Go Ask Daddy About Zebras, Heavenly Sphericals and Cooking So Good it Makes you Want to Slap Someone Else’s Abuela

3 11 GAD lede
photo credit: Stormtrooper stencil via photopin (license)

So, referees.

GAD GRAPHICTo my girls, they’re right up there with homework, canned beets and soccer losses. It’s just the way of the world. It’s like dogs and mail carriers, cats and mice, my March Madness bracket and the truth – some things are just not meant to ever get along.

I’ve had my history of hardships with those in stripes.

However, as coach to impressionable kids and a functioning member of society, I cannot simply fire a navel orange at every official who makes the wrong call in a soccer match. Nor should I want to. They’re doing their jobs, just as I am.

Plus, there are at least 42 things worse than a soccer ref …

1. An empty Frosted Flakes box.

2. Losing one sock in your sleep.

3. Coloring something wrong in a coloring book and having no way to cover it up.

4. Getting syrup, chocolate milk or pizza sauce on your smartphone screen.

5. A cold tip of your nose.

photo credit: SimonDoggett via photopin cc

6. A dead mobile phone battery during jury duty.

7. Wanting Chick-fil-A on a Sunday.

8. Having to pee when the first whistle goes off.

9. Paper cuts.

10. Losing your keys, wallet and work badge – again.

11. Going to training with three balls and coming home with two.

12. Running out of Q-tips.

pancakes eggs camdyn breakfast

13. Running out of syrup on Pancake Saturday.

14. Running out of gas on a rainy Saturday.

15. Rubbing your eyes after eating something with Texas Pete.

16. Getting your ass kicked in Spring Training.

17. “We Will Rock You,” when it’s not immediately followed by “We are the Champions.”

18. Little damned smartphone keyboards.

carowinds amusement park girls camdyn field trip chaperone

19. Forgetting your kids’ name when yelling at them.

20. A meteor shower on a cloudy night.

21. Missing Lauren Graham *and* Alexis Bledel.

22. Your alma mater *not* going to the Big Dance or a bowl game.

23. Friends who sell magic juice or real estate.

24. Slow Internet.

25. A bucket with a hole in it.

26. Anything Zach and Cody.

27. Los Angeles sports teams.

28. Jealousy.

29. Boorish sideline parents.

30. Bratty kids.

31. Fat-free ranch dressing.

32. That Bernie doesn’t have a chance.

33. That John Kasich doesn’t have a chance.

34. The smell of the otter exhibit at the zoo.

35. Missed chances.

36. Cat shit in anything but the litter box.

37. When a butterfly slams into your windshield.

38. Falling in love with a dog and not being able to adopt her.


39. Running out of cheese.

40. Type 2 diabetes.

41. Type 1, too.

42. Having to compile a list of 42 crappy things because you can’t think of anything constructive to blog about.

1. How much do refs make?

How much what?

Trouble? Angst? Confusion? Now, let’s be fair. Some of those refs are people, just like you and me. In the NFL, they can earn as much as $200,000 per season. That’s not a 40-hour week, either. They work on Sunday only.

(Well, and some Monday, Saturday and even Thursday action.)

They get mad retirement benefits, and are freed up all week to do other jobs. You know, for spending cash. Or to buy some !@#$! glasses, for Jerome Bettis’ sake.

2. Why don’t they have dine-in at Little Caesars?

Oh, but they do!

There’s that one right there in the K-mart in Kannapolis. We’d go there after matches in the Summer Mexican League (a Mexican league in the summer, not a league for Summer Mexicans only.) Also, after some indoor matches.

That K-marts still exist is pretty cool, if you think about it.

Did you know, though, that …

Bill Murray and Eminem once worked at Little Caesars?

There’s a Little Caesars Food Truck that feeds the hungry and disaster victims for free?

I dressed as Little Caesar one Halloween, complete with pizza on a spear?

3. Why are planets and stars round?

Because cubes are notoriously inefficient orbiters. God knows better.

Gravity pulls toward the center of a star or planet. But, like your father, these heavenly bodies aren’t perfectly spherical. They’re a little bulgy around the equator. You know, where my belt goes. Planets get this way because they’re spinning at great rates of speed.

I can blame mine partially on sit-down Little Caesars.

4. How do you pronounce Iannucci’s?

It’s our favorite pizza joint in Asheville – and top 5 anywhere – and we’ve been saying it wrong the whole time.

We say it “ee-an-EW-chees,” and immediately dream of huge, floppy pizza served in the mountains, just a mile or so where we lived when Elise was born. Neither location – Asheville or Hendersonville – was open when I tried to call at 12:27 a.m. to see what they said when they answered the phone.

The real Italian name, Iannucci, is pronounced “yahn-EW-chee.” So for the food triple play of questions here …

5. Is your grandma a good cook?

Oh, kid. Are you kidding?

Are refs blind? Is Little Caesars cheap? Are the moons of Jupiter round? Ish? Kid, my grandma is the best cook. Tamales, pressed and rolled by the dozen. The best thing you’ll unwrap at Christmas, guaranteed.

My grandma makes green chili that will make your nose run and your tummy smile.

Empanadas, full of pumpkin filling, crispy on the outside, scrumptious on the inside. Tortillas, round as your face and soft as your daddy’s discipline. Stacks of them. A pot of beans, refried to perfection, aching to become one with one of abuelita’s tortillas.

Grandma Anita can also pull together a mean Thanksgiving feast, better than even white people do.

She can do it all, kids, my grandma.

And she’s never called a kid offside when they weren’t.

abuela quote




  1. 1jaded1 says:

    10…17…18…28…and many others. LC tried delivery in MI. It didn’t do well. I can see MM workimg there cuz MI. Except for Polish blood stuff…yay for Grandma’s cooking.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Preach it. The best is having connections at LC to get a discount, or showing up at closing time and having the girl be like, “you want these pizzas? w’ere just gonna through them out.” Yes, flour-covered white girl. Yes, I do.

  2. Now you got me hungry for your grandmother’s homemade cookie and would you believe that I am related to someone with the last name Iannucci? No joke I really am and that is the beauty of being Italian, you can’t miss with having some relation to someone with an Italian last name heard somewhere – crazy, but true! 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I believe the Ianucci’s connection, JH. The question is, can I benefit from it somehow? Kidding, I kid.

      Not really. Hook me up?

      1. You know if I could I so would!!! 🙂

  3. Kisma says:

    It’s 5am and I want a tamale now!
    Think that would mesh well with my coffee eh??

    I love the list, you got some winners there!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You know how many days I’d say that if I was up at 5 a.m.? All of them. Glad you like the list … just rattled them off in absence of anything of substance otherwise!

  4. Christine says:

    Hilarious list of things worse than refs. 🙂
    I never yell at refs for two reasons. 1. I have teens who ref, and I would be ticked if people yelled at them. And 2. I could never do it. I’d miss every third foul at least. Or call tons that aren’t actually fouls.
    When I was a kid, I thought my grandma was a good cook. It wasn’t until I was an adult and saw what real cooking was that I realized she wasn’t. Everything she made was processed. She only makes boxed mashed potatoes for crying out loud!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Who knew there were 42, Christine? I don’t normally yell at refs. I do talk to them. I do raise my voice if they get cross with me. I’ve never been tossed – but I’ve come close.

      Maybe it’s the generation, C. Well, our parents. Wonder how they’re perceived as grandparents overall. They sometimes don’t want to be called grand anything. Baby Boomers. Psh.

  5. rachel says:

    i’ve been waiting a long time for that list of things you don’t like, coach. thanks.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Worth the wait, Rach? I need to brush up on my donut etiquette.

      1. rachel says:

        yeah. you’re worth it. let me know if you figure it out. i ended up using a credit card. i think they had to call the president to get it approved. 🙄

  6. ksbeth says:

    oh, the grandmothers…. oops, i’m one too, and cannot hold a candle to my italian grandma’s cooking in the kitchen, but i’m learning…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      See though your kids’ kids will talk about how boss your cooking was back in the day.

  7. cricketmuse says:

    And you need to come up with with 42 great things in life…

  8. Lyn says:

    Well of course there are 42 things worse than a soccer ref… after all, 42 is the answer to “life, the universe and everything.” 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Forty-two was not by accident Lyn.

      1. Lyn says:

        LOL I would never have thought it 😉

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I tend to sprinkle the answers to the universe all over the place, Lyn.

  9. suzjones says:

    I don’t think my grand kids would ever rave over my cooking. lol
    Loved your list and laughed out loud on several of them. Can so relate to the cats and litter box one.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Serve me up a plate, Suz, and I’ll give you an honest assessment – if it’s great, you can always adopt me.

      Glad you liked the list! It rolled off my fingers lie how I envision God gave Moses the 10 Commandments, but with less thunder.

      1. suzjones says:

        I’m glad there was less thunder. It could have scared the kids otherwise.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Yes, but the theatrics …

  10. Lulu says:

    Eli, I thought that the list was pretty good. I had a decent smile on my face when I finished reading it. Then I got to #1, and I was tipping my head back, laughing wickedly. For Jerome Bettis’ sake! It happened again on #3. I need to remember not to have any liquids in my mouth when I read your blog. For the sake of my monitor, the cup of coffee will just have to wait.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Lulu. I could have probably rattled off another 42. And that was just the warmup!

      My best endorsements come when I’d hear my daughter giggling looking at her phone, only to find she was reading my latest post.

  11. Your list of annoying things would have made for a a great post of its own! Tell me how does one lose a sock in their sleep?
    I would like to add to no 17 that BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY needs to be played until the very end. No fading out or butting in before it’s over!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I can do 42 more. If I knew the answer to the sock question … it happens to grace, too, so perhaps it’s hereditary.

      yes on Bohemian Rhapsody and 132 other songs they should never talk over or cut off early!

  12. Rorybore says:

    I miss my grandma so freaking much right now. And I can’t even carbs and everything hurts and I’m dying. 😦
    But I’m here! Finally. Try and stay out of my junk box eh Coach? 😉
    (I swear I don’t know why I lose you for like a whole month, and then my email dumps 30 posts in my junk drawer. Technology, so not to be trusted.)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Those are some blues, Les. I’m glad you’re fighting through. One step at a time. I think me and junk are always going to be cosmically bound.

      Technology must want you to binge on me.

      1. Rorybore says:

        It’s not a bad thing at all.
        It would be better if there were actually tacos here. 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Tacos upgrade anything, anywhere, any time. Seriously, try it.

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