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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hockey Moms' Cat Fight

Are Hockey Moms supposed to be good role models for their little players? And if they are: WHAT is the right thing to do when they - the moms - are upset? Be straight and fair or engage in a fist fight? Because, after all, it's hockey!

I was really excited about resuming Colin's Wednesday routine:

Rented everything we needed for the season (thanks for the recommendation, Manu!):


Got our snacks and dinner ready:

Arrived there in time to register and get our jersey, gloves and helmet. Actually it was easy to find a parking spot even in the parking garage, and there was no waiting in line. Not at the main entrance, not at the skates rental desk, not even in the hallway leading to the locker rooms. I was feeling slightly nervous. Have we come a week early or something? I should have checked their website once more. But no. Oct 22nd. Right on. 

While I filled out the form, the girl issued my receipt and put the jersey on the desk. Light blue. Colin's eyes got wide. "Not again! I wanted a red one this time", he said. I asked her if it was possible to have a red jersey. "No, I'm sorry. No requests. Next!" 

Ouch. Dumbfounded, he was like "Mommy, that wasn't a real reason, was it?" I thought it was rude to say the least but didn't feel like going back and argue with her. We got to work to put on his gear. Shoulder pads, elbow pads, shin guards,… velcro fasteners everywhere. What goes where..? 

Finally we were ready to put on the jersey. One arm… the other one… wait, it doesn't fit. At all! Way to small! 

I could smell my chance. Back to the desk. "Excuse me…" I started, when the lady behind me threw her son's (red) jersey on the desk and said "I won't let him play as number 13,  give me another one, would you?"

I don't know whose look was more surprised and annoyed, the rental lady's or mine. 

Hello? I was first? And what part of no requests didn't you understand?

I mean, I get that sportsmen are supersticious. Hockey players especially.
I can even spot strangers out there. Like when we were boarding our London - Vancouver flight. We like to board among the latest passengers. Cause frankly, when facing a long-haul flight, why would someone choose to sit in there longer than necessary?
So there was this guy lingering by the entrance.
"Go ahead, you were here first" I said to him.
"No, no, I'll wait - you go ahead", he replied.
"You don't strike me as a person who is afraid to fly" I told him "so you must be a hockey player!"
He was stunned.
"You are that player who always goes on the ice last, right?"
Bull's Eye. He used to play in Edmonton, he told me. But he didn't make it to the Oilers.
" I ran out of talent" he snickered.

Back to our locker room:
Rental lady and line cutting lady got into a verbal fight. Line cutting lady grabbed her jersey, walked around the desk to address the second rental lady. Second rental lady had overheard the argument and was quick to confirm that in fact, unfortunately, they could not do exchanges. It was written all over her face that she wanted to say "we are not at the GAP here!"

Since the first rental lady was available now I gave her our jersey and said it didn't fit, could we please have a larger one, and now that we needed a new one, surely she could sneak me a red one, please?

Her look was like "I said NO the first time", but she didn't say anything, reached to the stack of the light blue ones and grabbed one in a larger size. "Look if we start accepting every person's wish we can't work here. We alternate colors so there is approximately the same amount of kids wearing the same color out there. Everybody gets what they get, and that's how it works."

This made sense. In theory. But not in reality. Cause the teams on the ice are not put together according to jersey color but - in fact I don't know the criteria. There are different teams every time because some kids attend every week, others don't.

"You know last year we arrived late, and when he asked for a red jersey he was told there weren't any left in his size, and that was fine. Today we are here early, there are plenty of jerseys in every size and color in plain view of him, so where seems to be the problem?" 

"I can't help you. Sorry."

Line cutting lady was still there, her red no. 13 in her hands. I hated her for squeezing in but offered "I'll give you my light blue Jersey if you give me your red one, I don't care about the 13, my son just wants a red one?" 

Of course, both rental ladies heard that. "No exchanging whatsoever!! This is gonna screw up our notes!"

OK, enough. I know they work here without any pay and - obviously - appreciation, so I decided to let it go. 

Just when I was done fastening Colin's helmet, be both witnessed how line cutting lady approached the desk for the third time. I think I held my breath. We couldn't understand what she said, but we witnessed how second rental lady twitched no. 13 jersey from line cutting lady, and she was very, very annoyed. She handed her a different number, red again, and scribbled a note. 

Colin looked at me, half shocked, half amused. 

D***! I didn't want to go there.

"You know, that shouldn't have happened. She shouldn't have been rewarded for her bad behavior. We are going to keep our light blue jersey, and you'll play successfully as h***, and you'll check that lady's boy's ass on the ice. One day you'll be playing for the Blackhawks in a pretty red jersey, and we will think back about this incident and we'll say LOOK WHO'S LAUGHING NOW!!"

That made us both smile. 

Then he went on the ice for the first time this season. I had hoped we would get a chance to do some skating while in Canada, but we didn't. So he was a little rusty, and I felt bad for him. 

He never got the puck because the others were quicker on their skates. He fell a lot, too. But he got up everytime and kept skating. Slowly, but he was moving all the time. That's the Spirit!

I heard some people whispering "is that Robbie Earl over there? How nice of him to play with the kids!" Wow, I sure hoped Colin recognized him!

So when the hour was up, he came to meet me at the board, his face all red, eyes very bright, a million dollar smile. "Mommy, I had two top opportunities! Did you see me? Now can you help me getting that helmet off, I'm sweating like a pig!!"

And THAT is what it's all about!

As for crazy hockey moms. I pledge that I will never ever do what this lady did:

If you've got 9:12 minutes to spare, watch this: "The Beauty of Hockey".

Sensational goals, proof of how skilled those guys are.

And in the end… you may need a tissue. I did.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Funny Friday - Fallen Snowman

Today’s post is another episode of a monthly feature. It’s called Funny Friday, and is a collaborative project that I’ll post on the last Friday of every month. 

Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

Here’s today picture. It was submitted by The Bergham’s Life Chronicles

I wasn't quite sure if this is a snowman, an onion, a garlic or a Christmas ornament.
So I went with all of the above ;-)

1. "It's like a fairground ride", they said. "You're gonna have a blast", they said! 

2. Jesus Christ, where the h*** am I? I was supposed to land in Santa Claus, Indiana!

3. I liked it better at the Thanksgiving Parade!

4. Hey, buddy! Mr Potato Head! Wait up, I'll be right down!

5. Restrooms? Where are the restrooms, please? I'm gonna be siiiiiiiiick...

On a completely unrelated note, let me ask you a question:

In life, do you think being nice and considerate pays out? Recent happenings suggest that being a relentless bitch might lead to more effective results?
And yes... I might blog about it...

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile: 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Vancouver and Richmond

Shortly after passing the US / Canadian border it began to pour, and for pretty much the rest of the day that's what we got. Rain, rain, more rain. I don't do too well in rainy cities, so pretty much everything and everyone was annoying me. 

C asked to go to the Rogers Arena, home of the Vancouver Canucks. Guess what. On Canadian Thanksgiving Monday the store was closed. There was a note, however, that their downtown store was open. Did I mention I don't like rainy cities? We drove around, looking for a parking space that didn't require coins, I was hungry, moody,…

A pizza, a glass of wine and a hockey game at Earl's made it all better. 

I especially liked this wall decoration:

It consisted of hundreds of fortress locks that couples left there. I had heard about a bridge in Paris where lovers do the same. I think it's romantic!

The other morning the Canucks Team Store was open, and not only did we see a SBISA (No. 5) jersey - one of our Swiss guys playing for an NHL team - but we also had a chance to watch a replay of those last seconds of the Avalanche vs Bruins game which was the first one that "our" goalie BERRA (another Swiss guy) won! 

This may not sound like a big deal to you, but it is for us. We don't get to see NHL games in Switzerland, but we have an app that keeps us updated on our guys' activities: "two assists for Mark Streit", "Roman Josi got 30 minutes of ice time", and so on. Being able to actually see some of them play during our trip made us excited and proud!

From the hockey stadium we walked along the shore to Science World.

Our parking meter was going to expire soon over at Rogers Arena, so we only enjoyed some time outside the actual museum. We were being pretty entertained, though:

Next on our list was Canada Place.

Colin wanted to be the Canadian, but he was too short ;-)

LOVED the pumpkin umbrellas!

The weather was so nice, we even went to Stanley Park.


Lions Gate Bridge

On our last day we did what we always do… the dreaded picture postcards ;-) 
Well, I didn't write any, but C did. 

And look the cool postal stamps we got!

The post office was located within a Canadian Tire store.

When do you think they will arrive? He even wrote one for his class at school. 

For once we had time to spare because our flight wouldn't leave until 9pm.

Why not visit a pumpkin patch? 

I had no idea Brussels sprouts looked like this!

Also I didn't know there are apples the size of a grapefruit!

We made it to the airport without incidents and on time! Others weren't so lucky. We came across an accident at an intersection very close to the airport. The two cars didn't look too damaged, but there were firefighters using force to open the door, and an ambulance unloaded a stretcher. I thought to myself they were probably visitors like us, on their way back to the airport. Instead they ended up at the hospital. 

Time to be thankful!

C loved to watch his Planes movie over and over ;-)

So now we're back home, wide awake and hungry in the middle of the night and napping during the day. 9 hours time difference will do that to you…

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Weekend in Seattle

Before I jump into telling you about our Seattle weekend, let me give you some insight into a European blogger's struggles when traveling in North America:

That's right, plugs!!! Different ones. Painfully so. 

The adapters are too heavy, so they need to be fixated.

Now that I got that off my chest (and bought a better adapter - on our second last day of the trip) let's see… we stopped at this awesome playground in Shelton. 

Colin made a new friend, a 9 year old boy. With the little English C speaks they got along just fine. It is so amazing, he was able to order his own food and hold simple conversations with other kids, waiters and receptionists. Makes me want to send him to International School!

We haven't been to many other capitals before so Olympia's capitol was a major attraction for us!

Then it was time to make our way to Tacoma. It was Friday late afternoon, and there was going to be a Sounders soccer game at CenturyLink Field - an arena that can seat 67,000 fans, so we expected some traffic. However it went quite smooth, and we were there so early that we actually had time to kill by trying on Halloween masks.

Then a car pulled up in the parking lot, and witnesses observed two shrieking blondes jumping up and and down, hugging!

Patrice and I had become close friends when we were both working for Starbucks in Switzerland. The things we experienced would make for an entertaining book!

Soon after I left on maternity leave she decided the place wasn't the same without me and moved back to the HQs in Seattle. That's a true story. Almost. In any case she went back to the States shortly after I quit. And she has been missed! Not only by me, but lots and lots of Store Managers whom I occasionally see when I hang out at a store. 

It was so great to catch up!

I couldn't believe how tall her boy Kellen had become! When I first met him he was in pre-school, and now he is taller than Patrice and I. Smart, funny and considerate, too. 

Of course she couldn't believe the baby boy that C was when she visited us at the hospital had grown into an impish first grader who had the time of his life playing with a good-natured teenager. 

The other morning Colin read him a story in German. What a sweet sight!

In the meantime I did what I do best had to be done. 
Folding laundry is so much better when done on a spacious surface!!

Note to self: must buy a ping-pong table for my basement!

Patrice and Kellen were pleased to hear about Colin's new interest in football in general and the Seahawks in particular and took him shopping.

All ready for tomorrow's game vs the Dallas Cowboys!
They live very close to Point Defiance Park, and during the hour or so that we spent there we saw more animals than in a whole week in Canada! No bear, though.

Then it was time to say good-bye. 
In German we say "auf Wiedersehen" which means "till we'll see us again" - soon, I hope!

We were on our way to Bellevue when it started pouring. Two accidents caused some traffic jam, so instead of being at the Cheesecake Factory early to get the pager we arrived late, and the waiting time was estimated to be 55 - 70 minutes. 

More like 90 minutes, but who's counting when the company is excellent!

Wenche & Christine
Christine and I grew up two villages apart and met when we both were temping in our early 20s. She left Switzerland soon after that (can you see a pattern here… it looks as all my friends move away to the North-West! Is it me??) 
At least she is on the board of directors of her family's company that holds its annual meeting in March, so we get to see her now and then!

For the folks who come to my blog for the food pictures… 
I ordered salad and - duh - cheesecake!

And again… auf Wiedersehen!

Now my blog is called confessions of… And what I am going to tell you is a confession I have a hard time believing myself: 

On my shopping day at Premium Outlets I didn't have fun! 

I am not kidding you :-( 

Usually I park the guys at SBUX and run from one store to the next, trying on jeans, sneakers, hoodies, you name it. 

This time? It was so crowded you had to get in line to be allowed to access Kate Spade's store! Not that I wanted to go in there, I was happy to be able to just walk in at GAP, but when I finally found a pair of jeans that could possibly fit… I had to get in line for the fitting room!

I found myself having the most fun at Kitchen Collection!! 

I am not kidding you :-)

What's not to love about this awesome spice carousel! Unfortunately there was no way I could actually buy and take it on a long-haul flight. Still, I had a good time just looking at it. Which reminded me… I wanted to find some allspice on this trip.

I actually went to SBUX before the guys were back. 

Yes, this time they didn't stay on the outlet premises but wanted to take the Everett Boeing Tour. Guess what: an inch or so can make all the difference. They wouldn't let C partake :-(

They still got to see some cool stuff. Like a Seahawk airplane!

After the shortest shopping experience in my personal history we went for the real fun as it turned out! While I was scanning the Walmart aisles for allspice, Halloween stuff or contact lens solution the guys were cruising around with our cart and kept bringing "surprises":



Until our stomachs were asking for some meatball spaghetti at Olive Garden. 

Before heading back to Canada there was one last request. C was craving sporting goods.


Also he wanted to take a good catch!