Browsing Archives for November 2009

Wrestling Therapy

November 26th, 2009

One of my sons went out for wrestling this year.

The middle school season is very short, so we have been attending a a lot of events with peculiar names such as duals, double duals and triangulars. As a result the term ‘triangular’ has become the CD’s new favorite word.

“I think Ethan has a triangular today…” he will say.

“Are you going to go to Ethan’s triangular?” he will ask.

“Which town is hosting Ethan’s next triangular?” he wants to know.

I was unable to let his new frequent usage of the word ‘triangular’ go, as it is not in my nature to let the minuscule details of my husband’s behavior slide by without uh… comment.

“Why are you using the word triangular so much?” I asked. “Do you think it makes you sound wrestling savvy?”

The Country Doctor replied, “I grew up in a wrestling town… I can use the word ‘triangular’ whenever I want.

“Well, I grew up in a wrestling town that could kick your wrestling town’s butt and I don’t have to throw the word triangular around like it was so many reversals on a wrestling mat!” I retorted.

“Triangular! Triangular! Triangular!” The Country Doctor shouted.  To which I responded by taking him down, placing him in a half nelson, reversing him for a few back points and then slowly and excruciatingly using my ever increasing girth to pin him down.  

“Who comes from a wrestling town now Country Doctor!?  Uhuh…  that’s what I thought.”




This is the Little Apple Grapple. This was our first tournament of the season and where I began to learn about the benefits of wrestling therapy. You see, in wrestling you have a certain freedom to shout things at your child to encourage him that under normal circumstances you would never think of saying in public.

For instance, in the above situation, while another kid is smashing my son’s head into the floor, I might say raise my voice slightly and say something like….

“Get out of there Ethan!”

“C’mon buddy!”

“Take control!”

And then when my son takes control, I might calmly suggest that he – “Turn him over! C’mon Ethan! Get him on his back and pin him!”

As the match progresses, I find myself feeling the need to communicate in a manner that will inspire Ethan to go for the kill… I mean win. To go for the WIN.











When the match is over it doesn’t even matter if your kid won or if your kid was the one who was eviscerated – what matters is that all that anger… the anger that hides behind your liver… and in between your white corpuscles… and underneath you fingernails …

it is gone now.

At least until the next match starts.

And that is the magic of wrestling therapy.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie

and plenty of turkeys to go around…

and hopefully – at least one good wrestling match.

We have been working on finishing our basement.

It has been a very slow moving project.

We had the basement sheet-rocked in the spring by Mike the ‘morel mushroom guy‘.

We believed we would paint the basement ourselves, but for some reason…

We could not seem to get it done.

So a month ago, we hired a painter….

And now we are ready for the next step.

Which involves using metal folding chairs, blue plumbers tape, an old desk and planks of plywood to determine if we have enough room to put a small bar in the T.V. room.

The blue tape outlines where a narrow back counter would go against the wall with some shelving above it.  The desk indicates a bar.  The X’s on the floor are actually bar-stools and the planks of plywood represent a sectional couch.    As you can see, it is all pretty tight.  It would be nice to have a bar, but I am not sure there is really room.

In the mean time, the Country Doctor has been putting down slate tile in the basement bathroom and we liked the look of it so much that we decided to put the same tile in the ‘proposed bar area’.

Even if we don’t have room for a bar, we still intend to put a counter along the back wall with a small sink and some upper shelving, so the tile will go down in that area.  Not only will it serve to keep some spills off the carpet, but it will also break up the ocean of carpet that will cover the rest of the basement floor.

And that brings us to the current dilemma of choosing a basement carpet.

Here were the initial round of contenders.  We were leaning towards a dark carpet for the obvious reasons… four boys…. orange soda…. potato chips… slumber parties…. show cats…. etc, etc, etc.  We also wanted a very soft carpet for the wrestling matches that always seem to accompany the orange soda/slumber party/show-cat/potato chip/four boys madness that goes on around here!

The boys decided that the best way to choose the carpet was to have a tournament.  Each carpet square got paired up for the first round, except for the carpet square on the end which received a ‘bye’ – yes – ‘a bye’…  a carpet sample received a bye….

I live in a very strange world.

The boys voted by placing a domino on their favorite choice in each pair.

The winning sample in each pair moved ahead to the next round.  Look at how serious they are!  Sometimes I feel very alone in this house.

These two squares fought it out for the championship.  I guess that dark sample won for my family, but not for me.  I was not satisfied at all, and went out and got some different samples.  This time, there was not a carpet tournament bracket, because I brought in a champion with an unfair advantage.

My mom.

We laid out the new samples in the bathroom that has the slate tile down already and also has the same color on the wall as in the living area.

We were looking for a sample that worked with both elements.

We narrowed it down to these four choices.

And then to these two final choices.

Although, I liked the dark carpet because it covers up a multitude of errors, I was a little worried about making the basement space too dreary.

So we decided on the lighter choice.  It has enough ‘specks’ in it to disguise a lot of orange soda and it will help to keep the space from becoming too dark which is always a problem in basements.

Now back to deciding if we really have enough space for that bar….

Under normal circumstances I don’t think I ever would have watched 17 Again starring Zac Efron and… uh… also some other people.  The movie was released some time ago and I passed it over many times without a single glance back.  It was clearly not my kind of a film as there was no damp English countryside, no ancient vine covered manor, no breeches, no tunics and certainly no clippity clop of horses hooves upon a cobbled path.  Instead, I reached for my more typical fare of Wives and Daughters or The Wings of A Dove, or The Forsythe Saga and passed up 17 Again… and again… and again.  

“How can I be so stupid?”, you might ask.  ”Had I never watched High School Musical?” you might query.  ”Do I live in a cave?” you might wonder.  The answer to all these questions is… well… I am raising four sons and I am sorry to tell you this, but High School Musical is not on their radar.  Aside from all the singing and dancing which instantly repels them, there is also the fact that HSM is about a dilemma they could never comprehend. Why would anyone who has legitimate basketball skills spend one single second of his life contemplating a theater career?  To my kids, this borders on blasphemy.  God gives you gold and you turn it into straw?  Without a child in the house driving the High School Musical bus, we remained hopelessly ignorant of not only High School Musical, but also the considerable charm of Zac Efron. 

So how is it I came to watch 17 Again starring Zac Efron of High School Musical fame?

Well… let me tell you!

It happened on the plane trip back home from London to Houston.  It was a fourteen hour flight.  Each seat on the plane had it’s own video screen, and you could choose from literally hundreds of shows to watch.  I can’t remember everything I watched, as it bleeds together like a bad dream.  I toured a castle, and then Kiera Knightly appeared out of the fog to a Mr. Darcy who was sadly not Colin Firth, while a large foul-mouthed magician and a tiny silent magician took turns shooting each other across a table.  After a while, I got a headache, turned off the screen and took a nap.  When I awoke, I glanced to see what my eldest son was watching and it was a cheerleading routine.

Suddenly my headache disappeared.  The blood vessels in my brain opened.  My heart started pumping blood like a heavy weight.  My gray hair turned to gleaming chestnut, my chin whiskers popped out on their own volition, and the sagging flesh that covers from head to toe sprang upwards to the heavens with a new found vigor.   This is what happens to me whenever I watch a cheerleading routine. It is the fountain of youth.  It just looks so FUN!  SO UPBEAT!  So HAPPY and YOUTHFUL! The cheerleaders BOUNCE and FLIP, and SHAKE and VIBRATE and throw each other in the AIR!  And then there is the music!  It is always the hippest, most happenin’, most now, most space ship soundin’ music EVER! Can someone please put a cheer-leading routine in a bottle?  I need a double dose every day.  

When I saw that my son was watching a cheerleading routine, I didn’t stop to ask why?  Or how?  Or what the…?   I just furiously turned it on and watched 17 Again for myself. Ever since then, I have tirelessly devoted my life to furthering the cheer-leading/dancing/acting career of Zac Efron.  May his reign be long and his cheer moves always stay cutting edge.

Aside from the fabulous cheerleading routine, the movie is really good.  No, really.  REALLY!  IT IS!  There are some great comic moments, some heart rendering scenes, some eternal truths and bonus – CHEERLEADING!  You will enjoy it even if you think you absolutely will not.  It makes for great thanksgiving family movie fare.  But I may be the only person on the planet who didn’t know that already.  

 A few other films I have watched over the past few months that are worth a mention…



Possession starring Gwyneth Paltrow and some guy with a nice big clefted chin. I loved this film and here are a few blatantly obvious reasons why…

First – The damp English countryside…

Secondly- Crumbling manor with cock-eyed inhabitants…

Thirdly –  A secret love affair wrapped up in a literary mystery…

Fourthly –  Gwyneth wears GREAT TWEEDY CLOTHES…

And lastly –  Did I say damp English countryside yet?  

This is a great movie for anyone who loves great books and who also…  loves the damp English countryside.



Amazing Grace starring Ioan Gruffud and Romola Garai (Those are their real names – I did not make them up).  I watched this movie against my will.  It kept popping up in my Netflix ‘movies you will love’.  Normally, I whole-heartedly trust my NetFlix ‘movies you will love’.  In fact, I think that my NetFlix ‘movies you will love’ knows me better than anyone on the planet.  Has anyone searched the depths of my soul the way my NetFlix ‘movies you will love’ has?  Has anyone penetrated the very core of my being, always knowing the exact movie that fills my incessant need for the damp English countryside, vine covered cottage, assortment of tweedy wild-eyed people who discover a murder in the garden and promptly serve tea on the veranda?  No one!  NO ONE!  NO ONE HAS EVER CARED SO MUCH BEFORE!  No one has ever even TRIED!  I love my NetFlix ‘movies you will love’ and I will swear unending fidelity until time immemorial!


As a result, I eventually gave way to my Netflix ‘movies you will love’ and reluctantly watched Amazing Grace.  It’s wonderful.  It tells the story of William Wilberforce, an English member of parliament who spent his life trying to make the slave trade illegal in England. The movie may sound very harsh and dismal and grim – and those elements are certainly there – but there is also the heroism of a long noble fight, people who never give up, joy in the midst of crushing pain and yes – damp English countryside, crumbling manor, wild eyed people in tweedy breeches, long shots of glorious gardens, and the clippity clop of horses hooves upon a cobbled path.  It really is a great film.  Get all the kids and watch it together. You won’t regret it.



Under the Greenwood Tree starring Keeley Hawes and James Murray

I watched this movie quite a while ago, but it has stayed with me.  Based on a Thomas Hardy book, I assumed that this story would involve dire situations that people can’t possibly overcome and choose instead to freeze to death in a snow storm only a few feet from shelter and warmth.  But Under the Greenwood Tree was not like that at all.  It is full of mirth and passion and goofy characters.  I did not know old Mr. Thomas Hardy had it in him.  He must have written it either in his youth when he still had hope for humankind, or in his old age to make up for all his grim tales of insufferable sorrow.  In this story, a school teacher and a miller take a very strong likin’ to each other while a drunken dance band/church choir stages a rebellion against a pompous vicar who wants the school marm for hisself. Everyone must decide if sobriety is worth the price of love… or something like that.  A very fun film.  AND!!!!!

James Murray….


…looks an awful lot like the cheer leading man Zac Efron.  Except with an ENGLISH ACCENT!