February 16, 2000
This is one of those red letter calendar days that is filled with anticipation. As a kid, there were a few holidays that were more special than others. Who can forget the butterflies and excitement surrounding Christmas Eve when you just knew you were going to get that G.I. Joe with the life-like hair and the kung-fu grip? Or what about the night before Thanksgiving when you knew that morning would bring the Macy’s Day parade and the chance for an 80-foot balloon to come loose and terrorize New York City? Well these all compare to what a baseball fan feels the day before Spring Training begins. Just think, tomorrow will mark the official beginning of baseball 2000. Pitchers and catchers will emerge from hibernation to begin loosening their arms and tightening their belts as they begin to get ready for another 162 games. I am giddy as a school girl waiting for pitchers and catchers to begin tossing the ball around. I am already feeling a little ill and may have to take off from work tomorrow to watch them play catch. I can see already that I am not going to get much sleep tonight. I may have to resort to counting fly balls (real baseball fans don’t count sheep) to get myself to sleep. Before going to bed, I carefully lay out my best Diamondbacks shirt to wear tomorrow when I get up. I put on my baseball pajamas and settle down to watch Field of Dreams one more time. I can hardly wait.
February 15, 2000
Well, I finally have all of the pieces of my new computer system. I have all of my files transferred from the old system to the new. I have all of the new peripherals installed and working. All that is left is to place the pieces in my desk and get to work. I moved the desk which in and of itself is no easy task since it weighs about 350 pounds. Once pulled away from the walls, I took my old computer apart and moved it upstairs for the kids use. I then began the task of installing the new system. How hard can this be. I should be done in a couple of minutes and have all evening to see who was going to marry that millionaire on television. I started off with the easy part, the monitor. As I began to move it into place I found that the 19 inch monitor was a lot larger than the 17 inch I had before. I found that it did not want to fit very well. Not to be outdone by a piece of furniture, I nudged it into place with man’s best friend. No, I didn’t hit it with a dog! Jeez, give me a little credit, I used a hammer. With only a couple of dents in the desk and one on my thumb, the monitor was in place. Next came the computer. I carefully slid the tower into it spot in the desk. Well, I tried to carefully slide the tower into its spot. Unfortunately, the computer and the spot were incompatible. It must be a Microsoft thing. It seems the old computer was roughly two inches narrower than the new one. This left no space for the computer in the desk. Again, I brought out trusty old “MC” and gave the shelves a few whacks and in the process removed them from the desk. I now had lots of room for the computer plus I had extra wood for another new project. You know, I have watched Norm Abram in the New Yankee Workshop every week and he never has this kind of problems. I think maybe all I need is a shop with $200,000 in tools and I could have this problem licked.
February 14, 2000
As Valentines Day arrives, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I had remembered that it was Monday and had even done a little shopping. Armed with a card, flowers, candy, and a gift; I was going for major points. A guy has so few opportunities to get out of the dog house, he has to make the most of it. I had gone all out. I even had a card especially made from one of those machines. I don’t presume to be a poet but my heart was in the right place. It simply said, “You’re better than a home run in the bottom of the ninth.” I thought if anyone would appreciate that, it would be Trina. As she opened the card, I had a hard time judging whether I was making points or not. When she finally got to the gift, she had a look of anticipation and I was sure this was the perfect gift. I was so eager for her to open it that I had to jump in as one of the kids and help her tear off the gift wrapping. As the box was opened, I waited for the squeal of joy that I was sure this gift would bring. Instead, I heard those five words that I have become so accustomed to, “Did you save the receipt?” I couldn’t believe it. How could any woman not love a satin teddy? I made sure it was the right size as I had feigned interest in the laundry for two weeks so I could get underwear sizes. I knew it would fit. I couldn’t figure out why she wouldn’t be parading around in this thing. It was perfect. It was made of material that had thousands of little Arizona Diamondbacks logos all over it. I fell in love with it the first time I saw it. I probably would have gotten one for myself if they would have had one my size. I just don’t get this holiday.
February 13, 2000
Groggy from another late night working on the computer. I use the term loosely since I spent a couple of hours last night watching The Matrix on DVD on the computer. Hey, a guy has got to test doesn’t he? I wandered out the front door this morning in my Diamondbacks pajamas with my Goofy slippers on to retrieve the newspaper. There across the street was my neighbor watering his lawn. “Geez, is that all that guy does is water is lawn?” I thought. “Geez, does this guy ever dress like a normal person?” he was probably thinking. Regardless, I wander back into the house, the paper in tow. As I opened it up, there on the front page was proclaimed, Spring Training Baseball Extra in today’s paper. I could hardly contain myself as I tore through the paper trying to find this section. As I went, paper flew like debris through a tree chipper. Trina rushed in to see what the commotion was. Is I found it, I jumped up and let out a Hoot!, the ears on my Goofy slippers flapping against my jammies. “I guess this means you won’t be finishing the computer today then?” she asked. I’m thinking it would be wise to read while loading software if I know what’s good for me.
February 12, 2000
As a special favor to me today, the kids all in unison went down to the mail box (Dakota of course had to wear his snow gear just to be like Dad) to gather the mail. I of course was still sprawled out on the floor. Partly from exhaustion due to staying up all night playing on the new computer and partly from shock that the kids were getting the mail without being asked. When they came back, the marched in parading by size through the front door singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”, our family national anthem. Dakota being the smallest was first in line. Above his head he carefully held the February copy of the Diamondbacks Magazine. He approached me and held out his little hands which were carefully holding this precious gift. I felt much like Joseph must have when the three wise men brought gifts celebrating the birth of the Christ child. I accepted his gift and ran to the one quiet room in the house and began reading. I emerged three hours later, a peaceful solitude about my countenance. Much like a drug addict, I have once again gotten my fix of Diamondbacks information. I should be able to survive another month until the next issue arrives.
February 11, 2000
I’m sitting in a meeting this afternoon when I received a page from Trina. “Congratulations, you are the proud owner of a bouncing baby Hewlett Packard 9690c Computer!” That message brought a tear to my eyes. I have been waiting what seems like an eternity for my new computer to arrive. What started two months ago as a search to see if there was something a little faster and a little bigger on which I could develop Now Hitting web pages ended up with the purchase of a massive home computer system capable of streaming live video to the web. I rushed home from work and tore into the boxes. I pulled the cobalt blue case out and admired it. My first reaction was, wouldn’t have been cool if it were Diamondback purple. As I started to set it up, I immediately began customizing the computer. First thing to go was the sleek mouse that HP had sent. Although it was cool, it did not compare to my Arizona Diamondbacks mouse. I then booted the system and immediately installed the baseball theme and my Arizona Diamondbacks background and screen saver. Well, it is now starting to look like a real computer. All I have left to do now is install 27 software packages and transfer my files from one PC to the other. I should be done just about the time spring training starts next Friday.
February 10, 2000
I’ve seen Mike Tyson fight, I’ve watched the WWF Monday Nitro, I have even seen the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Pay-per-view but nothing could have prepared me for the events of today. New Year’s Day, Trina and I had purchased a bunk bed for the kids. We had expected delivery later that week. As of today, we were still awaiting delivery. This shopping experience has been a nightmare as the company either delivered garbage to us or missed delivery dates. Well, we had finally had it and Trina went to demand a refund. The salesperson at Beds Direct who was also the owner gave Trina every excuse imaginable for why her company was not at fault and stressed at the top of her lungs that there were no refunds. Trina was tenacious not backing down meeting this Amazon woman decibel for decibel. Customers who were unfortunate enough to wander into the store were treated to quite a sight. Two women standing toe-to-toe, yelling at each other at the top of their lungs. Now Trina was mismatched giving away probably a good 65 pounds to her opponent. To the untrained eye, this fight looked to be very lopsided. But there was information I knew about Trina that would tip the scales in her favor. First, she was married to me. Anyone who could survive 19 years of me on a daily basis could definitely take this Shamu in pantyhose. Second, there was the incident with Bone Crusher my Basset Hound. He ran off one time and would not return when Trina called him. This infuriated Trina to no end and when she finally caught him, she had him neutered. Third, I once took a self-defense class with Trina and I watched her drop a 6 foot 3 inch 245 pound black-belt to the ground and come inches away from shoving his nose into his brain cavity. This babe obviously had no idea what she was dealing with. During the foray going on in the showroom, Mamma Cass raised her arm like she was going to strike my wife. Trina glared at her with her steely dark eyes and calmly said, “Touch me and I will drop you like a rock.” The Walrus immediately backed down and cheerfully refunded our money. It was probably the wisest decision she would ever make. As we traveled home, I looked at Trina and said, “My car is leaking oil. Could you take it in and do what you just did at the dealership? If they ask, I would like the Red Corvette for my trouble.”
February 9, 2000
With opening day only 55 days away, I have a lot to do. I got into the closet today and pulled out the seat cushions. I better start getting these packed if I want to be ready when the Diamondbacks open the season on April 4 against the Philadelphia Phillies. On one hand it seems like only yesterday that I was watching the Diamondbacks in the playoffs against the New York Mets. On the other hand, I can hardly remember what it is like to be sitting in the stands watching a Major League Baseball game. I can hardly wait. I opened the pocket on the seat cushion and looked inside. It was like Christmas morning all over again. Hey, there is the ticket stub from the playoff game! I wondered where that was. And there is my water bottle still half full. Feels a little warm, I probably should put it in the freezer so it is ready. Wow, there are still three salted peanuts left from last year so I shouldn’t have to buy any at the first game. And there is still one piece of Cotton Candy stuck to the inside of the pocket. Looking around to see that no one was watching, I ate that. It doesn’t have the same consistency after four months. Deep in the bottom of the bag was two yellow gummy bears without heads (I always eat the heads off first. It is kind of a king of the jungle thing I guess). Finally, one piece of Bubble Yum bubble gum, hard as a rock. This last treasure I threw away although Dakota retrieved it from the garbage and chewed it before I could stop him. With the inventory completed, I got the cushions dusted off and ready for another season. All that is left to do is wait.
February 8, 2000
After a hard day, I made my way home. As I sat down on the couch Trina yells from the kitchen. “Hey Nanook the mail is on the counter!” Well, it seems my demonstration did have some lasting effect since I didn’t have to beg for the mail today. I reached the pile and began rummaging through it. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the worst. If I see one more add for carpet cleaning, I think I am going to Ralph! Then I came to a stack of cards. Each card was the same. White 3 X 5 inch cards with Phoenix postmarks scrawled across the front. In the upper left hand corner was the familiar logo of the Arizona Diamondbacks. I grabbed them and leafed through them. There were cards for each member of the family and two for me. I eagerly turned them over to see what was on them. There was the announcement I had been waiting for. Single game tickets will go on sale in the next two weeks for the 2000 season. When I read that I got so excited that I yelled and threw the cards straight in the air. Everyone in the house came running from every room in the house to see what was going on. There they found me in the dining room postcards floating around the room like confetti. In the middle, I was dancing a little jig in circles like some crazed leprechaun. Baseball season was finally coming close. I could almost taste the hot dogs. I think we need to celebrate this occasion. A trip to the team shop is in order.