The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 20, 2014

Mike Pound: Weekend contained, controlled but never stopped

— Here is a tip for future parents out there.

When taking a teenager and four of her friends for the weekend, remember: You can’t stop them; you can only hope to contain them.

First of all, you have to face the fact that the numbers are against you. In this case, it was my wife and me versus five teenage girls. Clearly, playing a man-to-man defense was out of the question. So what we did was drop back into a prevent zone defense and hope they wouldn’t run over us.

My wife and I began planning our defense several days before this past weekend’s trip with the girls. The first thing my wife did was make reservations for lunch and for dinner. Here is how my wife’s side of the conversation with the restaurant went.

“Hello, we need to make reservations for seven please. No, wait. What we need is one table for five and one table for two. What? No, the tables don’t have to be next to each other. What? How far apart should they be? Could the table for five be by the window and could the table for two be by the beach in Key West?”

Emma and the girls we took on the trip, Sarah, Anne, Kelsey and Katie, are friends from dance and have known one another for pretty much their entire lives. I remember the day my wife suggested the trip like it was a couple of weeks ago. When my wife, a couple of weeks ago, explained what she wanted to do, I told her that I didn’t want to do that. My wife then suggested that we talk about what I wanted. My wife then explained to me that I actually did want to take the girls to Kansas City for the weekend.

Saturday morning, we started picking up the girls at their respective homes for the trip to Kansas City. Have you ever tried to fit five teenage girls, a wife and their luggage for a trip to Kansas City into your car?

Don’t.

Kelsey was the last of the girls to be picked up. While I was trying to figure out how to get her luggage into the car, I called NASA for help.

When I explained what I was trying to do, NASA said, “You’re on your own, pal.”

I suggested to my wife that the best thing would be for me to stay in town while she took the girls to Kansas City.

“That way there will be more room,” I said.

“Get in the car,” my wife said.

So I slammed the back of my car down, before the luggage could fall out onto the ground, and got into the car.

“Is the luggage OK?” my wife asked

“As far as you know,” I said.

As I pulled out of Kelsey’s driveway, the girls all started talking at once. Two hours later, when we pulled into the parking garage of the place where we were staying, the girls were still talking. My wife asked me if I wanted to know what the girls had been talking about during the trip.

“No,” I said.

“Good,” my wife said.

My wife let the girls go shopping ahead of us and gave Emma clear instructions to meet us at a restaurant for lunch in 45 minutes.

When my wife and I arrived at the restaurant 45 minutes later, the girls weren’t there. I called Emma on the phone. She told me they were on the way. I waited 10 minutes and called again. Emma said they were “close to the restaurant. Gooooosh, quit bugging me.”

Lunch was fine. The girls sat at one table, and my wife and I sat at a nearby table. When the girls were seated, they all started talking at once.

“Want to know what they’re talking about?” my wife asked.

“No,” I said.

Despite my initial reservations, the trip went well. The girls shopped, talked and laughed the whole weekend, and I even got to watch the second half of the Kansas University basketball game.

We didn’t stop Emma and her friends. But we did contain them.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

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