Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Where have you gone. . .

While a nation hasn't turned its lonely eyes to me, I have been gone for a little bit. And while I'm no Joe, I did learn a lesson on the diamond at our softball game tonight.

Where have we been? We've been busy with some things, like this

. . .which was held here, on Saturday evening

I'd tell you where this is, but I'm not allowed to take any pictures of the place, as it turns out. The ushers were vigilantly issuing cease-and-desist orders throughout the night throughout the crowd. Perhaps this is where they're keeping Dick Cheney, or his heart, on ice, and they don't want anyone to know what the place looks like. Just imagine what the enemy would do if they knew what the Will Call windows looked like.

Somehow, in addition to these pictures that someone must have taken with my phone while I wasn't looking, two pictures of the place ended up on our camera, but I haven't loaded them up yet. Suffice it to say that if you've seen one live radio show set, you've probably seen this one.

The exciting news is that this means that 3B has been to his first live radio show. I can't say that he's been to watch one, since he was in an obstructed view seat, but he's been to one; and, at 34 weeks, he could probably hear it about as well as we could. So that's something that, if he begs us to take him to, we can say, "You've already been to one."


Although we got to ride up to the place from the parking lot on the fun little motorized cart, what with Mama being at 34 weeks now, we did come prepared to hoof it in style.

Those are Mama's new sneaks, as the doctor ordered. Last time we were in, she mentioned this back pain--stabbing, lower right-hand side--that she started getting. Sounded to me like her sciatic nerve was getting irritated from the way she described it, but we don't pay for my medical opinion. He looked at her shoes--this is the mohel--and asked, "These are the shoes that you wear?"


"You have running shoes?"


"You need to wear them all the time from now on. The pain will go away in three. . .maybe four days."

"All the time?"

"All the time."

I could see the gears turning in Mama's mind. She's no Imelda Marcos, but she doesn't even like to wear her sneakers during her commute, even if they are more comfortable. And, to be fair, when the doc looked, she was wearing flat shoes that match her work clothes that she bought to wear until 3B's arrival, but the doc wanted her to have good shoes with strong support and nice cushioning. Turns out he was right; her pain is mostly gone.

As for me, I still wasn't sure how I would get Mama to wear sneaks all the time. Turns out her coworkers had me covered. After hearing Mama's account of the appointment, one of them declared herself Mama's "Sneaker Police." She will report any infractions to me. She and one other coworker also took Mama out to buy these fly numbers at a place up the street from their office. I told Mama to get two pairs of new ones--whatever keeps them on her feet--although I think she just got this pair. So far.

However, not all of us were busy with show watching and shoe buying. Some of us were busy like this
Good thing we keep the a/c running so he can lay in the sun to warm up.

Man, do I sound like a dad, or what?

There was also the long-awaited completion of our registry and purchase of some final essentials, like a going home outfit and a changing table. The changing table is actually the three-drawer Emsen dresser from IKEA, bolted to the wall, with a changing pad on top of it--also bolted to the wall, so we can use it elsewhere, if needed, after we're done with it as a changing table.

I've been wanting a dresser for a long time, and I'm sort of coveting the Emsen, but Mama gave me one of those, "No, you won't." looks when I called dibs on it--in advance, I admit--for when 3B goes to college. "He can take it with him, " she claimed. Already she takes his side.

Speaking of sniffing armpits and taking sides, how about tonight's softball game? I won't bore you with the details of all the bad or missed calls, or the ump's lack of knowledge of the league rules, it's what I did while all of that was resolved that was instructive.

As the game ended, our coach, who I'll call Iceman for reasons better left unexplained here, checked the rules that we were given at the beginning of the season, and showed the ump the passage that stated he had called the game an inning early. Perhaps the ump was already having a bad night, since the players from the other team had already told us aloud that the calls against us were wrong--to be fair, the other team was on the receiving end of some sketchy officiating themselves. Perhaps the ump took a bit of offense when Iceman offered his opinion that this was "bush league officiating." Perhaps that home run shot that our big man hit into the parking lot did hit the ump's car.

Who knows? What happened next is that the ump--rather than walking away--started coming after Iceman, who was giving at least as good as he got, verbally. I actually had Iceman up 15-12 on my card at the end of round three, especially given that he was right and the ump was wrong. Anyway, suddenly there we were, on the verge of a real confrontation.

There was no time to ponder, muse, or deliberate; everything was happening now. I stepped in front of Iceman, waved my arms nice and high, and shoved him back. Once he was back by the bench, I went over to the ump, who was still yelling at us, and got people away from him, and got him turned around so he was facing away and could walk away from us. Then, of course, my cube neighbor had gotten into a quiet, but heated, discussion with the scorekeeper from the other side, who wouldn't concede that the game was called early, in spite of agreeing with our interpretation of the rules. We waved around some shiny things to distract them, then split them up and got them going in opposite directions.

Walking away, there were players who congratulated Iceman for sticking up for the team, for going to bat for us. I wondered if I should have let him go. Maybe sometimes what is needed is a strong advocate. Maybe he and the ump would have realized that all the shouting wasn't getting us anywhere, and backed down to a discussion and an agreement to disagree--both were entrenched, so there wasn't much hope of a rapprochement. What purpose did I serve, interjecting myself like that? What kind of person does that? Am I that kind of person?

I don't normally see myself as a peacemaker, since I'm a bit of a hothead; that red beard's got some roots in my temperament. However, I know that I've always hated conflict, either that I'm involved in or that I'm witnessing. I'm not sure if that was in play tonight, or if I just thought that arguing with the ump, trying to convince him to restart the game while he pulled up the bases, was a waste of time.

It's all kind of a muddle. I'm still not sure what all happened or why. I'm not even sure what all I did in the midst of all that. But I am sure that two or three years ago I wouldn't have been asking myself what my reaction says about who I am. I am sure that even a year ago I wouldn't have been asking myself if I would want my son to see the way I behave, knowing that he would likely model it.

It's a good reminder of how much I've changed in a short time, and of how far I have to go. I wouldn't mind if 3B grows up to be a peacemaker, if that's what I was modeling tonight. On the other hand, he's not going to be much of a peacemaker if he talks to other drivers the way that his Papa does, so I've still got some work to do.

And that's a good lesson to learn--that I need to keep working on improving myself. Good enough that it's been worth learning several times throughout my life.

I'm sure that it's good enough to learn a few more times.


  1. Anonymous1:55 PM

    Damn! Who knew softball was a contact sport? I think you did te right thing, my friend. No need to let things escalate (unless, of course, there was some money or alcohol being wagered on the outcome of the game.)

    Excellent photo of Barky, by the way.

  2. Anonymous2:39 PM

    Is that the wolftrap, ahhh the King sang many a verse there.

    I would say let the boys fight it out. You tend to see alot of that from Akre Jernbeg and weiss when they were in Mo on a league team together. Ahhhhh good times.

  3. "Contact sport" is a deceptive description. My mom was always happy when I played soccer, a non-contact sport. That is, she was until I got a ball punted into my eye, knocking some holes in my retina. Then there was all the slide tackling. And that's all before I started playing goalie.

    As for letting the boys duke it out, King, from what the other MoBoys say, you were pretty good at riling folks up, but sometimes the follow through was left to the other MoBoys. Something about Tommy and a window, a staircase, a wall. . .something like that comes to mind. You're not saying the Kemp was lying to me about all those situations he had to help clean up, are you?

    That said, I was really protecting the ump more than anybody. He was a lot of mouth, but not much else. I don't think he would have lasted long if he came after our coach--and I don't seriously think that our coach would have gone after him, but he might have goaded the ump into a bad choice. A really bad choice. And nobody had the ump's back.

  4. DAAAAAMN that was a long post! Hey, I assume that's Mama's leg in that picture? You guys need to come out to the pool this weekend to get some sun!! :)

  5. Nice new pic, Banana. We were out by the pool over the weekend, where were you? We also caught a lot of sun at the show, since there was no shade up on the lawn. Mmm. Sun.

    We tried going last night, but we forgot that it's closed. We even blew up and took over our huge pool float that we're going to donate to the pool. Look for it this weekend.

    Yeah, it was a longer post than I had planned, but I was covering four days. Besides, I've lost my mind.