Sunday, July 13, 2014

Vamos, Argentina! (There’s Always Next Time)

For Mike, this World Cup has been stellar. The tournament showed various facets of the beautiful game, the US held their own, Argentina showed why they’re a world power in the sport, and Germany showed what a deep team can do when it’s all on the line. But we didn’t just sit around watching soccer all week. . . .

On Monday morning, Mike took the kids to the pool while Hallie went to the gym. We love having the pool right here close! As the pool is heated and the day started off warm, they actually had a good time in spite of being warned by the neighbors that the pool would be too cold. Silly long-time Californians! After all, we didn’t have to chip any ice off the top of the water, so it was warm enough.

On Tuesday, Hallie took the kids to see “How to Train Your Dragon 2” at the movies while Mike worked and watched Germany play a group of amateurs wearing Brazilian jerseys. Let’s hope they don’t give whoever plays them in the final the same beating. Yikes!

Mike had a meeting with students at Bandit’s in Thousand Oaks. Hallie took the kids on a brief visit to run some things over to Grandma and Grandpa O. before Mike’s meeting ended and they had to hurry back. Having the one car has been positive for the most part, but we have had our little challenges here and there.

Wednesday was Argentina’s Independence Day, so their hard-won victory over Holland was all the more sweet. Now they moved on to a formidable German team in the final.

Mike taught the kids how to play Go Fish with cards Hallie had bought as part of a set of children’s games while we lived in Michigan. They caught on quickly, and were making pairs and matching numbers like pros before too long. Who knew learning math could be so fun? And yes, they were learning math.

Hallie interviewed at Hobby Lobby and got hired right away! She’ll work full-time for the next little while until we can get back on our feet after the move and the short sale of our old house. Fortunately, the house is under contract (someone has signed an offer to buy it), so we hope to have that monkey off our back sooner than later.

For the last few weeks from about two in the afternoon until about dinnertime, the kids have started to go a bit nuts, and they have begun to drive their parents insane as well. We have tried to remedy the situation through TV and outdoor activity.

Mike, reading about an online campaign by Dutch creative agency Just in response to Facebook’s experiment on its users, decided to enjoy (at least) 99 days of freedom from the social media platform. See you there again (maybe) on or around October 17.

On Thursday, Hallie found the mail keys, which had been missing for over a week, and we had a whole bunch of mail to collect. Sadly, most of it was bills or ads, but we did get a postcard from Grandma and Grandpa M, who are returning from a road trip out to South Dakota.

Fergus escaped again, and we learned how he gets out of the yard. He has a whole little highway along the beams that hold the fences between the yards together.

We did pizza-and-a-movie night tonight instead of Friday because we weren’t sure how long Hallie would be out on Friday with her orientation.

Friday morning, Hallie and our neighbor Sarah attended an orientation for new Hobby Lobby employees while Mike and the kids played. Chick-fil-A had a promotion for anyone who dressed up like a cow. Mike threw something together for the kids, and after picking up Hallie from the orientation, they went over.

They intended to go to 7-Eleven for a free Slurpee for dessert, but everyone else in town seemed to have the same idea. Later, Hallie and Landon ran some errands and were able to get a couple to share.
Their timing was perfect, as they got there just before a new line formed going out the door.

Hallie took the kids to the park to blow off some steam, but even getting outside didn’t keep them from fighting and carrying on. They need to find some friends in the neighborhood so they’re not stuck with just each other, at least until they learn to appreciate each other.

Landon’s feeling the stress, and he decided he needed to get out of the house on his own for a bit. He announced that he was running away. Fortunately, the idea of a meal was enough to bring him back into the nest.

Fergus managed to break free of his collar, so Hallie and Landon had brought back a new harness from the store that we hope will stay on in case the cat decides to make another escape. We discovered that he can pull open the new screen for the sliding glass door if we don’t lock it. Clever kitty.

Mike had a class on campus on Saturday, so everyone went up. After dropping Mike off, Hallie took the kids to Wildwood Park to play. Later, Carly and Cru joined them. Hallie discovered something about the kids’ contentious play: Give them enough space where they’re not on top of each other all the time, and they won’t fight. Some other kids came along, and the kids really enjoyed themselves with new playmates.

This little dog got a bit too friendly with Eliza. Down, boy! 

After a trip to the mall for lunch, they picked up Mike in the afternoon and headed home. Mike had missed the Netherlands-Brazil game, but the replay showed more humiliation heaped on the hosts. Let’s hope Saturday brings tears – of joy – to the Albiceleste.

We all went to the pool in the late afternoon/early evening, a first for all of us at once. Pool time definitely tuckers the kids out, and they tend not to fight as much while there. Doesn’t necessarily fix things at home, but Eliza did go to sleep pretty quickly tonight.

Sunday morning dawned sunny and warmer than usual. Mike hung up our Argentina flag to show our support of the team.

He felt (a little) conflicted going into the game with his German heritage on the one side and his Argentine mission experience on the other. Now that the US was out, either a German or an Argentine win was about the same (but he really wanted Argentina to win).

He remembers as a missionary in Argentina when they won the Copa América in 1993 and as an intern in Buenos Aires during the 2002 fiasco. Unlike sports in the US, this game means a whole lot to Argentina on a national level. It’s been a long dry spell (albeit with Olympic gold in Athens and Beijing). It’s just a game, after all, but for most of the world, its THE game, and this year it’s “a copa das copas” (“the cup of cups”) to win in their rival’s house and to keep the South American streak of World Cups won in South America alive. It means a lot to the German team too, but Mike doesn’t think Germans themselves have as much national pride riding on the outcome. Who knows? In the end, he had to admit that the best team did win when Germany took the Cup. But what a game! Beautiful goal by Mario Götze in the closing minutes. WatchESPN has been Mike’s favorite channel all month. It may not be all the sports, and it may not quite be live, but it is free, and it is enough! 

The kids mostly just did own their thing while Mike cheered, cursed, and fretted. Landon did say he'd be interested in playing soccer again, though.

And now that the Cup is over, Mike’s fútbol furor, like the sleeping cicada, will lie dormant until the Women’s World Cup next year in Canada. Go USA women’s team!

Hallie got a calling! She will tell you what it is next week. They still haven't figured out what to do with Mike. As he missed church to watch soccer, they may want to reconsider where they put him. . . .

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