Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Man Can Cook

My wife took our kids to the beach this week. They left Father’s Day morning, so we celebrated Father’s Day on Saturday. They caravanned with my younger sister and her kids. My brother-in-law, like me, has to work and couldn’t get away either.

Before she left, my wife prepared dinners for me and stuck them in the freezer, letting me know that she’d taken care of the week and suggested I should go out to eat a couple of nights. This is nothing new. She’s done it before. There have been times before when my family had to go on vacation without me. It’s a fact of life and fact of work, and one that keeps the bills paid.

However, there was something a little different about this trip.

It’s the first time I can remember that I didn’t take at least a tad bit of offense at my wife’s preparations for making sure I would eat well in the evenings.

My wife does the cooking at our house and she’s better at it than I am. However, it’s not like I can’t cook.  There have been times when I handled the cooking for myself and the kids. I also was on my own for a few years before I got married and I survived.

So, on previous trips, when my wife did all the prep work for me, I would get a little bit miffed. I took her preparations as implying that I was helpless without her. And while it may be true, it’s still a lot to take. I know I can cook.

The truth is, so does my wife.

When she prepares meals for me, she doesn’t do it to imply that I can’t cook. She does it as she knows that I work hard every day and she wants to make dinner as easy as possible for me when I get home.

It’s not a sign of concern,

It’s a show of love.

Man can learn to cook. I’ve proved that.

However, more important is that Man Can Learn.

Honey, I can’t wait to see you and the boys when you return. I love you!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Black Rubber Pellets a Harbinger of Fall

My back seat is dotted with little black rubber pellets.

This event first happened two years ago when my younger son started playing football. The local park where they played nearly half of the games has turf made from recycled tires (similar to the baseball field of the Tampa Bay Rays). Little pieces break off and get into kids clothes and shoes. The pieces end up in the car and in front of the door where my son removes his cleats.

We didn’t have to deal with the black pellets much during my son’s first season. He practiced at a local middle school, so we only saw the pellets the few times that he played games at the local park. However, last season he went to pre-season “strength and agility” camp, held at the park, and then practiced at the park through the football season. Every day, there were more and more pellets in my car.

I tried to clean the pellets out of the car. It made it better for a while. However, by mid season, I felt like I'd thrown out the equivalent of a tire. What was worse was that they all over the garage. Once, when my mother visited, she saw the pellets and got alarmed. She thought we had mice. She relaxed after I told her what it really was, a sign that football is on the schedule. After the season was over, I took the car to a car wash and vacuumed as much as I could, at least before the vacuum valves got stopped up.

Well, with the end of school and the start of June, Strength and Agility Camp have begun. The camp is being held at the park. And my car is, as I said above, dotted with black pellets.

A sign that football season is on its way.

A sign that hours of practice and team building with parents is on its way.

And a sign that the game that I watch live on Saturday is more important than any game I will watch on TV.

It may be June, but the excitement of fall is building.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Eagle Time

My teenager wants to be an Eagle Scout.

He came to Scouting later than most boys. He didn’t participate in Scouts when we lived in Oregon. When he first heard about Scouts here in Georgia, he was already at the age of a Webelo, the last step before shifting to Boy Scouts.  

Still, he joined and has had a lot of fun with it. He’s been on camping trips, visited many places, learned a lot, and attended summer camp. This summer will be his third year of summer camp. Something inside me, though, tells me it will be his last year.

At this time, he’s currently a Star Scout. He’s completing his six-month leadership requirement that he needs to reach the rank of Life Scout, one step below Eagle. After he completes his leadership requirement, he’ll go through a Board of Review and then hopefully earn his Life badge. This should happen sometime in July. After that, only the Eagle Scout rank remains.  

To obtain Eagle, he will need another six-month leadership position, service hours, completion of certain merit badges (almost done already). What worries him, though, is the requirement of an Eagle service project.

The service project will take a lot of time and planning, time that he will have little of pretty soon. He starts high school in the fall and is getting involved with marching band. Because he has marching band camp within a couple of weeks of returning from scout camp, the majority of my son’s free time will disappear. Also, the marching band is planning a trip to Europe his sophomore year. He needs to start raising money now.

When he’s not in the band, he will be doing baseball. He won’t be trying out for the school team, as he doesn’t want to spend the season on the bench. Instead, he’ll play rec ball where he gets three at-bats per game and gets rotated between the outfield and second base. He has two spring seasons of rec ball left before he’ll age out of what’s organized locally. He gave up fall baseball last year because he had too much going on already. Nothing, though, will eclipse his last two seasons of spring ball.

Then there’s the little matter of studying.

My son knows he needs to maintain his grades in order to enjoy extracurricular activities. He’s always been studious. On the last day of school, he came home, plopped into a chair, and began his summer reading selection.

Yet, he still wants to be an Eagle.

My wife asked me how important the Eagle was. I responded it was important enough to put on college applications and resumes. It’s a recognized example of dedication and commitment. A friend of mine warned me that making Eagle requires a huge commitment during the middle school years as high school boys get obsessed with “the fumes,” such as car fumes and perfumes, in high school. Many give up on their Eagle dreams for lack of time. My son, too, may find before he turns eighteen (the age at which he must leave Boy Scouts), that he juggling too much and has to cut things.

Hopefully, he won’t have to leave Boy Scouts before he climbs this last step.