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Sunday, July 1, 2012


Yes! I did scream when the cricket dropped down from the ceiling on to my head.  I reserve the right to change my mind about the willingness to share the bathroom, especially when they were not adhering to the rules, and as the English say, it was plain and simply, 'just not cricket!'  Objections to their existence and shouts of, 'shouldn't you be dead by now?', seemed to be overruled by a chorus of chirping.  The song of the cricket has been dubbed, by me, the 'metaphorical finger' (or two, for the Europeans). 
However, as unsporting as I became this week, sports continued to dominate our world.  The week started with the announcement that the All England Tennis Club, were considering, in the future, delaying the Wimbledon Championship for a week, to allow the players to recover from the French Open.  Two weeks, it would appear, is not enough time.  The shouts from my desk caused even the crickets to stop chattering, as I pondered said announcement.  What would they do with the extra week?  Perhaps acclimate to the change in temperature?  After all, the difference between France and England, must be vast.  Giving them the benefit of the doubt, playing tennis at championship level must be very tiring.  Unless they are knocked out along the way, they have to play nearly every day for a fortnight.  Horrific!  What would they do with the extra time?  Perhaps go back to their 'day' job?  Maybe they would just practice their tennis.  My mother always said that 'practical' is the best way to learn, and going out into the workplace gives you far more experience.  I should refer the All England club to my mother.  Mention of delay will never again pass their lips; of that I am sure! I admit that my experience (or lack of) playing tennis perhaps disqualifies me from making such a judgment.  As a young teenager, I considered myself to be a good player.  At school, and in the park, I faired reasonably well, and was familiar with the rules, as my dad played regularly until he was diagnosed with an arthritic hip.  However, when I was taken to a club as a guest, by one of my friends, who was the under 14 champion, I realised my shortcomings!  In light of the news article, on Monday, I did ask my 'boss', if I could have an extra week, every fourteen days, to recover from the grueling every day tasks I perform, in the line of duty, but my pleading was denied. Perhaps it was the lack of a racquet that led him to make the decision. No weapon, no time off!!(I chose to ignore the absence of balls....on either side!) 
With the time difference between my adopted home, and the suburbs of South London, the only tennis I am able to see when I arrive home, are the highlights, and these have been limited due to the 'real time' swimming trials for the Olympic Games.  Watching the sophisticated technique of both male and female qualifiers, puts me into the 'lethargic' team.  My efforts to maintain an even stroke for the thirty laps I attempt each day (oh yes, it's summer in Texas, and I am exercising) would put me in the negative category.  I am constantly working towards level 1!  Fortunately, my trip to the pool during the week is at a time when, usually, no one else is around. I am occasionally joined by an Octogenarian who exercises in the shallow end, and this encourages me not to give up, as his regime is far more athletic than mine!  However an enthusiastic pensioner is far more bearable than the enthusiastic five year old, whose mother is hydrophobic, who came to join me on Wednesday. My imitation of Greta Garbo, did nothing to deter his willingness to hinder my daily dip, and my objection to his race challenge was vehemently overruled.  Getting my own back on a five year old may not seem to be very sporting, but it was satisfying.  When I was a child, 'no' was 'no', and we learned the hard way.  If we got something wrong, it was wrong, and 'try again' meant we had just one more chance to get it right.  (Okay, so digressing slightly, I do understand the concept of telling a child with special needs, 'try again', but although this child was 'special' and definitely had 'needs' he did not fall into the category of the former.)  My lesson of 'sometimes, kid, you are going to lose' was not learned particularly well.  Lose, he did, and my ploy of holding the event on my last lap, and subsequent exit from the pool area, was a good one, as the tantrum that followed was award winning.  Even Greta could not have achieved such a great performance.  I doubt the words, 'I want to be alone' will have any impact, but it may stop him challenging me in the future! 
I am not usually as unfair (wicked is such an ugly word) on the kids, but as I failed to negotiate extra time off work, the twenty minutes between my 'apres work' and ]making dinner', time, is precious!  If anyone wishes to chat, or challenge, at the weekend, it is a different matter.  There has been an influx of new residents to our complex, and the usual, initial, enthusiasm for the pool means that the area is slightly more crowded than the norm, which makes for a good social experience.  One of my neighbours, (I will not mention his name, to protect the innocent) is German and our mutual admiration for the game of football (or soccer as it is known here) has recently dominated our conversation.  As the weather on Saturday was slightly stormy, the pool was deserted, (rain, heat, temperatures below 90, all attribute to our pool being deserted.) and Samantha and I lounged alone for a good part of the afternoon.  Mr. Germany came down shortly before we decided to leave, and we discussed the losses of both our national teams to the Italians, in the European Championships, and decided to join forces and root for Spain in the finals. Although the discussions are quite in depth, we are both armchair (or sun lounger) supporters.  My neighbour's choice of sport is running.  He has told me this on more than one occasion, due to his first encounter with my husband.  Standing in the queue at the local grocery store, I said 'hello' as he stood in front of us. at the checkout.  He responded, graciously, not paying much attention.  As I always have a hat and dark glasses on by the pool, it was not until I spoke did he realise whom I was, and said he had not recognised me.  Dana, attempting to be amusing, said, 'so you didn't recognise my wife with her clothes on?'  The laugh that followed did nothing to put my pool-mate at ease, and the five foot eight (or there abouts) neighbour jumped about ten feet away from my 6'4 (and a bit) husband.  Dana's smile, and extension of his hand, to shake, was met with nervous giggles.  The next day, we met by the pool, and my neighbour remarked that my husband was very tall, and hoped that he was not offended in any way.  I told him that Dana was, in fact, a very gentle giant, with a good sense of humour, and did not take offense easily.  My neighbour then told me that he could run 'very fast', and asked if Dana all.  His constant comments about his sprinting abilities were halted only when we all met at another neighbour's house, and Dana assured him that he had no need to train for the London Olympics, much less a marathon, as he, Dana, was the one who made the comment, in the form of a joke.  Very sporting!  I am not sure my new found German friend is fully convinced, and still refers to his having been 'for a run' along the trail by our condos, each time we meet.

A sporting Sunday looked like it was not on the cards, as the rain and wind caused the temperature to dip to a freezing 70 degrees.  (In Austin this is grammar!)  However, the rain did subside and the water was warm enough to swim.  I was alone for all but about 30 minutes, which was acceptable.  Spain did beat Italy 4-0, and whilst I would not normally have a dog in the hunt, so to speak, it is a family tradition (no doubt shared by many, internationally) to always support the team that is playing the one that beat you.  (Note to the English...Unless the victors over my team are playing against Arsenal, when the 'exception to the rule' card is played!!)  This week, my week will not be dominated by sports, as it is a four day week, with the National Holiday, which is known to most as Independence Day, but to other's as 'Tracie Day'.  Yes, I shall be another year older on Wednesday.  The celebrations of both gigantic events will be....another story.

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