Rants from the Crib

An Ob/Gyn gone mad

Archive for the tag “games”


For the Thanksgiving weekend, my father brought home a surprise.  He remembered the days when he and Mom and I used to stand in the front yard for hours batting a badminton birdie back and forth.  He found a badminton set with racquets and shuttlecocks, but no net.  So he bought a full size volleyball net to set up in the yard and play badminton with.  He and Kevin set it up in the yard and the game was on!

Amanda had never seen a badminton set before, so she was given a crash course by her daddy.  There was much wailing as serves were missed entirely, whacked into the net, or falling birdies fell straight into the server’s head.  She’s never been much on learning new stuff -she expects to get whatever it is right away and hates being bad at something or having to practice it.

I, of course, went and got my camera, as I recognized a photo opportunity in the making.  Amanda was not pleased that I was photographing her while she was floundering, but I insisted as always that if she let me take her picture, she would be famous in my blog.  She cannot pass that up.  I got some shots of Kevin lecturing her as well.

Then I decided to grab up a racquet, since I remembered being fairly good at badminton when I was a kid.  This proved to be a bit problematic, as I was wearing boots with at least a two inch heel, and had left my camera with the long lens slapping around my neck.  When we started out, I wasn’t doing much better than Amanda.  We elevated the whole thing to a comedy art form, with Amanda missing the shuttlecock and giggling and me sending it off into the azaleas.  My husband, of course, was supremely competent the whole time, except for one epic moment when he slid on the pinestraw, pulling his groin and whacking his knee.  He shook it off, though and we kept playing until it was almost dark.  My muscle memory was returning to me, and I was pulling off some return backhand shots and some high shots that were pleasing me immensely.

Mom came out into the yard to see what was going on.  She was a bit indignant that the badminton set had been erected just when it was time to do the holiday dishes, and she seemed a bit concerned that there was now a volleyball net semi-permanently installed in her front yard.  At that point, we were giggling and whacking the birdie all over the front yard.  We were distracted only by the discovery of poisonous bright red mushrooms in the yard, and some time was taken out to peer, poke at, and photograph said fungi.

By the end of the game, my feet were killing me in those two inch boots, and I had taken off the camera so it didn’t get joggled and bounced all over while I dived for shots.  We managed a volley of eleven and were pretty proud of that, considering we were drunk off Thanksgiving turkey and our own high good humor.  There was much shouting, and I am certain the neighbors were quite indignant with the racket that was coming from the house right next to them.

I informed Kevin that this was a form of exercise I had always enjoyed and I would not be at all averse to a set appearing in our yard as well.  Maybe not the front yard.  He told me that that was duly noted.  I have a feeling that a badminton set may be forthcoming for Christmas this year.  And as far as I’m concerned, that would be a great thing!



The picture above is supposed to be a perfectly round, stylized picture of a peppermint candy.  It popped up when I transferred it to this blog, but it was subsequently replaced by the dreaded red X.  I ran into this photo on Google Image search and was asked to write a post on what it made me think of.  The answer is, my father and my daughter.

My father loves peppermint.  He can buy an entire bag of Starlite mints and crunch them down, cheerfully reeking of peppermint and piling up wrappers.  He has eaten peppermint since I can remember.  He used to love going to restaurants where they had little mints in a dish at the checkout.  He would mortify my mother by grabbing a handful and blissfully crunching them on the way out.  When his heart went out of rhythm and they did the ablation procedure, they told him he couldn’t have peppermint anymore.  Apparently peppermint can trigger heart arhythmias.  Who knew?  Since then he has cut back a lot, but I have caught him with the odd peppermint in hand.  Apparently he can’t completely do without them.  I will never be able to see or smell peppermint without thinking of my father.

This picture also reminds me of my daughter.  I had a lot of games when I was little, but Candyland was not one of them.  I think it was not intellectually challenging enough; a toddler’s game with pictures of squares on little cards to mark your travel along the board.  I always wanted that game as it was bright and colorful and I loved candy and anything associated with it.  My friends had it and when I was little, I loved to play it.  So when my daughter was about three, we got her a Candyland game.  She still loves to play it, and gloats when she gets a free ride through Gumdrop Pass, or when someone else gets bumped back to the beginning.  I think it was perfectly appropriate for a three year old mind.  I still wish I’d had one, but I can play it with her any time I want to.  She is seven now, and she is playing SlapJack and Old Maid and Go Fish and having a blast with those.  Her father has also gotten her No Stress Chess, and she is learning her way around the chess board.  Her second grade at school has a chess club and he is hoping she will be included.  But her old Candyland game has pictures of candies like the one above, and it always makes me think of that game and her.


My husband has suddenly gotten it in his head that in the interest of togetherness, I should learn how to play a war game called ASL that is played on a hex board with outcomes determined by a dice roll.

The game is about World War II, and the scenarios are based on real battles that were fought throughout Europe with appropriate countries (Americans, Germans, Italians, Russians) and squadrons with squad leaders. 
ASL stands for Advanced Squad Leader.  I think.

Anyhow, he’s decided that we don’t do enough things together (other than eat and watch TV series on Netflix) and that this would be the Ideal Togetherness Thing.  This is nothing short of disastrous for me because a) I hate war, b) I know nothing about World War II, the weapons, the battles or the parties involved and c) I hate playing games.  My inherent competitiveness kicks in just enough to make me miserable and mean. 

“This is the starter kit,” he said cheerfully.  “This is an abbreviated version and there are only 28 pages of instructions.”  He really thought this was a good thing and I would be happy that there were “only” 28 pages of abbreviations, geeky code words and mind-twisting equations used to calculate firepower, movement, range, close combat and leadership.  I tried to read over the instructions over the weekend, as he left them for me on the bed to read while he was gone.  This was my weekend homework (along with deadheading all the roses and lilies, and pulling all the weeds).  I could consistently get only to page three  before collapsing in sheer frustration.  There was one entire small print page devoted to abbreviations only.  Somehow I managed to read through that, although I caught my mind wandering quite a few times to my daughter, or other things I needed to do, or that I really could use a nap.  I felt guilty that I couldn’t raise more interest.  He seems so excited about a chance to play again (he gave up travel play when our daughter was born) that I hate to let him down and not be enthusiastic about this, but really, this is on a par with having teeth extracted without anesthetic. 

I told him the instructions might be “easier” to follow if we played through a real scenario, and he JUST HAPPENED to have one right on his computer, written out step by step, including dice rolls, so you could play through exactly with the scenario just as described by the author.  So we sat down at 4:30, and it was the next four hours and we were still playing out the scenario.  “Ok,” he’d say patiently.  “Now we have a firepower of 4 with a range of 7.  But there are two units in this stack.  Now, are they within range?  Yes, close range.  Therefore, you don’t halve the fire power, but you double it because there are two units.  Now what are the pluses and minuses?  That’s right, plus one, because they are firing through an orchard and plus two because they are firing through smoke, then minus one because you have a leader in the stack with a minus one for morale.  So now we roll the dice and refer to chart B, where you round down from seven to six because there is no seven in the chart, and then count down plus three and then count down the number on the dice.  Piece of cake.  You’re doing great.”  What I was really doing was eating cookies, and feeling my butt slowly mold to the hard wooden chair in the dining room where we were sitting.  This went on for four hours.  Now, I think I was a remarkably good sport about the whole thing.  The best part was as we ended up, he said, “Ok, we’ve basically finished three turns.  When we start back we’ll have two more to occupy those buildings.”  I think I may have screamed but I am not sure.  When I came to, I was rhythmically banging my head on the dining room table.  The babysitter meanwhile had spent the last four hours laughing at me as I struggled through move after move.  “Are you winning?” she kept asking.  My husband was very perky and nonchalant.  “We’ll have you playing a full game in no time.”  Visions of hara kiri flashed through my head.  Maybe I could impale myself with the game board, or swallow some poisoned dice.  I would really rather do ANYTHING than spend any more time moving little square pieces around on a big gigantic hex grid, stacking and unstacking them, calculating and consulting figure A or Table 2 or chart 1.a.  I wonder, does this make me a bad person?  Because if I have to play for one more minute, I just don’t wanna be good!

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