Monday, June 2, 2014

Parents of High School Athletes: An Analysis

Friday night I attended a regional championship game for high school boys lacrosse. Some that read this will be able to pinpoint which high schools were competing, but to be fair, I am not going to reveal the teams. I am about to bash the parents and don't want to upset anyone, should they find themselves reading this blog (even though my page views are pretty weak and I doubt they will mosey on here).

Now, a few disclaimers - I am not a parent and don't know what that's like. I do not spend a small fortune on anything so I don't have any idea what it's like to send your kid to private school to participate in athletics. All I can say is that I have some idea of what is appropriate to say out loud, and what is not. And I can never imagine being so competitive as a parent that I yell hurtful things at teenagers. However, I am extremely competitive and yell at TVs all the time and will drop an occasional "fuck" when I am playing sports for fun. Ok, 100 "fucks."

Is high school lacrosse really the end all be all? These kids try, I witnessed it. But I also witnessed idiotic parents yelling nonsense for 2 hours. It was laughable, harmful, unbelievable; and I loved every minute. At one point we were down 5-2, and that's when I started taking notes...

"Who the hell is coaching?!" I am related to a coach, so this was an utterance I wanted to get worse so I could engage with a dad. It got better (un)fortunately.

"What the hell is wrong with them?!" This was one of my favorite lines because I would venture to guess that bad parenting is what is "wrong" with them.

"It's like they don't care!" We are in a regional final. And it's the first quarter. Call me when you're down by 10 in the 4th. Then we can talk about who cares.

"He pushed him! That's a penalty!" Thanks for the great reffing. But there happen to be 3 refs on the field. And your kid has to follow the rules. If you aren't allowed to go in the crease, don't.

"Where is everyone?!" This was a parent noticing that there were no open teammates for the kid with the ball to pass to. Maybe if no one is there he should just do something about it. So he did. And then we were winning.

Suddenly, a kid takes a dive to get the ball. "Trip!!!!!" You wish. People were literally losing their voices they were yelling so much. All I can say is poor Jack, whoever he is. Everyone kept wanting Jack to do more. "What are you doing, Jack?!" they would say. I saw it a few games back, too. Jack will never be good enough. Unless they win of course.

Whenever the team missed a shot, a collective "ehhhhh" or "ughhhh" or "ahhhhh" was let out. So disappointed.

"Is anybody helping him?!?!" Someone was unfamiliar with the fact that if you have the ball you WILL be attacked. And no one was there, I will give them that. Although there were 4 seconds left in the half and a calmer mother was quick to point this out to the psycho dad.

"Get open get open! Put it in! Go hard!" You hear it....

"Yeah baaaaabbbbby! That's the way to do it!" Jesus. Relax.

10-5. We used to be down 5-2. Sooooo... SETTLE DOWN. Freaks.

A woman coughs as if choking. Dying from the yelling.

"Don't force it!" REALLY? Now you want to take it easy? You were dying twenty minutes ago for goals. So now we are up 11-5 and the ref calls a penalty on us. "Oh I see you wanna keep em in the game, huh ref?!" Yes, a conspiracy in high school athletics. Serious business. Nothing else in the world to worry about.

"Behind you!!! Look for this guy!!!!" Sir, who are you talking to? You are 100 feet away and they are unable to see the pointing. Then, it get's worse. The most rhythmically challenged people EVER start a "DE-FENSE" chant. It's hard to describe, but it was all wrong. This ex-cheerleader was embarrassed.

A perfect goal is scored and I died inside when I realized I wasn't getting video of the dad in front of me. There was thrashing and insane reaction. Like this was the best fucking thing that he had ever seen. A spin move even. It was like he was trying to escape a shark attack. That's the only way to give you the mental image.

Another "baby" uttered. What is this, 1994?

Definitely less crap yelled when you're up 14-6. At the loss I witnessed a few weeks back there was a homophobic "panty hoes" reference towards the refs. Something about them wearing them.

It's 15-7. "How 'bout the slash!!!!!" Shut up.

"Turn around, Justin!!!" God dammit Justin DO WHAT YOU WANT.

The ref calls a penalty on us. Good parent says "Be careful!" Bad parent yells "COME ON!" as if the kid wasn't being a douche. Another penalty. The other team scores. "Nice going, ref!" This is textbook whiney parents of athletes. The body language when the kids lose the ball is incredible. It's like the shark attack again. And now we have a parent explaining a rule to the ref "in case [he was] wondering." No, I am sure he was not wondering, you dick.

Five minutes to go. 16-9. Us. Oh, a one-off convo between parents. "Here's the thing..." Blah blah blah something about refs sucking. I don't see these dads out there running around. Maybe when you make a super fantastic living you are too good for that kind of thing and you're new purpose is making others feel bad (please remember this is my anger talking).

They hate scoring now. "HOLD IT! SETTLE IT!" Have to run the clock. It's 17-9 and a comeback is pretty much impossible. Oh they hate scoring so much. SO MUCH YELLING. Longest 3 and a half minutes of my life.

"WAY TO GO, COLIN!" They love their generic-named kids again. Happiness and smiles. 18-11 final.

And now everyone is so grateful to be alive, and they wave to Father down on the field, since it's a Catholic school and of course it's all about being good Christians (and shaming their kids). Face off kid is the star, and another parent turns to his parents and says "whatever you fed him tonight, keep feeding it to him." Face off kid's dad replies "I got him a car." OF COURSE YOU DID. #whitepeopleproblems. No word on what make or model yet. I am betting it's somewhere between a Jeep Liberty and a C-Class.

So what have we learned from all of this? A. Parents are annoying. B. Being a good Christian means nothing while the ball is in play. C. If you pay enough you can demand 100% excellence all day, every day. D. If you are in the lacrosse regional championships you can get a new car. E. My kids will be so good at sports I won't have to yell and it's baseball season so screw lacrosse.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Wedding Stress and Doctors Visits: A Month-In-Review

I was so stressed out in April that I had to have an MRI. I actually can't believe I didn't blog at all last month, as this seems like something I would want to write about. Believe me, I tell EVERYONE about it. Let's just say this wedding planning shit is not to be taken lightly. And I was just trying to get the save the dates out. Which are technically, irrelevant. They are amazing of course, so mission accomplished.

I want people to know that I was not even feeling stressed. Like at all. I was just doing the deal: work, relationship, wedding, repeat. I guess work was a tad chaotic. And my fiancĂ© was working 80 hours a week. And what isn't stressful about getting 300 pieces in the mail at the mercy of the UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE? I put that in CAPS because I hate the USPS. Don't get me started. So truth - I was stressed. But why the hell would something so wonderful cause me so much pain? 

I was at the doctor with what I thought was a sinus infection. Those are normal for me. Well, after many great days on steroids, and a few fits of rage, I was back at the doc's. Turns out something was actually off with my jaw. TMJ he thought! Temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Quite a pleasure. My jaw was so sore, I couldn't eat (which is every bride's dream, amirite?), I couldn't sleep, I had so much pain I wasn't working out, and had a heating pad with me at all times. And the doctor told me to stop chewing gum. This has now changed my life completely as I am now addicted to mints. Altoid anyone? 

So why did this occur? It is believed that I grind my teeth so severely that I caused this. I already knew I ground my teeth; I wear a mouth guard every night. But the stress was apparently unbearable and I got really bad. So how do you prevent it? Don't stress. My doctor told me to not get stressed and I was all like "MY WEDDING IS STILL 6 MONTHS AWAY." Fucks sake. 

So I have tried to take some preventative measures. I cancelled my wedding. JK, JK. I have just stopped worrying about it. It's amazing what you can still accomplish if you just take it one plan at a time. For example, we started looking at honeymoon spots. That was what had my attention for more than a week. Not stressful at all. We disagreed on destination, we disagreed on days spent, we disagreed on the rooms; oh yes, stress FREE. You'll be happy to know we settled on something, but I have been popping valiums. 

Last week, it was all about ceremony music. And it was DISASTER, but I got through it calmly and with little jaw irritation. Disaster you ask? I can't play anything that isn't "sacred in nature." Thanks, Catholics. No "Love, Actually" scene recreation. Depressed, yes. Stressed, NO.

So any brides-to-be out there, I encourage you to get organized and take it a little at a time. I gave myself 14 months, and it is zipping by so quickly! And I also encourage you to have an involved future spouse, an amazing coordinator at the church, a great friend who can design everything to be printed, a florist who will sell to you at wholesale, a flexible job, involved parents, unlimited means, and health insurance. 

And no I don't have unlimited means. But I know it would make things less stressful.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Chivalry is More Dead than the Squirrel I Just Ran Over

Can you count on one hand the number of times your significant other has opened a car door for you? Have you been carrying multiple bags and a door slams shut on you as you race to get through it while the gentleman who went through it ahead of you continues to move along? Do you ask your man to do you a favor and he fails due to your "inability to speak clearly" or because you "didn't remind him or text?" F this. F ALL of this. Chivalry is dead, my friends. And it shouldn't be.

For those of you who are stupid, chivalry is "an honorable and polite way of behaving especially toward women." This of course comes from a medieval system of values (such as loyalty and honor) that knights were expected to follow. No one can be to sure where it fell off, but obviously times have changed. And maybe some of you are feminists and want to do everything for yourself, but I am not. I am lazy, and if men can make my day a little easier, great.

Yesterday, I was walking back into my office following lunch. A gentleman was enjoying a drag near the entrance and made his way over to the door in between hits when I walked up. He opened the door and held it for me. This wasn't even because of convenience. He went out of his way. CHIVALRY. The guy I saw today at lunch smoking outside the door struggled to even make eye contact. And that's what the norm is. No contact.

Another major issue that arises tends to be more of a problem when men and women are courting each other. This has never been something I have pushed too hard, but I hear about it far too often. Men, PAY FOR DINNER. Sometimes I act quickly and pay for dates in advance, i.e. tickets to sporting events. The first date with my future spouse was something I arranged and paid for. It was only $120, but don't worry he bought me a coney dog after the game (sense the tone). He also bought me a diamond ring so I consider us even. But my point is that sometimes chivalry isn't given a chance, and alas, it is dead because the woman never allowed it to grow. I take responsibility for this. But let's face facts; going dutch is a joke.

So part of me hates that I expect men to behave like this. I am a strong woman, who generally intimidates men and one day, hopes to boss men around. And lately we have heard much of women "leaning in" and being powerful in the workplace as well as society. But hey, ladies, WE SHOULD GET SOME SPECIAL TREATMENT! We have babies for these guys. We are sometimes (monthly) dealing with painful cramping and crabbiness. Is it so bad that I need a guy to go get me a Blizzard every once in a while?? Now I will say that a certain man I know was asked to pick up feminine hygiene products recently and while at first he refused (and lied his way out of it), he finally came around and was very willing. CHIVALRY. However, the task was called off to save his pride. We can be chivalrous too, boys! But it was a test and he passed.

Now to my friends in same-sex relationships. This means NOTHING. There are still the same opportunities for chivalry. I suspect you lady-loving ladies come into contact with men on a daily basis. They can still hold doors for you! And men, be chivalrous with each other! If it results in fighting over door holding responsibilities, SO BE IT! Would you rather be left in the dust while your significant keeps worrying about himself?! Sometimes going dutch becomes the habit, but at least take turns treating each other. Splitting a bill is boring.

So go ahead and treat your lady tonight. And hold the door for someone. And don't for one second think I don't hold the door for everyone. I usually hold the door too early and then people think they have to run and then I end up feeling shitty about being polite. It's a vicious cycle.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Starbucks is a Powerful Beast

It will come as no surprise to you that I am a coffee addict. I love it and I have been drinking it for as long as I can remember. Remember when you always heard the BS line that coffee stunts your growth? Well I am here to tell you that I started drinking coffee at a prepubescent age and I have shot up to 5'10". My mother used to give me coffee at church, well that's a lie, I would take her cup and drink it all. It might not have been the best thing to let me drink at a young age, but I have always loved it, bottom line.

As you can imagine, I drink coffee on a daily basis. I am an active Starbucks Gold Card holder, and on the days I don't stop at Starbucks, I find coffee a number of ways, and the list of ways is mighty. I might brew a pot at home. I might use the Keurig at home. I might bring my K-cup to the office and use the Keurig in the conference room. I might drink the horrible coffee that is brewed in our break room. I might stop at any number of stores that brew coffee and buy a cup, but if I am doing that I might as well be at Starbucks. But every day, I have coffee. It is my most favorite thing.

Starbucks is more or less the brand I am most loyal to. I spend more money on Starbucks than gasoline (to be fair I have a small car with excellent MPGs and work 2 miles from my home). The app I open on my phone almost as much as Facebook is the Starbucks app. When people buy me presents they purchase me Starbucks gift cards. This year my birthday collection was a whopping $120 and Christmas earned me about $50. I have a Starbucks location for every single move I make. For example, I have a "on the way to work" Starbucks. I have a "my on the way to work Starbucks is closed for some asinine reason so this is my backup" Starbucks, which I will explain momentarily. I have a "going to visit my parents" Starbucks, a "getting my hair done" Starbucks, a "this Starbucks is on the way to everything" Starbucks, and my personal favorite, "I f-ing hate this Starbucks and everyone that works here but you are right here and I was within walking distance and my app sent me a notification" Starbucks. It's tough to be loyal when you really hate the staff at a Starbucks, but we all have to make sacrifices once in a while.

This morning, I decided to stop at my "on the way to work" Starbucks. This is my second go at this version of Starbucks, having just moved to this community about 4 months ago. I used to go to the BEST "on the way to work" Starbucks. It had everything you wanted in a staff; just splendid baristas. However, parking was a struggle and there was no drive thru. There were however always people begging outside, which has become somewhat of a plus. It's hysterical what certain people will beg for... I have on more than one occasion been asked for a cinnamon roll and hot chocolate... it's better than giving cash. But I am no longer living over there, and the new Starbucks is less exciting. The drive thru lane on the other hand is always at least 10 cars deep and drives me completely insane. Not today though. Today, THEY WERE CLOSED.

What the hell?! This is unprecidented. Luckily, I didn't have to even enter the parking lot to figure out why. I still don't technically know WHY, but I saw a man go up to the door and read a sign, and go back to his car. And I noticed there wasn't a soul in the drive thru, which was totally fishy. Well this screws up everything. So about 4 Michigan lefts later, I was at "my on the way to work Starbucks is closed for some asinine reason so this is my backup" Starbucks. It's only 1 mile away. Closer to work actually. This is the WORST Starbucks in a 50-mile radius (and for the record, there are over 45 locations within 15 miles of here. Yes, for real). There is no parking, there is no easy way in or out, and there is no drive thru. And today, it was everyone's backup. I made it in and out and hated every minute, but I got my fix.

There is only one point to this post. It is crazy what I would do, and what other people would do, for Starbucks. I am late for Starbucks. I drive out of my way for Starbucks. I spend my paycheck for Starbucks. And DO NOT jump in here and say there are so many other options and they're cheaper. I have done the research. All the other places have a far inferior product, and most straight coffee is MORE expensive).  I have even dressed up like Starbucks. This is my favorite brand and it is very hard for Starbucks to upset me. They have been loyal to me, too. We are in a beautiful relationship and I love them. I just wanted to let the world know.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Death of a Genius: A Rant

I know, I know. Everyone is talking about Philip Seymour Hoffman dying from a heroin overdose with a god damn needle in his arm. It's sick and horrifying and luckily it wasn't your loved one so that's good, and oh yeah, you don't really know anything about addiction so you think to yourself, "he should have chosen to stop and poor bastard left 3 kids and a girlfriend behind. What a sad, sad story."

Yes. It is sad. So sad that I am having what we in the business call an "emotional hangover." What business is that? The business of recovery. I have an addiction problem as well, and I am in recovery at this point in my life. Those of us that are lucky enough to have gotten to a point of sobriety and cleanliness tend to say things that non-addicts and non-alcoholics don't say.  (I say lucky because we know that millions of people are not so lucky.) An emotional hangover comes when we let emotions get the best of us, and it puts us in a state of sorrow, and in some cases, self pity. Today, my emotions are ranging from grief to vengeful anger. I understand that many people do not, and will not ever understand what addiction is really about, but I can promise you this: no bloody person on the face of this earth chooses to be an addict. Some people just are. Whether they had a chance to stop at one point, we may never know. And if they somehow stumble into recovery, they may stay clean and sober. Unfortunately, we all know people who have died due to alcohol and drug addiction, and in most cases there is nothing anyone can do about it.

I took my last drink and did my last drug in July 2005. This is not something I tell everyone. I tell you now because I want people to know that this isn't just me complaining on my blog. I am doing it because this is something that is a part of my life. Wait, scratch that. IT IS MY LIFE. Everyday is a day I don't drink. The fact that we as addicts and alcoholics make conscious thoughts regarding not drinking is something "normal" people will never get. And they don't ever have to get it. But what I used to brush off has now taken me to a place I didn't want to arrive at today. I don't want to get upset with people speaking their mind. I would like to think I am more open minded than that. I don't want to get upset because people don't know anything about addiction and have no reason to know anything about it. The thing is, if people don't understand it, then they should say nothing about it. Please do not complain about addicts doing it to themselves. Sure, they might buy the substance and use it, but it's not a conventional choice like what we are going to have for dinner. In this disease, there is no choice. We can't stop (No Miley Cyrus jokes, please). We have lost the power of choice, and we use to survive.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of the most gifted and talented actors of our generation. I usually get frustrated with celebrities, and spend more time criticizing the shitty ones than praising the great ones. But this guy was so magnificent, it made me want to drop everything and just go to LA and try to make it big. He inspired me. He made movies better, and I couldn't help but love him in everything. What would Along Came Polly be without PSH? A Friends episode, basically. He was so brilliant, and he will be so truly missed, taken too young. And while there are people out there who question where the hell his family was in all of this, and there are those who think mourning him is a waste of time, I refuse to sit here and accept that mindset (although maybe I should).

If you do not understand addiction, please do not spew hate about addiction. If you are hurting watching others fail at recovering, then get help for yourself. And if you insist on being ignorant and trolling for people like me to react to your ridiculous statements about the situation, then well done. It worked today. I do however plan to become stronger because of this, and push myself into further educating people and helping anyone who struggles with this disease. And I'll pray for you, person who doesn't know what they're talking about, because you need help more than us addicts.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Aren't We Better Than This?

As you know, this blog is for us to discuss the finer things. I am one who enjoys said things. I am not rich, but I sometimes pretend to be. And I have high hopes for my future. But there are some things out there that I encounter on a daily basis that are not fine AT ALL. They are in fact the opposite of fine. This can be described as unsophisticated, or shabby, or cheap. I am sure you have already figured out that I am talking about the worst most horrible product on the planet. Styrofoam.

Yesterday I was enjoying lunch at a favorite spot of mine. They have an upscale clientele and they seem to be busy enough to turn a hefty profit. They have drink cups made of paper, and that is to be expected. But if you are going to get water, which leaves them no profit, then you are going to get the dreaded styrofoam water cup, and you're going to like it. Well I DON'T like it, frankly. AT ALL. I almost want to pay to have a large cup, even though I am just getting water. Like this place doesn't make enough to buy a little bit more expensive of a cup that's a little better for the environment. I don't buy it. And I just can't live like this.

So after a healthy bitching, I figured it wasn't worth freaking out about. Well that all changed when I went to one of the most expensive and fabulous restaurants in town and had to take home some of my steak. This place makes plenty of money. They are so high brow they trick you into thinking there is no self-parking and force you to valet. They add 20% gratuity if they feel you look like a scumbag. They are Fancy. Pants. So what do you think they put my steak in? STYROFOAM. How obnoxious. For a place that is so ridiculously over the top that they are serving quinoa in an appetizer, you would think they had the revenue stream to give me a paper container, or hell, just wrap it in an aluminum swan. I just don't understand this and never will. Now I will forever associate this great restaurant with a Coney Island. And it was the best meal I have had in months. Too bad.

So what's with everyone having styrofoam? Is it SO much cheaper? PLEASE just stop. I beg of you. You might as well put a sign up that says "The Earth Can Suck It."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Hate When I Know People are Cheaters

When I was between colleges and I used to get shit-faced every night and post up at Fishbones, a local restaurant with a happening high school reunion night scene, I may have been what some would consider a "cheater." In my defense, I never had the best relationships. I would date people whom I assumed would cheat on me, which I know is bullshit of me to say, but let's face it; I was drunk anyway. But as I travel further into the joy that is adulthood, I realize that far too many people I know cheat on their spouses and I don't like it. And now that I am in a real relationship, and I actually love and respect my future spouse, I am happy to stand on my pedestal and say "if you are cheating on your spouse, you are kind of a piece of shit."

I don't know why this is on my mind right now, but it is, and I honestly feel like it's always on my mind... My future spouse and I have a very real agreement: if you cheat, you're done. Simple. Makes sense. What I am really upset with here is not him cheating on me; it's people I know that are currently cheating. DON'T PUT THAT ON ME. When people cheat and let others in on their secret, not only does a black cloud hang over the cheaters, it looms over the people that know. I don't want to know you are a horrible person. That should be left for me to figure out on my own, based on judgement and assumptions with little to no evidentiary support. I don't want to know that you are immoral and have hurt someone. I don't want to know God has something special planned for you. I want to know nothing about it. But that's not how the world works. I know everything about everyone, and it's too much for me to handle! <wipes tear>

One very REAL example of this involves a local athlete. I don't even know the guy on a personal level. But I know he is good looking and rich and married and cheats. Now, athletes might be bad examples because they more than likely cheat, but when I know without any doubt that they are shitty husbands, I lose respect and can't even look at them the same way. I want to cheer for you, dipshit, and I want to have this picture hanging on my wall of you (and it's hanging there regardless...) but I see you and I hate you. UGH. You suck and now I feel bad for encouraging you to succeed.

Knowing an average person who cheats is of course, worse. So you are my work associate and I like you. And you seem to be happily married and have a wonderful life, and for a time I probably find myself jealous of you. But then I find out you are cheating on your spouse and I confirm it and someone spots you at the park making out and then someone sees you in a conference room doubled up on a chair, and now all I can think to do is send your husband a private facebook message to alert him of your infidelities and I hate you. STOP MAKING ME HATE YOU, CHEATER. The point here is that cheating isn't just hard on the cheater; it's hard on everyone who knows the cheating exists. I do not wish to know you are a cheater. I want to have a peaceful mind. I want to think about non-cheaters.

So a message to all you cheaters out there: GET DIVORCED. You pussies. 

Happy New Year!