Thursday, December 21, 2017

WTFAYHDN?


Every year, I take one of the boys with me to pick out the family Christmas tree. Like Trump's cabinet, it's on a rotational basis and this year it was Peter's turn.

The problem was that two weeks ago, I pinched a nerve and managed to throw out my back. I was watching Peter totally rocking the bench at one of his basketball games. After three hours I tried to stand up and the emphasis is most definitely on 'tried'. I couldn't stand up, walk, or sit down without piercing pains, so it's been a fun two weeks.

On Monday, I had an MRI done and at least it is not a slipped disc and no surgery is needed. I know this has nothing to do with this story, but MRI's suck. Big time. Angie and I recently watched an episode of CSI Las Vegas where a horse with a broken leg was given an MRI. What a load of horseshit! If there is an MRI machine big enough for a horse, then why the hell do they make super-humans like me cram myself into a custom-fit coffin for 20 minutes?

The bright side of my being immobilized is that Angie finally got to fully embrace the tree hunting experience. Even brighter is that she was not saddled with David or Tom, who generally pick the first tree they see. No, no - she hit pay dirt with Peter, who takes his responsibility of picking the family tree extremely serious. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Angie and Peter left to get the tree and David and Tom spent the next four hours asking the same question.

'Why are they taking so long?'

'Because it's Peter.'

'Oh, right.'

Don't get me wrong, I love the tradition. It's just that Peter can drive you nuttier than fruit cake when it comes to picking out THE perfect tree. Our last adventure involved going to three different lots and inspecting every single tree on all three lots at least twice. He does not waver or cave into pressure like 'I'm freakin' cold! Would you just pick one already? How about this one? This one looks great, doesn't it? Come on, Peter. PLEEEEAAASE!!!'. Oh, yeah - he also has an undersized bladder and Christmas tree lots, at least the ones in Germany, do not have toilets. They also do not accept anything other than cash, but there is no point in bringing up old shit that really happened to me and pissed me off beyond belief at the time.

I thought at first I might be overdramatizing my memory of Peter's last hunt, but the excerpt above matched Angie's recount of events almost word for word. Unless you ask Peter.

The only point where I can take pride is that out of all of the trees that I helped to hunt over the years ALL of them fit in our car. Angie had to pay the guy an extra five Euros because the tree did not fit and he had to secure the trunk with string. Ha! Who the hell goes hunting without the ability to transport the trophy back to the cabin? Angie. 

Anyone that has been to our place can confirm that Simba is a crazy cat. His look, though, when we turned our living room into a forest, confirmed that our feelings for each other are mutual.


I call it the 'WTFAYHDN?' look. The last five letters stand for 'Are You Humans Doing Now?' and I trust in your creative cryptic skills to decipher the rest.
--------------------------------------------
Ladder Talk: 
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That it was the last day of school, that I went to Jonas' house and started on the project for religion, that I'm going to Arman's house to spend the night, and that I got to pick the tree.
David: That finally it is the break and I could meet with Cyril.
Tom: That I didn't have training and that we got the tree.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That David was bugging me. 
David: That after playing with Cyril, I remembered that I still had training.
Tom: I didn't have a worst part.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: Decorate the tree with Arman. 
David: I want to have fun on my first day of the break.
Tom: I want to have fun decorating the tree and play with Lilly and Max.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Split Decision


Tommy's gymnastics training switched after the summer break to six days a week. That's right! It's not enough that Angie and I inflict sufficient pain on ourselves on Saturday mornings; we now have the joy of watching Tommy inflict a different type of pain on his body. It's also worth pointing out that, after this switch, Tommy now spends more hours in training than Angie does working. Just saying. 

Most of the gymnastics clubs in the area are "hobby" clubs. The "hobby" clubs are the ones for normal kids. You know, training is twice a week for an hour, they have tournaments every other weekend and win lots of trophies and medals. They play to have fun, not to win, and everyone can stay on the team for as long as they want. Needless to say, Tommy is not a normal kid.

Tommy is in a special program. They only have two tournaments a year and instead of a medal, they determine whether or not you get invited to continue in the program for another year. If you don't show steady improvement, you might want to start looking for a nearby "hobby" club. Tommy's group started three years ago with ten kids and they are now down to four.

Within the program, there is a special group called the Cadre. These are the cream-of-the-crop. If you're lucky enough to make it into this elite few, you get your own locker and, well, that's pretty much it from what I can tell. Oh, and bragging rights.

To get into the Cadre, you have to excel on both of the two tournaments and score high on all of the stations. Leading up to today's tournament, Tommy's group has had several practice tournaments. Tommy did not make the mark in any of them except the one last week. The training tournaments mean nothing, though, it's how you perform on the big day, so Tommy was a bit nervous. Okay, bullshit. He was more petrified than fossilized wood. My words of wisdom probably did little to quash his anxiety.

'Just do what you did last week.'

Tommy has never been one to listen to anything I tell him, so of course he ignored me and did even better than last week.

Well done, Tommy! Welcome to the Cadre. Don't forget to brag about the locker.
--------------------------------------------
Ladder Talk: 
[Tommy was too busy doing victory flips to do Ladder Talk ]

1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter:
David:
Tom:

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter:
David:
Tom:

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter:
David:
Tom: