Dad and Daughter Together in the Cornhole Tournament

We had a lot to figure out as we prepared for battle. The Oppressed, who is still growing, needed to figure out the proper “oomph” to give her beanbag tosses .

The Oppressed thought it would be a great idea if she and I played in a cornhole tournament together. The tournament was at the local YMCA. I play cornhole occasionally. If you play, you know how fun it can be. If you don’t play cornhole, you should.

There were plenty of other sights to take in that day. The Oppressed and I saw a raffle table, a food truck. There were five or six cornhole courts set up at the playing field. Every team, including us took turns to practice our skills. There were some practice matches before we kept score for real.

The Cornhole Tournament

If you don’t play cornhole, you should.

We had a lot to figure out as we prepared for battle. The Oppressed, who is still growing, needed to figure out the proper “oomph” to give her beanbag tosses. At first, the tosses didn’t reach the board. The arc was too high, then she adjusted her footwork. After tweaking the angle, she was able to hit the board.

Our target for the day.

Sometimes hitting the board was enough to score a point. Unfortunately, the boards were waxed and varnished. They did look pretty, but this prettiness presented another challenge for father and daughter alike. The beanbags would slide off the boards and on the ground. You only get points if your beanbag stays on the board for the entire round.

There was an occasional stroke of luck for us from time to time. Sometimes, we would get our beanbag in the hole. When this happened, the best our opponents could hope for was to get theirs in the hole on offset the points we had scored.

I talked about The Oppressed throwing the beanbags. My throws weren’t that much better. I made adjustments as best I could. A little more arc here. Aim over there. During the game, I tried to shout advice to my daughter from time to time. Unfortunately, our efforts and my advice didn’t do us much good. We lost the first game. We lost bad.

A look at the cornhole action.

I wasn’t too upset about it, neither was my daughter. It was a double-elimination tournament, and a little break in the action gave us time to discuss strategy for the next game. I liked our chances for the second game. Between the warm-up rounds and the first game, there was enough practicing and fine-tuning for us to redeem ourselves in the second game.

The Second Game

We were ready to go for the second game, and we got out to an early lead. This was good for us. It would give us a chance to stave off elimination. Plus, the extra games would give us a chance to improve our skills, which meant better throws and more points as the tournament continued.

The final score wasn’t pretty. That’s us on the left.

Our lead was short-lived, however and we fell behind. I wasn’t worried, though. I was confident we would catch up and retake the lead. We didn’t retake the lead.

Our team was eliminated in two games. It was pretty ugly. I don’t know if it was our technique or if it’s just been that long since I played a sport (Cornhole is a sport, right?), but we did not fare well at all at the YMCA Cornhole Tournament. We needed to assess our effort and future, if any with cornhole.

Lunch, and a Different Game

We commiserated over lunch at a local restaurant. The Oppressed chose where we would be eating. Coincidentally, it was where The Boy celebrated the end of his baseball season.

I like this place because it has Keno. I like to play Keno when I go out to eat. The Oppressed saw what I was doing, and when she saw that I needed to pick numbers, she immediately decided that I needed her help in choosing said numbers. She was very proud as she presented my slip to me with her specially chosen numbers.

Numbers were played. We watched the Keno screen as we waited for our food. We talked about our day at the cornhole tournament. When the food came, we ate and continued to watch the screen for our numbers. We got some of our money back. We didn’t get it all back, just some. The Oppressed wants to play Keno again. I’m not sure how I feel about her gambling so early.

Scary (Sung to “Mary” by the Jimi Hendrix Experience)

After Jack-O-Lanterns are on porches
Before clowns have all gone to bed
You can hear goblins walking on down the street
Isn’t it time for bed?

A Jack-o-Lantern in front of a car in a parking lot.
A scary Jack-o-Lantern watching for goblins.

And the kids whisper, “Scary”

A broom is swiftly carrying
Witches wanting pieces of candy
Somewhere a queen’s trick-or-treating
Somewhere a king wants more candy

And the children scream. It’s scary.

The little goblins say, “boo” tomorrow
And empty bags of candy on their beds
Tiny fun-size candies I see
Healthy eating I know is dead

And the goblins scream. It’s scary

Steps with a pumpkin with fake skeleton hands attached to it.

Will the children ever remember?
One piece that got out of its bag.
I choose one piece, with my sagely wisdom
Fruits and veggies never go this fast

Little goblins run. It’s scary

A Thrilling Weekend with our Foster Child (Now Pancakes?)

We took a foster child for the weekend. I’m going to call him “Jay”. Jay was a good kid. His social worker described him as an energetic, talkative kid.

Friday

When Jay first came here on Friday afternoon, he was understandably shy. He got settled after he moved around the house and saw everything here. He saw where he would be sleeping and where the snacks were kept. I think he got settled when he saw where the ice cream was. Ice cream seems to help people. It helps me.

laughing child face looking through hole in wooden fence
Photo by Gaurav Ranjitkar on Pexels.com

Wife was out of town on Friday night. It was me and the children. We hit the weekend running, as The Boy had soccer practice on Friday afternoon. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny afternoon. This disappointed The Boy, who was hoping for the cold, rainy days we had during the week. He wanted practice to be cancelled. There is a small consolation for The Boy. His game has been cancelled. This pleases him to no end. I’m upset because I won’t be able to wear the cool soccer fan gear I bought for his games.

After practice I went shopping with Jay to get snacks for the weekend. He wanted to get some ice cream. We already had ice cream, but he wanted something a little more in line with his tastes. He decided on rainbow sherbet.

Jay is Looking for People

We returned home after the trip to the store. People sit down to have dinner. After dinner, I retreat to my room for a little reading and a little writing. It’s not long before Jay comes up to see me.

“What’s up, Jay?” I ask.

“Where’s Wife?”

I remind Jay that Wife has gone away for the night, and she’ll be back the next day. Jay asks where she is. Why did she go away? I remind myself the social worker told us Jay could be talkative and likes to ask a lot of questions. So, he does. It’s nice to see he’s warming up to the people in the house.

Saturday

Saturday morning arrives. I’m happily laying in bed. No one needs to be in school. I don’t need to wake anybody up. It’s nice to be able to rest. Kitty is purring on me, keeping me warm. Suddenly, I hear the door open, and my slumber is disturbed by Jay.

“I’m hungry.”

“Okay,” I mumble. “Hold on a second and let me get dressed.

Pancakes (But no Pancakes)

Jay goes downstairs. I’m not far behind. I ask Jay if he will allow me a moment to make some coffee. He begrudgingly obliges. I make my coffee and focus back on Jay, who wants pancakes. I look around, but I’m not able to find any pancake mix.

“Can you look again?” Jay asks.

“Jay,” I patiently explain, “The pantry isn’t magic. If there’s no pancake mix in the pantry the first time I look, there won’t be any when I look again.”

This answer isn’t good enough for Jay, who insists I look again and find pancakes. I check the pantry and, alas, there is no pancake mix.

“Now what?” Jay asks.

cute asian boy eating breakfast at table
Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

I tell Jay he’ll have to slum it and maybe have cereal like my plebian children suffer through in the morning.

“Are you sure you don’t have pancakes?” he asks hopefully. I admire the boy’s enthusiasm as I break the bad news to him. No pancakes. The Boy makes his appearance and sees me getting Jay’s breakfast.

pancake with sliced strawberry
Photo by Ash on Pexels.com

“Do you have pancakes?” Jay asks.

“Dad,” The Boy asks me, “Do we have pancakes?”

I stop what I’m doing. I look at Jay, who suddenly finds the ceiling to be very interesting. The Boy smiles at me and repeats the question.

“We don’t have pancakes,” I say to The Boy and his partner in crime. The Boy leaps off his chair and proceeds to the pantry to confirm this. Jay follows him. He wants to make sure The Boy doesn’t miss anything in the pantry, just as The Boy is making sure I didn’t miss anything in the pantry.

Playtime

After settling for a less-than-ideal breakfast, Jay and The Boy go outside for some fresh air and playtime. I celebrate my time with two less children by picking up around the house and trying to get a hold of the madness that’s been unleashed.

Wife comes home while the boys are out playing. We spend a little time talking about her being away and my time helping Jay get acclimated to our madhouse. The children, inside and outside the house, sense Wife is home, so of course they descend to the kitchen. My time talking to wife has effectively ceased, so I go back to my work around the house.

It’s a relatively laid-back night at home as everyone settles into their pre-bedtime activities. Wife and I are holed up in our bed finishing our recap of our individual days. There is an occasional child that enters, since God forbid, we talk without children intervening.

Sunday

I wake up to Sunday, and children are up before me. We begin the daily dance of what’s for breakfast. Some children (Jay and The Boy) begin another quest for pancakes. Again, I tell them there are no pancakes. The two retreat to the living room for a YouTube session as they commiserate over their morning. There is a small silver lining for The Boy’s weekend: There is no soccer game. In spite of this good news, there are no pancakes.

Our Sunday is spent attending to whatever damage is done by the children over the weekend, preparing for the upcoming week, and savoring whatever quiet moments we have before answering the madness of Monday. I’m looking forward to Monday and the children pursuing their academic interests, while the children lament the clock winding down to their doom.

Lunch and Soccer made my Friday fun and Exciting

Well, I told you my Friday was exciting. Now you’re going to read about it.

What good shall I do this day?

Benjamin Franklin

Friday started like any other day for me. I said hello to Doggie and Kitty, got some coffee and got ready to face the day. I walked to the bus with Slugger and The Oppressed. When I got back home, The Boy was up beginning his day.

I took The Boy to school and again I returned home. I needed to eat a little breakfast, the most important meal of the day. The Gaggle emerged from their room. It was a big day for The Gaggle, as they were going to take the last part of their GED. The whole GED process itself has been an arduous one. I think we were both equally happy to see an end to this.

I spent the time reading while The Gaggle took their test. We made our way back to town when they finished. I needed to run an errand. The Gaggle wanted to go home and enjoy the fact that they didn’t need to study any more. I needed to go home and get things done at the house, but that had to wait.

Meeting People for Lunch

As I was driving home, my mother-in-law called. She was doing errands with her husband and her sister. They were going to lunch and asked if I would go with them. I accepted. Wife was working from home and couldn’t get away. Her day was filled with meetings. She asked if I would pick up something to-go for her. I would.

people in cafe
Photo by Joe L on Pexels.com

Lunch is spent filling in my in-laws and Wife’s aunt on life: school, sports, work, every part of the madness we face day in and day out. People ask me about The Boy’s soccer season. That’s going well. He seems to like it. Wife and I like that he’s out there expending energy. It means he can get tired faster and fall asleep earlier. When it comes to kids and quiet, Wife and I can use all the help we can get.

Lunch is over. I drive home to give Wife her food. No rest for the wicked, though. I need to be at the elementary school to get The Boy. The Boy has plans as he always does on Friday. Friday means rolling through the neighborhood and connecting with his friends. They aren’t able to play during the week. The burdens of homework and extra-curricular activities prevent that. I think petitions are being filed as you read this.

Soccer Practice, and Someone is Disappointed

Speaking of extra-curriculars, there’s a slight bump in The Boy’s schedule this afternoon. He has soccer practice. It was supposed to be earlier in the week, but Mother Nature had other plans with the rain. We’ve been getting quite the amount of rain lately. It would have been nice to have it during the summer when we were dealing with a drought, but I digress.

The Boy is most displeased with this development. Friday afternoons are for Manhunt and bike riding, not corner-kicks and throw-ins. The curtailed playtime is just another of a long list of grievances presented to me by all of my children. I take everything under advisement.

person playing soccer.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

The Boy goes to practice. The coaches, bless their hearts, do the best they can with the limited attention spans of the budding athletes. Time is spent on drills and a little strategy. I occasionally peek over my book to see how practice goes.

Practice ends. Parents walk up to the cluster of children to hear the coach’s words of wisdom and to see if there’s any word on the game. For some reason, times and locations of our games are always changing. The coach thinks the league is 90% certain of when and where we’ll be this weekend, and he hopes to be in touch with us that night.

Someone is Still Disappointed

I take The Boy home, and it’s time to eat. The Boy is not happy with me. We call The Boy “A Man About Town”. Friday means no homework. It means he doesn’t have to worry about what he’s doing the next day. Like all cherubs everywhere, The Boy spends his free time around the neighborhood collecting friends and having fun, celebrating their short-lived parole from school. Soccer practice cuts into that. He lets me know how disappointed he is in this change to his schedule.

I think I’m the only one looking forward to my son’s soccer game. ⚽️

I get home. I’m ready to rest a little from a busy week. The weekend has plenty of excitement in store for us, including a soccer game. I’m looking forward to watching my son play soccer. I think I’m the only one looking forward to the game.

Follow me on Twitter @Greg_the_Brave for more insights and nuggets about parenting.