Friday, March 10, 2006


Before I forget, just like last year, Erin is collecting aluminum cans as one of her class's fund raising efforts for Relay for Life.   Let me know if you need us to stop by and pick yours up or whether you want to hand them off to us when we see each other.  Only constraint?  Rinse them out first so they don't attract bugs and vermin sitting around at Erin's school.

I have not given you the play by play for the month of March.  At this point I don't remember it all (lost in the haze of worry and celebration).  We are all excited about catching our breaths during spring break next week.  Erin's soccer season will wind to a close on Saturday, and with it will come my retirement as coach.  We have had a good run, and the team has played extremely well lately.  Might as well go out on a high note.  Erin's season is ending just in time.  She is trying a new sport, fastpitch softball (Loren are you reading?).   She said fielding grounders was just like being goalie, except the ball comes from a lot further away (and I wanted to add, it is smaller, harder, and struck more sharply by a bat). 

Davis's regular season has another couple of weeks.  At this point, his team is in third, and the playoffs look a bit iffy.  We'll see what happens.  In the meantime, he's having almost as much fun playing three or four pick-up basketball games each week with his buddies, getting ready for the school's intramural season that starts in April.  It doesn't matter that when he was a lad he was completely indifferent to basketball and complained when we signed him up to play every winter.  Now, it's our fault that we didn't encourage basketball enough.  Oh well.

Before I return to grading those stacks of midterm exams and projects that are waiting for me on my desk, I do have one story that may illustrate the strain caused by the run up to scans this time:  It is a Vickie Funny.

Last Sunday was a busy day for the Buengers.  I made waffles to get us off to a good start, then as usual Walter and I taught Sunday School and the family went out to lunch.  After lunch, I straightened Erin's room enough so that I could pack her stuff for the trip down to Houston, threw some of my gear in too (having been reminded by Erin at least three times to bring both pieces of my bathing suit), and found a couple of "horse"-themed songs for Davis's special set that evening.  We then trotted off to OPAS, jr. to see a Broadway-themed presentation.  After that we loaded up the car and slipped into our soccer gear (did I mention it was a busy day?) for my Sunday afternoon pickup game.  After an hour and a half of sweat, I packed Erin and Nico into the car and headed to the Marriott.  I had only one thing on my mind:  HOT TUB. 

We made it to Houston, checked in, and headed to the pool.  Uh oh.  The pool was open, but there was that yellow crime scene tape that says "CAUTION" around one end of the hot tub.  I watch the kids swim for a while, worked a Sudoku, and pondered my situation.  We were the only ones there.  I had been running on high speed for days, maybe weeks.  My back still ached.  I wondered over and touched the water.  It was very warm. . .and. . .inviting.  It didn't look broke.  I knew I shouldn't break the rules, especially in front of law-abiding third graders.  Still, what harm would come?  I stepped in and sat down.  I didn't start the hydrojets.  I just lolled in the hot water. . .until the hotel security detachment came into the pool area:

Hotel Security Officer:  "Why are you in the hot tub?  Can't you see it's closed?"

Vickie:  "No sir.  I saw the cones that said WET FLOOR and the tape that said CAUTION, so I got in as cautiously as I could."

Hotel Security Officer:  "Well, the hot tube is obviously closed."

Vickie:  "Oh.  Why?  It seems perfectly fine from here."

Hotel Security Officer:  "There is an engineering problem.  You'll have to get out."

Vickie:  "Okay."

End of story, almost.  We went up and got ready for bed.  I fell asleep before Nico and Erin had finished reading, but they kindly waked me up so I could turn out the lights at 10:15.  I went back to sleep easily, but not permanently.  You see, the night anxiety pricked at me, poked at me, and finally shook me out of my slumbers.  I woke up repeatedly, with worries racing through my brain that I couldn't shake.  Not about Erin, though.  Somehow, by that point, I had put Erin's scans behind me.  I knew in my heart that everything was going to be fine on Monday.  Her health was too robust to ignore.

No, the dragon looming over me was the hot tub.  What if it wasn't an "engineering" problem?  What if it was a seething cauldron of contaminated nastiness?  What if it contained flesh-eating bacteria, multiple strains of STD, or the ebola virus?  The more I thought of the possibilities, the less I was able to put it out of my mind and the more my skin crawled with itchiness and discomfort.  I got up and scrubbed all my body parts, paying particular attention to my nether regions, and considered litigation options for my suit against the Marriott Corp. for saying "engineering" when they really meant "toxic waste."  Finally, after tossing and turning for some long time, I fell back asleep. 

When I woke up with the alarm, I was still alive, and sort of shocked that I hadn't been carted off in the night by EMT's risking their life to save mine.  So, off we went to keep Erin's schedule:  six appointments in six hours.  And you know the rest.  We will be fine for another three months.  That is unless the health department investigates, and I get carried off as Exhibit A.

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