Friday, January 31, 2014

For the Love of the Game: It's Not Easy Being An Athletic Powerhouse

I'm not sure what made me think that, at 42 years old, I could don a pair of cleats and go whip my two boys in baseball. But, that's exactly what I thought. I even backed up the smack talk with a picture on Facebook of my cleats with the message "Bring it On!"

I'm not changing the subject or anything but did you know that there are different levels of calf muscle injuries?


You see, my competitive ju-ju was flowing as Jacob and I were in the lead 6-1 against Daniel and our golden retriever Cassie. Yes, I am bragging abut beating a dog in baseball but let's not get bogged down in the details. So, I step up to the plate, tap the mud off my cleats because that's what we ball players do. Then, in an oh-so-impressive display of athletic prowess, I swung the plastic yellow bat and connected with the tennis ball sending it sailing against the neighbor's fence -- which was clearly an in-field homer.

::insert slow motion sequence here. The fans leap to their feet. Daniel watches the ball soar over his head as I sling my bat to the side and take the first step of my victory lap around the bases (aka the frisbee, the cardboard box top and the lid to a skillet)::

And as I planted my left foot in the still-saturated-from-snow dirt, I pushed off and heard a POP! as a sharp pain shot through my left calf and I dropped to the ground. Yep, you guessed it. Pulled (hopefully not tore) the muscle in my left calf. The boys rushed to my side and in a touching display of compassion and concern exclaimed "does this mean we can't play anymore???" It was a Hallmark moment, really.

You know, when I first posted the smack-talking picture of my cleats on Facebook my pal Ed kindly responded with something about me being an awesome Mom. Then came the comment from my friend Debbie asking what time she needed to bring the Advil. I nearly died laughing as I called her with my leg elevated on a bag of frozen peas. It was no surprise to her that I had sustained a career-ending injury and she laughed with me at the prophetic nature of her comment.

Perhaps I should stick to the crafty stuff and remember with fondness the glory days of sending one over the fence, of rounding the bases as the crowds roared and my team poured out of the dugout to meet me at home plate. Of course, I'm guessing you can't remember things that never happened, huh?

What happened today was a 42-year old woman talked smack to her kids then injured herself and writhed around in the mud in pain before resting her leg on a bag of frozen veggies. If it wasn't so pathetic, I'd probably refrain from laughing. But I can't. And when I'm walking again in 7 or 8 months, I'm sure the call of the game will draw me back out there again.

What can I say? Once a pretend ball player, always a pretend
ball player...............

Monday, January 20, 2014

Shower Quest 2014: A Foaming Hand Soap, a Paper Towel and a Dream

This really was not supposed to be a difficult task. I am 42 years old and have showered independently for 30+ years. Why have a complete breakdown in my comprehension of the fundamentals now? Isn't it like riding a bike? Once you get the hang of it, it kinda sticks with you. You know, like old pieces of luggage or the lyrics to Hopelessly Devoted To You.  I overshared, didn't I? If your answer is "yes"... buckle up. You ain't seen nothin' yet.

The year was... oh heck, this happened today. TODAY. Even though we have a camper with a fully-outfitted bathroom, I was feeling a bit outnumbered by boys...a couple of whom were especially rambunctious and so I decided to journey up to the nearest bathhouse to shower, dress, do my make-up. The works. And, because we are some of the only idiots that decide to camp in the dead of winter, I felt certain I would have the place to myself (which I did.)

So off I drive to the bathhouse with the essentials in tow:  clothes, make-up/toiletry bag, hair dryer, brush. I'm all set. I walk into the expansive women's side and proceed to spread out my things secretly relishing the quiet. No echos of a handheld gaming device within earshot and I hadn't heard the word "poothead" in at least 10 minutes. I might as well have been a princess in my castle high on the hill.

But, princesses would most likely have some sort of staff member that would remind them that when showering one's body, one usually needs some sort of towel item with which to dry off one's body upon exiting said shower. But I didn't. And when did I realize this? Well, as soon as the water had gotten just the right temperature and I was naked as the day I was born. Now, if you must know, I agree with you. I should NOT have to have a servant to remind me that I need a towel when showering. But that is totally beside the point. Or not. But still.

So this is where you get to participate in my story. Like one of the cool books from when I was in my teens, you get to choose which path the main character should take at a crucial juncture in the story.

Choice A:  Character realized her oversight and, in a mature and preferably modest fashion, gets dressed, gathers her things and drives back to the camper where she runs in, grabs a towel and returns to the bathhouse to shower with a proper drying sequence afterwards.

Choice B:  Character realized her oversight and, because she is too lazy to get her things and drive back to the camper and she's already undressed and the water temp is JUST RIGHT OH YES IT IS, she wraps her jeans around herself (yeah that worked about as good as you're thinking it did) and runs like she's on fire across the bathhouse to the towel dispenser and, while trying to hold a pair of jeans around her with one hand, proceeds to dispense thin, campground-grade paper towels praying to the heavens that no one walks through the door. She then scurries back to the shower, drops the jeans, drapes the wad o' towels over the curtain (because that won't call attention to her lack of preparedness) and begins to step into the shower.

Well, which one did you choose? Clearly the correct answer for MY story was A. (insert wild, hysterical laughter here). If you are reading this blog because you have known me for at least five minutes then you picked B right off the bat.


You didn't think my oversight stopped at the towel, did you? Of COURSE not. Although clothes, and make-up and brushes and hairdryers (and even towels!) are important, a shower just really isn't serving its full purpose without....soap...or shampoo? Yes. I seriously drove to a bathhouse to take a shower and the ONLY two things I forgot were a towel and shampoo. I even amaze me sometimes.

So.... because the wrapped-in-jeans scenario was mildly stressful to say the least, I throw on my long shirt and dance across the cold tile to one of the hand soap dispensers and proceed to pump, pump, pump this MASSIVE heaping of FOAM into my hand. I raced back to my shower looking as if I was running with a tiny white dog or the top of a lemon icebox pie in my hand. I close the curtain and am forced to soap up my dry head of hair so I can successfully remove the clean shirt I was planning to wear without the result being a sleeve full of soap.

You know, there are days where I have wrangled a thousand people to ensure the success of a big event and there are days when I just have no idea what my name is. This must have been one of those days. But I must say, the paper towels did the job and my hair even seemed a bit bouncier than normal. Maybe I've stumbled onto something???

My friends will indeed declare this as a "Katie Story" because they claim these things only happen to me. Even so, I think next time I'll stick to the little bathroom in our camper where all the "essentials" are within grasp.

Wonder if that foaming hand soap is only sold in bulk???

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Sweet Memories: A Tribute to Di

My grandfather would have been 105 years old today.

That boggles my mind.

George Dewey Lightsey was my Mom's father and, even though I only had him in my life until I was 13, I remember him as the best grandad that ever was. The entire time I knew my Mom's folks, they lived in a 700 square foot house in Robertsdale, Alabama. I have written about their home before and how many of my most cherished childhood memories were made playing with Fisher Price people on the roots of the magnolia trees that shaded their little backyard.

Because I lost him as a young girl, the memories I do have of "Di" as I called him are not great in quantity; however, they are as rich and vibrant as if he were standing here today. He was a bit older than other grandfathers but was as playful as the boy next door when it came to my sister and me. Many a time as we ate spaghetti, he would "crank" a long strand of sauce-laden noodles into his mouth by spinning his fingers in a circular motion beside his head and making a loud slurping sound. Much to the chagrin of my prim and proper grandmother, the result was always a rim of sauce along his upper lip that he delighted in licking off as my sister and I giggled.

But what I remember the most about this man-- more than his garage filled with old license tags nailed to the wall and slightly eccentric collection of gourds suspended from the ceiling; more than his warm smile and twinkling eyes-- is the love he showed to my grandmother. Frances Lightsey was a dainty and utterly-proper lady with perfectly polished red fingernails and regularly-coiffed beautiful white hair. He treated her like a queen and doted on her with an adoration rare after so many years of marriage. Even sleeping in twin beds next to each other, they would fall asleep holding hands across the space separating them. After fifty-plus years of marriage, they were very much partners and very much in love. And, fittingly, I lost them both in my seventh-grade year proving that not even death could keep them apart for long.

Happy Birthday, Di. I miss you and would give anything for my own children to sit in your lap and giggle at your endearing goofiness. And although I have now gone thirty years without seeing you, I can close my eyes and you are there. Thank you for the happiness you imparted on my childhood. I lost you too soon but I sure was lucky to have you for a grandfather.

Sweet memories indeed.