I guess we'll start with baseball. Somehow, I became assistant coach of the 7YO's Little League team, which is hilarious since I barely know the rules of baseball. I can hold my own in a recreational setting, but only because Husband staged an emergency intervention in my mid-twenties. Basically, he couldn't be seen with a girlfriend who played the way I did. I'm very grateful for his tutelage and only wish that any one of my gym teachers could have taken a minor interest in my athletic development because I think I could have had a future in baseball. (Maybe.)
Anyway, I was promoted from "helpful parent" to "coaching staff" mainly for my disciplinarian tendencies—meaning my willingness to yell at kids for the most minor infractions, like climbing the fence of the dugout and rifling through the garbage cans. Things naturally progressed to whacking each other with their gloves and hats, whipping bottles of Gatorade at each other, and spouting language that would make this sailor-girl blush. I did politely ask them to stop, for the record. Their response: "We don't have to listen to you! You're not the coach!" Emboldened, three of the other boys yelled, "Yeah! We don't have to do what you say!!" and then proceeded to kick the bats down off the fence one by one.
At this point, my son distanced himself from the pack and wisely put his hands over his ears after which I unspooled a verbal lashing the volume and length of which set a new personal best for me (and perhaps for any military personnel in attendance as well). This was in the middle of a game, by the way. When I was done, everyone in the field, bleachers, and surrounding playground was frozen, our whole team was sitting quietly on the bench, eyes glued to their cleats, and the coach of the opposing team had peed his pants. Our coach quietly came over and placed the team's baseball cap on my head and I've been a fixture in the dugout ever since. I haven't had to raise my voice again.
That brings us to yesterday. We had a game against a tough team earlier in the week and got absolutely routed. We lost by several powers of ten. The kids were pretty disappointed. To raise their spirits, I decided at the last minute to make some blondies for their next game. There wasn't much time, but I figured I could get them in the oven, run up the street to meet the kids at the bus stop, be back to get them out of the oven with time to spare, let them cool, package them up, and go. That was the plan. I checked it backwards and forwards. Satisfied, I threw the batter into a pan, shoved the pan into the oven, and ran out the door.
Without my keys.
I heard the lock click just as I realized my fatal error. Ugh! That's okay, I thought, there's still 26 minutes to go before they're done. Longer still before they start to smoke. How much longer, I wasn't sure, but surely the bus wouldn't be late. (The bus was late.) Surely, there would be some open windows on the first floor when we got back. I always have some open windows on the first floor. (There weren't. Only second floor windows were open—all of them.) Surely, my neighbors, who have a copy of our key, would be home. (They weren't.) And so on and so forth through all of my usual backup plans, even though I don't think I've ever locked myself out of the house even once previously.
Eleven minutes and counting.
I called Husband to notify him that he married a dumbass. He could be home in an hour at the earliest. Crap. I was going to have to call the fire department like we did that other memorable time. There was no way around it besides breaking a window and risking lacerations. I'm not good with blood. I phoned our friend up the street, who's a firefighter, and asked if he had any tips on breaking and entering one's own home. He said he was calling in a truck.
Me: No, wait, I think I know where a ladder is!
Him: You don't need to be climbing any ladders. I'll call in a truck.
Me: Oh, god. Not again.
Him: It'll be fine, Tammy.
Me: Okay, maybe just a small truck.
Long story short, a BIG truck (and the cops!) arrived within minutes with their fancy ladders, broke in through a second floor bedroom window, and unlocked the front door just in time for me to pull the blondies out of the oven perfectly done. I thanked them sheepishly and promised them no more last-minute baking. I'm pretty sure they've heard that one before. (Plus, my fingers were crossed.) Thanks again, Waltham Fire Department! I really mean it!
So, how does the story end, Tammy? Did the kids win their baseball game and savor their victory over a pan of moist, delicious blondies?
No. They lost by one point. And one of the players had a nut allergy I didn't know about so the blondies never made it out of the car. (WHY DID I PUT NUTS IN THE BLONDIES??? NO ONE KNOWS!!)
The kids played a great game, though. Afterwards, I drove the whole plate of blondies over to my firefighter friend instead. Next time, I'll just pick up some brownies at the store on the way to the game. Or maybe just stay in bed that day.