Last week was one of the toughest in years. After a summer of hanging out, Colin went back to school. Dueling car repairs (A broken timing belt in mine and a reoccurring cooling issue in The Missus') and the juggling of schedules. Heat indexes topping 100 degrees most every day. A noticeable slowdown at my freelance gig. And, just yesterday, coming home to partially digested lizard remains in four disgusting piles around the house.
Yeah, it wasn't pretty.
The hardest part, however, was being unable to attend Colin's tournament down in Coral Springs, over on Florida's east coast. Though I asked three weeks ago to have the weekend off, a combination of factors at work went against me, meaning I couldn't watch the Tampa Bay Jr. Lightning Squirts A squad earn a 2-1-1 finish in the Florida Panthers' Early Bird Invitational.
After a summer of skating, stickhandling and shooting, I wanted to see -- firsthand -- how Colin's efforts would stack up against other travel hockey teams. Instead, I had to rely on Facebook posts (Thanks, CJ) and telephone updates from The Missus. Plus, the tournament was our first, so I wanted to share that experience as a family.
Unfortunately, at least from where I sat, that didn't happen.
I wish I could vow that this won't ever happen again. I can't. Like most everyone else, I have to work for a living. Given my industry, which produces an updated product on a daily basis, there are very few Monday-to-Friday 9-to-5 jobs. Though they exist, only a few, select reporters and the tallest of the tall dogs, have them.
My schedule? I'm in the trenches, Fridays through Tuesdays, working until 11 p.m. to midnight most shifts. It's my job to help get the newspaper, sans any glaring errors, out the door five nights a week. Given my blue-collar upbringing, I don't mind getting my hands dirty. There's some consolation, I suppose, in knowing that I'm not alone.
As any hockey parent will tell you, it's all about making sacrifices. Buying, driving and fixing used cars. Shopping at Aldi, rather than Publix. Mowing lawns in 90-plus degrees vs. hiring a landscaper. You do what it takes to pay the bills while providing the best opportunities possible for your kid.
Having said that, it's time to look to the future. Beyond pushing harder to get a book deal, the wheels are in motion to gain greater control over my schedule. That way, if it happens, I won't have to work any more weekends.
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