A Lot of Drama in a Little Bit of Time

As the US Women’s Soccer Team was in the middle of their penalty kick shootout with the Brazilians, my Dad motioned for me to join him in the garage and said somewhat reluctantly, “I know you’re into this game right now, but…”  The look I gave him must have been one of utter disbelief because he didn’t finish that thought.  Ya think!?!?!  I mean, seriously.  I had ninety minutes of regular time, thirty minutes of extra time, three previous games in this tournament, and more than twenty years of rooting for US Soccer invested in this shootout.  I had been pacing behind the couch for the previous half hour, alternating between screaming at the incompetent referees who were doing their level best to lose the game for the US, clapping my hands ferociously as the US came up with a big stop, and groaning out loud when a US goal-scoring opportunity came and went.  When Abby Wambach put the game-tying goal in the back of the net during stoppage time of the second extra time period, I’m sure the neighbors came out of their houses to check on all the commotion I was causing as I raced through the house yelling like I had been the one to score.  Yeah, I was a little bit into the game.

A little background may help put the rest of this story in its proper context.  My Dad and I are very close and we’re a lot alike.  We even sound alike.  We share a love of politics and American history.  But, there’s one area in which our interests sharply diverge.  Reality TV. He watches The Voice, America’s Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars, and So You Think You Can Dance?  I don’t get it.  Instead, I watch . . . sports.  The NFL, college football, baseball, soccer, golf.  Occasionally, tennis.  The Olympics.  Except figure skating (which is the only part he watches).  I’ve even been known to watch a rugby game.  I love sports.  He doesn’t get it.  I’m pretty sure he understands it intellectually, but he doesn’t understand it at the visceral, gut-wrenching level that makes otherwise rational people react with such emotion that they scare their dogs and mothers with their celebrations.

Because the Great Job Hunt of 2011 has not yet been successful, we’ve moved in with my dad and my step-mom.  And, while we’ve been talking about combining our households for several years (all of us like each other that much), the fact remains that five people – including three boys under six-years-old – have invaded their space.  No matter how great the idea sounded in theory, it can’t help but be disruptive to their way of life.  Yet they have been more than gracious and incredibly accommodating.  At the same time, we’ve tried very hard to be respectful of their sacrifice, but it simply isn’t possible to completely contain the inevitable chaos. As if this isn’t complicated enough, they are trying to sell the house so they (we?) can move closer to their jobs.  Those of you who have tried to sell a house in this market know what a burden that is.  You have to make your house available to show at the whim of any real estate agent who wants to give it a look.  And, apparently, they don’t want it to look lived in, so anything remotely personal has to be well-hidden.

Back to the US v. Brazil game and my Dad’s interruption.  A real estate agent was coming by about an hour later to show it to the friend of a potential buyer.  Not a potential buyer, mind you, but the potential buyer’s friend.  So, I think Dad wanted me to help clean up what is already a pretty spotless house.  As part of this whole co-habitation arrangement, I’m happy to play my part.  But his timing couldn’t have been worse.  Even if the game hadn’t been as dramatic as it was, I would have still had a hard time walking away at that moment.  I simply love the pageantry and intrigue of both the Men’s and Women’s World Cup.  It’s a chance to see the best athletes represent their respective countries play a sport I happen to really appreciate (a position where I am in the American minority).  A big part of it is the opportunity to root for United States, the country which has given me – and the rest of the world – so much.  The country I am so proud to call home.  But I’m probably one of the few people west of the Mississippi who was also up early enough to watch the Sweden v. Australia Women’s World Cup game (at least one of the few who is not originally from either of those countries).  And who watched both the England v. France game as well as the Japan v. Germany game on Saturday.  I love the theatre of this tournament.  And, while I’d prefer a game to be settled in regulation or extra time, the drama of the shootout is undeniable.

After an abbreviated second attempt to talk me away from the game, he gave up (probably with a little bit of disgust) and I went back to the game.  Five goals to three later, neighbors were again wondering what’s going on at the Gleason house and my heart rate was off the charts.  I was experiencing an adrenaline high.

I used that extra energy to quickly mow the lawn and help hide most of my possessions under the bed.  We had a house that was once again “show ready” and the Gleason Five went for a walk (because, you know, real estate agents and friends of potential buyers don’t want to be reminded that someone actually lives in the house, or God forbid, have to go through the indignity of looking at a house while the residents are there).

We had barely turned the second corner when we got a call from my step-mom.  She had driven by the house on the way from her first errand to her second, and the real estate agent was already gone.  All that household drama for less than ten minutes.  Fortunately, a little conflict like this doesn’t amount to a drop in the ocean of our affection for each other.

As I write this, the US has just beaten France in the semi-finals.  Being a Wednesday morning, Dad wasn’t around to wonder what all the fuss was about and we made it through the game without a real estate agent deciding to come back.  The US will play the winner of the Japan/Sweden game on Sunday afternoon.  I’m just hoping that the real estate community gets caught up in World Cup fever and gets their visits done on Saturday or waits until Monday.  Or I’m going to spend money I don’t have to watch the game at bar.


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