Archive for Kronicle

$28 and a win

King made $28 profit off AMZN and she finally won a match, in doubles.  But a win is a win.  Hooooorrrraaaay …. wtg …. !!

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Oui Wii

cimg4437.JPGOne of Kinglazy’s gifts is Wii.  It’s cool.  Trust me, coz I don’t play any video games.  From Nintedo’s Super Mario to XBox ..  I know lots girls (women) play, with passion, but to me, it’s waste of time, :)).  Now, although I dont have time to waste, but I like to play Wii .. sports.  Tennis, baseball (great that you get to bat all the time) … it’s all generic, wait till they get licenses for the major league sports, we might get to play FedEx, Sampras, Anna K, :).  I joked that now I can play tennis every day.  Kinglazy dryly commented, “Mom, you’re playing everyday.”  Ok, so I can play twice a day now, rain or shine.  Wii can do so much, soon it’ll do dinner and house cleaning too.

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Martin the coach

Martin hustles.
It’s last year this time when I met him as kids took the week long spring break lessons at the sport center in town. He taught Kinglazy’s group. On the last day, he came out during one of the water breaks, and said to me,
“Oh, your son can play.”
Pardon me? I almost felt off the chair, or thought having hearing problem, for Kinglazy is kind of guy who looks for shades on the softball field, and runs from base to base like taking a victory lap, slow and unhurried.
“Oh, yes, he can play. .. come on in and see for yourself..”
I was thrilled. Getting my kids to play tennis or like tennis, is my life’s mission.
I went in. He fed Kinglazy few balls and were all nicely and powerfully returned. Hearing the deafening sound of the ball bouncing off my son’s racket, I was really, you know, happy. Happy beyond believe. After the lesson, he came to chat me up. He was an unemployed prosecutor from Florida; waiting to pass the New York State bar. I was thinking, I thought only the actors or artists are starving. By the end of our brief conversation, he offered me his phone number, and yes he’ll be glad to teach them.
The etiquette or common sense goes, he’s not supposed to poach us from the center. But I didn’t care as long as my kids learn to play tennis and enjoy the game. It turned out they like him. And his salesmanship was somewhat subtle (I’m being sarcastic here).

To make thing easy and help him out I paid 10 lessons in advance. The ensuing summer, between our vacations and his schedules, we only finished 9 lessons by September. Then suddenly, he just vanished, along with his cell phone. Then two months later, late November one night as I walked in at Alley Pond for my Friday night game, I heard the familiar voice,
“Hello Mrs. Eng ..” Martin would never address me as Irene, even I told him early on. He claimed that he lost his phone. Hmmmm. Few days after that he called me (please note, I did not give him my phone number again at Alley Pond.) to say he’s putting 3 girls together for intensive training, and Slowpoke would be a great candidate for the group,
‘They’re going to play tourneys starting this spring .. ‘
Slowpoke’s swimming had just ended and said she’ll continue the tennis with him. So here we are, with him again. Met April and Martha… His price has gone up 12.5% from last year, which is ok with me. But what’s not ok with me is he begins charging the same fee when he coaches two or three girls; and more often than not, he’ll fold his arms around his chest and chatting with others, instead, coaching. Excuse me, I’m neither mean, frugal or dumb. An hour paid is an hour of decent work. If you want to split that hour or two with some other kids, you’ve got to adjust your fee accordingly.

2013: Martin is still around, teaching tennis in my neighborhood.

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Great to be swimming again

“Are you going to swim?”
This morning kids asked when they saw my dusty duffel bag.
Yes indeed I am.
It’s wonderful, the pool was kind of empty, Jen was there, my favored life guard who is the only one that regulates the pool.
“Did you do the flip turns?” Slowpoke asked me this afternoon.
“No love, my back still feels tender..” so after 20 or so laps, I gave up. In the parking lot, I ran into May and Yolanda the duo, “haven’t seen you in ages..” they exclaimed. Sorry gurls … we used to do lunch/dinner at least once a month. Lord, as I was driving away, thought to myself, is 40-lap a challenge now? Wah called again for tennis, is this going to be a regular thing now? Cool, only my back is not cooperating, 🙁

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Love Thy Neighbors, 2006

Something happened yesterday afternoon: Martin (A black prosecutor fm Florida, who teaches tennis while waiting to pass his NY bar exam) was giving tennis lesson to my kids in the North Middle school. There are five courts, all individually separated, all with 2 hops on each side of the court. It was very deserted on the campus, except 4 ladies in one court and anther taken by a coach with a boy. Half way through the lesson, I saw couple of young men walked toward us with basketball. They didn’t pass by us; instead they walked into our court. One of them started talking to Martin while he was feeding balls to my kids.

Young man 1: “When are you finishing up?”

Martin, shrugged, “30 more minutes.”

YM 1: “I am sorry but can you move to another court, hoops in this court are better than the others.”

I was glad that Martin replied, “why can’t you wait for 30 minutes till we finish here?”

YM 2: “But there are 10 of us, we have to wait for 30 minutes?”

Martin “Tough love.”

More young men have arrived and they all piled into our court. Some stood, some sat, some discussing loudly why can’t they have the court and why don’t we just pack up and move. Some even started shooting the hoop.

YM 3: “Why don’t you just move, so we can play. …. It’ll be dark by the time you finished. … We play here every day ….” It was 5pm.

Martin clearly the heaviest and tallest one, but couple of YMs were bumping chest with him with sound bit of f words. A fight were about to begin. I walked toward them, “get off the court now, we are not moving. You wait for your turn.”

The YMs left Martin and turned to me.
YM 1 said, “I can help you to move the stuff to another court.”
YM 3, “if you don’t let us play here, you are not going to play here either.” And he walked toward the net and trying to lie down. I asked the YM 1 where are they from?
“We all from here, this is our school.”

YM 2 who’s very short, came over, shouted at me repeatedly, “you don’t understand.” Pointing to Martin, “maybe you can explain to her …”

“Which part of it you think that I don’ understand?” I asked, trying to contain my anger and disbelieve. I didn’t want to lose my temper in front of my kids.

“Your English is fine, but you just don’t understand. ….”

“Guys, off the court. Is this the way you’d like your mother be treated?” Martin asked.
Actually few of them got bit quieter. But YM 2 and 3 won’t relent. YM 2 shouting, “my mother would have moved, she is reasonable …” There were 9 of them, some are seniors and others are off to college. All in shape, white (or Persian) and mostly are tall. I felt very threatened. So I called police, without a notion as what the police would do.

YM1, “you don’t have to call police. I was nice to you. We’ll move.” So by the time police got here with one female officer, in 4 cars – FOUR CARS – the group has moved to the next court. The officers, had to raise their voice, told them to go home. As they were reluctantly departing, YM 1 who was the last to leave, holding the basketball, said to me, “would you please ask the officer to allow us, the few nice ones to play here? Some of us are leaving next week for college…” I started to walk toward the officers who were also leaving, but then I changed my mind.

I stood on the grass, as did the officers, watching them got into their shimmering convertibles, roadsters and SUVs, and sped off.
I asked the officer who stood next to me, “has this type of thing happened before?”
“No.” he replied sternly.
“Was it appropriate by calling the police?” I was really helpless and felt violated.
“We are here to protect you if you felt threatened.”

Martin said quietly that should those kids are black some of them would have been in jail. Hmmmm. I didn’t know what to say. Part of my anger is from the fact that those thogs put my kids through the ugly bullying. But on the same token, I was glad that I was there to see how they handled it, providing some support. They can’t and won’t live in the glass jar, sooner or later they’ll have to face the world on their own.

We finished our lesson and I was surprised to see the police cars were still around – the courts are on a small mount. The female office didn’t leave till I started the engine. In the car, Martin said (I’ve heard this one few times before) that when he teaches in my town, the kids often ask ‘why’ 10 times till they get what they want. Those are my neighbors.

This is the second time I experienced blatant condescending treatment by my fellow humans. The first time? Munich, 1991, in a restaurant similar to The Palm, the blonde waitress flatly refused to serve us.


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The Bookstore

DSCN3446Barnes and Noble at Lincoln Center

Ever since they could voice their likes and dislikes, bookstore has been my kids’ top destination. The other day, Martin the coach commented that King is nature to tennis, even he’s out of shape and tired, but he never gives up. Pumpkin on the other hand has the attitude as if she’d rather be shopping. When I related this comment to her,
“Shopping?” she rolled her eyes and replied
“I’d rather be in a bookstore.”
Bookstore it is. Today we the girls went there again, for solid 3 hours. I often joked that I’ll pack her a lunch box (plus diaper .. JK .. but just how early on they wanted to go ..) and just leave her there for the day. In fact, they often tell me to go away (guess I’m too embarrassing for them) and will call me when they want to leave.
When we got home, Golfer and King were home from the movie. When King heard we went to the bookstore, he was upset.
“I wanted to go too!”
Oh, sorry honey, next time.
“But I told you yesterday.” He insisted.
Oh boy. Actually he was right. My fault, either over looked or forgot. My senior moment got in the way, -:(
We have no life at home, going to book store is such an exciting trip ..

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The sound of music

Ok, pull me down if I sounded bit ecstatic or overjoyed, but my kids finally take to tennis! And they genuinely enjoy it, that’s the part I love the most. I’ve been waiting for this day since the day they were born, or long before they were even born (I played during my first trimester both times and dreamed of playing one day with them), :). Over the years, I’ve taken them to mini camps, lessons, and played with them, but they showed very little enthusiasm. So I didn’t push (can I claim that I nurtured them??). They seemed taking to swimming and ski more than tennis. Now their level of playing getting bit better and there is a lot of fun hitting back and forth, I think the ‘hibernation’ over the years had paid off, the good effect. Sometimes kids take to thing bit slow, actually it is with adults too. I call this as long period of hibernation that you subconsciously digest the info and let it grow a bit; it’ll come together eventually. They both have pretty good forms and especially Slowmo, whose rather powerful drive is “impressive” … ‘excuse me’ as Martin, the pro said to me. Martin called him KingLazy. The sound of ball bouncing off their forehands are the music to my ears, :))) and seeing them happily running around the court, I am more than gratified; I am over the moon!

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Kiddies’ lesson

With Martin at Parkwood

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