So, it’s Wednesday and I’m thirty minutes into an hour commute home to get to my son’s first street hockey game of this summer season. He’s coming off a winter where he played two separate seasons of inline hockey and went to a skating camp to prep him for ice hockey this winter. I tell you this so that you understand that he’s equipped to play, the money’s been laid out already and I can relax. (I know you can see it coming.) My cell phone rings, It’s the lovely missus. There’s a problem. At practice last week, she got into a conversation with the assistant coach about something business related and left my son’s helmet and gloves on the bench. It’s five days later. They’re gone.
See, mostly I’m in charge of the hockey stuff. He has a hockey bag and everything gets packed into it and double checked. I can’t afford to replace equipment any more often then he can out grow it. Well, I can, I just don’t enjoy it. For the summer, the time and distance for me doesn’t match. I can barely get there for the opening faceoff and so my beautiful wife is in charge of getting him there. For practices, which I typically don’t attend, she’s in charge of getting him home. My son’s nine. The hockey bag is too much for him when it’s full. You would think after he put on everything in it he would just drop to his knees then tip left or right and lay there waiting for someone to come pick him up. My wife doesn’t like to lug it around because she thinks it’s too big. Apparently, the remedy to this situation is to have him dress in his equipment at home then drive to practice or the game and add the helmet and gloves when they get there. As anyone who has a kid playing summer street hockey knows, when the game’s over the kids peel equipment faster then Britney Spears can get drunk. There’s a lot of sorting and collecting to do. This is where the bag comes in handy.
On the other end of the line an edge of panic has set in. It’s an hour to the first game and we’re short a helmet and gloves. “What size helmet does he wear?” “I don’t know,” I say, “You have his head right there. Take him to the store and put a couple on it and buy the one that fits.” “What kind of gloves should I buy?” “ CCM can be a little stiff. He likes Nike or Easton. I’d buy Easton, I like them, it’s what I have.” Armed with my professional opinion, she’s off to the store and I’m back to my driving.
Now it occurs to me almost immediately that this is shopping. Yeah, it’s hockey equipment, but it’s still shopping. If he needed shoes or underwear I can’t imagine her calling me in a semi panic. I’m amused as I drive down the road admiring the sunny day and hoping that the difference in temperature between my climate controlled car and the concrete walls they call seats at the park isn’t more then twenty degrees.
I’m about five miles from home when my phone rings again. They’re back from the store and at the game. (Wait for it, it’s coming.) “I have a problem.” “What’s wrong?” “Can you stop at the store?” “What do you need?” “The helmet doesn’t fit.” “How can the helmet not fit, you had the head with you?” “I thought it was a little tight so I got the next size up and it’s too loose. It’s rattling all around his head and when it falls forward he can’t see.” “But the head was right there in the store with you.” “Are you going to be like this or are you going to help me out,” she yells into the phone. “OK, I’ll turn around and go back to the store.” “We need gloves too.” “Did you forget them.” “Actually, we just need a left one. Do you think they’ll let you buy just the left one if you told them that I’d be returning a right glove later?” “What are you telling me?” “Don’t be a smart a$$, I bought two right gloves by mistake.”
At this point I have to pull the car off the road and stop.
This is shopping. This is my wife. I love her. She makes me laugh. She hates me I think.