hockey

Hockey. Damn It.

Friday, October 1st, 2010 | Connecting the Dots | 2 Comments

It’s been a tough night around here. Hockey tryouts are over, and Sam skated his best. His dad, who watched, expected him to make one of the two middle of the four teams (that would be white or blue). He rode home in the car anticipating looking at the roster–would it be up? Who would be on his team? He was so excited.

You can tell this is going to end badly, can’t you?

It does. He made the red team, the worst of four, and none of his friends are on it–all of them having made higher teams. There are a few kids in the red team who’ve played as much or more than he has, and many who haven’t played much at all. The red team isn’t in the league, it has no tournament. It barely plays games, because there aren’t that many towns around here that can field enough teams to have a “red” team, and in hockey that matters.

Sam is crushed. I am crushed. Rob is crushed. It was unfortunate that Rory picked today to use a marker and color all over her bedsheets, two days after a lengthy lecture about all the things we don’t color, and that I discovered it minutes after hearing Sam, at the computer, burst into tears.

It was not a fun night.

Sam got screwed, at least a little–an honest assessment is that he’s about as good as any kid on the team above but that they’re all pretty equal, and somebody was bound to end up on the red team who could have played white (a couple kids, actually) just from sheer numbers, and it was him. He’s not a flashy player and I guess in front of assessors who don’t know him he just doesn’t show up that well. Which sucks, but there it is, there is absolutely not anything to be done about it now.

He cried for about an hour. We let him, let him rant and rave about unfairness and stupidity, took turns sitting and hiding him and agreeing or offering minor solace. Rob had a story about being cut by his high school tennis team and making it the next year, I helped him face head on the embarrassment that comes in the next few days as he has to see all the friends who made the team. Rob had a great quote from the UCLA basketball coach: the best things happen to those who make the best of the things that happen to them.

And, Sam being Sam, after quitting six times and beating himself up, he declared his renewed intent to play the best possible hockey all season and show everyone he belonged on a higher ranking team next year. He really is remarkable. I have trouble doing that kind of thing NOW. Of course, it’s one thing to say it now and another to live it all year…but I’m still impressed that he got there at all.

But this continues to suck. Supposedly hockey assessors are blind, meaning that they don’t know the kids, which means Sam’s greatest strengths as a team player and sport will never do him any good at all in this context. I am so sad. And it’s going to be really hard to watch him brave this out. Damn, damn, damn hockey.

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I Blame the Kitchen Island

Saturday, October 17th, 2009 | Connecting the Dots | 6 Comments

We have, in our kitchen–oh, who am I kidding, it is the kitchen–a very large island composed of granite tiles and a sink. Behind it lies the 3′x9′ kitchen space; in front, four barstools and then the living room. This means that when friends are there I can cook and be in the thick of things, it means kids can do homework and art projects and I can empty the dishwasher, it tends to mean that I absolutely never sit down, since I can interact with everyone from behind the island-and it means that when the island is a mass of dishes and chaotic junk, so am I.

So we’re going to blame the fact that I never really managed to clear the breakfast dishes, let alone the pile of Halloween decorations, the accumulated art of a week of three kids at a school that encourages artwork or the proceeds of the morning’s trip to the farmers’ market when we consider that today just felt like an uproar, and that it involved Rory’s biggest tantrum in months, one that still makes me feel sick to think about, one that felt as though we’d traveled back in time to the end of July, only without the pleasant weather.

It began with the apple peeler. Rory wished to have an apple. She wished to put it on the twisty peeler and peel it herself. I agreed, she did so, and then Wyatt wished to have an apple. And to put it on the twisty peeler, and to peel it himself. You should know that we had company, that Sam and Rob were preparing to leave for hockey, that it was 5 in the evening, and the kitchen counter was, as previously stated, and grand pile of dishes and crap. I shoved some crap out of the way to suction the peeler to the counter. Rory peeled. Just as she finished Wy climbed the stool to peel, he was anxious, and she had been very, very careful to get every bit of peel and only the good sliced part of the apple into her bowl, which she had also done very, very slowly. Now she wanted to get her core off, and clean off the peeler before she relinquished it. Slowly. Because Wyatt was waiting. Very slowly. Very slowly. No, wait, there is still a tiny bit of core…

Wham! Wyatt does something–a sudden move, or a hipcheck, or a shove, I can’t be sure–and Rory and her bowl and apple fly off the stepstool onto the floor. It looks like a big fall, and I am rushing to scoop her up, and probably to kill Wyatt or at least to question his involvement, and I am frustrated, because by five, I cannot TELL you how many small children had fallen tearfully for one reason or another today and I was sick of it, but still–as I said, it looked like a scary one for the faller, and I was rushing around the island–

To see the dog going to eat a piece of Rory’s apple, and Rory CLOCKING the dog with her bowl.

Now, I know she was angry. At Wyatt. At herself. At life, which had caused her to lose her very carefully prepared apple, and at the dog. But oh, she nailed the dog with all the vindictiveness she could muster, and the dog is 13, and deaf, and really not in the best of health, and not hurting that particular dog–for reasons of kindness and also because that dog is getting a tad unstable–is just one of the cornerstones of life here.

So instead of Wyatt being punished, Rory got sent to her room, and oh, she was outraged. OUTRAGED. (By sent, I mean carried up and dumped unceremoniously on her bed.) After a few minutes, I went up, took her on my lap, talked to her about how angry she had been, asked if she fell or was pushed, accepted her howl that Wal_et PUSHED me, told her I would punish Wyatt, too, agreed that she was very very angry at the dog, yadda, yadda.

She howled the whole time. Howl, Howl. Gasp, Gasp. Gulp, Gulp. Kick, Kick. There were enough pauses for me to be sure she understood things–such as that she was ok to come down now, and that I was going to punish Wyatt, and that I understood about the dog–but the shrieking never really stopped. ANd we still had company, and Sam packing for a sleepover, and apple all over the floor and the counter and have I mentioned the breakfast dishes, and just the general layer of crap all over the floor of the house, of endless, never ending, oh-my-god-it’s-an-episode-of-Hoarders CRAP? I really think it makes everyone feel unbalanced.

Anyway, she wouldn’t STOP. And I went downstairs, and it just turned into one of those battles of the wills–would I go up and carry her down all cuddled up? Nope. Would she stop screaming and just COME DOWN? Nope. She went on for half an hour. I want mommy. I WANT MOMMY! I WANT MOMMY! AAAAHAHAHHAAAHHHHHHHHHHHAHAHAHHAHHHHHHHHHHAHAHAHAHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You get the idea. But you know, I was gentle. I went up. I talked. I cuddled. I sympathized. And oh-I did punish Wyatt. But I’m not going on the power trip come carry me down the stairs like a princess action. One by one, guests went to the stairs and listened and admired her lung power. Eventually everyone left. And she came downstairs, still full of resentment, and I made Wyatt apologize, and things got back to normal faster than you might think. But I feel sick thinking about it. And I feel sick thinking about the piles of crap, and the fact that after I clear up the piles of crap, tomorrow, around about one, there will once again be piles of crap, and that after those are gone, more piles of crap will arise in their stead. I just want to THROW IT ALL AWAY.

Oh, but that would be totally unenvironmentally sound. I should recycle it, right?

So, to recap: Rory spend a goodly chunk of the day hating me. I can feel her future shouts of you’re not my mother reverberating through the house, accompanied by the fact that Mama Deena and Baba Mike would never, ever treat her this way (not true, but it won’t matter). I am feeling intensely overwhelmed by crap ownership. Everyone fell, pushed or whined his or her way into my bad graces today. The only kid I can stand is on a sleepover, and then has an away hockey game tomorrow that involves a three hour drive, and I really can’t see my way to dragging all of them to it, so I feel a) guilty that I am not going and b) disappointed that I will not see it (HE’s EIGHT. IT’s 90 MILES AWAY. WTF?) and c) sick at the thought of spending all Sunday with them in the car in order to take them to a hockey game which I will not see because I will be a) taking them to the potty, b) buying them crap to eat and c) following them around whatever the hockey arena is like because they won’t just sit and watch. Oh, and also pretty sick about my five or six hours alone with them instead. Whoopee. ANd the crap. We had such a nice weekend in the house last weekend, and I thought I liked not going anywhere because it is so easy, but I didn’t go much of anywhere today and it still wasn’t fun.

Plus I haven’t seen Sam all weekend. Hockey, hockey, and more hockey, and a sleepover, and hockey again. Hockey will consume 9 hours this weekend. I resent hockey.

Possibly because I have to resent something.

I can hear Rob doing dishes downstairs, and probably resenting those. Bleh.

I do have moments when I’m happy, happy happy. But I don’t tend to post about those, because who wants to hear that? So, if that’s NOT what you wanted to hear–this is the place. The house of the not particularly happy, happy, happy.

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Feeling bleh

Sunday, October 4th, 2009 | Connecting the Dots | 2 Comments

We had such a great day yesterday that today couldn’t really be anything but a letdown. Let’s see…didn’t get through some work stuff, didn’t get ravioli made, didn’t make last batch of tarts, didn’t clean out closet, haven’t yet made lunches…Saturdays are WAY better than Sundays. There are a bunch of dids, but my mood is wrong to focus on those.

Sam had hockey tryouts this weeked. He did make one of the travel teams, but the second tier one. Younger kids than him made the first tier. I don’t know if he’ll be disappointed, or just glad to be on a team. I do know that he will be very glad to have scored the coach he did, and happy with at least one teammate–as in, really, happy, he likes all the kids–so there’s that, for cure. But I can’t really tell if it’s going to be a disappointment. I’m a little bummed for him. I wait for him to find the one thing where he’s the standout star, or at least top level, and so far, he hasn’t found it–or if he has, I haven’t spotted it. Do I want it for him, or for me? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just that I fear he’s inherited a certain laziness that I know lurks within me.

I hope he’s happy. He tends to be one to make the best of things and see the bright side right away–let’s hope this is one of those times, if he’s not!

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