After the recent bout of...water-related shenanigans...Team WestEnders enjoyed a relatively quiet, business-as-usual work and school week. In fact, the only truly notable topic, believe it or not, was: the weather. You see, this is our third Winter in Chapel Hill, and to be honest--even though it's definitely still my least-favorite season--there's really been nothing to complain about, in my opinion. The pattern we've observed so far has been that it tends to get frosty overnight, but then the mercury rises to around 50 during the day. This is punctuated by mercifully brief spells of frigidity, sometimes with a snow and/or ice storm mixed in, just to shake things up a bit and keep it fresh (or whatever). In a nutshell: all perfectly deal-able, yeah?
So up to this point I had never understood why people kept ruefully describing the last few Winters as "unusually cold" (often delivered with an violent shiver, for emphasis) when I, personally, felt like conditions in the Great Outdoors had been just dandy, thankyouverymuch. But now...I think I finally GET it. This year, outside of one white, flaky interlude, we've been gifted with mild temperatures that, at times, teetered into the territory of "downright balmy".
What're we actually talking about, here? Multiple 60-and-70 degree days, causing crazy sights such as...folks jogging and biking in shorts...ladies sporting flip-flops...and me, showing up at Riley's soccer game in just a sweatshirt and windpants, rather than multiple layers of fleece, a coat and gloves. All I can say is, if this is what December, January, and February are supposed to be like, I'm not going to go as far as to become a FAN, per se, but let's just say I'm likely to be much more kindly disposed toward Old Man Winter in the future.
Okay, speaking of soccer, I'll tackle (ha!) that next. In the Fall, still rehabbing from the broken tibia, Riley played off the bench, and probably averaged about half of each game on the field. Last weekend in the tournament--which represented his team's first action of the Spring campaign--it appeared from the sidelines as though he'd returned to full strength and speed...which was a very nice thing to observe. His coach must have agreed, since he started Riley at center back today, and left him in for all 70 minutes (more on that in a second).
The match itself was a nail-biter throughout the first half...then rapidly degenerated into frustrated, overly-aggressive, out-of-control physical behavior by the opposing squad (pushing, grabbing, tripping...oh, and "mouthing off"--you get the picture. It was generally unsportsmanlike garbage...a certain amount of which you can normally get away with, to be sure,...especially if it's not caught...but these antics went just a WEE bit over the line, if you will...).
On the one hand, this was kind of nerve-wracking to watch, as a parent...but I'm not gonna lie, it also provided some cheap thrills, resulting as it did in 4 penalty cards being issued--3 yellow and 1 red (which means that player is ejected)...more than I've ever seen happen in one contest, in all the years the boys have been participating in the Beautiful Game. The skirmish eventually ended in a 0-0 draw--not tremendously satisfying, but given the possible alternatives, could have definitely been much worse. Far more rewarding for our family: coach named Riley the MVP for the day, based on his contributions on the pitch. (Yaaayyy, buddy! That's my baby...sniffle...)
And while we're on the subject of my youngest child, who's suddenly growing up--literally AND figuratively--entirely too fast, I can also report that he just reached another milestone in his young life. Ready for this? He's decided it's time...to begin shaving. (I KNOW, right? Ay yi yi...) Don't get me wrong, it's not like we haven't seen this coming. I mean, the kid's had a visible mustache going on for a while now--all the more noticeable because of his dark hair--and recently added some sideburns to the picture.
Therefore I'd been asking him on a regular basis whether he wanted to start the face-scraping routine, but his answer continued to be "No, it's not bothering me yet." Then I came home from an errand today to find out from Derek that Husband had driven Riley to Target...to pick up an electric razor. WELL! I guess it suddenly became annoying and had to be addressed immediately. (Which is soooo characteristically Riley...I can't imagine where he gets that impatience and impulsiveness from...Shhhh! No comments from the Peanut Gallery! Oh, and also: Awww! How cute with the Father/Son...bonding over personal grooming...and whatnot...)
Now I suppose there will be some kind of tutorial demonstration to instruct the young grasshopper in the proper wielding of the stubble-removing device--which has absolutely nothing to do with me, and which I will thus take great pains to avoid, like the...Male Plague. (Hmm....perhaps I'll hide somewhere in the house with a cup of tea and a magazine, and claim I'm doing "super-secret girly things". That usually succeeds in scaring the Y-chromosome crowd away so I get some cherished Me-Time...snicker...)
And with that, we're brought up-to-date on all Team WestEnders happenings. Riiiight...until tomorrow, when the daytime high might reach 75...and it's Husband's turn to chauffeur Riley to yet another soccer event...and I'm running a 5K in Raleigh...and, who knows, there might be...shaving lessons. Maybe I should go prepare my "retreat setup" now, just in case! Ta ta!