The hockey league my son plays in has an interesting way of reducing registration fees. They require the parents of each skater to complete 7 hours of concession stand duty or get charged $25/hour for not doing it. (As an aside, how many jobs do you know that make $25/hour?) Not wanting to spend quite that much, I resolved to get our time in. There was an opening on Friday night for 3.5 hours, which I knew was going to be a long time. I just didn’t realize quite how long.
When I signed up, it looked clear there was going to be a varsity hockey game. Okay. That just meant I wouldn’t be bored, right? Actually, there was a tournament going on, with two teams that had traveled 6+ hours to get here. That meant a ton of parents. And I was the only person working.
Here’s the thing about our rinks. They’re not comfy places to sit. They’re really cold. So people poured out of the stands between each period, desperate for warm beverages. Hot chocolate most of all, coffee secondarily. I was running around like crazy. At one point, there were no warm hot dogs, the cheese in the Nacho dispenser needed to be changed, the hot chocolate powder needed to be refilled and there was still a line 4 or 5 people deep.
Much to my relief, a coworker from my day job volunteered to help out for a little while. We were still swamped. My wife stopped by to drop off my dinner and I didn’t even see her. It was insane.
And then the worst possible thing happened. We ran out of hot chocolate mix. I put the last package in the dispenser and just hoped for the best. It seemed to be holding out.
8:30 rolled around and that was supposed to be the end of my shift. I started packing up when a flood of people came out looking for their hot beverages. “You’re closed?” they asked, incredulous. “I’m only supposed to be here until 8:30. Nobody else is signed up later,” I replied. One of the board members of the league stepped in and asked me to stay, saying he would make sure the hours counted towards my total. I reopened and ended up staying until 11 PM. Six hours. The last two spent telling people I was very sorry that we didn’t have any more hot chocolate and that yes, I had checked all of the cupboards and we do have some nice coffee and cappuccino mix and hot cider and wouldn’t that be just as nice?
I went home, feeling tired and sick. I woke up Saturday with a horrible cough, runny nose and head congestion. No rest for me though; I had to go judge the Winter Carnival Stage Revue skits. The theme this year certainly encouraged a lot more creativity from the students. I came home and napped, then we got our Christmas tree. After dinner I fell asleep just sitting on the floor after reading books to the kids.
When my alarm was going off on Sunday morning, my wife encouraged me to just sleep instead of going to church. I ended up sleeping for 10.5 hours before rolling out of bed. I was already feeling a lot better, which was good, because I had 5″ of snow to snowblow off the driveway and a fire to build. I spent most of the rest of the day writing a paper to submit to a Simulation conference that is due on Tuesday. My kids kept asking, “Daddy, what’s your temperature? Do you have a fever?” I had to actually leave the lunch table to take my temperature to assuage them. Dinner was scavenged what little gluten-free stuff was at the church potluck, I didn’t get elected deacon for the 3rd or 4th time and then we went home to blessedly rest.
It’s interesting that in this illness I’ve experienced two cliches: the “calm before the storm” and how it’s “darkest before the dawn”. Early on Friday,I felt as good as I had since Halloween. Then I felt awful all weekend. Now I feel almost 100% — even better than Friday. I don’t know. The human body is a wonderful, confusing miracle.
I have to admit that being sick makes it really hard to even think about training for CX Nationals. Oh well. Busy couple of weeks ahead. Time to gear up.