I'm not a morning person. The only reason I am coherent before noon is sweet, sweet coffee. Even with the assistance of coffee, I am coherently grouchy.
The USA-Russia men's hockey game was on at 7:30 a.m. last Saturday. If I hate getting up early during the week, I absolutely loathe it on weekends. The only reason I get up before noon on weekends is because I've got to feed the children breakfast.
The Little Professor, my hockey-watching buddy, bounded into my bedroom Saturday morning.
"Momma, hockey's on!"
"Ugh, why is Russia umpteen time zones ahead of us?" I hid under the blanket, shielding myself from the sun's burning rays.
"Momma, Team USA is playing. Are you getting up?"
I slithered out of bed, still clutching the comforter over my head. The floor was cold. The cold was creeping under the edges of my blanket. I peered, slitty-eyed and snarling, from under my impromptu Sith hood at the Professor.
He beamed. I sighed.
"OK, I'll watch hockey with you."
We re-grouped in the playroom, where I built a nest of blankets on the couch. My Sassy Saint, budding bookmaker and ordinarily not a hockey-watcher, wandered in to give us an update of the medal standings and the very latest odds.
The kids burrowed under the blankets with me.
"It's weird," I said.
"What's weird?" Sass asked.
"Cheering Quick for stoning Geno. Tearing my hair out over Parise getting manhandled. Rooting for Patrick Kane. I'm living in bizarro world."
"It's just the Olympics, Momma." She patted my hand comfortingly while I alternatively hid under the blankets and clapped my hands over my eyes.
Then the Russians scored the go-ahead goal.
"I'm dead," I whimpered. "I'm dead, the Russians have killed me." I hid under the blanket, mourned Team USA's unblemished record and cursed Team Russia.
"Momma, the Cold War is over," Sass reminded me.
Meanwhile, the Professor sat in the lotus position, elbows on his knees, chin on his fists, staring at the screen. "That's not a good goal," he said.
I clawed my way out from under six blankets. "What?"
"It's no good." He pointed. "Look, the net came loose. No goal."
The clouds broke and a heavenly choir began to sing. "Perhaps the Russians didn't kill me after all."
"You've got to stop using so much hyperbole," Sass said. "It scares the Professor."
"Shhh, Sass, we're watching hockey."
It went into overtime. Of course. Then into a shoot out. Of course.
I took refuge under the blankets again. "Let me know when this is over. My nerves can't take it."
"Why do you watch hockey if you spend most of the time hiding under a blanket?" Sass asked.
"Be quiet or I'll ground you."
"Didn't that same guy already go?" The Professor asked.
Yes, T.J. Oshie had already gone. Twice. Sass ran out of the room. I thought perhaps she couldn't take the stress, but she was back a moment later with our hockey gnome-totem.
"Here." She handed it to her brother. "Give him good juju."
We held our breath and watched in silence - along with a record 6.5 million others across the country - as Oshie went to the net six times, scoring on four of those, including the game-winner.
I nearly passed out from relief.
"Can we eat now?" Sass asked. "That took a long time, and I'm hungry."
"I hope you know you can thank T.J. Oshie for the fact that your breakfast isn't seasoned with bitter tears this morning."
(Wallace-Minger, a resident of Weirton, is community editor of The Weirton Daily Times.)