home, I volunteered to keep him until my MIL dies at which time he'll be tossed in her casket and they'll be buried together.

The box at the top right is my late, much lamented dog Lucy, who just left us.  I had plans of scattering some of her ashes at her favorite place in the world, The Park but when I picked up her ashes, I found that she was in a sealed box and that I would have to use a saw to get that sucker open so I just took the box to The Park and the two of us went on our regular walk for the final time.  I'm sure the people there were wondering what the hell was with the wacky lady dragging a box behind her on a leash.  I'm kidding.  I didn't put Lucy's box on a leash.  That would have been just plain silly since Lucy didn't walk on a leash at the park so why would I start now.  Pssh.

The flowered box contains half of my first dog, Jamie.  The other half is with my sister and brother-in-law because Jamie decided she would rather live with them in her Golden Years because there weren't any annoying children there.

The little brown wooden box holds my Dad.  Well, some of him.  About half of him rests in All Souls Cemetery in Long Beach in a plot that seems to move to a different location every time I visit because it always takes about 15 minutes to find his grave, a bit in the wooden box and the remainder?  Well, that's a bit of a funny story.

We decided to have a little, illegal private scattering ceremony in the middle of Alamitos Bay in Long Beach because we grew up sailing in the bay and my Dad was always happy sailing his Hobie Cat.  According to some law, if you scatter ashes at sea, you're supposed to get a permit and go out a couple of miles but laws, smaws.  We didn't need no steekeeng permits.

We got in my BIL's little Boston Whaler and with some flower leis and a boom box to play some music, we shoved off from the dock and headed to the middle of the bay timing it so that the memorial would take place around sunset.  We stopped in the middle of the bay and turned off the boat.  We all told funny anecdotes, toasted Dad with wine and beer and then we took turns scattering his ashes into the water.

Sounds lovely, right?  Well, we weren't paying attention to the direction the current was flowing and when we leaned over the side of the boat and scattered the ashes, they floated on top of the water and the current washed them right on to the side of the boat and in to the motor, which we discovered when we had concluded our service and went to start the motor to head back to the dock and the motor wouldn't start and we couldn't figure out why since there was plenty of fuel and that's when we noticed the motor was clogged with the cremated remains of my Dad.

I don't remember if we finally got the engine to start or if we had to paddle back to the dock because, as I said, we had been toasting my dad but I know we were all laughing pretty darn hard.  Except maybe my BIL since it was his boat that was covered in human cremains along with a dead boat motor.  Yeah, yeah, it sounds all gross and stuff but I guess you had to have been there.  We still laugh about it to this day.

I keep everyone in my Columbarium/Curio Cabinet which is located in my office next to the guest bed so that any overnight guests sleep only inches away from a couple of dead dogs and and dads. 
And I wonder why people never want to spend the night.  Hmmm.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Drives

If you are of a certain age and can remember when gas was less than 50 cents a gallon and MPG was something nobody really knew or cared about, then you may remember going for Sunday Drives.

When I was little girl, Sunday Drives were a highlight of the week.  Or month.  We didn't go for a Sunday Drive every week.  But after church, when we were still going to church, St. Irenaeus, Gramma and Grandpa would pull up to the house in my Grandpa's 1956 Pink DeSoto, the SS Fireflight:
We called it "The SS Fireflight" because ,well, that was the name of that model and because it was the size of ship.  With a pushbutton transmission, hydraulic windows, doors heavy enough to cut off your arm if you got it caught and a kind of brownish mauve colored brocade upholstery along with a big-ass Hemi engine to move that vessel around town.  

All seven of us, Gramma, Grandpa, my Mom and Dad and us three girls, would pile in and head out on the highway, looking for adventure, in whatever comes our way.  Sometimes Grandpa would be behind the wheel, other times my dad would drive.  My mom would sit up front with the men and Gramma would sit in the back with The Three Comanches (Jamie, Tracie and I) and she'd remind us not to roll down the windows and stick our hands out because if we stuck our hands out the window, they'd blow off and maybe hit the windshield of another car and cause the driver to crash.

We never knew where our Sunday drive would take us.  Some days, we'd head toward Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo because my devoutly Catholic Gramma wanted to see the Missions.  Another time, we drove to Palm Springs because the Date Festival was going on.  A highlight of that was seeing that racy flick, "Sex Life of a Date" which I think was about the growing and cultivation of date palms but all I remember about it was that it was boring and there wasn't any naughty stuff, let alone S E X.  

One time, we were out on a Sunday Drive, out in the middle of nowhere (it seemed to me) and we were passing this big stadium looking thing and Gramma said, "That's where the Angels play". Since I knew that Angels were in Heaven and if that stadium place was where the Angels played, and I pictured them sitting on the ground in their long white nightgowns and halos and wings playing with toys and stuff, and that if you SAW the Angels playing then that meant you were DEAD and I got all freaked out because that was just a little too REAL if I actually SAW where Angels played instead of just imagining them up in Heaven and I wanted to get away from that place as fast as I could because it was like having a brush with death, just like when I'd see lights moving around the sky at night and I always thought it was Angels flying around and didn't believe it when someone told me those lights weren't Angels you big dope, they were spotlights.  Nope, I wasn't fooled because I saw the actual place where the Angels played with my own two eyes even if I didn't actually SEE the Angels in their nightgowns and wings and halos but I KNEW they were in that place.  Gramma said so.  

Years later I finally figured out Gramma was talking about the California Angels baseball team (none of that stupid "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" crap which is such an insulting name and I'm not even a baseball fan) but I still remember being all freaked out at the thought of Angels right there instead of up in Heaven and I still get the heebie-jeebies.

I don't remember when we stopped going for family Sunday Drives, probably in the early 70's when my Grandpa had yet another of his heart attacks and couldn't drive much but those drives, and the SS Fireflight, which finally left the family sometime in the early 90's, were a treasured part of my childhood.

Nowadays, our Sunday Drives consist of towing the big toyhauler home from a desert motorcycle race and instead of laughter and conversation, there's snores coming from the exhausted guys in the backseat.

And no wild-eyed wonder at seeing such sights such as the place where actual Angels play.

They have no idea what they missed.