Thursday, September 23, 2010

Three for Thursday: More on Dad's Stand for Bullied Daughter, Sports Schedule Woes & Saying Good-Bye to Family Car on 'Modern Family'

Item #1: Dad Stands Up for His Daughter, Follow-Up

Remember the story I wrote about last week about the Florida dad who boarded a school bus after his daughter had been bullied on it, demanded to know the identity of her tormentor(s) and was threatened with arrest? Well more info on the story has come to light.

After the father apologized for his behavior – he was charged with two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and disturbing a school function -- he told the media that his 13-year-old daughter has cerebral palsy and that students on her bus had allegedly repeatedly harassed her, smacked her on the head, spit on her and even tossed a condom at her. Reading all of this and seeing the video below, who can blame this dad for getting angry and storming onto the bus?

Item #2: Sports Schedule Woes

I’m trying to be a good sports parent. Really. I am. *earnest smile plastered on face*

Although I deeply resent how, in order to allow one’s children to participate in youth sports at even a minimum level, one has to assent to having one’s family’s weekends hijacked by uncompromising sports schedules which make visiting family or things like having old fashioned Sunday dinners – as I longed for when I wrote this post – nearly impossible, I’ve been trying to go with the flow these past weeks.

It hasn’t been easy.

The Youngest Boy’s hockey schedule is extremely fluid. Too fluid. To borrow an analogy used on Mad Men on Sunday night, it’s like soup that’s spreading all across the kitchen counter, but no matter how much you try to capture it in a pot or hold it in your hands, there’s still more of it that you’ve missed, that's still on the counter or slips through your fingers and it winds up dripping all over the floor and onto your shoes.

There’s no one regular hockey practice time, therefore, practices pop up in my e-mail box intermittently, most of the time for dates when I’ve already made plans for that particular time slot and have to do major schedule shifting, delaying and appealing to other parents for transportation help in order to accommodate these “new” practice times. (I get that booking hockey times can be extremely challenging, but something that we can at least count on and work with would be nice.)

Just this past weekend, there was a 6:50 p.m. practice scheduled for Sunday. But when The Spouse brought The Youngest Boy to the arena, they were informed that the folks who send out the e-mail schedule updates had mistakenly put “p.m.” instead of “a.m.” The practice was at 6:50 a.m. The Spouse and the other parents who showed up with their kids were admonished to check the hockey web site EVERY DAY to see if there are changes to practice and game schedules that weren’t either e-mailed to us via the hockey calendar e-mail system or the coach. (Like parents have nothing better to do than to chase down the hockey people to see if they’ve decided to switch things around with no notice and without telling anyone. Add it to the list with making sure the kids are fed super-nutritious and home-cooked meals, bathed, clothed, have done their homework and didn’t leave their shoes by the front door so that the dog’ll chew them up.)

Even when the schedules are set, things are still proving rather, shall I say, constraining. The Eldest Boy’s soccer practices go until 8 on Friday nights. One of The Girl’s soccer practices is late on Sunday afternoons, and The Youngest Boy’s hockey games range wildly in their times from very early in the morning – I’m talking 6 a.m., which means he has to be at the arena at 5:30 – on a Saturday or Sunday morning, or they can be in the middle of the day, when he’ll have to wear his uniform to church and race out of there in order to make it to the game. He has a few games on Friday evenings.

What does this all mean? It means that we have practically no weekends where there’s a significant block of free time to, say, drive out to western Massachusetts to visit my parents for an afternoon or spend the day in Boston if we wanted to. I’ve had to tell The Picket Fence Post grandparents that the best way to see their grandchildren is to come to their games.

This is making Mommy extremely frazzled – especially with new hockey practice times cropping up like time bombs waiting to blow the family schedule all to hell – but I’m trying, really, I am, to be a good sport about all this. Go team!. . . and please pass the ginormous cup of java. I really need it.

Item #3: Modern Family: Saying Goodbye to the Old Family Car

Modern Family returned last night for its sophomore season debut and it was funny – I laughed out loud at Cameron’s flinching when Mitchell used the nail gun and the nails went through a wall and nearly impaled Cameron’s back – but I think my expectations for this wonderful show were too high because I wanted it to be off-the-charts hilarious, and it fell short of that.

But there were moments that resonated nonetheless, like the story arc about the old Dunphy family station wagon that Claire wanted Phil to sell because it’d been sitting in their garage, unused, for years. It was the car they used when their children were very young, when Luke was a toddler (and used to frequently puke in it, thus they nicknamed his puke bucket they kept in the car, “Buckety”). While going through the car to prepare it for sale, Claire began to feel nostalgic about when they were a young family, so they took the old bucket of bolts out for one last hurrah and the video below is what happened.

This reminded me of how attached members of the Picket Fence Post family were to our tan mini-van – christened the “funny van” by The Eldest Boy when he was 2, who’d misheard us call it a mini-van; the “funny van” name stuck – when we got rid of it a few years ago. We got it when I was pregnant with my 9-year-old, and when we got rid of it, it was a very sad day for one unnamed member of the Picket Fence Post family.

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