Friday, May 20, 2011

another strike

Remember oh, when was it, over a year ago when I wrote about the offing of Mr M in the bedroom by the hero Harrison?  Well, the mystery continues.  Though this time, the victim was Ms Sparrow in the kitchen.  So perhaps our dear Harrison was more of a villain than hero this time around.  Let's call him our anti-hero.  You can't help but root for him though his heroic qualities are, shall we say, lacking. 

No photos in order not to offend any delicate sensibilities. 

Early in the afternoon yesterday I was working in the attic and heard Harrison meowing meowing meowing downstairs.  Quite loudly.  I decided to ignore him. 

Later, rushing around to get together all the t-ball equipment to drop off at practice, while simultaneously gathering all the ballet accoutrements together because we were due at dress rehearsal at the same time as practice, I passed by our anti-hero who was lounging in the middle of the kitchen (underfoot at precisely the wrong time is one of his specialities).  When suddenly, in my frenzy, what was beside Harrison clicked into my consciousness - a dear sweet Ms Sparrow casually discarded.  Yikes! 

I called Gee into the kitchen so we could compare notes.  Andrew was napping, so Gee had been doing other things in the house.  She told me she had heard Harrison, and had passed by the kitchen and noticed the throw rug was all tangled, and she thought he had been mock fighting with it and so straightened it out.

Here's the thing - neither of us has any recollection of Harrison having escaped the house and ventured outside during the day.  Our anti-hero has been on a tear lately, sneaking outside with his battle cry of "you shall not contain me!" despite our best efforts to continue his captivity in lockdown.  We're actually attempting to reach a civil compromise by extending his range onto our back patio, but his escape routes know no end.  He was out quite a bit the day before, so had poor Ms S been trapped in our house for a day? 

We'll never know.

Monday, May 9, 2011

T-ball and choices

As most of you know via my facebook posts, I've volunteered to be an assistant coach of Elizabeth's t-ball team.  This is very amusing to everyone that knows me - I'm not exactly athletic.  And I spent three awful years in middle school bumbling my way through pony-tail league slow pitch softball, coached by my mom.

I've spent most of my life thinking that my mom really wanted to coach, and so that's why I was forced to play, despite my complete lack of skill of any sort.  But after coaching a few practices, I really rethought that whole history.  Did my mom really want to coach, or was it just something that needed a volunteer with some level of interest?  The community needed coaches and you step up when and where you can, knowing it's good for your child and the community. 

I like baseball.  I do think it's good for Elizabeth.  And in this case, I think it's good for me, too.  Even if it may kill me.  In practices, we do a variety of drills, just trying to get the kids to acquire basic skills.  There's a lot of the coach (me) rolling grounders or throwing balls to kids, who then throw the ball back to the coach.  Our kids are not very skilled, and there are a lot of errant balls.  Last week, a kid made a bad throw back to me, and I chased after the ball, thrusting out my foot to stop it, and instead mistakenly stepping onto the ball while running.  My ankle rolled, and I tumbled to the ground on my side.  I've got floppy ankles, and about once a year roll one or the other of them, resulting in a minor sprain.  One of these days I'm really going to do a number on one of them, but my floppy ankles just flop back into place, so it's always just a slight sprain that's stiff a couple of days.  Anyway, I rolled from my side onto my back, and stared up at the sky, (inwardly) cursing my clumsiness and wondering exactly how badly I had sprained my ankle, cause it hurt like hell.  Elizabeth came over and knelt down and patted my head, concerned I was hurt.  But another boy from my group also wandered over and stared down at me, before observing: "you sure do have a lot of silver in your hair."  Thanks kid.  So I got up and hobbled around some and went back to rolling grounders. 

The next day, I was reading the list of benefits that Rich's company offers.  I've been interviewing for a job there, and it's been getting more real (although after ten months of job hunting, I can't tell you how many "sure things" have evaporated for increasingly ridiculous reasons).  Suddenly, I read a shocking benefit, and immediately ran to find Rich.

M: "You have a community service benefit!  Your company will pay you for 40 hours of community service!"   
R:  "Uh, well, yeah......." 
M:  "YOU could be getting PAID to COACH TBALL!"
R:  "uh, well, yeah, I guess......."
R:  "I'm very busy.........."

The thing I've since realized is that I actually kinda like coaching t-ball.  It's fun.  The kids are learning and having fun.  Elizabeth is gaining confidence.  And I'm getting exercise and sun and having fun, too.  And Andrew is waiting in the wings, ready to play. 

And now I'm going to contort this post to make it fit into the book club.  That's sort of the thing right there, isn't it?  I'm struggling to find work that provides good work/life balance, so that I can coach t-ball and (someday) be a girl scout leader and volunteer at school and go on field trips and just be there.  There are companies that offer family-friendly, community-oriented benefits.  There are companies that - on paper - offer part-time options.  But finding and then getting those benefits is not exactly easy.  Until employees - specifically, hard-driving, high-achieving, full-time employees in the companies - start pushing to take advantage of those opportunities, they are just words on piece of paper. The more people who overall take advantage of family-friendly policies, demonstrating success while keeping a reasonable work/life balance, the better it will be for everyone. 

The From Left to Write Book Club consists of over 100 bloggers who read books and then write posts inspired by the book (not a review of the book). This month's post was (well, partially) inspired by Good Enough is the New Perfect, by Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple. As a member of the book club, I was given a free copy of the book.  I've only just started it, but already know I'm a "good enough" person, without a doubt.  This post is pretty disjointed and doesn't hang together well, but I'm two months behind in posts and quite honestly, it just has to be good enough!