Missing You

Hi all.

Boy it’s been a month.  Wait, the table is sticky… Ok, that’s better.  I have been busy!  This introvert took up coaching 1st grade boys baseball!  Yes, it’s as idiotic as it sounds!  Can’t wait to tell you all about it.  I have one week left and then we can put a lid on that one.

Next, my husband and children got stalked and almost killed by a swan.  This story will tell what lengths one man will go to protect his progeny from one very pissed, very white swan.

Another one, I found some pics of my family that I want to throw out into the interverse.  I will probably be disowned.  Two notes about this post:  1.  Someone was ALWAYS pouting.  Why was this white, middle class family always pissed about something?  And 2. God we were tan.  Sunscreen was not our friend in the 1990s.

And for my last journey, I started a new diet.  My new expensive diet.  The one that has made me feel pretty awesome these last few months, but has only yielded a scale weight loss of 7 freakin pounds.  In the words of Cathy…ARRRGGHHH!

Oh, one more.  You may have seen the posts on my company’s 25th anniversary party.  This was just last week and there’s always stories when Drunk Jenny makes an appearance.  At a work function nonetheless.

Until then, I miss you.  I will be back, but I have some boys to whip into shape for 2-3 more games and a girl to get to one last dance performance before I can truly kick this summer off right.

See you soon.  You bring the wine.  I’ll bring the turkey burgers.  No cheese.  Whole grain bun only please.

Love,

Jen

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League of My Own

Seriously, that title was way too easy.

So, my new title is Coach.  Ever meet an introverted coach?  No?  Me either.

Well I am redefining the role I guess.  Like an idiot.  Which is how I introduce myself lately, “Hi, I’m Coach Jen…cause I’m an idiot.”

Short story short, my son’s 1st grade baseball team didn’t have a coach, so the Rec sent an email to all parents asking for volunteers.  Me, having the patience of a gnat, thought about it for 5 whole minutes (with no outside counsel) and emailed back that I could do it if NO ONE else volunteered.  Well apparently, no one did.  So, I took the job.  Like an idiot.

I figure how hard can this be?  Baseball’s not a hard sport right?  You throw the ball, hit it with a bat, catch it with a mitt and repeat until everyone is begging to go home.  BUT…did you know that there are different sizes of bats?  And batting helmets?  And kids for some reason don’t catch the ball, or hit it, or throw it naturally in 1st grade?  Did you know there is a batting stance?  A way to catch a ball?  A way to throw it?  Seriously.  There is.  All of these things I have not a clue how to do.

These poor kids.  Remember the line in Clueless where the girl says her doctor said balls can’t go near her face?  Well that’s the thought I have while teaching baseball to first graders.  LINES FROM CLUELESS.  There goes my social life.  (hee hee see what I did there?  It’s a line from the movie.)

I cannot catch a ball.  Every time I catch a ball, I get an ear to ear grin, stop, point to the ball in my mitt, and exclaim, “Hey!  I caught it!” in wonder and awe.  This is not great when playing catch with a 1st grader, who isn’t really that impressed that his COACH can catch a ball.  And they tend to get slightly annoyed when they throw the ball back to you and you miss it, oh say, 5 out of every 6 times it’s thrown to you.  So you have to go chase the ball down, just to have them throw it again.  Basically, catch with me is like playing catch with a dog.  You throw it; I run after it and come back all panty and drippy, and only look confused when you throw it right back to me to do the whole process over again.   At least I don’t bring the ball back all slobbery.

We’ve had two practices.  The first one was chaotic, but not as bad as I thought.  The parents are nice and very helpful, and none seem to be the ‘roided out, living through their kids type either.

Another big plus is my husband is in his element.  He’s kind of taken the lead on this coaching thing, while I take the paper pushing aspect of the job.  I am the organizer, he is the coach.  Problem is he can’t make every other practice and will miss all weekday games because of work, so at some point, I will have to step up and be an actual coach.  These are the days I might fail to live up to my promise to my son “not to embarrass him.”  Not that this bothers me all that much really.   A little embarrassment makes a kid stronger right?  And in 10 years, he’ll look back not in embarrassment, but with pride that his mom cared that much to step waaaaaay out of her comfort zone to make something happen for her kid.  OK maybe not 10 years, but maybe 20?  25?

Well, I do care enough.  I want him to know I will support him even if it scares the hell out of me.  And I need to get out of my comfort zone every now and again.  If I don’t push myself, I will end up alone with a houseful of cats like all hermit-like introverts.  And while that does sound slightly appealing at this moment in my life, I don’t want the police to find my half-eaten body six months after I’ve died because no one else cares to look for me.  So basically, 1st grade baseball coach = not being eaten by my own cats.  Don’t say I don’t have goals people.

Just a fair warning.  You will probably hear A LOT of baseball stories until about mid-July.  Bear with me.  This is kind of a big deal for me.

Coach Jen OUT.

Thanks Mom and Dad for the hat!

Thanks Mom and Dad for the hat!

I might not write, but I do read…

Maybe SomedayMaybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**Spoiler Alert***

One of my new favorites. Colleen Hoover writes YA like no other. Sydney and Ridge were some of the best developed, most loyal, sincere, mature young adults I’ve read. I loved the flow of the book and for the first time in a long time, I wasn’t reading in a rush to get to the happy ending, I was relishing the trip there. I loved the honesty they treated each other with and how Maggie was never the bad guy (girl). I loved how Maggie broke up with him after some real honest soul-searching and didn’t make him the token cheater, when everyone knew there was more to it than that.

I would pay money to hear some of the songs that were written. Loved that they were creative and musically gifted people and the twist that Ridge was deaf.

Such a great story. I would highly highly recommend.

View all my reviews

Artwork

OK – quick like a bunny. I know, I’ve been gone forever, but I have to read a book for book club (see my Goodreads widget below) by Friday and I just started it. And, like the idiot I am, this introvert volunteered to coach 1st grade boys baseball for the next 8 or so weeks. In the words of my sister, “You have an entire blog devoted to how much you don’t like people, yet you volunteer to coach a team of 1st graders?” Yeah, I don’t get it either, but at least it should provide some entertaining stories to submit unto you all.

But before I get back to my book, here are a few pieces of “art” my beloved children have come up with in the past few days.

1. “The butthole” 2014 Artist: G and Niece E. Media: Draw on Me Kitty Cat.  Because everyone poops.

Butthole

2. “Self Portrait” 2014 Artist: Bear Media: Posterboard and despair*.

Self Portrait

 

*Side Note: Yes, this scared the hell out of me, but we did talk about it and no, this is not how he sees himself. He is just an engineer to the core, finds art a waste of time, just wanted to get it done, all while making himself look bad ass.

Coach Jen Out!

Shake Your Money Maker

So…I took Friday off. If you read my last post, you’ll know why. Yes, I know I won’t always be able to buffer my kids from hard spots in life, but this time I could. After the miracle surgery on G last August, (tonsils and adenoids) we have weathered this winter and early spring with very little illness (knock on wood). A few days for the prerequisite strep throat and a quickly contained stomach bug (it only hit Bear) made up some of the few sick days I have had to take this year.  Therefore, for the first time is 3+ years, I got to take a day off.  It was awesome.

We hit the town kiddie style.   We went to Imagination Station (think COSI out of towners) to see the Titanic exhibit.  It was PACKED.  Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who had this genius rainy day idea.  The kids humored me and $50 later the three of us were traveling through my favorite historical subject.  It was great, but not so great with a 5 and 7 year old.  It was A LOT of reading.  Maybe the walking audio tour would have been cool, but my G wouldn’t have listened anyways.  Bear and I would have, but it would have been a constant whirling around looking for G, who most likely would have wandered into the 3rd class cabin exhibit and proceeded to have jumped on the top bunk.  Plus they were $5 a pop extra and after $50 just to get in the door, I was maxed out.  So basically we spent $50 (have I mentioned this enough) to quickly buzz by some portholes and plates in the sand.  Oh well, it is across the street from my job, so I guess I could just sneak over there by myself.  Maybe if I give them the sad-mommy-wanted-to-see-it-but-the-kids-wouldn’t-let-her look convincingly, they’ll let me in free for another quick peek.  Yeah, probably not.

photo 2

Who wouldn’t want to spend time with them?

 

Look at us in the dirty parking garage elevator!  Don't step in the pee!

Look at us in the dirty parking garage elevator! Don’t step in the pee!

Anyways, this whole day off got me thinking.  How can I make money aside from an 8 to 5 job?  How can I do this everyday?  How can I get someone or something to pay me to only do the stuff I want to do?  Can you even get paid for sleeping on the couch?  Or maybe there is a lucrative market for binge watching Netflix watchers?

I don’t necessarily want to relive that Friday every day.  I loved spending time with my kids, but places like Imagination Station make this introverted, anxiety queen a big ball of nerves and tense muscles.  Literally.  Every single time we go there, I have to go home take 2 Advil, a Xanax and take a nap.  It is just way too much interaction with strangers and germy kids for me.  I love the idea of getting kids interested in science and whatnot, but I don’t want to do it constructing a bunch of germy blocks that I just watched some 3 year old sneeze on before our turn.  It’s just stressful.  Too much pandemonium.  Too little line queues.  I need strict time limits and cattle prodding.  I can’t let the people in front of me have 20 minutes at the paper airplane table without losing my mind a bit.  I hate having to apologize to people behind me because my daughter really wants to figure out how the robot hand works.  I just can’t handle trying to be polite while at the same time trying to get my kids to enjoy themselves and learn something to earn our $50 worth of tickets. (You had to buy general admission and THEN a Titanic exhibit ticket to get in to the exhibit, so we were going to take full advantage, even if mommy did have a nervous breakdown at the water/sand table.)

photo 5

One day…maybe. Except she was like, “Mom! I’m a space walker with a purple bow!” So she’ll be a wickedly accessorized astronaut.

photo 4

Breathe lady. Breathe. You have hand sanitizer in the car.

 

Science!

Science!

Anyway, I am digressing as usual.  I need to figure out a way to get paid doing this writing gig.  I am not sure I am good at it.  I am not a super grammar Nazi.  I make a lot of errors and end a lot of my sentences in a preposition at.  I just like doing it.  However, unlike most bloggers, I don’t really make the internet a better place.  I don’t cook (Kraft mac and cheese recipe anyone?).  I don’t sew (Just ask my 7th grade home ec teacher).  I don’t craft (If I can’t buy it, I don’t have it).  I don’t clean (Want me to write about someone else doing it?).  I don’t organize (I want to.  Badly. But House of Cards isn’t going to watch itself).  I basically have no talents, except the occasional joke that makes other moms and wives feel like maybe they aren’t the worst there is.

 

Maybe I could write about doing hair?  HA!

Maybe I could write about doing hair? HA!

Seriously.  I am REALLY good at it.

Seriously. I am REALLY good at it.

I’d love to say I have the next great American novel spinning around in my head, but I don’t.  I don’t have any Edwards, Bellas, Katnisses, Peetas, Trises or Fours (sigh Tobias, I love you) yelling inside my head wanting to get their stories told.  I am strictly a truth teller.  Seriously, everything I have written happened.  To me.  I just don’t have time to imagine other lives that are actually interesting.  My mundane, every day plain Jane life is overwhelming most days, let alone if I met a factionless vampire from District 13.

Help me people.  Tell me how to make money on this.  Tell me who will listen to me spout off randomly, pay me something and offer me freakin great health coverage?  Said persons must take into account I like to sleep in, watch Kelly and Michael, drop and pick up my kids from school and workout every day.  (Ha, ha.  That last one was wishful thinking.  In reality, I’m pretty sure I’d just spend time driving around town trying to find the last of the Girl Scouts hawking their addictive cookies.)

Goodnight.  See you tomorrow, where someone will have a case of the Mondays.

If I stayed home, I could get this poor kid a dog.

If I stayed home, I could get this poor kid a dog.

And...this one... No reason.  Just makes me happy.  (Babysitting our niece and nephews.)

And…this one… No reason. Just makes me happy. (Babysitting our niece and nephews.)

What Your Mother Didn’t Tell You

Party like your dream house just got blown over by a hurricane.

I’m behind the camera.  I think I secretly knew Facebook was coming, even though Zuck was only a 6th grader at the time and the Internet really wasn’t a thing yet.  See, Al Gore was still busy being VP so we had time to make these horrible decisions and still duck under the radar.

The year was 1998. 6 friends decided at 10 p.m. on a Friday night they couldn’t wait for Saturday morning to leave on Spring Break. We piled into 2 cars – one beat up Buick and one even more beat up Ford sedan. We set off, all of us under the age of 21, with a car trunk full of beer (and Zima for me, because I was a total chick who did and still does hate beer), a few clothes (more room for beer), a few pooled dollars and our sights set on a fuzzy description of a rockin beach house on the shore of Panama Beach one of our friends assured us was awesome. We drove that beer over five state lines for the next 22+ hours, rotating driving shifts. We had 2 walkie talkies (no cell phones yet) to talk back and forth between us and were occasionally entertained by a raunchy trucker to break up the monotony.

We arrived in a massive rainstorm mid evening if I remember correctly. Set to party for the next week on our Ohio sourced beer, Zimas and Cuervo. We carted all 800 lbs of beverages along with our bags inside and only then took a moment to survey our surroundings.  It is here I find it hard to describe the magnitude of what we saw.  I’m not sure what everyone else was expecting, but I had hoped it was kind of like a smaller version of the Golden Girls’ house.  A nice open bungalow with an airy lanai upon which we could drink our morning coffees and watch the sunrise, while gentle breezes blew the surf in over the sand and gulls cawed above nearby.  Leave me alone, I was 20 and really really naïve.

Let’s just say my fantasy wasn’t even close.  It wasn’t even a crappy cottage.  One that we could stay in relatively comfortably that provided basic amenities for survival for a bunch of 20 somethings.  This was not it by a longshot.  This was a desolate wasteland.  An outbuilding of a destroyed house that survived a hurricane 10 years prior.   I remember the shower amenity was outside and frankly, I don’t even remember a toilet being there.  I remember A LOT of sand and strewn about furniture that had seen better days and had its own war stories to share.

After some heated debate about said conditions and who knew what about said present condition, 5 of the 6 friends deemed the house uninhabitable and not hospitable to getting drunk nightly.  So, we decided to pack up and head for greener pastures.  The lone friend left behind was pissed we were leaving and refused to come along with us. (I personally never knew what happened to him.  I wasn’t really close to him.  I am assuming he lived and has a very different version of the following story.)  Therefore, we were down one beat up car and had to fit 5 people in one car along with all of our stuff for yet another trip across the state to by chance catch up with some other friends in Daytona Beach.  By chance.

Vast amounts of the above pictured beer and liquor were left as casualties of that decision.  With one trunk, 5 people in a 5 seat Buick sedan, hard choices had to be made.  Sadly, most of the Milwaukee’s Best (aka Beast) were left, as well as most of the pop (who needed that anyways) as we tried to condense everything into one small car.    We drove across the state for another 6 hours hoping to rendezvous with 2 fraternity brothers who had won their spring break trip to Daytona Beach.  Now remember, no cell phones.  We had NO way of contacting them.  All we knew was they were in Daytona at a Holiday Inn and their names.  Yeah, we had their names.  So we had that going for us.

We arrived late that night and headed to A1A Beachfront Avenue (Sorry, couldn’t resist).  We found a pay phone with a phone book.  Yes, I just said those two things, and we looked up the Holiday Inn and on a wing and prayer called and asked for our friend’s room.  The hotel would not put us through because they didn’t know who we were, so we drove down the strip to find contingency plans.  A crappy motel was picked as too crappy to be fully booked and quite possibly in our price range.  As we were driving down the main drag, we noticed someone familiar.  By chance, the friend we were hoping to reach just happened to be walking down the street.  Hanging out of the car like lunatics, we flagged him down.  Miraculously, he told us to come on up to their room and yes, all 5 of us could stay the week with him and his friend.  In their room with 2 double beds and a permanently locked balcony door (because let’s face it, high rise balconies and young idiot spring breakers do not mix).

Elated, we all group hugged and talked about our dramatic trip so far and proceeded to head out on the town.  2 girls, 5 guys.  Makes you cringe now as parents doesn’t it?  About to get shit-faced as best as possible whilst underage in downtown Daytona.  Thank God for stowaway Zima and Beast beer.  And now, one friend of age who helped supply the fun while you hid your underage stamped hand in your pocket.  We were good to go.

The rest of the week was about what you’d expect.  One friend won a belly flop contest.  It was actually pretty freakin freezing, but damn if we weren’t going to wear shorts and flippy floppies on the beach and follow the guys around as they desperately tried to catch each and every wet T-shirt contest available (and no, us ladies did not participate, but really, if I knew what was going to happen to my body, you bet your ass I’d be up there shaking what was apparently a nice set of boobs that, unbeknownst to me, came with an expiration date.  But I digress).  Basically it was bars, bars, and more bars.  Mornings spent sleeping it off.  Afternoons spent replenishing on greasy food as sustenance for the night to come.  Now, at mid-30 something, one night of this would probably kill us, let alone an entire week of it, but we were 20 and invincible.

A few us took a day trip to Universal Studios, whereupon my future husband promptly lost the car keys on the Back to the Future Ride.  Problem was we didn’t notice it until we were headed to the car at the end of the day and, lo and behold, no keys.  Oh and the owner of the car stayed back in Daytona, so we had to bribe the AAA guy to basically make us an $80 key to a car we couldn’t prove belonged to us.  My husband has never quite lived  that one down, but it does make a great story.

At the end of the week, our 2 gracious hosts got on their plane to go home and the remaining 3 guys and 2 girls piled into the teeny tiny Buick (complete with a brand new, very expensive, shiny spare key) and headed back to northern Ohio.  Straight shot.  Squished in the middle almost the whole time.  Sometimes being the skinny bitch had its disadvantages.  They never did let me drive.  I had a bad driving rep even then.

So, there’s my spring break story.  Will I ever let my kids go on Spring Break?  Between this trip and my senior year trip to Cancun, oh hells to the no.  Although, I guess by the time they are 20, I can’t stop them, HOWEVER, I can follow them down to wherever they go and spy on them the whole time.  Hey, at least they’d have cell phones, so 90% of these stories wouldn’t have happened, but me, I’d take my pay phone and beat up Buick memories any day.  Thank God I lived to talk about it.

File this under stories our kids will never hear.  Heck, this may even be the first time our moms are hearing this story.  I’m not quite sure they are ready now, 15+ years later.  Sorry moms, but hey we returned OK!

Disclaimer* This is my recollection of the events.  I’d love to hear from the other 8 people involved as they remember it.  I won’t tag you or mentioned any names for fear your grown up cover will be blown, but you all know who you are.  I hope you have the same fond, hilarious memories that I do, which most of the time are ended with the thought, “God we were stupid!”

#tbt