The in-laws have been here since Friday night.
The entire weekend has been spent attending to soap-box derby racing. I have mentioned before that the girls race soap-box cars, right?
If you don’t know what soap-box derby racing is, check it out here.
Maj and Kallan love it. Mark loves it.
I find it to be just about the most boring sport in the history of the world, but I try to keep this piece of information to myself. The girls love it. Mark loves it.
I usually just stay out of the way.
But Grandma and Grandpa timed their visit to coincide with a soap-box race down in Salem this past weekend. And because I am a stunningly fabulous daughter-in-law and mother, I went along to spend the day at the track and watch the girls race.
I may have whined a lot.
But it was quite educational. And now? I will share that knowledge with you.
1) Despite the fact that the cars are fine-tuned precision instruments? The administration of the races? Not so fine-tuned or precise. In soap-box derby racing, if they say they are going to start the race at 10:00 am, but then they don’t actually start the race until well after 11:00 am? Everyone involved exchanges self-congratulatory high-fives for their excellent organizational skills.
2) In soap-box derby racing, each car involves at least one parent (usually a dad) and child working together to build, perfect, and then race a car. If you imagine the sum total of the interest and motivation involved in this endeavor to be a whole pie? There are some children whose shares of that pie are barely more than slivers. It is immediately apparent to even the casual observer which drivers are only there because Dad has eaten the whole pie.
3) There are a lot of dads who have eaten a lot of pie. This is not a sport that requires conditioning, apparently.
4) If someone leaves a yellow Labrador tied to a tree just next to the racing staging area? And if that dog is male and horny? Some of the boys will find the fact that they can get the dog to hump their legs beyond hilarious. And when this happens? Everyone except you will pretend that the dog is not humping a series of gleeful children.
5) If you yell at the boys to leave the dog alone? Sassy small boys will get right in your face and inform you that this is not your dog. But they will stop messing with the dog, because it turns out you are scary up close.
6) If you spend an entire day at a lovely tree and grass-filled park? The allergies that have so far this year remained largely at bay? Will attack you. Also, they will attack your older daughter, but your eyes will be too swollen to properly appreciate her grief.
7) If the only medication you have available to fight off the allergies is Benadryl? You will feel nappish and groggy for several hours. And then? You will find that your allergies have worsened during the nappish, groggy period . . . you just weren’t coherent enough to enjoy this fact.
8) Sometimes motivational speeches go awry. At the celebratory dinner the night before the race, there was a man who gave a lovely speech encouraging the kids to not forget that the race should be about FUN. He then went through the letters of the word FUN and spelled out his inspirational message. Even at the time, I thought his N message was lame – that the kids should feel “No Shame” about losing. That particular part of the speech didn’t resonate with the kids either, resulting in Kallan running around the track yesterday afternoon asking people, “Remember that guy last night? What comes after F-U?”
9) If you pack a lot of food in a cooler, you will realize too late that you should have consulted with your father-in-law about what he would have liked to eat. He will eat some food, but at the end of the day he will be starving. You will know this because at Fuddruckers that evening for dinner? He will order and consume a 2/3 pound hamburger. Do you know how big a 2/3 pound burger is, people? Way big enough to make clear that I failed at packing lunch.
10) It is much easier to be a good sport if you finish out of the running (as Kallan did) than if you miss out on being in the final showdown heat for 1st and 2nd place by a few thousandths of a second (as Maj did). Maj recovered quickly, but third place was a momentarily bitter pill to swallow.
11) If, at the end of the day, you are just dying? Your allergies are so bad that you are just dying? That will be the moment when you will be called, all miserable and puffy-faced and streaming-eyed, up to the awards podium for photos with your daughters. Lovely.
12) And while you are up there, all reluctant and miserable and unhappy and allergy-ridden? They will hand you a bouquet of flowers in celebration of all that you do to support your soap-box racing daughters. Flowers . . . sigh. And also? Achoo.
13) Your older daughter will be puzzled at the bestowing of the flowers, because, as she will point out on the ride home, “You didn’t do anything.”
14) Which is why you choose to give the flowers to your younger daughter, whose attitude on this day? Was lovely. Kallan remembered to keep the fun in the day, even if she didn’t remember what came after F-U.
Speaking of which . . . If I had given the flowers to Maj (whose allergies were far worse than mine?), it would have been a huge F-U.
15) It seems wrong somehow to end on 14, so I will leave you with this . . . Soap-box derby racing? Way fucking boring.
But my daughters? And my husband? They love it.