The Afterschool Death March

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From the start of first grade until the end of eighth grade I walked to school. It wasn’t uphill and I wasn’t barefoot (my feet are delicate) but it was nice. Crossing guards helped me negotiate intersections and I would run into friends along the way. It was a good time.

My own children are in school now and they are dropped off and picked up instead of walking. One factor in this is that my town, like other communities on Massachusetts’ South Shore hasn’t embraced sidewalks. Once you get away from downtown there’s the road and nothing else.

The Oppressed had early dismissal one glorious day and I thought it would be a great idea if I met her at school and we walked home together. As long as she stays with me and stays on the inside, we will be fine. She will be safe and we will get a little time to talk about school and how everything has been.

I left The Boy with a neighbor. I didn’t think he could make the trek. I walked to school and waited for the bell to ring. The Oppressed saw me and we started to walk through the schoolyard.

“Where did you park?” she asked me.

“I didn’t. I walked.”

“WHAT?!”

“We’re going to walk. It’s nice out and I want to get some exercise.”

The Oppressed started to look around. “Can I see if I can get a ride? I can’t walk that far.”

“You’ll be fine,” I assured her.

That wasn’t good enough. She pulled away from me and looked around to see if there was anyone around who would rescue her from her cruel fate. This included shouting out at vehicles that drove by. She said she was being kidnapped. Her father didn’t love her and her life was so hard. Every other kid had parents that loved her. Why didn’t she?

We continued onward. The Oppressed continued to look for someone that would take pity on her condition. A police cruiser drove by, prompting another cry of, “Child Abuse!” The cruiser didn’t even slow down.

She wasn’t having it. No one was hearing her. She stopped and informed me she would not go any further and demanded a taxi or a piggy-back. She wasn’t getting either. She was furious and started jumping down.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“You’re making me walk and I have a broken leg!” she started as she continued to jump on both legs. When that didn’t work, she laid down on the ground and said she would get up only when I picked her up, a taxi came, or her mother came along to drive her home. Neither of those happened and she finally got up and trudged home saying her father doesn’t love her and she can’t enjoy life. We made it home. I got The Boy and we proceeded with the Homework Wars.


When all else fails, you can always lay on the ground until a kind soul is willing to rescue you.

Out of the Old Ball Game

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One of my dreams came true when I got to coach my kids’ baseball teams. I have two years of coaching under my belt. Both kids have played baseball for two years and The Oppressed is fine if she never sees another baseball field again.

The players resting after marching across the street.

Youth baseball is a learning experience. The kids learn the basics of the game, like not running to first base with the bat in your hand (everyone had that down by midseason). You also have to remind them of the rules from time to time in a gentle manner, like when your second baseman has a meltdown in the middle of the infield when someone is standing on her base (true story). Again, you have to remind them of the rules from time to time.

The Boy seemed to like baseball. He is asking if he can play again and if I can coach his team. I’m hoping I can. The Oppressed has informed me she hates baseball and everything about it. I think I have the only kid in North America who hates batting. She is never doing it again and she is working to have the act of batting banned for all eternity.

This year, I think I am going to emphasize the concept of taking turns. That way, I won’t have three kids standing on first base wondering what the other two are doing there. I’m also going to teach baserunning and how to do it. Or, more accurately, to run to first base instead of standing in the batter’s box thinking you’re David Ortiz as you admire your majestic pop-fly barely clearing the infield dirt.

I think it’s also important to teach the importance of defense and use the glove your parents gave you. Otherwise, we’ll have another kid want to quit when the ball hits them in the chest while their hands (and said glove) are down at their sides.

One player needed a drink of water every other batter. When that didn’t work, he needed the bathroom. Must have been all that water.

I read a story about Red Sox players doing a shot of whiskey before a game. I wonder if the coaches ever needed it.

Learning about Valley Forge

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Wife needed to travel to Pennsylvania during a long weekend. I, being the history buff, was excited to know we would be relatively close to Valley Forge. I had never been and my favorite excuse for visiting somewhere is: “It’s there.”

The cherubs (The Oppressed and The Boy) and I dropped Wife off and continued to a local place for breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and when you’re going to spend your morning walking around, it’s that much more important.

We filled up on the local fare and proceeded on to Valley Forge. I was excited. Not only was I going to a place that had made me curious for years, but I was also doing this with my children, one of whom would be learning about the American Revolution soon enough in school.

Breakfast before Valley Forge

The cherubs’ enthusiasm waned before we got to the second cabin on the land. The Oppressed wanted to know when we would be leaving and The Boy wanted to know what time it was. He was fairly certain the hotel pool was open by then and he didn’t want to miss it.

I was hoping to make it to the top of the hill where we would see the house where George Washington stayed while the soldiers built the cabins in the ice and snow. The Oppressed was done. She had gone far enough and she was hungry. She demanded more food. I reminded her there were people who were here during the winter with nothing on their feet in the middle of winter. She said I was lying and, if I was telling the truth, they were luckier than she was for not enduring such harsh treatment as her.

The last straw was when she saw a car driving up the hill to the destination I was hoping to reach. She was furious at me for making her walk all this time when we could have driven. She immediately laid down and informed me she wasn’t going anywhere until I agreed to take them back to the hotel so they could swim.

We never made it to the house.

Log cabins that housed the Continental Army. I would liked to have visited them all.

Thank You for Reading. Here’s what’s Inside.

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“Welcome to the show.” – KISS Band

My name is Greg. I’m from Massachusetts and have been a househusband for over nine years. I am a parent and a foster parent You’ll learn more about the cast of characters as we go along, especially the little darlings that have since transformed me from a gentle, live-and-let-live individual into a single malt scotch and craft beer connoisseur.

The Cast of Characters

Me. A college-educated, well-read individual who has turned into a hardened veteran of “The Homework Wars”. Hostage negotiator who frequently deals with hunger-strikes as a result of limited menus and a refusal to cook multiple dishes at mealtimes.

Wife. Mother of “The Boy” and “The Oppressed”. Claims to work in Corporate America but I and a few others seem to think she works for a secretly-funded black-ops branch of the federal government due to long stretches of not being reached and impromptu travel.

The Oppressed. My daughter. Believes I am conspiring with her teacher to make her life miserable and blames me for her not, “enjoying life”. Anti-homework crusader and tireless advocate for oppressed children everywhere.

The Boy. My son. Proudly announces he will work 10 jobs when he grows up. These jobs include building houses and playing a role in a local S.W.A.T. unit. Considerately stacks five or six books in front of his bed for me to read every night.

The Gaggle. Any one or more foster child(ren) that enter and leave our home.

Kitty. Our cat. She likes to think I am her personal climbing post and Wife is her own bed. Kitty enjoys running around in circles at random times during the day and stalking/pouncing on anything that moves. If you ask Wife, she’s already used up seven or eight or her nine lives.

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