A Side of Rice

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


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Two Weeks Notice

It hit me this morning. Hard. In just two weeks (and technically, very delayed from the original date), we will take our oldest son Alex to Ithaca College for his second semester of Freshman year, but only his first semester on campus.

Ithaca went entirely virtual for the Fall of 2020. Can you tell how awesome Alex thought virtual learning and living at home for his first semester as a Freshman was?

That’s probably because he was seeing lots of his high school friends post selfies on social media as they were moving into their college dorms. So he sent me this selfie of his virtual dorm room. Or, as I like to call it, the room in our house that always has clothes on the floor.

Like everyone with school-aged kids, we’ve dealt with the challenges of virtual learning. Alex’s younger brother Nick is a senior in high school this year, but he seems much more happy about the virtual learning situation.

However, that smile may only be hiding the fact that he thinks we don’t know he has been turning in assignments late or (#SoBlessed) doesn’t do them at all. Look, son, September through November is a little early to have “Senior-itis.”

At one point, I advertised that we were willing to sell the naming rights to the dining room, to help fund the boys’ college accounts. I just don’t understand why my ad didn’t generate a single inquiry, because I included a photo: Virtual study hall. Previously called dining room. Willing to sell sponsorship renaming rights to any company. Serious inquiries only.

Maybe I should have clarified that the humans were included. Or, for the right price, we wouldn’t include them.

Our boys eventually found virtual learning to be a necessary evil an unfortunate situation not something mom purposely orchestrated to make them miserable, so just get over it already.

In November, since the teenagers in the house were still schooling virtually, we decided a change of scenery was in order, and we spent a week in Myrtle Beach. The boys attended school online in the mornings and early afternoons.

Ithaca College, Myrtle Beach satellite campus

Their dad and I didn’t work, went for walks, and relaxed. We socially distanced ourselves and spent time enjoying the very sparsely populated beach.

In November, we also received news that the students were going to return to campus for the Spring semester at Ithaca.

And when we received confirmation of his move-in day in January, Alex tried hard not to express any excitement or enthusiasm.

This is my happy face, mom.

We haven’t had the heart to let our dog Mocha know that Alex’s departure is imminent. We’re not exactly sure how she is going to react to the fact that once he is on campus, we can’t visit, and he can’t come home until the semester is over. She’s likely to be devastated — Alex’s lap is her favorite.

Just like everything else about 2020 — the year that knocked us upside down, sideways, and backward — there will be nothing “normal” about this mom getting to take her oldest son to college for his Freshman year. We have to drop him off, not help with moving any of his things in, and leave immediately once everything is offloaded. Thanks, ‘Rona.

Nor will there be anything as cool as this story and video of one of his football teammates being dropped off last year.

I’m hoping the coolest thing about the drop off is me. Because while I’m thrilled and excited for him to start the next chapter of his life, I feel like I’m not nearly cool enough to keep my heart from melting. Even though I’ve had 18 years, 10 months, and 10 days to get used to the idea.

It just feels like I’ve only had two weeks.


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I’ve Got An Announcement to Make

There are a number of things I never would have thought I’d hear myself mutter in 2020. Those include, but are certainly not limited to:

What the fuck is a murder hornet?”

Oh, please. You know you’d vote for murder hornets.

“I need more fabric paint to decorate/personalize my face mask and headband.”

Glitter gold and royal blue fabric paint. But nothin’ for those grey roots starting to peek through.

“Look, I need the steps. Let’s go inside and pick up the food, instead of being so lazy and doing curbside delivery.”

Image courtesy of SafetySign.com. Because who says there isn’t money to be made in a pandemic (see also masks, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper)

“I haven’t filled up my car with gas in 2 months and I still have a full tank. And nowhere to fucking go.”

Image from the Chicago Tribune, courtesy of Paul Sancya/AP

“Well, we’ve watched everything else. So, sure, we can watch John Tucker Must Die – it’s such a masterpiece of American cinema.”

If you ask me, we should watch Bridget Jones’ Diary again.

“Oh shit. I never ordered your cap and gown. I wonder if we could borrow Noah Ferguson’s?”

Thank you to the Ferguson family for the loaner cap and gown, and the awesome packaging you put it in!

“What in the ever-loving pandemic hell do you mean you don’t expect a delivery of toilet paper for another week?”

“I really wish there were more cool memes about whatever the hell this COVID-19 thing is, so that I could share them on social media.”

And my personal favorite? “Hey genius…get dressed before you come downstairs. I’m really not interested in having all my colleagues see you walk behind me again in just your boxer briefs.”

Thank goodness no one was recording our Zoom meeting

The genius I’m referring to is my oldest son Alex. He made the guest appearance in the background of a work Zoom meeting, with about 15 of my colleagues watching.

But, I’m giving him a bit of a break because he’s a Class of 2020 Senior. And his final few months of high school have gone nothing like we ever anticipated:

  • There was no Spring Track & Field season, where he would have competed in the throwing events with his football buddies Will and Ben
  • There was no Prom
  • There was no Senior skip day
  • There was no Senior prank
  • There will be no Big 33 game for him to play in, with the other kids from Maryland who made the team.
  • There will be no Senior Week (now called SWeek) at the beach
  • There will be no graduation ceremony with his entire class
  • There will be no ‘Safe and Sound’ all night party at Adventure Park

And there was no formal, fancy, grand, scrolly-font-on-linen-paper graduation announcement to send out to family and friends, touting the fact that he had achieved this milestone.

Well, it’s not that an announcement like that wasn’t offered. It was offered, but we had no idea at the time if the scheduled June 3 graduation ceremony was going to take place at all. But that didn’t stop me from coming up with an idea for something special, to let everyone know just how special we think Alex is.

I had my amazingly talented designer friend Rebecca create a non-traditional card as an announcement. So, without further ado…

I have an announcement I’d like to make:

Cover of card

Inside of card

Back of card

A final accolade came in after the announcement was printed. Because of Alex’s accomplishments and awards for football in his Senior season, he is being inducted into the Walkersville High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Globally, things we are familiar and comfortable with have changed. And for our family, things we are familiar and comfortable with will be changing when our oldest heads off to college this Fall.

Change and uncertainty be damned. The Rice family will be over here putting together something good. Maybe even something great. Please join us.

Congrats to all those in the Class of 2020!


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Summer Job Board for Teenagers

The other day, I was browsing through the time suck that is Pinterest…or was it the time suck that is Facebook? Either way, my time was sucked.

I came across this image of (to be read in your most cheerful, sing-songy voice) a clever way to get your kids to help out with chores all Summer:

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Which made me do this:

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And not because I was stoned. Or because Kelso said something funny.

It was because I have teenagers. Teenage boys, to be specific. Their idea of a Summer “chore” is having to make their own lunch by ripping into a box of Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese. Or scooping out the proper number of cups from a box of potato flakes so they can (fake) carb load for lunch.

But the image got me thinking about my ideal Summer job board for my teenage sons. Here it is:

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And when it comes to “Mom’s Choice”, this is how I roll:

Moms Choice

Got some great ideas for chores? Create your own job board stickies here.


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Fashion Weak

As the mother of two boys, I resigned myself long ago to the fact that when it comes to clothing, my choices to outfit them would be limited to dinosaurs, animals, super heroes, planes, construction equipment, stripes, and sports.  As they have gotten older, the choices narrowed even further to plain, minimal stripes, and (the very expensive) sports team/logo wear.

My boys hate the feel of jeans, so when we find a pair of sweatpants/shorts that fit and are deemed cool enough to be seen it, we buy them in every color they come in. Which brings us back to limits once again, as the color choices they have started gravitating to in their teen years are shades of grey, navy, and black. Hooray for the neutrals, because they will go with any of the outrageously expensive logo wear/sports team tops they pick up from the floor and sniff before shrugging their shoulders and putting on the offensive smelling item anyway.

Recently, we relented and went shopping for Fall/Winter clothes for our oldest and a few items to fill in the gaps of the hand-me-downs for our youngest. Because who doesn’t want to spend a Saturday evening in crowded rural mall, shopping with two teenage boys who could care less about clothing?

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Our first stop was Old Navy. My husband and I spent a lot of time trying to decipher what “I dunno”, “whatever” and “sure” really meant as we held up options for our 14 year old to decide on. It got even tougher to tell what he thought as he moved into the non-verbal responses of “major eyeroll”, “shrug”, and “heavy sigh while snapping one’s head back”.

Which pretty much made me do this:

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After finding a few sweatpants styles and some long sleeve shirts that fit – and buying them in the three neutral colors available – we headed to H&M. I’d heard the clothing was affordably priced. What I hadn’t heard about was how much I wouldn’t be hearing after being in a store that blasts hipster emo tunes. #OldPeopleProblems

The clothing options were minimal at best and we quickly determined that our decidedly non-emo sons would not find anything of interest. On our way out, I spotted this:

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$30 for a sweatshirt that comes with holes already in it? Uh…that’s a big “fuck no.”

I immediately snapped a picture and commented, “If you boys want something like this, I’ll take you to my parent’s house and you can pick one from granddad’s closet. For free.”

Next it was on to American Eagle, where I spotted this and told my husband “if you become a stripper and wear these sparkly blue underwear, perhaps we can afford all these clothes we have to buy the kids.”

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The salesgirl smirked and asked if she could help me find them in my husband’s size. My husband then rolled his eyes, shrugged, and let out a heavy sigh while snapping his head back as he headed toward the door.

By the time we got to the fourth store, my sons’ and husband’s enthusiasm for the whole shopping excursion had really waned (as if it going lower than from where it started could even be a possibility). Their diminished enthusiasm was almost inversely proportional to their growing hunger for dinner. My oldest spent a solid three minutes in the store, where he picked out 3 shirts (same style, different colors) and quickly made a beeline for the exit to discuss restaurant options with his dad and younger brother.

Our shopping trip had taken less than an hour and a half. I think we spent more time on dinner at the restaurant when you count driving to it, waiting for a seat, ordering, eating, paying the check, and driving home.

Fast forward to last night and just three weeks after buying the new clothes. My oldest walked through the family room and I yelled “Stop!”.

“Are those a pair of your new sweatpants?”, I inquired.

“Yes,” was his response.

My close to 6′ tall, size 13 shoe-wearing oldest stood while I took a photo. The new sweatpants are already too short.

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He’ll just have to hope he doesn’t grow any taller because I can’t update his wardrobe with new navy/grey/black sweatpants every three weeks.

Boys’ fashion is certainly not for the weak of heart. Or the weak of wallet.

 

 


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My 20/20 Vision Sometimes Gets a Little Blurry

Today is Alex’s first day of high school. I was able to obtain the obligatory first day of school picture. Evidently, once you hit high school (or teenager status), smiling is no longer allowed  cool  something you do, just so you can annoy the snot out of your mother.

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This is my happy face, mom.

Was it only a few short months ago that the parents of 8th graders were jammed into a school gym with no air conditioning to celebrate the milestone of middle school graduation? Editor’s note: Sorry for the quality of the video – that’s what happens when you are a lame parent and don’t think to film the entire room, so you have to steal  swipe  use some fancy technology to copy as best as possible an uploaded version to Facebook by a parent who does have their shit together  was thinking it would be a good idea.

Was it only a few short months ago that my kid was already practicing his ‘we shant smile for anything when mom asks’ look, so that it took at least three tries to get a semi-usable photo of him next to the school mascot?

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This is as happy as my face gets, mom.

Was it only a few short months ago that the video compilation of pictures moms and dads submitted was played at the ceremony?

Was it only a few short months ago that the parents, grandparents, and guardians in attendance realized there was one problem?

Tshirt

You see, our 20/20 vision for these kids’ future was a bit blurry. Because tears of pride will do that to you.

Whole class

Walkersville High School Lions Class of 2020


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Being First Lady – Not As Cool As I Thought It Would Be

Our boys — now 13 and 14 — have participated for more than 8 years in organized sports through our local community organization, GVAA. We tried soccer briefly, but found our niche in the following areas: baseball (for the oldest in Spring/Summer), lacrosse (for the past three years for our youngest in Spring), football (for both in the Fall),  and basketball (for both in the Winter).

And we have volunteered our time (and money) in numerous ways:

  • Taxi driver: toting our kids (and friends of our kids who may need a ride) to practices, workouts, tryouts, games, tournaments, urgent care, and end-of-season parties.
  • Baggage handler: shoving any combination (depending on the season/sport) of coolers, camera bags, lawn chairs, pop-up canopies, smelly football pads, extremely heavy catcher’s gear bags, and lacrosse sticks that don’t @#$%-ing fit within the limited length of an SUV, to haul over countless miles. Only to unpack it once you arrive at your destination and drag it all what seems like 26.2 miles to the field. And — finally — fruitlessly try to repack the vehicle at the end of the day, cussing out your morning self for being so much more spatially aware than your afternoon/evening self who wants to know how the hell all this crap fit in the car less than 12 hours ago. (It’s obviously that souvenir tournament tee shirt we bought that put us over the edge).
  • Scorekeeper: score keeping is the easy part. The real work is dealing with the parents who ask you to “rethink” that error you assigned to their little superstar when he kicked the baseball instead of catching in it his glove. Or making sure you give their kid credit for the assist on the three-pointer, when it was actually an errant throw that bounced off their kid’s head and into the hands of the player who shot the basketball. 17_times_rolling_your_eyes_was_totally_acceptable__16_
  • Groundskeeper: over the years, we have cut more grass and raked more dirt than is quantifiable. We have helped shop-vac rain off of baseball fields, spread sawdust on wet fields, and paint lines on football and baseball fields. And our HOA wonders why we don’t have any free time to so much as paint our mailbox post.
  • Photographer: photography has become a hobby, and I take photos at many of my kids’ games. I take pictures of all the players and share them via private team groups on Facebook and Shutterfly. This includes baseball, lacrosse, football, and basketball. It also involves a lot of standing, crouching, walking/running the length of the field to get a great shot or catch up with the action. I’ve also been told at least once by a grandparent “you need to move because you are in my way and I can’t see the game” (Really? Because, I was here first, granny.). And at least twice, I was chastised because I “obviously favor some kids over others, because you don’t take nearly enough photos of my kid.” (well, then, buy your own camera and take your own photos, freeloader).
  • Coach: in the no-good-deed-goes-unpunished category, this is probably the worst. No parent of a player is ever satisfied with: 1) the practice schedule, 2) the coach’s plans for skills that will be focused on during practices, 3) their kid’s playing time, 4) the fact that every game isn’t a home game, 5) weather-related delays, postponements, and reschedulings, 6) having to work the concession stand, 7) fundraisers being required in addition to the player registration fee, 8) the team mom’s blatant disregard for establishing a proper snack and drink schedule, 9) the end of season awards party menu, and 10) the fact that the grievance process has to start with the coach, who has already said he finds parental complaints to be totally unfounded and the result of “the petty BS of them trying to relive their childhood sports prowess through their kid(s), who would rather be watching Minecraft videos on YouTube than paying attention at practice.”
  • Food service worker: I consider any time spent working the concession stand, paying my penance here on earth. Because my delusional husband considers his groundskeeping (football)/scorekeeping (baseball and basketball)/coaching (basketball) work to be equal to food service work, I get stuck frying chicken tenders and mozzarella sticks, concocting walking tacos (don’t ask), smothering nacho chips and hot pretzels with cheese, waiting three minutes for a 6 year old to select what color of Gatorade they want when the line of customers is 20+ long, and — worst of all — making those damn sno-cones.Calm SnoCones
  • Philanthropist: I have supported the organization through player registration fees, in addition to all these other volunteer opportunities listed above. I have also purchased more pizza kits, cookie dough, coupon books, spirit wear, dance tickets, dine-around-town dinners, tournament tee shirts, food and drinks at the concession stand, drinkware, car decals, and team/individual photos than I can remember.

    New Pilot

    Now, we are road ready.

This year, after not much thought, my husband decided to run for President of the kids’ sports organization. For a small town of around 5,800 that pulls participants from 3 small elementary schools and one middle school, it seemed like a fabulous way to volunteer and give back to an entity that had provided so much fun and entertainment for our kids.

And he won! How fabulous that he’ll be able to help guide policy and programs to help future players and their parents through our tight-knit town’s offerings.

And me? I get to be First Lady. Here’s what wikipedia says about being the First Lady:

The position of the First Lady is unofficial and carries no official duties. The role of the First Lady has evolved over the centuries. The main role of the First Ladies, besides their private role as spouse, has been as host and organizer to the White House.[2] She organizes and attends official ceremonies and functions of state either along with, or in place of, the president.

The position is largely one of status, and First Ladies have held influence in a range of sectors, from fashion to public opinion on policy.

No official duties? Host and organizer of ceremonies and functions? Status? Influence in fashion? (we’re all going to get bling spirit wear, bitches!)

Lions Mom Bling

Lion sports mom – bling it!

And unlike that do-gooder Michelle Obama (who advocates for healthy families, higher education, and international adolescent girls education…BO-ring!), I can focus on my pet project, water conservation:

Tequila

Hot damn!

But, so far, being the First Lady is not really the life of glamour and prestige I imaged it to be. Why?

  • I don’t get a cool nick-name: Unlike FLOTUS, which sounds like a lush, tropical bloom with an aroma that transports you to an ethereal, peaceful place, my nick-name is FLGVAA (pronounced “flog-va”). Which sounds more like an S&M expert, with an unnatural leather/chain/pain fetish. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I guess. You freaks.
  • I still have to keep my real (paying) job: According to wikipedia, since 2001, the president has earned a $400,000 annual salary, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment. My husband’s new presidency comes with an annual salary of $0, with a big, fat nothing else for expenses, travel, and/or entertainment. Unless we pay for it. Lame, huh?
  • We don’t get a break on volunteering: Our time as taxi driver, baggage handler, scorekeeper, groundskeeper, photographer, coach, and food service worker does not get reduced in any way. In fact, it will be even more obvious if we don’t do these things. So that doesn’t leave much time for all the potential highfalutin official ceremonies and functions of state. Seems I’ll need to continue to carve out plenty of time for all the lowfalutin crap I’m already doing. Yay.
  • And some volunteer roles are expanded: Like philanthropy. It’s not enough for us to purchase something from every fundraiser that gets dreamed up, and just call it a day. Now we have to show up for every “dine-around-town” and stay for the duration of the event thanking all the players, families and fans who show up to make a purchase for a percent of the proceeds going to our organization. If the Prez gets…say…’stuck at work late’ or ‘delayed due to bad traffic’, the First Lady has to fill in, greeting and thanking everyone. And for the fundraising dances, the First Couple can’t arrive fashionably late as has been their custom (i.e., at the point where all our friends are good and sauced) and then leave early (“to get home and make sure the kids aren’t trying to kill each other”). No. We have to show up early and stay until last call the event is over and everyone has cleared out.

All of this only means one thing — the FLGVAA’s water conservation program starts now. Bottom’s up, my people.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Some Ground Rules for Summer Vacation

The beginning of the kids’ summer vacation happens to coincide with the week of my husband’s annual golfing vacation with his dad and brothers. How convenient is that for everyone…other than me?

So in order to give myself a little more convenience, I have decided to institute the following rules after only one day into the decidedly too-short break from someone else  watching my kids school.

Rule #1: When you are asked to clean the lint out of the dryer before the next load goes in, the lint goes one place. And that place is not on top of the dryer you were just asked to clean it out of.  By not putting lint in the trashcan, you have just moved the potential fire hazard from inside the dryer to on top of the dryer. Gross. And no.IMG_1425

Rule #2: When you are asked to help with the laundry (and once you have the whole lint thing figured out), “taking care of it” does not mean shoving the clean clothes into baskets and dropping them in the middle of the family room floor as you race back to the to play on your iPad. While I’m thrilled you can kick ass at whatever game you are playing or that you can delight in watching inappropriate videos/Vines, I would much rather have you take pride in kicking ass at folding laundry and putting it away. IMG_1427

Rule #3: We don’t need to pull out every cooler we own to figure out which one to use when we go to the pool. And once we do decide which cooler to use, we need to put away all the others before mom cracks her toe on one of them because she couldn’t see it, from carrying the last basket of clean clothes you ‘forgot about’ and left in the laundry room.IMG_1424

Rule #4: We don’t leave our size 12 canoes slides near the dogs’ dishes. Unless, of course, you like chasing Mocha and Jake in the backyard when they grab one and decide a game of keep away from the owner is the funnest damn thing ever. Which IT IS NOT.IMG_1426

Rule #5: This is a double whammy because backpacks taste like rawhide to dogs AND they cause quite the stumbling hazard for moms with that laundry basket you ‘forgot about’. Pick yours up from the middle of the floor and put it out-of-sight. Make sure it’s somewhere you won’t remember, so we can freak out the night before school starts in the fall, yelling at each other in a total panic about whose fault it is no one can remember where the #$%&-ing backpack was put for safe keeping just 9 weeks earlier.IMG_1428

Rule #6: All that shit that was in your backpack? It does not belong in the foyer. Or the floor of the foyer. Or my dining room table, the kitchen table, shoved in your closet, behind a dresser, or any other location you deem appropriate. It belongs in the trash. Because I don’t scrapbook, so just get rid of it.

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Rule #7: While I’m always excited about the prospect for new decorating ideas on the mantle in the family room, empty chocolate milk glasses ARE NOT DECORATION. They leave marks. They smell bad. They are tough to get clean once the milk and chocolate mixture has time to set. We can avoid all this by you putting it in the dishwasher the millisecond you are done drinking it. Or I can just stop buying chocolate syrup for milk altogether. Your choice.IMG_1431

Rule #8: iPads can be stored in a number of places. The recliner that the dog likes to jump on and sit in is not one of them.  You are tempting fate.

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Rule #8.5: If rule #8 is not adhered to and the dog does decide to jump in the recliner, breaking/ruining/scratching or otherwise rendering your iPad useless, it will not be replaced. And no, I will not download all those apps to my phone so you can use that instead.

I’m probably too busy cleaning lint off the top of the dryer to download apps, anyway.


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My 2016 Resolutions

Here’s my list of resolutions for the coming year. There are 16 in honor of the year 2016. And I’m going to own all these bitches.

  1. I resolve to find out why our HOA thinks building a basketball court in our neighborhood will attract the ‘wrong element’. Because — quite frankly — every time I pass the penis spray-painted on the sidewalk outside my home when I walk the dogs, I’m reminded that some of the ‘elements’ already in this neighborhood are wrong. Perhaps if the little fuckers had a basketball court, they’d have more time for slam dunking and less time for vandalism.
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    Maybe it’s just me, but a basketball court would leave neighborhood kids with less time to craft their pornographic spray-painting skills

  2. I resolve to only drink margaritas made with Patrón. Even if my husband barks about the cost (“$50 for one fucking bottle? That’s got to be a damn misprint.”). Because for whatever reason, many  a $15 margaritas made with the good stuff (almost) never gives me a headache the next day.                          .
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    I’ve done lots of research on this – hangovers are almost non-existent when you drink the top shelf shit.

  3. I resolve to not watch Bridget Jones’ Diary every time it comes on a movie channel. Even though it does clear the family room of boys who only want to watch NFL and NCAA football, MLB baseball, NCAA softball, NBA and NCAA basketball, NHL hockey, and SportsCenter. The following movies also clear the room: Hope Floats, Mean Girls, Magic Mike, and The Devil Wears Prada because they are all chick flicks. And even the dude comedies: Dodgeball: An Underdog Story, Role Models, Old School, 21 and 22 Jump Street, and (embarrassingly enough) Get Him to the Greek elicit a “how many damn times can you watch this movie?” inquiry, followed by a quick exodus. Another go-to for room-clearing is any of the Dateline, 20/20, 48 Hours Mystery re-runs on Investigation Discovery. If I resolve to do this, I don’t know how the hell any of the clean clothes will get folded.
  4. I resolve to fold and put away my clothes the minute they are out of the dryer. Which is in complete conflict with resolution #3, because if I’m doing mindless chores, I need some mindless entertainment. Regardless of available mindless entertainment, I really should be motivated — because grabbing a pair of fresh, folded underwear out of a drawer is much easier than digging it out of a basket of clean clothes I can’t see because it is so damn dark at 5:30am.
  5. I resolve to pay less money to the owners of Proctor and Gamble for cotton and cardboard. Though — truthfully — at age 49, Mother Nature may be taking care of that for me.
  6. I resolve to take and post on Facebook fewer covert photos (with snotty commentary) of the freaks I encounter on my Metro rides to and from work.  I mean, if you can’t say something nice, post it on Snapchat, so it doesn’t live forever and there is less of a chance you’ll be sued. Am I right?
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    Barefoot on the Metro. #SmellsLikeTeenFeet

  7. I resolve to try and figure out why Keeping Up With the Kardashians is so popular and makes Ryan Seacrest ass-loads of money. And why Keeping Up With the Rices wouldn’t even generate a sponsorship from Febreze (though — trust me when I tell you — Febreze would be interested if they had to ride in the car that hauls around the Rice boys’ football gear every Summer and Fall).
    Football gear in the van

    Smells like teen spirit funk

  8. I resolve to spend less time at urgent care for possible teenage broken bones. I hope my boys will comply. Because if not, I may have to kick their asses.
  9. I resolve to not schedule doctor’s appointments when my kids have games. Otherwise I might miss a melee when a parent from the other team goes after a parent from our team in the stands that results in a holiday tournament game being cancelled in the middle of the 3rd quarter. True fucking story that I had to hear about second hand (damn it) when it happened to my oldest son’s middle school basketball team. M.I.D.D.L.E. school, people.
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    If you can’t do either, just stay the fuck home.

  10. I resolve to have more alone time with my husband. Don’t we all resolve to do this each year, attempting to find couple time amidst going to work, kids’ sports, community obligations, chores, events, yard work, volunteer activities, etc? If someone can share the secret to doing this, I’m all ears. And my husband sends his thanks in advance.
  11. I resolve to let our dogs know: a) they don’t rule this house, b) the humans are in control, and c) that we won’t succumb to their every demand. I’ll let you know how that works out for us.

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  12. I resolve to try and explain again to my son Nick why he should not raise his middle finger every time he gets the urge. And I’ll try not to find it funny or post the evidence of him doing it on Facebook and Instagram, further cementing another year without a win in the Parent of the Year competition for me.

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  13. I resolve to try not to raise my middle finger every time I get the urge. However, it might be easier for me to abolish the word ‘fuck’ from my vocabulary. On second thought, fuck that.
  14. I resolve to spend more time making dinner and less time baking desserts. Well, let’s not kid ourselves. My family would be eating Chef Boyardee and cereal for dinner if it was up to me to nuke  order  actually make it.
  15. I resolve to not to fall for any more of those click-bait links. Except the quizzes…because I must know what type of unicorn fart I smell like, what Downton Abbey character I am most likely to marry, and what vegetable best personifies my sexual prowess. And I don’t want to miss the important stories about the 17 horribly aged celebrities, the top 10 creepiest family photos, the 30 awkward child stars who are now incredibly hot, the 16 awesome celebrity prom pictures, those 19 incredible movie mistakes, 12 celebrities I didn’t know went to Ivy League schools, the 36 incredible photos that will make my stomach drop, 13 kids with enough money to retire at age 18, and the rare photos that reveal the lives of men ruined by the Kardashians. (All real click-bait headlines!)
  16. I resolve to let you know next New Year’s Eve which of these resolutions I was able to keep. You should resolve not to hold your breath waiting for me to succeed at any of them.

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What If…

What if…six years ago I had really put my foot down and said no when my husband announced that Alex was going to play football?

I mean, was he crazy? I didn’t want my precious 8 year old baby getting knocked around and possibly hurt in such a rough sport. My husband reassured me that at the Mini-Pony level Alex would be playing on, coaches were on the field to help and instruct. It wouldn’t be until the next level that they played “real” football games. So I agreed to one year and we could assess it after that.

What if…after that first year — in spite of my reservations — I was totally hooked?

What if…I loved Saturdays at the football field (minus the concession stand work, of course!), couldn’t wait to sign up our youngest son Nick for next year, couldn’t wait for Alex to play again – the “real” kind of football?

What if…I blinged out spirit wear, took tons of photos, and bought Lion paw earrings in blue and gold?

What if…I captured unforgettable moments on video that Mini-Pony season? Like our team’s touchdown pass to win the SuperBowl in the final 6 seconds of the game:

What if…the emotional post-game coaches’ speeches after that Mini-Pony SuperBowl win were also part of the video memories I made? Including one speech that choked up the head coach, a man who usually doesn’t get too emotional:

What if…many of those boys went on in the next stage of their junior football careers to play another SuperBowl two years later in the Pony division?

What if…we were playing a team we had beaten in the regular season, so spirits were high for a win?

What if…I painted my face with Lion paws, had on my blinged out spirit gear, and made a ton of cupcakes for the boys, coaches and fans in attendance?

All this really shows is that I need to touch up my roots and that a chemical peel might be a good idea.

All this really shows is that I need to touch up my roots and that a chemical peel might be a good idea.

What if…with less than 2 minutes to go in the game, the other team scored a touchdown to pull ahead of us?

What if…we were unable to score in the last minute and a half and lost the game?

What if…the boys had to stand on the field and congratulate the other team as they received the SuperBowl trophy, even though that’s the last place they wanted to be; would they appreciate this life lesson in good sportsmanship?

What if…one of the coaches had to give the post-game talk, and tell the boys through his own tears that he really was sorry because he wanted them to experience the thrill of winning a “real” SuperBowl?

What if…there were lots of 10 years olds in tears that day?

What if…truthfully, there were a lot of parents and grandparents in tears that day, including me with the blue and gold lion paws I had painted on my face running from the tears that betrayed all of hurt I felt as a parent when you see your kid experience disappointment?

What if…two years later, our boys had a good season and had to gut out a few wins toward the end in order to make it to the playoffs at the JV level?

What if…the boys played hard and got through the two rounds of playoffs to make it to another SuperBowl?

What if…we went up against a team we had beaten during the regular season — just like two years earlier?

What if…the score was 0-0 with 24 seconds left in regulation, and we scored a touchdown to take the lead?

What if…on the ensuing kick off, the other team ran it back for a touchdown, tying the game and sending us into overtime?

What if…we were not able to score on our 4 downs, but the opponent kicked a field goal on its fourth down and won the game?

What if…those boys had to again stand on the field and behave as gracious losers, congratulating yet another team as they received the SuperBowl trophy? Would the life lesson from two years ago help ease the pain a bit?

What if…in the post-game huddle, the coaches told the boys how proud of them they were, and told them to look ahead to their final year of junior football before high school, saying we would have an awesome team that could compete with anyone?

What if…the coaches were absolutely right?

What if…as if to bookend where it all started with Mini-Pony (for the Rice family, anyway), the Varsity team had an undefeated season this year?

What if…we headed into the first round of the playoffs facing an opponent we had beaten on their home field during the regular season?

What if…once again, spirits were high for a successful run through the playoffs to the SuperBowl as a #1 seed?

What if…it was not to be?

What if…our boys were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round game, as a drive to tie the game in the last minute fell short?

What if…the most true thing one of the coaches told the boys in the post-game huddle was: “A good team won today, and a good team lost today.”?

What if…that wasn’t the end of the story?

What if...I told you, a group of boys — some of whom I had watched over six years (a number have been playing together even longer) — became fine young men before my eyes that day?

What if…it was not because they had only one season in six years where they didn’t make the playoffs…and not because they had their second undefeated season in all those years…and not because they outscored their opponents 276 to 26 in the regular season of their Varsity year?

What if…they became young men because at the end of the game our team asked if they could pray with the team that had just knocked them out of the playoffs and dashed their hopes for a SuperBowl win?

What if…they became young men because they asked to kneel with ‘the enemy” to show solidarity for one of the opponent’s teammates — 12 year old Colby Reid — who was just diagnosed with stage IV Anaplastic Large Cell (Non-Hodgkins) Lymphoma and is now going through six months of aggressive chemotherapy treatments?

What if…our coaches had both teams gather in the center of the field, and one of our coaches led the players and coaches from both teams in prayer for Colby and his family, and our boys shouted a hearty “Amen” once the prayer was done?

Post-game prayer for Colby Reid

Post-game prayer for Colby Reid, led by Walkersville Lions coach Brett Hess. Photo courtesy of Michelle Ahalt.

What if…I had missed this incredible, amazing, heart-wrenching moment in the lives of these young men and their coaches?

What if…six years ago, I had said no to something that would have brought me so many ups and downs, wonderful memories, and a host of friends I now call my sports family?

What if…I get to keep it all in my heart forever?

My son Alex:

Six amazing years

Six amazing years

The 2015 Varsity Walkersville junior Lions: