A Mother’s Love

My son asked for a trampoline for his birthday. It was exciting to have him ask for something unrelated to video games, and we knew that his sister would love it as much, if not more, than he would.

His grandmother generously agreed to fund the venture and my wife – The Megger – agreed to purchase it. Easy enough, right?

Not so fast. Every other family on the eastern seaboard, also stuck in their houses during the pandemic, had the same idea before we did. There were no trampolines available anywhere. The Megger looked everywhere online. She called. She sent emails. She worked at it until she found one online and quickly paid for it.

What she didn’t realize is that plenty of companies online are happy to take money for products they don’t really have, and this company didn’t actually have any trampolines available. Also, instead of just giving the money back, they hid the refund button on the site and tried very hard to interest her in a store credit toward other (probably) imaginary products. The Megger kept at it, though, and eventually slipped through the site’s defenses and got the money back.

She then called a local sporting goods store – let’s call it Nick’s. The manager at Nick’s assured The Megger he was looking at several trampolines on a pallet. When she offered to buy one, he explained that he wasn’t allowed to sell them to her. He couldn’t take her credit card, and he said she couldn’t drive to the store and present him with a stack of cash.

The only way to purchase one of the trampolines was through the Nick’s website. That would have been easier if they were listed for sale on the site. The manager explained that he had asked his corporate office to put the trampolines on the site, but so far no luck. He offered, however, to put a note with her name and phone number on one of trampolines.

The Megger checked the site several times a day and called the manager a couple more times over the next two weeks, but no trampolines showed up on the site. The Megger called the corporate office and talked to people and was assured that they would be up soon. This went on until the day the stores were allowed to open. The Megger walked into the store that day and an associate explained that all of the trampolines had been sold in seven minutes.

The Megger was incredulous.

“But, my name and phone number was on one of them. You were holding it for me,” she said, practically in tears.

The associate said, “Yeah, when you didn’t call, we had to sell it.” It’s a good thing The Megger has self-control.

She then spoke to the manager who said, “Usually trampolines aren’t a high demand item, so I’m sure we’ll have them back in stock soon.”

Thanks.

After a couple more days of searching, The Megger found a trampoline at Nick’s in Rutland, Vt. She paid for it online, but saw that it wasn’t available to ship. She called and the manager there explained that the item was too expensive to ship, so it would need to be picked up. Rutland is about three hours from our house, but this was a woman on a mission. The Megger told the manager in Rutland that she would be there the next day, after work, to pick it up.

The next morning, The Megger received an email from the Nick’s in Rutland, confirming she had already picked up her trampoline.

She panicked – not again! She called the store and was told that, no, there had been a mix-up and that the trampoline was still there, waiting for her.

So, The Megger left after work that day and drove three hours to Rutland, Vt. She spent 15 minutes picking up a trampoline, and then drove three hours home. We then spent four hours the next day putting it together, swatting mosquitoes, until after 10 p.m.

Happy birthday, kid, your mother loves you.

The Red Sox Blues

I’m mad at the Red Sox. They traded their best player, Mookie Betts, to the Dodgers to save money. Then the owners tried to convince us that it was the right move and that it wasn’t about money. Bull.

We’ve seen this before – in 1981 the Red Sox “forgot” to offer Carlton Fisk a contract and he signed with the White Sox and went on to the Hall of Fame. The Red Sox then traded Fred Lynn and Rick Burleson the Angels, breaking up the team but saving a bunch of money in the process. Sure, it was a different ownership group, but we, the fans, remember. The owners seem to hope that once the season starts the fans will quickly forgive them. My initial reaction to that idea is “fat chance.”

Then, this morning, I got up early to put in some time on the exercise bike. While pedaling, I turned on Baseball, the Ken Burns documentary, and watched the recap of the 2004 Red Sox. The documentary showed the victory over the Yankees. Then it showed the last out of the World Series and talked about people putting Red Sox flags on their family members’ graves and, well, tears started flowing down my cheeks. Big tears.

I remembered my grandmother, who rooted so hard for the Red Sox. In the 1986 playoffs, she was too nervous to watch when it seemed like the Red Sox would lose to the Angels. I will never forget my cousin and I dancing around her kitchen when Dave Henderson hit that homerun to stave off defeat. She passed in 1990, without any World Series victories for the Sox in her adult life.

That same year, 1986, I remember my Dad telling me that the Red Sox were going to blow the World Series long before that grounder got hit to Buckner. He remembered all too well the repeated heartbreaks that Dan Shaughnessy chronicled in his book about the “Curse of the Bambino.” Dad was my first call when the Sox won in 2004. That was sixteen years ago and I’m still emotional about it.

In the past few years, I haven’t made as much time for the Red Sox. I guess the fact that they’ve won, the constant things going on with my own family, and other concerns have made it hard to sit and watch a 4-hour baseball game on anything like a regular basis. The Sox have moved into the background of my life – I enjoy them when I have the time, and I pay attention, but I’m hardly as rabid as I was when I was younger.

However, I clearly still care, because when the Sox traded Betts to finance a Broadway show – I mean, save on salaries, I became enraged. The Sox won the World Series in 1918 and traded Babe Ruth for money reasons after the 1919 season. Now the Sox won in 2018 and traded their best player (who is clearly not Babe Ruth, but still), for money reasons after the 2019 season. I sent angry Tweets about it, which did nothing but help me to blow off steam.

So, now I’m stuck. My options seem to be: 1. Ditch the Red Sox, which almost seems like changing religions, or 2. Be mad for a while until the team inevitably sucks me back in. 3. Give up baseball entirely.
Thank you Red Sox, for bringing me back to my youth and reminding me that eventually, our relationship will always turn to number 2.

Bonnie the Hero

I was driving when my phone rang. It was my wife, sounding a bit out of breath.

The Megger: I just saw the most amazing thing, and I had to call you.

Me: Yeah?

The Megger: I was just outside with the dogs. Bonnie (our fat, lazy Rottweiler mix) was laying down in the neighbor’s yard and Zarra (our somewhat new Puggle troublemaker) was next to me on the deck when I noticed a bunny on the far side of the yard.

Me: Was it one of the baby rabbits that seem to be everywhere lately?
The Megger: Maybe, it was a bit on the small side. Anyway, Zarra saw the bunny and walked next to me and froze. I was happy that she hadn’t chased the bunny so I started patting her and telling her what a good girl she was.

Me: She froze? That sounds like hunting to me.

The Megger: Yeah. Well, the bunny was in the corner of the yard, eating grass and minding its own business, when suddenly Zarra shot off of the deck at top speed.

Me: Oh no.

The Megger: Yeah. I stood up and watched as Zarra bolted toward the bunny and the bunny…just sat there.

Me: The rabbit didn’t run? I wonder if it was one of those babies that were next door last month.

The Megger: No, it just sat there, frozen. I kept waiting for it to take off into the woods, but it was just sitting there and I started to get nervous that Zarra was going to kill it and that the kids were going to freak out.

Me (relieved): So, Zarra didn’t kill it?

The Megger: She would have, but all of a sudden, from the other side of the yard, there was a brown and black streak. It was Bonnie, running toward the bunny. I have never seen her move like that.

Me: Wait, so Bonnie RAN? Our Bonnie? She doesn’t even like to get up to eat.

The Megger: She more than ran. She was practically flying. I was watching all of this, wondering what she was going to do. It never occurred to me that she might attack the bunny.

Me: Yeah. Bonnie is a love, and the rabbits know it. They practically snuggle with her in the yard. So what happened?

The Megger: Bonnie got there first and stopped as a shield in front of the bunny. Zarra crashed at full speed into Bonnie’s side and bounced off onto the ground.

Me (stunned): WHAT?

The Megger: Yep. After that, the bunny hopped away into the woods.
Me: Wow. Is Zarra ok? A hit like that sounds like she might need to be put into the concussion protocol.

The Megger: Zarra’s grumpy but fine. She might file a complaint to have Bonnie’s predator card taken away.

Me: I knew that Bonnie was the greatest dog ever, but this sorta clinches it – at least from the rabbit’s standpoint. Not all super heroes wear capes.