Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Married A Red Sox Fanatical

When you marry a native Red Sox fan, your life changes forever.

When you marry a native Red Sox fan and the Sox make it to the World Series, your world explodes.

I grew up in Virginia, the great state of no team in particular, and so I never followed team sports. But when I married into Red Sox Nation, I no longer had that option.

My husband moved our twin babies and me to his homeland of Massachusetts in 2002 when “the Curse” was still in power. One of the first things we did was walk into Fenway Park and choose between the last two pair of available seats for season ticket purchase. I was sporting my brand new, bright-red Lands End coat that guaranteed warmth in weather as frigid as -34 degrees. It was a massive piece of insulated architecture that weighed a ton. I was wearing a Hyundai. Still, it did the trick and I wore it whenever it was cold outside, which was September through May. So on that day, as I attempted to back my rear bumper into the 15-inch, 91-year-old seats, my husband cruised from one end of the stadium to the other testing the sightlines until he finally made his choice. We were officially season ticket holders.

That year the Sox made it to the ALCS Championship against the damn Yankees. The night of Game 7, the Sox were in New York; my husband was in our bedroom pacing in front of the TV; and the babies were blessedly sleeping. That meant I had a good 3 or 4 hours to enjoy my favorite activity: Peace.

The object of this game was to go downstairs and see what my house looked like with no one in it. I’d sit at the kitchen counter and absorb the nourishing silence like the roots of my one surviving houseplant on the days I remembered to water it. I’d wander from room to room as if I was at a Sunday Open House, viewing a world that wasn’t really mine. Here, I could light scented candles without fear of little ones getting burned. I could read more than two sentences in a row, or simply close my eyes on the couch without someone yanking my hair and demanding snacks or Band-Aids. Oh, how I was beginning to love sports.


The shout came from upstairs … only the word wasn’t actually “muck”.

“Muck, Muck, MUCK!”

My eyes snapped open and all that serenity popped like the bubbles in my much-anticipated bath that were rapidly swirling down the drain.

 “Ssshhhh!” I hissed, rushing up the stairs, “Don't mucking wake the babies.”

A glance at the TV screen showed the Sox beating the Yankees by 3 in the bottom of the eighth.

“What’s wrong? They’re winning.”

“They’re about to muck it up,” he growled.

“Oh for goodness sake,” I chirped, “You know they’re going to win.”

Wrong. Thing. To. Say. My husband’s head swiveled my way and daggers shot out of his eyes.

“Why would you say that?! You just jinxed us!”

I rolled my eyes ... and a few minutes later the Yankees tied the game. Then, in the tenth inning, something very bad happened and a very happy Yankee jogged leisurely around the bases to score.

In official sports-speak, that little round-a-bout was called a walk-off home run and apparently I caused it. I also caused Grady Little to keep Pedro pitching way past his prime, which resulted in Aaron Boone hitting said walk-off homer to win the ALCS Championship. I somehow managed all this while standing in my bedroom, 200 miles from Yankee Stadium, wielding nothing but a mucking, positive attitude.

Trust me when I tell you my house was no longer peaceful.

A decade later, my family still refers to that game as the “Adrienne Game.” Grady Little, Bill Buckner and I have learned the same lesson the hard way: Boston never forgets.

Stay tuned for Part Two, in which the babies become teenage superfan fanaticals; our two seats become four seats, and the Red Sox make the 2013 World Series. We’re off to Fenway now for Game 6, where I promise not to say anything good about the Sox … wish me luck ... 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pecking At My Reflection

When we bought a house in the city, we certainly didn't think we'd get Butterball's corporate offices in our back yard. But, hey, I guess they gotta gobble somewhere. Did you know turkeys hang out in trees? Waaaaay up in trees ... and they don't like it if you play basketball beneath them. They issue a warning that sounds like my 86-year-old grandfather battling his reflux after a nice, big Thanksgiving dinner. Also, turkeys swoop. And they are MASSIVE when they spread their wings, like a nightmarish pterodactyl ... guaranteed to take a few years off your life. But all in all they're pretty harmless, as long as you don't cross a pumped up male during mating season. Then you better get out the carving knife and some cranberry sauce ... cause it's you or him.

It cracks me up when one literally comes knocking at our door. At first my boys wanted to open the door, and even I considered it for a crazy moment, before I remembered… turkeys can be mean. We realized the ol' bird didn’t want to visit with us, he was merely pecking at his reflection in the glass… probably in aggression or possibly in frustration that the “other” turkey wasn’t responding to him. THAT I understand. There are times I have BEEN this turkey—pecking and pecking at my reflection—with no results or meaningful connection; nothing to show at all for my efforts except a massive headache.  
I’ll explain. 
I have twin sons. One is just like me… barring the obvious difference in our genders of course. Other than that, we’re the same. We think the same; we vice the same; we move through life the same. Our hearts are forever on our sleeves; we want to please. Words affect us more than others. We’re sensitive, dammit.  
We’ve got each other’s back with a loyalty that’s rock solid. I tell you, I’ve got a diehard champion in that one. He has my heart but he drives me up-a-wall-and-down-the-other-side bonkers. He’s stubborn, like me, and no more so than when we clash. We can crash against each other like waves against a rocky shore. When I see him impulsively making the same mistakes I made as a child I want to scream at him to STOP. And I usually do. And he screams right back. We’re too alike to communicate effectively at these times, and we often end up at loggerheads.  
During these episodes, I might as well be banging my head against my image in the thick glass door. In fact, that’s eactly what my husband tells me when he steps in and takes over, pulling me out of the ring kicking and screaming. “Give it up,” he’ll calmly suggest. “You’re just pecking at your reflection.” 
Did he just call me a turkey? 
He should talk, he’s got his own little doppelganger. My other son is my husband’s Mini-Me. He is the spitting image of him inside and out. And as we’ve already learned the hard way, that can make for some incredibly frustrating struggles in communication. After an especially exasperating evening of locking horns with his diabolical double, I might find my husband pacing in his office: 
“My dearest wife,” he’ll say to me. “Oh how I love you, but I must leave you now and jump head-first through this third floor window. Remember me well.” 
“Fret not, my love,” I’ll say as I tug on his ankles and yank him back onto the hardwood floor where he slumps in defeat. “I got this one.” 
And I do. For this child and I connect so easily. We exist on an even plane together … smooth sands … level trekking. Easy, breezy, beautiful. He and I … we’re like butter. 
I find it so ironic that I gave birth to identical twins and yet they are each spot-on the personality of a different parent. To remain sane, my husband and I created a sort of parenting tag team to accommodate those differing dispositions. We relieve each other at crucial moments to make sure we’re never banging our heads against the glass door for too long.
We’ll leave that to the turkeys.