Except, of course, when they would practice in the backyard.
Every year, when my brother would join the baseball team, Dad would always try to coach him. He decided that the best way to go about doing this was to pitch balls to the excited little brother and continue this exercise until his son was hitting them all. Though it would generally go pretty OK, there were times that it was simply laughable.
This hitting practice was the start to a horrific chain of events.
First of all, there was mud everywhere, due to the freak thunderstorm we had at 7:00 in the morning. Before they even got to their practice spot, their legs were covered in brown glop. They plowed on through the exercise though, until my brother whacked the ball into a set of gnarly bushes.
After about half an hour, both father and son returned from their journey not only empty handed, but bearing evidence of their visit as well. They sort of reminded me of those people you see on America's Funniest Home Videos that fall into those huge mud puddles. No joke.
Dad, clearly exhausted from his muddy trek, decided to call it a day and ordered my brother to pick up all of the baseballs. Being the innovator he was, Lil Bro decided that the best way to go about doing this was to put the muddy balls into his helmet. After dumping the balls out and seeing the mess he'd created in the helmet, he dumped it in the pool in order to clean it out.
I know. What a smart idea.
Now, along with the situation of two muddy guys at the ends of their ropes, there was a sopping helmet added into the mix. "Okay, son, let's go dry the helmet off." Dad said wearily. They made a beeline into the house, tracking mud everywhere. Finally, they reached the master bathroom, where Dad dutifully attempted to dry the thing with a hair dryer.
To keep things simple, let's just say it didn't work.
At this point, Dad was so aggravated that he gave up on the whole idea and decided to dry it over the fireplace in the evening, and leave it in the sink to soak, giving Mom a nasty suprise when she went to put her makeup on. After Lil Bro trekked enough mud in the house to create an ecosystem, he finally realized what he was doing and left his shoes in the middle of the hallway in hopes that someone would claim it.
As Dad stared at the mess that he and his son had created, he decided to pull the vacuum out and clean it all up so that Mom wouldn't be too mad. The minute he plugged in into the circuit right outside of the master bedroom, though, the circuit blew, cutting off electricity to half of the house.
This was getting more interesting by the minute.
Dad was in a really bad mood at this point, and who could blame him? He was covered in mud, the baseball helmet he had gotten for his son was now ruined, he brought half of the outdoors in while stomping around the house trying to fix everything, and in an attempt to please his wife he blew the circuit and sent part of the house in darkness.
He decided that working out seemed like a good idea.
After cleaning up, he trudged up the stairs into the gym to clock some time on the stairstepper. after climbing up and down all of those stairs all over the house trying to get everything back to normal, he was pretty worn out. And who can blame him? He grabbed the remote and hit the power button, ready to spend some time watching sports while trying to recover from the afternoon.
It didn't work.
He tried again.
And again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again.
Still no luck.
In the middle of all of this, Dad realized that when he blew the circuit, he blew the circuit that was connecting the TV as well, rendering it unwatchable. This solved the mystery of why whenever the housekeepers vaccumed, the electronics would mysteriously take a nap. In another time, Dad probably would have been pretty happy to figure this one out. But right now? He was in no mood for this kind of stuff.
Finally, he gave up. Defeated, he headed back down the stairs and lay on the couch. After a few minutes of just laying there, he looked up to see Mom standing in the middle of the mud bath the house had become. "I can explain..." he began, rubbing his eyes.