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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

That whole 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon works for Baseball too. Who knew?

I'm at work today around 5 p.m. with 2 hours left in a 9 hour workday that had tested the limits of my patience to the nth degree. Everyone who came into the store today either wanted to know where our clearance center was or if we sold used bedding.

Look, I realize times are tough, money is tight, and everyone is looking wherever they can to save a buck; but if you are willing to buy a used mattress that came from God knows where with people doing God knows what on it then you deserve whatever disease or plague or skin rash you've got coming your way. I'm fairly certain I'd roll buck naked over broken glass strategically placed in a mine field with used hypodermic needles before I'd BUY a used mattress but that's just me.

It was in the midst of this ****storm of a day that I looked up and saw the most beautiful woman in the world with three fantastic children walk through the front door of my store. I got hugs, kisses, "I love you Dad's" and megawatt smiles within the first 3 minutes.

Yeah, Trot loudly let the entire store know he "Didn't poop in my pants today!" and Rakes, fresh off a visit to the Dentist had to show me how to properly use dental floss and Ciera spent the entire time sort of pretending she didn't know any of us and was really there to look for a new Sofa but I don't care.

'Cause that little girl with the sweet smile and that gorgeous woman checking to see if that rough neck kid in her lap has a frog in his hands and that Dennis the Menace clone looking at God knows what he's got trapped in his palms while we're trying to take a family portrait in the picture at the top of this post?

Believe it or not, they can make a horrible day turn flipping awesome within a 10 minute span, make you forget about that moron who just left wondering why he had to have an actual job to get financing for $1,500 worth of furniture and make you realize that in 4 short days Josh Beckett will be pitching at Fenway Park.

See how it all sort of comes full circle?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I wonder if I can pull off this look.

*Image lifted from www.sportsgrindent.com*

I'm typing this post only to let you know my current state of mind.

Trot is currently experiencing a wicked case of Montezuma's Revenge (I blame the public pool from Sunday. He most likely drank a gallon of pool water in an hour and 45 minutes.), I just watched LOST and per usual my head hurts, and I've spent the last 15 minutes watching the Cardinals vs the Mets from Spring Training and I'm left wondering if Jason Larue is the love child of Al Harboski and Morticia from the Addams Family.

If you don't know who The Mad Hungarian is then you most definitely won't know who Morticia is which proves two things.

One?

I'm really old.

And two?

Sunday night can't get here fast enough.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pretty sure this guy wouldn't have accepted a tie at the All-Star Game.

"The Green Fields of the Mind "

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.

Somehow, the summer seemed to slip by faster this time. Maybe it wasn't this summer, but all the summers that, in this my fortieth summer, slipped by so fast. There comes a time when every summer will have something of autumn about it. Whatever the reason, it seemed to me that I was investing more and more in baseball, making the game do more of the work that keeps time fat and slow and lazy. I was counting on the game's deep patterns, three strikes, three outs, three times three innings, and its deepest impulse, to go out and back, to leave and to return home, to set the order of the day and to organize the daylight. I wrote a few things this last summer, this summer that did not last, nothing grand but some things, and yet that work was just camouflage. The real activity was done with the radio--not the all-seeing, all-falsifying television--and was the playing of the game in the only place it will last, the enclosed green field of the mind. There, in that warm, bright place, what the old poet called Mutability does not so quickly come.

But out here, on Sunday, October 2, where it rains all day, Dame Mutability never loses. She was in the crowd at Fenway yesterday, a gray day full of bluster and contradiction, when the Red Sox came up in the last of the ninth trailing Baltimore 8-5, while the Yankees, rain-delayed against Detroit, only needing to win one or have Boston lose one to win it all, sat in New York washing down cold cuts with beer and watching the Boston game. Boston had won two, the Yankees had lost two, and suddenly it seemed as if the whole season might go to the last day, or beyond, except here was Boston losing 8-5, while New York sat in its family room and put its feet up. Lynn, both ankles hurting now as they had in July, hits a single down the right-field line. The crowd stirs. It is on its feet. Hobson, third baseman, former Bear Bryant quarterback, strong, quiet, over 100 RBIs, goes for three breaking balls and is out. The goddess smiles and encourages her agent, a canny journeyman named Nelson Briles.

Now comes a pinch hitter, Bernie Carbo, onetime Rookie of the Year, erratic, quick, a shade too handsome, so laid-back he is always, in his soul, stretched out in the tall grass, one arm under his head, watching the clouds and laughing; now he looks over some low stuff unworthy of him and then, uncoiling, sends one out, straight on a rising line, over the center-field wall, no cheap Fenway shot, but all of it, the physics as elegant as the arc the ball describes.

New England is on its feet, roaring. The summer will not pass. Roaring, they recall the evening, late and cold, in 1975, the sixth game of the World Series, perhaps the greatest baseball game played in the last fifty years, when Carbo, loose and easy, had uncoiled to tie the game that Fisk would win. It is 8-7, one out, and school will never start, rain will never come, sun will warm the back of your neck forever. Now Bailey, picked up from the National League recently, big arms, heavy gut, experienced, new to the league and the club; he fouls off two and then, checking, tentative, a big man off balance, he pops a soft liner to the first baseman. It is suddenly darker and later, and the announcer doing the game coast to coast, a New Yorker who works for a New York television station, sounds relieved. His little world, well-lit, hot-combed, split-second-timed, had no capacity to absorb this much gritty, grainy, contrary reality.

Cox swings a bat, stretches his long arms, bends his back, the rookie from Pawtucket who broke in two weeks earlier with a record six straight hits, the kid drafted ahead of Fred Lynn, rangy, smooth, cool. The count runs two and two, Briles is cagey, nothing too good, and Cox swings, the ball beginning toward the mound and then, in a jaunty, wayward dance, skipping past Briles, feinting to the right, skimming the last of the grass, finding the dirt, moving now like some small, purposeful marine creature negotiating the green deep, easily avoiding the jagged rock of second base, traveling steady and straight now out into the dark, silent recesses of center field.

The aisles are jammed, the place is on its feet, the wrappers, the programs, the Coke cups and peanut shells, the doctrines of an afternoon; the anxieties, the things that have to be done tomorrow, the regrets about yesterday, the accumulation of a summer: all forgotten, while hope, the anchor, bites and takes hold where a moment before it seemed we would be swept out with the tide. Rice is up. Rice whom Aaron had said was the only one he'd seen with the ability to break his records. Rice the best clutch hitter on the club, with the best slugging percentage in the league. Rice, so quick and strong he once checked his swing halfway through and snapped the bat in two. Rice the Hammer of God sent to scourge the Yankees, the sound was overwhelming, fathers pounded their sons on the back, cars pulled off the road, households froze, New England exulted in its blessedness, and roared its thanks for all good things, for Rice and for a summer stretching halfway through October. Briles threw, Rice swung, and it was over. One pitch, a fly to center, and it stopped. Summer died in New England and like rain sliding off a roof, the crowd slipped out of Fenway, quickly, with only a steady murmur of concern for the drive ahead remaining of the roar. Mutability had turned the seasons and translated hope to memory once again. And, once again, she had used baseball, our best invention to stay change, to bring change on.

That is why it breaks my heart, that game--not because in New York they could win because Boston lost; in that, there is a rough justice, and a reminder to the Yankees of how slight and fragile are the circumstances that exalt one group of human beings over another. It breaks my heart because it was meant to, because it was meant to foster in me again the illusion that there was something abiding, some pattern and some impulse that could come together to make a reality that would resist the corrosion; and because, after it had fostered again that most hungered-for illusion, the game was meant to stop, and betray precisely what it promised.

Of course, there are those who learn after the first few times. They grow out of sports. And there are others who were born with the wisdom to know that nothing lasts. These are the truly tough among us, the ones who can live without illusion, or without even the hope of illusion. I am not that grown-up or up-to-date. I am a simpler creature, tied to more primitive patterns and cycles. I need to think something lasts forever, and it might as well be that state of being that is a game; it might as well be that, in a green field, in the sun.

From A Great and Glorious Game: Baseball Writings of A. Bartlett
Giamatti, © 1998 by A. Bartlett Giamatti.

I wonder sometimes what would have happened to the game of baseball had Bart Giamatti not died mere days after banishing Charlie Hustle from the sport. Would steroids, PED's and the "Chicks Dig the Long Ball" era ever have been allowed to fester and taint the sport I love? My heart say's no but my head say's probably. But there was no doubt the man loved his baseball and his Red Sox.

The first paragraph always gets the publicity, but it's the second to the last that always gets me; I've always sort of empathized with the not grown up part Mr. Giamatti writes about.

6 more days.

6 more days.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

The things you see as a parent.

Tomorrow is Trot's official 4th birthday, though we've been sort of doing the Honored Dignitary route and making a weekend out of it.

Last night was cake and presents with the family, today was swimming at the indoor aquatic center in town, and tomorrow he's going out to eat with his Mom in the final part of the trifecta.

I guess since it's his birthday it's only appropriate he slid down the giant frogs tongue AFTER he climbed the ladder up the frogs butt that the entire central part of NC has been/is under Tornado watches and warnings until, based on the excessive coverage on the local CBS affiliate, sometime next year.

Was one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse named Trot by any chance?

I find solace in the knowledge that 7 days from now I'll be watching the Red Sox play the Yankees at Fenway Park on ESPN and even though Joe Morgan comes with that knowledge?

It's OK.

Baseball is coming.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday Little Dirt Dog



Happy Birthday, little man.

Here's to a year free of peeing in the trash can, on your brother, and in a jar.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

From the mouth of a child comes a total misunderstanding.

So I'm putting Rakes to bed tonight while Ang is attempting to get Trot to brush his teeth, go to the bathroom and get into bed in less time than it takes the average snail to cross an 8 lane super highway. And in case you're wondering, the snail could navigate the 485 or whatever it is in L.A. quicker than it takes Trot to do those 3 seemingly trivial tasks.

As I'm just about at the part in the bedtime prayer of "Now I lay me down to sleep..." I hear Ang belly laughing in Trot's bedroom. Mind you, this could signify a multitude of things, from losing whatever is left of her sanity to that sound crazy people make before they break down in tears and start calling into Glenn Beck's radio show with invitations to join their newest Tea Party group.

This laugh-fest was legitimate, however, and exemplifies the phrase "Trot being Trot" to perfection.

As Ang looked down lovingly at her youngest child, and with adoration and affection running through her veins, told our little bundle of chaos "Trot, I can't believe that 4 years ago you were in my tummy and now it's almost your birthday".

Trot, in his sweetest voice and with total seriousness then asked.......

"Mom. Why did you eat me?"

He's turning 4 in four days.

You've been warned.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I can promise you Bart Giamatti never thought of this as a reason why baseball is the best game going.

*Image courtesy of NESN.com*

As I was putting Rakes to bed tonight I could hear Ang screaming "TROT! When did you put this here?"

Now this could have meant about a million possibilities but the first 3 things that crossed my mind were the following.

A: He'd stuffed a hot dog into his pillow case.

B: The entire bag of chocolate chips was wedged between his light saber and "Goodnight Moon" in his closet. (There is a precedence set for this one.)

C: A turtle had made the terrible mistake to decide to cross our backyard and Trot had decided to put him in the toilet to make him feel more at home.

Turns out I was wrong on all three guesses.

He'd decided to use his diaper we put him in at night as a temporary drop off for some toxic material, decided not to tell us about it and put it in the bottom of the clothes hamper in the totally misguided logic of your everyday 3 year old that maybe we would just not notice it.

I tell you all this in order to explain the picture I used in tonight's post.

6 unmarred baseballs just waiting for someone to scuff them up or send them into the stands for some kid to take to show and tell or for some bat to send them 480 feet into the grandstands for a home run.

Come Easter Sunday night, baseball will be here. And while I'll still be dealing with pee and poop and diapers in the bottom of the clothes hamper I'll have Tito and Big Papi and V-Mart and The Munchkin to help me cope.

You gotta trust me on this.

It'll make all the difference in the world.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Give me the regular season or give me death!

One week and 4 days away from Opening Day and The Munchkin sprains his wrist.

Not only do I have a Mom with a newly installed pacemaker to worry about and 2 raving lunatics running around my house brandishing light sabers and shouting "Death to the Rebellion!" at the top of their lungs, now I've gotta deal with the possibility the starting second baseman of the Red Sox opens the year on the DL.

Although the possibility Beckett and Lackey will give Tito a hotfoot on Opening Day is taking some of the sting away.

This last week before the first game is like Christmas Eve when we were kids.

Only this version goes to 11.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Life just sort of happens when your not paying attention.

This is my Mom. I tell people she's 72, looks 42, has the patience of Job (Staying married to my Dad for over 50 years is proof enough. Throw in putting up with me growing up along side 3 sisters and a brother and keeping my kids on a weekly basis and she's on the short list to replace Mother Theresa.) and can work circles around the average person.

Back in 2007 she was diagnosed with cancer, calmly decided she wasn't going to let it get her down or impede her daily life in any way, then promptly went out and beat it. I ate more salt and fat last week than she's ate in the last 10 years, she's walked 5 miles a day for over 30 years now and I'll guarantee you the words "I'll take a cheese dog with chili and onions" have never left her mouth.

On the flip side of this is me, her son. Avoids the doctor like the plague, thinks Mt Dew should be given it's own postage stamp, and has developed a strange urge for Tabasco flavored Slim Jims over the past few months. Add on my moderately high blood pressure and my "No Exercise Plan Until the rights of bull frogs are recognized" campaign and I'd have bet you $20 I'd have some doctor telling me that I'd need a pacemaker before her.

I'd also be out $20 bucks. Seems like for the past few months Mom's been getting dizzy and light headed and her blood pressure and heart rate AFTER walking 4 miles resembled that of a man in a medically induced coma: 97/48 with a heart rate of 47.

Turns out her heart was taking a break, sometimes for as long as 7 seconds according the the people at that mysterious clinic nobody has ever seen yet they still can scare the beejeezus out of you when they tell you to get to the ER asap and sorry, I can't tell you why. According to her surgeon, who I'm pretty sure played Opie on The Andy Griffith Show (Seriously. If this guy would have said "Paw" I would have asked him for his autograph) the next step would have been her lying on the floor trying to remember how she got there.

I realize putting a pace maker in is now the medical equivalent of getting your oil changed, but when it's your Mom you sort of lose sight of that. Throw in the fact I spent years watching "ER" and "Chicago Hope" and I was running every imaginable bad scenario around in my head most of the day. I'll forever be grateful to her regular doc who actually took the time to care about his patients and caught this early before it was too late, but I gotta admit I was ready to stomp into his office and drag him out by the earlobe for letting this happen. Yes, I realize he did a fantastic job and yes I realize it really wasn't his fault, but when it comes to my Mom about as rational as one of those ding bat "Tea Party" people at tax increase rally.

At least until Opie came out, told us everything went well, and Mom could come home tomorrow. My Dad was elated, my sister was relieved, Ange was happy, and I was trying to just hold it together and not cry.

Because my Mom was going to be OK? You bet. But mostly because of what she asked the doc before they took her in for surgery. She didn't ask how long it would last for or how much longer it would give her or even about odds and all that stuff.

She calmly looked ol' Ope in the eye and asked "When can I hold my grand babies again?"

If you still have your Mom around, pick up the phone or send her an email and tell her you love her. 'Cause you never know when you won't be able to again.

BTW, I'm taking all this a sign from above that this October will be a very, very good month.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

One more sign it's almost here


"Where are you from? You're not from around us, are you? That's not my deal," Beckett said to an out-of-town reporter who posed the contract question. "That's the management and my agent's deal. I just try to stay out of it. People get paid for those things."

The Commander, responding to a question about his rumored contract extension. Looks like he's in mid-season form already.

Although the lack of F-bombs and no mentions of threatening to shove the reporters head up the posterior of the nearest farm animal lead me to believe it wasn't 100% accurate, it's nice to see Beckett is ready to strap it on.

If he plunks A-Rod on Opening Day AND Easter Sunday my year would be complete.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Assuming the Lotus Position

You know that tv show where that British Nanny Jo comes to some down to their last straw couple's home and helps them with their kids? She's got this one technique she advocates when a child keeps getting out of bed at bedtime; you sit outside their room and when they get up you just put them back in bed without saying anything and leave the room. After a few times of this the kid just goes to sleep and the Mom or Dad is really happy and nobody cries or yells and the kid is from then on an angel.

She's full of crap.

8 times. 8 TIMES Trot got up tonight and by #6 there WAS crying involved and it was my tears that were staining the pillow. I'm this close to stringing chicken wire around his bed and getting Rakes to build me some sort of pulley system with his Legos and some Lincoln Logs to lift the kid into and out of bed.

Meanwhile Ange is in bed with a Migraine so I'm trying to do some sort of parentesque stage whisper and Rakes is in his room hollering "I can't sleep!" and Ciera is answering the phone when she has no idea whose calling, leading to the following discussion.

Me: Who is it?

Ciera: I don't know.

Me: Then why are you answering?

Ciera: It rang.

Me: We have an answering machine.

Ciera: But it rang.

At one point I could sympathize with Jack Nicholson in "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest"; if Nurse Ratchett had shown up with a needle filled with heroin and a headless chicken I don't think I'd even have blinked.

Two things kept me on track;

1? Opening Day is in 16 days.

2? The kids are spending the night at my Mom's and I'm getting my first Saturday off since I went to Boston last year.

I plan on sleeping until 10 a.m. or whenever I have to use the bathroom, whichever comes first.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I AM NOT AN ANIMAL!

While making Rakes bed down tonight and trying to get the two boys into some semblance of bed readiness I heard mumbling emanating from Rakes closet.

It was there that I found Trot, with a canvass bag over his head, talking under his breath in some unintelligible conversation with himself and in general impersonating The Elephant Man in every way possible.

Only if The Elephant Man wore candy cane pajamas, had an issue with going in his pants, and was prone to screaming "ROCK BAND!" at any given moment.

I've come to the conclusion I need to carry a video camera on my hip in a holster like some 21st Century cowboy; at the very least I could set up some wicked awesome college savings accounts.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Perspective

*Image courtesy of The Boston Herald*

24 hours ago I'd never heard of a cavernous malformation of the brain.

Today? I know more than I'd ever want to. A 19 year old kid named Ryan Westmoreland who just so happens to be a prospect of the Red Sox has it; and it isn't good.

So tonight I'll say a prayer for Ryan and his family and hope that one day the worse thing I can remember happening to Rakes, Ciera, or Trot is they didn't quite make the bathroom on time.

'Cause I'm pretty sure I'd lose whatever is left of my sanity if anything like that ever happened to one of my children. The kid does have a lucky rabbit's foot in his pocket though; if you're gonna get that kind of news, having Mike Lowell and Jon Lester on your team can't hurt. And if everything I've read about those two is even remotely close to the truth?

He's got his support people already on the scene.

Good luck, kid.

And God Bless.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It was right there the whole time.

Leave it to Grandma to finally figure it out.

After trying everything from threatening bodily harm to sleeping in the laundry basket (he actually LIKED that idea) to contemplating signing him up for some governmental study for "Kids who Won't Poop in the Toilet", Ang and I had flat run out of ideas.

Not to mention patience, loss of hair, and as of tonight? Roughly 4 years off my life span.

Thanks to my Mom, we've gone 2 whole days without what I like to refer to as "Defcon 10". Yes Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus and even more amazing? Trot hasn't gone in his pants.

And all it took was my Mom telling him that if he did it again he couldn't have any cookies.

Who knew?

Opening Day is coming, Opening Day is coming, Opening Day is coming.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Change is Coming

I gotta admit; the last 6 months haven't exactly been The Time of my Life.

Ciera started middle school ( My irrational hatred of all males from the age of 11 to 18 went off the chain during this time), Rakes headed off to terrorize the local Kindergarten classes, Trot decided he's not really down with all this potty training stuff, and Ang headed back into the work place for the first time in 5 years.

Throw in me working in retail during the biggest recession since FDR lived in the White House, the Red Sox getting blown out by the Angels in the ALDS, and the Redskins strutting their way to a 4-12 season with a payroll that equaled the GNP of Ecuador and I can say without hesitation that it's been a roller coaster ride.

However, today is March 12th. I've had a great 7 weeks at work, Trot has went 2 whole days without making me burn a pile of clothes in the backyard, Rakes has stayed on green at school for 3 straight weeks and Ciera still has no boyfriend that I know of.

Finally? The season starts in 3 weeks and all of a sudden my nights aren't filled with wondering if Kitchen Nightmares or Deadliest Catch is on or wondering if I can turn on Nick at Nite and quote this particular episode of "The Andy Griffith Show" from memory. Instead it's DO and Remy, Fenway Park and TC, and real, honest to goodness baseball for the next 6 months.

In addition to all that is my upcoming road trip with Jr and JB to Atlanta, Tampa, Miami, and God knows where else in June. And just like that the winter of my discontent has turned into the Baseball America Tour of 2010.

And everybody said?

Amen.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Think we're ready for Opening Day?

After our usual Wednesday night routine of Tickle Monster after the kids got home from church (it's really me hiding someplace random in the house until they find me then chasing them down one by one and tickling them until someone pees or pukes, whichever comes first) I was getting Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum dressed for bed.

Out of the ever loving blue, with "World's Dumbest Police Chases" or something on in the background Trot looks at me and with the most sincere voice a 3 year old shoveling jelly beans into his mouth can muster asks "Is dere a baseball game on tonight?"

When I informed the future delinquent that baseball started in about 3 weeks Rakes erupted from his perch on the couch with a shout of "BIG PAPI!!!" that would have destroyed any hearing aid within 50 yards of our house and Trot chimed in with "Get Out, Ball!" (our favorite scream anytime someone hits one that has a snowballs chance in hell of leaving the yard).

I'm not ashamed to admit it; my heart melted just a little bit.

Monday, March 8, 2010

You give 'em 25 and they're gonna take 30.

Great.

In addition to random acts of urination, the inability to talk in a decibel level less than Mach 5 and that always popular "no fear" gene that makes every visit to the pool in the summer a walk on the wild side I'm now worried Trot is Ray from " Rainman".

I'd noticed little things before, like lining all his Star Wars men up in a row or saying my name over and over and over again but I just figured he was deliberately trying to make me insane. Besides, as someone who is himself OCD I thought I could spot it a mile away.

And I could be making a mountain out of a mole hill; God knows I've done it before. But today, when we went to eat lunch with Rakes at school, Trot did the weirdest thing.

Rakes' school, like most elementary schools, has a tile floor. And the tile at his school is white and brown; Trot would NOT step on the white tile and did his best impression of a 3 foot tall bullfrog all the way to the cafeteria, only stepping on the brown tiles.

When I asked him why I got the perfectly rational explanation that "I'm not detting in dat Billy Doat's bridge and can I det ice cream?" The rational part of my brain is telling me that any kid who would poop his pants when the bathroom is 4 feet away and wait an hour to tell you about it is in no way afflicted with OCD.

The OCD part of me is saying maybe he doesn't mind it all that much.

All I know is that from the months of April through October I don't think about this crap and if I can make it the next 3 weeks I'm home free.

This is now a race between Opening Day and my sanity losing it's last grip on reality that will determine if I get institutionalized in the next 21 days.

My money's on Trot but with every fiber of my being I hope I'm wrong.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hiking the Off Season Away. One Sunday at a Time.

Due to the fact today in Siberia, formally known as North Carolina, the temperatures reached a balmy 60 degrees I took the kids hiking around the local lake after church today. We hiked, we played on the playground, and hiked some more.

At various points during the day we had several "Moments". One was when we came upon some deranged individual who somehow decided that running around a 3 mile pine straw strewn track up and down hills around a lake. Trot was manning point at that time and the following conversation took place......

Trot: "Hey boy! What your name?"

Crazy Person: "DJ. What's yours?"

Trot: "TROT! Why you running around here? Dis is a BIKING trail". (I should point out that the letter H is still a problem area.) Trot then turned back to what he was previously doing, which was yelling like a moron and stabbing invisible enemies in their stomach with his stick.

After hiking we went to Sonic for a slushie, home to watch "National Treasure", then "The Amazing Race" at 8. Trot didn't quite make it.

And Rakes wasn't very far behind, although he did last until 8:45 before finally giving in and crashing next to me on the couch.

All in all? One of the better Sundays not involving the Red Sox I can remember in quite a while.

Speaking of the Sox, we are now roughly 4 weeks, 17 hours, 39 minutes and 3 seconds from Opening Day. Yes, I just made that up and No, I have no idea if it's anywhere close to being true.

But it's coming soon. And another year has passed without any professional help in getting through the off season.

If it snows like this next year though?

All bets are off.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Manny.

I realize that among most Red Sox fans the subject of Manny Ramirez is an issue where there is normally no gray area; you either love him unconditionally like one of your own children or he's viewed as a pariah who shucked and jived his way out of town with a litany of excuses that included faking injuries, jaking it when it came to games and pushing down (allegedly) and elderly member of the Red Sox staff.

Maybe it's because I'm the father of two free spirits that march to the beat of their own drum. Or maybe it's because I secretly admire the fact that a grown man making upwards of $20 million dollars a year acts like he's backing up Donald Duck at Walt Disney World. Or it could just be that I've had the pleasure to watch one of the best hitters EVER to step onto a Major League field and for a large chunk of that time? He played on my favorite team.

Honestly? I don't know the one true reason why I love me some Manny, although it's pretty easy to do when you remember the high five of the fan in Baltimore or rubbing Julian Tavarez's head like some demented house cat or the sheer giddiness of watching him yuk it up in the dugout while Curt Schilling looked like he was trying to pass a kidney stone.

What I do know? I spent 2 hours tonight watching the Dodgers play the White Sox in a meaningless Spring Training game and saw Manny go 2 for 2 with a double, a single, a walk, and one weird dance move off second base.

I'm convinced he could spend 3 years with the Dali Llama studying Yoga and come back and go 3 for 4 in his debut.

I guess I can overlook all the nonsense is due to the fact that I've been married to a saint of a woman for the last 17 + years whose overlooked a WHOLE LOT of nonsense herself. Plus I'm raising 2 future delinquents who may someday become famous on YouTube for shooting bottle rockets out each others butt.

Or it could just be that like MJ shooting a basketball or Tiger hitting a 25 foot putt or Manning threading the needle at 50 yards Manny is just a once in a lifetime phenom that I'm really glad I got the pleasure to witness with my own eyes.

'Course I could just be a raving idiot.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

More proof that all I'm doing isn't in vain.


I've watched the show "Survivor" since the beginning but sort of drifted away the past few years. I'd always admired people who could leave their families for 39 days, go off to some God forsaken place with no Internet, television, or running water. ( I don't even wanna think about how they go to the bathroom; I only use 2. Mine and my parents; I still can't figure out how I went to Boston for 5 days to years ago and didn't go. Maybe that old saying "Mind over Matter" really works.)

But primarily due to Boston Rob being back again, Thursday nights have turned into another Family Night at Casa de Dalton with me and the kids camped out on the couch together watching this seasons "Hero's vs Villains". It's actually be a lot of fun; me, Rakes, and Ciera getting all into while Trot stands on his head in the corner eating a sucker and singing the theme song to "Spongebob".

Tonight I got another insight into my oldest son, who up until now I thought was just going along with whoever I liked. During the Immunity Challenge, with it tied up 3 each and Colby on the line for the "Heroes" Rakes jumps up on the sofa and yells at the top of his lungs.....

"GO VILLAINS!!!!!"

I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that a kid who was Darth Vader for Halloween and always roots for the bad guy to win would be rooting for the supposed bad guys. Honestly? If Rakes was alive in ancient Rome I'm fairly confident he'd be rooting for the Lions at the old ball yard on Sunday afternoons.

Thankfully this doesn't carry over to baseball; as I was putting him to bed and saying his prayers tonight he looked up at me with the most serious expression and uttered the following, which filled my heart with pride and made me tear up at the same time.....

"Dad? You know how I want the Villains to win on Survivor? I still want the Red Sox to kill the Yankees."

It's good to know that at least some of what I'm teaching him is getting through.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sunshine. On a Cloudy Day.

Big Papi hit a Dinger today.

Yeah, it's Spring Training. And yeah, it was against Boston College.

But for one day it doesn't matter that Trot thinks public urination is a competitive sport or that Rakes thinks if he practices really hard and can somehow convince Yoda to teach him that he too can become a Jedi Knight or the reality that someday very soon some little punk is going to come to MY front door and want to take MY baby girl out on a date to God knows where.

The Large Father went yard. And all of a sudden I've got visions of him winning comeback player of the year, AL MVP, and Dude Most Likely To Make Me Cry Out Of Sheer Joy in my feeble little brain.

To paraphrase Jr, and in some small part the great Bill Cosby?

I'll be riding on his back all year long, hitting him with the Silver Slugger and screaming "Faster, faster you fool, you fool".

Man, have I missed Baseball.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Miss Hathaway Returns.

From: The Desk of Miss Hathaway

To: To Whom it May Concern

Dear Readers, (All 3 of you)

I realize it's been awhile since I've written; I honestly thought things were getting better with him. The outbursts, throwing of furniture, and Tourette-like symptoms had virtually gone away. Sure there were momentary flares, like him throwing that innocent crock pot out the office window when the Yankees won the "World Series" (whatever THAT is) or the time when Trot peed in the sink and he signed up for the Marines. (Thankfully whatever mental exam they give you disqualified him in the first five minutes. And personally? I think that child needs to be committed, but that's just me.)

But all in all? It's been a relatively quiet winter.

Until today; you see, it started to snow again. Down here in the South a snow storm occurs about as often as Haley's Comet (I wonder why they named it after that nice man who wrote "Roots"?) so 6 relatively major storms have got the natives a tad restless, my employer included.

When it started to fall today he immediately locked himself in his office, but I did catch him muttering under his breath something about "sticking all this crap up the nearest available......, well I'm a lady and you get the idea. And when I checked in on him before I retired for the evening he had a stack of Sports Illustrated magazines in front of him and some gentleman named "Curt in the Car" was pontificating, rather condescending in my humble opinion, on the radio.

Before the words "Will there be anything else tonight?" left my mouth he looked up, WINKED at me (a rather startling development I must say), and said the following 3 words.

Baseball.

Is.

Here.

It was then that it hit me; this calm existence we'd had over the past few months coincided right along with the months where there was no baseball being played. No nightly phone calls at 11 p.m. where he either screamed for joy in my ear or mutter profanities under his breath; both of those are totally acceptable next to the 15 minutes of total silence where I listen to him breathe into the phone while some gentleman with a soothing voice named "TC" talks about the blowout loss to the Yankees that just finished up. Those are the nights I get up at 3 a.m. to peruse the want ads on Craigs List.

Not a pretty sight.

So, here we go again. Another 6 months of me arriving at the office wondering if he'll be in a good mood due to a win, taking a 9 iron to the coffee maker if it's a loss (He doesn't even DRINK coffee; two weeks ago I caught him Googling "How to Mainline Mt Dew") or God forbid wearing that "Teets for President" T-Shirt he wore to the Board of Directors Meeting last year after that handsome Master Ellsbury stole home against the, and I quote, MFY.

At this stage in the game I'm just trying to hang on until retirement and hoping he doesn't stroke out or show up to work wearing nothing but his ever present Red Sox cap and a smile. I'd hoped marriage and three children would have mellowed him out, but those two emissary's of evil on two legs sort of threw that out the nearest available window.

So here I sit; on the north side of 50 in a dead end job where my greatest hope of peace and solace resides in a team of baseball players in Boston, MA and a 2 inch snow storm reduces my employer to a 10 year old who didn't take his Ritalin.

As much as all this is stressing me out? I'm kind of glad it's here.

At least I know what to expect over the next 7 months.

Sincerely,

Miss Hathaway

P.S. If anyone has any potty training tips that encompass taking a whiz on the garage floor? Please send them along.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I View the Off Season Like a Land Mine.

Amidst the everyday occurrences of Trot treating the planet like his personal Port-a-John, Rakes edging ever so closer to being a key note speaker at Star Wars conventions, and my daily conversations with my buddy Jr about whether Papi will bounce back next year (For the record? I've been in the Yes column since last August while Jr waffles more than an alcoholic given a choice of Jack Daniels or Jim Beam) every now and then something happens that makes me almost tear up.

Yes, it's usually a Kevin Millar sighting or memories of Pedro circa 1999 or remembering Schill pouring that Budweiser on Wake after beating the Yankees in '04. But once in a blue moon?

It's one of my kids.

Today, it was Ciera. Her Mom asked me to go to the store and pick up something (as usual I wasn't paying much attention) and I asked Rakes if he wanted to go. Seeing as how he was getting close to, and I quote "Jedi Level!" on the Wii he declined; Trot was attacking the computer under the guise of playing "Lego Indiana Jones" and much like a dog eating his dinner you don't, under ANY circumstances interrupt THAT.

Ciera was in her room watching the latest hot trend on Disney so I figured that was an automatic no but I asked anyway: "Sissy? Want to ride to the store with me?"

When she said "Sure" I had the same reaction I had when Kevin Spacey revealed himself to be Keyser Sose at the end of The Usual Suspects.

But what REALLY got me? As we're driving down the road talking about how I'm going to kill the first boy who pulls up in my driveway and asks her out?

She reaches over, grabs my hand, and while holding onto it all the way to the store Say's "Dad. Don't worry about all that. It's like 15 years from now."

I gotta clean that car out. 'Cause it got a little dusty this afternoon.

Thank God Spring Training games start tomorrow. Otherwise I'd be turning in my man card by Friday.

Just like always, baseball arrives just in time.