Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Shoulda Stayed in Bed

Long, long, long, long day. Much ranting follows. You can skip to the end for knitting content.

My 7-year-old is in an anti-camp mood. Yesterday he had a nuclear meltdown at the drop-off site. It's been a long time since he melted down, and I've really been enjoying life-after-meltdowns, so today I made a deal with him: he would go to camp for the morning session, and I would pick him up after lunch. Seems simple, no? No. Our local YMCA does not have room to hold day camps on site. But there are many, many kids in this area, and the Y does offer many, many camps to accommodate them. They pull this off by having parents drop kids off at a bus stop, where a bus takes them to "home base" (which is a large parking lot with a big, empty field attached). Counselors sort the kids into camps, and then they're bussed off to various sites all over the city. Most camps go to one site in the morning, then get on another bus and go to a different site in the afternoon, then get on another bus and go back to home base, then get on a different bus to go back to the original bus stop. All of which explains why my son is in an anti-camp mood. Several hours a day on noisy, unairconditioned buses in the middle of a heat wave makes for one very unhappy camper.

In order to pick him up mid-way through the day, I have to figure out where the camp is going that day and what time they will be there. Both of these things are subject to change during the course of the day, especially since there are many camps but few buses, and so they must all coordinate their many different trips and stops, and this seldom runs smoothly. The end result is, I did finally get my camper--but only after spending an hour sitting in a blazing hot parking lot and making many phone calls to determine whether the camp was in fact going to show up at that spot. For the first time in, oh, forever, I had no knitting in my purse and no book in my car. It was just me and the heat. And then, he told me he wanted to stay and play. I won't repeat what I said.

My 10-year-old son is in an extended-year program, so he started school three weeks ago. But since our school is undergoing massive renovations, his program has been meeting at a different school. There are three days left of the summer session. For some reason that is unclear to me but must make sense to someone, somewhere, the powers that be decided that his class should move back into the completely torn up school now--with three days left before the summer break. The regular school year starts in two weeks. So, with bulldozers chomping away, trailers for classrooms, and a torn-up parking lot, we tramped back to our school. The entire thing is surrounded by security fences, and the only way in is through a gate that must be opened by the foreman before and after school. There is no parking, no walking, and only a very slow and difficult single lane of traffic through the parking lot to the spot where the teachers must line up kids to wait and then direct traffic back out into the street. Traffic goes only one way--opposite the way I need to go to get home.

My 7-year-old started playing Pop Warner Football this year. I have no idea where he came up with the idea. Football here is not the center of the universe the way it is in a lot of smaller towns, especially in the Midwest and the South. We don't watch professional sports (or any sports, for that matter), and our kids have never been excited by the prospect of Little League of AYSO. So maybe it's just me, but I was stunned to learn that the 5-7 year old teams practice 3 evenings a week from 5:30-7:00! The 8-year-olds and up practice 5 evenings a week! Does this seem excessive to you? Completely apart from the fact that practice is smack in the middle of dinner time, and my kids' bedtime is 7:30, that just seems like an awful lot of time to me. And then there were all sorts of disturbing little comments in the registration package, like "Football is a serious commitment..." Serious? Commitment? They're babies, for Pete's sake! And I think the coach is an alien. He has blocking patterns and playbooks and doesn't seem to realize that half the kids have never seen a football before, and the rest are too busy contemplating their belly buttons and pulling their shirts over their heads to follow what he's saying. He doesn't have kids--which kind of confirms my theory that he's an alien, because why else would anyone agree to take on a job like that? But he has six assistant coaches--all dads. Ask me how many times in the five years I've been volunteering at my kids' school I've ever seen a dad helping out in a classroom. Go ahead. Ask me. Never once. And I spend a lot of time at the school. But get out a stupid ball and--hey!--they all show up three times a frickin' week! I'm glad they want to spend time with their kids. I am. But the question of priorities keeps getting in my way, here.

Point is, my son has practice three evenings a week during dinner time, and my husband is one of the assistant coaches. This means that, three times a week, I have to come up with a dinner that can either wait until after practice to be eaten or be prepared within ten minutes when they finally get home. Tonight, I thought I would make it easy on myself and make hot dogs and tater tots with a nice salad. But it turns out the grocery store has stopped carrying the (soy) hot dogs we eat, and I forgot the croutons. Oh. And my purse. Not my car keys and sunglasses, which I evidently removed from my purse prior to replacing my purse in the cart and returning the cart to the store before driving off. By some miracle, a store employee not only found my purse before it was stolen, but also had the presence of mind to call "Home" on my cell phone (also in my purse) to tell me that I had left it behind. The return trip to the store allowed me to pick up the croutons, too, so it wasn't all bad. Still no hot dogs, though. I wonder if I can talk the kids into eating crouton dogs?

And now, for a change of pace, I thought I'd rant about knitting.

Remember this?

This is our old friend Icarus, the wedding shawl-to-be. To be precise, this is Icarus two months ago.

This is Icarus today:

And therein lies the problem. The wedding is next April, but I just learned that the bridal shower is in October, and I'd like to have the shawl done in time for the shower. I'd also like for replicators and transporters to become standard household appliances, which seems a bit more likely. I swear to you that I have been working on Icarus all this time. I have probably knitted 10 million stitches. I think they are dropping into some sort of knitting black hole. I keep looking for some missed line in the pattern, like "at the end of row 2, wave your magic wand," but I can't find it. I know it is possible to finish this shawl, because I have seen lots of Icarus shawls online, but I think I must have missed something. Mine is not growing at a rate that will allow it to be finished in my natural lifetime. Do you think the bride would be satisfied with a cashmere lace wedding hanky?

Whew. I feel much better. If you'll come back tomorrow, I promise I'll be sane again. Or what passes for sane around here.


Haley said...

I worked at one of those camps for a summer. It is crazy for the counselors too. Hope tomorrow goes better.

Romi said...

yeah. today sucked all over, i think.

The A.D.D. Knitter said...

Oh man I feel your Pop Warner pain--those coaches are psychotic!! My friend yanked her son after witnessing the coach shame the hell out of her son in front of everyone. Sadly team sports seem to be one of the ways that negative aspects of masculinity are inculcated in our youth:(

Tammy said...

Football... oh, I feel your pain. I think we're heading in to our 8th year of it now. The last few years my 3 oldest boys have all played but in a remarkable display of maturity and wisdom, my middle boy decided he'd rather have a life than play this year.

Oh well... sitting at those games should give you plenty of time to work on Icarus. Heck, you might as well be knitting because once your in the stands, you can never figure out which kid is your anyway. At least I can't.

Tammy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
knottykitty said...

OMG! You have had quite the day, haven't you!? Tomorrow has GOT to be better! And what's with the migrant day camps! Granted, I don't have kids, but I've never heard of such a thing! Sounds confusing, and like someone could get left off a bus somewhere---eeek!

Now, take two ibuprofen--or cocktails--and call me in the morning....:)

sophanne said...

That sounds like a whacked way to run a camp.

Living in the land of all things football I can say that at least it's refreshing to know that I'm not the only one that sees it the way you do.

There are people here (my sad sick sister being one of them) that can't wait for their kids to be old enough to take that abuse and then sit back and wait for them to become "stars." ugh and again ugh. At least Mr. Yarnhog is there to intervene should things get absolutely ridiculous.

I was wondering about that Icarus. It will grow. Give her a swatch in October to show her the greatness yet to come. If it were me, that would be better anyway. Otherwise I'd be trying it on every day for the 7 months in between getting it and getting married!

Anonymous said...

You promise to be sane tomorrow? I'm holding you to that!
First- it is totally accepted to present the bride with a 'to be completed' gift card at the shower. I've done it a few times with baby showers.
Second- crazy day camp! I think if you had not made that huge effort to find your son he likely would have had another meltdown and been furious at you. Just the murphy's law of motherhood.
Third- equally crazy football. Those practices seem very excessive for young kids. I don't have a 7 year old yet but I am betting 1.5 hrs is too long for them to pay attention.

Patty said...

Even with your ranting, you made me laugh! I can't feel your pain about football as it isn't that popular here but it sounds a lot like the same problems I've heard about for hockey. You're right -they are kids!

I second your motion for transporters and replicators. Where do we sign up?

And, swatching for the shower is a GREAT idea. Do it! You don't want someone to have the opportunity to drop - !gasp! - raspberry jam or something worse on it before the wedding, do you? Go with a swatch (in with a nice card). SO much safer.

Lydee said...

Wow, it never rains, but it pours. And of course, at least in my case, it occurs similtanously with pms. Auugh, the icing on the cake was forgetting your purse in the shopping cart! The heart stopping fear at what could have happened....!
Like you said though tomorrow should be better.
BTW all good points about football, I absolutely feel the same.

Olga said...

How about a head scarf? Or that thing you put on tables and back of chairs, doilies? (sp?) Either one could get you off the hook there. And the sport thing. boy. Its like a sickness here, everyone is obsessed with having kids be enslaved to it year round. Always busy busy busy with a game here, practice there.And the money! Sheesh. I think I am the sole hold out in SD.My kids have to stay home and read books and go outside to play. I feel guilty but I also have four kids and we would have to take out a 3rd morgage to pay for the gas.Doesn't seem like kids don't just have a childhood anymore? Like everything has to highly structured .

Anonymous said...

Dude, I hear you. I've got a 7 yr old boy too. I would have gone nuts with no knitting to work on while waiting for the bus. My son wants to play PeeWee football in the fall. Luckily, my DH works in our town so he does all the running around and pickups and drop offs, while I toil away in NYC. I really envy the 7:30 bedtime.

MelissaKnits said...

We once visited Disney World during the Pop Warner Superbowl. I...ummm...learned a lot.
For example - and this is ONE example of the MANY I experienced during our stay:
A group of boys can engage in inappropriate behavior on a bus to the point that the bus driver informs the fathers in charge that if the boys do not sit down, they will be asked to leave the bus. The father's response to inform the driver that "boys will be boys" with associated chuckle and grin and imply that they would ride to their intended destination or the driver would find himself in a spot when the adults "...let 'em go on you!"
I've been very cautious in my vacation planning since.

Quail Hill Knits said...

I can certainly relate to the sports thing. When I was a mere 10 years of age, I joined a track team. It turned out I was quite good and made national teams. My mom had to have been a saint. She made sure I made all the practices 5 nights a week, 4 mornings and weeks, and meets every weekend for the next five years (when I got my driver's license). I have trouble when Kenny has practice three nights a week for band. All I can say to you is good luck and I totally undersand your frustrations. As for Icarus --- you have obviously stumbled nto the black hole of knitting. It gets better, you know. All of a sudden the universe will reinstall all those missing stitches and you will suddenly find that you have gone beyond the pattern change by 2 full inches and have to rip back what you have previously knitted. Just remember to repeat "I like knitting.......I like knitting.....I like...." as you do it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne,

What's going on w/ the knitting group on Wed? I went two weeks ago and no one showed up. This morning, I went and there was no one there again. Has it been decided that it's not meeting anymore? That would suck.

Your day sounded yucky. I hope it gets better.

Sharon said...

sorry you had such a stress pit of a day! My only kid's one activity since the age of 13 has been joining the cast of "Rocky Horror" in Portland. She plays Magenta. I used to not only bring her to the Sat. midnight show but go pick her up at 3:00 in the blessed A.M. (crazy mom here.) But since she was a child, all she ever wanted to do was be onstage. Anyway, while I can't relate to the sports issues, I certainly do sympathize, and if it helps, I admire your knitting on the Icarus. It's beautiful!

...Sarah said...

Oh please don't be sane tomorrow, then I will have to be all alone in my grumpitude.

Three nights a week does seem excessive but then again we have soccer one half hour a week and that is way too long for me and my three-year old who just doesn't get why they have to chase after a ball in 90 degree heat under the blazing sun at 11:30 in the morning. She would rather pick grass and lay on her soccer ball while rolling in the shade. Can't say I blame her it looks way more fun to me too.

Maybe they could do Mathletics or Artolympics after school and dads could pour over a strategy for getting macaroni to stick to construction paper. Or finally solve which train makes it to the station first?

Karen said...

Damn. It's stories like this that make me really glad I am done with that stuff. I remember it well though. All my kids were into something different from the other and I spent so much time driving them here and there. And I didn't knit back then either. Gasp.

I remember feeling like you do about Icarus when I was knitting it also. The plain part seems to take a really long time to get through. Hang in there.