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Baseball Coach with a Bow Tie

It was unfathomable to me that in a town known for producing extraordinary youth baseball players, my bow-tie wearing, spreadsheet-obsessed husband would end up as a head coach.  (I mean people move to this town so their children can play baseball; it’s a bit crazed.)  This is a man who only played the game himself one season as a third-grader and had the nerve to tell his obsessively-competitive childhood coach, “It’s just baseball and we’re only children.”

(It didn’t fly then and it wouldn’t fly now…)

Yet his noble recruiting strategy has paid off seven-fold.  He simply recruited boys with actively-involved fathers, therefore securing a bevy of kind and talented assistant coaches, pitching coaches, first base coaches and the like.

This has left him–a man blessed with the spiritual gift of administration–to organize, strategize, email, analyze and seriously memorize the Little League rule book which he can, when prompted, quote expertly without blinking an eye–surprising and astounding 20-year veteran Little League umpires and coaches alike.

Apparently he has become quite an enigma in the local Little League scene: one league administrator recently described him as “always hurrying about with a laptop, important-looking spreadsheets and some black binder with all these secret plans.”


No parent is without up-to-the-minute details about the next practice or game.  Honestly, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.  We’re used to last-minute calls that were supposed to be placed by the coach’s baby sitter but never got made so we don’t know there is a practice and only get a phone call asking where we are when we are actually at the dermatologist.

And now this grand communicator with his notebook of plays and plans will coach the last game of a “best-two-out-of three” season finale.


It’s a grand, rangy bunch of boys aged 9-11.

Bar-b-cue sunflower seeds are the favored dugout currency.


They are so grown-up yet still so young–so tough and quick to punch or slam a glove or bat, yet still cry over striking out or being told to bunt.

H says it’s like a crash course in the emotional life of the ten-year-old boy…a tumultuous life it is!


“Coach H, see, I had my blue Gatorade right there on the bench and he was throwing those sunflower seeds up into the air and not watching anything–not even our game--and he knocked over my special blue drink and now it’s all over Austin’s pants there and that notebook where you write all the rules and plays…”


“Hey Coach H, can I pitch?  When am I gonna pitch?  Why can’t I pitch right now?  Why does he always get to pitch?”

“Coach H, if I run really, really fast, do I have time to go to the bathroom?”

“Don’t worry Mom, I was mad about getting hit with a pitch, but I wasn’t going to ‘walk the bird’ like Hayden did to that umpire,” the bright-eyed boy encouraged. “Walk the bird?  What is that?” the confused mother queried.  “You know, Mom, like when you use your middle finger like the two bird legs and hop it around.  Walking the bird.”  That mom breathed a quick sigh of relief;  she could still claim her innocent nine-year-old.  At least for one more day.

Also heartening is a continued zeal for the obligatory after-game Icee.


The White Sox are winners regardless of tomorrow’s tie-breaker.  Let us revel in the joy tonight, however, and not forget the reason for the Game–total domination!  (See last night’s scoreboard?)


If you could pray for us tomorrow at 6:30 Eastern time, we’d greatly appreciate it!  I’ll let you know how it all turns out!



Posted on 3 June '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 9 Comments.

Blistering Beetle Juice

Yesterday we had a 9:45 appointment at the dermatologist–oh the joy!  Remember last time?

A similar “dermatology TV show” was playing, only this time the topic was acne.  The waiting room was packed with mostly elderly folks.

Here’s a small sampling from Edward:  “What is a period?  Is it the same as the one at the end of a sentence?  It makes no sense that a period would cause you to have these bumps on your face…are these bumps the ‘acne?’  Do you have acne, Mom?  Do you think I ever will?  Tell me about this menopause…what is that?”  A sweet older lady sitting close by chuckles and looks at me expectingly.

I sort of squirm in my seat, and slowly reply,”Well, it’s a sort of change in a person’s life…a change in the body.”

Edward is clearly unsatisfied with the vague nature of my response: “What kind of change?  Whose body is changing?  Why does menopause give a person acne?”

Lucky for me the “dermatology TV” switches at this point to a game-show type quiz.  Edward begins playing this with a man sitting close by.  The question is, “Which item is not required to be listed on food packaging ingredients?  Fiber, Artificial Flavors, Artificial Colors or Caffeine.”

The patient man and I both call out “fiber!”  Edward, however, shakes his head at us.  “It’s caffeine, people!  Caffeine is the answer!”  The man and I exchange doubtful looks.  And then the answer shines forth: “See!  It’s caffeine.  I told you!” Edward chortles gleefully.  The man addresses Edward, “Boy, I need to take you to Vegas.  You’ve got winning in ya!”

Yes, Vegas!  What a perfect place for Edward!

At this point, he’s finished with “dermatology TV” and rushes up to the receptionist before I can really grab him, and asks, “What does ‘D’ mean in Roman numerals?  My mommy doesn’t know…”  Lucky for us, our name is now called and we rush to the back, Edward rumbling on about what “X” and “L” and “V” mean as I encourage him down the hall.

Joseph has a few small warts on his knee, and we are here to have those removed.  Our doctor, who is also a personal friend, tells Joseph he can choose between the painful “freezing” or something called “blistering beetle juice,” guaranteed to be pain-free.

Naturally he chooses the “beetle juice,” and Edward perks up from his Diji hand-held game at the mention of “beetle.”  Thankfully, it’s a fast-application and we’re out in the waiting room before we can blink an eye, the beetle juice topic well at hand.  “Do you think that lady is going to have the beetle juice put on her hand?  What about that man over there?  Will he need beetle juice or something for his acne…”

And with that, we are out the door, into the sunshine, shuffled in the van.  I put them both in the van and close the door, lingering a few moments to enjoy the sunshine and brief parking lot solitude.

Just in case you are curious, here’s the beetle:


Thanks to Austin and Elise who had the photo!

In another odd twist, this beetle is also the source for “Spanish Fly!”

Wonders never cease…

Posted on 17 April '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 18 Comments.

Where Have I Been??

Where have I been?  When my dear friend, Kia, sent me the message: “Dood, where’d you go?” I started to wonder myself where the last two weeks have gone, and I’ll have to admit, the wondering stumped me in a frightening way.

So tonight, while my husband has gone cougar hunting (for the real animals, people) with friends for the weekend, I am feeding my children popcorn and donuts, and allowing them to watch 102 Dalmations (mild violence) while I try to catch up.  (Thank you KinniKinnick for your awesome GF/CF cinnamon sugar donuts!)

(Yes, I did say cougar hunting.  Apparently cougars can be quite a menace, although H has never killed another living thing since, as a young boy, he shot a bird with a bow and arrow crafted out of a windshield wiper blade.  I feel confident regarding the cougar population’s longevity.)

So I decided to run through my calendar and pictures for the past two weeks and see what all I actually did accomplish.  Here’s the short list:

1.  Help Edward prepare for City-Wide Home School Spelling Bee, which included words like “suet” and “concentric,” while simultaneously adjusting to a new developmental psychologist.  “What are you drawing, Edward?” she asks as he draws circles encircled by circles, endlessly.  “Oh, those are concentric circles…you know c-o-n-c-e-n-t-r-i-c…Sort of reminds me of the little poem, ‘A Thief in the Night, t-h-i-e-f!’   “Yes, well…I…”  She looks at me, puzzled.  “Why is he spelling everything?” she whispers, scribbling furiously on her notepad.  (Glory be, she’s found yet another diagnosis!)  “Oh, he’s just preparing for a big spelling bee,” I encouraged.  He then regaled her with a long discussion of Cuba and communism followed by questions about positive and negative cognition.  “There’s just so much dyssynchronous development going on here…such an amazing cognitive ability while the social…”  “Yes!  Dyssynchrony!”  Edward chortles!  “I can’t spell it but I know it means ‘uneven’!”

2.  Teach children how to use a napkin properly.

Did I mention we have a new puppy?


3.  Celebrate Joseph’s 9-year-old birthday with a trip to Olive Garden.  (Remember, it’s a chain-obsessed town.)


Did you know new puppies don’t sleep well at night?  And if they sleep in your child’s bed, they will relieve themselves at the corner of the bedspread?

4.  Receive training in how to administer growth hormone shots to Edward.  Give growth hormone shots to Edward.  Every. Single. Night. Possibly. For. The. Next. Ten. Years.

Were you aware that new puppies get sick when fed too many raisins and popcorn?  Not to mention the gas that particular combination creates in the newborn canine digestive system…

5.  Attend Sue’s “Muffins with Mom” celebration at her preschool while darting out every three minutes to check on the other two boys who are found, red-faced and sweating, pummeling each other with pillows in the youth room while five calm, homeschooled girls watch Little House on the Prairie videos.

Have I mentioned that we have a new puppy and she’s learned how to bark.  Really, really loudly?


6.  Spend one day at a City-Wide Homeschool Spelling Bee followed by carpooling followed by borrowing every electronic hand-held game known to man in preparation for nine-year-old having two spots removed at a local dermatologist known for two-hour waits.  Sit with 3, 7 and 9-year-old in a waiting room while a TV monitor drones endlessly about the latest psoriasis treatments…field endless psoriasis questions:  “Do you have psoriasis?  Did I ever had psoriasis?  Do you think that lady has psoriasis?  Look how gross the psoriasis looks on that TV screen!  Are those things scabs?  Will that Humira help?  What does that girl have?  Do you think she has eczema?  Doesn’t she look like a babysitter we had once?  I know I had eczema and so did Joseph!  Did we take Humira?”

The questions are wearing me down: “Why can’t you play with that hand-held Star Wars thing?  Isn’t that why we borrowed it?  Why aren’t you playing it?”

“It’s out of batteries. I think it needs to be recharged.  Did you borrow the charger?  You know it comes with a charger.”

I rifle through the bag.  “There’s no charger!  Just watch the psoriasis show until they call our name!”

“Do you think I will ever get psoriasis?  Why is the ‘p’ silent in psoriasis?  Is it a Latin word?  What’s your favorite Latin word?  Do you have to know a lot of Latin to be a dermatologist?”

Did I mention we have a new puppy?  (Yes, she is peeing.)


Gone cougar hunting.  Check ya later!

Posted on 16 January '09 by , under Accidental Homeschooling, Autism Spectrum/Sensory Processing. 15 Comments.