Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Coach Kelley

There was this one time when I thought I could coach a basketball team.

This past winter, I coached a 10-13 year old girls basketball team at the White Cross Rec Center. My friend's husband runs the league and was in desperate need for coaches. So I volunteered. Jericho asked, "Do you even know how to coach?" I've played basketball on some level for the past 20 years of my life. That should translate into at least marginal coaching abilities. They're tweens. How hard can it be?

It wasn't so much that it was harder than I expected. It was the feeling of utter helplessness when no matter how loud I yelled on the sidelines or how many times I ran a drill in practice, things didn't happen how I thought they should. It blew my mind that I could give a rousing and [in my opinion] truly inspirational pep talk at half time of a tied game and then have my girls do exactly what I just told them NOT to do. It was exhausting. I got in the car once after a game and sighed to Jericho, "I'm going to be such a bad parent." Granted, I will not have 7 tween girls all at the same time, or ever. But trying to coach made me realize just how much patience is required when trying to teach a child something new or something that they really aren't that good at. As someone who's played basketball for 20 years, I struggled to remember what it was like to not be able to dribble with my left hand or do a lay-up so it was tough to put myself in their shoes and understand that a lot of mistakes are going to be made in the learning process.

After the first practice, I thought our team would be in pretty good shape. All of my girls had played rec ball before so at least I wouldn't have to teach anyone where the hoop was. After our first game [which we struggled through and lost], I received an email from one of the parents. She was not angry. Merely concerned. The other teams in the league were obviously different than ours. Their girls were clearly bigger and more experienced. Their games were equally matched and often came down to a dramatic finish with only a single made basket determining the winner. The emailing mother expressed concern that our girls would get destroyed in every game given the competition we now knew we were up against. I thought the same thing.

Having grown up playing rec leagues in various sports, I knew what it was like to be that team in the league that never won a game. It was extremely disheartening to come away from a losing season and feeling that somehow if only I was a little better, my team wouldn't have been so bad. I made up my mind after that first game that I wouldn't hound my girls about wins and losses, that I only wanted to come away feeling like I taught them something new and helped them have fun.

There was one girl on my team named Kelley. She was the youngest and smallest player on my team. She had an older sister on the team and it was clear from the very first practice that the older sister possessed nearly every athletic gene in the family. I felt like I couldn't teach this girl anything. Nothing stuck. There was one moment in the one of the last games when the older of the sisters was sitting with me on the bench. She told me how glad she was to see Kelley getting so much playing time because the last team they played on, the coach rarely every played her. She said she could see how much she'd improved and how much fun she was having. I felt a little better about my job.

I feel like the moral of this story should end like Hoosiers, with the underdogs bringing down the gym with a dramatic win in the tournament. Alas, it was nothing like that. The season ended much like you'd expect. We didn't win a single game. But, we came really, really close and I was so happy to see them working so hard [most of them anyway]. At the end of the last game, the same mom that emailed me in the beginning of the season hugged me and thanked me and told me how much the team had improved since the first game. I really don't know if these girls will remember this season of rec ball as anything noteworthy or special. I'd like to think so. I do know I learned plenty. And I'm glad it's over.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The winner is....

Baby Girl!!!!!

I would have been completely shocked if it was a boy. I willingly accepted a while ago that it'd be a girl. And we were right. And I'm SO excited.

Now on to the next great challenge: the name. I may be posting another poll regarding the name since Jericho and I will probably need outside parties to help us figure this one out.

Also, I found a nice baby-countdown widget through my friend Angie's blog. Isn't it nice? It's one of the only ones I've seen that doesn't have a creepy floating fetus.

And here is the best picture we could get of our stubborn, uncooperative baby girl. She wiggled and kept her back to us the whole time. I hope this is not a sign of things to come. She is her mother's daughter...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Mean Doctor

I did a tally of everyone I know on Facebook that is having a baby this year. The grand total: 21. [22 if you count Mary twice since she's having twins].

Most of the ones that are due before me have already made grand announcements of the gender. And then there are some that are due right about the same time as me that have also found out their baby's gender [totally unfair]. I have a routine OB visit this week. I also have my gender ultrasound scheduled for March 21 since I'll be 20 weeks by that time. And 20 weeks is apparently the magic number for optimal baby-gender predicting. At least, at my doctor's office. Even though my baby book [written by doctors] and other friends said that an ultrasound between 18-20 weeks will tell the gender. Nope, not my doctor. 20 weeks.

With all these other opinions telling me that I could find out the gender by now [I'm currently about 19 weeks], I thought for sure I could convince my doctor's office to do my ultrasound at my appointment this week [a mere 10 days before the magic ultrasound]. So I called them under the guise that I wasn't sure when my next appointment was. When the nurse told me it was the 11th and that my gender ultrasound was the 21st, I asked if we could combine them, for convenience sake, of course, and not because I'm freakin excited to know the gender. She insisted that wasn't possible and they can't tell the gender prior to 20 weeks. "Really?" I ask, "So my friends that had theirs at 18 weeks were just lying to me?" She says, "Well, it's possible, it's just our office policy to not do them prior to 20 weeks." If she had said that in the first place, I wouldn't have been as irritated. Did she really think I haven't read a single thing about prenatal care in the last 5 months, which all say 18-20 weeks? At my March 11th appointment, I will be just shy of 20 weeks. And ya know, pregnancy due dates and all that jazz are all a guessing game anyway. I could be 20 weeks now for all they know! They ain't God!!

So I would like to offer my own solution. Since they need their magic 20-week crystal ball to tell them the gender of my baby, I figure I'll research all the possible old wives' tales out there and make my own super-sound conclusion. Then when the ultrasound tech tells me the gender of my baby, I'll just sigh and say, "Yeah I already knew." How? They'll ask. "Well, everyone else in the world, including my unborn child, knows that gender can be determined before 20 weeks. So we figured it out. Thanks for the unnecessary insurance claim though."

According to the very official old wives' tales gender predictor quizzes that can be found on the always reliable internet, I will be having a girl [highest percentage of certainty is about 63%]. I won't go into the details of the questions because some of them are weird and I don't want you knowing that kind of information about me. The most common one that people keep telling me means that I'm having a girl is that I carry more like a watermelon than a beach ball. I personally think I'm carrying like a fire hydrant but that's apparently not one of the options. Old Wives' Tales Fun Fact: Did you know there is a gender myth out there that you can mix your urine with Drain-O and the color it turns determines a boy or a girl? Who even thought to test that!? I think someone is just messing with desperate pregnant women. And no, I didn't do this.

I also consulted a Chinese Gender Calendar and it indicates that I will be having a girl, most of the time. It depends on which chart I look at it. [And if you're wanting to check behind me, I'm 28 and conceived in November].

And just for the fun of it, I put a blog poll in my side bar for my readers to place their bets. The poll will close on March 21st at 8:45 am since clearly, the gender of my child will be instantly manifested at that very moment.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The One About the Robbery

I've waited to post about this because the ending is taking a while to develop. But it's a good story so if you have time, please read to the end and make the writing of this post not in vain. 

On December 16, 2010, I was working at the Chapel Hill courthouse. It was a Thursday, and like every Thursday, I was in court for the Department of Social Services cases. I sit in the jury box and take notes as my attorney tries the cases for the day. This particular day ended around 3:30 and another court started right after ours. This does not typically happen but because it was December and our district was short on court days due to the various holidays, they had to squeeze court time in wherever they could find it. The court that followed ours was CRC - Community Resource Court. It's kind of a watered down criminal court. It's criminal court for repeat offenders that also have diagnosed mental health issues.

After court on this particular Thursday, I collected my things as always and because I'd been sitting there since 11:00 [we had a 2 hour delay due to the "adverse weather"], my first priority was to use the bathroom. And because I consider myself "court personnel" I use the "court personnel only" bathrooms at the back of the building near the entrance to the judges' chambers. I threw my things- coat, purse, computer bag- on the chair outside the bathroom and a few minutes later, regathered my things and went out to the parking deck behind the courthouse. I got in the car and reached in my purse to get my wallet to pay for my parking. No wallet. After searching my purse about 20 times and all through my car, the clarity hit me hard that the only thing that could have happened was it was stolen out of my purse while I was in the bathroom.

And then I started to cry. I cry often and for a surprising number of reasons. This cry was a frustrated and "no way is this happening" kind of cry. I panicked a little when I realized I couldn't get out of the parking deck and was starving [and pregnant] and REALLY wanted to eat something and was about to call my boss for some money or at least Jericho to tell him what happened. But instead I regrouped and decided to investigate. First, some geographical information about where I am: the Chapel Hill courthouse is at a main thoroughfare on Franklin Street, right across from UNC campus. The main entrance to the courthouse is in the front, naturally, but I use the one in the back, again because I'm "court personnel" and that door is a locked, coded door. So the back entrance is not a high traffic area [also why I didn't think it a big deal to leave my stuff outside the bathroom].

I remembered that when I left the courthouse initially that there were a few people standing out back, and thought, maybe, just maybe those could be the people who stole my wallet since they appeared to have been the only other people to have recently left the courthouse by the back door. I went back to where they were and, of course, they were gone. I went back inside to look around [remember there is a criminal court going on]. I didn't see them so I told Deputy Charlie what I suspected and went out to Franklin Street to look around. I'm a little frantic at this point but relatively under control. Once on Franklin Street, I see an African American couple and two young children. I'm looking at them and going over and over through my memory if these could be the people that I saw behind the courthouse. I notice that they had a shopping bag with them  and are close to a number of small shops and convenience stores. Before I go hollering and flailing my arms at these people about stealing my wallet, I went into the stores to verify that they'd been there. First store, gave a description of suspected perps, asked if they'd paid with a credit card [since I knew I didn't have any cash in my wallet], the cashier said no, they hadn't been in there. Second store, same questions, and the lady said, "yes". I asked to see the credit card receipt. She showed it to me and at the bottom of the receipt under a signature that was most definitely not mine, was the printed name "C Kelley Belcher".

And then I turned green, doubled in size and broke down the door as I stormed out. No other time in my life have I felt the rage and determination and hysteria as I did at that moment. I exclaimed to the cashier woman, "That's me! Those people stole my credit cards!" In hindsight, I should have added, "Why didn't you check their flippin ID!?!?!" I ran out of the store and back down Franklin Street to where I last saw the piece-o-scum-people. They were gone. By now, I'm crying again. Not sad, weepy tears, but tears like I may actually inflict physical harm if I find these people. I went back to the courthouse and told Deputy Charlie what I'd discovered. He said they had just been in the courtroom for a hearing but were gone now. I started to run up and down Franklin Street [in my work heels, no less], in and out of all the stores and restaurants within two blocks, asking for help and giving these people's description. I'm crying and running and alternating muttering between threats and prayers. If any of you were on Franklin Street around this time and saw me, I hope this explains a lot. I'm sure I was a sight. I passed a couple of pan-handlers during my tirade and heard one say to the other, "Whoa, that girl is MAD."

After about 20-30 minutes of this, I knew they were gone. Luckily, there is a branch of my bank on that same block. I righted myself, put out the flames that were erupting from the sides of my face, and went into the bank. I quickly told the smiley counter guy that I needed to close my accounts because someone stole my wallet. He then called over one of the manager-type people. She came around the counter, put her arm around me and asked what happened. Apparently I looked like I needed a hug. Imagine that. I sob again and blabber to her the story. She sets me in an office with another manager-type person to take care of the logistics. Over an hour, and within less than an hour of my wallet being stolen, the fraudulent transactions were identified and canceled [a whopping $50 worth], all of my accounts were closed, the account and cards were flagged, and I got all new accounts. I still didn't have any money so I asked the bank man if I'm allowed to withdraw some cash before everything is closed. Sure! How much? *Sniff* I just need to get out of the *sniff* parking deck and *sniff* eat some dinner. *sniff* So like twenty dollars? *sniff* P-p-please? *Sniff*

I was so pathetic I laugh so hard every time I've had to retell this story. 

In all this time, I still hadn't called Jericho. First I make a phone call to address my basketball practice for that night that I'm most definitely not going to make it to coach my girls. I balled during that retelling about why I couldn't make it so I decided I still needed to calm down. I had a 30 minute drive home and Harry Potter on CD to mellow me out. And it worked. I got home and calmly retold the whole thing to Jericho, who stood wide-eyed the entire time. He gave me a hug and told me how proud he was that I'd acted so quickly in figuring out what happened and already addressed all the banking stuff. And he even picked up some dinner and rubbed my feet [but only after I played the "I was robbed today!!!" card a couple times]. 

I'm sorry folks, but the story does not end there. The next morning I got to work and told my boss about the exciting events that transpired after court the day before. I love my boss for a number of reasons. This was definitely one of them. All during the story, she was PISSED. She was swearing about this woman and how we were going to "get her!" and she was "going to pay!". She spent most of the morning on the phone with admins and judges at the courthouse figuring out who the woman was. In short, we determined that she'd been a defendant on the docket for CRC and that she was there with her two little kids and the only one to have her kids with her which means she was called first and the ONLY one dismissed promptly after her case, right about the time that I would have been hanging out in the bathroom. We found out her name and her next court date. She made an extremely idiotic choice in who she robbed that day.

I talked to the attorney in my office who handles criminal matters and she told me to file a police report. She told me what to do and by the end of the day, there was an investigator assigned to the case. Fast forward to the present. I hadn't heard anything in two months so I emailed the investigator last week to check in. Apparently my suspect has been tough to track down but that she would be in court later that week [Thursday] so the cop was going to go have a chat with her then. The investigator called me yesterday to let me know how it went. The suspect and her boyfriend/baby-daddy both denied knowing anything about the incident and they clearly "knew all the right answers" and how to talk to cops. All that can be done now is for the investigator to pull everything she has together and give it to a D.A. and they'll decide if they want to move any further. But as for now, nothing's really happening.

It'd be nice if this story had a more dramatic ending. It'd be nice if I could have vengeance and that wretched woman would pay for stealing from me. Luckily I believe in justice from more places than the court system. I don't believe in karma, so to speak, but I do believe that no act like this goes without consequences. I may not ever see the consequences that befall this woman, but I know she'll get them one day. Just the fact that she has a life that requires probation and monthly court appearances goes to show that prosperity and happiness don't come to those that put themselves above rules and make choices regardless of the harm it brings to others. And who stick their grubby paws in my fabulous Jessica Simpson purse.

I did learn some precious life lessons from this experience:
~ It's truly sad that we live in a world where people think they deserve someone else's property more than the rightful owner. But to know that people are stealing in front of their children, telling them that this is an acceptable way to live one's life makes me angrier than I can even put into words.
~ Clearly our court systems need some help if a defendant walks out of a criminal hearing and within 5 minutes has lifted someone's wallet and committed credit card fraud.
~ I will never say a negative thing about my bank ever again. They handled the situation better than I could have imagined.
~ Even the people at DMV are nicer once they find out you're there because your wallet was stolen.
~ I no longer have to wonder just how fast I can run in heels if the need arises.

Let's hope my phone call yesterday with the investigator wasn't the last and that the perp gets what's coming to her. I know I should be praying for her and especially those two kids. I know I should forgive her. But I'm not quite there yet. I'm not nearly as upset as I was 2 months ago but, as an author I read recently said, "Forgiveness is about getting to the point where you've stopped swinging your fists." And I'm not quite there yet. Not quite...

About This Blog

Come Again Soon!