A Side of Rice

Hopefully Humorous (and sometimes R-rated) Musings About Life


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Cuss is My Favorite Part of a Possible Concussion

Last Sunday, my husband had to head to New York for business, returning very late Monday evening. When he’s out of town, my entire working-mom schedule gets turned upside down, especially if my mom is not available to help me get the boys where they need to go.

So I dropped the boys off at camp Monday morning and arrived at work a bit later than my usual start time. That afternoon, I left work early to pick the boys up from camp. I rushed home, got them changed, and shoved half a PB & J sandwich down their throats so they wouldn’t pass out from hunger during football practice. I then spent a delightful summer evening sitting at a dusty football field, getting bitten by mosquitoes, and fighting with the folding chair that had some how gotten tangled up the last time it was used and jammed back into its carrying case.

About halfway through practice I received this text from my husband:

I don't believe 'completely fucked' is the status they use on the board

I don’t believe ‘completely fucked’ is the status they use on the board at the train station

We had a bit of back in forth about his predicament, which was really annoying because I was kicking ass at Words with Friends and didn’t need the distraction:

Stuck in a train station or stuck on a football field? There are no winners in this battle.

Stuck in a train station or stuck on a football field? There are no winners in this battle.

I turned my attention back to Words with Friends. I looked up at one point and noticed my youngest son had been sitting out for a bunch of plays. I texted my husband:

Nick_not_playing_text

Which resulted in this response:

Nick_aggressive

So back to Words with Friends I went. But then one of the other mothers who was at practice remarked, “isn’t that your kid on the sideline doubled over in pain”.  I looked up and sure enough, my youngest son Nick was sitting out and he was doubled over. I walked over to him and asked what happened. He told me that he had knocked helmets with another kid on a tackling drill and had a headache and his stomach hurt.

So to update my husband, I sent this:

Nick_stomach

Which prompted this:

Tackle or block? Is that really the hot issue here?

Tackle or block? Thank goodness my husband is focusing on what’s really important here.

At the end of practice, I texted my husband that things had gotten a little worse:

throw_up_text

I answered his question about the block vs. tackle. I was skeptical about a possible concussion, because we had been down this road before with Nick:

hot_tonight_text

We first arrived at urgent care around 8:35pm. As we checked in, there were parents with a three year old coming out of a treatment room who said to their daughter, “yes, honey, we know you are hungry. We’ve been here since 2 this afternoon.”  I did my own bit of math based on what those parents said. I then applied my simple calculation to our situation. When I realized what our estimated time of departure from urgent care would be, this is pretty much what I did:

freakout scream

What? This is my calm face.

While we were waiting to be called back to be evaluated, two things happened. First, a couple arrived, which prompted this text to my husband:

sliced_finger_text

Shouldn’t people go to the emergency room when blood is involved?

She seemed pretty bad off, as the dish towel she had wrapped around her hand was starting show the blood that was seeping through.  And then  — not even two minutes later — a kid ran in with his dad. Both were out of breath and the kid had a towel wrapped around his finger. His dad tried to sound calm, but barely was able to choke out, “I think he may have severed his finger down to the bone.” 

When I heard that, this was my poker face:

Possible severed  finger -- yeah, you first.

Possible severed finger? Yeah, you first.

My kid might have a concussion, and (fuck my luck) two bleeders just arrived at urgent care? I turned to Nick and said, “blood trumps headache, kiddo. Settle in.”

I texted my husband to provide him an update:

Are you kidding me?

I’ll see your train delay and raise you one possible concussion and two bloody hands.

We finally exited urgent care at just about midnight. Getting up at 5:00am and going to work the next day? Yeah,  fuck that.

A kid that can’t watch TV, play on his iPod, play on his brother’s iPad, play the Xbox, or read for 4 days as part of the Rx for a possible concussion? Yeah, that’s a fucking nightmare.

Follow up visits and tests revealing my son had sustained a hard hit to the head but no concussion? What a fucking relief.

A week and a half later, Nick is back on the field.

A week and a half later, Nick is back on the field.


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Younger Me

In my roaring early 20’s, I dated the lead singer of a band. If you look up dated in the dictionary I happened to be using at the time, it would be defined as:

  1. hanging with a dude who was a total asshat at that point in his life, and
  2. supplementing a lack of financial success for a group of horny guys whose trajectory to musical stardom success obscurity began in the hotbed of the music industry, Anne Arundel County Maryland, and
  3. putting up with other women, and
  4. sticking around because I was swayed by his clever sales pitch “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” 

 

Younger me sometimes makes me want to barf.

I dated the one who thought he looked like Bono. But he so didn't (second from right, cuz I know you still can't tell).

I dated the one who thought he looked like Bono. More like Bono’s less talented, less rich second cousin twice removed. Whose girlfriend paid for everything.

The band wanted a really cool name. Since Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, and U2 were already taken by bands that had an upward and money-making trajectory, someone suggested the name Seize the Day.  “STD for short,” laughed the bass player. All the band members high-fived one another. I said “Way to ‘Carpe Diem’ boys.”   My boyfriend said “Wait..wait! That’s way cooler than Seize the Day. Is that words you just made up or some foreign language?”

Younger me sometimes gives me a migraine.

All the boys in the band did what most 20-year old boys in a band with a bit of local notoriety and young, rabid, horny female fan base would do. They screwed around mercilessly on their girlfriends. The girlfriends would act all indignant, possessive, and bad-ass at clubs when we confronted a groupie who paid our men just a little more attention than we were comfortable with. If only we had been indignant, bad-ass, and less tolerant with the men who were screwing around on us.

Younger me sometimes makes me cringe.

The lead guitar player in the band was quite the Romeo. He had a sticker of Elvis on his guitar and one day at band practice my boyfriend asked him why.  He responded “Do you know how much p*ssy Elvis got?”  Everyone laughed when he said that, including me.

Younger me could have benefited from a spine implant.

While their band did gain local notoriety, they gained little more than that. Like money. They gained very little money after they paid the sound and light guys for their gigs, paid for the gas to get to their gig, and split the money five ways among the band mates. There barely was enough left to pay for a late night nosh at a 24 hour pancake house after the gig, and most of us girlfriends ended up paying for our own meals.

Younger me sometimes gives me indigestion.

I spent a few years fronting the money for buying band equipment, helping pay for band rehearsal space,  and forgiving my boyfriend for yet another “it was only the one time and she doesn’t mean anything to me” excuse. Around the time I decided to go to graduate school and get my Masters Degree, I stopped being a doormat for the lead singer and walked away from all the BS.

Younger me certainly took her time to find her footing, huh?

The bandmates eventually went their separate ways when the rock band fantasy didn’t end up working out. The lead guitar player, bass player, keyboardist, and drummer are all married. So is my ex, the lead singer. In fact, he’s on his third marriage.

Hmm. Younger me may have had a bit more smarts than I give her credit for.

Through Facebook, I’ve reconnected with all the band members. Just last week, it was the Elvis-admiring lead guitar player’s birthday, so I posted this on his Facebook page:

Cleverness is wasted on the

In my memories of the band years I was awkward, not self-assured, and didn’t stand up for myself. But his comment on my post surprised me. It turns out years ago, a gigolo guitar player — whom I was sure barely noticed that I existed — thought I was a smart cookie.

Younger me may have been finding her way, but she was still able to make a good impression along her journey.

 


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Lessons in Striking Out

Youth football - bling it!

Mom spirit wear – bling it!

I’ve had many proud moments as the mom of two young athletes. Among those memories are not:

  • My complete and utter meltdown at Sports Authority when my husband responded (with an unnecessary eye-roll accompaniment) “Because you can’t” to my inquiry “Why the hell can’t they just use their baseball cleats as football cleats if they have not outgrown them?”
  • The stream of cuss words that spewed forth when I screwed up my MOM bling iron-on for my self-made spirit wear
  • Any time I have had to work the concession stand for football, baseball, basketball, or lacrosse
  • The complete and utter meltdown my son Alex had after striking out during a game in the State Championship Tournament. Must be something in the DNA.

His meltdown was most likely precipitated by the false illusion that the $200 bat we bought him during the Beach Blast Tournament his team went to in Myrtle Beach was magical. Perhaps he thought the bat would somehow turn him into Babe Rice, jacking shots over fences at a ridiculous clip.

When the bat was purchased I asked explicitly “This isn’t one of those big barrel things that is not legal in some tournaments. He’ll be able to use it in the upcoming Fourth of July Tournament and the State Tournament, right?”

My husband gave me another one of his eye-rolls as he spat out “Of course he can use it. We know what we’re doing.”  ‘We know what we are doing’ turned out to be code for: ‘I’m assuming he can. But I have no idea. So stop pestering me.’

Editor’s note: It turns out it is a big barrel bat and he was not able to use it in the last two tournaments of the season. So by my estimation, we paid exactly $26.66 per at bat for that damn thing this season, since Alex was only able to use it in the remaining games of the Myrtle Beach Tournament.

When Alex couldn’t use his new bat at the State Tournament, he began trying out other players’ bats. And after an at bat where he struck out — here comes the proud parent stuff — he slammed down the bat, kicked at the dirt, and on his way back to the dugout he ignored a coach who kept repeating “Look at me, Alex.” When he finally did look at his coach, the coach asked Alex if that was his bat. Alex snarled back “no”, and his coach told him “Then you need to apologize to the owner for how you treated it.”  Alex rolled his eyes (must be something in the DNA) and walked away without responding.

His head coach then pulled him away from the bench and tried to calm him down. And Alex began to bark back about how the umpire was awful and stupid. The coach said “you’re done today, Alex”.  But due to the rules of substitutions, the coach’s decision could not be implemented without disadvantaging the team, so Alex ended up staying in the game.

I was barely able to keep my ass connected to the bleacher. I was prepared to take him out … and not in the you’re-gonna-be-sitting-on-the-bench-for-the-rest-of-the-game kinda way. I was ready to rip Alex a new one for his ridiculous, inappropriate, disrespectful, and downright unsportsmanlike behavior.  But I wasn’t fast enough because his dad was already on it before I could even get up.

After the game, it was a very silent 2 hour ride home. That evening after we all had time to calm down Alex — teary-eyed — admitted his behavior was wrong. When my husband asked him why he wasn’t using the bat we paid $200 for last year (the bat that wasn’t illegal for these tournaments), Alex explained “because other kids were getting hits with Brooks’ bat”. My husband responded gently but firmly, “it’s not the bat that produces the hit Alex.” More teary-eyes. This time from Alex and me, as the truth of the words stung.

We told Alex he would need to apologize to both his coaches for his behavior before the games the next morning. When we arrived at the fields, he did just that. He came over to let me know the apologies had been delivered, and gave me a fist bump. I said “good job, kiddo. I’m proud of you because I know that wasn’t easy. New day; better attitude, right?”

He smiled as he walked away toward the dugout, not realizing he was now batting a thousand when it mattered most.

 

Sorry, Matt Wieters. But my heart belongs to this catcher.

Sorry, Matt Wieters. But my heart belongs to this catcher.


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All You Need Is Love

One of my former co-workers has two blogs she updates regularly. I’m such a slacker, with only two blogs that I update when something crazy happens in my life, or if I bake a treat.

June 1st, she issued a 30-day writing challenge. Being the non-procrastinating type that I am, I jumped right on the challenge. On July 1.  But at that point, Rita was only on challenge number 26 herself — seems we both have a little procrastinator in us.

The theme for July 1 is LOVE. So here’s what the theme inspired me to write about…

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE

I only thought about the past week using the words ‘baseball’, ‘vacation’, and ‘work’. But I was decidedly wrong about that. My week was about love.

First it was the love of baseball. My oldest son Alex’s baseball team has been fundraising and preparing for the ultimate experience with a week-long tournament in Myrtle Beach at The Ripken Experience. The majority of this team has been together for 2 years — most have been playing together for more than 4 years. To hear the boys tell it, they were “getting to go on vacation with all of their best friends”.

The boys did well in the tournament, with a record of 3-2 in pool play. They made it to the championship bracket, but lost in an early game to a taller, stronger, and year-round playing team from Georgia.  Disappointed at being out of the championship round early didn’t deter them from life’s joy. They spent the rest of the day at a water park, enjoying a different kind of pool play with one another.  And three of the nights we were there, the team and their families gathered for group meals. We even had a surprise birthday celebration for of one of the team moms.

How could you not help but love these kids and families who are a great bunch of people?

Thank goodness it's not my kid with the sad face.

The 2014 12U GVAA Walkersville Lions.

I ended up leaving Myrtle Beach before the championship round because I had a work conference I needed to attend in San Francisco. The Friday we were in San Francisco, our colleagues back home were participating in a community volunteer day.  A co-worker and I decided that we would participate on the west coast by volunteering to feed the homeless and hungry. The organization is Glide — a radically inclusive, just and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization. They feed 700 people for the afternoon meal. Volunteers help serve meals, take tickets, and clean tables.

Because Glide must have heard about my lack of prowess in the cooking department, I was in charge of handing out napkins and silverware:

I think I'll use this as my entry in Playboy's next "hottest moms" contest.

Hairnet, apron, and gloves. I think I’ll use this as my entry in Playboy’s next “hottest moms” contest.

What I found humbling was that the individuals were so diverse. Some “looked” homeless. Some didn’t look homeless at all. Some talked to an imaginary friend as they went through the line. Some came through the  line multiple times, hanging their head in shame. Some brought their dogs and shared the meatloaf and rice with their best friend. One lady started a fight because she wanted to eat at a table by herself. The staff had to calm her down, and then they tried to make the volunteers feel better by saying it was no big deal. “You’re right,” I commented. “The Rice boys behave far worse than any of these folks.”

But almost every one of the people who walked through the door said “Thank you.”  Or “God bless.”  One guy even said “Hello, gorgeous.”  Hmmm…maybe I should send him my picture and enter his “hottest mom” contest.

What I felt after an exhausting and fast-paced two hours was a great deal of appreciation from both those served and the staff at Glide. It took no more than a smile, a hello, and handing someone a napkin with a fork or spoon to make them feel good.  How could I not love the feeling of warmth that my small kindness gave these people who have so little?

That weekend we were in San Francisco was also when the Gay Pride parade was going to take place. As I walked back from Macy’s on Sunday (having just had my own little love fest with the Michael Kors purse department), I walked past a guy with a t-shirt that very simply said Love is Love. And I saw these flags hanging outside the Hotel Nikko:

#PRIDE

#PRIDE

How awesome that a corporation uses the pride flag to let a group of individuals who have struggled for acceptance know that they are indeed loved?

So in the end, my week was not nearly as much about a vacation, a baseball tournament, or a work trip. It was about the love in my life, and why I should be more aware of it around me every day.


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In the Weeds

In April of this year, Maryland Governor Martin (Puff Daddy) O’Malley signed a bill decriminalizing marijuana. There’s been continued talk of legalization.

While the hippy hoarde that bathes in patchouli and follows Phish around all summer is busy rejoicing, there is an even more interested contingent. The marijuana entrepreneur.

If the experience in Denver has been any indication, legalizing pot will bring new (taxable!) revenue to the city and help it transform:

So in light of the fact that kids’ baseball gloves, lacrosse sticks, football pads, and basketball shoes are not free and require replacement every damn season, I’ve been looking for a way to increase our income a bit. And I’m not interested in any hair-brained ‘decrease your spending’ options that involve giving up the essentials like my mani/pedis, the housekeeper, and bi-weekly therapeutic massages. Or cutting back on eating out. Or not purchasing all the bling iron-on I need to make my spirit wear, once I purchase all the damn baseball gloves, lacrosse sticks, football pads, and basketball shoes:

Youth football - bling it!

Youth football – bling it!

This whole decriminalizing marijuana thing has me intrigued. So, I’m cautiously testing out my own weed production. I’ve been able to grow this in my flower boxes on the deck:

Perhaps these "flowers" will 'bud' soon. See what I did there?

Perhaps these “flowers” will ‘bud’ soon. See what I did there?

And don’t you love how well this baby is growing, though it really doesn’t look like most of the marijuana pictures I seen. Perhaps this is a rare variety and it will make me twice the money:

Off to a good start. Only 24,000 miles to go until it hits the clouds.

Jack! I found your bean stalk.

And this new patch by the front door:

They look like pot plants right?

I don’t even remember planting seeds for this – what a total profit product!

Which I’ve cleverly hidden behind the bushes, that are also camouflaging a  mature weed crop.

It looks like more weed than bush. #TeenBoyProblems

It looks like more weed than bush.
#TeenBoyProblems

Unfortunately, my husband tells me this isn’t the kind of ‘weed’ that people will pay money to smoke. It’s more like the kind of weed we pay money to get rid of.  And as homeowners, should be quite embarrassed by.

And that really killed my entrepreneurial buzz.

 


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Why I’m Not the Team Mom

There are sports moms who are way more organized than I am. Because let’s face it, there’s a reason we have had to purchase about 7 different cups in this house. And we only two kids who wear them.

As we are getting ready to head to a Memorial Day Weekend Tournament at The Ripken Experience in Aberdeen, MD, I started thinking about what I was going to need to pack. And I knew … I just knew … some über-organized bitch mom had created the ultimate packing list for a weekend baseball tournament.

So I searched and found this little gem on the internet. Which pretty much seems perfect for that annoying broad woman who agrees to be the team mom, with a whole season to tell us slack asses what to do help the rest of us stay tuned in to all the amazing team activities throughout the season.

Concession duty. Oh hell, no. Copyright © 2014 Sports Mom Survival Guide

Concession duty? Oh hell, no.
Copyright © 2014 Sports Mom Survival Guide

The only thing this list tells me is that no way in hell would I ever volunteer to be the team mom.

So, for the moms like me who believe fun is not spelled o-r-g-a-n-i-z-e-d (or s-o-b-e-r), I’ve created a check list for the ultimate baseball tournament weekend.

Did I miss anything? Vodka? Gin? Rum?

Did I miss anything? Vodka? Gin? Rum?

Let the games begin.


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The Poseidon Adventure

School projects have a special place in hell, whether they originate in science, social studies, math, or history class. What the fuck ever class.  ALL. OF. THEM. SUCK.

Because…pretty much…here’s what we always learn when it comes to these damn things:

Truth. Image from Reddit.

Truth.
Image from Reddit.

My son Alex’s recent social studies project was no different than the science project he did earlier this year.  That one was an epic fail as a science experiment, but highly successful at getting his dad to cuss pretty much through the entire thing. But this time, we didn’t have the same amount of notice as we did for the science fair.

I had seen one of the other baseball team moms post this amazing creation on Facebook on a Saturday, with this comment “Jacob worked very hard this morning on his Ancient Greek House for his school project. He did an awesome job!”:

My son hasn't started making anything like that...

My son hadn’t started making anything like that…

So that afternoon at our baseball double header, I asked his mom what class it was for. She said all the kids in all the social studies classes were doing some sort of project.  I called my son over between innings and asked “is your social studies project done yet?”   His response was “Yes. I wrote my report.”

I prodded further “How ’bout the project part of it?”   “Um…yeah, I’m going to ask dad to help me with it Sunday night. It’s not due until Tuesday morning.”

So you can pretty much understand why I felt like this:

Only madder. And with more cuss words. Image from: http://thesuperzilch.wordpress.com/

Only madder. And with more cuss words.
Image from: http://thesuperzilch.wordpress.com/

So I put on a brave face:

Trying to smile through clenched teeth. Never works. Image © Copyright 2003 - 2014, SheKnows, LLC.

Trying to smile through clenched teeth. Never works.

I reminded him that his dad (who normally is in charge of this school project shit) was leaving on a business trip Sunday afternoon. I also brought to his attention that he had a double header of baseball Sunday afternoon, so just when the fuck did he think this was going to get done?

Oh,” was his immediate reply. Followed closely by “I gotta go, it’s my turn to bat.

So after the game, the family grudgingly made the trip to Joann’s to buy modeling clay. That’s because my son revealed that he had agreed to do sculptures of Poseidon and Zeus — which might have well been the latest DisneyXD show as far as I was concerned. I’ve never been really well-versed in anything Greek, unless pouring copious amounts of Zima down my throat in college counts. Zima – sounds Greek, right?

To help out my son, I went to the internet and found these inspiration pictures of the Greek gods that he could base his models on:

But let’s face it. This is more like what I wanted to see:

Shazam! Image ©2013-2014 Terachrome

Shazam-olopolus!
Image ©2013-2014 Terachrome

Alex was totally inspired by the photos and got right to work on Saturday evening, making his sculptures. He was thrilled to turn off the Xbox and focus his creative energy on something other than spending Saturday evening in a video game induced haze.

Repeat after mom: "I will not wait until the last minute to do my school project.  I will not wait until the last minute to do my school project. I will not wait until the last minute to do my school project. I will not wait until the last minute to do my school project. Again."

Repeat after mom: “I will not wait until the last minute to do my school project. Again.”

It took him a solid three hours of intense work. But this was the final product:

Two old buff clay dudes. Love the pecs.

Two old buff clay dudes. Love the chiseled pecs and abs.

He ended up getting 50 out of 50 points for the project.

συγχαρητήρια (congratulations in Greek), Alex. Perhaps I should celebrate with a few Zimas.

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