Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More on Long Suffering Spouse's day in the woods

Yesterday Long Suffering Spouse and her junior high students went on a leadership training workshop in Wisconsin. Leadership training, it seems, involves climbing towers and tire swings suspended high in the trees and games involving broomsticks and pulling mats out from beneath the feet of an entire group.

Long Suffering Spouse brought home pictures, which of course I can't share with you lest our secret identities be compromised: To me, though, the pictures looked like the inside of the Lincoln Park Ape House. Only the visitors were on the wrong side of the glass.

If this is really how leaders are trained, perhaps we may finally have an explanation for the current Wall Street meltdown.

And did I mention it was raining? (Long Suffering Spouse made it a point to tell me that yesterday.)

Finally, though, the ordeal was over, or so Long Suffering Spouse thought.

The yellow school buses returned (a couple of hours ahead of schedule since all these future leaders were soaked to the bone) and the group was conveyed to a nearby Culver's restaurant.

While there are a few Culver's restaurants in the Chicago area, Culver's is really some sort of Wisconsin institution. The principal attraction at Culver's is the butter burger. Just in case the cholesterol in the meat itself is insufficient to cause arterial blockage, the bun, and perhaps the burger, too, are soaked in butter. (They're actually quite good, I hasten to add.) Then, while you're waiting to schedule your bypass surgery, you can treat yourself to a frozen custard dessert.

But it was neither the butter burgers nor the custard that caused problems for Long Suffering Spouse yesterday: It was the free refills of Coke. Apparently some of the young scholars did not take into account that it would be a long journey back from southern Wisconsin to the Northwest Side of Chicago and that yellow school buses are notoriously deficient in the bathroom department.

Only a little while after the bus caravan set out for Chicago, while the buses were rolling through a rural landscape undisturbed by stores or gas stations or other buildings that might have restroom facilities, a couple of the kids began urgently requesting an emergency stop. A stop was made. The snickering and giggling was brought under control and the buses started again on their homeward journey -- only to be interrupted by another's plaintive cries. There was yet another stop.

Wisconsin sweet corn may not be as sweet as usual this year.

I'm not sure where it was in the course of this epic voyage that still another kid threw up. But someone did, and Long Suffering Spouse was given the unhappy task of cleaning it up.

I heard about all of this almost in real time because Long Suffering Spouse was calling me from the bus periodically for updates on yesterday's Sox game.

The Northwest Side of Chicago may not be the heart of Cub Country, but it is at least the small intestines or liver or some other vital organ. However, Long Suffering Spouse and I are White Sox fans. Usually we coexist peacefully enough with our Cub fan neighbors. Real baseball fans -- even die-hard Cub fans (and, yes, there are some people who are both) -- are pleasant enough, even after we establish that we disagree on fundamentals. It's the casual fans -- the bandwagon jumpers -- who are so obnoxious. And, oh my, there are a lot of them this year. They are particularly abundant in the junior high.

Only Long Suffering Spouse and one other teacher are Sox fans among the junior high faculty at her school. They are a persecuted minority, particularly at this moment when the Cubs are burdened with such great expectations and the Sox have won (by virtue of the outcome of last night's game) only the right to face the Twins tonight in a one game playoff.

Long Suffering Spouse would holler the score to her colleague, but it was difficult to be heard over the high-pitched cries of "I hope they lose!" or "Sox stink!"

But, eventually, Long Suffering Spouse returned home safely. She also returned cold, wet, and slightly deaf. She is back facing America's Future Leaders at this moment.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

it seems you got the better end of the stick yesterday, hmmm? ha ha

smiles, bee

Jean-Luc Picard said...

My office don't go out waving sticks at each other...I think.

The Beach Bum said...

Curmudgeon -

As a Die Hard Cubs fan I am rooting for the WHite Sox to win tonight. I root for all Chicago teams.

I am hoping for a Subway (EL) series.

The Beach Bum

Ralph said...

I wouldn't mind the all Chicago World Series. There would be no shortage of excellent quotes attributed to Lou and Ozzie...

You are a true fan!

Unknown said...

LSS has my sincere sympathies. Chris and I LOVE Culver's, matter of fact, when he was in the process of woo'ing me up here, Culver's was one of the things he mentioned that I'd love. He was right. And you will be thrilled to know that Chris is a Sox fan too, and has the same problem you do with your neighbors; only at his job, where he is surrounded by Cubs fans.

Stewart Sternberg (half of L.P. Styles) said...

Every time I hear someone talk about difficulties with a sports team, whether its how lonely they are in their love for their particular players, or how fierce the rivalries become, I have but one word that stops them all in their tracks.


The Curmudgeon said...

Bee -- no question about it.

Jean-Luc -- You never know when someone will get the bright idea for enhancing leadership skills. Be careful.

Beach Bum -- You were among the people I had in mind when I said one can be a die-hard Cub fan and a baseball fan.

Ralph -- I think the City would grind to a halt in the event of a Cubs-Sox series. Sad to say, though, that the more likely City series this year is Dodgers-Angels.

The Curmudgeon said...

Shel -- I like Culver's as well... but I don't think I'd relocate to be near one.

Stewart -- Don't worry. Not only are the Lions finished with the Matt Millen experiment, they play the Bears this weekend. The Bears have a way of making lesser teams look great... even if they have won two games this year they weren't expected to. As my Oldest Son said, we just need to schedule all our games for Sunday Night.