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Sklathing down the lane

June 19, 2008

If you asked Graysen, he’d probably tell you that bowling is all in the post-ball-release dance. Once you drop the ball (straight down) on the lane you must begin jumping up and down, side to side, immediately. A few karate chops are necessary too, as are twirls and kicks and sometimes, to quote Eloise, “sklathing” yourself across the floor.
Chiara, on the other hand, might advise that a gentle nudge followed by watching the ball intently with hand on hip will guarantee success. Success is loosely defined in her world. Using her method, the pins fall very slowly — with an almost cartoon-like grace — and dropping even one of them is cause for celebration.
Mira, the self-appointed mistress of the ball return (a job that entails handing everyone their own personal ball at just the proper moment), might attribute bowling success to a drifting approach. After painstakingly choosing your ball, drift to the lane then dump the ball from your hands and dance back to the ball return. Only then should you turn to see if you hit anything.
Since Mira won the second game we played, I’d be inclined to take note of her method.
Soren, on the other hand, takes after me. He’d say that it’s the score that offers motivation, along with sundry personal challenges, like the one I issued in which I promised to wipe up the lanes with him. He can’t quite beat me at arm wrestling but he’s fairly certain that he’s a better bowler than I.
He was half right. He beat me (barely) on the first game but lost the second.
Then there’s my husband, Chris. He was once on a bowling team comprised of fellow geeks from LANL. He can actually bowl. If you asked him, he’d likely tell you that bowling is all in the wrist. My wrist, for instance, was causing me to throw gutter balls more often than not … until he helpfully corrected my form. Then I finally stopped pining for bumpers and started doggin’ Soren again, which was much more enjoyable anyway.
Following that, Chris would say that a good Father’s Day is all in the hilarity of late-night bowling with four kids.
Up until the moment we set foot in the bowling alley, that evening, Father’s Day was pretty much a mess. The scenario: a whole Sunday stretching out ahead of two world-weary adults (Chris and me) who would rather eat rocks than figure out how to pass the swollen sunlit hours with four eager children who were all asking the same question: what we gonna do today? Huh?
Mira wanted to go ice skating but that posed a rather large problem: I haven’t tottered around on ice skates since a first-grade field trip to the Los Alamos rink. Chris is, likewise, not a skater, plus he has really bad knees. I can only imagine the chaos that would ensue if the six of us ventured onto the ice.
“But I can help Graysen!” Mira pleaded. She has recently become fairly competent on ice skates, which I applauded, but keeping herself vertical is one thing — doing so while trying to keep Graysen on his feet as well is quite another.
None of the other kids had any suggestions, just wide-eyed expectation followed by whining disappointment when I told them, a few times, I don’t know. It was too hot to go to the park, we’d done the pool thing the day before, and I had a 5:30 commitment which meant we couldn’t stray far into the cool mountain wilderness, which would have been everybody’s first choice anyway.
Entertain us, all four kids were shouting telepathically.
Or we will drive you insane ….
So on that note, I did the only logical thing I could think of: I lay down for a nap, leaving Chris to stew about the various freelance projects hanging over his head and the kids to apparently become better acquainted with boredom and disappointment.
A stellar Father’s Day for sure.
But if the name means anything it must mean this, at least at our house: Father’s Day is the day to look to Father for ideas. And since my creativity levels were sitting at approximately zero anyway, Chris finally said “All right, how about bowling?”
We didn’t get there until nearly 8 that evening but suddenly, all was well. The smiles crept back to our faces, the whining magically stopped. I was even swept up so quickly in the lifting mood that the thought of searching out a margarita, or several, quickly left my mind.
Instead, I set to putting Soren in his place … while Mira quietly bowled her way to victory and Graysen “winned” the family’s “6 and under” category.
And we all sklathed our way to a lovely Father’s Day.  Just before midnight.

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