Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Best Football Game EVER!

As I have now reached the point in my life that can be accurately labeled my late 40’s, it has become more important to me to try and accomplish things. Allow me to give you some background. I enjoy baseball. I have since I was a kid. As a native Georgian, I have been a lifelong fan of the Atlanta Braves. I admire contemporaries such as Dan Uggla, Brian McCann or the Upton brothers. If you were to ask me who my favorite Brave is, I will not hesitate in telling you it is Hank Aaron. Simply put, Aaron represents everything I love about the Braves and baseball in general. The fact that more than 30 years have passed since Hammerin’ Hank has played for the Braves does not sway moutdevotion one iota.
Football is a sport that I also enjoy watching immensely. I just don’t share the same love that I have for baseball. My wife, on the other hand, loves football. In particular, my wife (along with many members of her family), love the Buffalo Bills. My wife also loves the contemporaries such as Spiller, Manuel, and Dareus. Ask my wife who her favorite Buffalo Bill is and she will not hesitate in telling you Joe Cribbs. Cribbs, like Hank Aaron can prove to be a controversial choice. Still, your sports hero is your sports hero.
Fast forward to October 1, 2013 when my wife and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. I didn’t have the biggest budget but I DID have a way to make this anniversary special. First, I took my wife to Jay’s Diner in Rochester, NY. This is where my wife and I had our first date.  After we ordered our food, I presented my wife with her anniversary present. With the help of a close friend, I arrange to get two tickets to see the Buffalo Bills play the Cincinnati Bengals. To make it even better, our seats were 8 rows from the Buffalo Bills end zone. To put it mildly my wife LOVED her gift. She had not been to see a live Bills game in more than 10 years.
This was also going to be a special experience for Yours Truly. I have had the joy of seeing a few Braves games at Turner Field. This game would be my first live NFL game EVER. The friend who helped me acquire the tickets was also a devoted, lifelong Bills fan.We were also bringing his girlfriend and a mutual friend and colleague. I was the only one in the bunch who did not eat, sleep, and breathe Buffalo Bills.
The morning of the game was an early start. We were on the road before 7 AM for a game that started at 1 PM. My wife and friends were ready to show me what a tailgate party was all about. The food was great. The company was greater. We parked on a house lot outside of the stadium to sidestep the much stricter tailgate rules at Ralph Wilson Stadium. As game time got closer, we made the less than 5 minute walk toward the stadium.
As we got to our seats, I could not help but notice the energy in the stadium. It was magnanimous and it was infectious. Standing on a balcony just off the field was Scott Norwood. That’s right, NFL LEGEND Scott Norwood. The balcony was positioned between the uprights of the Bills end zone. I imagine it must have been a sweet sight for Norwood when the Bengals missed a field goal attempt during the game. This game would also mark the return of punter Brian Moorman to the Bills lineup. My buddy loves Moorman as much as I love Hank Aaron so it was a great day for all of us.
The Bills played valiantly but fell to the Bengals 27 – 24 in overtime. However, in spite of this I must point out what made this game special to me. That’s right folks, another bulleted list:
  • Dealing with the constant challenge of switching my focus from the field to the jumbotron and back to keep up with the game. Every play was – field, jumbotron, field, jumbotron, cheerleaders, field.
  • Figuring out that once the game was 10 times more intense every time it was close enough to watch without the aid of the jumbotron.
  • My friend made a sign that read: “Welcome Home Moorman!” His sign made it on to the jumbotron. When I saw the sign on the screen, I pointed to it. That’s right people – MY FINGER WAS ON THE JUMBOTRON FOR MILLIONS TO SEE!
  • After the game was over, my throat and my feet were killing me. Furthermore, every great play resulted in a bunch of high fives that were delivered with enough force to obliterate my rotator cuff.
  • A fan wearing a Bengals jersey was escorted from the stadium in handcuffs. I have no idea what his transgression was but it somehow made the experience sweeter.
I have witnessed some great games. One fine example would be watching Herschel Walker lead the Georgia Bulldogs to a victory over Notre Dame. Still, this day in Buffalo marked the best football game ever. Yes, the Bills fell to the Bengals. Still, who got to experience his first live NFL game, celebrate his 20th wedding anniversary, and score points with his wife...THIS GUY!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Potential Future As An Almond Wrangler

As each day goes by, I am faced with the challenge to lose weight and improve my health. Part of this involves riding my bicycle (which I truly enjoy). The bike riding not only has physical health benefits. It helps me to temporarily disconnect from the stressors of life. Lately, I have been averaging a 15 mile ride round trip. My personal best is 17 miles. Reaching such distances are very rewarding.
Unfortunately, the rides do occasionally pose some challenges. Last week as I rode, I had once again ridden to the shore of Lake Ontario. Basically, I try to ride slightly further west than I rode previously, I then ride north to the lake shore. I stop at this point and take a brief break before heading back home. As I headed my way west from my house, my chain came off my bike. I was making a pretty good stride when this occurred so this was quite an unsettling distraction. I reset my chain and gradually made my way to the lake shore. I stopped, made my video to post on Facebook, and began making my way back. It was during this ride back when I began having trouble with my seat. I had been having some troubles with it recently becoming loose and routinely tightened it before going out to ride. I had apparently forgotten to do so prior to this trip. It is amazing how something as relatively minor as a loose seat can make a ride rather difficult. I ultimately gave in and stopped my ride at a gas station and called home. I was less than 6 miles from home. My daughter was already out running errands and came to get me. I felt quite defeated as I pulled the front wheel off my bike and packed my bike into the back of our van. Still, I may have not made 16 miles that day. I DID get more than 11 miles in before stopping. I can only concede that such an outcome is better than nothing.
I rode around with my daughter to help her continue her errands and keep my grandson company. Trying to distract my mind from the defeated feeling of my ride, I browsed along the dairy section of a store my daughter was shopping. As I browsed, I got to thinking: what if introduced a milk alternative into my health? After all, I do have a mild lactose intolerance. Perhaps such an alternative could help me to improve my diet AND offset the effects of my intolerance. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE milk. I am grateful to our nation’s cows and our nation’s dairy farmers. Still, I must keep an open mind when it comes to improving my health. I am trying to put more of a Herculean effort of a Sisyphean task. I may have just made a few mythologist shoot milk out of their noses with that pun. Still, wouldn't it be better if it was say an almond or soy milk?
I glanced at different brands and read labels to compare nutritional information. There was SOME advantage to be considered there. I then put the milk back onto the shelf and saw the deal breaker – the price. The prices of almond and soy milks can go as much as 2.5 times the price of good old American moo juice. Some brands were nearly triple the price. I can only assume that the source of such milks can be very difficult to obtain. After all, you can just pull such milk from trees or out of the ground, right? I even pondered the idea of having my own almond/ soy dairy farm. I am not to proud to pull up a stool and pail to milk those things myself and cut out the middle man. I imagine the branding might be tough. All I can say for now is that Elsie and Beauregard have no need to worry about their jobs at this point.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Honest, It Really WAS Funny

I am quite sure that I have mentioned more than once previously that I have spent the majority of the last 12+ years working in the Information Technology (IT) field in one capacity or another. I have spent 4 of those years working in technical support but much of my experience prior to that was in software and hardware testing. Such work involves testing a current (or prototype) product to be sure that it functions as it was designed. If you do this and it works, you report said outcome. If you do that and it stops working, you have a potential defect in the product. This is what is known in the industry as a bug. According to legend, it is called a bug because, back in the days when a computer took up the space of a small gymnasium and ran on a bunch of vacuum tubes and whatnot (also an IT term), a moth flew into the back of one such computer. The moth gave his life in the process but also brought the computer to a halt. I can’t help but wonder if this legendary event also led to the ultimate invention of the bug zapper.
Anyway, I digress (I know, what else is new). The reason why I started off sharing that piece of my job history, as well as IT history, is that there are certain habits that have come up as a result of my work experience. For example, when I document things, I tend to give a lot of step by step details. This is a very important habit when you work in IT and well as in healthcare (which I did prior to my IT work). It is, so I am told, rather annoying when I am having a conversation with my family. Another habit I have acquired is frequent saving when I am writing something. Even as I type this, I will frequently hit a keyboard shortcut to save what I have typed so far (Ctrl + S for PC users). I have also come to rely heavily on a feature called AutoSave. This basically means that, at certain intervals, the software I am using will automatically save my work. This is apparently because IT developers thought hitting Ctrl + S or clicking on that little floppy disc icon was just too hard.
Recently, I was typing up a new essay. I was REALLY getting into a groove with it. I was listening to some music and the words were flowing from my fingers to the virtual page like a Vegas fountain. I could even see a light show in my head. I love it when moments like this happen in my writing. When everything just flows and weaves almost like the song I am listening to when I type. It is truly a blissful moment when I get really lost in my writing process. I had even come up with what I thought was a funny ending line to my piece. All I had left to write was the title and the piece would be ready for my Lovely Young Editor (LYE) to review.
I sat back for a moment lost in my moment of bliss as I pondered on a title and even giggled at my ending line. This moment of bliss would be short lived as suddenly and inexplicably, my computer froze. Moving my finger furious on the glide pad did nothing. Hitting random keystrokes was equally fruitless. Even deliberate keystrokes (such as Ctrl + Alt + Delete) did nothing.
As I sat and pondered, the computer remained in its frozen state. It almost seemed to mock me and my years of experience. Finally, I relented to the only choice I had at the time. I did a hard shutdown of my computer. I sat and waited a moment or two before started it back up so that I could retain some composure over this very inconvenient event. I even pondered for a moment about the title for the piece that I wrote while my system was coming back up.
I opened up my blog writing software. I was eager to look over the piece once more and give it a title. It was at this moment that I found out a harsh reality about this writing software. The software has an AutoSave feature BUT it is not turned on by default. That’s right, people. All that wonderful, flowing, blissful writing was GONE. There was not one iota of indication that I had typed even a single character...ZILCH…ZIP..NADA..GOOSE EGG. I sat there with a completely deflated ego. I couldn’t believe that I had not once done a single keystroke or mouse click to save my work at any point. All that work and I had no results; just excuses. What made is worse is that the deflation of my ego also apparently let out my recall of what I had type. I tried to remember what I had typed...ZILCH…ZIP..NADA..GOOSE EGG. All I could remember was that ending line that made me giggled before my computer froze: “This is my quest…to follow my matter how hopeless…no matter how far (then again maybe I am just being a bit quixotic)”. I promise you that in the context of what I was writing before my computer froze, that line was a real knee slapper. So lesson learned: change the settings to AutoSave my work, hit Ctrl + S anyway and click the floppy mouse icon just to be sure. Otherwise, you wind up like an umpire at a Braves Wild Card playoff game trying to explain the infield fly rule that costs the Braves a run (or two). You wind up with years of experience, inexcusable results, and a pocketful of excuses (I know it was last season but I am still not happy about it).

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What A Wonderful Word Vol. III: The Phrygian Mode

Yes, folks. It’s that time once again. It is time to learn some new words and hopefully inspire new laughs. I truly never expected to be typing a third installment to this series when I wrote the first one. I am actually working on a fourth list (consider yourself warned).
For those who may be unfamiliar with these installments, allow me to reiterate the rules of making such a list. First, it must be a real word that can be found in the dictionary (I used several dictionary sources). Secondly, keeping in the spirit of my blog, it must be family friendly. Lastly, if you could imagine Tigger saying the word, it had a good chance of making the list. The list has exactly 18 words. There are two main reasons for this number. First, the original list had 18 words. Secondly, keeping such a specific number in mind makes the challenge more interesting to me. With that in mind, here comes the third set of 18.
  • abibliophobia – This word is truly a mouthful. Abibliophobia is the fear of running out of things to read. People spend there daily lives facing this fear as they glance at the ingredients list on the cereal box and stock that top drawer in the bathroom vanity. Since, I feel that abibliophobia drives the avoidance of an awful state, please consider this installment my contribution to the cause. You’re welcome.
  • bric-a-brac - Bric-a-brac is a collection of small trinkets and items that are kept for sentimental reason or to provide some small decorative value. For example, my office space has several guitars, a mandolin, two harmonica sets, a chord chart, a pair of chrome dumb bells, a miniature basketball, and a Hank Aaron figurine. Each of these items gives my office space a special look and feel. However, these items hold value to no one but me. Such a list of items epitomize bric-a-brac. More importantly, if a young child says “bric-a-brac” repeatedly while seated in the back seat of a car, it will drive his parents bonkers. You’re welcome, Mom and Dad.
  • burgle – I chose this word because, since it sounds so silly, people seldom use it. If used, people will repeat the word in confused wonder. It means to break into a building and steal something. It’s what a burglar does. It is synonymous with the word burglarize. Try to imagine the following phone conversation: “911, what’s your emergency?” “Yes, I need the police. My home has been burgled.” “Burgled?…Burgled?..(snicker snicker)”.
  • canoodle – I must say, as funny as this word sounds, it is a strange euphemism to me. The word means to kiss or hold someone in a romantic fashion. One could just say that they saw a couple holding hands or kissing. Instead one says canoodling because it sounds like a 4th grader saw the couple. Still I can imagine the following text in a news bulletin: “…apparently while the man was a block away canoodling with his wife, their home was burgled. The couple is devastated as, along with other bric-a-brac, many books were stolen leaving the couple in a state of acute abibliophobia.”
  • disheveled – This word means to have a raggedy or unkempt appearance. One of the reasons I find this word so amusing is that you never hear the anyone use the apparent opposite of this word. Imagine the stares you would get if you told a neatly dressed person” You look particularly heveled today.”
  • donnybrook – I love this word not only because it has a funny sound (and it somewhat outdated). I also like it because it sounds nothing like what it describes. To me it sounds like some small body of water near a park.It actually describes a nasty fight. It synonyms include the words fracas and free-for-all. “….local police had to break up the nasty donnybrook that occurred between neighborhood residents and the alleged criminal that burgled the several house in the area. (Burgled?)”
  • gadzookery – When I told my daughter I was working on the word gadzookery, she offered me a tissue. The word refers to the use of archaic terms such as one might find in a historical novel. It is also a good word for a young child to repeat endlessly when his parents have warned him against saying “bric-a-brac” one more time. Once again, you’re welcome, Mom and Dad.
  • jalopy – Once again, discussing words with my daughter proved amusing. When I told her the next word was jalopy, she asked: “You mean the fruit?” I have no idea what fruit sounds like jalopy but I was too busy giggling to find out. The word refers to an old, decrepit automobile. I am reminded of a late 1960’s Ford Falcon my family owned when I was in high school (in the mid 1980’s). The floorboard had sheet metal to repair a rust hole. Stopping the car required planning at least five blocks in advance. It had an equalizer connected to the radio which dangled precariously by mangled brackets after it shorted out and my brother punched it. Man, I LOVED driving around in that thing.
  • jocularity – This word has a great use. It refers to the tendency to behave in a facetious or joking manner. A good illustration is the young child who faces a firm discipline from his red-faced parents for his constant uttering of the words bric-a-brac and gadzookery. He can now shout jocularity over and over again and, in doing so, show that he understands what the word means. Really, Mom and Dad, the pleasure is all mine.
  • panjandrum – I have never used this word in my life. I really wish I had discovered this word much earlier in my life. I can think of so many people I could have described with that word. It is used to describe a person who feels themselves to be very self-important. Imagine an 8th grade student council president who insists on walking with a security detail, seeing other students by appointment only, and plugging his recently published book which is available on Amazon. This person can be described as a pompous and pedantic panjandrum.
  • paraprosdokian – I am not sure I could ever use this word as I would have far too much trouble saying it correctly. Still, it sounds far too amusing to omit it from the list. The word, from its Greek roots mean “beyond expectation”. It refers to a story that has an concludes in an unexpected fashion given its establishing storyline up to that point. O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi provides a great example of such a story (and a great illustration of a couple’s sacrificial love). See, Mom and Dad, I am teaching your kid some new words AND providing him with a piece of classic writing. Again, YOU ARE WELCOME! Now chill out a little.
  • popinjay – I would almost welcome any future opportunity to use this word just because it sounds funny AND pretentious. The word refers to a self important person who is prone to empty chatter. Again, my mind wanders to the following: “Larry Lawson (who was normally a nervous Nellie), upon the procurement of the presidential position, promptly presented himself to be a pompous, pedantic panjandrum and a pretentious popinjay.” Get the aforementioned young child working on that phrase when you have your gut full of bric-a-brac, gadzookery, jocularity, and paraprosdokian. I’ve got your back, Mom and Dad.
  • sequacious – I love the sound of this one. I think the "q" sound in the middle greatly adds to the appeal. The word means that someone is intellectually submissive and somewhat eager to follow another person’s lead (as opposed to thinking for one’s self). It seems to me that a pompous and pedantic panjandrum would hope to be surrounded by a group of sequacious sycophants (check Vol. I for that word).
  • skylarking – This is a word I heard for the first time when I was in Navy boot camp. Skylarking is basically horseplay. It is highly frowned upon in Navy boot camp. This is because skylarking, if left unchecked, usually results in an avoidable injury of some sort. Two recruits caught fighting would sometimes admit to skylarking as the punishment for skylarking was less (slightly) severe. The young child who repeatedly utters random words is not skylarking unless he is jumping up and down on the couch while doing so. Sorry, Mom and Dad, you lose your edge on a verbal technicality this time.
  • snickersnee – Okay, the word refers to a large knife used primarily for combat. It’s kind of a shame as such a weapon sounds too funny to be intimidating. “…when the police first attempted to break up the donnybrook, the alleged thief threatened that he had a snickersnee. The thief was promptly subdued and arrested the alleged thief once they stopped laughing.” By the way, Mom and Dad, your child now has a new word and is back in action. You’re welcome.
  • supercilious – This word just sounds silly to me. I think that if a paramecium was a comic book hero, his name would be Supercilious (microbiologists everywhere just groaned at that one). The word speaks of an action, particularly a facial expression, that gives an air of haughty pride or superiority. Think back to the pompous and pedantic student council president. During the debates leading up to his election, his opponent stammered when present with facts about his numerous detention. This gave the panjandrum a supercilious smile.
  • superfluous – I learned this word from a vocabulary class I took in high school. It means that something is unnecessary and should be left out. I decided one day to try to impress my mother with my newly acquired vocabulary. I just picked the wrong moment. I was being lectured. My response to my Mom was as follows: Mother, I apologize if I have perturbed you. However, I must state that these repeated reprimands are simply superfluous. My mother’s reaction: “If you don’t get an A on your vocabulary test, you’re grounded”.
  • untoward – This word means to be unruly or improper in behavior. A good example was my aforementioned wordy response to my mother. My response, while intended to be humorous, was inappropriate and untoward for the situation. Given my untoward behavior, my mother directed me toward my room to study for the vocabulary test (since I was so interested in using my newly learned words). By the way, I aced the test.
Well, folks, we have done it again – another list of funny sounding words with legitimate uses. If you found that I omitted words from this list (or the previous volumes). Feel free to chime in as long as they meet the guidelines (funny and family friendly). I am sure the alleged thief will get a fair trial. I, personally think he was the one that burgled the young couple’s house (Burgled?) Mom and Dad, I pray you will be patient with your young child as he learns new and interesting words. Young children could learn much worse.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

When You Come To A Fork In The Road, Eat In Moderation.

I realize that the subject of my obesity is nothing new to anyone who reads my writing. If you have read any of my previous essays, you are likely painfully aware that I am quite overweight, I have invested in a bike, and I struggle with moderation as it pertains to eating. All of these facts were pretty much a normal day in the life for me. That was, until recently, when things got a bit more serious for me. Suddenly, or rather it seems sudden, things began to change somewhat abruptly as the result of an annual blood test.
As per the annual routine, my doctor requested some blood tests that I get done annually. I held onto the lab request form for a good couple of months. The reason for this is that I would get too caught up in my daily routine. Frankly, in spite of my weight issues, I was somewhat apathetic about the blood tests. I finally stopped in a lab and got the blood tests done. The following week, my doctor called and spoke to my wife. She told my wife she needed me to make an appointment to discuss my blood test results. I felt like one of my middle school teachers had called my parents to come in for a conference. Just like middle school, the following week was spent with me dreading this forthcoming appointment. I tried to remind myself that I was no longer in middle school and my wife was going to ground me.
My wife and I sat in the patient room the following week. I talked about my work day and basically was trying to pass the time. My doctor stepped in and greeted us both. She started the conversation by stating: “I wasn’t very happy with your test results.” Once again, the middle school analogies returned to the forefront of my mind. She reminded me that I was obese and I had (well controlled) high blood pressure. However, there was now an additional concern. There is a blood level that is called HgbA1c (glycosolated hemoglobin). HgbA1c measures how well you body carries sugar over the 2-3 months prior to the test. People with diabetes have significantly high readings of HgbA1c. My doctor told me that I was “inching closer toward diabetes.” I phrased my follow up question in my own usual way: How inches are we talking?
My doctor explained that that while my HgbA1c was not in the diabetic range, it was slowly climbing each year over the past several years. This was quite a jolt for me. The rubber was meeting the road. My life was coming to a screeching halt. In the stock car race that is my life, I am apparently not fit to drive the pace car. I listened to my doctor as she discussed some new medication changes with my wife and me. My doctor also recommended a diet plan for me to follow.
My doctor told me that the medicine would take some adjustment. That would prove to be a tremendous understatement. Over the week that followed, portion control was getting somewhat easier. That is because the new medicine made me as queasy as a greenhorn fisherman with a liverwurst sandwich. I would even try to get some snacks I had routinely eaten in the recent past with similar gastronomic results. As a result, I have even been forced to end a long standing relationship with a certain female in my life. That’s right folks, you read it here first. My relationship with Little Debbie is coming to an end. My wife has been very tolerant of this illicit relationship. She even overlooked the fact that the smell of chocolate, peanut butter, and wafers would sometimes have the same effect as the perfume on her wrists )to which I am likely allergic). Still, if a relationship is proving to be unhealthy for you, it must be purged from your life. So long, Little Debbie. We had some good times, Babe.
I can assure you that you will hear (or rather read) more from me. I hope I wasn’t too harsh with Little Debbie. I just wish it wouldn’t feel so weird when we see one another in the store.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cool Is Measured In Reverse Proportion To Age

I would like to bring up a subject for us all to ponder upon. I know pretty much everyone reading this has thought about this at least once. You may not admit it publicly. You probably wouldn’t even necessarily bring it up as a topic of conversation. Nevertheless, the subject is out there and we shall therefore ponder.
I should back up a little bit first. One of my daughter’s friends bought an Easter suit for my 6 month old grandson. The outfit included a nice turquoise pullover shirt with a button up collar. Completing the ensemble was a nice looking pair of pants and a fedora hat. Let’s just say that my grandson was dripping with cool.
I will admit some bias here. I believe that anybody who gazes upon my grandson is probably witnessing the greatest thing since popcorn. I have even directed downcast co-workers to gaze at a picture of my grandson for a minimum of 15 seconds. I do this because they will spontaneously smile or say “AWWWWW!” within this 15 second time span. Still, seeing my grandson in his new outfit and wearing a fedora had me wanting to hear him croon some Frank Sinatra.
Several days later, my wife and daughter were doing some shopping together. My wife spied some sunglasses that would fit my grandson. The next thing you know, I am getting an email with my grandson donning his new shades. Once again, the fedora completed the look. At this point, any paradigm involving the factor of cool was completely devoured and never to be seen again. This sultan of suave, at only six months old, was having people wanting to be just like him when they grow up. This would lead to an epiphany of frustration as it would require such liberties with the concept of time travel that Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Douglas Adams would all rise from their graves in protest. They would then return to their graves when they realized that they ALSO really just wanted to look as cool as my grandson.
Now, we are getting to the point of the aforementioned pondering. What is it about seeing a baby in sunglasses that looks so irresistibly cool? . Let’s even expand upon that to include the Easter suit my grandson was wearing. What is the undying appeal of seeing a baby in clothes that are typically designated to be worn by adults? See?!! You are thinking about it now. Now, while thinking about that, here is another thing to think about – the reverse of this factor gives the diametrically opposite result. Let me rephrase that slightly. If a baby wears adult clothes, it makes the heart soar. If an adult wears baby clothes, it makes the stomach turn. I can assure you that you will never run across this conversation among two grown, red-blooded men: “Hey, Jake, I’m here for our play date.” “Cool, man. I’ll be right downstairs”  (Jake comes down the stairs) “Check out my new outfit, Don”. “JAKE! NO WAY! YOU GOT THE NEW ONESIES?” “Yeah, man. Thanks for noticing. By the way, I dig the new crawler with the feet at the bottom.” “Thanks! I save a lot of money on shoes that way. Well, Jake, we have worked hard all week. Let’s get to the monkey bars before it gets dark.” “You bet, Don. My kids get real ticked off when I am late for supper.”
Now you have the topic, background, and a wild image in your head. Ponder away. My job is done.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Reunited (But I Don't Feel So Hot)

The past couple of months have been a bit crazy for my family. Almost one month to the day, we moved into a new home. The new home has brought some very nice new changes for the family which now includes a 6 month old grandson. As a result, there was a lot of packing, preparation, and logistics that went into getting ready for the move.
The change of address process alone was a nightmare. Allow me to explain this way. An oxymoron is a pair of words that, when used together, contradict one another. My favorite oxymoron is postal service. Those words just do not go together. They are like verbal fractions. They cancel each other out. Someday, a meteorologist will find an anomalous cloud floating above a dead letter office. Everyone's lost mail will come alive in this giant mass that will take out an entire postal district. The irony will be that the storm will hit exactly where the meteorologist predicted and on time. 
Another casualty of the moving process was time spent with my bicycle. I have bonded with my bike a great deal since getting it for Father's Day last year. I named my bike the X-1 in deference to the great cyclist, P.W. Herman. As the weather turned colder, I invested in an indoor trainer. I love my time on my bike. Sadly, within a week prior to the move to the new house, the X-1 was taken off the trainer. The trainer was packed away along with the riser blocks (which simulate inclines). 
Once we got to the new place, the trainer, riser blocks, and the X-1 found a new home inside our new garage. The next 3 1/2 weeks were spent unpacking boxes and assimilating to our new home. I would daily pass by the X-1 and wait for the weather to turn warmer. As the month of April neared, I was beginning to lose hope. Easter came and went so bitterly cold that it was rumored that Peter Cottontail had sent death threats to Punxsutawney Phil. 
Finally, this past Saturday, I decided not to care about the fact that it was 37° outside and I hadn't been feeling well all week. I figured that if I got out and moved around on my bike, it would increase my circulation and I would feel a little better. I also figured this same circulation would make the cold air more bearable. I figured incorrectly. It became clear the moment I hit the first incline that I had suffered during my time apart from the X-1. I felt like a parking lot circus clown wrestling with a tricycle. At one point I even briefly stopped to take a drink. My ego took further bruising as four cyclists whizzed past me. Even worse, the brutal breeze made my face feel like I was driving into a wall of needles. 
Given all of these factors, it was a short ride. I only did 5 miles. I am sure that, in time, I will be riding beyond the 17 mile max I hit last season. The X-1 sits dutifully in the garage waiting for another ride like an enthusiastic puppy dog that one simply cannot resist. I, on the other hand, begin a slow recuperating process from this bittersweet reunion. I get myself some orange juice and some pain reliever. Before I resign myself to conk on the couch, I take a last look at the X-1 and promise that we will reunite soon. I could swear I saw a wagging tail on my bike out of the corner of my eye as I walked away.