Monday, September 28, 2015

This week (9/28/15)

. . .  just sucks. That's all.


Hockey & soccer practice.


Mike and I signed up to work the concession stand, not realizing that Brendan doesn't even actually  have a game that night!  Argh.  That means we need someone to take Bug to hockey.  Anyone?


More soccer practice.  More hockey practice.

Also, fall sports bonfire.


Soccer game - maybe?  The schedule says they're playing away at Copley at 5:15.  But they already played Copley a month ago, in a game that was supposed to have been cancelled.  The away team's bus rolled up halfway through the boys' practice, so they played it.  So is this a leftover game from when it was supposed to be rescheduled?  Or a duplicate game just to round out our schedule?  I have no idea.


Soccer practice.

Hockey game!

8:40-9:40 pm - Home vs. Rocky River.  Sweet moses.  So glad it's at home, but really?  A game that late for nine year-olds?  Honestly.


Bren might have a game against Findlay.  He also might not have a game against Findlay.  Who knows?  If it takes place (like one of the two calendars indicates), it will be at 11:00 am at home.


Nathan hockey - 10 am - vs. Geauga - Home.

Monday, September 21, 2015

It's a great day for hockey! 2015-2016 Preseason schedule.

Our little Gretzky is getting ready to start his second season of hockey this week!  They've been practicing since late summer, and tryouts were a couple of weeks ago.  This year he's moving up from the "Mite" division to the "Squirt" division.  Quote of the day: "For such an aggressive sport, I have no idea why they use names like 'mite' and 'squirt' to describe the age groups"  - Mike Bickis.

Mites skate on half-ice and play 2-minute shifts of four skaters and one goalie.  The game stops every 2 minutes and the entire line (except the goalie) leaves the ice, replaced by a whole new set of players.  It keeps things moving - nobody gets bored and starts taking off gear on the bench, and they don't get too tired.  For squirts, they move to full ice, which has been a huge transition.  I don't know how many kids are on the ice at one time, or how long their shifts last.  We're still so new to all of this!

At any rate, this week they scheduled a series of preseason games.  These don't count in the season statistics; they're designed to let the coaches and admins figure out which division to place the boys in.  The first game is this coming weekend!   

9/27/15 at 11:45 a.m.  - vs. North Olmsted - Away
10/2/15 at 8:40 p.m. - vs. Rocky River - Home
10/4/15 at 10:00 a.m. - vs. Geauga - Home
10/17/15 at 11:45 a.m. - vs. North Olmsted - Away (we're not playing this game)
10/18/15 at 10:10 a.m. - vs. Winterhurst - Home (don't think we're playing this one, either)
10/24/15 at 4:00 p.m. - vs. Fremont - Away (this is way out yonder toward Toledo/Sandusky. Ugh)

Come if you can. 

I think I'm being Gaslighted by my own kid.

Over the weekend, I asked Nate to do some research on hermit crabs to see if it needed some fresh food to supplement the dry food we bought.  He did, and we found out lots of fascinating things about hermit crabs, a.k.a. "you're doing it wrong."

According to random folks on the internet, they enjoy green vegetables like kale and broccoli, as we  as fruits, including bananas, mangoes, peaches and apples.  Some observations:

1) Oh good, there's another foodie in my house.
2) How, exactly did they figure that out?

Our old parrot used to scream her head off if anyone dared to make popcorn and not share with her, so I guess I should be careful into whose glass cage I throw stones on this subject, but who woke up one morning and decided to give a hermit crab kale?  I can get on board with mangoes and bananas.  They grow in tropical places where you're likely to find a hermit crab.  But did someone take their crab with them to the produce section, give it a $5 bill and let it go crazy on the apple bin?  Weird.

As it turns out, you're also apparently supposed to provide them with fresh water and salt water.  And don't think you can get away with just dissolving some regular salt into that water.  Nope.  It needs to be a special marine salt mixture.  Nate helpfully found a 2lb. bag of it online, which would probably be a lifetime supply for an entire army of hermit crabs (which, let's be clear, I'm not interested in owning). Instead, we went to the pet store and found some already mixed up!  It's the size, shape, and color of an ordinary disposable water bottle, so we were sure to warn the kids when we got home that it was just for Hermes (which is what we've been calling the crab for months).  Nate threw a look of confusion mixed with pity for being so incomprehensibly stupid over his shoulder and said "What did you call him?  His name is Hercules."  That's . . . news to me.

Here, Hercules, have some kale.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

This week (9/18/15)

No soccer this weekend.  Just one game, on:

Tuesday, September 22 - 5:15 p.m. - vs. Green (at home)

We get to see the Gangs!!!  So excited.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Guess what?  Wednesday's game vs. Hoover is back on.  5:00 pm., at home.  Be there or be square.

No soccer wednesday 9/16/15

It appears that the Hoover game will be in October.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

This week (9/11/15)

This week, there will be soccer games on:

Saturday, September 12, 2015 -  3:00 p.m. - away at Walsh Jesuit.  Not sure of the exact street address, but it looks like the fields are behind the Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, off of Wyoga Lake Rd. in Cuyahoga Falls.  The street address for the school itself is 4550 Wyoga Lake Rd., Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44224.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 5:15 p.m. - home vs. Hoover. This game is on one calendar, but not the other two, so . . . use caution?  I have no idea.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The funds, they are a-raisin'

A couple of weeks ago a viral photo of a PTA fundraising form was making the rounds of Facebook:

(photo courtesy of Dee Heinz)

Apparently it touched a nerve because the woman who posted it, Dee Heinz, suddenly found herself the focus of interest from hundreds of thousands of fellow parents, and from outlets like CNN and Good Morning America.

That it did was no real surprise.  As soon as the children go back to school, form-filling-in season is quickly replaced by fundraising season.  Within the first week or so, the fundraisers start pouring in: Cookie dough! Yankee Candles! Not-to-scale casserole dishes which look like they're made for a lasagna but are actually made for a meatloaf!  Wrapping Paper!  Chocolate and candy! It seems like every week they send home a different plea for kids to shill crap you don't need.  Now, Heinz has made it abundantly clear in interviews (and to me, personally), that she is not anti-fundraiser.  I agree.  Our PTO is amazing.  They do wonderful things for our school.  Just in the past few years they have installed new playground equipment, renovated our gym, and provided all of the teachers with smart-board technology in their classrooms!  Those are all GREAT things for our kids that the school district was unable (or unwilling) to provide.

What I don't like are the manipulative tactics that some of the fundraising companies use to get kids to buy in to them.  If you don't pester your grandma to buy an overpriced ceramic bowl, you won't get the little plastic charm to hang on your necklace like all of your other friends!  If you don't sell $300 worth of wrapping paper you don't get to attend the pizza party! The other thing that galls me about those fundraisers are the incredibly tiny profit margins for the schools.  They're pimping out their students for a couple hundred dollars.  I think if they sent out a simple request to the parents for cash donations in lieu of all of the nonsense, they could easily get as much, if not more.  I do feel for the parents who aren't in a financial position to do that.  Their kids should have an opportunity to help the school, too, and the sales make that (in theory) possible.

Apart from the pimp factor, for us, the school fundraisers aren't the only ones we have to worry about.  A couple of days ago, Brendan came home from a boy scout meeting and told me that if he sold $2,500 worth of popcorn, he could get a ~$200 electronic gadget.  Oh, yeah?  Sounds like a great deal.  Sign me up!  Nate, as a cub scout, is also expected to sell popcorn.  For many years now, we've reached an accommodation similar to the one proposed in the above photo.  The boys will do the storefront sales (I'm sure you've seen them - arm wrestling the girl scouts selling overpriced cookies for space at the front of Lowe's or Giant Eagle, or Walmart), and we make an outright donation to the troop for an amount that we think is about the profit margin that they would've received if we allowed the boys to harass neighbors, grandparents, and our coworkers.  I suppose it defeats the purpose of teaching them salesmanship, but it's just how it works in our house.

Because it's not just school fundraisers and boy scout popcorn.  Oh, nooooooooooooo.  So far this year, there have been at least three fundraisers for Bren's high school soccer team.  Last year there were at least four fundraisers for Nate's hockey team.  Lacrosse, so far, seems to be blissfully fundraiser-free, but I imagine that will change in the near future.

There are a couple that we will participate in.  In the winter, one of them (hockey, maybe?) sells some pretty holiday wreaths and poinsettias.  The prices aren't bad, and we'd probably be buying them anyway, so the organization gets the benefit of our laziness.  Likewise, every spring the Boy Scout Troop sells flowers (like, the planting kind, not the vase kind).  They're beautiful, very high quality, and an extremely reasonable price.  We'd buy them at that price or higher from Lowe's anyway, so there's no real downside.  Our boys have very generous friends and family, and we try very hard to avoid hitting them up for money every time we see them.  We do occasionally pass along one or two of the things that we think are reasonable, or that people might legitimately be interested in.  So if you find yourself hungry for some chocolate covered popcorn, you can feel free to come buy it from them at Giant Eagle in a couple of weeks, but we won't be twisting any arms.

In the meantime, here's a solution I think we can all get behind:

Friday, September 4, 2015

This week (9/5/15)


No games over labor day weekend (that we know of, anyway).

Thursday, September 10- Home vs. Hudson -  5:15 p.m.

Saturday, September 12 - away vs. Walsh Jesuit - 3:00 p.m.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Roadkill Stew

So, this morning was special.  The entire house was woken up at 4am by an alarm that Brendan set for (presumably nefarious) purposes yet to be determined.  Nate went back to sleep, but I'm pretty sure he was the only one.  After I finally accepted that there was no time machine available to give us back all of the sleep that we lost, and that getting ready for work was both necessary and inevitable, I got up and got dressed.

I woke Nate up shortly before I left because last night he asked to get up early because he had a Very Important episode of Chima to watch before school.  As I puttered around the kitchen making my breakfast we chatted about the little family of bunnies who have taken up residence in our backyard.  He told me all about the mama and the daddy and the littlest one who likes to hang out by the pine tree which doubles as his clubhouse.  He laughed when I told him that every time I let the dogs out I open the door first and yell and waive my arms to give the bunnies fair notice to vacate the premises.

As I was pouring myself a drink, I heard the familiar rumble of the garbage truck rolling through the neighborhood and realized that nobody had taken the garbage out.  I panicked and raced out to the front porch, where I saw it head the opposite direction from our house.  Knowing that that would buy me some time, I opened the garage door and frantically started dragging bags to the curb.  As soon as I took the first load down, I saw a small, still lump with a snowy white tail laying in the roadway, right in front of our yard.  I instantly knew that this would work out in one of two ways, neither of them good.  Either the dogs would find its tiny little corpse so irresistible that they would barge through the electric fence and claim their prize, or it would be in Nate's direct line of sight as he left for school in the morning and he would be devastated.  So I grabbed the pooper scooper and used it to pick up its stiff* little lifeless body and carry it over to the trash can.  Nearly there, the spring in the scoop designed for picking up dog waste and not Peter Rabbit gave out, and it fell to the road with a dull thud.  I took a deep breath, picked it back up, and dropped it in the can.

I left the lid open because I intended to get another bag to put on top so that it would be hidden from view after I went in the house and washed my hands.  But then I forgot about that, and drove off to work with the trash can standing open, bunny in full view. Sorry garbage guys. I guess that's payback for the time that you wouldn't take our trash because it was in the grass next to the driveway instead of on the pavement.

*So, SO grateful it was stiff.  Had visions of it being not quite dead and then having to figure out what exactly to do about that.