Spring is for Sports, so Let’s Eat

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Everyone is dying for spring, but I am in no rush, mostly because of my allergies. Who am I kidding? It’s because of the sports. This spring I am going to lose my mind shuttling three kids between five sports. I enjoy watching my kids play sports, but if I’m being honest, I don’t enjoy it that much. Certainly not as much as my husband.

Growing up, my husband played football, basketball, and baseball and he excelled at each one. So naturally, watching his kids play sports brings back a lot of wonderful memories.

For me, though, there’s not much to which I can relate. In my youth, I played competitive piano and my exposure to sports was extremely limited. Aside from the 1986 World Series and the OJ Simpson murder trial, my family didn’t really even watch sports on TV.

Today, all kids seem to do is play sports (and Minecraft), and I’ve had a really hard time pretending I know what’s going on. It’s not that I don’t try, I do, but eventually I zone out, irritated by all the noise, especially the piercing whistles. I start thinking about all kinds of things I know no one else on the sidelines is thinking given that there is an actual game going on.

You would think that I would just sit there and politely keep my non-sports thoughts to myself, but I don’t. Instead, I share them. I start blabbing about whatever pops into my head. Most of the time, these thoughts are about food. Here is the transcript of an actual conversation I had with my husband at my son’s basketball game a few weekends ago:

Husband: “Oh my God, how did that not go in?”

Me: “Oooooo! So close!”

Husband: “He’s gotta make those.”

Me: “So I know we said sushi for dinner, but Greg wants spaghetti and meatballs.”

Husband (shouting): “WHO’S GOT 15?”

Me: “Actually, I bet I could get Greg to eat a meatball sub from Subway.”

Husband: “STAY SQUARE!! SQUARE UP!!”

Me: “No, I can’t do that. Subway is junk.”

Husband: “Great job boys!”

Me: “Good job guys!!

Husband: “Whatever you want for dinner, I don’t care. GREG, GET BACK ON D!”

Me: “Alright, well, let me see what he says after the game. I really don’t want to cook tonight. I’m so tired. What time is this over?”

Husband: “HELP HIM OUT, HELP HIM OUT!!!”

Me: “My skin is so dry, I can’t deal. Don’t forget I’m going to that party tonight.”

Husband: “GREAT PASS! What party?”

Me: “The Oscar party, after dinner.”

Husband: “Oh. So don’t cook then. Just do Subway. THREE SECONDS!”

Me: “I don’t want Subway.”

Husband: “That’s right, you said sushi. WATCH IT, HE’S REACHING IN!”

Me: *yawn*

Sometimes, I will be at a game without my husband and my boredom will compel me to start chatting up another Mom, even though she is giving no indication that she is open to chatting. I’ll ask her if she has tried the new restaurant in town and she will answer me but two seconds later she will break eye contact to scream positive encouragements at her child across the field, making me feel like a boob for ever venturing into non-sports territory in the first place. Even my closest friend once gave me “The Heisman” after I offered to share the details of my most recent meal with her so that she could enthusiastically remind her daughter to be “softball ready” in the outfield over and over again.

When my last and youngest starts playing tackle football in a few years, I am hopeful things will be different. If I had to choose one sport to tolerate for the rest of my life, it would have to be football. I’m sure this has something to do with the glorious food of football (e.g., chili, wings, nachos…what’s not to love?) but over the years I have come to understand it much more than any other sport and therefore should be able to pay better attention. Except if it’s cold. Then the only thing I will be able to think about will be those things that keep me warm in winter, like pot roast, sausage lentil soup, and beef stew. Oh well. Maybe I’ll just help at the snack stand.

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How to Embarrass Your Tween

I sank to a new low last week. My first, an 11 year old girl no longer in elementary school, left for junior high the earliest she had yet, allowing her to walk at a relaxed pace that does not cause sweating and casually chat with friends before the daily grind of science, orchestra and social studies. It was a great way to start the day and I was so glad I didn’t have to nag her about getting out the door on time.

The boys got up, I prepared their breakfast, and then I saw it – the audition form. My daughter was trying out for the musical after school and I had very carefully filled out all of her acting experience, knowing full well that none of it really mattered because she was going to get ensemble anyway. I had put the important (not really) form in my daughter’s backpack the night before, but remembered at the last minute that she had to sign it, so I took it out and neither one of us bothered to put it back.

I glanced at the clock. I had 10 minutes before the first bell. Plenty of time. I accepted the challenge. I called her on her cell. She answered.

“You forgot your form!”

“What??”

“You forgot your audition form!”

“Oh!”

“Where are you?”

“In front.”

“OK, I will meet you in front…WAIT!…there’s not enough time. Go to the back.”

“OK, I’ll meet you in the parking lot. But leave now!”

“Yes, I’m already in the car.”

During our conversation, I grabbed and put on the closest pair of shoes I could find: my black rubber rain boots. It wasn’t raining. I got in the car with the cordless, not the cell, and peeled out of the driveway. In my pajamas.

I turned the corner and then it hit me, they won’t let me in the parking lot. Good God Almighty. They are not going to let me.

I stopped at the intersection and let a car go by.

Maybe they will let me just this once? Surely there is a grace period that will slowly wean helicopter elementary school Moms from babying their children who are now old enough to remember their own things.

I rolled up to the entrance of the parking lot and quickly realized that there was no grace period. There were like armed guards blocking the entrance who eat Moms like me for breakfast. I could see my daughter in the distance but I could not communicate with her because the cordless was now out of range.

Oh my God, I am going to have to get out of the car. I am wearing rubber rain boots with no rain and pajama bottoms and my hair looks like a Unicorn Zombie Apocalypse.

It is amazing how many things your brain can process in three to five seconds but it won’t remember to put an important (not really) form back into a backpack. I considered just sitting there to see if she would come to me, but then she would be late. I considered leaving and maybe faxing the form from home but what if she came to me and I wasn’t even there?

There was no choice, I had to get out of the car.

I got out of the car and starting running in my rubber rain boots with no rain and pajama bottoms which I could now see were tucked into the boots like Aladdin. When I finally got to her, I tried to apologize, but I was laughing too hard. And she tried to be embarrassed but she was laughing too hard, too.

Salsa and Tofutti

The inventory manager in my house (me) sucks and should be fired. This is never more true than during the summer when I am channeling Julie McCoy from the Love Boat, scheduling all kinds of activities for my kids to avoid boredom which really just means me sitting on my butt at our local pool chatting with the other Moms and continually asking my kids if we could leave so that I can go food shopping already. They never want to leave, of course, and so the hours tick by until I am forced to order take out, leaving food shopping for another day every day.

My husband, who works from home all the time and thus eats from home all the time, is usually pretty understanding and is good about cutting me slack, but recently he opened the fridge and remarked that the only things to eat were salsa and Tofutti cream cheese. This struck him as odd, but to me it made perfect sense. The only constants in my life right now, besides chaos, are salsa and Tofutti. Salsa is just so damn versatile and Tofutti cream cheese basically keeps my second child alive. When he was a baby, my second had a dairy intolerance. He has long since grown out of it physically but mentally he still can’t put anything else on his bagel. And since bagels are essentially the only things he will eat, I panic when I get low.

Most Moms I know go food shopping once — maybe twice — a week. A few really ambitious ones go shopping once every two weeks and have to attach a rented U-Haul trailer to the backs of their cars. Not me. I Stop and Shop every day. More often than not, I Stop and Shop two or three times a day, because I am only given clarity with regard to our inventory in the car on the way home. I’d like to blame my kids for distracting me but because my husband works from home all the time, my kids are usually not with me at the grocery store. And it’s not like I don’t have a list, I most certainly do, I just leave it at home.

As a last resort, I’ve created an Evernote account that allows me to make a grocery list on my laptop that will also appear on my phone. It’s definitely helping, but what I really need is a high-tech fridge and pantry system that uses sophisticated algorithms to analyze our inventory and purchase our necessities on its own, taking me out of the equation entirely. I’m sure there’s an app for that, but they must be working on the bugs still because I haven’t heard of it. Until then, I’ll be Googling healthy and low-fat recipes that use both salsa and Tofutti.