A Side of Rice

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


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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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I Admit It; I Have a Weed Problem

On May 14, on our way out to my youngest son’s birthday dinner (what…you thought I would cook?),  I noticed our landscaping had gotten a bit out of control. I had my son stand next to the offending weed, and promptly posted the picture to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, acknowledging my lack of (any) gardening prowess:

IMG_1265

After I posted the picture, two different Facebook friends who don’t know each other and live over 1,400 miles apart posted the exact same meme to my wall, just a little over an hour apart:

Julie Meme

Merrie Meme

Well, all I have to say for myself is … #Truth …and #Lazy…perhaps even #We’reNeverFreakin’Home…and if I’m really honest, #OurHOACanSuckIt.

gardending today

Just kidding, HOA! Please don’t send me another violation notice — we’ve moved the trash cans and polished the copper roof. We’ll get to the lawn soon, I promise! Or right after baseball tournament season. So just step off, already.

This isn’t the first time my landscaping has gotten out of control. But what really gripes me is that my little patch of tulips don’t even bother blooming any more and go right to the pathetic looking stage. They might as well be weeds, too:

IMG_1263

And I obviously can’t control things, because to the left of our front door is this burgeoning thistle forest:

IMG_1262

And only 10 days after the first photo, the giant thistle to the right of our front door continues to mock me by growing at an alarming rate:

IMG_1266

I also have a kid-who-needs-his-hair-cut problem. But one suburban disaster at a time, thank you.

One of my Facebook friends responded to the post of my beanstalk with the following:

John comment

Ha ha —  very funny. Yes, it’s a huge thistle and yes it probably would produce at least a vat of soup. As if I ever have an interest in cooking anything, however.

Or weeding, for that matter.

Hi. My name is Becky. And as long as I have kids playing sports, I’m gonna have a weed problem.

 


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I Have Some Serious Kobe Numbers…Maybe I Should Retire Also

Basketball has never been my favorite sport. Not when I’m watching it on TV (college or NBA), or sitting in a smelly gym on sub-standard bleachers getting splinters in my ass while middle school teen boys make their best effort to score points and impress the middle school girls who have come to watch.

But I am impressed with Kobe Bryant’s incredible run with one team (his inability to stay faithful to one wife; not so impressive).  And his stats are amazing for what will be a 20-year career when he finally walks away from it all.

This week, he announced that he’s made the decision at the ripe old age of 37 and with a net worth of $360 million (give or take), to retire at the end of this season. At the ripe old age of 49, I believe I’ve got a net worth of $360 worth of glitter glue I will never use on projects I wish I had the time for.

With a solid decade on Kobe in terms of age, I decided to compare his career in basketball to my career in being a parent to kids who play sports. What I’ve found is that I have definitely put in some serious time, banked some serious numbers, and frankly, I should technically be ready for some serious retirement.

How ’bout we let the numbers speak for themselves:

Well, there you have it. Kobe’s 20 year career as a basketball pro vs my 13 year career as a mom. Look at the numbers I’ve amassed — and 7 years faster than Kobe. What a sparkling, shining, and shimmering example of pro motherhood.

Seems all that glitters is not just crafting glue.


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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:


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The Adventures of Collar Crusher and Broken Boy

While it sounds like this is the latest offering from Disney channel, starring a line-up of soon-to-be-hot-messes, it’s not. Well, the hot messes part is on target, but this is the painfully non-Disney like story of my sons Alex and Nick. Who might as well be named ‘Jesus, you outweigh your brother by 70 pounds’, and ‘for fuck’s sake, we told you tackle football was a bad idea’.

Last Sunday, my husband’s brother invited us to watch the opening day of NFL football. Also invited were his other brother, and a few friends they had grown up with. It seemed like a relatively benign way to spend a Sunday. If you define benign as ‘ha ha, life’s about to mess with you’.

During the games, our boys decided to go outside and toss a football around. I do believe my husband’s instructions were something along the lines of “be careful.”  I was more to the point. “I am not interested in spending my Sunday afternoon or evening at the emergency room, so don’t be stupid.”

Turns out ‘careful’ and ‘don’t be stupid’ took a holiday.

At around 6:30pm, my husband jumped off the couch and headed to the patio door that led to the backyard. He grumbled something like “Nick isn’t getting up.”  My husband’s brother said “it looks like he may be hurt”, and went outside to help. I figured they had everything under control.

If you define control as ”oh shit, party’s over.

My husband came back inside about 5 minutes later and growled “get your shit, we’re leaving.” I quickly grabbed the container of cookies I had made, and headed toward the door, thanking my sister-in-law for the hospitality.

When I got to the car, one thing was clear. Karma was letting me know my little snark about not visiting emergency rooms was not going to be tolerated. Nick was completely silent, with his right shoulder very obviously slumped forward and his eyes closed. His brother Alex was sitting next to him — equally as silent — with tears running down his cheeks.

We stopped at an urgent care near our home. My husband dropped Nick and I off, and took Alex home to walk the dogs. And probably to chew on his ass a little more.

They took Nick back to the x-ray room right away. During the initial medical review, Nick heard the words ‘surgery’ and ‘pins’ and turned pale. He said, “I think I may throw up.”  His blood pressure dropped and they laid him down on the exam table. I kept my cool and told him everything was going to be ok.

Once he was stable, they got him ready for the x-ray. By this time, my husband had returned. And my cool had departed. Because this showed up on screen:

I'm no doctor, but that doesn't look right...

I’m no doctor, but…

Which I think made my face do one of these:

*Cue audible gasp of horror*

*Cue audible gasp of horror*

And my mouth made a very loud noise, something like “ooowwwweeewwwwughhhhhhhh!”  My husband shot me a “shut it!” look, because there was no point in freaking Nick out any more than necessary. So I sat there silently, with my hand over my mouth, as tears started to flow.

Turns out Alex had fallen on Nick after tackling him, and the ball was under Nick’s shoulder. Nick’s shoulder gave way to the pressure of being squeezed between the football and his brother. Nick’s collar bone was broken. Broken completely in half.

Because when the Rices do something, they don’t do it half-assed, bitches.

We were given a print out of the x-ray, a referral to an orthopedic surgeon for the next day, and prescription for Tylenol with codeine. Since our normal pharmacy was already closed, we went to the only 24 hour pharmacy in town. Yay – they were out of the prescription and wouldn’t be able to get any before Tuesday. But they told us we could try the next closest 24 hour pharmacy, which was about 45 minutes away.

Being the loving, caring parents we are, we said the hell with that bought liquid ibuprofen and Tylenol, doubling the recommended dose once we got him home.

The next morning, all four of us piled into the car and headed to the doctor’s office. It was pretty busy, but we were grateful they had been able to fit in our emergency appointment. Of course, the waiting is always the hardest part:

Nick looks like he's stoned, doesn't he?

Nick looks like he’s stoned, doesn’t he?

It’s the hardest part until you end up seeing the doctor and he examines you, touching your very injured shoulder in a sneak attack that makes you your son jump and yelp.

And the examination is the hardest part until the tech comes in and has to reset the bone, then put on the brace and sling, causing you, your oldest son, and (most importantly) the injured son to start crying. This episode of The Adventures of Collar Crusher and Broken Boy brought to you by Kleenex.

After all the drama of Sunday and Monday, this popped up on my Facebook feed Tuesday morning:

My ballers

My ballers

This memory reminded me that when times are good, my boys love and support one another. And this experience let me know that when things are tough, they will empathize with and definitely support one another.

When it comes to The Adventures of Collar Crusher and Broken Boy, Disney couldn’t have scripted a better ending to this episode.


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Missing Inaction

Yes, I know dear readers (both of you!). It has been awhile since I last posted. In my defense, the universe recently conspired to make my life crazier than normal, with the trifecta of:

  • spilling my FULL cup of coffee all over my brand new laptop, resulting in me having to send it away to be fixed by the Geek Squad. Luckily, I had purchased the I’m such a dumbass, so I need the extra ‘in-case-I-do-anything-stupid’ insurance, and the complete repair was free. During the time I was laptopless, I had to share the other laptop with my boys, which meant eyerolls, huffs, sighs, and mutterings when I needed to use the laptop. Because this meant my boys’ viewing time of Vines showing farting, falling, bones breaking, sports silliness, bad lip synching, Elaine Benis-style dancing, and other nonsense aimed at those with a mental maturity no greater than Beavis and Butthead was limited by my need to look up what bat shit crazy advice “every woman” Gwenyth Paltrow was sharing with us common folk.
  • at work, we had a big — I mean BIG — launch to contend with in April. So many moving parts and pieces, endless meetings, longer-than-usual workdays, work on weekends, communication plans, backup plans, backup backup plans, war rooms, conference calls – you name it, we were doing it. And it turned out to be a success. Yay team.
  • the Spring sports season has started for my kids. We have one that plays baseball (both travel and rec teams) and one that plays lacrosse. That means for the past month and a half, there have been practices Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, possibly Friday if any of those previously mentioned days get rained out, and Saturdays. Recently, we’ve moved into actual games, so that means there are lacrosse practices Monday and Wednesday, with games on Saturday (occasionally double headers). There are also rec baseball games during the week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday this week alone for rec), and games on Saturday (sometimes double headers), and travel baseball game double headers on Sunday. Does your head hurt as much as mine yet?

So it’s not any mystery that:

  • our dinner options tend to come with the “would you like fries with that?” inquiry.
  • the recurring complaint is “I don’t have any clean socks and underwear — does anyone ever do the laundry around here?”
  • which leads to the recurring rebuttal “if you don’t like the frequency with which we do the laundry around here, tough shit feel free to grab a basket of your smelly, teen-funkified clothing and start the washer yourself.”
  • at least once a week, someone forgets to bring at least one of the following to a game: a folding chair, snacks, cleats, Fireball, water, Gatorade, a blanket, sunblock, chapstick, batting gloves, Patrón, the camera, sunglasses, or a helmet.

So, thanks for your patience readers. And know that if I go missing, it certainly isn’t from inaction.


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This Is Still a Winning Bracket

I’m resurrecting this blog post from 2014. It’s awesome because:

  • it isn’t dependent year-after-year on who the hell was selected,
  • nobody gives a crap about anybody’s Cinderella story,
  • so what if the best team just got their asses handed to them by the underdog, and
  • I do not have to suffer through Dick Vitale calling the game

This bracket is winner. Every. Damn. Year.

Originally posted March 17, 2014

With all the hoopla surrounding March Madness, I decided to create a bracket that I could really get jazzed about. And it’s a total winner. Bitches.

This one's a winner

Who’s in?