Sunday, August 16, 2009

Another Sunday with Jalen

Haven't done one of these in awhile…

6:30 AM - Jalen wakes me up by dropping his little brown knee into the small of my back. I'm not even out of bed and I'm already tapping out to the day in front of me.

7:00 AM - Since Mrs. Bootleg spent all day Saturday at the beach with the boy, I give her a few more hours of uninterrupted sleep. I ask Jalen what he wants to do in the meantime. "Let's play 'mommies and daddies'! You be the mommy."

7:01 AM - We start by taking "our kids" to school.

9:00 AM - Mrs. Bootleg's awake and she remembers that a package had arrived in yesterday's mail. She piqued Jalen's curiosity by exclaiming, "I think this box is for you!" Jalen audibly groans when he discovers it's just back-to-school clothes.

Mrs. Bootleg has been a mother for five-and-a-half years. You'd think she'd know not to use the "I have a sur-PRISE for you!" tone of voice for clothes. She then followed up with this gem: "But, Jalen, look! There's a polka-dot bag in here, too! You can use it for your toys!" Keep rackin' up those "favorite parent" points, Mrs. Bootleg.

11:00 AM - While flipping over to one of the early ballgames, I hit TBS (Rangers/Red Sox) and then – out of habit – push 7-2-9 on the remote control. Seems I'm just in time for the start of NASCAR's Carfax 400 event. Jalen's eyes grow wide, his jaw drops and in the span of 60 seconds…

11:01 AM - …he's meticulously laid out each of his two dozen replica NASCAR vehicles across the living room floor.

OK, here's the deal. The first movie Jalen fell in love with was Disney/Pixar's "Cars". The opening and closing scenes take place on an animated race track and highlight the only parts of racing that casual fans care about – speed and crashes. Jalen has watched "Cars" 10,000 times. Ergo, I have watched "Cars" 10,000 times. We literally had to replace the first "Cars" DVD we purchased. We wore the damn thing out. Jalen owns every toy character in the movie, including the ones who appear onscreen for three seconds without a speaking part. He discovered REAL car racing about a year ago. The end.

11:15 AM - It begins to rain just 10 minutes into the race, then stops less than five minutes later. The race is delayed for 20 minutes while ESPN interviews each and every driver, asking them about the rain. The sun is now shining brightly at the track and everyone is still standing around. I will remember this the next time I think I'm boring some of you with my incessant baseball posts.

12:00 PM - We somehow pry Jalen away from the television. I hadn't planned on doing much of anything on Sunday, but a co-worker gave me a "friends and family" coupon for a local sporting goods chain. Jalen's fall t-ball season starts September 26 and he's GOT to have new cleats that show how much I live through love him.

12:30 PM - We get a crazy discount on a pair of Nikes. I wistfully remember that I didn't get my first pair of cleats until I was 10-years-old. They were white…and mesh. One afternoon, they'd gotten wet, so my mom (since we didn't own a dryer) put them in the oven to dry them. The tops of the shoes predictably burned and split open. She couldn't afford another pair. Y'know, I really admire writers who can romanticize being dirt f'ing poor.

12:45 PM - Anytime we go outdoors during the weekend, Mrs. Bootleg tries to herd us into a restaurant for a family lunch. My picky son is a sure bet to eat just three entrées: pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers. He'll surprise us once in awhile, but in general, anything else is a roll of the dice. This limits our options and – quite frankly – I'm sick of pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers. OK, OK…I'm not, but the A's game starts in 15 minutes.

1:00 PM - Mrs. Bootleg is quietly fuming. I've shot down all her lunch suggestions and she's clearly picked up on my ulterior motive. I offer up drive-thru Taco Bell as an option. Without even looking at me, she says, "I just wanted to spend time with my family today. Not watching a car race or an A's game." Ah, jeez. I make a mental note of her birthday on September 14. And, as long as Applebee's still has that "two people eat for $20" promotion going…

2:30 PM - Jalen is now upstairs watching the car race. From deep within the ass-groove of my spot on the couch downstairs, I can hear him whimpering, then sobbing and finally out-and-out bawling. It seems his favorite race car didn't win. How does one console a five-year-old African-American child in a situation like this? It's NASCAR!

5:00 PM - Jalen's been teetering on the precipice of falling asleep for most of the afternoon. The problem is that when this boy falls asleep, he's out for hours and consequently pushes back his internal clock's bedtime by an equivalent amount of hours. So, when Mrs. Bootleg's back is turned, I fire up the Nintendo Wii and pop in the new "Wii Sports Resort" game.

My son – as I've previously mentioned in this space – is grotesquely competitive. Most of our Wii games against each other end up with one of us in tears (usually him). But, since this is only the second time we've played this particular game, there's a learning curve for both of us.

5:15 PM - In the game's "three point shootout" basketball event, Jalen mops the court with me despite his awkward, unsound shooting style. For those of you who've ever played hoops with me, try to envision my awkward, unsound jump shot and you'll have an idea. As Jalen was finishing up a 16-8 victory, I rhetorically asked, "How are you…" Jalen interrupted and asked me, "Are you going to ask 'how are you going to catch up to me'?"

I'm officially at that "practice after my kid goes to sleep so I can beat him at a video game" stage of fatherhood. I am not proud of this.

But, I will be when I beat him.


SHough610 said...

Here's how you enjoy NASCAR (I had a high school teacher explain this to me after my question of "how the hell is watching cars drive around a track for six hours enjoyable?): get a case of beer, finish by the end of the race.

"I really admire writers who can romanticize being dirt f'ing poor." Keep in mind, most of these writers do it after they're filthy f'ing rich.

Tom said...

I'm visualizing the new Punch Out commercial where the cocky 30something dad gets owned by his son.