Monday night my oldest daughter, Ragan had a soccer game. Now usually this would be a family affair, unless of course I was at home in bed with a migraine. Then my wife would faithfully haul all three kids out to the park for the event herself. Well she had some prior engagements so the duty fell upon my shoulders this time and I willingly accepted.
I work from home and some days for one reason or another it’s just hard to get anything accomplished. Monday seemed to be one of those days. Not only was it one of those days, but two of my employers were asking for deliverables on that morning so by the time Monday evening rolled around I was not in the most patient of moods. My daughter was in her usual… shall I say… “chatty” mode. I think God designed her with a particle accelerator about 2 inches behind her lips. She was asked to get a Gatorade (Public, NYSE: PEP) from the pantry for the game. Of course the drink was not cold, which she pointed out so it was suggested that I put some from the refrigerator that I had premixed into a container for her. I found a suitable thermos, but she wanted to use the large plastic mug that I had pulled out while searching. I was trying to patient so I figured, why not (foreshadowing).
This game was not at the usual location, which is 10 minutes from where we live. It is half an hour (without traffic) on the other side of town. I’ve never been there so I call the coach who also happens to be very close friends with us and secure directions to my destination. So I’m on the way to the game with all three kids, a seven year old girl, a four year old boy and a 10 month old itty bitty whittle girl (who also has Daddy wrapped around her whittle finger). The interstate is the best route initially as there are no turns for a while, which is good because as it happens there is no place to put the mug full of Gatorade which we’ve brought along for the ride. I’ve got it on the floor of the minivan right beside me with my hand rested on top of it to steady it. The kids are great. They are laughing and not fighting or bickering. The baby is playing with a toy and looking out the window. This isn’t so bad.
We get off the interstate and start towards the soccer field which is in the not so nice part of our town. This is also rush hour so traffic is terrible. Ok, still not too bad. I left 45 minutes before the game starts. That’s 30 minutes travel time to be there in time for the 15 minute pre-game warm-up. We should be fine. Suddenly I’m startled by a strange sound. What’s that dinging noise. There it is again. I still haven’t figured out my wife’s new minivan so during the next halt in traffic movement I survey the dashboard to see what is the matter. Hmmmm. No gas. I mean none. Zilch. Nada. Great.
The first few gas stations I drive past look really run down; especially scary. Furthermore I don’t see any pay at the pump signs, so I continue on and hope that the fumes in the tank will somehow propel us further. We do make it to a BP (Public, NYSE: BP) at the next traffic light and I pull in. I step out and start filling the tank as quickly as possible. Of course Avery (the baby) starts crying even though I’m right on the other side of the glass from her making as many funny and ridiculous faces as I can. I finish up, put the gas cap back on and answer “Yes” to the pumps question, “Would you like a receipt?” But guess what. No receipt. Of course. Isn’t that always the case. I just pray that there’s a pen in the minivan. After searching the glove compartment and the diaper bag I find a pen and scribble the pertinent facts about the transaction (I maintain our money records if you couldn’t have guessed) and jump back in the driver’s seat. I’m so aggravated. The baby is crying now. The kids are now asking me a zillion questions about when we are going to get there and what are we going to eat for dinner and blah blah blah. “Are you guys buckled up!?… Good.” I zip around the gas station and pull back out onto the main highway to get back on track to our destination. My right hand gravitates back down to where it previously rested atop the drink and… umm… awe man! I look down and the mug is not upright. Noooo! It’s lying flat on the floor. I quickly pick it up in the futile hopes that it somehow just happened, but of course it didn’t and the mug is a LOT lighter than it previously was. Well, no sense crying over spilled… Gatorade.
In rush hour traffic there are a lot more cars on the road. Duh. You need a lot more forewarning about things ahead. If you have a two-lane highway that empties into a one-lane road it’d be nice to know that ahead of time. Also if you happen to be in the lane that’s the “must turn right” lane it’d be nice to know about that two blocks ahead. But of course I’ve never been to this particular field so I didn’t realize this. I had to try and beg people to let me into the extremely long line of cars full of people that did know this. I know they were all thinking, “Why didn’t you get in line waaaay back there like the rest of us, you jerk!” Because, sir, I’m a jerk and well… I didn’t know.” Anyway, a nice Asian person let me in and we were finally almost there. All I had to do was find 57th Ave. Ok, there’s 52nd Ave. Almost there. There’s 58th Ave. Huh? There’s 60th Ave. Obviously I’ve missed it. I turned off on 61st Ave and turn around in some persons driveway. I head back and find a road that I suspect may be 57th Avenue. It is. Only someone has knocked down the street sign. Nice. Just about a half mile down the unmarked road and we are at the Y.M.C.A.
I get the kids out of the minivan and get the stroller out of the back and get the diaper bag, all the while the baby is screaming to be let out. I get the now empty mug and put it in the back of the minivan to my daughter’s dismay and inform her that, yes, Daddy spilled the drink and we don’t have anything to replace it with. I go around and unbuckle the baby and lift her out of the car seat and… woe-nelly! What’s that smell?! Great, a poopy diaper. With the baby securely fastened into the stroller and the older kids holding onto the sides we make our way onto the field. We are still about five minutes before the game, so not too bad. Ragan runs ahead to warm up with her teammates and Gavin takes off behind her. I make it to the sidelines where the other moms are sitting and where Gavin has made his way to greet his teacher, who’s daughter plays on Ragan’s team. I ask Gavin’s teacher to watch out for him so I can change the baby’s diaper.
She kindly obliges and I head off with baby in one arm, diaper and wipes in the other hand. I get to the building with the restrooms and walk inside the mens room. Of course I knew better, but I figured I’d check it out just for giggles. Yuck. To the minivan! My little princess and I make the trek to the minivan and I get the nice automated sliding side door open and lay her on the floor. I get the new diaper open and ready for a quick swap-in. Then I open the pack of wipes to be ready for the cleanup. Nice. I’ve got one crinkled up, slightly moist wipe. This should get really interesting. I open up “the package” to survey the damage and Thank You Jesus it wasn’t a nuclear disaster. It was mostly solid and well formed with a slightly piquant odor, for you dookie connoisseurs. I made the most of it with my rations. I was using the edges of the soiled diaper that weren’t so soiled. I’ve never been so creative in soiled diaper cleaning in all my life. Anyway, as any good dad would do I got the job done and got back to the game, depositing the battle debris in a dumpster along the way.
I don’t really recall much of the game as I didn’t get to watch that much of it. My time was spent watching my son kick a soccer ball around the sidelines and keeping my daughter from getting completely filthy while chasing him around. Yes, she is walking at 10 months old. 🙂 At the end of each quarter I felt the failure of fatherhood as I watched the sweat drip down Ragan’s forehead. She smiled up at me and listened attentively to her coach, not complaining that we didn’t have anything for her to drink. I can’t express how bad that hurt me.
The game ended and the snacks came out, which was a huge relief to me. Ragan got a drink and something to snack on. They had some extras so Gavin got some as well. By this time Avery was tired and pulling my hair out while trying to either eat the right side of my neck or knock herself unconscious on my shoulder. While the kids snacked I relayed the story of the spilled drink to a couple of the moms and how bad I felt about it. I got the baby into her stroller and she calmed down thankfully, almost as to say, “Yes, I’m ready to go home father.”
We started to head for the minivan and Ragan, my seven year old daughter who had been listening to my conversation earlier asks me, “Daddy? You spilled my Gatorade in mommy’s van?” I reply, “Yes.” She says simply, “Mommy is going to kill you.” …