Thanks to UPI for the photo of Marc-Andre Fleury

In hockey, three-on-one means there are three offensive players driving towards the goal with only one other defender between them and the goal. It’s not a good spot to be in if you’re the netminder.

While my husband is away, playing hockey in Toronto, I have been feeling like the outnumbered defenders. So, even though he’s not here, we still have something in common this weekend.

Last evening, my kids were scattered around the neighborhood and suddenly I realized, I AM ALONE IN MY HOUSE! I didn’t quite know what to do with myself; it’s something I often wish for, yet when my wish became reality, I was disoriented.  Should I run out for a pedicure? Go buy gin? Nap? Finish our taxes? I settled on taking a shower, then cooked my dinner and sat down in front of the TV with it. Halfway through eating it, my neighbor phoned to report that the 14 year old neighbor on a skateboard had collided in her driveway with my 4 year old, and I should probably come and collect my freaked-out little boy. So, I did. He really was fine, just understandably shaken up. It was a good thing he was wearing his helmet. Once I got him home, he returned to being the bossy, demanding Dictator we all know and love.

My older boys had ended up at another neighbors’ house, and I finally had to call and summon them home at 10:30 pm.  They fell asleep on the couch in front of the TV. This morning, despite repeated attempts, I couldn’t get them to wake up and get ready for church. Meanwhile, I’m trying to get myself and the Peezer ready to go when I hear the cat retching outside my bedroom. He had eaten his canned food, then drank a lot of water, then immediately puked up the water and the cat food. SUPER!  Because I was just thinking, hey, now would be a great time to bust out the steam cleaner. To add insult to injury, Peezer did the exact same thing – inhaled a doughnut, drank some water, then coughed hard enough that the water came right up.

(Oh, and I forgot to mention, Curt’s damn alarm clock went off AGAIN at 4:00 a.m., and I had not plugged it back in! It’s seriously possessed. I have since figured out why, but what a rude awakening, two mornings in a row.)

Anyway, the required cleaning of the cat puke and Peezer spit-up made me late, and so I decided to let the boys “have their way.”   They always moan and groan and fuss about going to church, and, because we feel it’s important, we always insist. But after everything else, I just didn’t have it in me to get them up and deal with their painful whining. So, I LEFT THEM. “You win!” I announced. “You get your way! Have a fun morning! Oh, and we will talk about this when we get home!”

“Thanks, Mommy!” said The Boss. I just stared at him, shook my head, then left without responding.

After I returned home, we sat down and had a little chit-chat.  “How’d you feel when I left?” I asked. The Boss was right on it. “Sad,” he said.

“Really? Why?”

“Because I knew you were angry,” he replied, his voice trembling.

And he was pretty close; I explained how mostly, I was disappointed, and blah blah blahdeblah BLAH, BLAAAAAH BLAHBLAHBLAH deblah. (At least I’m guessing that’s how they heard me.)  It was a calculated risk, and I knew it might backfire, but I think I may have made my point.

And then my head exploded all over the kitchen.

Well, not really, but you know what? I’ve written before about how mentally draining I find parenting to be. Between fending off the moody, sarcastic, sullen teenager and the constant barrage of demands and needs from the four year old, I barely have time to focus on the under-the-radar, sweet fifth grader who’s probably just around the corner from his older brother’s attitude. And what then? I’ll be outnumbered! Say prayers! Send gin!

Single parents probably think I’m being whiny, but my husband has me spoiled. I’m so lucky to have him. I miss the advantage of having my teammate here to help me fend off the Attack of the Short People. To share the burden of discipline.  To remember where the older two boys are when the younger one needs undivided attention.  To mix a cocktail upon request!

Meanwhile, the report from Toronto last night was good. The Men of Steel had won one and lost one yesterday, which earned them a spot in the semifinals. They were to play at 11am today, and, if they won, again at 1:30pm.  Playing the afternoon game would require them to rebook onto later flights home, and Curt had mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, they went to play, and they wanted to play, and you never don’t want to win. But, they were getting tired, and the prospect of returning home at midnight Sunday, exhausted and sore, and getting up for work as usual on Monday, was less than appealing. Right now it’s a little after 3pm, and I haven’t heard from him, so I’m not sure what the outcome was. Watch the comments or, perhaps, for a new post if the news is good.

I’m so glad he’s having fun – he needed this getaway, and I’m happy to be able to make it possible. I don’t intend for my crappy day to make Curt feel badly that he wasn’t here – far from it.  Everyone needs a break from the routine now and then, and it was his turn.

My turn is coming in two weeks. Stay tuned.

Hockey widow

icehockey3Soup Husband Curt and his hockey team, the Men of Steel, are in Toronto this weekend at the Hockey North America tournament. He’s been looking forward to the getaway – and the chance to play hockey in the Motherland. What hockey nut wouldn’t be thrilled to play in the same city as the Hockey Hall of Fame?  As of last night, they had lost their first game and were set to play this morning. Depending on how today goes, they may or may not have one more game to play.

Before he left Thursday morning, he had to finish something for work, so he set his alarm clock for 4:00 a.m. so he could leave with a clear conscience. So imagine my confusion and shock when, this morning, his alarm started ringing at 4:00 a.m.! In my delerium, I went over and tried fumbling around in the dark with the buttons (this seemed the better alternative to turning on a harsh light).  Now, it’s a pretty new clock with lots and lots of buttons, except, apparently, an OFF button. I somehow managed to make it stop and returned to bed, but when the alarm started going off AGAIN at 5:00 a.m., I realized I must have just put it on some hour-long delay, which I’m sure I could not have done if I had been trying to do so. I ripped the cord out of the wall and placed the clock in my bathroom, then returned to bed yet again… and that damn clock started beeping 30 minutes later!  Wow, I thought – that’s some clock, to remember your alarm settings even when it’s unplugged! That’ll be handy the next time we lose power. I ignored it and it finally stopped. And then the kids kindly let me sleep all the way until 9:00 a.m.!

(Note to self: Register for Alarm Clock Orientation 101.)

Last night, I was all set to host the monthly gathering of Ladies’ Poker Night. Oh sure, I hadn’t had a chance to sweep the kitchen floor or clean off the dining room table or hide the stack of crap that sits on the kitchen counter or wipe off the toilet seat or make some impressive appetizer or even buy beer, but I figured, that’s all fluff! It’s all about wine and fellowship and beer and cards and food and wine, and beer.  However, all the usual players dropped out one by one, leaving only three of us, two of whom had young kids who’d need to be somewhat supervised. So naturally, we did what any mom in that situation would do: We busted open the liquor cabinet and started mixing drinks, threw a Tony’s Pizza into the oven, and settled in for a rousing game of SCRABBLE!

What? Scrabble??

Oh, yeah baby. Let it never be said that we don’t know how to rock the party. There was all manner of trash talk:

HER: Dude, I’ll so kick your ass in Scrabble!

ME:  Bring it, bitch!

She won – she had a bingo that buried me – but I sure had a great time. Who needs poker when you have letter tiles and a Scrabble Dictionary?

As I finish my third cup of coffee this morning, I realize there seems to be a lot of…light outside. I’m not sure, I could be wrong, but it might be the SUN. Which is nice, because we’ve had wicked thunderstorms this week with blinding downpours, and that’s always fun to drive in. Today’s plans include a run to the grocery store for eggs, milk, and bread (because we are truly out of those things, not because there’s a threat of a snowstorm), getting The Boss to flag football, and maybe some low-impact yardwork.

And figuring out how to keep that possessed alarm clock from interrupting my night’s sleep.

If we had bacon…

bacon-n-eggs-r-h-hagenWe have a friend who used to say this:

“If we had bacon, we could have bacon and eggs (if we had eggs).”

It’s what you say when you just don’t have exactly what you need in order to accomplish a certain thing.

I thought of this tonight at 6:30 pm, while sitting in the drive-thru line at KFC. The line was not moving, and it was one of those deals where once you get into the lane, it’s impossible to bail out.  You must commit. I was stuck. And, I was in a hurry. I needed some dinner pronto, so I could feed the boys before leaving to go to choir practice.

I finally rolled up to the speaker to place my order:

ME:  I’d like the 12-piece meal please, extra-crispy, with extra white meat–

DISEMBODIED VOICE: We don’t have extra-crispy now – ten minutes.

ME: Uh, ok, then regular is fine–

DV: No fried chicken now. Ready in ten minutes.

ME: Ten minutes? I can’t wait ten minutes! (I immediately began hoping that the four cars in front of me weren’t going to sit in that lane waiting for the chicken to fry…)

DV: Hold on one second. (As if I could do anything else.) No ma’am – no chicken, ten minutes.

ME (exasperated): OK, then, do you have the chicken strips???

DV: Yes.

And so it was that I ended up with the chicken strips instead of actual fried chicken, and let me just say, when you’ve got you some extra-crispy on the brain, the chicken strips are a huge disappointment.

This called to mind the time when Soup Husband Curt and I popped into the Roy Rogers Restaurant on Connecticut Avenue in DC. I was in the mood for one of their Big Roast Beef sandwiches on a buttery toasted bun for dinner.  I had thought about it the whole long day. So imagine my shock when, after ordering said roast beef sandwich, the clerk replied, “We’re out of roast beef.”

“How can you be out of roast beef? You are ROY ROGERS!  Roast Beef is your feature meal! It’s in the restaurant name!” I was sputtering mad.

“Sorry, we’re out of roast beef,” he repeated.

There also might have been a similar incident at a Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurant – they used to do really good rotisserie chicken and their sides were good, too. I don’t remember if it was that they didn’t have any chicken ready, or maybe it was that I ordered a fish sandwich that wasn’t very good and my husband pointed out that if you’re dining at a place that is famous for its rotisserie chicken, why in the hell would you order a fish sandwich?

Then there was the time last year, when we went on a rare date night to a self-proclaimed martini bar, only to have the waiter tell us they were running low on shakers and he couldn’t bring it from the bar to pour my martini at my table.

People? Seriously? If you’re trying to sell a featured, headliner product, I suggest to you that it’s good for business to always have that product in stock and available for immediate purchase.  If your name is Kentucky FRIED CHICKEN, then please, you have got to have fried chicken available. At suppertime. Suppertime! If you specialize in roast beef sandwiches, try not to run out of roast beef. Purveyors of rotisserie chicken would do well to have some ready at all times.  Martini bars? Have enough shakers so you can do the tableside show that is really the only reason you can get away with charging $10 for two ounces of gin and a couple of olives. Send someone out to buy more if you have to.

SO. If we had bacon we could have bacon and eggs (if we had eggs).

In other words?

We got nothin’.