Do you believe in harbingers? You know, signs that the universe sends you that things are going to go pear-shaped, that you really should stay in bed, today?
So, up at 4:30am. Sore from dental extractions. Got to the car at 5. It was still dark outside. Raining. Kind of beautiful. I could see the lights of the valley. There was almost no sound of traffic. Streetlight glistened like diamonds on the pavement.
It was serine. Quiet. Peaceful.
Then I pressed the wrong key on the car fob and set off my alarm. A loud, blinking, wailing alarm.
Beeep! BEEEEEP!! BEEEEEEEEP!
Being 5am, it was a total shock. Like a bucket of cold water thrown on me. I leapt back. Eyes wide. Heart stopping. And the car key flew out of my hand. Then, bounced, as any key would do, under the car.
WHIRRRR! BEEEEEEEP!! BEEEEEEEEEP!!!
Mortified, I flung myself to my knees like I was praying to Jesus and tried to find the key. It probably took only a few seconds but in beep-beep-alarm-time, it took forever. FOREVER.
Oh, how I hate that moron who sets off his car alarm at 6 in the morning. HATE. And here I was… that guy.
I grabbed the key, unlocked the door, leapt in and sped off before I could make eye-contact with any of my neighbours who had turned on their lights and were looking out the window.
A great start to the day.
But today was a special day – hockey-wise – for the youngest. He was going to be goalie. Now, on the list of things he wants most in life, an X-box one, the power to fly and never, ever, ever, have to do homework, again, being goalie trumps this. In spades.
I pick him up, and, after he has asked me about forty questions about life, the universe and goalies (most of which I cannot answer,) we arrive a bit later than usual, because, like, I wanted to add a bit more stress to my life
Then I am faced with the putting on the goalie gear.
Looks simple. It does. There are leg pads and a simple chest protector and gloves. So we go to work. Skates are put on, tied tight, the chest protector squeezed over his head and onto his body, the jersey put on, slightly harder to do because of the protection for his arms.
Then comes the bad. The goalie has to lie down on the ground so the pads can be put on. The youngest, being who he is lies right in the center of the small dressing room and blocks everyone. No matter how many times I get him to stand up and lie down again, so he won’t block anyone, he somehow manages to lie down in the exact same spot. Like it was his spot. Like he’s paid for tickets to that spot.
So be it.
I kneel on top of him to hold him down and begin to figure out what straps do what. In hindsight, I should have googled a video but sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know until you know you don’t know. You know?
There were straps for extra knee pads and something that looked like it hooked under the skate and … what the heck were the laces doing at the very bottom? What the heck to I tie those to? The skates?
Unfortunately, after I figured out the simple straps, the room was empty and I had no one to ask if I was even doing this remotely right. The youngest was pretty patient, especially considering I sat on him to yank on the straps, but then I did something completely stupid.
I asked him what the laces were for?
Being who he is, he had an answer. Being who he is, he really had no idea, but didn’t want to say so.
So I did as he suggested as tucked the laces into the pads. But that seemed wrong and wrong is something I hate.
There was only one solution. With the practice starting, the kids already skating around with great flurry, the coach doing all coachie stuff, I marched carter onto the ice and then shouted for the coach to see if I’d done everything ok.
Turns out, amazingly enough, I got most of it right, including the fact that certain pads had to go on certain feet (which I got right either by using my superior intellect or damn, blind, luck, whichever you believe is more like me.)
It was the laces that I got wrong. Big frigging surprise. I mean, what kind of idiot listens to a 7 year old.
Turns out they had to be tied right to the skates, just above the blades, then wrapped around and tied tight so the pads wouldn’t wobble or fly off or decide to write a novel or something stupid.
A few moments later, the youngest was good to go, and the coach, an amazing guy who really deserves some sort of medal, made sure I didn’t feel bad about buggering up the pads.
Sighing, I went upstairs with all the other parents who looked at me with great sympathy. Seems everyone has a first time with goalie pads.
Like some sort of rite of passage.
I sat down and watched as the youngest skate into goalie crease, set his stance and began, what he will tell you, is the beginning of his epic NHL career.
Me, it was just another day as the hockey noob.
Oh, you make me soooooo glad we never signed Mark up for hockey! Great story, Joe. Chuckled and smiled all through!
Ha! It’s why I love writing. Everything, good or bad, is something that can be written about.
This story made me laugh out loud! I love the way you write.
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