Monday, November 05, 2007

And in the end, he sucked a little less...

We've had a busy week here at the Way Out Inn, and another busy week looms. I figured getting up early this morning and pounding out my first November entry would be the best thing I could do for you, dear reader. I know how you pine for news from this outpost.

Geoff is the Avatar!Last week we had Halloween. Geoff wanted to go it alone, but instead I got him a tag-along with his friend Sully and Sully's mom. Sully's got a little brother, and so I knew mom would be out there. Geoff was more than willing to go with her, but eschewed going with us... whatever.

Luckily Mrs. Sully is a good sport and welcomed him with. He had a great time, and we could hear him all through the neighborhood shrieking like a little girl at things that were not very scary, not one bit.

He made off with a fair amount of candy-based loot. He wanted to be The Avatar (for those unfamiliar, it is a Nickelodeon cartoon that we're very fond of). He had been asking since May to do this, and I was reluctant to shave his head or buy a bald wig. Lucky for us, Avatar has grown his hair out and is in hiding... and so I was able to make Geoff look like Season 3 Avatar and didn't have to resort to the baldening of a Season 1 or 2 version.

When he was out around the corner, I heard a kid go "Hey! It's the Avatar!" so my pulled-from-the-closet and culled from many different corners of the house costume looked the part convincingly enough that kids knew who he was.

I am not a big fan of store-bought costumes. I think going out and buying a 20 dollar "Scream" mask and saying you're dressed up for Halloween is a cheap and lazy path to walk down. If you're going to dress up, be creative. Don't just go get a black cape and call yourself a Wizard.

four of my five witches In addition to Halloween this week, I got to dress up. Geoff's Cub Scout Den had their annual Halloween party, and I headed up the witches room in the "haunted hallway."

We built a little "fire" with wood from my den mother's house and blinking orange lights and yellow, red and orange cellophane plastic. One of the cubmasters brought dry ice from his workplace (whatever he does, he's got dry ice!) and we filled our cauldron with bubbly, smoky weirdness. I started the evening with one witchy helper, and by the time the show got underweigh I had five junior witches in my coven. Pictured here are four of my five... not sure where number five was when I took the shot. I had them learn the witches parts from Macbeth, and we put the sheet into a Martha Stewart cookbook. It was a lot of fun to work with these girls, and it was the first time since Geoff has been in cub scouts that we volunteered to do the downstairs haunted hallway portion of things. Normally we'd be upstairs playing the games, but the boys all were feeling too old for that... so they wanted in on the action downstairs. Geoff worked with two older kids in the room next to mine, and had a great time. I was sore the next day from pinching the cheeks of chubby little boys that would look good in our cauldron, and we didn't scare anyone really... mostly made them just stare at us in disbelief. The scary room was down the hall and we could hear all kinds of screaming coming from there... my witches each went down to take a look and reported back that it was, indeed, wicked scary.

It was a good time. I'm going to miss cub scouts. Perhaps we'll volunteer to do this again next year. There were several younger boy scouts there helping out... the ties between our pack and their troop are strong.

What else... oh yeah. Football. Last Saturday, Geoff's team had an away game and played in the pouring rain. They won convincingly, and it was a mud bowl. One of the other parents who was there from our team said her son also had a soccer game, but it was called off because of the weather. Pfth. Soccer. A little pouring down rain can't stop football! Get a clue! Play in the rain... it's fun.

Geoff ended up forcing a fumble last week. He stood up and smacked the center right back into their quarterback. Doug and I heard him yell "Ball!" when the QB dropped the ball... and the kid next to him on our side recovered the fumble. It was pretty cool. He was quite pleased with himself.

"Did you see that? I made that guy bump into that other guy and he dropped the ball. And I yelled ball. And then we got it."

Yes I did. I saw that. Indeed. It makes me smile just thinking of it.

Geoff's football season ended yesterday. They lost 20-13 but it was a great game. Geoff played in several drives, instead of his usual two or three, and that was nice to see. My parents came up to watch the game and have a little visit. Geoff seemed happy to have someone come to the game to watch him.

101907 geoffThey had a pizza party after the game, and I wanted to talk to one of the coaches. He'd had a hard time with Geoff when they lost a game in September and Geoff majorly freaked out about it ... he was very displeased with Geoff's behavior that day and I think it may have colored how he felt about him for the whole season. And about us. He wasn't very friendly to me after practices when I would wave to him, and I knew... you just kind of know... you're the parent of a kid that another parent doesn't want to have to deal with. Some of you parents have had this experience... and you know what I'm talking about. You can't expect other people to like your kid when he is a total pain in the ass sometimes. You tolerate, or I should say, I tolerate a lot of mess and noise from this guy. I try and reason with him, let him know that the rest of the planet isn't going to put up with his shite, and he needs to straighten up and fly right. This coach tried really hard with Geoff, and I know the boy wore him down to a very raw nerve by the end of the season.

So I wanted to thank him in the end, eye to eye, face to face, for being patient with Geoff, and putting up with him. And helping him. He told me that by far, hands down, Geoff was the most improved player of the year. He came a really long way. From the very first day that they had him (the day that he told me he sucked, and I told him to "suck a little less") to that forced fumble, Geoff developed his skill and started to really get what he was supposed to do each and every time, and he was glad to see that improvement.

It felt good to hear him say it... he could have just said "you're welcome" or "whatever, your kid sucks and I hope to hell I don't have him next year" and I totally would have understood that.

I think that in the end, a lot of people learned a lot of things, not just my son. Geoff learned how to lose, how to win, how to hold two people back, one on each arm, how to not stand there after the play is over but to pursue, just in case something happens and he can make a good defensive play. He learned to be a little more aggressive, learned to hustle just a bit more, and hopefully that will develop more next year. And I think the coaches got to learn from a non-neurotypical kid, how he thinks and feels, how he sees things, what he can do and can't do... and they built on that. And I learned that my son finally found something he likes, and thank God it is something I like too.

Geoff's already talking about next year. And I'm already looking forward to it.

Anyway -- that said, I need to suck a little less right now and run out the door and get to work. We've got special super visitors at the office this week and it will impact where and when I get to preview content, so I need to get as MUCH done as possible to day, and clean my desk off. Nice. Gotta make it tidy and look less like a crash pad. More later. Have a good Monday...

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