Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


Pleasure before business, before pleasure

Usually on weekend, I try to 'front-load' my schedule...get all the chores out of the way Friday/Saturday so I can do some guilt free lounging.  This weekend, I shook thing up a bit.  With the Super Bowl not starting here until 3:30 in the afternoon, and me having no real interest in watching 5 hours of pre-game coverage(especially not because I have been watching the sports shows all week already), I purposefully saved a bunch of things to do today.

That meant I had to find something to do on Saturday, and taking my wife out for a Wine Tasting date sounded like fun, especially because even though we are already deep in the heart of Washington Wine Country(something like 130 wineries between Yakima and Walla Walla), new ones are opening every day, so yesterday, we made an effort to visit some of the new/smaller ones.

A new one we are going to keep an eye on is Tucannon Cellars, who had some great wines...and, while they weren't cheap, they didn't cost quite as much as other 'boutique' wineries, especially with the 20% off a half-case special.  My wife even struck up a conversation with the owner, and offered to help with an upcoming bottling run. 

After hitting 4 wineries, my wife finally cried mercy, and begged me to take her to lunch.  Probably did that in the wrong order. 
Still...it was a good time, and getting to enjoy lunch with my wife was a nice end to the date.
This morning, it was work, work, work....go to the gym, clean the chicken coop, make a dump run, and make up some baked ziti to enjoy for dinner during this little football game scheduled for this evening.


Too much awesome.

Courtesy of Joel McHale and The Soup, I am pleased to present this video.

Ummm...that is the OPPOSITE of news.

For some reason, the instructor for my aqua aerobics class didn't show up this morning, so, I had to find something else to do, meaning I ended up on an elliptical machine in the 'Cardio Theater' for 40 minutes. 

My machine was located between two TV's...one of them showing ESPN News, and the other tuned to CNN.  Since I hadn't planned on jumping on a machine, I didn't have my ear buds, so I was stuck trying to read the closed captioning and banners scrolling across the screen. 

Except, nothing ever scrolled on CNN...they had one story on the screen the whole time...the announcement that Mitt Romney has decided he is NOT going to run for President in 2016. 

For over 40 minutes...40 STRAIGHT minutes...that was the only banner on CNN. 

Really?  40 minutes focused on a 'negative news' story? 

I focused most of my attention on ESPN News. 


Maybe there is hope.

Sometimes, in the locker room at the gym, you hear some really strange conversations.  Things like two totally naked men talking about how much getting a new fence installed should cost.  I'm not sure how old you have to be to feel that standing around naked is the right time to have that conversation, but I know that the answer is not 'almost 40', because I don't have conversations while standing around naked.

Any today I heard a couple of young kids having a conversation that somewhat warmed my heart.  At first glance, I thought the kids might have been like 5 years old, but they were probably more like 13-14. 

Kid 1: Did you Obama is going to give us free college! 

Kid 2: That would be cool...college costs like 50K a year!

Kid 3: Yeah, but it's not free.

Kid 1: What do you mean?  It said on the news that it would be free.

Kid 3: It's going to be paid for with taxes...that isn't free.

Kid 2: But I don't pay taxes, so....yeah.

Kid 3: Not now, but you will pay taxes like that someday.

If it wouldn't have been really creepy for a stranger to approach a teenage boy in the locker room and give him a high-five, I would have done so. 

Nice to see that at least some of the younger generation get's it.


Well, now I wish I had gone!

Over the weekend, my wife and kids went to a 'Family Expo' at the local convention center.  I passed on going, since I had to stay home and clean the chicken coop, which is kind of like the cliché 'I need to wash my hair excuse' that women always used to give in movies when they were asked out on a date.

While the 'Family Expo' was your expected collection of dentists, orthodontist, chiropractors, and doctor's clinics, and dance studios, and the Boys and Girls Club, and insurance companies, and a home safety booth run by the Fire Department., and there were plenty of freebies to be found(pretty sure they came home with a 2-year supply of free toothbrushes and chapstick)....I didn't know the Reptile Guy was going to be there, letting people pose!

Talk about jealous!


My wife said that that baby alligator was as snuggly as any cat she had every gotten to hold, and she would be WAY more likely to let me get a baby gator now than a ferret. 


Difficulty Level: Expert

I like to think I do my fair share of chores around the house...certainly a larger percentage than most of the other husbands in my peer group seem to do. 

This morning, while folding clothes, I noticed that as my wife seems to be less of my wife every day, and more of my older daughter every day...it's getting tougher and tougher to tell their shirts apart. 

Luckily, because I'm actually, you know...helping to fold clothes, the women folk don't hold this against me.  They will just go put something that doesn't belong to them on the other ones bed.

I'm here to tell to you though...the day I can't tell their undies apart I am D-U-N done.


And it's still in the wrapper.

So...if you are someone who thinks that sports are dumb, and getting emotionally wrapped up in what is a essentially a (multi-BILLION dollar) kids game, than this post isn't for you. 

I am a New England Patriots fan.  I have been a New England Patriots fan for a while, and I came by it honestly.  I was born just outside of Boston, lived in Rhode Island for several years as a kid, and then spend 6 years in Connecticut for the Navy...so it's three-times reinforced.  I remember cheering for Steve Grogan, Irving Fryar, and Mosi Tatupu.  I remember booing for Tony Eason, and thinking that the season was over back when Drew Bledsoe went down, and a young kid named Tom Brady came into the game.

Sunday night, after my New England Patriots took apart the Colts, I was feeling pretty high on life.  While I have a few Patriots t-shirts, I don't have an official NFL licensed Patriots jersey, and my wife, who is amazing, told me to go ahead and celebrate the Patriots going to the Super Bowl by spending $100+ on an official Patriots jersey.

The toughest part was picking which players name to get on the back of the jersey.  I didn't want the glamor boy quarterback, because that isn't me, and it's tough picking a running back that will actually get reliable playing time in the Patriots system.  I quickly narrowed it down to Julian Edelman(WR) and two defensive players: Vince Wilfork, and Rob Ninkovich.  As cool as Edelman is, he weighs less than do, so...can't wear a players jersey you are bigger than.  With big Vince listed at 326, but probably weighing more, there is zero chance that I will ever weigh more than him...but in the end, I went with Rob Ninkovich.  Ninkovich reminds me of the kind players that stocked the roster when we won those three Super Bowls back in the early 2000's....nothing flashy, his numbers on paper don't stick out...but he makes the plays when a play needs to be made. 

At least....I thought that was the toughest part, because when I woke up Monday, things had changed.  That's when a story had broke that the Patriots were accused of using footballs that were underinflated by the rules of the league.  With the story being initially reported by a Indianapolis sportswriter, it felt like a case of sour grapes, and was initially easy to laugh off.  Then Tuesday night, the word came out that yup...at half-time, 11 of 12 balls the Patriots were using were up to 2 psi below the required 12.5-13.5 pressure range.  This could have made them easier to grip, catch and throw in nasty conditions. 

Not much has developed since then.  The balls are inspected and approved by NFL officials 2 hours prior to the game, and then ? until they are used to play the game.  But...there are questions, in my mind at least, about how in depth this inspection is, because other NFL players talk about personalizing their footballs to a high degree, and Aaron Rodgers of the Packers said that he likes to overinflate the balls, and said that sometimes the officials remove the air, and sometimes they don't.

And that is where I start getting a headache.  As anyone who follows football knows, back in 2007, the Patriots were accused of filming other teams practices to steal signals(Spygate) and punished for it.  Since then, they have had a reputation as a team who is always looking for an advantage, and due to their success, a lot of people are waiting to laugh at them, take pleasure in their failures, and assume the worst of them.

To those people, it's obvious that the Patriots provided satisfactory footballs to the officials before the game, and then some how, as the request of QB Tom Brady, bled air out of those footballs before game time. Tom Brady, for his part, at a press conference, denied altering the pressure of footballs yesterday. 

It's possible, looking at what he REALLY said semantically, that he was telling the truth.  What I believe is that the NFL has a rule about doing pre-game inspections on footballs...and it is poorly and inconsistently enforced.  The Patriots recognized that, and I think they have been using balls at this pressure for...a while. 

Is that good?  NO!  But...to me...playing loose with a rule that is seldom enforced is different than the other side's story....that someone actively went and Mission Impossible'd air out of 11 footballs after the officials inspected them. 

Call it rationalization because I'm a Patriots fan...call it pragmatics...to me, while both of those scenarios end up with footballs being underinflated...one path to that destination is much more heinous than the other. 

Either way...the Patriots should be punished. After Spygate, they can't do something just because 'everyone else is doing it.'  They need to be not just better than everyone else, but cleaner.  So, go ahead NFL...fine them, and take away draft picks.  Now...if they have evidence(not even burden of proof, jury type evidence...the Patriots are already WAY guilty in the court of public opinion) that someone associated with the Patriots deliberately removed air from properly inspected footballs just prior to game time....then while it pains me to say so...throw the book at them.  If it means you suspend our coach and suspend Tom Brady for the Super Bowl...then do it. 

My only request is do it soon...before the Super Bowl.  I would rather lose the Super Bowl at this point because we are playing with our back-up rookie QB, than win the Super Bowl, and have a huge asterisk next to it when the NFL comes out in a month, and decides to suspend Brady for the first 6 games of next season. 

Anyway...for now, my Rob Ninkovich jersey sits in it's plastic wrapper, in case I decide to send it back in for a refund.