February 7, 2000
As I arrived home from work tonight, I asked the same thing I ask every night, “Did anyone go and get the mail?” Tonight, I received the same response I receive every night, “Oh, do we have to?” I often wonder about kids and what makes them tick. I mean how hard can it be to take the mail key and walk 100 yards to a mail box in 72 degree weather and retrieve four or five pieces of paper? It is not like I am asking them to battle fierce cold or march across the great plains in the dead of winter. But each day is the same thing. Well to save myself the trouble of repeating the lecture my father always gave me, I decided it would be best if I got the mail myself. So getting on my snow boots and snow pants, putting a turtleneck, sweater and parka on. I wrapped my neck in a scarf put a fur hat on and donned my down filled mittens to make the daily trek down to the mail box. The journey was long as I fought the fierce gale force winds shielding my eyes from the blizzard like conditions. My family waited eagerly at the window their breath fogging the glass as they awaited my return from the Arctic frozen tundra of Chandler Arizona. It seemed to take forever for this journey. I looked across the street my eyes now getting accustomed to the white-out conditions. I could make out my neighbor who was also battling the elements. There he stood staring at me as he was watering the lawn in his shorts. I must have looked like a crazed Eskimo mime. But looks mean nothing when you are battling the fierce elements of an Arizona winter. I reached the mailbox and quickly emptied its contents and stuffed them in my parka so they would not freeze and quickly made my way back to the house. There I was greeted at the door by my daughter Ashley. “Think you could have made that any more dramatic dad?” I think I made my point. Maybe next time they will not give me so much grief when I ask them to get the mail. Who am I kidding? Tomorrow will be the same. For now I am content to get out of this coat, I am dying. I home there are some popcicles left. I gotta cool off.
February 6, 2000
Dakota awoke this morning with a fever. I guess I get elected to stay home from church with him. It probably wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t have to watch Tarzan five times in a row. I am beginning to root for Clayton to kill every gorilla on the screen. When the closing credits again ran, I talked Dakota into taking a ride in hopes that he would calm down. I put his jacket on and we got into the Suburban. As we started driving, Dakota asked if we could listen to some music. Since most of the radio stations were playing garbage, I turned to the CD. As the music started, Dakota and I began to get very excited. I could name this tune in seven notes. I have heard this song so many times and yet I never get tired of it. It is the roof opening music at Bank One Ballpark. As it starts, I reach for the electric window controls and begin lowering all of the windows in the Surburban. Dakota just loves that and he makes me play the song over and over. We laughed until we were both tired. I turned the car around and as I lowered and raised the windows for the tenth time, Dakota fell asleep. All in all, it was a pretty good day.
February 5, 2000
After my comments yesterday about alternative seating arrangements, I should have known what was coming next. I was to busy comtemplating Spring Training starting in two weeks to think about coming up with a good story today. So when Trina suggested we go look at furniture, I was left staring like a deer in headlights. I knew I was in danger and I should run, but I was fascinated by the bright lights bearing down upon me. So, without a good excuse, I was drug to the car and forced to wander aimlessly down aisles of couches, love seats, and chairs. Forced to endure the torture of examining fabric swatches. I was asked my opinion (I have no idea why since it was completely ignored) of various types of styles and fabrics. I was bored out of my mind but had to act interested. Our final stop in this death march was the Lazy Boy store. You would think with a name like that they would cater to guys but that was not the case. I wandered around the store looking at simulated living rooms. It was obvious that none of these rooms were designed by men since there was no television, everything was color coordinated, and it was way to clean. Then I saw it. In the distance was the Nirvana of male furniture. A leather recliner with a cooler in one arm, a massage control in the other. It had a place for numerous television remotes and was even equipped with a telephone with Caller ID. I dove for the chair and tested all of its amenities. As Trina wandered the store I sat in a chair second only to Captain’s Kirks in importance. I took the salesman aside and asked the most important question, “Can I get it in two tone leather? I want the sides in purple and the front and back in teal green.” I took off my Diamondbacks hat to match the leather colors exactly. I know that Trina has her heart set on a couch, but I think three of these chairs stacked side-by-side would be about the same size. Surely she would see the genius of this plan.
February 4, 2000
After a long day at work, I came home to find Trina and the kids working on the house getting everything all cleaned up. At first I panicked. Usually when this amount of cleaning is being done, it usually means we are going to have company. I’m not sure I can deal with out of town guests right now. Trina assured me that was not the case. I was confused. I knew something was up, I just didn’t know what. Trina and the kids brought me the newspaper with the sports page on top and a cold pop. Now I was really worried. Then Trina laid it on me. “You know, the couch in the living room is really showing it wear. Perhaps we should think about replacing it.” Now I am not one to start an argument, I am also not one to roll over and agree. “Sure” I said, “I know just the thing for this room.” I did too. I had recently found the company that made the seats for Bank One Ballpark. It would be awesome if we got a row of seats and set them in the living room. Not only that, we could eliminate the end tables too. Each seat comes with its own beverage holder. This would be perfect. The green seats would even match the curtains. I had everything covered. By this time, I was getting really excited. I would be the envy of everyone in Section 133. But before I could savor the mental image, Trina shot me down. There is no way we are getting ballpark seats for the living room. If I attempted such a purchase, I would find myself sleeping in those seats. Disenchanted, I felt it better that I let this battle lay for a while. She probably would have flipped anyway when I started throwing peanut shells on the floor.
February 3, 2000
My friend George Taylor paged me this morning with a simple question, “Do you want to go to a Phoenix Coyote hockey game tonight?” I quickly checked my calendar, Mallorie’s Middle School Band Concert 7:30 PM. “Sure”, I responded back. I knew I should go to my daughter’s band concert, but who could choose listening to a hundred struggling student musicians over watching three periods of fighting and an occasional goal. I am sure the family will understand. After all, I had to suffer through shopping for beds for a whole month. I should at least get time off for good behavior. Surprisingly, Trina agreed that I should probably spend some time out of the house. I think she is still a little freaked out about the spring dance the other morning though I keep telling her it was just a bad dream, I don’t think she is buying it. With the family’s blessings, George and I went downtown to America West Arena. The drive seemed so natural like I had done it 167 times before. I have gotten so that I could probably drive it in my sleep. Imagine my surprise when I noticed that I was parked in the Bank One Ballpark parking lot where I usually do for the baseball games. I found myself less interested in the hockey game and more interested in knowing whether they were ready to lay the new sod on the playing field. I went to the game and as I watched the Coyotes lose 2-0, I couldn’t help notice that I was the only one wearing an Arizona Diamondbacks jersey and hat. What is up with these people. They are less than 400 yards away from Bank One Ballpark and no one was wearing purple pinstripes. There are times I really have to wonder about where society is going.
February 2, 2000
Today is Groundhog Day, I have for years attempted to have this day recognized as a major holiday but to no avail. Outside of Punxsutawney Pennsylvania, no one seems to care. What is up with this country? We celebrate a calendar rolling over from one year to the next without a second thought but suggest we celebrate a rodent predicting the weather and people think you’re nuts. So I am left once again celebrating on my own. I prepared my traditional Ground Hog dinner of sausages and the family took turns making shadow puppets on the walls. We ended the day watching the classic Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day. As I sat watching the movie, I began to ponder how all events have a connection to baseball. This holiday is no different. In life, the groundhog comes out of hibernation and looks around to see if spring has arrived. In baseball, pitchers and catchers come out of hibernation to see if spring training has arrived. In life, fans cheer if the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow and spring arrives. In baseball, fans cheer if pitchers and catchers don’t see their shadows and spring training arrives. In life, after the groundhog reports, he is locked away in a cage for six weeks. In baseball, after pitchers and catchers report, they are locked away in dormatories for six weeks. In life, everyone questions why we care what a rodent has to say about the weather. In baseball, everyone questions why we care what a rodent has to say about minorities in New York. In life, I cannot find anyone who agrees that Groundhog Day should be a national holiday where we all get out of work. In baseball, I cannot find anyone who agrees that Spring Training should be a national holiday where we all get out of work. Sometimes these parallels even scare me. This is like some kind of Twilight Zone episode.
February 1, 2000
To a baseball fan, January is the longest month of the year. It is close enough to spring training to whet your appetite but still far enough away that it seems it will never come. So when the month ends, baseball fans all around the world sigh a great relief that they have survived another off-season. All attention now focuses on the middle of February. For it is that time that life springs eternal. As major league players all journey to the sunny climates of Arizona and Florida. As I got up this morning, I looked out of my bedroom window and saw a new day dawning. I began an uncontrollable urge to begin dancing. There I was in my Goofy slippers and my pajamas dancing away my arms swinging back and forth. Suddenly I came to the realization that unlike other days, Trina had not gotten up before me, there she was laying under the covers, a confused look on her face. Rarely does a wife ever get woken from a dead sleep to the sight of a thirty-eight year old man dancing in Diamondback pajamas wearing slippers shaped like Goofy’s head. As she rolled over trying to erase this image from her mind, I heard her say, “So this is what they meant when they said for better or for worse. It doesn’t get much worse than that.”
January 31, 2000
As January comes to a close, it ends the same way it began. January 1, Trina and I went shopping for bunk beds for Tiffany and Whitney. We picked one out and scheduled to have it delivered on the 5th. The store missed the delivery date and the saga began. For the subsequent four weeks, Trina went back and forth with the store setting up appointments and trying to take delivery. We did receive a bed for a couple of minutes around the middle of the month. Unfortunately, it was of such poor quality that we had to immediately send it back. So today, a month since we started this adventure, Trina was again at the bed store. I could tell by the way she threw me out of bed this morning that she was in no mood to fool around. I felt the safest place for me today would be at work. I once took a karate class with Trina. We once had a Basset Hound that decided to tick Trina off by running away for a few days. Upon his return, Trina had him neutered. From that time forward, I made sure Trina knew where I was going and when I would return. So I left the bed salesman to fend for himself. When I got home, she had in her possession a new bed and a very bad attitude. I guess now would not be the most opportune time to talk about spring training tickets. It is best tread lightly when Mt. Trina is on the verge of eruption.
January 30, 2000
It is Super Sunday on so many levels. Nearly everyone on the planet knows that Super Bowl XXXIV is being held today in Atlanta. The kick-off is scheduled for 4:14 PM MST so if I am to see the beginning of the pre-game show I better set my alarm clock for 6:00 AM. I always look forward to the Super Bowl. It signals the time when pitchers and catchers begin packing before spring training starts. For the Diamondbacks, there are only 17 days until report day. I always use this day to get my mitt out and begin oiling it for the upcoming season. The ritual is always the same. Squirt, rub, rub, rub look at the television. Oh look, it is the official chef of the NFL giving his Super Bowl recipe for gumbo. The countdown to the game is only 6 hours. Squirt, rub, rub, rub look at the television. Chris Berman is interviewing the mother’s brother of the second cousin of the third string punter for the Titans. He knew from birth that he was destined to play in the Super Bowl. The tradition continues until my mitt is prefectly formed. The smell of fresh leather permiates the room. After such a long process, I am ready for a nap. According to the countdown, only two more hourse until game time. If you add three hours to that, football season only has five more hours to go.