Lost in the wilderness… of soccer camp.

We are at the age with Frank where activities outside of the school year have become a thing. I’d be perfectly happy to let the kid just enjoy his summer running around outside, playing inside, going to the pool, etc… But Mrs Frank’s Place has other ideas. So soccer camp here we come.

Look man, I never did any of this stuff when I was a kid; no little league baseball, no pee wee football, and certainly no soccer. I forged my parents signature in high-school so I could be a pole vaulter on the track team. That means I am a fish out of water when it comes to dealing with stuff like this. But Mrs Frank’s Place put it on our (mine & Frank’s) schedule so off we go to soccer camp. A British soccer camp, run by British people. That becomes important for two good reasons later on.

There were two sessions for five year olds. He could go early at 9am or play later at 10:45. Later is always better. Except when it isn’t. Only one other five year old at the 10:45 session. They chucked that kid and Frank in with the 10-11yr olds for that day. I sat back, waiting for hilarity to ensue. And if it wasn’t for a meddling 11 yr old girl, who took Frank under her wing and basically chaperoned him the entire session, there would have been some good hi-jinx I think.

Anyone notice my first mistake/lesson. If you didn’t you’re not a soccer mom. I stayed for the session and watched. And I was the lone adult aside from the six coaches. 60+ kids and they were all dropped off. There may have been a parent or two in the parking lot. Hard to tell. But I started to feel a little helicopterish and thought I must not have enough to do in my day if I have an hour and a half to stand here watching the kid run around. I rectified that the next four days by bringing the running stroller and taking Anne Marie for a quick two mile hike around the “futbol” complex.

Coach Kate. She taught Frank a ton of futbol. I learned a bit too.

Coach Kate. She taught Frank a ton of futbol. I learned a bit too.

My second mistake of course was signing up for the late session. No way he can go the whole week playing with 10-11 year old kids. So the coach, Kate, comes up to me after the first day and says the following: “thith’r’ll be moo five er c’rky kids a te 9 o’clock sess. Best ring im then aye.” And that was a generous translation of what I heard. Of course I just stared at her, then said, “Sorry I got nothing.” She laughed and tried it again. I finally got it and we switched to the 9am session.

My second lesson – If the coach is from an english speaking country and you still can’t understand her, your kid is going to learn a lot about futbol, or soccer for you die hard Americans. And learn he did. He went from running around in the giant kid amoeba chasing the ball in AYSO soccer on Saturdays to actually understanding the game. It would take ten years of AYSO to match what Kate taught him in four days. He also learned how to put me on my ass. Literally.

The last day of camp we were a bit early and I was kicking the ball around in the wet grass with Frank. The friggen grass was always wet. Anyway, all of a sudden my son, who never kicked the ball once in AYSO soccer eight months prior, squats in some kind of futbol ready pose and dares me to try and stop him as he tries to get by me with the ball. Challenge accepted.

He went right, I took one step left. He quick like went back to his left and had the angle on me. I went hard two steps to my right. My last step was the last time I was upright. Both legs now in the air, above my head, I began to feel like this might end badly. It did. I managed to turn to my side and take the brunt of it with my shoulder and not land flat on my back. But I was soaked and muddy. It must have looked really bad because I was quickly aware of several parents standing over me saying things like, “Oh my god are you ok?!”

I also became keenly aware of a familiar sound. Laughter. It was coming from two places and both were related to me. Yes, it seems daddy flying upside down into the mud was the source of great joy for Frank and Anne Marie. Not a sole laughing out of 60 kids and 30 some odd parents except for the two who emanated from my loins. Yep it ended badly.

It was the grass! It was the grass!

It was the grass! It was the grass!

In my defense the damn grass was always wet. Also, and my neighbors can attest to this, the old spike-less golf shoes I knock around in have the treads of a slimy piece of baloney. Photo evidence to the left of the field conditions that led to my demise. Notice the only place where there is no grass on the entire complex of like 11inty billion acres of grass is where I went down like an oddly shaped sack of taters.

Anyway I picked myself up, refocused my eyes, which took longer than I had hoped, took AM by the hand and walked back to the van. As we get closer to the van I noticed the damn auto key thing-a-ma-jig ain’t working. I’m now right in front of the van, pointing the key fob right at the windshield and furiously pushing buttons and dog cussin and nothing is happeneing. It is then I notice a women staring back at me from the driver seat. “Well what the hell is she doing in my va…..” Oh….. Yeah, wrong van. Well they all look alike man.

Ok then. The only plus side of all this; it’s the last day of camp. There’s a good chance I won’t be seeing most of these people again. My vision was so blurred from the massive headache coming on I couldn’t see any of those people anyway.

Ah well, small price to pay so the little tyke could learn some futbol from people who can’t speak `Murican english and still refer to us as the Colonies.





Oh stomach virus, we hardly knew ye…

Been a little quiet around Frank’s Place for the last week. Well not really quiet, just not a lot of meaningful conversation going on. Unless you count the deals we’ve all been making with God. Aside from the painful noises associated with blowing yesterday’s breakfast all over the bathroom, deals with God were the next most frequent noise you would have heard this week at Frank’s Place HQ.

One of the best movie lines ever uttered, and most repeated by my brother, sums up our week nicely: “The raven of death has dropped a black feather at your door.” The black feather came in the form of a vicious stomach virus. The raven who delivered it came in the form of our 2yr old tornado.

Sharknado has nothing on this kid.

Sharknado has nothing on this kid.

<—–Yeah that’s her.

Happily on our way to Raleigh last Friday, I was alerted to a problem within the Starship Frankerprise when I felt something hitting the back of my seat. We were 20 minutes into our trip and our little Anne Marie was spray painting the front two rows of the van. The problem: she wasn’t holding a can of spray paint. Projectile with a capital P best describes the torrents of vomit coming out of our 2yr old. It was everywhere. Only Frank escaped the barrage. After three healthy blasts of the vomit cannon she ran out of steam. Time to make some decisions.

Continue on or turn around to possibly relaunch the next day? No way we can keep going. Back at the house the kid let loose again. In fact she barfed, puked, up chucked, hoarked, dry heaved and otherwise threw up for the next four hours. Other than when her little body was locked in vomitus expellius, she was fine. You would not know she was sick. The same could not be said for the two adults in the house.

Tracy was the voice of doom. “We’re going to get this.” Yeah I figured. Look, the only thing that frightens me more than looking out of a window in the dark is throwing up. So I was hoping against all hope that we, or at least I, would be spared. No luck.

By Friday night Tracy was giving back a weeks worth of meals. By Saturday night into the early Sunday hours I was giving back a very bad choice of pulled pork sandwich I had for lunch on Saturday. I took a different tact this time around. Instead of using my extensive Jedi mind power to hold off prayer time to the goddess porcelain, I decided to embrace the puke.

Looking at every vomit event as a little weight loss plan I felt it might go easier. It worked for the first few times. By the second round of dry heaves, I went from confidently standing over the hopper giving back lunch and trimming my waist to a crumpled mess on the floor hanging onto the crapper much harder than DiCaprio held on to that huge piece of wood when the Titanic went down. Dumb bastard. There was plenty of room on that thing for him and that english chick. No reason for him to float in the ice cold water….

I was so friggen exhausted, but there was no icy deep to absorb my body and relieve my misery. I had to go on, although at that moment not by choice. At one point I was convinced someone would burst through the door and kill me, taking away my pain, making everything alright. Not to be. Had to drag my ass back to the couch in the bonus room and live on. Covered in sweat, smelling like death, I lived on.

While I suffered in silence, the two kids were fine. Frank had yet to get sick and Anne Marie was already better. Tracy was having a harder time than me, laying in the master bathroom where she set up shop. It put us in a position never before experienced. We were both gravely ill while both our kids were fine.

I knew both kids were awake by 7am Sunday. Tracy managed a burst of energy, putting the cartoons on and making it back to bed. At some point morning became afternoon and Frank kept bringing me different food products to open. I was so weak I couldn’t get the granola bar open. He looked at me like I was a moron. I found the TV remote, took off the battery door and stabbed the corner of it into the granola bar. A rip in the package! Success! A quick chuckle and I triumphantly handed the treasure over to my 5yr old son who gave me one more moron look and disappeared into the hall.

As it turns out Frank was making lunch for his sister. A granola bar, apple sauce, saltines, a piece of wheat bread and apple juice. Quite the spartan menu, but at that moment had he feed her M&Ms and mint chocolate chip ice cream I would not have cared. Actually other than the granola bar everything else was perfect for a kid with a stomach bug.

I finally regained semi-conciousness Monday morning, nine pounds lighter for my troubles.

For all Frank’s troubles, his willingness to do what he could for his sister, taking some burden off of his parents, essentially baby sitting for an entire Sunday, he managed to escaped the … Nope, no he didn’t. Murse Frankingale started puking Sunday night into Monday morning. Worse, his kindergarten assessment was Tuesday morning. The kid is a trooper, he rallied late Monday and answered the bell Tuesday and did great. A post of that little experience is up coming.

It takes a village.

Or in this case a SAC, as in our cul-de-sac. We had no choice. No relief in sight and no help coming we had to put up the SAC Signal. The SAC responded. Within minutes there were relief supplies and dinner for the kids on the porch. It was a true life saver.

Rachel & John, Amber & Travis, Whitney & Mike, all came to our aid and pulled us through a pretty dark moment. Honorable mention to Becky & JB for volunteering to be added to the SAC Signal and putting themselves in harms way for next time. Kidding aside, it sounds silly but being so sick as to be immobile, unable to help your children, is a sad and sickening thought all on it’s own. Knowing we live on a street where people rush to help is a comforting feeling.

Thanks guys.