Archive for October, 2009

Hockey Equipment 101-or why I really should listen to my gut.

Today, Isaac had a half day, due to grades 1-5’s parent conferences. Oh, fun. So, we miss a full day of resource and therapies…but I digress. I picked the small boy up a smidge early and took him to purchase his hockey skates, stick and other items. We ran our errands and then progressed onto attempting to purchase the skates. My first instinct was to go to Kemp’s. BUUUUUTTTT, since I had done something slightly stupid with Isaac’s adderol prescription (don’t ask. It’s a classic Laura maneuver. I’ll just leave it at that.), I decided that we should stop at Dick’s, since it was on the way.

 

Yeah. Bad idea. Superbad idea.

I walk in with Isaac, and find the way through the new store to the hockey department. There, we get a pair of skates, a roll of clear tape (for the socks) and a mouthguard. I didn’t think the skates were right-they seemed waaay too big, but I was told they would work. Heck! What do I know! I’m a first time hockey parent. They also didn’t have the hockey undies that he requires to play. The guy that was “helping” us didn’t even know that there were special protective underwear for hockey, and tried to sell us a run of the mill jock. No, no, no. How are we supposed to keep the socks up? seriously! The hockey specific ones have velcro on the bottom of them that you stick the socks to.

Then, we got some bad recommendations on the stick. They tried to sell us a STREET HOCKEY stick for an ice hockey game. Yikes! Plus, since all of the sticks were too long, I asked if they cut them to size for the player. He said we could do it ourselves. When I asked for measurement guidelines, he gave me a blank stare.

 

Not the right answer.

 

So, we were headed for Kemp’s. I purchased the wrong skates, inquired about the return policy and made sure that we could return them unworn, unsharpened if they turned out to be the wrong skate., which I was almost positive they were…but again, I didn’t know.

 

We get to Kemp’s, Doug laughing at me the whole way for the simple fact that 1) I knew where the hockey store was, and 2) he knew how this was all going to end up.

 

We meet up with a wonderful young man who we asked to help us fit Isaac properly for skates. Turns out he got his start in the youth hockey program where Isaac is starting! YIPEE!

He fitted Isaac properly for a pair of skates, thereby letting us know that the kind we bought were too flexible for Isaac and were also a full size too large!

 

Yeah. Great.

This meant we had to take the wrong skates back. Thank the good lord I asked about the return policy.

Stop laughing at me for not listening to my gut. I did enough yelling at myself the entire time we were driving back to Dick’s.

So, after purchasing the proper skates, stick (with pirate theme grip tape) and hockey undies, we made the trek back to the offending store. I walked in with the bag, and was greeted by the customer assistance person at the door. She asked me what was wrong with the purchase, and  I told her-

Wrong size and too flexible.

She looked at me funny and pointed me to the guy at the register.

 

So, the lesson here in all of this is that I should go with my first instinct and NOT with the one that comes when I’ve done something stupid and I’m trying to consolidate travel.

 

Man. Hockey is complicated!

October 27, 2009 at 9:56 pm 2 comments

“So, do you have a good dental plan?”

Yeah. My friend asked me that. She’s lucky I’ve known her since high school and I have one of her kids in my computer classes at school AND is my favorite pampered chef consultant… Otherwise, I’d have to whack her.

What brought her to ask me this pivotal question?

What did I do to make her wonder about my dental coverage?

I signed Isaac up for youth hockey.

Yes, you all read that right. Youth Hockey. This level is called “learn to skate for hockey” and is the first in the progression towards full out hockey. How did this all come about? Frankly, I’m still in shock that I did this, but it all started, as it always does, with an announcement from the shrimp…

“Mommy. I want to join the River Rats.”

(do you all hear the sound of forehead hitting hand here?)

After a long explanation that first, he couldn’t skate and secondly he was too young-he announced this:
“mommy-I want to play hockey.”

Ok, I can get behind that. It must have been providence that I opened my email the  next morning and saw that the school PTO email list had sent out a list of activities and announcements (they do it every week) and one was a “learn to skate” and “learn to skate for hockey.” Hrm.

So, I made some phone calls on my break at work, and found out that it was an option for us. I quickly signed the small boy up and proceeded to update my facebook status to “oh, my, what have I done?” or something like that.

I didn’t let the small boy in on the whole thing until Sunday morning. I just didn’t want to hear all weekend about hockey, hockey, hockey. Meanwhile, I’d been quietly scoping out where to get certain hockey items that we can’t get through the loaner program-and wouldn’t want to…Really-I’m not allowing my child to use someone else’s hockey undies. No thanks.

Sunday morning rolls around and I get the small boy dressed and we head off to the open house. He thought we were going to take him to play on the trains at Barnes and Noble. Nope. Not at all. We drove to the ice rink, where we found that it was colder inside the rink than it was outside the rink! YIKES!

I then asked my darling crazy child if he wanted to still learn how to play hockey, and he excitedly yelped at the top of his lungs and ripped off his seat belt.

Thank goodness there were the coaches to help us gear up. We made a choice to use loaner gear for this season, as hockey costs add up FAST. Hardcore fast. For just pads and things, you’re looking at 100.00 on the low end of things. YIKES! And being my child is supertiny, and still growing, he’ll most likely outgrow things faster than we can buy them! eek!

Starting in November, I’m going to no longer be soccer mom, I’m going straight to hockey mom!

And yes, I’ve already put Dr. Nancy, Dr. Jen and Dr. Jason on alert…

October 26, 2009 at 3:53 pm 1 comment

Game geeks-Why are you out on a school night?

Wednesday night was the VIP party for the new store. We basically kept the store open until 11 pm and ran all sorts of games, giveaways and tours of the new place. My job was to run the Wii video game challenges. I found Mario and Sonic at the Winter Games which, incidentally, is tons of fun…and includes hockey…and put that up for some time trial play.

There were these two kids who were in the store from about 7:45 pm. They saw us getting ready for the party and saw me setting up the swag stuff. I pegged them as either 8th graders or freshman, just by their sheer PITA nature. It didn’t help that I’d been in the computer lab all day with my students…so, I was on edge. These two goobers come up to me and ask if they can take some of the free stuff. At this point, myself and another district manager told them no, that it was for the party and that it was going to be raffled off and used for tournament play. Then, the line came that pegged them as 8th graders…

“So, if we stay until 9, can we get some stuff?”

Seriously. Where’s your mom? Don’t you have homework that you need to complete?

So, these two goobers stayed until 9, got some freebies and then proceeded to stay a bit longer…and drive me more crazy during the videogame tournament that I was running. The one won a prize, and kept hounding me re: the prize and if he could win another one for competing in a 2nd tournament. Umm..you got a freakin’ free gift card, a free faceplate for your xbox and lanyards-what else do you want?

These two drove me insane…totally insane! The one even started complaining to the other one that it was a school night and if they could, they’d have stayed until the end of the party so they could get more free stuff.

OY!

One person said it was the “nerdiest event she’d ever been to.” Umm. I agree totally. But come on. Nerds R Us. That’s why we work at a game store…

October 17, 2009 at 9:47 pm Leave a comment

Game Geeks-New stores and the most unhelpful help desk

Yep! I’m back game geeking! That little fall I took at the end of last school year put me out of commission for the majority of the summer. Then, the lack of hours put me seriously under the game geek radar for an extra special long time.

Now that I’m back there are just a few changes at the game geek empire! Let’s do those in bullet points, shall we?

  • My Geekdom is now a “store of the future!” It’s neato bandito! We’ve got neat new registers and all of this high tech jazz. I’m all in bliss…
  • We now get to wear jeans and sneakers to work, along with the company shirt. I’m not knocking this. Ya gotta love jeans and sneakers.
  • We all have our own engraved name tags with the company mascot on them. What company you might ask? This should give you a hint… “there’s one…there’s another one…HOLY S####!”
  • There are game advisors who got promoted, who really are letting it go to their heads.

Then, there are the things that stay the same-

  • the supergrumpy District Manager
  • the one blockhead assistant manager
  • the hilarious people I work with
  • the area manager who still refers to me as “the girl I stole from Starbucks,” when he tells anyone about me.
  • the insane customers

So, with this store, comes a whole new crop of problems.

  • figuring out where to put the 90 trillion PS2 games that are in the store. just as an aside-I never, ever want to see another PS2 game again. Seriously.
  • figuring out why the alarm for the store was never set up until the blockhead assistant manager had to spend the night in the store.

and the largest problem…that we found upon opening this afternoon….

THE PEOPLE WHO SET UP OUR REGISTERS NEVER, EVER SET UP OUR WIRELESS…

and this meant….

WE COULDN’T RUN CREDIT CARDS OR PROCESS ANY SORT OF GIFT CARD!!!

Oh, lord. Save me.

so, I got on the phone with the help desk and got transferred to three different people…and finally I got someone who knew what they were doing on the phone…but thought we were a “regular” store and not a “store of the future”, so was giving us troubleshooting based on the ‘regular” thing. ARGH!

I passed it off to the area manager. Thank goodness the transaction that I was doing was for another district manager.

So, hopefully, the VIP party tomorrow night will come off without a hitch! No more unhelpful people!!

October 13, 2009 at 8:07 pm Leave a comment

It’s just got to be hockey season because…

We not only had a pre-season River Rats game here…
A stoppage in play...prolly for something insane...
With lots of fights, because now, we’ve got a NORTHWAY SERIES BACK!

Isaac got his face painted at the game and some silly gear courtesy of Nana…
ok-not a wonderful shot, but it gets the point across...

and then we had opening night…

Can I begin this tale of hilarity by saying that I had a target on my chest? I was hanging down at the boards with Puddle (as she does) and Isaac, who seems to love all of the banging around of warm ups, and toward the end, a puck came flying over the boards. Normal occurance. Seriously normal. WELL, it came and hit me in the chest-bounced off me and went down on the ground. Isaac scrambled and got the puck…and I grabbed Puddle’s phone and put up the following status…

Just got hit in the hooters with a puck! must be hockey season!

Yep. it’s true. I did. Yes, it’s hilarious. I think I deserve one of those hot as all get out 3rd jerseys for my humiliation and pain. But I digress.

My little guy got a new hat…
Shock of all shocks...it is...RED, and he's got a silly grin. Goober.

and we watched a very young team really try and pull it out.
The view from my seats in the arena

Isaac watched Mommy go slightly nutty yelling….

and exercise huge restraint in not throttling the old, grumpy geezer in front of them who thought children didn’t belong at a hockey game, and told a few parents so.

Then, we went down on the ice after the game for the Meet the Players session.

Isaac was beyond excited that we got to go onto the ice. He could NOT believe that we were actually walking on ice. He asked me a few times for ice skates. I told him he had to master the art of soccer cleats before he could even THINK of getting on skates.

Isaac got his hockey stick signed by the entire team, save for the coaches. They didn’t come out. I think the assistant coach was trying to find ways to tell them of the Curse of Meet the Players Night…but I digress.

Then, asked Isaac if I could do one thing. Take his picture in the goal…
playing hockey...oh, am I in for it with this kid..
The official goal shot

We’ll be back for more games. I know it. I just know it.

I’ve finally corrupted my son to the dark side…Hockey is the appropriate sport…

October 6, 2009 at 8:53 am 1 comment

Things you don’t see every day…

We got to see a movie stunt being done!!
It’s for a movie called The Other Guys that’s been filming in the area for the past few weeks. They’ve decided to use our area as a double for New York City. The only thing that’s the same is the plates on the car…

But here’s the stunt being set up. I wonder if you can guess where that car will land…because I’m not going to show you…
 The car is revving up to go...
stunt coordinator talking to the driver-have you figured out where that car is going to end up yet?

October 2, 2009 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

The great backpack fiasco of 2009, the reprise!

Let me start this tale by saying that I hadn’t planned on this happening. Seriously. I hadn’t. But, Isaac demanded that I send applesauce in with him, in his Star Wars thermos, so I did. BUT, he didn’t close it all the way, and whammo. Applesauce all over the pack.

We did what any parent worth their salt would do. Empty the pack and toss it in the washing machine with the next load of wash, which happened to be towels. We’ve done this with all of our packs and bags, both REI, EMS and LL Bean. We have never, ever, ever had a pack come out of the wash looking like this:
 Yep, that's a big rip!
Yeah, that's a HOLE.
Oh, lookie loo. That's ANOTHER hole!

Needless to say, I was NOT impressed with the LL Bean backpack that we had fought so hard to get. Knowing full well LL Bean has a satisfaction guarantee, and that we needed a backpack for the morning, I called the local store.

I had a nice chat with a kindly gentleman, who totally understood my predicament and really wanted to help me out…but they don’t carry the LL Bean Original Bookpack in the store. They only have them online.

Yes, I knew that.

So, I told him that I didn’t care if we got a deluxe bookpack or whatever, as long as we had SOMETHING that met the following criteria:
1) was red.
2) was large enough to hold snowpants, a lunch box and other assorted things in the winter.
3) was small enough for a kindergartener’s back.
4) Would last for a few years.

He told me he had two things in stock-
1) the deluxe bookpack.
2) the critter backpack, which has a shark on it.

Now, the only problem is that these two backpacks cost a bit more than the one I purchased. I was NOT willing to pay for the upgrade to the backpack. I wanted a straight out even exchange if I was going to be made to get a more expensive pack.

I explained this to the kindly gentleman on the phone who explained that he couldn’t do this without a manager’s approval.

I understand that. It’s at least at $10.00 difference!

Now, it’s here that some people would say that I’m being unreasonable. I don’t think I am after what we went through to GET the pack in the first place, and the fact that we had purchased it in July, never even took it out of the package until September and my child had only used it to and from school for not even 3 weeks. Also, to refresh memories, I was given lectures on how I was going to ruin my child’s bones by purchasing the pack that I did, even though I explained I knew how to load a backpack and would be sure to watch out for overloading…and how can you overload a kindergarten backpack? I even did my homework on ratings, age appropriateness and the like. So, I don’t feel I’m being unreasonable.

Back to the tale…

Kindly gentleman puts me on hold and comes back and lets me know that the manager had approved the even swap, due to our immediate need and extenuating circumstances. I tell the nice guy that I’ll be in to get the pack in about 30-45 minutes.

I hop in the car and head down to the mall and the LL Bean store. I walk in and take the pack to the register. Explain the whole story, tell them that there’s a critter pack waiting for me and that I just need to do the whole exchange.

Then, I see her. One of the lecture givers…and she said “Oh, is that the jr. backpack?”
I told her it wasn’t and got the eye roll…then, she accused me of putting the pack in the DRYER.

Umm..the pack was still wet from the washer! How could it have even come CLOSE to going through the dryer?

As I’m being rung out, the clerk notices that the critter pack was more expensive than the backpack I was returning. I explain what I was told on the p hone, and they bring back Ms. Lecture. She ok’s the even exchange and I go on my way…to deliver this:
Look! It's a backpack with a shark and no holes!

To a waiting 5 year old, who was beyond happy that his new backpack was:
1) red
2) had a shark on it.

Now, can we please just get through the year without another fiasco that involves a backpack or a part of Isaac’s room?

October 1, 2009 at 8:00 am 2 comments


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