Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Still Crazy After All These . . . Months?

Hello, hello. I’ve been away. Well, no I haven’t really been anywhere, but I haven’t written in a while. I haven’t had all that much to say. I’ve been lurking around, seeing what you’ve all been up to, but I haven’t been doing anything I’ve felt like writing about.

I got pre-approved for a mortgage and made an offer on a teeny-tiny house, but the sellers rejected me. I didn’t care though, really. Why? Because the house was so small. Because I don’t really want to move (even though I rent my townhouse, I like it, and I like my neighborhood—and I hate moving). And because I was just thrilled to find that I have A-OK credit, and that banks were willing to give me mortgages ALL BY MYSELF. That’s cool.

What else? The boy has had his official Moving Up, and is now a fourth grader. Today is also his half-birthday, incidentally, which means he’s 50% of the way to being nineteen.

Oddly, I’ve had football on my mind. I watched Friday Night Lights a few weeks ago, which may well be the GREATEST SPORTS MOVIE EVER. It’s based on a true story, about a high school football team from a small Texas town. The story covers the 1988 football season, which, as a member of the Class of ’89, was the season played during my senior year.

My hometown wasn’t quite as wrapped up in football as the town in the movie, but it was darn close. The movie was moving—I felt for the kids and the adults (or some of the adults, anyway). I remembered vividly why (even as the captain of the cheerleading squad), I developed a hatred of and bitterness toward football. And I remembered that football is so much a part of where I’m from that I kind of like it anyway.

So I watched that movie, and I requested the book it’s based on from the library, and it just came in, so there’s more football. And Ben Roethlisberger, the QB for the Steelers, is in the hospital across the street from me, because he wrecked his motorcycle on Monday. His big head is on every local media outlet. And then my son, who loves playing sports but has never before expressed any interest in formalized athletics, went to a football camp that the University of Pittsburgh’s football team runs for kids on Monday and Tuesday.

The camp was at their sports complex, which is off-campus, because it’s an enormous, sprawling thing that couldn’t possibly fit anywhere on Pitt’s urban campus. There are three fields, people—two outdoor practice fields, and one that’s inside. There is a huge weight room, lavish locker rooms with spas and what-not, various conference rooms and small theaters for watching films of games and practices, a big auditorium, and a sort of museum/trophy room where you can check out Dan Marino’s retired jersey and Tony Dorsett’s old shoes, among other things.

I went to Pitt for my undergrad, and I’m a Pitt student now. Glad to see my tuition is really going toward something worthwhile.

Anyway, the boy had a good time at the camp, despite some misgivings before actually getting there. He met up with a friend from school, and felt much better about things. He ran drills and learned plays and learned how to tackle on the big dummies, and basically worked his skinny little butt off for two days. He came home sore and tired and hungry, and despite my morning efforts with the sunscreen, is sporting a “farmer tan”. He was pleased with the whole thing, but I don’t know whether he’ll want to do it again next year. Either way, I’m proud of him for trying something new.

You know who else is proud of him? Strangers and old men. I can’t tell you how weird it was to realize that all the security guards and parking attendants around the joint were so friendly and chatty and outgoing with me. Not because I’m a looker (because I totally am NOT), but because they knew I was there because I had dropped off my boy so that he could learn to play football. They honestly treated me like minor royalty because I was a mom whose boy was doing something they understood and approved of. Weird. But it really made it easier for me to see why some parents’ identities get so wrapped up in their kids’.

So, yeah. Football. I’m hoping I can finish this book and then football will be a non-issue for a while. It’s just weird.

I don’t have much else to report. I’ve been reading like a maniac, just blowing through books, because I’m only taking one class over the summer. The boy and I have finished all of the Harry Potter books, including Half-Blood Prince, so that’s kind of exciting. He’s not sure whether Snape is good or bad, but I’m impressed with his line of thinking: It’s possible to be a jerk and do mean things and still not be evil. That’s right, kid, it is! Good for you!

Hmmm . . . what else? Oh. We went to Ohio over Memorial Day weekend, to be the Western PA contingent for my cousin’s graduation from Oberlin. We visited a Cleveland friend, went to the Lake Erie beach, and then met my cousin and his mother (my very awesome ex-aunt) for a swanky dinner, and arranged to meet up again the next morning at Oberlin for the ceremony. Do you guys know Oberlin? It’s all hippy and artsy and liberal to the extreme. The kids weren’t required to wear caps and gown, and while some did, others . . . did not. There were girls in dresses with wreaths of flowers in their hair, sporting bare feet and hairy legs. There were boys in cut-offs and Berks and ball caps. There was a kid in a Pink Panther costume. There were girls in what looked like bridesmaids’ gowns. There was a boy in white tie and tails, complete with top hat and cane. There was a boy in a white bathrobe.

My cousin, who majored in English, wrote his senior thesis on Absalom! Absalom!, and plans to move to San Francisco, intern for The Believer, and then work his way into chef-dom by taking a job in a fancy restaurant, was planning to wear the jeans and pink oxford he wore to dinner. Turns out that he did indeed wear just that, as he passed out in it at 6:30 in the morning and slept through most of the ceremony. We drove to Ohio, sat in the burning heat and humidity, and never got the money shot of the boy getting his diploma. Because he was too late to walk. Super.

That’s about it for me. I joined the pool that’s like five minutes from my house, and it hasn’t been warm enough to swim since the day I signed the paperwork. What more do you need to know? This unseasonably cool Pittsburgh summer is brought to you by . . . my pool membership! Hooray for me!

Sorry to babble on so much, but it's good to be back.


BabelBabe said...

And it's damn good to have you back!

Badger said...

Ditto what BBabe said!

And also:

I know Oberlin!

My hometown? Canton, Ohio. Home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

My brother played football for 10 years (ages 8-18). I can still taste the watery hot cocoa from the stadium concession stand.

And they filmed Friday Night Lights right here, where I live now.

Gina said...

Did you love the movie, Badger? Did people really go nuts and protest the movie, after it came out?

Amy said...

Are you ready for some football?!?!? yeah, me too.

Canton, OH? I went to college with someone from Canton, OH. Small small world...

I loved that movie, too.

Glad to have you back. cool to hear about your son and all that you're up to!

MsCellania said...

Welcome back to your very own Blog!

Joke said...

Somehow, playing rugby for a small Jesuit school doesn't pack the same punch, y'know?


P.S. Having nothing to write has never stopped me...

Sarah Louise said...

Roll out the red carpet, Gina's back!! Woo hoo!

CNN reported Ben was the QB for the Seahawks the other night. I posted it on my blog.

Have not seen FNL, but now I may have to. I wonder if it's on audio?

The new guy on the first floor went to Oberlin, and I think my brother did a student exchange program with them.

Oh welcome welcome back! We missed you, we really did!!

Carolyn said...

Welcome back.

Way to go on the mortgage approval. It's a buyers market right now too! Maybe something will come on the market you do want.

Hairy legs, ick!

Lazy cow said...

Good to see you back. For a moment I thought BABELBABE was buying herself a townhouse!

Badger said...

I must confess, I've never actually seen it (FNL). My brother likes it, though. I don't remember any protests or anything, but then my memory isn't what it ... uh, what was I saying?

blackbird said...

Good to see you again!

Oldest's best best friend attends Oberlin and it sounds like she fits in perfectly...

Surfing Free said...

Welcome back. That's plenty of exciting news - and it doesn't even have to be exciting for me to want to read it.

I do not understand the American football thing. My American husband thinks its a strange game but he still watches it when he can, so I suppose I have to put it down to the cultural aspect of having grown up with it. But its still a weird game.

Katya said...

It's good to see you back, Gina. Dang -- lots of football! I like Friday Night Lights too even though I usually prefer baseball movies.

Peg said...

Last but not least there's me who's also very happy to see you again. (Gee-NA! Gee-NA! Gee-NA!)

weirdbunny said...

You've been really busy. Glad you can get a morgae if you want on, and that you son is enjoying all things sporty.

jess said...

Glad to see you're back!