Saturday, March 14, 2020

No Gold Medals and Even Less Toilet Paper

The spring soccer season got into full swing this weekend starting with a Denver tournament called the Ice Breaker.  My two oldest daughters were playing, one for a team that’s just starting to get its footing and familiar with each other and the other, Macy’s team, who expects to win every tournament they enter. 

You know what, scratch that.  Topic change.

This was supposed to be a funny post about my middle daughter bemoaning a silver medal from a soccer tournament in front of my oldest who has no medals that don't have the label "participation" on them.

And then today happened.

Today I received a text from a buddy.  I’ve been training for a race called the Bataan Memorial Death March that was to take place this weekend.  I’ve been training for a few months now and where I was once nervous, I was getting excited.  We were due to fly out in the morning.  We had been figuring out travel plans via text for the last couple of days.  This text was different.

The text let me know that the Bataan Memorial Death March had been cancelled due to “an over abundance of caution” concerning the coronavirus. 

“Four months” I thought to myself.  “Four months of training in the shitter.”

I began considering all of the time, and effort and expense I had put into this stupid race.  I thought about the fact that races don’t refund.  I thought about the time I would be spending on the phone with the airline trying to cancel my flight and get refunded.  I thought about the friends I hadn’t seen in a while and that it would now be a while longer. 

It was a real pity party.  That was around noon. 

I went to pick up my kids from school and they let me know that there was some chance that the kids would be doing online schooling after spring break and therefore they would be sending home all of their supplies over the next couple of days. 

We went home and to soccer practice and to dinner.  The coronavirus didn’t come up except to let the girls know that I wouldn’t be leaving for the race.  My phone was on hold with Frontier airlines throughout dinner.  I tried to keep a stiff upper lip, but the day had been bad.
Then they said that no fans would be allowed at the NCAA tournament.  Then they postponed the NBA season.  It seemed to be getting real.  My mood went from pity to something just short of concern. 

Then I heard that Tom Hanks was confirmed to have the virus. 

This just got real. 

My mood was no longer short of concern. It became full blown concern.  Time to hermetically seal Betty White.

Here’s the thing.  I’m not a person prone to panic.  But as things are moving along with this pandemic, I’m starting to feel a pinch.  Spring break for the girls got extended by a week.  My office has considered shutting down.  Soccer season is on an indefinite hiatus.  The St. Patty’s day festivities in my town are cancelled.  My daughters have tickets to Spongebob the Musical, that they received for Christmas, are in jeopardy.  It’s a lot of normal, day to day stuff that has been upended quite a bit.

The lesson here girls.  First of all, as it relates to the first paragraph.  Macy, no shame in coming in second.  You guys did great and maybe crying because of the color of your medal in front of someone who hasn’t won one is in a little bit of bad taste. 

Now onto the coronavirus.  Yes, I was bummed out by not being able to compete in the race.  Believe me, training for nearly half of a year only to find out it was cancelled a few days before was tough.  Just like the fact that you’ve waited since Christmas for the Spongebob musical.  But there is a much bigger picture.  It's more important that families are safe.  It’s also more important to help those around us.  It’s important to make rational decisions like washing our hands and keeping our collective fingers out of our collective mouths. 

I hope it doesn’t become more important to wipe our posteriors (stupid hoarders). 

Taking precautions may seem inconvenient, but with a little ingenuity and creativity, we can have every bit as much fun during your extended spring break!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Chris' BS Taxi Service is Once Again Operational

I suppose I often complain about my schedule.  In fact, as I think back, I think my very first blog post was about the chaos that our family’s schedule creates.  That may true, and this may be a touch of a reboot, but this Spring’s schedule looks to outshine any that came before. 

Currently, my daughters are in choir, soccer, various musical lessons as well as wrapping up ski season and still, somehow attend school.  This would be far better explained by example than the desperation of my keystrokes. 

Let’s take a look at this week. 

Monday: Today, I am working late as I see what is on the horizon.

Tuesday: I have a training run at around 5:00am.  7:00 am, Macy and Darby have choir practice and Avery goes to school around 8:00.  Then I work until we need to get the kids from school.  Avery (along with her friend Maddie who I will pick up at school) has practice one town over from 4:30 to 5:45 and then Macy has her practice a different town over from 6:00 to 7:00.  In the middle of all of that Darby had piano lessons from 5:30 to 6:00.  We then race home to Macy’s guitar lesson.  After that, it’s home for dinner, homework and bed.

Wednesday: another training run in the morning and then girls to school around 8:00.  Avery will practice in another town from 4:30 to 5:45 but then huzzah! Macy practices in our town from 6:00 to 7:00.  Then homework etc.

Thursday: See Tuesday without music lessons.

Friday: here’s where we really get rolling.  Choir lessons before school, then school.  Only one practice but Adrienne and I also have a banquet in Denver.  No biggie, right? Find a sitter and get to Denver for delicious dinner, however…….

Saturday: Avery and Macy have a soccer tournament in Denver.  You’d think that they are both in the same tournament, they’d be in the same location.  Think again!  Avery plays at one locale from 10:30 to 12:30 while Macy plays from 11:30 to 1:30 and then Avery has her second game from 2:00 to 4:00 and Macy from 3:15 to 5:15. Now, somewhere in there I have to fit in a 13 mile training run and still be available to take the kids to dinner.

Finally, on Sunday:  See Saturday but shift the game times around buy 30 minutes here or there.  No training run for me but after the last game (assuming they don’t make the championship game- which they could make) home by 7 for dinner and homework. 

Now, that may seem like a lot, but that doesn’t take into account that Darby’s soccer season doesn’t start for another week or two.  It doesn’t take into account the fact that my wife often travels for business.  It fails to take into account that sometimes there are birthday parties and sleep overs and dogs that need attention.   It doesn’t take into account that my wife and I don’t see a “date night” from March until the seasons wrap up sometime in October (maybe embellishing a bit).

We get some relief from my mother and carpooling but, if last year’s season taught me anything it’s that I could spend three or four hours a couple days a week just driving from town to town and practice to practice. 

Believe it or not, there is a lesson hiding in here little ladies, a couple of them, actually.  The first one is simple.  Why do we do all of this if its such a pain in the patoot?  Well, pretty simple.  Doing these things makes you better little folks.  Playing piano, playing guitar and drums and baritone and xylophone and choir and whatever else stimulate your little minds a ton.  Similarly, soccer and cross country and bike riding and skateboarding make your little bodies healthier. Mommy and I have the job of raising happy kids and solid adults and these sorts of activities help us in that. 

The other point is pretty obvious to me but maybe not quite so much to you.  Getting you involved in these activities can be a handful.  There are days where I could watch Dancing With Wolves faster than I can get all of you to and from activities.  You’ll learn exactly how long that is someday.  There’s tournaments and recitals.  There’s practices, games and endless parent meetings (those are the worst part by the way).  It can also be pricey.  Alone, competitive soccer or piano lessons can hammer a wallet, but combined they can alter your tax bracket in a hurry.  So, not that you three aren’t grateful, because you’ve always been great at showing that, but maybe there’s other ways you could show it.  Maybe don’t drop your soccer bag the second you walk in the door.  Maybe bring your smelly uniforms downstairs and put them in the wash.