Practice Day, Morning: Wake up at some obscenely early hour, slowly stretch, carefully taking inventory of old aches, new injuries and making sure normal movement is possible. Make coffee, grab a steaming mug and take the dog out. Smoke a cigarette while the dog does her thing. Stumble back inside and feed the dog and the cat as the four year old shuffles out of his room rubbing his eyes and politely demanding chocolate milk and Cheerios. Feed the child. Shower quickly. Scramble to find clothing that is clean, work appropriate and not in desperate need of ironing. Dress the child. Hastily apply mascara, powder and lip gloss if there is the luxury of an extra five minutes after brushing teeth; both mine and child's. Gather all necessary belongings for the child and myself and toss into backpack or purse. Kennel the dog, and swallow a handful of ibuprofen before rushing out the door. Curse myself for not starting the car and de-icing the windshield earlier. Rush the boy to daycare and rush back to the leasing office for work.
Work Day: Apologize to the boss for being five minutes late and swear for the thousandth time it will never, ever happen again. Turn on computer and make coffee while the computer takes it's damn sweet time to load. Check messages, answer email, go over the day's agenda with boss. The rest of the day is chocked full of coworkers throwing childlike tantrums, current residents throwing fits about their neighbors and/or roommates ("he won't do the dishes so I need you to evict him"), former residents complaining about move out charges ("What'd ya mean I gotta clean the place or I get charged?") and touring prospective residents ("I like that utilities are included! Did I just step in something?"). Lunchtime: Walk dog and then short nap. Rest of the day, same as above but with a bit of a limp as the morning's ibuprofen has worn off and the knees begin to get cranky.
End of Work Day: Turn everything off, lock up office, rush to daycare to pick up the boy before daycare closes and begins charging by the minute. Seriously. Have the best conversation of the day in the car with my four year old son! Rush to child's dad's apartment and herd the boy and belongings inside. Hugs and kisses for child. Try to leave as child's dad tries to prolong conversation. Gotta go! Get home, walk dog, smoke cigarette. Text message from team mate; crap! Dues are due again! Daydream briefly about winning Powerball and getting a new tattoo. Fix a light dinner, feed myself, dog and cat. Rest on the couch for an hour, but not really because the child's father calls at least twice. One hour and fifteen minutes to practice! Begin the hunt through the apartment for practice clothes that may have been washed less than two practices ago. Check derby bag and make sure all equipment is there (good god, I should wash my pads!). Another handful of ibuprofen. Walk dog, then kennel her and off to practice!
At the Rink: 20 minutes before practice begins. Loiter outside for a bit smoking and chatting with league mates about all things derby and get caught up on every one's non-derby lives. There will be no outside world aggravation here; bad news regarding any league mate is met with sisterhood and support and the knowledge that in a few minutes we will be able to skate off our stress. Excited chatter continues as we go inside. Everyone hurries to get knees braced, ankles taped, laces replaced, trucks loosened, toe-stops adjusted and gear on. One by one we enter the track for more chit-chat and a few warm up laps and last minute equipment adjustments. 9 pm SHARP! practice begins. Two hours of non-stop skating! Hurray! 11:05 pm, practice ends, we are released! Sweaty, breathless and pumped full of endorphins, we peel off soaking wet equipment, yank our blistered and calloused feet out of our skates, chase down coaches, trainers and committee heads with various questions, explanations, comments and checks for dues. A few shouts of "Luscious Nectar!" "Surfside!" or sometimes "Elliot's!" fly over the dull roar letting everyone know where the after practice beers shall be consumed that night.
After Practice: Back out in the parking lot, several of us light up cigarettes, compare bruises and/or injuries and say about twenty times, "Good practice!" One by one we head for our vehicles and either head home to sleeping families or meet up with the party crowd in Old Town. I somehow fall in between these two categories; the child is with his dad for the night, but usually I can't afford where the other women have chosen to imbibe. So, off I go to meet up with my gentleman friend who never seems to mind how sweaty I am. And he thoroughly appreciates my practice shorts. Yay me! After a few beers, a couple of shots (I am the Queen you know) some random texts from a few derby women, several rockin' tunes on the jukebox, the endorphins begin to wear off, the aches begin to creep back and the edges of my euphoria are touched with fingers of sleepiness. Realizing how early I will have to wake up, walk the dog and get ready for work, I pay my tab and say my goodbyes. Time to leave with my gentleman friend and snuggle up in his bed. As my eyes close, the smile on my lips stays put; I am sore, exhausted and nursing several new bruises and/or rink rash, but the feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment always overrides any physical discomfort. Before the REM begins, I have already outlined in my head the job assignments and schedule of events for the next home bout. I love being a FoCo Girl Gone Derby!