Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pounding Headaches, Crazy Kids, and LOST

It's pretty much a well known fact my house is loud; just ask anybody who's ever dared to enter the front door. If we ever got one of those decibel counters installed, I'm fairly confident we'd at LEAST rival a 747 at take off.

Most of the time, I deal with it OK. And by deal with it, I mean I walk around cringing at every yell, scream, and crashing of toys like some shell shocked veteran of Sarajevo. Today, however, I developed the mother of all headaches around lunch time.

By the time I hit the door around 6 tonight, it felt like tiny elves were hitting my head with ball peen hammers while singing a Celine Dion song. In other words, it hurt. REALLY bad.

So the usually joyful sounds of my children suddenly morped into what I'm sure a cannon sounds like when you are standing 1 foot away when it goes off. After popping 4 Tylenol and drinking about a gallon of water, I was able to sit upright enough to take a picture of Trot and Ciera. I got the hint he wanted me to snap his photo after 5 minutes of him walking up to me and yelling "Chee", so I grabbed the camera.

Sort of unnoticed unless you really look is Rakes over Trot's left shoulder. There he is, in full on Star Wars mode, oblivious to what is going on around him. Should it worry me he only wants to be the bad guys when he plays his game?

Lastly, with the Super Bowl on Sunday and Spring Training still a few weeks away, I'm about to enter the time my sports world turns into a vast wasteland. I'm not a basketball fan, so the time between this Sunday and Opening Day always seems to last forever. Thankfully, this makes year number 3 that I've had my satellite dish, so I at least get daily Spring Training updates and some games on NESN.

Which makes the fact LOST returned tonight that much more enjoyable. The stupid writers strike took Jack Bauer away from me this year, so I'm counting on the 8 new episodes of LOST to carry me through until the first of April.

And yes, I'm fully aware of the fact I need to get a life.

Sue me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Manny Being Manny At The Super Bowl?

*Picture courtesy of Kelly*

Makes you wonder who said what, doesn't it? Before you think this was taken Opening Day, it was Game 1 of the ALDS last fall. Somehow the word loose doesn't do this picture justice. Warms my heart to know more scenes like this are less than 3 months away.

I read tonight where Manny is going to the Super Bowl, and immediately images of him running onto the field to celebrate the Patriots winning the championship flashed through my head.

Manny at the Super Bowl; The potential is ENDLESS.

Manny grinning like some deranged maniac standing next to a scowling Belicheck on the sidelines.

Manny doing the two handed pointy thing at Tom Brady after a touchdown.

Manny braiding Randy Moss' hair on the bench.

If I'm FOX, I'm on the phone with Gene Matos, one of Manny's agents, and I'm figuring out a way to get him in the booth on Sunday ASAP. For one, it'd tick Joe Buck off to no end; I wonder if Buck would yammer on about how mad it made him that Manny pimped one of his HR's at home plate if he were 4 feet away from him?; somehow, I doubt it. Second, can you imagine the possibilities of the audio if this happened?

Buck:" What a fantastic play by Brady, threading the needle to find Welker in the back of the end zone".

Aikman: "I'll tell you right now; only a handful of quarterbacks playing today can make that throw."

Manny: " I gonna tell you someting, mang. I'm a bad man, you know? Can I get a hot dog or someting?"

I'm guessing the over/under on how long it'd take for Buck to snap would be about 5 minutes. They could sell DVD's of this and I GUARANTEE it'd be a best seller in a week.

Only 14 days until pitchers and catchers report.

I wonder if I'll make it until then.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

No Johan and Sales Manager Bob Meets Rakes

After months of wondering if Johan Santana was coming to Boston or New York, we all got our answer today: New York it is. Not the Yankees though; the Mets have acquired the best left handed pitcher in baseball for 4 prospects IF they can sign him to a contract extension. All he's asking for is $160 million over 5 years, which if you're wondering is roughly the yearly budget for a third world country, so I'm sure they'll hammer that thing out in a few hours.

2 thoughts on this: First, while I'd have LOVED to have Beckett and Santana on the same team, having to give up Ellsbury, Lester, or any of the other top prospects made me sort of queasy. Second, as long as he didn't go to the Yankees, I'm OK with it. The fact Hank Steinbrenner repeatedly ran his mouth about the Yankees offer being the best, only to get shut out at the end, is icing on top of the cake.

Travelled with Sales Manager Bob the past two days, and while having to work with management is usually about as welcome as a cracked molar, Bob's the exception. A fellow Red Sox fanatic, we usually spend more time talking baseball than actual work and it feels more like spending the day with your buddy than, you know, working.

At lunch today, he asks if he can take us to dinner tonight; us being me, Ang, and the Axis of Evil. After asking him if he's feeling all right, I make sure he's serious. Turns out he was.

It was about 30 seconds after he entered the house that Rakes screams the following; "Mr. Bobby, you donna take us out to dinner?" while he stands all of 2 feet from Bob's face. Right about this time, Bob gets a look on his face that I can only describe as abject horror as the realization sinks in that he's agreed to take ALL of us out to eat. In public.

We finally decide on a local Italian place, and after I pull Trot out of Bob's floorboard and Rakes out of his lap, we head off. Once there, Rakes HAS to sit on the side of the booth with Bob and I, jabbering about Star Wars and Darth Vader the whole time. Meanwhile, Trot sits at the end of the table spending the next 15 minutes trying to eat Bob's house salad, Rakes asks every 3 seconds where his pizza is, and Bob looking at the exit with increasing frequency.

Once the pizza arrives, Rakes pitches an ever loving fit wanting to eat a piece of our Supreme instead of his Pepperoni and at one point looks at me and says the following:

"Look, tough duy. I'm donna eat dis piece of pizza, DEN det a piece of dat pizza. You hear me?"

Look, tough guy? WHERE does he come up with this stuff? When the waitress came by and asked if we needed anything else, Bob didn't even let her finish. By this point, Trot was done and doing his best impersonation of a screaming banshee, so Bob grabbed the check and Trot STILL IN the high chair and carried him to the counter to pay for dinner.

As we leave the restaurant, he looks at me and asks "Are they always like this?" When I answer yes, the only comment he has is "I'd want to work 24 hours a day".

If I still have job tomorrow, it'll be a miracle.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Just when you thought it was safe.

Carl Everett is nuts. Not in a Manny Ramirez going into the Green Monster, wearing an ipod in the field, and stand at home plate and observe how pretty a white ball and a blue sky are way either. Nuts in a Albert Belle throwing a ball a reporter, Woody Hayes punching a player on the other team, and Delmon Young throwing a bat at the umpire sort of way.

This is a guy who doesn't believe dinosaurs existed. I quote: "The Bible never says anything about dinosaurs. You can't say there were dinosaurs when you never saw them. Somebody actually saw Adam and Eve. No one ever saw a Tyrannosaurus Rex". How does he explain the mountain of fossils and other evidence we have that they DID exist? Man made fakes, of course. Uh, Carl? The Bible also doesn't say anything about snow, but I'm pretty sure that's not a new development.

If you're an umpire, don't question whether Crazy Carl's batting stance is legal; he gave umpire Ron Kulpa a headbutt that Bobo Brazil would envy one time for doing just that. Oh yeah, the moon landing? Never happened; created on a Hollywood sound stage. You KNOW this guy thinks there was a second shooter on the grassy knoll, those things in Texas the other week really were U.F.O's, and E.T. was a documentary.

When I fully realized how gone this guy is happened 5 days after 9/11. While the rest of us were still in a state of shock, wondering when the next attack was going to come, and duct taping our windows, this cat was cursing out his manager for a lack of playing time. Does it ever rain on your planet, Carl?

I read today that after playing last season for the Atlantic League, it appears Carl is ready for a return to the show and the White Sox and Angels may be interested. All I can figure is the circus doesn't go to those cities and they need a freak show to entertain the masses; this guy is one step away from coming to the plate wearing a Roman centurions helmet and a dress while singing "I Feel Pretty". Give me Manny picking dandelions in the outfield any day.

Quick note on the home front: Ang had her monthly women's club meeting at the house tonight while I took Huey, Dewey, and Louise to my folks. It's like taking a wild animal out of it's natural habitat and plopping into a petting zoo, then taking it back 3 hours later to watch the hilarity ensue.

Except when you're the zookeeper.

I just keep muttering "You're going to Boston for 5 days by yourself" over and over again and imagining what it'll be like to actually be IN Fenway Park.

I think it's helping.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Change is good. Or so they tell me.

If you stop by here on a regular basis, you'll realize this picture is a little old. About a year ago in fact; looking at it, I'm amazed how much all three of the little ruffians have changed. Back then, Trot couldn't walk yet, Rakes was just approaching Defcon 5, and Ciera was still more of a little girl and less a pre-teen.

Flash forward to this morning after church as I'm trying to get them all rounded up and out to the car. Have you ever tried to wrangle three little gophers into a small hole while trying to avoid a thundering herd of elephants? That's about what it was like getting all of them through the hallways at church, zigging around the old folks who wanted to pinch their cheeks and zagging around the other senior citizens who were recoiling in horror.

Before I knew it Rakes and Trot were behind the Welcome Desk in the foyer, stealing the candy canes we pass out at Christmas time with Trot eating his as fast as he could open it. While I dealt with his theatrics, Rakes took two candy canes and proceeded to run around the foyer and down the hall using them as pistols, firing randomly at anyone who came across his path. It was about the time he ran up to the preacher and shouted "You dead, Pator Darrell" that I started hoping for a giant hole to open up and just take me away.

Using the whole "change" thing, you may have noticed the blog looks a little different. That's what happens when a moron decides to start messing around with his template. I saved the old one, but for some reason I can't get it to post back. So, I'm thinking I'll keep the new one for awhile.

However, I'm getting conflicting comments on the colors, particularly the blue; thanks to Dawn I now know how to change it, but when I went back to the white I found the blue had sort of grown on me. Being this is an election year, I figured I'd put it out there to the people, and I'll go along with the popular opinion.

Which is why I'm putting a poll up in the sidebar on what to do. If you don't mind, take a few seconds to help me figure out what color this thing should be. I know anyone stopping by has a few minutes to kill, because this place isn't exactly the Wall Street Journal. Just a place for an exasperated Dad and Red Sox fan to vent every now and then.

If you're gonna stop in, I at least want you to feel comfortable.

Like those two old guys in the Bartyles and James commercials used to say, thanks for your support.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Every Good Thing Comes To An End

After the last two days of a relatively well behaved Rakes, all it took was one Saturday to make it seem like old times. Too cold to go out, his sister being at home all day, and his Dad left home alone for a few hours with all three was all it took before a three way battle between Ciera, Trot, and Rakes broke out.

Spending most of the day alternating between fighting and laughing, Ciera and Rakes finally reached a peace accord @ 8:00 tonight to watch "Minutemen" on Disney. I have no clue what it's about; all I know is it resulted in the two of them lying quietly in my bed, snacks in hand, until Rakes shuffled off to bed.

Don't get me wrong; he was still light years ahead of where he's been the past few weeks. Looks like this tying Star Wars Lego's into good behavior seems to be working. It's just the previous 2 days were like a cease fire in the 'Nam and today a few mortars were launched, just to remind us that peace is a fragile thing.

Besides playing the role of the U.N. I spent a good part of the day checking on the Virtual Waiting Room window I had up at If you've never experienced this, I can only describe it as being at the Doctor's office and EVERYBODY else gets called back besides you. Funny thing is: whenever I try to buy Sox tickets to Baltimore it goes right through. Not when you're trying to get tickets to Fenway.

I had that stupid thing up from 10 this morning until 6 tonight, and NEVER got in. 'Course I could have missed some chances due to the fact that the best I could do was run up and down the stairs every 5 minutes and check it. I have NO idea how people do that year after year; I love being on the computer and it was about to wear me out.

12 games are already sold out and a bunch more are down to single seats, SRO, and obstructed view. On the FIRST DAY tickets went on sale. If I lived where I could go to several games a year, I'd have a bleeding ulcer by 1 in the afternoon and curled up in the fetal position by 4.

Good news is it looks we'll have about 15-20 different reprobates from Surviving Grady for at least one game during Tedapalooza, with some getting to go to all three. Which should make for quite the memorable time during my first trip to Boston.

Now: how am I EVER going to make it until May?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Kyle, Steve, and Rakes. Who'd have guessed?

* Picture courtesy of Tex.*

Yes, Tex: I'm just as surprised as you are she didn't drop the camera in the excitement of meeting a fellow Texan who just so happens to pitch for the Red Sox. She held on to it though, and took a great picture of Kyle Snyder and Steve the Ferret, which is another post altogether. He's Kelly's stuffed pet, and he's been to Fenway, Baltimore, San Diego, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and God knows where else. At this point he's the unofficial mascot for Surviving Grady and a legend in his own time.

There is a reason for this picture, as late today the announcement came down that the Red Sox and Snyder had reached an agreement on a 1 year deal after a breakthrough 2007 season. Which means the bullpen that won the World Series returns virtually intact, save an Eric Gagne here and there.

As happy as I am to see him back (guy has the best gunslinger walk of any athlete I've ever seen. He's a taller, skinnier version of John Wayne when he walks off the field), I was even more happy for my friend Cyn. She was supporting Snyder back in '06 when most of RSN was ready to trade him for a bag of Oreos and a slurpee, and was the first person I thought of when I read the news he was coming back. Congratulations, Cyn.

On the home front, Day 2 of the Rakes' Redemption tour started: in fact, Dad drove him to school, reminding him the whole time that IF he got a sticker he and I would play Star Wars together. At the same time, I reinforced the fact that if he WASN'T good, no movies or video games when I did get home.

After spending all that time and energy talking about the consequences of his behavior, I arrived to find out....

He was an angel. For the second day in a row my fingers hurt from playing the PS2, my ego is bruised that a 4 year old laughs at me while I repeatedly die onscreen, and his smile was a mile wide as I told him how proud I was of him for being such a good boy. However, I keep having this weird feeling.

It's sort of like watching DeNiro in "Goodfellas". At various points he was trying to keep a low profile while trying to run a semi-honest business, yet you knew that sooner or later he was gonna whack some guy. Then he's waving Henry's wife into some dirty window store to pick out a dress while some goon who looks like he just ate Joe Pesci waits inside.

That's the feeling I'm getting with Rakes and his good behavior at school; one of these days I'm going to get the call that he tied Mrs. Becca in the corner and proceeded to shake down the rest of his classmates for their share toy, while pillaging the prize box for the companion to the YoYo he won today. I'm guessing he'd then run down the hall yelling "FREEDOM" like some miniature version of Mel Gibson in "Braveheart", knocking pictures, fire extinguishers, and perfect attendance awards off the wall with reckless abandon.

Until then, I'm going to enjoy the stories of my well behaved little monster. It might not ever happen again.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It May Be Sinking In. Or Maybe Not

After 2 weeks of pre-school hell, we finally had a breakthrough today; after reading Rakes the riot act last night, then telling him he couldn't play Star Wars on the PlayStation until after school, and THEN only if he got a sticker, I got the call at 12:23 today.

Rakes was... Perfect. Sticker, compliments from the teacher, and enough bragging by his Mom to cause his head to swell. And it lasted most of the day.

Until Ang had to leave to go to the hospital with her Dad; he's fine, just a mix up with his medication. However, with her gone and me at work, my saint of a Mom came over. Bless her heart, if they'd burned the house down and I called to ask "How were they?", she'd swear they were angels and we needed the fresh air.

When I hit the door around 6, he was sitting on the floor, controller in hand, and wiping out Storm Troopers as fast as they showed up. Between getting them dinner, trying to figure out what was wrong with my computer, and Ciera telling me all about the drama of 4th grade in room 404, I felt like that guy who yelled out "I'm mad as hell. And I'm not gonna take it anymore!"

Did I mention he'd changed his clothes 14 times since Mom arrived, and by the time I got home he had no underwear on and was checking himself more than Michael Jackson in the "Thriller" video? Sometime around 8 p.m., Ang arrived like some vision from above to help me get all of them ready for bed; if she hadn't shown up, I'm pretty sure our house would have looked like the one in "16 Candles" at the end of the party.

By bedtime, he was back hollering at his sister and raging against the machine; I calmly turned the PS2 off, he only melted down for about 10 seconds, and went to bed promising to be good at school again tomorrow. It ain't much, but I'll take it.

I've discovered raising kids is like being a recovering addict; the only way you can make it is to take it one day at a time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This one's for Tex and Dawn

For Tex, Bobby Kielty.

For Dawn, Mikey Lowell.

Both pictures courtesy of Kelly at

'Cause I've got NOTHING for tonight. No Red Sox news, no tales of Rakes committing a felony, and nothing on Baby Trot and his baby steps into a life of crime.

I now know how the news media feels when the best story they've got is the one where the man actually does bite the dog. Hopefully tomorrow I can come up with something other than 2 pictures and a bunch of nonsense; though I wouldn't hold my breath.

Best I can manage is Rakes slammed the door to the study/Sox shrine and shattered the glass on the frame holding my Beckett ESPN The Magazine cover; I just put the thing back on the wall. I figured Beckett wouldn't care, so why should I?

Sorry I couldn't come up with anything more substantial.

What can I say?

Some days you're the windshield and some days you're the bug.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

And here I thought Rakes was trouble

As I was picking up 4,358 toys off the living room, dining room, and kitchen floor tonight ( I swear they all looked like the same one. I kept waiting for the ghost of Alan Funt to pop out from behind the sofa and tell me I was on Candid Camera), I heard Ang laughing upstairs and saying something about wishing she had the camera. Good Dad that I am, I drop every toy I have in my hands, grab the digital, and take the stairs two at a time. Rounding the corner into Trot's room, I see this:

Seems like he was showing his Mom how he could climb into his crib, then showing how he could climb OUT:

He'd then do some bizarre victory dance/yell each time while we laughed it up:

Turns out that's not the best thing to do at 8 at night when you are hoping he's going to go to sleep in just a bit. 30 minutes later, after catching him outside his door for the 4th time, doing his best impression of Terrell Owens and the promise of a spanking of EPIC proportions, he finally stayed in his room. Before now, Ang and I switched off nights putting Rakes to bed, since it usually results in one of us heading to the medicine cabinet.

After this development, I'm guessing we'll be fighting over who gets Rakes ready for sleep from now on, with the loser dealing with the monkey in the next room.

Who could have seen THAT coming?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Off Season Mutterings

"Dad, in dat mobie Worm Boy dat boy wit de pokadotz has a motorcycle bike. By him have a motorcycle bike, Dad?"

Not sure what scares me more; The fact Rakes is that fascinated with the movie "How to Eat Fried Worms", or that I understood EXACTLY what he was trying to say.

Translation: "Dad, in the movie How to Eat Fried Worms, why does that boy with freckles have a motorcycle?" Since I haven't actually seen the movie all the way through, best I could offer Rakes was I didn't know. The fact this question came during dinner, completely out of the blue, makes me realize I have no clue about how his devious little mind operates. For all I know he's plotting on how to take over the world in a few years. I've got to be like a boxer at all times; constantly on my toes.

As the off season drones on, we're still at the starting gate with Johan Santana, and the involved parties keep saying all the right things about Tito's lame duck status, as his contract expires after the '08 season. In addition so far there have been no trade requests made from Camp Manny, which is a minor shock. By this point, it's usually about as common as the sun coming up in the morning.

All in all it's been a pretty quiet winter, especially considering the Sox won their 2nd World Series in 4 years after going 86 seasons the last time. It's sort of nice not having to deal with all the drama, don't you think?

Meanwhile I spent the evening watching a game from April of last year with the Sox playing the Yankees on NESN, not being able to remember a single thing about it except the Sox wore green jersey's in honor of the passing of Red Auerbach. After a few hours of sweaty palms and the recurrence of my bleeding ulcer, I'm sure you'll all be glad to hear the Sox came back against Mariano Rivera and won.

I really think I need an intervention at this point.

Finally, for the second time in less than a week, Rakes fell asleep on my chest while I read him his stories for bedtime.

Have I mentioned how great it is to be a Dad?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Trojan Warriors

We had Angie's family over tonight to celebrate her Mom and Dad's upcoming 4oth Anniversary; I've gotta pause here and say how impressive that is. 40 years. I told her Mom how much I admire the fact they've been married that long and one of them hasn't tried to kill the other one yet; It's only been 15 years for Ang and I and we've come close at LEAST a dozen times.

Pictured with Rakes and Trot is my sister-in-law Karen; she and Ang's brother Marty have been married for 7 1/2 years and so far, no kids. My gut feeling is my brood has a lot to do with that. Every time we get together Karen gets a look that I can only describe as that of a deer when it steps into the path of a 18 wheeler going 85 mph; sheer, unadulterated panic.

She stood in the kitchen for 2 hours straight tonight, waiting for a pot of water to boil and the meatballs to finish cooking while we all begged her to come sit down, yet she insisted that she was fine where she was. It hit me later on; why would she want to join the chaos that was unfolding in the living room when she was in the neutral zone known as the kitchen? Smart woman, my sister-in-law.

Fact of the matter is, the Federal Government should make my house a suggested form of birth control, second only to abstinence as a proven method to prevent pregnancy. I think Karen and Marty call from time to time and say they want to stop by and visit whenever one of them gets the first inkling they may want to have a child.

5 minutes at my house would cure ANYONE with that thought process; you've got Rakes hollering at the top of his lungs and fighting imaginary Storm Troopers, Trot bellowing about and throwing a soccer ball whether you're actually looking or not, and Ciera jumping from the chair to the ottoman to another ottoman to the sofa. All the while Ang is obliviously talking to her Mom while my blood pressure reaches stroke-like levels.

And this was BEFORE dinner. Remember that food fight scene from the movie "Animal House"? Picture that on a daily basis, then multiply the number of people by 4, and you've got an inkling to what dinner time is like at my house every night.

So while I'm doing my part to control the human population, I'm gonna bet Karen and Marty never would guess Rakes looks like this 5 minutes before bedtime.

Calmly eating his cheese nips while wearing his Spider Man pajamas, drinking his ice water, and watching "The Empire Strikes Back". All the while I'm sure he's imagining what it would be like to actually be Darth Vader and how he can have a real light saber one day.

If he is picturing how life would be if he was the Dark Lord of the Sith, I really don't care; he's still and he's quiet, and that's good enough for me.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Snow Day. Or Dad Goes Insane. Take Your Pick

After being told for 3 days we were getting 3-4 inches of snow that would start Friday night, the first flakes started falling this afternoon around 1 pm. This picture taken from the front door was right after it started, and we only ended up getting maybe half an inch with nothing on the roads.

Thinking about being cooped up in the house with Ciera, Curly, and Moe for the rest of the day is usually a reason for me to break out in hives, and today was no different. Trying to entertain 3 kids WITHOUT using the tv, PlayStation, and computer takes tremendous creativity and some serious thought.

Which is why Rakes was soon doing this...

And Ciera was doing this...

By 6 pm it had degenerated into a Royal Rumble between the three of them, with Rakes taking on Ciera...(You can't see the plastic sword just of of sight in his right hand)

Ciera giving Trot the Russian Death Lock while still trying to fend off Rakes...

And strangely, Trot giving his Uncle Marty his best "Home Alone" impersonation while Rakes wails away on Ciera in the background...

All I know is it's 9:20 at night, my nerves are frayed, and I'm preparing myself to be ready to make snow angels in the morning. If I knew then what I know now about how stressful it is when you are raising three kids do you know what I'd have done different?

Not one blessed thing. It's an ulcer inducing roller coaster that never slows down and never stops.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, January 18, 2008

It's all in the name

I stumbled across this picture tonight while surfing the Internets, and even though I'd seen it before, I noticed a few more things tonight.

Obviously, you've got Tek in a state of shock and Millar, well, being Millar after the Red Sox swept the Cardinals in '04. But it's the background that you need to look at it.

First, there is Dave Freaking Roberts, he of the stolen base that will live forever, just behind Tek, raising his arms in victory. Then, just over Millar's left shoulder is the original Dirt Dog, Trot Nixon.

If you've ever read this mess of a blog, you know that we named our third child Trot. Contrary to what some people believe, that wasn't done lightly. We gave a lot of thought to what we named each of our 3 kids; believe me, I don't want one of them down at the county court house as soon as they turn 18 to change their name.

Ciera was a name Ang always liked, and her middle name of Allene is in honor of Ang's dad Alvis. Rakes is my Mom's maiden name and his middle name, Edward, is both mine and my Pop's middle name.

Trot Matthew is in honor of two men I hold in the highest regard; Matthew is for my brother Matt, who also happens to be my best friend NOT named Angie. Even though he's a dink, I love the guy. Trot, well, my love for all things Red Sox is well documented. And if you can find a better example of a ball player, let me know.

One day when he asks me why we named him Trot, I'm gonna tell him to go get Dad's book on the 2004 World Series team, find the guy with the filthy hat and the dirty uniform, and tell that person you were named for the roughest, toughest Red Sox player on that band of brothers.

Here's to Trot Nixon and Trot Dalton; two of a kind.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Is It Spring Yet?

Just because she loves her some Josh Beckett, tonight's picture is for my big sister Tex. Well, plus the fact I think she's had a rough week at work and I'm hoping the combination of a photo of Beckett and me actually figuring out one of her Jedi tricks will put a smile on her face.

Big breakthrough with Rakes tonight; we finally figured out how to get past Level 5 on Star Wars Lego's and now we're trying to defeat Darth Vader in Level 6. And yes, it was Rakes who finally did it while I high fived him and kept asking "How did you do that?" If you ever wanna feel like a moron, play video games with a 4 year old. It's a good thing I have low self-esteem.

As for baseball, when the fact Juan Gonzales is attempting another comeback is considered big news, it's pretty much a given there is not much to say. Knowing that doorknob, he tore his hamstring buttering a dinner roll so let's just say I won't hold my breath.

Spring Training can't come fast enough. I want to turn on NESN and see palm trees, Beckett going bonkers on Ryan Howard, and Jim Ed Rice in a hideous floral shirt. Give me Daisuke and his interpreter telling us how he's gonna go Bob Gibson on Slappy, Papelbon giving out Riverdance lessons, and a countdown clock for when Manny is due to arrive in Ft. Myers.

It's 32 degrees, there is ice on the tree in my front yard, and I'm giving serious consideration to filling out the application to try and get Jo Frost to come to my house.

I need baseball.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Say it ain't so, Miggy.

Other than the obvious things we've learned from the Mitchell Report like don't trust the clubhouse attendants and Bud Selig is a doddering, bumbling idiot the other little tidbit that has jumped out at me is this; there is GOING to be some sacrificial lambs one way or the other.

After Rafiel Palmiero got up three years ago wagging his finger for all it was worth that he did NOT take steroids and then got busted with a positive drug test, Congress is going to make an example out of someone. Right now, that someone looks like it may be Miguel Tejada.

When Palmiero flunked his drug test, he did what all friends do to their buddy; he promptly threw him under the bus and claimed the drugs came from a supposed B-12 shot from Miggy. Naturally Tejada denied it along with claiming he'd never taken any PED's or androstenedione and even said he'd never even heard anyone TALKING about steroids. Right. And Trot is going to start eating with a fork in the morning.

I hate this is happening to Tejada; I've always loved the passionate way he plays the game and I think he's just one guy they are choosing to single out in all of this. I'd guess that during the height of the "Steroid Era" there were probably just as many guys doing something as there were who weren't. To single out certain individuals to me reeks of hypocrisy; you can't change yesterday. They need to be working on making sure tomorrow is going to be different.

This rant is now over. I'm so sick of hearing about steroids and HGH I'm looking for a "Simple Life" marathon with Paris and Nichole to watch. To top it all off today I learned that Ritalin and Adderall, drugs I'm pretty sure Rakes should be taking, are being abused by athletes. It's a well known fact I'm an idiot, but for the life of me I can't figure out the advantage of taking a drug that is used for hyperactive children. At this point it wouldn't surprise me to learn that somehow mainlining laxatives has some performance enhancing edge.

Finally, tonight one of those "Dad moments" happened that make me realize for all my horror stories about raising kids I'd love to have another one. Reading stories to Rakes on the couch while he laid his head on my chest, I realized he'd actually gotten still enough to fall asleep.

Sort of hard to buy him as a future menace to society when you see him like that, isn't it?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Watching My Sanity Drift Away

Is it possible for a child to be expelled from pre-school? I'm asking the question in all seriousness; Rakes was put in time out FOUR times during a three hour period today by Mrs. Becka.

His crimes? Biting a child's finger, hitting his buddy on the head with a toy motorcycle, saying he'd washed his hands after going to the bathroom when he CLEARLY hadn't, and taking a stand against oppression by the man. Or woman, in this case. (He refused to help pick up toys with the others. Twice.)

After reading him the riot act when I got home, explaining how he needed to respect and obey his teachers, and telling him all about what Marine Corp boot camp is like, I actually thought I had gotten through to him.

He then proceeded to wipe the tomato sauce on his mouth off with his sleeve, hit his sister with a diaper ( a new one thankfully) and tried to show Trot all the different ways to apply a UFC arm bar submission move to force a tap out.

I'm at a loss on what to do from here on out. Threats don't work, talking to him does nothing, and I'm pretty sure the next option will land me in jail. Or at the very least a visit from Social Services and a probation officer. Frankly, I'm not ready to deal with all of that just yet, so I just figure come middle school I'll get my fill. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to share with the class.

Strangely enough, a visit from my Pop seemed to have calmed down not only Rakes, but Trot and Ciera as well.

They aren't that still when they are asleep.

Who knew my Dad was The Child Whisperer?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Why I Do What I Do

As many of you are aware, I get a bit of grief from my family and certain friends (I'm looking at you Tex) for how much blogging I do. Fact is, I do it for 2 reasons; one is because I really enjoy doing it, and two is because right now I honestly believe it's the only thing keeping me from turning into Reverend Jim from TAXI.

Granted, I'm not going through anything that any other parent has had to endure; however I'm gonna go out on a limb and say these three tax deductions I'm raising my have raised the bar on testing one's patience. It's not that anything huge has happened, unless you count heart murmurs, tubes in ears, teeth puncturing lips, and a 2 year old house looking like a paintball field as huge.

It's an accumulation of several small moments and events that have me wishing for a bottle of Prozac and a month long stay in a sanitarium.

Take dinner time tonight, for instance. Ciera is talking to a friend on the phone in California, Trot is muttering "Noooo, Nooooo" while his Mom tries to get him to eat his cheese sandwich, Rakes is shouting "I LOVE soup, Dad. Do you LOVE soup, Dad? Me LOVE soup!" over and over, while Ang is walking around the kitchen grabbing her stomach and repeating "I'm having a sharp pain in my ovaries".

Now, I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure this isn't the best news she could be telling me. I AM a Dad and have a vague knowledge of what ovaries do, so I KNOW this isn't a positive development. Throw in the fact that Rakes has started to answer every request from me to stop :insert request here: with an exaggerated bow and the words "YES. Your majesty", and are there any guesses on how I coped with the little voices ping ponging around in my brain?

I did what Ward Cleaver, Andy Griffith, and Cliff Huxtable would have done; kept eating my soup, reading my book and pretended I was Tom Hanks in "Cast Away", Rakes was Wilson, and everything I was hearing was only in my head.

Before anyone calls Dr. Phil for an intervention, I was back to sweeping the floor, wiping hands, and getting kids in the tub within 5 minutes; it's just my coping mechanism for when I want to bolt out the front door and run screaming down the street shouting "I just want some peace and quiet!"

Besides, Rakes would eat Dr. Phil for lunch.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Victory in Defeat

Unless your last name is Steinbrenner or you wear a pinstriped uniform while performing your job, I'm pretty much a live and let live kinda guy when it comes to sports. Unless it's the Dallas Cowboys.

Growing up in Oklahoma as a die hard Redskin fan wasn't the easiest thing in the world; all the pinhead Cowboy fans living there never let me hear the end of it. Of course I got to gloat over the 3 Super Bowls the 'Skins won in the 80's and early 90's, but once Jones bought the Cowboys, hating them was easier than ever before.

He brought in Jimmy Johnson as coach, drafted Aikman, Irvin, and Smith and started winning Super Bowls left and right; they were more insufferable than ever. The ineptness they suffered the last 10 years or so was nice, but here lately they have re-emerged as one of the best teams in the NFC.

Seeing the Giants beat them IN Texas Stadium tonight and eliminate them from the playoffs brought back all that animosity I thought was now only reserved for the Yankees. Watching Jones and his botoxed head staring vacantly at the field while Eli Manning, yes Eli Freaking Manning, celebrated on that stupid star made me smile from ear to ear. What other owner goes down and stands right behind the head coach? Bob Kraft doesn't, and he's got 10 times as many reasons to be an obnoxious dink than Jones. Dan Syder, owner of the Redskins, is probably as big a weasel as Jones and I've never seen him do it. Even Steinbrenner doesn't sit in the dugout; though he's probably tried.

Point is the egomaniac drove away 2 of the best coaches of the last 50 years in Johnson and Bill Parcells. He hires guys like Dave Campo, Barry Switzer, and Wade Phillips as head coach, cancers like T.O. to play wide receiver, and gave his quarterback a $67 million dollar extension when he's never won anything and his claim to fame is he's dating Jessica Simpson. He's then SHOCKED they got out coached and outplayed by one of the most esteemed franchises in football.

I hope it's New England vs. Green Bay in the Super Bowl. I hope New England wins it all, just so I can see history made and for all of my Patriot loving friends I've got to know over the past year. It really doesn't matter, though.

Because I know it WON'T be the Cowboys.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Just Another Day In Paradise

Rakes started the day getting up before 6 a.m. and ended it sitting on the couch watching tv in his Spider Man pajamas and his busted Redskins football helmet. How does one actually BREAK a football helmet? I have no clue; but there's your proof right there.

In between these two events, we had 762 times he asked me to "play Tar Wars wit me, Dad", one brief nap that consisted of he and I laying on the couch while his jimmie legs kicked me repeatedly in the marbles, and countless threats of bodily harm if he hit his sister ONE MORE TIME.

Highlight of the day? Tonight at bed time; Ang has already gotten Trot out and is getting him dressed while Rakes is still in the tub hollering "Come look at dis, Sissy". Of course Ciera is ignoring him so I stroll in to see what he's doing.

You know those foam bath toys that are letters and numbers in all sort of different colors? If you get them wet they stick to the side of the tub; theoretically you are supposed to use them to teach your kids the alphabet and their 1, 2, 3's. Theoretically.

You can see where this is going, right?

There was Rakes, sitting Indian Style in the tub and holding the letter B; I'll give you 3 guesses what he had sticking through the hole at the top while he giggled like a maniac.

Throw in Trot with his hole in his lip and a respiratory infection, Ciera in full-on loud/giggle mode, and me working on 5 hours of sleep AND Saturday being house cleaning day? Let's just say it's awfully nice and quiet right now.

'Course tomorrow we get up and do it all over again.

Tell me again why I want ANOTHER one?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Wake's Security Blanket Is Back

Without a lot of fanfare, the Red Sox announced they were bringing back knuckleball catching extraordinaire Doug Mirabelli for another season. Watching other guys try to corral that thing brings back memories of Mr. Myiagi teaching Daniel-San how to catch flies with a pair of chopsticks, so for that reason alone I'm excited. But there is something else about Dougie that appeals to the members of Red Sox Nation.

What it is? I have no idea. He's out of shape, can't run worth a lick, and is lucky if he hits over .200. That said, every time he comes to bat the chant "Dougies going deep" reverberates all over the country; he's like a Muppet come to life.

Awhile back, I found a funny post called "A Day In The Life Of Doug Mirabelli" over at The Mighty Quinn Media Machine that made me laugh out loud multiple times; best line?" Dougie tells Trot if he played 162 Games his numbers would look like this: .375 average, 72 HRs, 52 Doubles, 9 Singles, 6 Walks, 220 K'S".

It takes 25 guys to win a championship; for every David Ortiz there is a Doug Mirabelli catching the guy who should have played in the '70's every 5 days. A guy who'll fill in for Tek when they play a doubleheader, who sits in the bullpen and flips sunflower seeds with the rest of the Pirates, and who more than likely is the guy who gave Johnny Pesky that hotfoot. He's your prototypical no-hit, good field back up catcher that usually play 15 years and nobody has ever heard of him.

Not Dougie; after he signed with the Padres as a free agent after the '05 season, the Red Sox came to the following realization; they had a pitcher nobody on the team could, you know, CATCH. They completed a trade to get him back, and the guy got a POLICE ESCORT BACK TO FENWAY that was covered live on NESN. You'd think he was Tom Cruise visiting Norway. ('Cause we all know Tom is HUGE in Norway)

I'm glad he's coming back to catch Timmy. It's good to know I won't have to shotgun a bottle of Pepto-Bismal while wondering how many passed balls Kevin Cash is gonna have trying to catch the knuckler.

Mostly though, I'm looking forward to yelling "Dougie just went deep" a few more times.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

First Times

*Picture courtesy of Kelly*

Thanks to Cousin Steve, I just spent about 2 hours of my life I'll never get back while I tried to find the first comment I ever left at Surviving Grady. Don't ask; just know the OCD never rests.

It got me thinking about other "firsts" in my life and since the Red Sox don't play again until March, my trip to Boston isn't until May, and surprisingly the kids didn't end up in a body cast today, I thought I'd share a few.

First kiss: A girl named Melissa in the 5th grade. I'm sure I was awful, but thankfully don't remember.

First Red Sox memory: Fisk waving that ball fair in the '75 World Series. Of course with all the replays of it I've seen over the years, this could be totally wrong.

First time I THOUGHT I was in love: Age 16

First time I KNEW I was in love: My first kiss with Angie.

First time I actually said to myself "I can't believe I'm seeing this": see above picture.

First time I really knew what unconditional love was: When the nurse put Ciera in my arms for the first time.

First time I was ever scared s******s: see previous comment.

First time I knew I was wrapped around my baby girl's finger: When I teared up hearing that stupid "Butterfly Kisses" song. Man, am I a dink.

First time I cried after the age of 16: when Angie had her second miscarriage in 6 months.

First time I cried after that second miscarriage: When Rakes was born 13 months later.

First and Last time I do a "First" post: tonight.

Can pitchers and catchers just go ahead and REPORT already?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The call I didn't want to hear

Got a message around noon today from Ang that went something like this; "Trot had something go through his lip and we're on our way to the Emergency Room to get stitches". An hour and a half later she FINALLY picked up.

Turns out he'd missed the bottom step on the front porch and his bottom tooth went through his upper lip, leaving that nice red scar hiding behind the macaroni and cheese plastered over his face. No stitches were needed, just an antibiotic to keep it from getting infected and an admonishment to make sure he was careful.

Right. You'll find better odds the Israelites and Palestinians will reach a peace accord than this kid taking it easy.

As my adopted little brother candaon told me on the phone tonight, I'm raising the next generation of Evel Knievel; ever since Rakes was born, I've cringed when I've seen our home number come across my cell phone's caller ID. I was positive each call was going to tell me about broken bones, random acts of violence, or the neighbor's house getting set on fire. Today was round one in what I'm sure is a decades long series of messages that result in my insurance premiums increasing ten fold.

In a rare display of kindness and good will toward his little brother, Rakes let's us all know how concerned he really is about Trot's latest mishap....

Give me strength.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Discovery and Disapointment

Totally by accident I stumbled across a brilliant new sport tonight while Rakes, Trot, and Ciera were playing video games; UFC meets PS2. Playing, of all things, Madagascar, a steel cage death match broke out in the living room at Casa de Ted.

Apparently, Rakes didn't like the way Ciera was moving Alex the lion through the jungle maze and let his fists do his talking for him. She commences to scream like somebody from the movie Saw and runs away, which gave Trot the perfect opportunity to grab the cordless control and jump in. Of course instead of breaking it up, my idiotic mind is thinking "This would be a great picture to put on the blog tonight".

After getting the rundown on my priorities from Ang, I set them all down and explained with fatherly wisdom that would make Ward Cleaver jealous how they needed to treat each other with love and kindness, after which we had a relaxed evening playing "The Quiet Game."

Or I could have muttered something about keeling over before I'm 50, promised to give the PS2 to the Salvation Army and threatened Rakes with military school; that was 3 hours ago so who knows?

At precisely 2 p.m. today I pulled the car into a parking lot and turned my XM radio to the MLB channel to hear who made the HOF. Very disappointed to hear that only Goose Gossage's name announced, with Jim Ed Rice falling 14 votes short; Gossage is a deserving candidate, but Rice should have made it as well.

It's about time MLB did something about who votes when it comes to this. I'm all for the writers getting a shot, but how about the broadcasters who do the team's radio and tv coverage? What about former players/managers/executives who were in the league for a certain number of years? It blows my mind we let 500+ writers, most of whom are frustrated, out of shape wannabe ballplayers vote for who gets enshrined in Cooperstown.

Jim Rice made Barry Bonds seem like a media darling. So I guess for being a tad surly, his punishment apparently is being kept out of the Hall of Fame. The voters are allowed to vote for up to 10 players every year and several only vote for 2 or 3. Why? Why not vote for 10 players in the order you deem them HOF worthy? Pro Football has at least 5 inductees every year; why does baseball have years where only 1 and in some instances, NOBODY gets in?

Now that my rant is over, I'm gonna figure out how I can trademark this new sport my kids have discovered. Hopefully this'll fly and I can commence to hermitizing myself for the rest of my life, only venturing out every 6 months for baseball season.

A guy can dream, right?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Taking a positive out of a negative

Driving home tonight and listening to the circus that was the Clemens press conference, I tried to make sense of it all. His lawyer spoke for a few minutes and basically wanted everyone to know that in NO way did they hold George Mitchell or the US Government responsible for this attack on Roger's name. The fact anyone with a brain could tell that's EXACTLY what they think must have escaped their attention.

Then they played this bizarre 15 minute or so phone call between Clemens and McNamee from last week. If you've never heard a man on the verge of a total nervous breakdown, listen to this thing; McNamee is one step away from a straight jacket and sharing a rubber room with Britney. Both of them talked more and said less than two people I've ever heard and the whole thing belongs on an episode of the X Files.

At the end of the day we've still got Clemens denying everything, McNamee one step away from electroshock therapy, and baseball with egg on it's face. This is still one of those he said/he said that without any definitive proof leaves Clemens, McNamee, and the rest of us just twisting in the wind. I'll say this for Clemens; he does "pissed off athlete" better than almost anyone I've ever seen.

For me, the ONLY positive in the whole steroids mess is that it appears to be causing the dinks who vote for the Hall of Fame to actually sit down and look at a retired players body of work and not just his stats. Which means guys who've been left on the outside looking in might just get a shot at Cooperstown now. Tomorrow we find out who, if anyone, is going into the HOF in the Class of 2008.

If I had a vote? Goose Gossage, Jim Ed Rice, Bert Blyleven, and Jack Morris would get in tomorrow. I'm not gonna post all their stats; if you're reading this you've got the Internets, the World Wide Webs, and a mouse. But for me, these 4 should have been in years ago.

'Course, I'd vote the entire Red Sox team from 2004 and 2007 in, so what do I know?

Let's just hope some past wrongs get made right come tomorrow.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Whoever said Sunday was a day of rest was obviously our of their mind; most times the day flies by without a chance to sit down and before I know it I'm in a state of depression that only the Red Sox can get me out of.

Today was no different; starting off with getting the boys ready for church. If you've ever tried to put shoes on a hummingbird, you understand how difficult this seemingly simple task can be. Did I mention Trot has learned a new word? No is now his favorite thing to say. Then it's off to church, rush home and eat lunch, and hope that Trot doesn't fall asleep with his face in his plate. If THAT happens, a 2 1/2 hour nap turns into 45 minutes.

Thankfully he stayed awake and once I got him down for the afternoon, I somehow convinced Rakes to lay down on the couch and watch the football game with me. He actually fell asleep for about an hour and a half and when we got up my shirt was soaked with sweat.

Or so I thought.

It was right around this point he came waddling out of the bathroom, pants around his ankles, and said in the sweetest voice you can imagine "I peed in my pants". My nice Sunday shirt needs about 3 new buttons 'cause that thing came off in a way that would make a Chippendale dancer green with envy.

Lastly, I watched the "60 Minutes" interview with Clemens while I read Rakes his bedtime stories. In between the adventures of Thomas the Train I heard the words "Hogwash", something about a 3rd ear growing out of his forehead and pulling a tractor with his teeth, and a lot of answering a question with a question. I don't KNOW whether he took PED's; I THINK he did, but that doesn't matter.

What amazes me is the way he's just flat out denying ever doing ANYTHING wrong. Bonds pleaded ignorance and the rest who've confessed have used the old "I only did it that one time" defense. Clemens is vehement in his denial, which either means he's innocent or he's digging his own grave. This is just one more black eye for the game I love, and that makes me more than a little sad; looking at your favorite players and wondering if they cheated to get where they are is not a fun way to watch the game.

All I know is when the highlight of your day is realizing your son peed all over you, you know tomorrow has gotta be better.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Proof He DOES Sleep

For everyone who wonders if Rakes EVER throttles down, I finally have photographic evidence; this picture was taken today during nap time.

Since we realized about 2 months ago that napping during the day meant Rakes took 2 hours to finally sleep at night, we'd reached a compromise; while Trot sleeps, Rakes could stay awake as long as he remained in his room. He could read books, play, whatever; just NO coming out of the room unless it was an emergency.

Today, he emerged from his lair on the verge of crying, grabbing himself and hollering "I gotta go to the bafroom". I unlocked the door (Yes, we lock the bathroom doors. Trot is fascinated with the toilet, and we've got pennies stashed all around the house to unlock the doors; Rakes just isn't tall enough to reach them.) and went back to the computer. About 15 minutes later I can hear really loud breathing a ways behind me, and as I turn around I can see his bedroom door open with the light on.

Also apparent is that the bathroom light is still on which means Rakes didn't close the door. I get up, turn the corner, and see the picture I used for this post. After getting Ciera so she could see, I grabbed the camera and snapped the picture thinking "I've got my blog idea for tonight."

A few things that don't jump out to the naked eye; there was a couple of towels laying outside the door, neatly folded and ready to be put away. Rakes thoughtfully stepped over them and THEN laid down. Second, see the swim shoe sort of half-way hanging off his foot on the right? Somewhere in his little mind he'd decided he needed to put on his pool shoes for quiet time. As for why, your guess is as good as mine. Third, the fingers on his right hand were twitching JUST like Coco Crisps do when he's in the batters box waiting on the pitcher to come to the plate.

Unanswered as of right now is whether he had fallen asleep BEFORE going to the bathroom and why he decided he couldn't go another 2 feet to his bedroom door before laying down.

Personally, I think it's proof that the way a man thinks isn't finalized when he gets older; it's ingrained in us from an early age. Rakes didn't want to fall asleep but he was exhausted, so instead of showing "weakness" by getting in his bed, he just laid down on the floor to "rest his eyes". Which is EXACTLY what I tell myself when the Red Sox are on a West Coast swing, it's 1:30 in the morning and I'm wiped. Instead of going to bed like a normal person, I sit down on the couch and when a commercial break happens I tell myself I'm just gonna relax for a minute. Next thing I know an inning and a half has gone by and I'm jolted awake by the latest Sullivan Tire cheese fest.

This may be the first picture I've ever taken of Rakes while he's asleep. If you're a regular visitor here, you've seen a ton of shots of him in action, but you've never seen what I see right before I head to bed. My little hellion, who has hollered, yelled, thrown things, knocked his brother down, and antagonized his sister for the entire day looking like the sweet, innocent child he really is.

Now you know why I've never had to be institutionalized.

Seeing him like this makes all the other stuff just disappear.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Rakes being Manny

Unsure of what to write about tonight, I googled "Images of Manny Ramirez" which always gives me a laugh. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed; there was Manny sitting under one of those hair dryers you see in a beauty salon, Manny pointing at anything and everything under the sun, and Manny admiring another one of his "Holy Crap can you believe I hit that thing that far" Home Run shots.

This one got me though; His wife Juliana holding his son, Manny. Only I don't know which one.

Yep, Manny has TWO sons named Manny; One is Manuelito (Manny) Ramirez and the other is Manny Ramirez, Jr. He also has a third son named Lucas Ramirez, and I'm not quite sure why he didn't name him Manny the 4th. You'd think he'd pull a George Foreman and just keep on giving them the same name until he was out of kids.

But what got me about the picture is there is this beautiful woman holding this adorable child, a perfect picture of a Mother and her son while Manny is apparently channeling his inner Vulcan.

I see a little bit of Manny in Rakes. Both of them just bopping through life to the beat of their own band wanting to be liked but yet not really caring if they are or not. While Manny slides into second and pops up pointing at the dugout, Rakes scores a goal in soccer and runs down the sidelines to give me a high five. Manny has his helmet bounce of his leg while running because it won't fit his hair and Rakes points at the kid he just scored on and says "I dust scored a doal on YOU". For every time Manny goes into the Green Monster for whatever reason, there is Rakes lining up with other team and putting his arm around his friend Jeremy.

I always liked Manny, but since Rakes came along he's turned into one of my all time favorites.

I wonder why?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Raffy Palmiero LIVES

After weeks of denials, videos on YouTube, and more quotes from his lawyer Rusty Hardin than I'd ever want to read, the Rocket sits down with Mike Wallace and "60 Minutes" on Sunday for his first interview since the release of the Mitchell Report.

And the best he can come up with after all this time is "The Raffy Defense"? Are you kidding me? Your trainer shot you up with.... B-12? I don't know about where Roger comes from, but around here you can Vitamin B-12 at Eckerds. In a pill. Does it work better if you shoot it in your rear end? Am I missing out on an incredible rush of energy because I take mine with Orange Juice and Captain Crunch cereal? Does he really think this is gonna fly?

Besides, why would this trainer tell the truth about Roger's running buddy Andy Pettitte and lie about Clemens? So he can go to jail on perjury charges? Admittedly, I don't know whether Clemens took PHD's; however, the fact he looked like he was done 12 years ago and then turned into Sandy Koufax does make me wonder.

Look at Curt Schilling. The older he got the more out of shape he became, and the last 3 years have been brutal in terms of performance, give or take a near no hitter now and then. And he's 5 YEARS YOUNGER than Roger.

Clemens is either the most honest, ethical ball player I've ever seen or is the greatest actor since Marlon Brando ruled the cinematic world. Sad thing is, we'll probably never know which one is true. However, take a look at the picture at the top of the page and then take a look at this and you be the judge:

Why can't there be PED's for husbands who say REALLY stupid stuff to their wives?

*I just realized I had PHD instead of PED. Obviously, I am in possession of neither.*

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Be Careful For What You Wish For...

In planning the trip to Fenway there was this random thought ping-ponging it's way inside my head the whole time I could never catch. Just some weird feeling that I was missing the big picture and there was something HUGE I was just not putting my finger on.

2 minutes after booking my flight and bouncing down the stairs while hollering "Ang: I'm so excited! I just booked my trip to Boston in May", I figured out what it was. Turns out your wife of 15 years, while happy for you, is a tad miffed that you overcame your fear of flying to go to Boston and watch the Red Sox play with your friends when for the past 11 years you wouldn't even TALK about getting on a plane. Never mind you haven't overcome anything other than buying the ticket; I still think they'll have to push me on board in a wheelchair, but that's 4 months away. I'm convinced part of her thought the neurotic mess her husband is would never buy the ticket in the first place; the fact that I DID do it I consider progress, though I doubt she'd see it my way.

When I tried to explain to her that maybe it was seeing the Red Sox at Fenway was the first thing that could get me to try and get past my fear didn't go over well either. Shockingly, going on a romantic weekend with her should be more exciting than going to Boston. Realizing my HUGE error in judgement, I then pulled the one card I should have KNOWN better than to use.

"But I just need some time away from the kids by myself". Word to the wise? Don't EVER say this to a stay at home Mom whose last trip away was Gatlinburg, TN in 2006 with some friends that included approximately 4, 762 phone calls wanting to know when she was coming home. And those were just mine; I have no idea how many times the kids called her.

It was at this point in the discussion I realized I'd need an industrial strength bulldozer and some of my Grade A fertilizer to dig myself out of this, and proceeded to promise her anything I could think of. I'm pretty sure the words "Hawaii", "romantic weekend", and "I'll buy you a condo" were uttered but I won't swear to it. By this time, I'd have told her we could live on a yacht with 10 maids, a Nanny, and a full time chef just to end it.

After all the dust settled, it became apparent the following would happen....

I'm shipping up to Boston for a weekend in May to see the Red Sox.

I'll have an experience that I will never forget.

And I'll be paying for it for the rest of my life.

That's OK, though. 'Cause I get to go to Fenway.

I'd say I got the better end of the deal.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

What Have I Done?

It's been 11 years since I got myself on an airplane, but tonight I did what was previously unthinkable; I bought a plane ticket.

To Boston.

Last time I flew was in '95 when Ang and I went to Cancun for our 5th anniversary; I'd flown several times before with no problems, and the flight to Mexico was a non issue. It was the one coming BACK that for whatever reason freaked me out. I remember the pilot coming on and saying something about "42,000 feet above Cuban airspace" and I started looking for a paper bag to breath into. By the time we reached Raleigh I LITERALLY kissed the ground and said never again.

Sometimes never means "for a while" I guess, because when my buddy emailed me and let me know he had tickets to some games and wanted me to come, what's left of my brain kicked into overdrive. Thanks to Skybus and a $82 round trip ticket I'm on my way.

Of course, all the good, kind, sensitive folks at Surviving Grady were VERY positive about the town I'm flying into ("I didn't know Chicopee even HAD a airport" was the nicest comment I can recall). However, I'm undeterred. Even the fact that I've been told in no uncertain terms that "If you can fly to Boston you can fly somewhere with me" doesn't worry me; like I told Ang, maybe this is just what I need to get me over this irrational fear I've had.

I'll get to see Fenway Park and the city of Boston with some good friends; some of whom I've met and some who I'm excited to meet for the first time. Before I actually BOUGHT the ticket, it was sort of like something I had on my Bucket List.

Now it's REALITY. And at the risk of making my brother go into a seizure, I've got to quote one of my favorite movies of all time. From Red in "Shawshank Redemption"...

"I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head."

Sorry Matt, but this time it's true. 'Cause 4 1/2 months from now I'll be looking at this in person.
I ask you. How freaking cool will THAT be?