Monthly Archives: August 2011

Will’s 1st Red Sox Game: A Tradition Passed to the Next Generation

The grass and the Monster.

I’m not sure exactly when I went to my first Red Sox game, but I was probably 6 or 7. Roger Clemens was pitching, although I had no idea what that meant at the time. All the other memories are fuzzy, except for one that’s crystal clear. Walking with my dad in Fenway Park, through the crowded concourse, up a ramp until suddenly my vision was flooded with the greenest grass I’d ever seen, and the Green Monster (Fenway’s signature 37.5-foot wall in left field) looming larger than life.

I was blown away. I remember thinking how all this green space could exist in the city. Wondering how ANYONE could ever muscle a ball over the Monster. And feeling the whole thing was surreal because I had seen Fenway on TV so many times, it felt like it was this faraway fantasy land that didn’t really exist. For 10 seconds I just stared, lost in the enormity of it all.

I was only a little kid, so I didn’t understand the intricacies of the game yet. All I knew was how important the team was to my dad. I watched him more than I watched the game. He lived and died on every pitch so dammit I was gonna do the same thing. Just like he learned from his grandfather. I remember him telling me the Red Sox would eventually break my heart, but it’s our job to root for them no matter what. For life. And so I did, no questions asked.

The only thing I remember from that day 25 years ago was my dad putting his hand on my shoulder and giving a squeeze. I didn’t know it at the time, but that squeeze was his way of saying “Welcome to the club little man.”

Fast forward to last weekend.

I had been going back and forth on whether or not I could bring Will to a Red Sox game this season. Ultimately I decided against it for several reasons. First of all I thought he was too young. But mostly, it’s because the Red Sox have the most expensive tickets in baseball. Bleacher seats are $25 face value. Except everything is sold out so you can’t get face value. Usually you have to pay $50 per ticket for small seats so far away you can barely see the action. And the concession prices are so disgustingly inflated you need to take out a bank loan before you buy a couple of hotdogs. Combine all of this with the fact that 3-year-olds have the attention span of a gnat and you’re traveling an hour and spending a shit ton of money for a couple of innings until the whining & temper-tantrum kicks in.

But my parents, who are awesome, decided to get Will and I tickets as a birthday present to me. So with the financial impediments cleared, I was THRILLED to take Will to his first game. And formally induct him into a club populated by the men in my family for many, many years.

I had grand plans for last Saturday. Will and I were going to take the train in because he loves riding the subway. The Red Sox were playing the Oakland A’s. Jon Lester was pitching. Our seats were along third base way up high in the State Street Pavilion. I had it all planned out and—because I blog everything—I was going to find a way to record it all for posterity, as I do with most everything that happens in my life. And the crowning jewel would be the look on his face when I walked the next generation up the ramp to worship in baseball’s most glorious cathedral.

As you can see, we got plenty of pictures.

Not only that, but Will had a truly great day. He got to ride two trains into Boston which may or may not have been the highlight of his day. He had his first Fenway Frank (picture on the right). He ate ice cream from a plastic mini Red Sox helmet. We bought a game program as a keepsake. Wally the Green Monster (who I hate because he’s the worst mascot in sports) patted Will on the head. Will danced with a beautiful woman between innings (video is at the bottom of this post). Jason Varitek—the aging Captain—hit a homerun, which Will shockingly called just before he hit it. All in all he lasted six spectacular innings.

Oh yeah, the Red Sox won the game too.

I share so much of my life on this blog. I detail the good, the bad and the just plain silly. So it makes sense that I’m sharing this experience. This wonderful, memorable day for which I’ll be forever thankful. The day I officially passed on a love of Red Sox baseball to my son. Just like my dad did for me.

But as for capturing Will’s expression when he came upon the beauty that is Fenway Park for the very first time and started a lifelong love affair with baseball and Boston?

Sorry folks. I’m keeping that one for myself.

 

 

FEATURED PRODUCTS

Click on the image on the left to get your kid a classic Sox pennant—a must-have for every budding fan.

Every Red Sox fan worth a damn needs a classic, fitted Navy cap with the bright red “B” on it!
You gotta have at least one jersey. Give it a click. You know you want to!

Share Button

Thar She Blows: The Hurricane Irene Edition

One of the coolest parts of being a newspaper reporter is during “all hands on deck” situations. Elections, murders, the deaths of prominent people—if it’s breaking and it’s big news in my coverage area, I’ve been on it.

I chased President Barack Obama around Martha’s Vineyard and had a gun drawn on me by Secret Service agents while running through the woods trying to get a picture of Obama teeing off on the golf course. I was first on the scene at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy when Somali pirates seized a graduate of their school and the country anxiously waited as he was held captive until Navy SEALs could free him in dramatic fashion. And I polled grieving Cape residents the day that Sen. Ted Kennedy—the Liberal Lion—died of a brain tumor and officially ended the days of the Kennedy mystique.

But nothing brings all the reporters to the table faster than a natural disaster.

Yesterday, with Tropical Storm Irene bearing down on the region, I found myself in a strange place. My house. After all, storms and other such events always had me roving around looking for good photo opportunities and people to interview. When everyone else is ducking for cover, reporters are out looking for a scoop and keeping the public informed. And since I live right on the water, there’s never a shortage of stories during a hurricane scare.

Despite quitting the paper three months ago, I found myself unable to sit still yesterday. So I called up Karen who I knew would be manning the copy desk, and told her I’d phone in updates. She wasn’t surprised. It’s not like I got paid or anything, but once a reporter always a reporter I guess. Accompanied by a friend, we drove all around the Upper Cape and got some videos and pictures.

This is the Sandwich Boardwalk, an exceptionally beautiful spot.

I know this doesn’t look like much, but anyone from the area will know the water is NEVER this high. Usually there’s a good 10-15 feet between the bottom of the dock and the surface of the water. But yesterday, Irene churned up quite a bit of high seas and had the water just a few feet from turning the Boardwalk into a glorified dock.

And this was three hours AFTER high tide.

The picture to the right is a tree down across Woods Hole Road.

Woods Hole is a tiny fishing village in Falmouth, Mass. It is kind of a world unto itself, and this road is the main artery that goes from the village to downtown. This tree fell less than a minute before we drove up on the scene, and we watched as a bunch of good Samaritans immediately whipped out axes and hacksaws to clear the road.

It was really impressive how neighbors instantly realized the importance of clearing this road, because the only other way to get to Woods Hole is a road by the beach that was flooded. That means in case of an emergency, rescue vehicles might have been cut off from an entire section of town. But New Englanders are a hearty bunch and they were out there in a flash.

Speaking of beach roads, this is Surf Drive in Falmouth.

Normally it is an absolutely beautiful stretch of road with a multitude of beaches and a gorgeous view that includes Martha’s Vineyard in the distance. But on Sunday it was a much different story.

Water was coming over the road and flooding it, tearing up pavement and leaving huge rocks, sand and other debris on the street.

This picture to the right is not a lake. That is the road, or at least it’s supposed to be.

A few pick-up trucks and bigger SUVs were able to make it through, but a couple of cars tried and quickly realized that wasn’t such a good idea.

This downed tree was in Bourne, near John’s CapeSide Diner on Route 6. It fell on some wires but locals said the power didn’t go out. When I left this scene one guy was attempting to cut the tree himself, saying “It’s OK, they’re just cable wires.”

New Englanders are a breed apart.

And speaking of a breed apart, that leads me to perhaps my favorite picture of this entire hurricane.

To the right is the John’s Capeside Diner sign. Now it’s commonplace for people to protect their property. But while most people board up windows, someone decided to take unorthodox steps to protect this restaurant sign.

Yup. That’s duct tape folks.

Wind gusts got up to 65 MPH and wind and rain lashed the region for hours yesterday. Many large trees and even some small structures were damaged yesterday. Which all leads me to wonder how the hell someone thought some duct tape on a sign was going to make a damn bit of difference.

But then again, it’s still there so what do I know? Further proof that duct tape fixes EVERYTHING!

And finally, you always hear about the total wackjobs who either surf or swim in the ocean during hurricanes. Well, it’s your lucky day because here they are. This was taken at Nobska Beach in Woods Hole. And the incredibly attractive young lady in her underwear and thin T-shirt had absolutely no bearing on my decision to capture this footage. None at all.

But do pay attention to the 40-second mark when she gets CREAMED by a wave, and don’t forget to read underneath the video for a new Daddy Files feature!

 

And finally, I’m starting a new thing on this site. At the conclusion of every post, I’ll offer some featured Amazon.com products relevant to my content. Today, it’s this REALLY cool contraption I found that would be great for power outages. It’s a hand-crank AM/FM radio that also charges your cell phone, tablet, eReader and more. You can charge the internal battery beforehand and then charge your phone, crank it to charge or use the solar panels to charge it during a power outage. For less than $30 this is an awesome thing to have in a pinch!

If you guys could click on the link to buy your Amazon items, I’d really appreciate it. I only get pennies on the dollar but all of it will go towards defraying the cost of running this website. Thanks guys!

Share Button

From the Mouths of Babes

I don’t think I’ve ever gone from being so irritated by something Will said to so amused in such a short time.

After work yesterday I took him to Dick’s Sporting Goods. I received a $50 gift certificate courtesy of Klout and its Perks program(which you should check out if you haven’t already), and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get Will ready. Ready for what? Well, I’m THRILLED to announce I will be fulfilling a true father-son moment on Saturday when I take my son to his first Red Sox game at Fenway Park!! And a momentous occasion such as this deserves a new Red Sox shirt at the bare minimum.

The hideous Zippleback

I’ve been trying to keep it a surprise but I couldn’t. So on the way to the store I started giving Will hints. Unfortunately, I forgot that 3-year-olds are selfish little assholes who can only live in the now.

“OK buddy, your first hint is its something you’ve been asking for for awhile now.”

“A REAL DRAGON?!!?!?”

“What?? No. Not a dragon. Something even better.”

“A Zippleback Dragon (fans of How to Train Your Dragon know what I’m talking about)??”

“Buddy, forget the dragons. OK, I’ll give you another hint. We’re gonna ride the train to get there!”

“YAY! YAY! Dada, you take me to StoryLand (a kids amusement park in NH my parents just took him to)??”

“Wow. This was not a good idea. No bud, not Storyland. The place we’re going is in Boston.”

“We go to the aquarium to pet stingrays?”

(Completely exasperated at this point)

“FENWAY PARK! I’m taking you to Fenway Park to see the Red Sox!”

“Right now?”

“No, not right now. On Saturday.”

“BUT I WANNA GO NOWWWWWWWWW!”

It’s my own fault. Expecting a 3-year-old to think about the big picture and just push his overwhelming sense of immediacy aside was foolhardy at best. But after some warnings about whining and the promise of a new Red Sox shirt at Dick’s, he was fine again. And with that we entered the massive sporting goods store, much to Will’s amazement when he walked in and saw their ridiculous inventory of everything from paintball guns to golf clubs.

We made a beeline for the team sports apparel and started combing through the vast array of Patriots and Red Sox gear they had available. Although I had envisioned a Red Sox shirt, the allure of a shiny new Patriots jersey for Will just in time for the start of the season was pretty enticing as well. So I began tearing through the youth jerseys looking for just the right player and the right size.

And that’s when it started.

I heard her before I saw her. The over-excited, high-pitched whine of a spoiled princess. Talking about how she needs a new Patriots jersey every year, and this year she likes Wes Welker because “he’s little just like me.” She was obviously talking to someone, and it didn’t surprise me at all when they came into view. She was an attractive woman in her late 20s/early 30s. Cute, brunette with HUGE boobs. And he was…older. Probably late 40s, early 50s. Instead of the Red Sox logo on his shirt it should’ve just read “SUGAR DADDY!”

Let’s just say I don’t think she was after his youthful good looks, and he probably hasn’t spent a lot of late nights discussing Tolstoy with her.

I figured they’d pass us by because she said she was looking to buy a jersey for herself, and the adult section was on the other side of the display. But much to my dismay, she came right next to me and Will and started obnoxiously looking through the kids’ jerseys. Not toddler-sized, but for bigger kids. I was confused for a second, thinking maybe she was buying a gift for a child. Sugar Daddy was also perplexed as he tried to steer her towards the appropriate section. But she was not having it.

“I know a youth large will fit but I think I might have to down to a youth medium,” she said in a matter of fact tone.

At that point my head snapped around. I couldn’t help it. As discreetly as possible (which wasn’t discreet in the least bit), I watched as she whipped off her shirt (don’t worry, she had a tank-top on) and began trying on jerseys. Forget for a second that the dressing rooms were a few feet away. Even though she had a tank-top on, she was not leaving much to the imagination. This chick was on par with Pam Anderson. It looked like two hot air balloons were trying to lift off her chest.

As I said, she was attractive. She wasn’t fat at all, just thick. As in not rail thin, which I greatly prefer. Especially when you factor in what was happening in the chesticle department. A regular jersey would’ve looked just fine on her and she would’ve had no problem garnering as much male attention as she desired.

Know your limits & dress accordingly

So I’m not sure why she looked at that kids jersey and decided that the laws of physics ceased to exist within its confines.

I watched as she tried to pull something meant for a 10-year-old over the twin peaks and down to her waist. Suddenly an attractive woman was transformed into a sausage within its casing. It’s the same reason I don’t wear wife-beater shirts, because I know my limits and I try to wear clothes that don’t accentuate my fatness. Poor Sugar Daddy glanced at me as I quickly snapped my eyes back to Will, and he could only offer up a “it looks nice but how about this one” as he held up a bigger size.

She must’ve tried on five different jerseys, which was annoying because she was shopping on the same rack we were. When we first arrived Will had picked out an adult-sized Danny Woodhead jersey, but I told him he couldn’t have it because it was too big, and that section of jerseys was for adults. Apparently this stuck in his memory, because then he spoke in a very irritated fashion.

“Dada, these are for kids. She needs go to big girl section.”

I couldn’t agree more buddy.

DISCLOSURE: I was given a free product or sample because I’m a Klout influencer. I was under no obligation to receive the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.

Share Button

Women Are Crazy

I will never understand women. Mostly because it’s impossible to truly understand an entire gender that is not hindered by any kind of logic.

My wife bought a new purse a month ago. Then, last week, she suddenly told me she needed another one. Silly me, I thought it was perfectly reasonable to question why the hell she would need a new purse when she JUST bought one a few weeks ago. That’s when she told me—well, see for yourself.

 

First of all, I do not understand the concept of taking the time to purchase something and then all of a sudden not liking it. Whether it’s accessories, clothes, gadgets, etc. it just doesn’t make sense. If I buy something it’s because I’ve researched it, compared it to other items and decided that’s the one I want. So the idea of my wife looking at purses, searching for one with specific characteristics, finding it, buying it and then NOT liking it, is just foreign to me.

As a guy, I find something I like and stick with it as long as possible. I just got a new wallet but I had my old one for seven years. It had holes in it (not really a problem as I never had any money to lose) and the only reason I replaced it is because MJ said it was no longer acceptable. The same goes for my shoes and clothes. I wear them out until there’s barely anything left, and then I still try to wear them after that.

I call it “maximizing value.”

And before you start, it has nothing to do with money. One of those purses was $10 and the other was $20. It’s not about the money. It’s about the principle of the thing. And I’m sorry, but MJ’s explanation just does not make sense.

Both purses had three compartments. Both were roughly the same size. Saying that one was more difficult to find things in is just ridiculous, as the video proves. Not to mention she’s got SO MANY other purses. Small purses, big purses, red purses, blue purses. You can fit Horton and every single Who in her collection of purses. I’ll never understand the female need to stock up on purses and shoes. It’s utterly ridiculous.

People talk about needing different accessories and clothes for different occasions. Bullshit! I have one suit, one tie and one pair of dress shoes. I wear them to weddings and funerals, baptisms and burials. I have one watch and I never worry about matching it to my belt, which is my fanciest accessory because the belt can be either brown or black depending on which way you adjust it. I work in a corporate environment so I wear slacks and button-down shirts, so I understand it’s important to look presentable. But that’s where it ends for me.

And furthermore, even if I did screw up by buying something I didn’t like (excluding clothes that don’t fit), I wouldn’t return it or get a new one. I’d just make do with what I had because that’s the only thing that makes sense.

I love my wife. I love women. But when I brought this up on Twitter recently, I was met with criticism from women while my wife received support. Which leads me to my long-held assertion that women simply don’t make a damn bit of sense when it comes to this shit. However, when I try to combat this lunacy with logic I’m met with condescending stares and comments about “just not getting it.”

You’re right. I don’t get it. Because I’m sane.

My wife, however, told me she can think of at least one other thing in her life she’d like to trade in for a newer model.

Share Button

A Sinking Feeling

In case you missed Part I of my camping saga, you can read it here.

Last Saturday, after completing our hike up Mt. Cutler in Maine, MJ and I were on top of the world.

We were sore and our muscles ached, but we were proud. For the first time in a long time we felt victorious. Like conquering heroes. And the best part was we completely reconnected and plugged back in—to each other. We ate a delicious lunch at a cool little dive place on the way back to camp, and spent most of the meal smiling and just grinning at each other across the table like newlyweds.

I was deliriously happy. And the only thing that could make me happier was the thought of a refreshing swim in gorgeous, spring-fed Granger Pond.

MJ and I changed into our bathing suits, grabbed some towels and hopped in the car to get to the lake. Yup, that’s right. We needed the car because the road to the lake is INCREDIBLY steep. We found that out the first night when we ignored recommendations and walked to the lake. At first it was cool because it was a full moon and there’s some kind of mineral in the gravel road that sparkles. The end result was us feeling like we were walking on a diamond-encrusted road in the moonlight. But eventually we started to wonder if we were on the right road.

Then, all of a sudden, the lake just opens up in front of you and it’s stunningly gorgeous. The walk back up that hill? Not nearly as much fun.

So anyways, we drive our car down to the lake and I’m so excited. I’m hot, sweaty, tired and oh-so-ready for a cool dip in a Maine pond. I took off my shirt, threw my towel on the beach and waded in to what might’ve been the most refreshing dip of my life. The water was on the colder side with just the slightest shock after you submerge yourself. But after our hike it was exactly what I needed. I eagerly dove in and started swimming out towards the middle where there was a floating dock.

Like an excited little kid I proceeded to do cannonballs and dives off the floating dock, feeling absolutely glorious in the process. I was alternately swimming around, floating on my back and splashing MJ (who was slightly pissed because the water was too cold for her). When she wanted to get out I pouted like Will when we cut playtime short.

As I exited the water I smiled broadly. Absolutely exhausted but simultaneously refreshed, I was just looking around at our pristine surroundings and taking it all in. I grabbed my towel, dried off, put my sandals on and began walking towards the car in complete bliss. Until…

Suddenly a dark realization descended upon me with the force of an F-5 tornado. The color drained from my face and my heart sank into my toes. My entire body seemed to freeze and enter into a full-blown panic all at the same time. As my right hand desperately patted my right thigh, a sinking feeling set in and I knew, in that instant, I was sunk.

I had gone swimming with MJ’s car keys in my pocket. And now they were gone.

Unless you’ve ever lost your wife’s keys while four hours from home in the deep woods of Maine with no spare set, I’m not sure you can understand how idiotic I felt. Not to mention scared because I had to tell MJ. Except when I told her, she didn’t believe me. Which actually makes everything 100 times worse because I had to repeatedly persuade and convince her that I’m that inept.

“Baby, your keys are gone. I’m so, SO sorry.”

“Bullshit. You’re kidding. The keys are in the car right?”

“Honey, I know I screw around with you but I’m serious. I lost the keys. We’re totally screwed.”

“No, no, no. You’re kidding. I know you’re kidding.”

“I’m not kidding, I swear. Why do you think I’m kidding?”

“Because if you’re not kidding, you’re fucking dead!”

I immediately began looking for the keys in the water. But when I couldn’t find them in the shallows I looked despondently out towards the dock off of which I jumped, that sinking feeling growing exponentially. I asked Paul, the owner of the camp, how deep the water was out by the dock. The look on his face told me all I needed to know.

“Well, it’s about 40 feet deep out there. But that’s the least of your problems. A few years ago we sunk a radiator and tied the cable to it so we could hold the dock in place. When the cable broke we hired a guy with SCUBA gear to reattach it. But when he swam down there, he couldn’t find the radiator because the bottom is so soft.”

Great. The lake swallowed an entire radiator. There was no way I was getting my keys back. The only silver lining was the help we received from the TREMENDOUSLY nice people at the campground.

Frank took us up the hill in his golf cart to call AAA, but not before the other campers and their kids began scouring the pond for us. Triple A tried to call a locksmith, but couldn’t find one who would come out. Surprise, surprise seeing as we were in an area where the moose out-populate the people. When we searched on our own, we were told it wasn’t possible to make a new key because MJ’s car key has a fancified double-sided thingamabob component that couldn’t be duplicated.

That left us no other choice, and I had to make the phone calls I was dreading.

And so it goes that my unbelievably nice mother-in-law had to go to our house, find the spare key and drive it 40 minutes up to my dad. From there, my saint of a father drove 3.5 hours up to Maine to drop it off. And then he declined our invitation to stay in the tent while we slept in the car, and drove 3.5 hours back to his house.

Now those are great parents!

I’m such an idiot. Only I can turn a great weekend into a drama-fest. We had this amazing time on the mountain and then I lose my keys to a radiator-swallowing lake, which not only murders our Saturday, but also the Saturdays of my in-laws and my parents. And I wasn’t done there.

The only stroke of luck we had was that MJ had left the passenger side window down so we could retrieve our things. Clothes, food, gear…all inside the car. Except I had turned the alarm on before I lost the keys. So when I opened the door, the serene Maine woods was suddenly polluted with a jarring horn blasting away repeatedly, wrecking the experience for dozens of people trying to enjoy their weekend.

Frank was nice enough to drive me up and down in his golfcart to the car, which was parked down the huge hill. But in my tradition of screwing up, I had forgotten a few things. And since I had bothered everyone enough, I decided to walk back down to the car.

When I made it down there, I couldn’t bear the thought of setting off the car alarm again. So I decided to go through the window.  Faced with the problem of having to get my 265-pound body through the window, I did what every red-blooded American male would do.

I decided to go Dukes of Hazzard all over that bitch.

As you can imagine, it did not go well. I took a running start and jumped as high as I could. Halfway up I realized I was nowhere near the level of Bo and Luke, and ended up doing this weird half-jump, half-dropkick thing as I thudded against the car door. With my career as a TV stuntman dashed, I decided to go in head-first. It only went a little better than my Dukes attempt. But I did manage to get everything I needed out of the car. Except myself.

To exit the car, first I tried go feet first. Didn’t work. So I went out head-first. I managed to wiggle my fat ass to the point my hands were on the ground but I was stuck halfway out. Completely upside-down doing a handstand with half my body in the car and half out, I flailed wildly and ended up kicking the steering wheel and laying on the horn in the process. Then, just for good measure, I suffered the indignity of my shirt falling down exposing my gut. Finally I wriggled my way to freedom, collapsing in an overweight heap next to the car.

As I stood up, it was just in time to see a teenage girl—frozen in place and staring at me in horror—while on her way down to the waterfront.

“Car trouble,” was all I could think to mutter. She quickly walked away. I don’t blame her, I would’ve too.

So I owe my mother-in-law and my dad big time. Not to mention MJ, who was (for the most part) very understanding about the whole thing. I still think I was helped immensely that there were witnesses so she couldn’t kill me right then and there. And I think I just need to resign myself to the fact that I will never have a normal…well, anything. Stories are great and weird stuff is wonderful for blog fodder, but I’ve had my fill. Just one normal weekend is all I ask.

So remember, practice safe-swimming everybody. And keep your keys on shore.

Share Button