Tales From The Main

Snapshots of small town life - zany characters and our neverending poker game.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Life is Interesting (and I wouldn't have it any other way!)

Without going into detail on my personal situation (I'll save that for future posts) suffice to say that my life is anything but boring. Every day seems to bring new excitement and challenges and this past weekend was no exception.

After dragging myself out of bed on Saturday morning and gulping down a couple of cups of coffee that my angel so thoughtfully seems to magically make available for me it was time to coordinate schedules for the troop. Perhaps a little background is in order. My house is made up of me (you can call me Mike), my long suffering angel (code name Carol) and our 21st century Brady Bunch (in chronological order they would be Marcia, Greg, Peter, Jan, Cindy and Bobby). There's also a cat, some hamsters, a guinea pig and a fluctuating number of fish but to tell you the truth I tend not to pay attention to those members of the family unless their untimely death causes a younger Brady's heart to break or an unexpected vet bill leaves me in a moral quandry. About the only thing we are missing is the green shag carpets, the wood panelled station wagon and of course Alice. God I would kill to have an Alice!

The various crew comes and goes but mostly tends to hang around - we certainly own the largest refridgerator known to mankind - and they always seem to be accompanied by an extra midget or six. This weekend was typical of most. Hockey starting at 6 am followed by more hockey at 7, basketball at 10, more basketball at 12, more hockey at 2 then 3 then 4. After thawing out our respective rear ends we piled into the vehicles (hey - you try travelling anywhere in one car with six kids), and headed out to the inlaws for a family gathering. It's always a little tense showing up as we tend to take over the place but my sister in law runs a daycare so she has a big basement full of toys that keep the kids occupied for minutes at a time. I worked my magic mixing up martinis that kept my sister in law in high spirits (until she wiped out while sneaking a smoke in the garage and busted a crack in her head the size of an ostrich egg - time to cut her off!). All in all a pleasant way to spend an evening even if we did have to turn down an invite from friends to head out for a night on the town - and this invite was from friends who really know how to party. They could make the debauchery of the Roman emperor's seem like a six month work term in an Amish quilt factory.

The drive home turned out to be one of those experiences that you feel will probably prove pivotal in life. Marcia, who is fifteen, manouvered the seating to manage to get driven home by me and have the rest of the bunch in the other vehicle. Turned out, surprise surprise, that she wanted to talk. Parents out there please take note. Your teenagers do want to talk to you they just don't want to be judged by you. By the time they are fifteen you can influence them you can't control them (you can control them to a certain degree but they will resent the hell out of it and you will probably end up pushing them into decisions they wouldn't have made without your clumsy do gooder intentions - anyway moralizing over). So it turns out Marcia has a boy, has starting experimenting with drinking and has even smoked pot once. Wow. As if we didn't know. She wanted to know what I thought and how she could handle a friend who was pushing her to drink more and cut school. For the record Marcia is on the honor role, plays on a couple of varsity teams, has a part time job, a pretty good circle of friends that we see a lot of and gets a bit of leeway to make mistakes. When things do go outside the lines, and they have on occasion, we tend to take it in stride but there are always consequences. (She hates that part - at least publicly - but secretly I really think she appreciates the fact that there are consequences to going too far)

But I digress. I just think it was really cool to have an open conversation. I didn't condone her drinking or smoking and while I am happy she is showing an interest in dating we talked a lot about the complications that having sex could bring into her life at this time. The upshot of the whole thing was that both her Mom and I understand that she is smart enough to sneak around any rules that we put in place for her, and that soon enough she is going to be old enough to be independent and on her own anyway, but what we are trying to accomplish is give her the tools to make responsible, mature decisions regardless of what is happening around her. I firmly believe that sticking your head in the sand and thinking that fifteen year olds aren't experimenting with sex, drugs and alcohol will lead you down the path to being responsible for a drugged out, dropped out, single parent. It can be uncomfortable to talk about true - but it is more uncomfortable for them - after all it is newer to them - so get over it and talk to your kids. You might just be surprised at how well they take it.

Sunday was . . . more hockey. Told you life was exciting. This time it was Bobby the six year old's first tournament - held in a little town where the hockey rink really is the center of the universe. There is something comical about watching the little kids play though for the life of me I can't figure out why they hire referees. After all was said and done the coaches awarded him the hard hat - the smile on his face was about a mile wide and something magical to see. (For those of you not in hockey the hard hat goes to the hardest working player and at the six year old level where they don't even keep score it is the best award you can get - you even get to write your name and jersey number in marker on it!)

Sunday night was family dinner night - Carol whipped up a ham and fixings - which is really my responsibility but I've been falling short in that department lately. Sorry babe. I rushed out in time to play a game of soccer, 2-1 for the good guys, and after the mandatory pints after the game and a quick pit stop at the Main for some wings and a chat with the boys (no game on the go - dang) it was time to call it a weekend.

This week has a bit of action upcoming - Carol's birthday, a big deal closing at work (fingers crossed), a mid-week mid-afternoon party at a buddy's house and there should be a big poker game Thursday. The weekend has a bit of promise too - we've been invited to a party with a lot of the movers and shakers in town and my best bud, the Huckleberry Houndog, has planned to hit town too. Should be more than a few stories for the next blog.

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