There are two important characteristics to look for in friendship. The first being pool ownership. The second, and most critical, is this friend allows you full use of their pool if they have to travel.
Let’s just say, I have some of the best friends in all of Texas.
The key to surviving any competitive endeavor in this family whether pool related or not, is to make sure Mad Dog is always on your team. He is a natural-born strategist and the king of trash talk. However, the boys having learned from the best, are now able to verbally spar on his level.
It’s a whole lot of nonsense if you ask me, but apparently the secret ‘man-formula’ to showing respect is hurling insults at one another at a top-rate speed. Full Speed especially enjoys targeting me. If you were a betting kind of person, you might guess it’s because I am the most reactive of our bunch. I can’t speak to this specifically but I am crying right now as I type this.
Pool volleyball is no exception. Mad Dog and I happened to win our first round of games versus the boys. We had to work for it. As we sat around poolside dissecting various aspects of the game, T.Puzzle remained surprisingly unfazed by the loss. Normally, he would brood and mope leaving the whole outing in ruins because he did not win.
“That means you are growing up, when you can lose and still say you are had a fun day at the pool,” Mad Dog said.
I’m not sure exactly why my family still allows me to wield a knife.
To give some context, a few weeks prior to quarantine I decided to begin a meal kit delivery service. Lucky for us, we now have a few meals a week planned and delivered, but the dark side of this is, well, …me.
It all started innocently enough. Sure! I thought. Why not have the boys alternate nights and ‘help’ me. Our first forays into the realm of kitchen adventure were tense. I barked orders and became increasingly exasperated by each and every OBVIOUS question.
Case in point:
Full Speed (asking this while I have burners going and the oven already ablaze): “Where are the paper towels?”
You mean the paper towels that are two feet away from you sitting in the very spot they have sat for NEARLY TWO YEARS? You mean those paper towels?
“Full Speed, could you grab the pulled pork from the fridge? It’s on the third shelf from the top.”
An inordinate amount of time passed, even though I am busy with twenty other things, I pause because I didn’t ask him to go to Timbuktu to get it. Our kitchen ain’t big folks! I look up to see him squatting down absently perusing the bottom draws of our refrigerator.
“Um, Full Speed. Those are DRAWERS, I said SHELF.”
Thinking this solved the issue, I went back to work. And, still, no pulled pork arrived.
With painstaking effort to not lose my cool, I glanced up AGAIN. This time I found him looking at the inside door catchalls that hold condiments and drinks and the like but NOT THE PULLED PORK.
I said this while thrusting my finger at the pulled pork like an accusation.
The whole scenario, while only lasting a minute or two, left me feeling drained.
Fortunately, for all involved, I had finished the chopping portion of our meal prep so the knife was already put away, but other times, I won’t say the danger was imminent, but there were some dangerous moments (at least in my mind).
It’s a harrowing existence as the lone emotional being in a house of super laid-back men. I wouldn’t want it any other way, but I definitely am the most shall we say ‘expressive’ of our family. Most of my outbursts and/or meltdowns are due to the stress of our current situation. Contrary to popular opinion, I am falling within a normal category of cooped-up-and-about-to-lose-it behaviors. My favorite is when Full Speed then imitates my meltdown.
“I’m Mom and I’m mad for no apparent reason. Stop looking at me. Stop taking up space. Stop existing. Just. Stop.”
He does this while flailing his arms about while shouting hysterically.
He’s not wrong.
I commend you if you have yet to lose it. Please tell me how you have managed this feat.
And, if you have lost it, know you are not alone. Just dust yourself off and get on with your day.
I trust you know the difference between a drawer and a shelf so obviously you are already crushing your day.
Things change as time passes. Now, when I take my boys to the movies, they no longer jump up on the seat and shout at the screen during action sequences. While I don’t miss wrangling them into a loosely based version of socially acceptable movie theater behavior, I do miss the wild abandon they would demonstrate as they actively believed they were part of the movie. (Full Speed watching Transformers for the first time is the stuff of legends in our house).
On a personal level, over time I have noticed a shift in the way my body reacts to dips in temperature. Ten years of living in Florida has given me the bold physical constitution of a tiny, very old woman. My midwestern genes fail and I recoil at any temperature below eighty degrees.
My boys tease me endlessly about this.
Recently, Mad Dog purchased me a blanket. It is velvety smooth and weighted. Just the kind of thing to help combat cold weather and the stress of our on-going home renovation.
With the boys on break and the home stuff in full swing, we had to take refuge in our upstairs guest room.
I asked the boys to please bring up my new blanket.
Full Speed could barely contain his mirth. He thought it was hilarious that it was sixty degrees out and I needed this mammoth-like blanket to warm me.
Every family has a structure of ‘power’ so to speak. It’s a dance between allowing everyone to have their say and getting individual needs met. Let’s say you are on a 15 hour road trip one way (true story), and it comes time to decide where and when you might make a pit stop. Each member of the family is allowed input and then a family vote is taken.
Voting System Breakdown
(should be noted this is Mad Dog’s creation):
As an adult and as a child over the age of twelve, myself and Full Speed are afforded one vote respectively.
Full Speed = 1
Mom = 1
Got it so far? It seems straightforward but gets infinitely more complex as the process continues.
T.Puzzle gets a half vote since he is under twelve. However, if he agrees with Mad Dog he gets a full vote.
T.Puzzle = 1/2 vote, bumps to 1 vote when he aligns with Mad Dog.
Mad Dog gets three votes.
Mad Dog = 3 votes
Yes, you read that right… three votes!
In the rare event that T.Puzzle’s half vote slips under the radar and a tie ensues, Mad Dog automatically becomes the tiebreaker.
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”