Thursday, May 27, 2010

Something to Share

I've been following the blog of Sherri Burgess, the wife of Rick Burgess and mother of little Bronner Burgess who drowned in their family swimming pool a couple of years ago. It almost sounds flippant and irreverent to say a couple of years ago... truth is, I can't remember what year it was, though I am sure they will never forget the exact day, date, time, weather and any and every possible detail surrounding the loss of their precious little baby boy.

I remember being moved by the event. Mainly because we have a pool in the back yard and Madalyn was around the same age as their son. I remember listening to Rick's talk at the memorial service. I remember wondering how they could still be upright and walking around and talking and doing the day to day things of the world after their loss. I did then and still do admire their tenacity for and faith in the Lord. I not only admire it, I covet it. I know we are commanded to not covet, but I truly do covet their closeness to the Lord. Just being honest.

I wanted to share with you Sherri's post for today, little Bronner's birthday. He would have been five years old. I can't help but look at my Madalyn and realize that they lost these precious years with their child - the pre-school performances, him learning to write his name, his excitement about going to big school, and learning to ride a bike without training wheels. And yet they are solid in their footing. Solid in their purpose. Solid and set on leading people to the Lord even through their son's loss.

I am humbled by them.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The long, hot weekend...

We spent the weekend at the ball park. Surprise, surprise. Summer didn't just peek his head out from the covers... he jumped out of bed and started a party. The heat and humidity were comparable to a July afternoon, and my body was in shock. Our team played four games on Saturday - yes, four. We were lucky enough this weekend to play at Veteran's Park in Alabaster where David happened to play tee ball and which happens to be mere minutes from the house.

Veteran's Park also happens to permit the Kona Ice truck to come in and park for the day. I don't know if any of you are familiar with Kona Ice. It's not your average ice cream truck. Kona rolls with a Hawaiian theme and bright, modern graphics. Their signature product is shaved ice packed tightly in a cup. There are multiple flavor options, but the most favorite part of all is that their eight top flavors are available on the outside of the truck for you to "flavor your own" ice. Every kid's dream. This is no make-shift ice cream truck organization - Kona Ice is the real deal.

There was no way to have a kid in that ball park and not buy a Kona Ice at some point in the day. It was too hot, and there was no way to avoid the strategically parked vehicle. I think throughout the course of four games we dropped $10 on shaved ice between the both of our children - a total of 2 a piece. Toward the end of our stay on Saturday, Madalyn informed me that the man had given her friends a cup of plain ice for free. She wanted one of course, and so I accompanied her to the window to see what was going on. He indeed gave Madalyn a cup of ice for no charge, and I commenced to tell her not to bother the flavors on the side of the truck as she had not paid the man for any flavor. She agreed.

Not thirty minutes later, her friend came to tattle on her. "Madalyn stole something......." I knew immediately what was going on without another word being spoken, but I was not going to go and make a scene at that moment. I know with Madalyn she'll eventually tell on herself unwittingly. And, sure enough, at the end of that final game, up strolls Madalyn with her cup of free ice (which should have been white and void of flavor) covered in blue raspberry syrup. Busted.

When I asked her where she got it, she just kinda looked at me the way kids do when they realize that adults really are smarter than children. Why do kids question that fact??? Why do they not just resign themselves to the fact that we cannot be outsmarted? Why do they question the intelligence of those who have been here long before them? Anyway - Madalyn really didn't have an answer for me. She stumbled her words a little and tried to think of something to say, but even a five year old can tell when there's just no sense lying. And then she went and threw her ice in the trash.

Had I not specifically told her not to bother the flavoring, I really wouldn't have been angry. It's kind of hard to resist brightly colored flavored syrup dispensed at your fingertips. But at five, I knew she understood the meaning of "we didn't pay for it." I knew she fully comprehended "don't bother the flavors." I knew that she wanted it, she took it, and she thought she'd get away with it. And I knew, as painful as it was for me and her, that I had to teach her a lesson.

So we went and stood in line, for the fifth time that day, at the Kona Ice truck. And when we reached the window, I picked her up and told the teenage boy working that she had taken some of his flavoring without paying and she needed to tell him something. She managed to get out, "I'm sorry." Of course, he told her it was okay and that he hoped she had a fun day at the ball park. The minute I put her down, she ran off and started to cry.

I knew how she felt. Embarrassed. Ashamed. Guilty. And so I went over to her, I swooped her up in my arms, and I gave her the biggest hug. I told her how hard it was to say you're sorry when you've done something wrong, but that you should always apologize when you've done something you shouldn't. And I told her the words that every child longs to hear, "I am proud of you for apologizing to him, Madalyn. It takes courage to say you're sorry."

There are many moments in my parental career that I question my abilities. That I wonder how my kids will turn out. That I look up at the sky and ask the Big Man, "And why did you give these two to me?" It seems too daunting - the task of raising little people. I don't always make the right decisions. Sometimes I lose my cool. But I must be doing something right because my most stubborn child has a sense of right and wrong. I wonder how many children (and adults) wander this green Earth without ever knowing the difference between right and wrong or being challenged to make amends for making the wrong choice?

So, tough weekend at the ball park. Four games Saturday, snow cone stealing incident, four games on Sunday, all ending with the loss of the championship game by one point. But hopefully a little lesson learned in the midst of it all.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sometimes Cutting the Grass Is Realxing

As much as I hate to put this out there, sometimes cutting the grass can be relaxing. Usually when speaking about the chore of lawn mowing, I do nothing but whine and complain. But today, I actually enjoyed the task.

Today, as I mowed, I was thankful for my beautiful home and yard. Thankful for the husband that works hard every day to keep us in it. Thankful for the sheer physical ability to push the mower and empty the contents of a heavy grass catcher. Thankful to somehow, miraculously, having made it through the last 18 months without having to find a job outside my home and use the weekends to do the yard work. Just thankful.

I've also got a lot on my mind today. And it was nice for those thoughts to get lost in the hum of the motor and the spinning of the blade. With each row, I could process another thought and chop it finely like the green blades of grass filling the bag. If only I could take those thoughts and feelings and dump them in the big black plastic bag that will sit on the curb for pick-up on Friday morning. If only...

The only unpleasurable thing was a little flying insect chasing me around the yard. Buzzing around my head and shoulders. It just wouldn't leave me alone. I think it even got me once on the back (cause you know I was in my bathing suit top and shorts trying to get a little bit of sun). I finally sprayed some Off on me not really knowing if it would keep it away from me at all. And he did finally leave me alone.

Other than that, it was a stress free, event-free mow. Lots of sweat, but no sneezes today. The allergies have calmed down, and the grass is beginning to fill back in. And it was nice to look over the yard and see what I had done...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weekend of Firsts (in bullet points, cause I'm lazy today)

~ David's first weekend without his Kitty: David has slept with Kitty, which is actually a stuffed tiger, since he was around nine months old. At the time, he called it "Ya-Ya" because when you asked him, "What does a kitty say?" he would reply, "Ya-ya," instead of meow. Man, I miss those sweet days. There have been many times he's been headed to a sleep over in which he's tucked Kitty into the covers and told her good-bye for a night, but this weekend was the first time ever that he's just altogether forgotten her. He's tucked her away underneath clothes in his bag for several tournaments so his friends wouldn't see, but this weekend she was left cold.

~ Madalyn's first dance recital: I must say, I am so glad the recital is over and so are the dance classes. Thursdays have been a thorn in my side for the past few months. It was a two hour rush around - drop Madalyn off at dance, leave and drop David off at practice, go back to the dance studio to pick Madalyn up, then return to the practice location to retrieve David. Not fun. Madalyn enjoyed her time on the big stage at the BJCC Concert Hall. When we left from our rehearsal on Friday evening, she turned to me and said, "Now I'm a star." And all I could think was, "In more ways than you know, sweet girl..."

~ The first time I've ever seen a homeless man throw up on the ground beneath him: I have to say, it was one of the most humbling experiences I've had in my life. I got a little turned around looking for a parking space at the BJCC on Friday evening, and I was taking a ride around the block to get back on track. I looked to my right and saw an older man, obviously homeless, leaned back on some sort of planter, hunched over with his head between his knees. And he was vomiting. Below him was a puddle of vomit, and in his heart I'm sure a puddle of shame ten thousand times as big. My heart broke for him in that instant. I couldn't help but wonder about his circumstances - who he was, where he came from, how he came to be the homeless man vomiting on the side of a city street. Does he have children? Does anyone miss him or love him or think about him? I don't know... stuff like that just really bothers me. I am sure he'll be on my mind for several days to come.

~ The first time the Bandits got shut out on the baseball field: We got our booties handed to us in a basket yesterday. Shut out. It's never happened before. We're the team that other teams fear. We do the shutting out, not the other way around. It was humbling. Disappointing. Makes you question whether the all work it takes to get to the tournament is worth it. But I guess it's a part of life - getting trampled upon. Sometimes the greatest lessons in life are learned from the biggest failures. But that doesn't make it any easier to swallow.

~ The first time I told my son that one of these days I would be forced to smack him in the face: This one's probably the toughest first of the weekend. I can take a lot from my kids. It comes with the territory, you know. You learn as a mother to let a lot of things roll of the back and you just move on. But a Crazy Mama can only take so much - especially from a soon-to-be-nine-year-old who should know how to speak respectfully to his mother. And so, when David rolled his eyes at me and sighed his little "you are such an idiot" sigh at me for the 13th time yesterday, I took the chance to tell him this: "Son, one of these days real soon, when you do that thing that you just did... you know, roll your eyes and those noises and sighs you make at me... I'm going to smack you in the face. Because one of these days, I'm just gonna have had enough. It makes me angry for my son, who I've raised to know better, to treat me in this way. I just want to give you the fair warning that if you don't stop your behavior, you will be put in your place." We were all four in the car on our way home from Mississippi. Needless to say, the car fell silent and remained so for a good ten minutes with the exception of a few sniffles from David's silent cry-fest. Call me a bad mom if you want. Call the authorities and tell them I am threatening physical smacks to my child. But you can also call me one fed up mom that has an almost nine-year-old acting like an entitled 14 year old brat. And it has to stop. I've tried the nice way. I've tried the whole, "God made me your mother and you should respect me," approach. We've tried the daddy talking to him man-to-man. None of the above has been effective. So I'd say when all else fails, fear of being slapped in the face by your mother just might be the only solution. We'll see how it works.

That should just about cover it...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Modern Day Courtesy

So this one promises to be a classic post...

When I was at Walmart the other day - you know, the day when I affirmed my capability of picking the perfect line - I had to use the restroom. Not my favorite restroom to use, publicly speaking. But sometimes, there's just no waiting. As I was in the stall with my dear, sweet Madalyn, threatening her life if she dared to open the door, I realized there was a woman in a stall down from me on her cell phone.

Can I just say that I don't get that. I don't get it at all. Have we as a society forgotten what life was like before cell phones? I remember the day when one could pee-pee in the potty without worry that someone in another state could hear the sound. I remember a day when if one heard music in the restroom they assumed it was the Muzak playing through the speaker system and not a fancy new ring tone. I remember the day when you could tinkle in peace and not have to listen to all the details of Mary Jo's date last Friday evening.

What is wrong with the world today? Is there no place where the cell phone does not belong? If there's one thing that people of all ages, races, and economic statuses should agree on is that the restroom is a no-cell area. No making of calls. No taking of calls. Perhaps texts are permissible if you happen to plan on being seated for a while... even then, I just think it could wait.

Back in the day, long before cell phones, if you had a trip to Walmart planned, you hollered out to whomever was in the house that you'd be back shortly. If no one was home, you jotted a note and left it somewhere in plain view - headed to Wally-World... back in a few. If you forgot your list or the name of a product or had a question for someone in the household, you were pretty much out of luck. Unless you had a dime (maybe a quarter) and could find a handy payphone. But pretty much, once you left the house, you entered the land of no communication.

Now days, I can't even use the potty in peace. When stopped at most traffic lights, I'm surrounded by people yucking it up and yapping about life. Everywhere I turn there's a person with a cell phone attached to their ear. In line at the grocery store. At the post office. Blazing down I-65 at 87 miles per hour. In line to pick up or drop off at the church preschool. The guy that checked me into my hotel room in Auburn the weekend of our last ball tournament actually answered his cell phone while checking me in at the front desk.

Call me old fashioned, but I'm slightly offended by the lack of concern for others these days. If there's a person in front of you, talk to them. If there's someone ringing up your groceries at Publix, greet them, speak to them, interact with them, and then tell them thank you. And, for the love of all things sacred and private, do not make or take calls while in a public restroom.

Just a little modern day courtesy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It all started with a raw oyster...

As promised, here's a post devoted to my thoughts about myself upon reading Walking on Broken Glass by Christa Allan...

When I look back over my life, I realize that the compromises started with a stinking (literally) raw oyster. I don't like seafood. Never have. At the age of 18, my idea of seafood was catfish, which doesn't really come from the sea at all. I didn't and still don't like fish of any kind, shrimp, oysters, lobster, etc, etc, and so on. I still try them to appease the pleads of others around me, but I can honestly say that I have yet to try anything that swims (or lies in the bottom of the ocean / fresh water begging to be netted up, battered, and fried) that I like enough to order an entire meal of it. And I really don't see that changing between now and my death.

At 18, I was dating a new boy. It was a relationship of many firsts for me - the biggest first being that the boy really seemed to want to stick around. He kinda liked me. And I really dug him. He was handsome and charming. Charismatic. The life of every party. And he wanted me. I was floating above the clouds...

One summer evening, we went to dinner at one of his favorite places to eat oysters. He ordered a dozen on the half shell. I'm sure I ordered chicken fingers and fries. When his plate of shells filled with mucous goo arrived at our table, he offered me one. "No, thanks," I politely refused. But he refused to let it die. On and on about how you have to try it just once. The tennis match across the table ensued - the back and forth of, "But I don't eat seafood," and "How do you know you like it if you don't try it?" Somehow, the conversation turned angry, and my dinner date gave me an ultimatum: "Eat the raw oyster, or I'll take you home right now and never speak to you again."

Looking back, it sounds like a no-brainer.

"Take me home, then..."

But back then, to me, it was everything. This was the boy of my dreams. How could I lose it all just because I wouldn't do a shot of snot on a shell? So, I reluctantly agreed. He was pleased to fix one up for me with cocktail sauce and horseradish. After holding it in my hand for several minutes, I finally did the deed and sucked it down.

Immediately, my throat was on fire. Just like the oyster, I had never had horseradish before and certainly was unprepared for the fiery sensation it left down its path. I thought surely it would all come back up, but I think I guzzled an entire glass of sweet tea to quench the fire and calm the stomach.

Later that evening, it started. My intestines went nuts. I ran fever of 102. A couple of days later, my mom carried me to the doc-in-a-box. Upon taking a little blood, examination, and consideration that I had eaten a raw oyster, the conclusion was drawn that it was food poisoning. He advised me that most seafood contains different bacteria than our normal land diets, and for someone like me, who never eats seafood, this can be quite a shock to the system, especially when eating it raw.

Stupid me.

So what the heck does this have to do with the novel I just read? Everything. It has to do with my mind set back then. The same mindset that landed me in a heap of a troubled relationship for several years. The mind set that enabled me to eat something that even the biggest of all seafood lovers don't even care to eat - the raw oyster. The mind set within me that cared more about what someone else thought than I did about myself. The mind set that said it would be okay to start drinking at the age of 19 because Mr. Oyster Man wanted me to do that too. And he wasn't stupid; he knew if he could get me to eat a raw oyster, a little fruity drink would be a piece of cake.

I must say I liked my first drink much better than my first (and last) oyster.

Mr. Oyster Man pulled a number on me with lots of things over a period of time. But mostly, I pulled a number over myself. Putting my name at the end of the list as far as who mattered and was important. Why on earth would anyone who was as cute and intelligent and witty as I was at 18 or 19 years old allow another human being to tell her that if I didn't eat that or drink this that they wouldn't have anything to do with me anymore? I look back and find it pure insanity, and I can't believe it was me.

Of course, if you know enough about me, you all know that eventually I told Mr. Oyster Man to go choke on a raw one... took me a while (and a conk over the head from The Man upstairs), but I finally got the message. Funny thing is, I'm still learning from that insecure, mess of a girl I was back then. Still trying to figure out why I ever tossed back a shell with mucous in it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Perfect Check-Out Radar...

I have this incredible innate ability to pick lines at Walmart. I'm telling you... a talent you could only attribute to just knowing without trying which line will be the slowest. Just call me blessed.

Today, instead of going to Walmart while Madalyn was in pre-school, I opted to read.

Hold on; I think I need a second after making that statement.

Okay. Now I'm good.

Don't get me wrong - I'll be the first to put off household chores or shopping to trips to, say, watch the dramatic new episode on Dr. Phil or to catch up on the latest gossip on the phone. But read???? No way. Never. But since opening this new novel - Walking on Broken Glass by Christa Allan - I've been glued to the pages. Literally upset when interrupted. Out and out perturbed when I couldn't sit down and read it. And anyone who knows me knows that this is atypical for me. I try to read my Bible, and occasionally a trash magazine (which sounds strange to admit after just mentioning the Bible), but never do I ever read a novel for pleasure. Definitely expect a post soon about Walking on Broken Glass. It's about a woman who checks herself into rehab for alcohol dependence. As I read, I saw so much of me and my experiences and personality in the main character, Leah. Please don't get me wrong - I won't be admitting myself to Bradford any time soon. But I love to read a novel that makes me think more about myself than of the plot of its pages.

Back to today - I plopped myself on the couch after I dropped Madalyn off at school and made the bed (I had to do something before indulging myself in the novel). I had a little less than 70 pages left, and I was determined to know the end. And I was willing to sacrifice Walmart in peace (without the groanings, wailings, and whinings of a five year old) to finish the book. I hated the ending, which royally sucks once you've made such sacrifices to finish it.

I had time to shower and apply make up before picking Madalyn up from school and the contents of a short list from Walmart. Dog food, cotton balls, apple juice, Gatorade, erasers for the ends of David's pencils, and Madalyn's added ice cream. We also checked out the bathing suits, as Madalyn was in need anyway, and picked two that we were equally delighted over. And so I turned on my radar and searched for a line.

Of course, there weren't many open. Ordinarily, with such a light load in my buggy, I'd opt for the self check-out. But with the 40 pound bag of dog food, I just couldn't imagine. I double checked the ginormous bag in search of a sticker that I could peel off and scan. Sometimes they have them; sometimes they don't. Of course, this one did not, so I'd have to find a real check-out line with more than a talking computer.

It's at this very point that I ought to realize not to listen to my internal voice. To find the line that I am most inwardly opposed to getting in and plant myself there. Because it never fails - I always end up in the absolute slowest line imaginable.

I am normally an incredibly patient person. Having paid my dues in a coffee shop for almost four years, I know what it's like to try to do your job to the best of your ability and still not be able to make everyone smile. I remember well the rudeness and impatience I dealt with on a daily basis, and I make an effort to not repay the evils I experienced to others, even when it seems it could possibly be deserved at the time. But today, oh, today.......

Don't get me wrong; I didn't say a word to the lady. I smiled and politely conversed after having stood in her line for 20 minutes. And it wasn't like she had any price checks or difficult customers or scenarios to deal with. She was just slow. Not only was she slow, but she was incompetent. I put four jugs of juice on the roller belt, she somehow rang up 7, and voided two. It wasn't until I had gotten to my car and looked at the receipt that I realized I had paid for an extra jug of apple juice. She also got me on the one impulse item Madalyn was allowed this trip - a Bon Bons lip gloss that cost a whopping 98 cents. I think she rang it up three times, voided one, thus giving Walmart a 98 cent donation. So, all in all, today's poor line choice cost me $2.48 worth of imaginary items in my cart and a tons of fake smiles and yes maam's.

Some days I wonder if Walmart is worth the trouble. Or maybe today I should ask myself if reading in peace was worth the trouble...

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I called my grandmother yesterday. My paternal grandmother. Somehow the conversation shifted to, of all things, blackberries. She was telling me that she saw clusters of them growing along the ditch behind her retirement apartment complex. She also shared with me that she and another one of her aging friends had devised a plan on how to get to them - one that involved sliding down on their "backsides" to retrieve them. Sadly, she reported, they had withered in the heat of the sun and there weren't enough to pick to outweigh the effort. I must say I'm a little glad they dried in the sun - something tells me someone may not have made it out of that scenario on their own accord...

As she talked about those blackberries, I began to taste them in my mouth. In my backyard on Croydon Road in Montgmery, Alabama, we had wild blackberries that grew along the fence between mine and my friend Lielani's house. Every Spring, I was surprised to find them; I guess the notion that they reappeared in the same location year after year was nothing short of miraculous to a six or seven year old girl. So, I'd pick them and make an afternoon snack of them.

In this moment, I can taste the freshness of that blackberry. I can feel it in my hands - each tiny bubble of flesh plumped up in perfect little tasty rows. I can feel it on my tongue. I can see that place and feel it in my heart. Childhood. Spring afternoons in the shade of the pines in my backyard. The deliciously carefree eating of a fruit before it's washed.

Several years ago - probably six or seven - Scott, David and I had taken our boat to Lake Martin and beached somewhere to play and enjoy the sunny day. Scott wandered off toward the wooded area and emerged with a handful of blackberries. I hadn't tasted one since those days in my backyard. I was glad to find the taste hadn't changed a bit. Still delightfully sweet and tart. Still a blackberry. Still the taste of Spring and childhood all wrapped up in a little bumpy sphere.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A little unmotivated...

I am feeling a little unmotivated here lately... maybe it's Spring fever. I'm ready for the kids to be done with school, though I'm really not ready for them to be at home with me ALL DAY LONG. I'm just done with the bedtimes and the wake-up times and the rushing around of the morning and the homework and the lunch account and the little plastic sandwich bags. Just done with school, and I'm not even the one who has to go.

I have a stack of catalogues and a promisingly great new novel sitting in my kitchen waiting on me to pick them up and read them. But I am so unmotivated that I can't even pencil in the time to sit down to read. I haven't been reading my commentary on Isaiah or my Bible. My mind just seems to be on auto-tumble... like that option that some fancy dryers have these days. Mine doesn't have it, but I know my neighbor's does. It's an option that if the clothes are left in the dryer and not promptly removed, the machine will automatically turn itself on and give them a little fluff so as not to wrinkle. Whoever thought of that might believe them self to be a genius, but in my house, it would be the death of my electricity bill!!! My dryer would tumbling all day. Just like my brain here lately.

So what am I tumbling about? I don't know... all kind of stuff. Sometimes, I wish I could plug my brain into a computer that could print out in neat little rows and columns all the contents of my thoughts. Organize them and color code them so that maybe even I could begin to understand all the gibberish that is in my head. I've got all these thoughts and dreams and goals here lately, but they are just spinning. And spinning. And fluffing... you know, so as not to wrinkle. And then there are all the negative thoughts that perpetuate as well that seem to keep the positive thoughts up in the air. So maybe that same computer could categorize my thoughts and would have a category for negative, Debbie Downer thoughts and a handy-dandy delete button especially for them.

Wow... the more I think about this futuristic computer idea, the more I like it. Organize, categorize, and a delete option. If only it were that simple.

The human mind. My human mind. Capable of so much, yet doubting its own power and ability. Creativity buzzing, but afraid of the next step (and still uncertain of what the next step even is). But at least my mind is spinning. Some people never get to experience the feeling of a brain all abuzz with ideas and creativity. And at least I'm one of the fortunate ones who knows how great that feels....

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sometimes I forget...

Sometimes I forget my mom has cancer. Or maybe it's just that I want to forget, so I allow myself for a moment to push it to the back of my mind. It's just such a strange feeling to be sitting there, talking to her like normal about the day or something funny one of the kids said, and then come to an internal realization that she has cancer. She doesn't look sick nor act sick. She seems okay. So how can she have something living inside of her and multiplying by the second (or, I guess we hope, dying by the second) that could kill her?

Today, my mother is in Birmingham for some blood work and to meet with her oncologist to go over the results of scans she had last week to track the success of the drugs she's been taking for several weeks now. I am hoping for good news. I am actually hoping for God news - maybe it will be gone completely or practically immeasurable. Maybe one day real soon I can look at my mother and actually say that she doesn't have cancer instead of having to remind myself that she does.

I guess I am feeling a little sentimental with Mother's Day approaching. I think of my mother now in terms of what I have done, would do, will continue to do for my own kids. I know and understand now exactly how she feels about me as her daughter - as the third child she carried in her womb, that she loved long before anyone could even tell I was in there, that she prayed for and cried for and laughed at and with. I know that I would have never been half the person I am today without her guidance and love over the years.

So here's to a great Mother's Day this weekend... and here's to many more.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dust Bowl 2010

This one will be a good one cause it's about BASEBALL...

This weekend, we made the trip to Auburn (a.k.a God's Country) to play in a tournament. Some of you might recall our trip to Auburn last May - you know, the one where I felt like Jim Cantore would be narrating the made for TV recollection of the day I almost died when a tornado struck the ball field. Of course, this weekend the possibility for storms loomed over us yet again, and I diligently checked the weather throughout the week to prepare my mind for take two on the Plains.

The weekend had a weird set-up from the get go. Scott had to work - had no choice in the matter - but would head to Auburn as soon as he could get out of there on Saturday evening. We were scheduled for three games on Saturday - 12:20, 7:30, and 8:40. And, yes, those are all p.m. times. Crazy schedule for anyone, much less 8 year old boys. So, I drove to my mom's house, we took her car to Auburn, and she watched the first game. We checked into the hotel, and then she dropped me back off at the ball park to wait around on the next game.

And we waited and waited and waited.

Saturday was a long day. Three games. Heat. Wind. Humidity. I believe it was a record setting day for heat. The temperature reached close to 90 degrees. The boys played pretty poorly the first two games. Surprisingly enough, their best performance was their final game which didn't start until a little after 9:00 (yes, p.m.). We allowed over 30 runs in three games, which is honestly more than we usually allow in an entire tournament.

On Sunday, we arrived at the ball park around 10:30 to watch some of the games before we were scheduled to play at 1:20. Again, it was hot. And the wind - man, the wind - would gust and literally knock you off balance. It was tipping over chairs and blowing trash all over the place. We were sand blasted all day by the strong gusts of wind as they swept over the baseball field and picked up the dry dirt and sand. It was truly a dust storm. I was covered head to toe with dust and dirt and sand. It was in our ears and hair and in between our toes. The gusts were so strong that when they hit, the players, umpires and coaches had to turn their heads away from the wind. I've never felt gusts that strong that weren't affiliated with an impending hurricane or tropical storm. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. At one point in the day, it gusted so strongly that it scared some of the children, and I turned to one of the other moms that had been in Auburn last May with me and said (half jokingly, half not), "Okay... so where are we going to take the kids for shelter when the tornado hits?"

Despite the wind and the dirt pelting the skin like bullets, the boys played magnificently as a whole. In fact, it seems to me that the worse the conditions are, the better our team plays. Hey - give us a 55 degree rainy and windy day, and we look like paid professionals. Give us gusts at 40 miles an hour, and we'll get the job done with no problem. But give the Bandits a perfect Spring day with no wind and no humidity, and we'll look like a bunch of five-year-olds at their first day of practice. Seems like our Bandits like to rise to an occasion.

One thing I forgot this weekend was my sunscreen. Having checked the weather all throughout last week, I had expected it to be mainly cloudy and just hadn't made a point to check for sunscreen in my bag. I also forgot my visor I normally wear when it's sunny to keep the sun off my face. I did borrow and apply sunscreen to my arms, but I neglected the tops of my thighs which are burning the mess out of me today. And my forehead is the loveliest shade of red as well. I'll just say that I give the words farmer's tan a whole new meaning this year. I can't say that I'll be able to get rid of it this season...

So great weekend. Great baseball. Great gusts of wind but with no harm. But so very, very exhausted.........