Somewhere between the garage door and the actual car, that is the portal to this nirvana of lost time. I have been there many, many times. However, I cannot describe to you what is in this place, what creatures may inhabit it, what fauna may cultivate there. I do not know that I am there when I pass through the portal. I just, kind of, come out the other side, unaware that I have taken a voyage beyond my own reality.
I do not know if it is malevolent. I do not know if its intentions with me or my family are pure. Have I been probed in an anal style? I do not know for I do not remember anything when I return from there. And it is odd, because for the longest time I had no idea that I had visited this place.
My discovery came quite by accident. It was time to leave on an outing. Probably something awesome because that is how we roll. You lay people may leave to do chores, perhaps to catch a movie. When I leave my house, it is to conquer, adventure, to slay boredom with a mighty season pass to the zoo. No, when I adventure with my kids, we may end up at the store, or some giant steam shovel that stretches to the sky. Well, unless Hossmom is with us. Then we have to do practical things like underwear shopping or getting haircuts. Then it's pretty boring.
I told my kids, and unknown to me, uttered the magic phrase "Kids, get in the car." The time was 9:28 am. A bit of a late start for us but that's ok, we had bacon AND sausage for breakfast. Even our mealtimes are awesome.
I pack Bacon Hoss in his car seat, I help Bubba Hoss with his shoes, I dodge Chinese throwing stars chucked by Little Hoss at my head. We go through the garage door, I think we did anyway. We go to the family Van of Vengeance and Destruction. I put everyone in, we buckle up, we turn on the car. I look at my clock.
The clock reads 9:43.
This cannot be right? This bothers me. I have lost 15 minutes and I do not know how. Surely it does not take my little pack of minions 15 minutes to get in the god damn car. Seriously, who takes 15 minutes to get into the car which is only a grand total of 10 steps away? I dismiss this, perhaps I read the clock wrong. We go slay some monsters, solve some mysteries, eat some scooby snacks.
We head out again on the weekend. Soccer games. 8:32AM. I say "Kids, get in the car." We get in the car. The clock reads 8:47am. This is when I knew that this wasn't coincidence. This is when I began to suspect that there is some parallel dimension that exists between my car and my garage door.
For the next several weeks, I watched the clocks when we left. Almost always 15 minutes had disappeared from each morning outing. Sure, sometimes it was 12 minutes, sometimes it was a bit longer at 19 minutes.
I could not account for the lost time. I thought perhaps my clocks were wrong so I made sure to set them to the same exact time. The next day we lost 14 minutes. I thought that perhaps I was having blackouts and running through the streets for 15 minutes every morning covered in peanut butter. I checked the peanut butter--jar still full.
I ran experiments. I told my wife to get in the car to go to the store. We lost no time, it took us less than 30 seconds to get in the car. The clocks showed no lost time. I went to see a movie by myself and uttered the phrase "Hoss, get in the car."
5 seconds elapsed, not 15 minutes.
So the next day I said "Kids, get in the car." Boom, 15 minutes missing.
There was only one rational explanation: a sinister dimension, living next to my own, that survives by sucking away 15 minutes of my life force every time I make the kids get in the car.
Now, I know that the unbelievers, the ones without any faith or humanity, would come up with something more simple than my explanation. They would point out that my older son never seems to ever put his shoes in his shoe basket and must look for them for an hour. At which point he will give up and say he can't find them. At which time I would point to the fact that he is literally standing on them and how in Gods holy fuck can he not notice that when I told him to get his shoes on 15 minutes ago.
They may also say that Little Hoss must constantly ask questions about imaginary things and demand answers to. Such as how long can dragon warts live, what is a dragon wart, where do I get dragon warts, a kid at school told me about dragon warts, he's a dragon wart, can I have a snack? This barrage of questions can go on for 15 minutes and I'll be honest, I'm not sure how to answer them so I make shit up. Dragon Warts can live for eleventeen years, they are warts that live on the butts of dragons but are conscious of their existence, you get dragon warts from dragon toads, yes the kid at school is a dragon wart and no, you cannot have a snack you just had breakfast of bacon and sausage. I find life is way more fun this way.
And surely, Bacon Hoss may contribute. He may, say every fucking morning, get his diaper changed right before we are going to leave. I may put a new one on him, get him dressed and set him on the ground. I may then on occasion look at him, say every morning, and watch his face go red, his breathing get short and raspy while spittle comes out his mouth as he makes a series of short grunting noises that lets me know he has just taken a massive dump right before we were fixing to leave and right after I changed his diaper.
Those are all very possible explanations as to why I lose 15 minutes telling the kids to get in the car. But there is one hole in that logic: it is not awesome.
It is boring, it is mundane. It is the life of normals, of muggles who go underwear shopping and go 10 miles out of their way because they have a $1 off coupon at the underwear store. It is ordinary without any plot, subplot, villain, hero or even so much as a preamble. It is the story of "Hey, the kids are dicking around this morning, we are running late. Let's get some Starbucks on the way, kisses, smooch."
That is not our life. Our life is filled with wonder, with adventures, of glories that are wrestled from the mouth of the mundane. Ours is filled with kids who talk about dragon warts and the case of strange and interesting invisible shoes. The Hossman life is filled with a super baby that must expel evil prior to combating the new challenges of the day.
Our life is filled with some mystical dimension that lays somewhere between the garage door an my car, some strange and mysterious place that saps me of 15 minutes of life every time I tell the kids to get into the car and then magically erases the horrors of it from my mind. That is our life.
Our life is filled with monsters that must be slain, quests that must be taken. Our life is about over coming impossible challenges, to see an obstacle, conquering it, destroying the bad guy while eating bacon AND sausage for breakfast.
That is our life because that life, the one that we choose to live in, is way more interesting and fun.
No, what truly lets you know that you've reached adult hood and that you are truly mature, so mature that you can actually tell the difference between knowledge and wisdom, is the things that you actually get excited about now versus when you were younger.
As a kid I would get up at 3 am to play a new video game just so I wouldn't have to share with my brother. I would be beside myself when it was pizza day at school. I couldn't sleep at night when I knew that tomorrow we were going to build that bitching ramp and jump that awesome ditch and that girls would be watching and they would think that I'm cool and would want to touch me places although I had no idea where those places were and why I would desire it so.
Those are all moments of true excitement that you lose when you get older. You find yourself thinking, eh, I don't care what games are out now, stupid kids and their next gen systems. You think that pizza is going to give you heart burn and the first thing you put on your grocery list is antacid. And never in a million years would you ever jump that ditch again because you ended up getting hurt and if you got hurt now it would be a good month before you were back to normal because you have the ankles of a field mouse and there is no way that fucker heals fast without 25 trips to the doctors office and some old man calisthenics done in tighty whities. Although, getting touched by a chick is still pretty awesome.
As you age you lose that joyous wonder at the simple things and you can mark your maturity by what does excite you now.
I'm beside myself with joy when Bacon Hoss sleeps through the night and doesn't wake up before 6am. This has become my pizza day. Sometimes the stupid fat dog goes into his room and jumps up on the spare bed we have in there. She is so happy in her ignorant stupid dog head to be on her own bed that her stupid ignorant dog tail whacks the stupid bed post in a loud "thunk, thunk, thunk" sound. This wakes the baby. The baby wakes mom. Mom wakes Dad. Dad passes gas and spends the next hour trying to convince the child that sleep is a fucking great thing, much greater than any pizza he will have in any school that he will attend. The child does not believe me so I usually resort to threats such as "I'm leaving your mother unless you go to sleep" or "I will eat all the cheerios and not give you any unless you go to bed." As you might expect, he does not listen to me because at 8 months old he does not use logic. He only screams. And when I make it through a night without the ninja dog defeating every barrier I have put up to block her fat but from getting in there, I am beside myself with joy.
You can tell in the morning my mood by the breakfast I make. Cold toast with a side of coffee for the two older kids, Bacon was up at 3 am and didn't go down again until 4. Pancakes for everyone, sweet sweet sleep.
When I spend the day cleaning the house, it is a shot to my sanity when the kids get home from school in the late afternoon. For a short period of time, my floors were clean. There were no crushed grapes on it. My bathroom did not exhibit the unmistakable marksmanship of a fiver year old and his penis. Bubba Hoss is not allowed to speak to anyone while taking a leak because he has the bad habit of turning his body and looking at the person while he is peeing. As I do find this creepy at times, I know that it is because he has the attention span of a squirrel on red bull. He literally forgets that he is holding his junk and that urine is coming out of it. "Bubba!" I'll yell at him which makes him jump which makes his aim go high and that's why I've cleaned off pee stains on the top of the toilet from a little man that can barely see over it. But sometimes they come home and they don't destroy the house that I spent 5 hours cleaning like they are Katrina. Sometimes, and it's not often, they actually put away their toys, do not throw food on the floor, remember to put up their towels, and don't step on the dog with their soccer cleats so she pee's on the floor. Mind you, that didn't happen today. I cleaned all day and Hossmom came home and promptly stepped in a pee puddle right in front of the front door. That's what she noticed and I can't blame her, heels are not that grippy. But when everything goes right, it's like Christmas morning.
Hossmom has recently changed jobs. Her old job had insurance that frankly, sucked donkey balls. The premiums where high, the deductible was high, no co pays, medications at full cost until the deductible was met and we had to give locks of hair from each of our children to little leprechauns who wanted me to guess their names. But Hossmom has a new job now and we have a low premiums, much lower than before. And the deductible is a god damn joke, I spend that much on bandages in a year already (we get hurt alot around here). We have copays, medication is covered, vision is covered, sweet Jesus in the morning our dental is covered at no additional cost. Now, I'm not going to get political here, but having crap insurance to having good insurance is an amazing fucking thing. It's awesome. It's Christmas morning and your birthday all in two low monthly payments. This is what gets me excited now, this is the sign of maturity that I was waiting for. The difference between good health insurance and crappy health insurance. Ours is all employer based of course so there isn't much of a choice. You take a job, you take the insurance, you live with it. But to have one that won't constantly be trying to get me to name my first born to "Aflac" is enough to make me take Hossmom out for a steak dinner and seeing if, after 3 kids, I can convince her to touch me in those unknown places.
Hell, if she wants me to get the old bike out and jump that ditch I've got no problem with that.
The house isn't going to clean itself and you can bet your ass Hossmom won't help. She'll pretend to help but honestly, she just makes it worse. She knows how to do it and when she does it, it's actually pretty good. What she doesn't know how to do though is to clean house with 3 kids trailing you. Sunday her job was to do laundry. She was able to wash a sock.
But that's ok, this is my wheelhouse, I've been doing this for 5 years. What she is missing is the hardcore music. She'll have some Celine Deon blaring but that just makes matters worse. Nope, you need something better.
A little Black Sabbath is how I always start. A little N.I.B. or perhaps War Pigs. Yup, that does it. Now the juices are flowing and I can get those floors cleaned because Bacon Hoss is now mobile. Bacon learned to crawl a couple of weeks ago and now he pretty much follows me around the house like a dog. Which is good because I'm supposed to be watching him. From watching him I have noticed that he likes to eat paper and poop himself. Not much gong on there but I appreciate the company.
After Sabbath finishes up, we get a little SpaceLord, followed by Blur, NIN and Taylor Swift.
I can really vacuum well to some Blur and Taylor.
Fuck. Wait, no Taylor. Just a mistake on that one as we push the fast forward button on our ITunes.
This is what you need to know about being married with 3 kids, one of whom is a 7 year old girl with a mother that loves the show tunes and sing alongs. Eventually, you will all just have the same ITunes account. And then it will all download on your phone. That's cool, no problem. I like to see what my wife listens to and what she allows my daughter listen to. It's no Metallica mind you, but it's wholesome music. A bit sappy for my tastes, a bit teen angst without the rightous anger, but it's ok. She can sing about Romeo and Juliet with Mom, coolio. Sure, I could make my own playlists but that would require quiet and 10 minutes of piece. This is something I do not have. During the day we adventure, during the night I referee and spend 3 hours doing bedtime for everyone because they need a drink of water, or to be tucked in, or to check a closet, complete a last minute school assignment, snuggle the baby, get more water, the toilets clogged, let's talk about our day and Oh look, Hossmom found a spider and is now hiding in her car.
My point is, it can get a bit busy. I am writing this at 11:30 at night.
I quickly change the Taylor Swift and her broken heart. I have to go past Aqua and their smash hit "Barbie Girl" and I die a bit inside. I end up on Rage Against the Machine. Yup, this will do it.
I am the father to two sons, Bubba Hoss and Bacon Hoss. It is up to me to show them the ropes, to introduce new challenges to them and to show them the difference between emotion filled classics by Motley Crew and shield them from the travesty that is "The Cup Song" which my daughter and every other 7 year old currently loves.
Rage can get to me, I like the anger, the anti-establishment of some of their stuff. I don't know why as I have always been pretty much the definition of a rule follower. Maybe it's the freedom that I can feel through the lyrics, even though I'll admit I can't understand half of them.
"Empty ya pockets son; they got you thinkin that
What ya need is what they sellin
Make you think that buyin is rebellin"
That gets me in the mood to start punching stuff. And when they continue
" 'Cause, baby, you're a firework
Come on, show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y"
That right there gets the blood flowing. Crapola, wait, that's not rage. Sorry, a little Katie Perry snuck herself right in there didn't she? At least the song is uplifting, which is good for my daughter. I'm a 38 year old man trying to clean house and then go build something out of wood. I need mood music of my generation, something with a good video with it. Nirvana, there ya go. A little teen spirit was the anthem of my last year of highschool. We all wore black boots and flannel in the Texas heat. Fuck we were cool. And in the video when they had the goth cheerleaders, hot. And it means something although none of us knew the lyrics with Senior Mushmouth but we didn't have to damit! We just assumed it was about oppressing the suburban kids with high school letter jackets and how we needed to keep a poker face because when it's love , if it's not rough then it's not fun. God damint, Lady Gaga.
See, this is what shows up on my Itunes. It's hard to get myself motivated when I've got The Offspring one minute and then Julie Andrews belting out the Lonely Goatherder the next minute. And don't get me wrong, The Phantom of the Opera is a great set play list and I'm glad my wife and daughter enjoy singing together on it, but would it kill you to throw a little Primus in there? My Name Is Mud is so under rated. I feel my daughter should know this.
And let's be honest, I can't get my clean on while Katie Perry roars at a tiger which makes no god damn sense. You know what makes sense? Tool. That makes sense. Those weird ass video's of little wooden puppets walking around some Hellraiser world. That spoke to me in my pseudo "I've got problems" early college years.
So I put on Tool and I angerly scour the toilet. That's some toilet scrubbing music if there ever was any. With all of us in the house, our toilets get a work out. And it's my job to make sure they are tip top shape. Tool is what is needed, Tool is what I get.
Then La Seine comes on.
This is the French version, perhaps you have heard of it. It's from a movie called Monsters in Paris. My daughter loves the movie and the song. So I found it for her. I couldn't find the English version but no matter, we sing it in French.
That's right, I rock right along beside her. I have no fucking clue what I'm singing but damnit if I don't sing it at the top of my lungs. I don't even know what La Seine means, what it refers to but it's a good song. The only thing I"m missing right now is my daughters voice right along side of mine. Then Bubba Hoss can do a little funny dance that always ends with me tackling everyone and playing tickle monster until we are crying. Bacon will struggle over and want to get into the action as well so I just throw him on top of the pile and it's a French beat down.
I get the bathroom done then I put on "The Cup Song" video. I'm going to learn it and teach it to them when they get home from school.
Bacon Hoss continues to eat paper in a very grunge way. I am happy.
Not tired of life, not tired of anyone and not tired of what I do. I mean I was just physically exhausted. I was tired as in, ya know, really tired. I should have gone to bed but I was refusing to. It was 9:30 and I had just gotten my very own free time. Normally, I don't pull so many late nights before actually getting to sit down, but on occasion it does happen.
After the kids got home from school, we had to have a wrestle, all three of us. Why? Because those little bastards need to know who's in charge. One day they will be able to over throw my rule, slip poison into my mead or perhaps convince a jilted lover to seek out vengeance. But that is not this day. They need to remember that I can throw them through the air as needed. When they land on the couch they need to remember how strong Dad is because when I grow weak and old, they shall destroy me. It will be our final battle.
That and it's just fun to wrestle with the kids.
Before to long, it was time to go to soccer practice. I help coach Bubba Hoss's team and by "help" I mean I mostly just yell at a lot of 5 year olds. I know nothing about soccer but I can organize men into lines. That I can do. Ask me soccer strategy, I got nothing. Ask me to set up cones and then yell at kids to go in and out of those cones, I'm your man. Don't ask me why they are going in and out of those cones, I wouldn't know, that's beyond my area of expertise. I just know that is what they are supposed to do. Bacon Hoss was with me and Hossmom was not, she was working late. When she works late, I work late. Solo parenting at night sucks balls, I do not enjoy it. After a full day of them and being the awesome that I am, I do get tired. Bacon didn't want to sit with the other parents on the sideline so he helped me coach a bit. And I will give my team credit, they hardly tried to hit him with the soccer ball, a big accomplishment for boys that age. It's either that or they have truly horrible aim, which could also be the case.
After soccer comes dinner. I'll admit it, I was to tired to cook. It was late and I didn't feel like it knowing that I had a full night ahead of me. But while we were getting our fast food completely unhealthy meal, Bacon Hoss decided that he was hungry too. He let me know this by screaming the entire way home. We did make it home and I only had to swerve once trying to get him to be quiet. At Dinner I played a very fun game with Bacon Hoss called "Feed me, I don't want it." This is where he screams until he has a spoon in front of his face with some sort of mush on it. The minute I go in for the delivery he decides to get distracted by something, like a dog that he has seen all day, every day, for his entire life. Instead of the food going in his mouth, it pops him in the cheek and smears. He realizes he has bested me yet again and begins screaming signifying round 2.
After dinner was bedtime, which wasn't actually to bad. Little Hoss and Bubba Hoss only fought and ignored me 10 times before I lost my shit and threatened to sell them each to the next solicitor that comes to my door. We read books and usually Bacon Hoss, all of 7 months, usually loves this part. Tonight, not so much. He hated reading so much that he made several attempts to throw himself off the bed to get away and only my cat like reflexes saved his neck. He owes me. He repaid me by not wanting to go to sleep.
So when 9:15 rolled around, when everyone was finally in their beds asleep and no one needed a glass of water or to tell me a story of what the squirrel did today at the playground, I was tired. I was tired and looking forward to watching my football game that I had been recording. Hossmom finally got home and landed on the couch. I grunted at her to show her how much I loved her being home.
I did not see the phone sailing in the air at me. I should have. An alert Hoss would have. Hell, even a younger me would have. But I was tired and my gaze was fixed on the little people in red and white chasing eachother around the screen.
The cellphone sailed up, reached an apex at about 32,000 feet and started it's descent reminiscent of a meteor breaking the atmosphere. When it landed, it chose to hit me in the balls. The right ball specifically. And to give my wife and her phone truly all the credit, it came down on my ballsack directly on the corner of the phone like some evil wizard had cast a spell to guide it . It, um, hurt.
You wouldn't think it would hurt that bad but every guy reading this knows that when you get hit square, velocity really doesn't have much to do with the amount of pain. There's a sweet spot to nut hitting and her aim had been true.
The breath rushed out of me along with some spittle. I slid out of the chair holding my injured baby makers and got to my knees, the universal sign of "ball injury." I gasped and coughed and tried to sing a lullaby to myself until the pain went away. After a good 10 minutes, and with my face red, I looked up at Hossmom who was also doubled up, only with laughter and not testicle pain.
"What the hell man!" I asked her.
"I wanted you to look at something I was reading." she said in between snorts. Then she went back to laughing. I was hoping that it was something important to cause me such severe pain. If we hadn't already had 3 kids I would be doubting my ability to make any more.
"You could at least say sorry, damnit." I told her. I'll admit, I was a little pissed, even though it was an accident. Apparently she told me to "catch" and didn't get the nod from me to go ahead and throw the phone. She just assumed I had heard her and perhaps I would have if I wasn't in a coma like state looking at the TV.
"I did say I was sorry" she said. I called bullshit. "When!?"
"When you were moaning on the ground."
Ah, fantastic. It seems to me that any apology is not very sincere when the recipient cannot hear it in the first place through moans of agony and chortles of laughter.
I grabbed the phone and looked at the article. It was 10 Halloween costumes that should have never been made. That is what caused my pain, that's the article. At least make it something like a cat meme or a naked picture. Then perhaps it would have been worth it.
I gave Hossmom the remote. I'm done today. Tomorrow I wake up in full on battle gear.
"I'm telling you, the Chiefs defense is a surprise this year. Look at their fantasy score over the last several weeks. My defense sucks balls."
"I know my defense was ranked pretty decently but that was before the season. They haven't done crap. I'm picking them up." I say as I continue my rant.
"I won the championship last year, I have been playing for 20 years. I've got way more experience than you. I'm picking them up so be quiet and how about a little support?" I don't like being questioned, especially in my own house.
"There, it's done. I'm golden. Championship here I come."
"Excuse me?" I'm a bit shocked by his response.
"Dude, to far man, to far."
It's difficult to debate someone when they lose and then get all personal.
"Look, I'm not fat. I'm just a little chubby. No reason to go ahead and try to shame me just because I think the Chiefs are a better defense. Go suck an egg." Not my best comeback, but to be honest I was a bit hurt. I mean, ouch man, ouch.
"I've got responsibilities, something you would know nothing about. I run this entire household man, I've got kids to get to school, I've got sports teams to coach, errands to run. Things get busy brother. I'm going to work out, just as soon as things calm down."
It just got worse from there.
"I am not neglecting myself, I'll get to it." He looks down at my finger, the tip is a bit sore.
"Ok, fine, my finger may be infected. It happens."
"Yes it hurts, I'll go to the doctor next month, lay off me." How did I get to the point where I have to defend myself? "Hossmom just started a new job and our health insurance doesn't kick in for 30 days. I'll go to the doctor then."
"Ow, stop hitting it. That hurts man. And no, I don't want to talk about Obamacare. You've already got me riled up."
"Look dude, that's to far. I am not neglecting my wife like I am neglecting myself. I love everything that she is. She is the moon and the stars so shut up. She knows I love her."
"I know we haven't been on a date in a while. But we got all these rug rats running around and the new job. She works late and has a lot going on. We haven't had time to go out right now. Things will settle down, maybe after all the birthdays are done."
"Where you going? Come back here, we are still talking about this. You can't just make statements like that and walk away. Man up." I walk over to him.
"Ow! What the hell man?! There was no reason to hit me. You got me right in the nose. Totally uncalled for. Seriously, just because you are mad that I picked up the defense that you didn't want there is no reason to go into all this other stuff and then punch me in the nose."
"Look, I think we are just getting on eachothers nerves today. Let's just take a break and start over. Fine?"
"Fine! Go ahead and crawl away. See if I care." I sat there pouting for a good 5 minutes before shaking myself out of it.
This is the real conversation that I had with my 7 month old boy.
I think I need to get out of the house a little more often, the crazies are setting in.
For 6 weeks we have taken 4 to 5 year olds and taught them the sacred game that is baseball. We started easy. This is a baseball field. This is a baseball. That is dirt. Sometimes you can eat the dirt but you never eat the baseball.
After this important lesson the kids quickly scattered to the four corners of the field. Not because we told them to but because this is what 5 year olds do when they are bored. Rule number 1 of coaching tball: never stop moving. Want a good workout? Coach tball. Crossfit is for pussies.
That was our first practice, so long ago. We spent 10 minutes explaining rules, 45 minutes of chasing kids away from a drainage ditch near our practice field and a good 5 minutes just wandering what the hell we had gotten ourselves into.
But this is baseball and if you pray to the baseball gods, they will provide. And provided they have.
6 weeks later we find ourselves in an actual game, in the middle of our season. And oddly, my voice isn't hoarse. It's not hurting, it's not strained. It's a curious feeling. I am not having to yell over the roar of the wind for a kid to stop climbing the dug out fence. I'm not having to remind anyone that we can play in the dirt after the game. I am not telling any child to turn around, the ball is the other way. No kid is running from first base to third base while skipping second all together. It's amazing, I think the kids have finally gotten it.
They hit the ball. They run to base. They field the ball. They through it randomly. Right now, I'm just happy if they throw the ball and if they happen to throw it to first base, then hell, that kids a genius and a future all star. I'll take what I can get and right now what I get is a team that is actually playing baseball and not tag in center field.
When the ball is hit, I no longer have 11 5 year olds all running balls out to go get it in right field. We have explained to the pitcher that he is playing pitcher and if the ball gets past him that is where he shall stay. Today we are not having to pull kids off of a mile high dog pile that they have invariably decided is the way to play baseball. It's not some weird lord of the flies contest where the winner gets the conch and gets to throw the ball somewhere, it doesn't matter anywhere.
All game, they are actually playing baseball they way it's supposed to be played. I am happy.
Our bases are loaded (they always are in tball). We have a big hitter up, which means a kid that lines up next to the T with the right end of the bat and not an umbrella that he somehow smuggled onto the field. We are about to complete a full game. We are fielding, we are running, we are hitting. It is glorious.
"A Plane! Look, A Plane!"
The bane of every tball coach everywhere. The arrival of the mysterious plane. Where is it going? Who's on board? None of that matters. All that matters is that the plane is here and that is the worst distraction. Might as well throw fucking Micky Mouse on the field and have him do a dance. Before I can even scream "NO!", I have lost the little buggers.
The kid standing on second decides that a plane needs a run way so it appears that he is attempting to build one in the dirt. This is a problem because the ball has just been hit and he should be on his way to third.
Not that he has to hurry mind you. My kid on third is currently looking up at the plane and is turning in circles because turning in circles if fucking awesome. The helmet though covers his eyes so I'm wondering if he is just trying to get a glimpse of home. I see the on deck circle empty because that guy is running toward the plane. Carrying a bat.
The bench has erupted into a full on WWF cage match. I wonder who will win? Probably the kid that is currently dumping over all the water bottles. I like his style, he's playing the long game of attrition.
The parents are cheering and I'm wondering why. Do they notice that we have lost the kids or is this just less chaos than usual? Or maybe they are cheering because they like to see me and the two other coaches run around cat herding. I think the parents are using us for some cheap entertainment, bastards. I'll bet they are drunk.
Someone threw the ball in, this is good. But what's bad is that our kid on first got the hint and ran toward second. This has caused our runway for the plane to be destroyed. My kid on second reminds him that THERE IS A PLANE UP THERE SO DON'T WRECK THE RUNWAY! He's got passion, got to give him that credit.
So close, we were so close to a complete no distraction game. And the plane, which is now my mortal enemy, stole that from me.
Baseball is simple. You catch the ball, you throw the ball, you hit the ball, you ignore planes in the sky. If I can just teach this for the rest of the year, our season will be a success. And failing that, if you can at least build a halfway decent runway in the dirt then perhaps the plane can land safely and join our little game.
Those words, although sound glorious the minute they leave your mouth, are just not true. It's a lie you tell yourself and as you grow wiser and you change, the lie remains the same. No, you can never make it. That's not how it works. You tell yourself you can make it. You tell your wife that we can make it. You tell your children that we can make it. But you can't, it's just the way of the world. Yet, you say the words and for a moment, a brief fleeting moment, you believe them. Your family believes them because your family believes in you. You are Dad, you are the all powerful. You are the adventurer and the adventurer says that you can make it, nut up you sons of bitches. But alas, whether you utter those words while jumping Springfield gorge or while looking down a muddy dirt road, the words are empty and hollow. We cannot make it.
But maybe we can!
Hossmom looks at me, there is doubt in her eyes. I find her most beautiful when she is doubting me, it's a chance for me to once again prove my worth. To impress her with my strength and the daring of my character.
"Drive damn you! Drive!" I tell her. And she does. Because we can make it.
The children cheer us on as our tires leave the pavement of the civilized world and enter the mud and the muck of the dirt road. I am hoping that our nice little bed and breakfast that we are looking for in rural Kansas is just over the hill. However, that supposes that this is the right dirt road and that our minivan, as manly and awesome as it is, can make it through the obvious slick mud that is this dirt road. It should damnit, I have skulls on my seat covers.
I breath in the fresh manure air, we are on the hunt. The family is on adventure! Most times when we adventure, Hossmom is not with us. She is tucked safely away in her office with air conditioning. We may be hiking a river with a stroller tucked on our back, kids strapped to our front. Our motherly princess is most times enjoying her air conditioning and 5 dollar coffee. We are enjoying battling the mosquito hoard as we burrow through woods looking for a rocky cliff where Jessie James may or may not have camped at one point in time. She is chasing the advertising dollar, we are chasing folk lore. She is happy in her office, in her security, creating spreadsheets. We are happy creating legend.
The minivan is chugging along, not as fast as I would like, but we are moving forward.
"Don't stop mother! Don't stop!" Yup, I actually call her mother. I don't know why, but I did. It seemed right, it seemed appropriate. It fit our adventure. We would find our bed and breakfast and we would enjoy our god damn quiet weekend but only after we slung some mud and fought for the glory. The children are cackling in the back to the sound track of Toy Story and Randy Newman. I am cackling in the front, we can make it! Adventure! Hossmom still looks worried.
"More gas, give it more gas!" In my head, and this may be a serious flaw in my plan, I imagine that if we can gain enough speed the we can safely hydroplane right over the top of the muddy hill while our horn plays Dixie and I yell yeeeeeee-----hawwwwwwww. Once we crest the muddy hill I'm sure we will see out little bed and breakfast. Victory, it's so close, just over the hill.
The minivan starts to slide as do my hopes. We start pulling to the right. Hossmom corrects the curvature but her heart just isn't in it. Perhaps this is the moment that it all went wrong. Hossmom lost faith. It had nothing to do with my hydroplane plan, it was flawless. But it required a certain degree of moxy and faith and sadly I was seeing the faith go out of my wife's eyes. My leadership was perfect.
"Gun it!" I scream, passion in my voice. If I know anything about driving in mud, and I don't, it's that if you give your car a crap ton of gas it should automatically give you traction and send you flying and not dig you a hole in the ground. Apparently, it does not. It digs you a hole.
We slide at a 45 degree angle and eventually come to a stop. Hossmom tries to give it some more gas, we sink just a bit.
The phrase "we can make it" apparently means that we can make it about 50 yards with a good 100 to go. Uphill. I know what I have to do.
"Are we stuck" my daughter asks.
"Yup" I say.
"Adventure!" my son says. Always the optimist, the backbone of family morale. Yes, adventure son.
And what does adventure mean? It means that sometimes to obtain glory, you have to create your own opportunities. Fucking A bubba, adventure!
I open the door and step in the mud with my flip flops. I have tennis shoes but they are buried in the back under all the baby gear. Naw, my flip flops will be fine. 3 month old Bacon Hoss is back there, this is his first real chance to see hero dad in action. Flip flops will be fine.
I go to the front of the car and put my hands on the hood, it's warm from battle. I gather myself, this is my test, my family is watching. My strength is pooling in my arms and in my soul.
I tell Hossmom to put the car in reverse, I'll push us out. In my flip flops. In 2 inch deep mud (or field runoff, the manure stink was high). Glory. It's there. You just have to go get it.
She guns it and I push.
My brand new fucking flip flops slide out from under me, one goes to the left and I feel the strap on the other one break. My knees hit the ground. We moved about an inch.
Flip flops are for pussies.
Adventuring is not for the faint of heart. It's not for the weak of soul. It's not for those that cannot adapt to bad decisions. It's not for those that quit. Glory does not always present itself to you. Sometimes, you have to go find it, create it, embrace it until it submits itself to your will.
Shoeless, I dig my toes in the mud. My face is red with strain. I faintly hear my children cheering me on. They are laughing, I am laughing. Adventure kids, adventure. Hossmom guns it again, I push. The minivan moves slowly backwards. Glory, go get some, you can make it.