Friday, September 30, 2011

Trot. And Tito.

On a day where I felt like like I lost a family member and just needed a hug my youngest son came through in a big way, although it probably shouldn't make me laugh as much as it did.

Trot, after going 4 straight days on Green at school only had to make it ONE MORE DAY to earn a reward. This kid had turned into Eddie Haskell before my very eyes, even earning a compliment from the teacher when I went and ate with him on Monday. Honestly? It was starting to scare me just a little.

Turns out there was no need for panic; he went from green to yellow to red faster than I could ever imagine by yelling TWICE in the hall to get on yellow then for some reason deciding to practice his 40 yard dash.

Right through the middle of the Spanish Immersion classroom on his way to the bathroom.

While the teacher was in the middle of her lesson.

In addition, although he packs his lunch every day he still has managed to twice go through the line and get the hot lunch, even though he has no money in his account. Rakes was particularly upset that Trot got to partake in the Nachos yesterday while he had to make do with a sandwich.

So today the Principle walked Trot down to the cafeteria, and much like a lawman does in passing out Wanted Posters, kindly introduced Trot to the ladies in the lunchroom and informed them that if he tried to buy his lunch he was most definitely not allowed to do so.

On a day that saw Terry Francona leave the city of Boston for good, Trot provided the perfect antidote for my personal blues.

Now, if I can only figure out a way for him not to get expelled over the next 11 years......

Thursday, September 29, 2011

When Do Pitchers and Catchers Report?

So the "Greatest Team Ever Assembled" turned out to be, well, not that. In April we had too much pitching and one by one they fell to the wayside; Daisuke, Typo, Hill, and Jenks. And the ones that didn't get hurt were at best inconsistent and at worse "drive you to consider drinking Drano" horrible.

One of our prize off season moves was spectacular for the most part but seemed like he hit into an inning ending double play at every crucial moment and the other one played like a guy trying desperately to live up to a huge contract and failing miserably. The nuttiest guy this side of Julian Tavarez ending up being the best relief pitcher we had, Wakefield suddenly got REALLY old right before our eyes and John Lackey may be in over his head in Boston.

Youk played the whole year seemingly in pain or trying to pass a kidney stone, Scutaro was dinged up, and due to age and injury a philosophy major from Yale ended up catching in the last two games of the season.

However, Ellsbury turned into an MVP candidate, Pedie continued to dirty his uniform every day and play like every at bat was Game 7, Beckett became Beckett again, and we finally may have found a worthy successor to Trot's "Dirt Dog" status in Chronicles.

I can't sugarcoat it; the season was a disappointment to the players, the front office, and especially the fans. We ALL had expectations, and even after starting 0-6, after they climbed back from the abyss it sure felt like destiny to me.

But it wasn't.

And you wanna know something? That's OK. Because for 6 months my team, except for April and September, played the game of baseball at it's highest level. Even with all the stuff I mentioned above, they STILL were one of the best teams in the game. And I yelled and I cheered and I cursed and I hoped that this was going to be one of those years where I got no sleep in October and loved every minute of it.

Didn't happen. And that's OK. Because for all the ulcers and irregular bowel movements and splitting headaches that made me worry I was about to stroke out in the end?

It's just a game. A game I love and obsess over and cherish, but still just a game. It's not more important than my faith or my family or friends, even if sometimes it seems like it. It's an escape from a world that has war and recession and terrible crimes against humanity and gives me a reason, every night from April through September, to forget about all that. Even if it is just for a little while.


I COULD be a Cubs fan.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


*Image courtesy of Associate Press*

After tonight, however, I may not be.

After 161 games it comes down to hoping Crabby can win on 3 days rest AND the Yankees beating the Rays. Otherwise the best I can hope for is a 1 game playoff at The Trop tomorrow.

I'm getting too old for this.

Monday, September 26, 2011

When Lunch isn't just Lunch.

I went and ate lunch with the boys at school today and after enduring a 1 hour "rain delay" after eating with Rakes, Trot appeared.

While the rest of his classmates were walking in a straight line and holding their finger over their mouths in the universal signal for "quiet" my little weirdo was twirling his lunchbox side to side and singing a song under his breath, which I think was "Camp Town Races".

This was the first time I'd eaten with him at "real" school (The teacher asked all the parents to wait until 2 full weeks in) and I had no idea what to expect. Would he tell me about what he had done that morning and would I want to even know? In the first 2 weeks he's come home on yellow roughly half the time, including once for looking under the stall door at some kid going to the bathroom.

What I got treated to was 35 minutes of him yelling either "Hey! I know that kid!" or "Hey! I don't know THAT kid!" at the top of his lungs while he totally mutilated a ham and cheese sandwich, ate half a Rice Krispy Treat before dropping it on the floor in mid-wave to the P.E. teacher and one attempt to join another class outside on the playground.

I think lunch was God's way of helping me get ready for the game tonight, where the Sox are currently losing to the Oriole's 6-2 and the Ray's are up in Tampa.

It it was, it really isn't helping much.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Where They'll Put Me In The Ground

I love going to Boston. Love Fenway, the buildings, the accents, the history as you walk the streets and look at things that have been there for hundreds of years and will be there for hundreds more after I'm long gone.

But I couldn't live there. The noise, the traffic, the people EVERYWHERE at all hours of the day would send me running and screaming to the nearest loony bin after 6 months. I can't help it; I was born in a small town in Virginia, grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, and for the past 21 years have lived in a small town in North Carolina. I love going to the city, but I'm just a small town sort of guy at heart.

I like the fact they roll the sidewalks up at 8 p.m. and the cops driving through my neighborhood 4 or 5 times a night. Granted, they do this because there is nothing else going on, but that's a good thing, right?

I can walk outside on my back porch right now, at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night, and not hear anything but crickets and the occasional bull frog in the patch of woods behind my house. Main Street has 2 stop lights, a hardware store, the post office, and 2 locally owned restaurants and every building is full.

I thought about this tonight while we ate dinner with two other families in our neighborhood at the local pizza place and realized that my kids are growing up just like I did, albeit in a much louder and faster paced world. And I'm glad I'm getting to raise them in sort of the same way my Mom and Dad raised me.

'Cause the world is fast enough just as it is without me doing anything else to make it go any faster.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One Night at Fenway.

A beautiful Fall night at Fenway park with friends watching Beckett and the Red Sox win may not be perfect.

But it's as close to it as I've found.

Yeah, they're in a massive tailspin right now. And yeah, it'd be nice to have the Wild Card locked up, setting up the post-season rotation. And the thought of facing Verlander twice if they can stumble to the finish and make the playoffs isn't exactly heart warming.

But for one night in Boston, sitting next to friends and listening to the sounds of Baseball's Cathedral?

All was right with the world.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It Ends not with a Bang, but a Whimper.

No, not the Red Sox season, although 5-16 in the month of September isn't exactly filling me with candy grams and good feelings.

I'm talking about my trip to Boston. For the 3 of you who read this thing on a semi-regular basis, I've been sort of quiet for the last week or so. I went to Boston last week and just got back home tonight, and while pictures and stories are still to come, here's the Readers Digest version.

Fly into Boston, hit the Cape, back to Boston to see Beckett win, back to the Cape, back to Boston and quickly go to Cooperstown for the Baseball Hall of Fame, back to Boston to see Monday's day game, watch the beat down Monday night, see a bunch of good friends, have a most excellent time, and end it with my Pop picking me up in a massive thunderstorm in Raleigh.

Great to see all my friends and even better to come home and see my beautiful wife, daughter, and the two future Teamsters leaders.

Now, time to sack up fellas and finish strong.

You've got the Yankees coming up, still have a lead in the Wild Card, and a week and a half to get 'er done.

Don't let me down.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Time Keeps on Slipping. Into the Future.

As I sat in the Orthodontist office with Ciera, waiting for the Doctor or Dentist or Quack or whatever you call him, Hootie and the Blowfish's "Hold My Hand" came on. Naturally I started tapping her on the leg and pointing to the ceiling due to her comment from a short while back when she stated, and I quote, "They're weird, Dad."

And naturally, she rolled her eyes at me and muttered "Daaad". It was at that point I had an epiphany; she's not my little girl anymore.

Granted, I'm still her Dad and no, she's not going away to college tomorrow, but that downhill slide I've dreaded since the moment I first held her has started. Somewhere along the line she went from this adorable little girl to a beautiful young woman who has got this huge piece of my heart in her hands and one day is just gonna tear it to shreds.

Today, it's braces and one day soon it'll be a car and boys (I've told her repeatedly that not only will SHE hate me but any knucklehead who shows up at MY front door to take her out will hate me as well) and after that college and hopefully AFTER college I'll have to walk her down the isle and give her hand to the guy who replaces me in her heart.

I tell myself it's a long time away but the past 13 years have gone by so fast that I'm pretty sure I'll turn around and find myself in a church someday wondering "How in God's name did I get here and where did the time go?"

'Course Rakes and Trot setting fire to the alter or trying to pick up the ministers wife or giving each other a hot foot will most likely take some of the pain away while I envision 38 different ways to have them shipped off to Tora Bora but I gotta tell you.

As bad as my heart hurt just thinking about it today in that medical office?

I can't IMAGINE how bad it'll feel on that day in the suddenly not so far away future.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

10 Years and It Seems Like Yesterday

Ciera had just turned 3 less than a month before 9/11 and just a few days after that horrible she asked me why did that plane fly into that building as I sat, in total disbelief, watching it happen over and over again.

Just the other day, Rakes caught me watching some other show about it and uttered "What was that Dad? Did that just happen today?"

Lots of things have happened since that day. I've had two more children come into this ever changing, always scary world. The Red Sox have won two Championships, we're fighting two wars that are a direct/indirect result of that tragic day, and had our everyday rights and habits changed forever.

However, 10 years ago tomorrow morning, we all learned what a TRUE hero looked like. It was that firefighter and police officer that ran into those burning buildings in New York and Washington D.C. that never came back out. It was those men and women who wear the uniform of the greatest country on Earth with dignity, bravery, and honor. And it was that stockbroker or commodities trader in the Towers leading people to safety and then going BACK to try and help more.

Lastly, a hero looked like those ordinary men and women on Flight 93 who uttered "Let's Roll." and in the process of losing their lives saved the lives of thousands of others.

Never Forget.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ward Cleaver I'm Not.

Tonight, I did the following.

Took Ciera's Ipod and docking station away for not doing the laundry, had to force myself from not strangling Rakes after I told him to brush his teeth only to find him elbow deep in soapy water trying to give himself, and I quote "A Soap Tattoo Sleeve" and yelled for Trot to get in his bedroom only to find him UNDER his bed.

All the while Ang is fighting a Migraine and unable to help and Andrew Miller is doing his best impression of a Major League Pitcher and failing miserably.

So not only do I feel like a complete failure as a Dad, the Sox drop 3 out of 4 to the Blue Jays and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be mainlining Maalox by the end of the week.

Sounds like a Thursday to me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

School Daze

I emailed Trot's teacher last night to find out what we could do at home to sort of back her up while Trot gets used to all day at school. Turns out in addition to pinching, pushing, and the subtleties of the word "idiot" we've got another issue to deal with.

While I question the wisdom of giving a 5 year old a hall pass to go to the bathroom by himself, I understand why they do it. Nobody wants some kid whizzing in his pants one hour into the school day; multiply the kid times 22 and it makes even more sense. And even though they go, as a class, FOUR times a day apparently Trot needs more.

Mind you, this is a kid that when he's home will literally have a race between his feet and his bladder on which one will give up first while running to the bathroom because he just COULDN'T stop playing whatever video game he was plopped in front of. At school? Turns out he has to go roughly 35 times in an 8 hour period.

So the other day, when he asked again, he was given his "Get out of Jail" pass and 20 minutes later I guess they figured they'd better go make sure he hadn't fallen in.

Turns out he was in the Science Lab, playing with the Lizards. I should have warned her that giving that maniac a hall pass to roam the school was the equivalent of giving an alcoholic the keys to the liquor store and yelling "Have Fun!"

2 1/2 back of the Yankees and I feel fine.

Monday, September 5, 2011

This is how Charlie Brown felt when Lucy pulled the football away.

*Picture courtesy of Kelly and*

When I woke up this morning, there were three texts I was praying I wouldn't get.

First, from Ang. "You need to come home; Trot has locked himself in the dryer on the Spin Cycle.

Second, from Ang. "I'm calling a plumber; Rakes has his leg stuck in the toilet".

Third, from Jr. "Beckett's hurt".

Thankfully, only one came true, although I think I'd rather it have been the one about the toilet. THAT? I can do something about.

Now, in addition to the scary fact the Sox either score 15 runs or none is the knowledge that the ace of the pitching staff sprained his ankle on a Toronto Blue Jays mound that the Oliver Stone part of me thinks was jimmied and is out of action for, at the very best, a week.

I need a Valium.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I'm pretty sure this is how Dillenger started out.

So the first full week of school for Trot ended today and we got his first Behavior Chart. Green is good, yellow is not, and red is the signal he needs to put a book down the back of his pants so his tail won't burn when I get done with him.

Turns out he hit yellow the last two days; after last nights talking to I was sure he'd be on his best behavior (or at least what constitutes "best behavior" for Trot. It's like asking a polar bear not to eat the salmon. He may eat it or he may not; just depends on if he wants to.

Anyways, Ang asked him once she got home why he ended up on yellow. What follows is the conversation the two of them had.

Ang: "So, why did you get in trouble today?"

Trot: "A boy named Jacob pushed me. So I pushed him back".

Ang: "Are you sure that's it?"

Trot: "Well, then I left that center and went to another one. And this boy Ben said the word "idiot". And Mom, you know that is a bad word. So I said "Don't say that word, Idiot!"

Ang: "And is THAT all?"

Trot: "Well, on the playground I pinched a little girl in my class."

Ang: "Why did you do THAT?"

Trot: "I don't know. But that was IT."

After having virtually no issues with Ciera from Day 1 I've got the sinking feeling we ain't in Kansas anymore, Toto.