Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ohhhh, the humanity . . . .

Today is a day of mourning.

Chris Sligh got the one-finger salute last night on American Idol.

Congratulations !

Well, at least he can blog again, I guess.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Ain't Technology Grand

I was walking through the Target a few days ago, perusing the Clearance section near Electronics (one of my favorite Target Clearance sections, other than the pocketbook and jewelry clearance sections).

I spotted this little iQuest PDA by Leap Frog. (For those of you that don't know what Leap Frog is, they pretty much OWN kid's electronics, starting with preschool toys all the way up.)

I have invested heavily in Leap Frog in the past. My kids have had the phonics early learning toys, and they currently have the Turbo Twist Addition and Multiplication games, several Leap Pad books and cartridges, and they DID have a Leapster, but it broke (that was kinda crappy, I have to admit.)

This particular doohickey is really pretty cool. It has Sweet Girl's science, math and social studies books preloaded, and she can play games while getting quizzed chapter by chapter.

This thing also has a calendar, a calculator, 75,000-word Merriam-Webster dictionary, address book, notepad, headphone jack and volume control.

Evidently, this thing will carry Sweet Girl through to 8th grade.

And I paid $24 for it, and $12 for some extra math and science cartridges.

OH, plus! You can use this MindStation thingy to download extra games, questions and study guides (I already had this for the kids' Leap Pad games) to expand the handheld even further.

Yeah, I know we don't have flying cars yet, or robot maids, or jetpacks, but considering that the ULTIMATE handheld electronic when I was in 5th grade was a Coleco Electronic Quarterback, the iQuest is pretty damn cool, I think.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Check it, bitches

Laminated baseball namecards? Check

Dry erase board for batting order mgt? Check (handmade, with art tape and vinyl letters, thankyouverymuch)

Plastic bins for equipment? Check

Photobucket account for game pictures? Check

Email distribution list of parents? Check

I've got my shit straight now!

Play ball!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Giant Team Mom

Hub (laughing): "Darrell called last night. He wanted to know what we had been up to, and I told him that you were the Team Mom for Little League this season. He said, 'Who is?' and I said, 'Rita is!' and then he said 'Rita WHO?!'

That Darrell's a hoot. I know how he feels, though. NOBODY is more surprised than I am.

It happened so gradually, I didnt even realize it until I was standing in a dugout surrounded by screaming 5 year olds, my fingers curled through the chainlink fence gate, peering warily out to the field, probably looking about as desperate as a zookeeper caught in the monkey cage.
Admittedly, it's my fault. I MIGHT have sent an email to the coach offering to help. I received a reply almost immediately, filled with alot of words like GREAT! and FANTASTIC! and THANKS!

I should have taken that as a warning.

Coach said that his wife usually served as the team mom, but that they had 2 sons playing this season, and she had been worried about how she was going to be able to handle both. He ended his email with "Pretty much the only thing the team mom has to do is help hand out the uniforms, collect money for a fundraiser, and organize snacks."

"Hell," I thought, "even I can do that!" I remember thinking, "It won't be that bad! It might even be kind of fun!"

So I sent an email out to all the parents, letting them know that I was the Team Mom, and that I would be sending them information here and there, and oh, by the way, to please let me know what number their kid wanted to be, and please bring $10 to the next practice to cover the costs of getting names and numbers placed on jerseys and hats.
That's when things started to go downhill.

Within a day, I was drowning in a sea of little shirts, pants, hats and socks with NO idea which kid wore what size (Coach: 'Uhhhhhh, I think I have that list around here somewhere. I'll get back to you!") Endless emails and phone calls came in; my voicemail was bursting at the seams!

Message 1: "Hi Rita! I know I emailed earlier and told you that Joey wanted to be number 12, but I just got a call from his dad and he wants him to be number 1. We're divorced, so . . . I don't think he should be number 1, I think that's sorta arrogant, but then again HE is really arrogant, so its really typical that he would want Joey to have number 1 and, well . . . anyway, if you could just make Joey number 1, that would be great. Thanks!" Beep!

Message 2: "Uhhh . . . just calling to let you know we'd like number 5. " Beep! (who in the hell WAS that?)

Message 3: "Hey Rita! Thanks so much for getting this all together. Jackson would like to be number 5! Thanks!" Beep! Great.

Message 4: "Uh . . . yeah. This is Marcos' grandfather. Marcos would like to be number 10, and I know you are putting the kid's last name on the back of the shirt, but, uhhhh . . . I'm not really sure how to spell his last name. Some kinda foreign deal, and his dad's. . . uhh . . . gone to Mexico and I dont really know if he will be back, and my daughter's not here, so . . . if you want, just put Marco, and that would be fine." Beep!

Message 5: "Hi Rita! This is Sheila, James' mom. James would like to be number 10 (Fuck!), and could you please make sure that our last name, Streetsteereen, is spelled with one E? Thanks!" Beep! (One E where?)

By this time, I am thinking its time to hire a professional team manager, secretary, and family counselor out of my own pocket. BUT! miraculously, I was able to resolve all of the name and number issues, and sort out the shirt sizes for the most part (ok, a couple of kids look like they are wearing dresses, so sue me.)

So, Opening Game Day arrives, and I show up to the field with little sippy drinks and Teddy Grahams for 12 kids, thinking that it will be great to watch my kid play his first game. Au contraire! As soon as I got to the dugout, I looked across at the OTHER dugout to see this Supermom whipping into action, distributing little plastic cubbies for the kids to put their equipment into, clipping equipment bags to the fence, whipping out her dry erase board (with a handy dandy hanger) to jot down the batting order (what? what in the hell is a batting order?) and clipping nice little laminated baseballs with each kid's name behind the bench, so each kid would know where they were supposed to sit. Each kid had a matching sipper for cold water, and this girl even had time to visit with the parents long enough to hand out fundraiser forms.

Meanwhile, in OUR dugout, some kid had already spilled an ENTIRE bottle of Gatorade, and the others were whooping it up, stomping in it and splashing muddy Gatorade all over each other. The ones that weren't doing THAT were climbing the inside of the dugout and hanging on for dear life like cats on a screen door. There were batting helmets EVERYWHERE, bats were rolling around all over the ground (I nearly busted my ass on one) and the couple of dads that had volunteered to help looked like soldiers in a foxhole, their eyes darting back and forth, just waiting to dodge enemy fire.

One finally got brave enough to approach me and ask, "Uh, do we have any cubbies for the gloves and things? Huh? I smiled and shook my head, "No, but I promise we will next game! I'm sorry, I didn't know." Just as things looked their worst, an angel from heaven descended into the dugout and proclaimed "All hail me! I am the Team Mother from seasons past. I will deliver you from all evil, and help you establish order and peace in this hellhole."

Within 10 minutes, she gave me the lowdown on being a Team Mom. I learned about batting order, and retrieving bats from home plate after EVERY batter advanced (are you freaking kidding me?), and where to get the cubbies (Dollar General), and how to extort the $10 from parents that had avoided eye contact with me since the day I handed them their kid's uniform (which was good, cause I was beginning to feel like a loan shark, and about as welcome.)
At first, it was like finding out that there was no Santa, but there was no time for tears, I had to jump in headfirst and make the best of it.

An hour and a half later, I was dirty, sweaty, I had seen my kid score a run and be a fantastic catcher for most of the game, and nobody died. (I want that written down somewhere, that nobody died. I think that's important. There were alot of OTHER failures, but no fatalities.)
Is it worth it? Yeah, so far it is. Go Giants!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Nice Sunday

Today was a pretty cool day, overall.

I slept in a little (which felt like a LOT, since Daylight Savings Time kicked in overnight.) It was waaay too late for breakfast, so today, on a VERY SPECIAL episode of A Day in the Life of Rita, I enjoyed a Sourdough burger at Hardees (!!!!!). Good Lord, that was phenomenal. Hub got a mint chocolate chip shake (way off HIS diet, but what the hell, special day, and he's already dropped over 60 lbs.) and I had a sip or two . . . heaven.

I actually had a bit of a quest; I wanted to find a new KB Homes/Martha Stewart subdivision that is going up near my house. I have been narrowing down my choices for new paint and furniture, and I needed some inspiration and guidance on colors and combinations, and who better to ask than the Queen herself, right? We did find the place, but it was in the early stages of development, so no luck on seeing a finished model.

BUT! As luck would have it, the subdivision was built very close to the biggest church I have ever seen in my entire life, flanked by one of the coolest playgrounds I have ever seen in my entire life. We pulled in and let the kids run amok. It was a perfect day for it; not too hot, not too cold, and not too crowded.

The BEST part was . . . there was a special swing there that seemed to be made just for my sweet girl. Sweet girl has always had trouble with swings. Swings take ALOT of dexterity, balance, and arm and leg strength, and all of those things challenge her.

Not today though.

This swing was like a large chair, with 4 chains, not two, and it was suspended high enough for her to sit in without her legs dragging the ground under her.

It was all I could do not to tear up when I saw the look of unbridled joy and bright sunshine on her face as she enjoyed this simple pleasure that most people take for granted. While other children ran all around, climbing, running, chasing, and screeching, my girl serenely swung for better than half an hour.

She's my swing set girl
She makes my heart sing
She's my swing set girl
I love to watch her swing

After the park, we headed north to the new Fry's. None of us had ever been, and this one just opened. Damn, that thing was nearly the size of a Sam's Club. I got a Bluetooth headset for my new Treo cellphone (I can't hear anyone on the damn thing by holding it up to my ear, for some reason). Hub didn't really get to wander the entire store, but we saw most of it. We bought kites, and batteries, and a little plug-in speaker for my iPod. We all ran for the rows and rows of bubblegum machines on the way out, too.

We wrapped the day by meeting our friend Judd and our friend Will for wings and pizza (again, special day, back to the program tomorrow).

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