Feb 14

My snore has been likened to the thunderous growl of a Tyrannosaurus rex. Now, I know that no living person is exactly sure what a T. Rex growl really sounds like, but I have been told that my snore has to be in the ballpark.

T-Rex

Of course, I have never heard my snore. My snoring has woke me up in the middle of the night on thousands of occasions, but by the time I’m actually awake, I’m done snoring. Funny how that works.

Anyway, my wife and I have been married for over 16 years.  My wife has complained about my snoring for, well, a little over 16 years.  I finally decided that maybe it was time to do something about it.  See what a great guy I am?

Why would I avoid going to the doctor to have something done about my snoring?  Well, the reasons are multiple:

1st:  I hate doctors.  I don’t hate them on a personal level, I just don’t like the fact that I have to rely on someone who makes a buttload of money for my physical well being.  I also don’t like the fact that I have to pay said person a buttload of money for services rendered.  Yeah… it’s all about the Benjamins.

Benjamins

I couldn’t be a doctor because I’m really not smart enough, and the thought of messing with someone’s other than my own bodily fluids makes me slightly light-headed.  Just another of the “life isn’t fair” deals that pisses me off.  Okay, so maybe I do hate them on a personal level…

2nd:  When you go to the doctor, he or she always ends up finding a bunch of crap wrong that has nothing to do with the reason for your visit.  It’s kind of like when you take your car in for an oil change, you know.  All of a sudden, you’re needing new brake pads and a front-end alignment and your head-gasket is leaking… you, at the doctor… your car, at the mechanic… it’s all the same.  Now that I am “in my forties”, I know that crap is going to start breaking down at an alarming rate.  I’d really rather just not know about it.  After all, maybe I can get another 2000 miles out of the car without fixing the problem, right?  Besides, it seems like when they start trying to fix one problem, everything else starts to go to hell.  You know, like the 35-year-old lady who goes in because she sprains her ankle, and they discover she has pancreatic cancer, so they cut her open to get to the cancer, and they find out that it is EVERYWHERE, and she is dead within a couple of weeks… because of a stinking sprained ankle.  If she hadn’t gone in for the stupid sprained ankle, she would probably be alive today!

3rd:  Uh… I don’t take exactly the best care of myself.  I know this.  I don’t need some yahoo driving a BMW to point this out and talk down to me while doing so, because when he or she does, my level of class-envy goes through the stinking roof!

Okay, so I don’t like going to the doctor.  In fact, I don’t even have a doctor.  I go to a local urgent care clinic (Quick Care) for all of my medical needs… which are few and far between.  You’d think that, seeing as how I’m getting to the point where annual visits are looming on the horizon, I should probably find a doctor.  I don’t like shopping for shoes… and I like shoes… so why would I spend time shopping for a doctor?

So, back to the snoring.  I call one of them “sleep centers” (Western Sleep Medicine, I believe it is called) to see how I go about getting fitted with one of those Darth Vader masks to make me stop snoring.

Darth Vader snores?

They say I have to be referred by a doctor.  I say I don’t have a doctor.  They say I can use Quick Care to refer me.   I call Quick Care and make sure that they can refer me, which they reassure me that they can.  I ask, “So, uh, I’m wanting a referral for a sleep study… and that’s it.  You aren’t going to test me for a bunch of other crap, are you?”  And I am reassured that I will only be tested for the condition that I am visiting about.  Great!  So I drive on over to Quick Care.  Never believe medical people.

I get to Quick Care and they make me fill out the stinking form that all medical places make you fill out when you first arrive.  I get done filling the stupid form out and I realize that right beside the line where I fill-out my date of birth, there is a line for me to fill-out my age.  I ask the receptionist, “So, why is there a line right beside my date of birth for my age.  Wouldn’t just my date of birth be sufficient?  Can’t you figure out my age?”  Of course, I’m being a little smart-assy, but in a good-natured way.  The receptionists at Quick Care are not exactly “good natured”.

“It’s there so we don’t have to figure it out,” the receptionist says, and I can tell by the look on her face that I’m pissing her off by breathing her air, so I let it drop.

So now I’m thinking to myself that I may be making a mistake by not actually having an actual doctor.  I’m thinking that using Quick Care for a referral may not have been the swiftest of my most recent decisions.  Did I have to list my age beside my date of birth so they didn’t have to figure it out… or because they couldn’t figure it out?  I know, I should assume that the receptionist (or anyone else who touches my chart) would be able to figure out my age from my date of birth.  However, before I entered Quick Care, I assumed that a receptionist in a place where people are going to have medical issues addressed and are looking for a little comfort would be able to smile… or at least be partially pleasant.  I have learned to never trust my assumptions.

After a short wait, I am led into an examination room.  The nurse tells me that the first thing she needs to do is check my blood pressure.  Crap!  This is exactly what I don’t want.  This is why I called before I came… to make sure unnecessary crap wasn’t going to be tested.  What does my blood pressure have to do with my snoring?  But I’m already thinking I need to keep my mouth shut because of the whole receptionist encounter, so I sit down and let her test it.

170 over 130.

She looks at me like I should already be dead.

“Uh, is your blood pressure always this high?” she asked.

“No, these places freak me out,” I said.  “It’s usually more like 150 over 100.” Of course my blood pressure is high.  Everyone and their dog stresses me out.  I hate any sort of confrontation and life is full of it… confrontation that is.  The older I get, the less I am able to deal with the basic BS that every person on the planet seems intent on dishing out.  If I could hole-up in a dark room and not have to ever deal with anyone or their problems, I bet my blood pressure would be just fine.  I pray to God to let me not get stressed out, but stress is still there around every single stinking corner in this road of life… and God just looks down from heaven and laughs.  I think jacking around with me is how God deals with His own stress.

Again… she looks at me like I should already be dead.

“I’m going to get the P.A.,” she said and disappeared out the door.

P.A. stands for “physician’s assistant”.  A P.A. is like a doctor, except they didn’t have to go to school as long as a doctor, and instead of BMWs, they usually drive Audis.  I don’t hate P.A.s quite as much as I hate doctors.

The P.A. comes in and he talks about getting me a referral for the sleep test, he fills out the necessary paperwork, and then he starts talking about what we are going to do about my blood pressure.  He has the nurse run a ECG, and then she sticks me with a needle and red crap comes out my arm into a little vial.  I’m ready to pass out as he tells me about the blood pressure medication that I’m going to be put on.

Crap!

So, I leave, I go and get my blood pressure medication, and I go home.

The next day, I take the first of the pills.  It’s Lisinopril.  It’s supposed to have very few side-effects.  I notice nothing and think I’m golden.

I take my second pill the following morning.  All is well… until I get out of the shower, reach for the hair gel (it’s Sunday, and I gel my hair up on Sunday to keep from looking like such a hippie freak), and I fall to the floor with chest pain.  I can’t even stand up.  The wife and kids are already gone, because the wife takes the kids to Sunday school.

Crap!

Okay, so I figure I’m having a heart attack.  Figures, right?  I mean, if I hadn’t gone in for the stupid snoring issue, I would have been fine.  Anyway, I’m downstairs, and I need to find a way to get upstairs.  I figure out that if I bend over and do not stand straight up, I can walk without a ton of pain.   So I hunch it upstairs and sit down at the dining room table.  I start weighing my options.

I can call the wife and freak the crap out of her.  Yeah… not going to happen.

I can call 911 and get an ambulance coming.  That would, however, be expensive.  I’m all about the Benjamins.

Benjamins

Then, I start thinking that I really don’t feel like I’m going to die.  You know how people who have heart attacks claim that they get all freaked out because they can tell that they are dying?  Well, I’m not freaking out.  I’m just pissed because my chest hurts.  There is no pain shooting through my shoulder or up my arm, just a sharp pain under my left man-boob.  Feels more like something is pulled than I’m dying.  I think to myself, “If this cramp in my chest gets worse, do I feel like my heart is going to stop?”  I answer myself, “No.”  So, I sit there and wait for the pain to go away.

Western Sleep Medicine is supposed to call me to schedule a sleep study.  I haven’t heard from them yet.  I may not have to worry about it.  After all, I went to medical people for one problem and they discovered another.  I give myself two weeks, tops.  Damn it…  I swear, I could have got another 2000 miles out of this s.o.b.

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Dec 18

We had to replace our dryer.  Our old dryer just pooped-out.  She had been in a state of deteriorating health for quite some time, but we have put up with her “quirks” because… well… she was our dryer.  When the wife and I were married over 16 years ago, one of the first major purchases we made was a washer and dryer.

I can remember shopping for her (the dryer… not the wife… although I vaguely remember that as well).  We went to every place in town, trying to get a good deal.  We looked at all sorts of off-name brands, but we ended up going with Kenmore from Sears.  I don’t remember the exact reasoning behind why we purchased this particular brand, but I know I have felt confident that we made the right choice.  I have never looked at our washer and dryer and thought, ‘We made a mistake by going cheap.’  We considered buying our washer at one store and our dryer at another.  “Matching appliances” that were to end up in the basement or the laundry room or the spare bedroom were never a big concern for us.  However, the particular washer and dryer that we purchased in our first year of marriage just… well… they just seemed to go together, kind of like a newly-wed couple.
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Happy Washer

Happy Dryer
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Mr. Washer and Mrs. Dryer have been with the wife and me through thick and thin.  Whether they were cleaning the bedding and lingerie of a newly-wed couple, sitting in storage while the wife and I hopped apartments in Denver, cleaning the tiny clothes of our firstborn, cleaning dog hair off of everything after we received our family’s first dog, cleaning up the spit-up of our second-born, cleaning up the spit-up of our second-born, cleaning up the spit-up of our second-born (oh, the joys of a RSV-prone and mucous-filled child), or preparing the daily garb of a laundry-producing family of four people and one dog in present day; Mr. Washer and Mrs. Dryer have always tried to be good to us.  I have spent many a late night sitting downstairs watching T.V. or pecking on the computer, while Mr. Washer scrubs the whites and Mrs. Dryer fluffs the darks.

Listening to the two of them in harmony could be quite … err… interesting?!?  While Mr. Washer went into spin cycle and Mrs. Dryer tumbled her load round-and-round, there unison motions often caught my attention.  Mr. Washer would spin, slowly at first, and then faster and faster, shaking the stillness of the basement with his urgency.  Mrs. Dryer kept the same unison pace throughout, yet I sensed that they were working toward a common goal.  Finally, Mr. Washer, at a frenzied speed in search of some extraordinary outcome… stopped spinning.  I could tell he was spent.  Mrs. Dryer usually continued on, searching for her own “mission complete” banner.  Every once in awhile, the two of them would reach their goal at the same time: Mr. Washer’s final spin cycle quickly grinding to a halt as Mrs. Dryer’s buzzing high-pitched alarm screamed that her load was complete.  It was kind of exotic and erotic, in a very blue-collar and… uh…  pervy kind of way… probably like the erotic encounters of most married couples :)

Mr. Washer started having issues a little over a year ago.  He really wobbled when he went into the spin cycle, and we knew that something was wrong.  Finally, he just gave out.  Every time I tried to start a new load, he would just hum.  I tried my best to get him working on my own… which, with my mechanical expertise, resulted in several swift kicks to his nether-regions.
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Sick Washer
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Mrs. Washer did not seem to approve.
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Mad Dryer
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Nothing I did (i.e. no matter how hard I kicked) worked.  We finally called an appliance repairman.  Like $50 later, some doohickey was replaced and Mr. Washer has been working like a champ ever since!
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Happy Washer
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Mrs. Dryer has been in a state of decline ever since we moved into our new house over two years ago.  It seems her heating element has been going out… or something.  It used to be that we could throw a wet load into her and, within a multitude of mere minutes, she would have it dry.  Recently, it would take a second, and sometimes third, cycle to actually remove all moisture from a load of clothes.  Apparently, she had come down with something… something terminal.  Finally, a few nights ago, she wouldn’t work at all.  I threw a load of wet mass into her, closed her door, pushed the “start” button, and… nothing.
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Sick Dryer
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Crap!

I figured, initially, that this was something I could fix… given my exemplary track-record with fixing major appliances and all.  I gave her several swift kicks.  Although the kicks did nothing to spur her into action, I did seem to notice several sever looks-of-reproach from Mr. Washer.
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Mad Washer
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Ignoring the ire of her spouse, I decided to perform a little surgery.

I think I’ve already mentioned this, but my mechanical skills are a little lacking.  I blame my lack of ability on the fact that I don’t have the proper tools.  Convincing the wife that I needed to add to my haphazard tool collection, I headed to… Walmart… and bought a multimeter.  Armed with the necessary tool to assess Mrs. Washer’s condition, I started the procedure.

First, I tested the actual outlet she plugged into.  As the multimeter’s needle sprung to action with the insertion of the red thingie and the black thingie into  the slots that we are taught from early childhood not to stick anything into, my heart raced.  I realized that between my fingers raced enough electricity to kill the average mortal.  Feeling slightly immortal through my discovery, I proceeded to the removing-of-the-screws on the back of Mrs. Dryer.  Leaving the appliance plugged in, I proceeded to test this and that… not knowing exactly what I was testing, but feeling exilerated that I was playing with something with which I shouldn’t.  Not finding a clue as to the current condition plaguing Mrs. Washer, I unplugged her, turned the multimeter device to the “ohm” setting, and continued with my examination.

The ohm setting apparently tests the connection through different electrical components of a system without the necessity of outside electricity… or something.  The multimeter’s AA battery provides everything one needs.  All of a sudden, I’m not a general surgeon… I’m a “specialist”, as I test this component and that.  I become increasingly disheartened as my search proves more and more futile.  The wife recommends that we just purchase a new dryer.  I remind the wife that Mr. Washer was fixed for next-to-nothing and recommend that we try the same with Mrs. Dryer.  The wife points out that the average appliance lasts about 15 years, Mrs. Dryer is over said 15 years, and that we could really use a dryer with a little more capacity to dry our increasing quantity of clothes and linen-type-stuff as our boys grow.  Feeling like I had let Mrs. Dryer (and Mr. Washer as well) down, I somberly agree.  Mrs. Washer has fulfilled her purpose and her time had past…
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Dryer... Done
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Mr. Dryer was devastated…
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Sad Washer
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After quick visits to all of the major local appliance places, we settle on a nice Maytag that Home Depot was offering at clearance prices.  We brought her home, plugged her in, and tried her out.  She works great.  She gets hotter than Mrs. Dryer ever did.  The new dryer is sleek, shiny, and has great capacity.  We like her a lot. She may have been “cheap”, but you could never tell that from her appearance!
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Hot, young Dryer
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Okay, maybe her appearance screams “cheap”… but only in the softest of screams.

At first, I was afraid that Mr. Washer would hold some contempt towards our newest appliance.  However, I think he’s coming around :)
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JOYOUS Washer
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In fact, this is the happiest I have seen Mr. Washer in a long time. His spin cycle seems to be a little faster and he cleans better than he has in years… and I can’t quite seem to figure out why…
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uh... unfit couple?
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Appliances… go figure?

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Sep 03

Everyone has probably already seen the following videos, but it struck me as I watched them on a Yahoo! News earlier this week… these are SO like life.  In this first video, the poor running back gets an awful pitch from the quarterback.  He gets turned around and begins running the wrong way.  You can tell he is trying to veer back in the right direction, but his momentum and the players on his back prevent him from gaining positive ground.  Yet, the little whipper-snapper just keeps plugging away.  He is giving it his all.  He is trying to make a positive outcome out of a very negative situation.  He is an optimist.

With a certain realization, he becomes desperate. He tosses the ball to no one and suddenly he is either the biggest optimist on the planet, or he has come down from the ozone to join the rest of us and realized that all of that effort really wasn’t worth it. Whichever the case may be, I highly doubt he was much of an optimist for the next few days (or years… or decades). Welcome to the real world, Sparky.

This second video shows why sometimes, just sometimes, it’s better not to succeed. The Otters have this game in the bag. The field goal is well short of the mark. YEAH us! We win! We have succeeded! All of the hard work we put in finally paid off! A big “V”!

Caught up in the momentum of “victory”, the young optimist goes into celebration-mode… a bit too early. He forgets the fundamentals of his “profession”. In less than 4 seconds, he goes from probably one of the happiest moments of his young life to utter horror. Watch the clip again. After Mr. Prep spikes the ball and the other dude scores the touchdown, you see Mr. Prep falling to his knees and grabbing his face mask in utter disbelief. You can almost feel his stomach churning, can’t you. You can almost feel his tears running down your cheek, can’t you? “WHAT DID I JUST DO?” HAHAHA! See how easily one stupid mistake can undermine all of that hard work? See how easy it is to disappoint many people by losing your head for one brief moment?

I guess the positive is, if there is a positive to be found, in both of these videos: you can find your own success through the miserable failings of others. Be on the lookout for someone else to make a huge mistake, because therein may lie your huge opportunity for success. If you can’t find success on your own, wait for some poor sap to screw up for you.

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Jun 21

You know what?  I played softball Friday night and for the first time this season I felt like I could actually run!  Did I stretch more than usual?  No, I stretched no more than usual.  Have I been running sprints on the days between games?  Haha… seriously, run on days I don’t have to, that’s funny!  So what, you may ask yourself, is Adventurer Rich’s secret to being able to run without feeling like the muscles in his legs are actually going to explode?

When I was a wee tot, I remember something my grandma had around the house.  It came in a small bottle with a funky, sponge-like applicator at the top.  When I would press the applicator against myself, cool green liquid would erupt onto my skin.  Within a matter of moments, the liquid was absorbed into my skin and a mild heat consumed my flesh.  This was an amazing liquid that my Grandma rarely let me touch.  She, however, reeked of this liquids pungent odor almost all of the time.  This magical liquid was the reason for my ability to run in last Friday’s softball game without feeling like my groin was going to burst.  This magical liquid is… Absorbine Jr (I can’t believe I actually found an Amazon link for Absorbine Jr :) )

Absorbine Jr. is amazing.  The cool of the (I’m sure mildly toxic) chemicals that first splash across your skin is invigorating.  The oddly green appearance of the liquid is reminiscent of the Grossolium 90 that transformed Melvin Junko into one of the oddest superheros of all time: The Toxic Avenger .  Remember that awesome flick?  I could do a whole post on how much that single film transformed my entire adolescence… or not.  Anyway, back to the Absorbine Jr.   The cooling of the skin is of course followed by the mild burn that never quite gets hot enough, you know?  It starts to burn pretty good, and just when you think it is going to kick into a full-fledged Icy Hot type burn, it levels off leaving you wanting more.  And that classic smell… that classic “old person” smell… that classic “old person” smell that stays with you for hours after the warming sensation has disappeared and reminds me of my grandma; the smell is unforgettable.

So I bought a bottle of Absorbine Jr the other day because I’m feeling a little sore all the time now since softball season started.  I know it was good enough for my grandma, so it’s gotta be good enough for me.  I get home and I sponge it on all of my sore spots.  The cool feels good, the warm feels great, and the smell waxes my nostalgic.  I’m wishing they would sell the green, stinky magic juice in 5 gallon buckets so I could fill a tub with it and just soak.  Another great thing about Absorbine Jr is the fact that you don’t have to beg a family member to put it on you.  You know how no one wants to rub you down with Icy Hot or Bengay because they have to spend too much time washing the crap off their hands after rubbing you down with it?  With Absorbine Jr, you need no one.  You just rub the green toxin all over your body with the handy applicator-tipped bottle  (or, if you find it in 5 gallon buckets,  just soak)  and let the magic begin.  The smell is just annoying enough that you will keep various family members away from you (which often helps your muscles relax as well).

The Absorbine Jr works so well after a softball game, I’m thinking to myself (which is always a dangerous proposition) that maybe putting the stuff on before a game would be a good idea.  So, that’s exactly what I do, I douse myself down with Absorbine Jr before driving to the Carpenter Center to play ball.  On the way there, the warm tinglies are kicking in and I’m feeling great.  I get to the fields and find some of my teammates.  I saunter over, feeling pretty cool and collected with my major Absorbine Jr vibe going on.  One of the young kids starts to look around and wrinkles her nose.  “What’s that smell?” she asks.  I kind of drift off to the side of our group.

I grab a softball and ask who wants to warm up.  Another whipper-snapper says he’ll warm me up, and we disengage from the rest of the group and toss the ball back-and-forth.  We throw and we catch and we throw and we catch some more until the whipper-snapper finally asks, “You warmed up enough yet?”

I know that if we go back to the group that I’m sweating just enough right now that the Absorbine Jr smell is at an all-time high (it appears that it somewhat lodges in the pores of your skin and when you sweat… POW, the smell really comes alive!)  “Just a few more throws,” I holler back to the whipper-snapper.  We throw the ball until the game is ready to begin.

The thing with Church League co-ed softball is that you always have plenty of guys to play, but you never seem to have quite enough gals to play.  Since there were more than plenty of guys, a few of us sat out for the first couple of innings and would go in as replacements at a later point in the game.  Now, with me being one of the older dudes on the team, sitting out for two or three innings after already having warmed-up freaked me out a little.  I just got through stretching out the old muscles and letting the Absorbine Jr work its magic.  If I just sat on the bench for two or three innings, those muscles would tighten right back up and I’d be in serious trouble, so instead of just sitting on the bench, I’m outside the dugout running little sprints, laying on the ground stretching muscles, and doing everything I possibly can to keep those muscles warm.  In the meantime, I’m working up a little sweat and stinking to Absorbine Jr high-heaven.

When I finally get to go into the game, I’m up to bat.  I can tell that the stink is pretty heavy on me, and it’s making me a little self-conscious.  I get up to bat and I glance back at the catcher.  The catcher’s face is all twisted up in a wad and I can’t help but think it is because she can smell my Absorbine Jr reek (it could have been that the lady just had a kind of wadded-up face, but I wasn’t thinking too clearly… I think the Absorbine Jr fumes were getting to me.)  I hit a little dinker down the third base line and off to first I go.  I’m safe on first.  The first baseman has a funny look on his face and I’m dead certain that he smells the “old” on me.  I start sweating harder which makes the Absorbine Jr stench stronger and when the gal at bat blasts over second base I run like a bat out of hell so that no one can smell my stink.  I run harder than I’ve ever run and any pain in my muscles that had hampered my play in previous weeks was nowhere in my mind as I attempted to leave the hideous old person smell of Absorbine Jr in my dust.

Needless to say, I was out at second.   But throughout the rest of the entire game (which we lost) I ran without giving any thought to my old muscles.  The pains and flair-ups of previous weeks were gone as, with every move that I made, I attempted to keep those around me from becoming disgusted with my smell.

The funny thing is… the way I was pushing my muscles in an attempt to seperate myself from my stench should have made for days of sore muscles and aching joints.  After the game, I felt just fine.  The day after the game, I felt just fine.  Here it is, Sunday, Father’s Day, and I feel just fine.  I’ll admit, the hideous odor following me throughout the game made me rather uncomfortable; however, I feel better than I have felt in weeks.  I think my grandma was really onto something with Absorbine Jr.  I love and miss my grandma very much.  She has passed from life on this earth around 17 years ago.  I am very thankful that she passed the secret of Absorbine Jr onto me… I just wish I didn’t have to smell like her to enjoy its benefits.

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Jun 12

So the first game was a couple of weeks ago.  We batted first, and when I got up to bat, I really wanted to make that ball fly.  I swung as hard as I could and the ball flew… straight into the pitcher’s mit.  Seriously, the dude didn’t even move; the ball just went straight into his mit.  At least I didn’t have to run.

The next time I got up to bat, I bopped it right over the infield and I made it to first.  I don’t know what really happened next.  I don’t know who batted next and whether they got out or not.  You see, I am so out of shape that all I could do was breathe in – breathe out – and try not to pass out and all this was just from the run to first.  None of this seems right.  I have been exercising almost every day for almost 6 months: 30 minutes on an elliptical or exercise bike daily.  I guess the smooth movements of exercise “equipment” doesn’t really prepare a guy for an all-out sprint from home to first with all of the flailing arms and flying spittle and whatnot… nor was I prepared for what followed.

The next thing I remember is our stinking coach getting up to bat.  I think that at this point I’m on second, but I could be mistaken; everything is fuzzy and I find myself breathing heavy just trying to remember!  Our coach is a young dude… early twenty-something, just out of college, freshly engaged to be married, still probably thinks life is going to be fair (and given these negatives, I still like him) and he can run like greased lightening (and I don’t even know what greased lightening is but I think it has something to do with John Travolta and Olivia Newton John and I’m assuming it’s really fast!)  So he hits it deep into the outfield and I start sprinting.  Before I get to third, I can hear Coach round second behind me!  You’ve got to be kidding… when did I turn into the slow old guy?!?  I struggle around third  and sprint for home.  The ball is still out in the outfield and I could have let up a little, but I don’t want Coach behind me to have to hold up at a base just because the old guy is in front of him (I used to get upset when an old dude held me up in my base running… and now I’m the old guy) is limping along.  I hit home and try to stop.  I can’t stop.  I run straight into the chain-link fence behind home and steady myself.  My lungs are on fire, my legs are burning,  and the cheering hourd on the otherside of the fence is fading in and out of focus (ok, there are like two ladies cheering from our church, but “cheering hourd” sounds cooler than “couple of ladies”).  I stumble back to the dugout, yearning to place my rear on the bench for a couple of minutes.  Suddenly, someone hands me my glove and says, “We’re in the field.”  Apparently the next batter had no respect for the elderly and got out immediately… stupid whipper-snapper.

So, the rest of the game is a blur because I never really got a chance to catch my breath.  I am relatively certain that an inordinate amount of brain cells died that evening due to a lack of oxygen.  My wife and two boys had watched the game (which we won) and waited for me after the game.

“How do you feel?” my wife asked.

“I feel great,” I lied.

“You looked great out there,” she lied.

The walk back to the car was painful, but I tried to walk as normal as possible.  I couldn’t let my family know that their husband and father was really a semi-pathetic geezer who is too old to play softball.

A week passed until our next game.  During that week, I was a little sore but never felt like total crap.  When the second game rolled around, I thought I was ready.  I was mistaken.

Before the game, I started stretching.  Something didn’t feel right.  My thighs started to semi-cramp.  ‘No big deal,’ I thought to myself, ‘just stretch it out.’  So I stretched and I stretched and I stretched some more.  By the time we were ready to play, I’m thinking that I’ve got to have about the most stretched muscles in the WORLD (or at least at the Carpenter Center’s Church League Softball games for the night).

We start playing and everything seems just fine.  I get up to bat and I smack that silly ball right between the 1st and 2nd basemen.  I start my sprint to first, and I think aliens may have temporarily taken my thigh muscles… seriously, it’s like they were not there!  You have no idea how important your thigh muscles are to your ability to run until STUPID ALIENS TAKE THEM!  I had no power to run!  I couldn’t sprint, I couldn’t run, I couldn’t even jog; I think “mosey” may be the only word that can possibly describe my jaunt from home to first.  And the crazy thing is, I was safe!

Ok, so now I’m freaking out.  I’m miraculously on first base and must be prepared to make it to second if the batter behind me hits it.  With my thighs missing, I’m trying to figure out a way to make that happen.  I reach down and feel my legs where my thighs should be and my fingers are greeted with cries of pain from my thighs!  Stupid aliens somehow put them back, but they must have put ’em in upside down or something because they most definitely do not feel right!  Sharp, shooting pain is flickering across the surface of my thighs like someone lit a sting of Balck Cats on my thigh on the Fourth of July.  My thighs are starting to cramp so I’m standing there on first base pulling my foot up to my butt on one leg and then another trying to stretch out the alien evil from my legs when the gal batting behind me hits one right between short and third!  CRAP!  I start my limp/hop/mosey toward second as fast as I can when I feel a small fire starting right between my legs in an area where fire, no matter how small, is most unwelcome!  I glance to where the ball is: an outfielder is winding up to chuck it to second.  I know that if I push just a little harder, I will beat the throw.  I know that if I push just a little harder, the fire between my legs will stretch into a full-blown inferno and I will be safe at second with the prospect of finding a way to third with a pulled groin safely beside me!  My mosey slows to a … I don’t even know what’s slower than a mosey, but I found it, and I watched my impending out come to fruition as my foot hit the base less than a second after the ball hit the glove of the opponent already on the base… but my groin remained un-pulled:)

“Waddle”… that’s it… that’s what’s slower than mosey, because “waddle” is what I did back to the dugout.  “Waddle” is what I did through the short amount of game I was forced to play through before someone younger and stronger than me who didn’t move about like a STINKING DUCK took my place!

So, as I’m sitting on the bench watching our team painfully lose a game we come relatively close to winning, every stinking muscle in my body is screaming at me.  It’s as if last week, my muscles gave me a break, you know?

“What’s this idiot doing running around and crap, ” my thighs said.  “Does he not realize we’re all too old for this?”

“It’s delusions of grandeur,” replied my bicep.  “Let’s give him his last moment of glory without making him look like a total boob.  After he makes himself look semi-tarded tonight, he’ll never want to do this again.”

Of course, my muscles didn’t realize that I’m not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.  My muscles didn’t realize that by showing me mercy, they were inadvertently increasing my confidence!  When the second game rolled around and there I was trying to push my stupid muscles to the limit… the muscles pushed back!

“Ok, this jerk isn’t getting it,” screamed the muscles in my back.

“Let’s show this idiot what’s what,” my thighs demanded.

“All together now,” hollered every single muscle in my body in unison, “GIVE OUT!”

…and they did.

If I had a tail, it would have definitely been between my legs as I limped home.  Upon entering the house, my wife asked, “How did it go?”

“We lost,” I replied.

“Too bad,” she said.  “How do you feel.”

Now, my wife had warned me that this would happen… I was going to hurt myself.  Although I was more incredibly sore than anything, my pride was hurting like it never has before.  “I feel fine,” I smiled.  And I just stood in the dining room, not moving… not wanting my wife to see me limp.

“Good,” she replied.  When she turned around and started back into the kitchen, I slowly trudged toward the bedroom.  She turned around and faced me again, and I froze.  Her confused expression started to slowly morph to recognition.  I stood like a statue and smiled my idiotic smile.

“Are you sure you’re ok?” she asked, a small grin starting to form at the corners of her lips.

I was not at a point where I could deal with an I-told-you-so, so I continued to hold perfectly still and smile.  “Never felt better.”

“Ok,” she smiled and again turned into the kitchen.

Once she disappeared from sight, I waddled into the bedroom with every intention of taking a nice hot bath.  However, once I made it to the foot of the bed, my muscles were screaming with ear-splitting intensity and I collapsed into a pile on my stomach on the bed, and I knew I would not be getting up anytime soon… and then I heard my wife’s footsteps as she entered the room!

CRAP!

“Just… uh… just taking a little breather,” I said, beating her to the punch and hoping that would be enough to get her to turn around and leave the room while I struggled to obtain an upright position once again.

The footsteps got closer.

CRAP!

As she sat at the foot of the bed by my legs, my body rolled slightly toward her and I think I may have squealed ever so slightly like a little girl from the pain.

CRAP!

Then her hands were on my back, rubbing out many of the small knots that had accumulated throughout not only the night but the past week.  As the muscles in my back began to release me from their painful grip, her hands moved down to my legs and those muscles too soon gave up their punishing intentions.

When her hands stopped, I muttered a “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” she said.  No “I told you so”, no “are you ready to quit”, nothing negative at all… just “you’re welcome.”  And then, “What time is your game next week?  I think me and the boys would like to watch another game.”

So, tonight is game # 3.  My body is feeling pretty good, my family is behind me, I’m representing my Church in a league where sportsmanship usually (but not always) takes precedence over winning and I’m having some fun.  I may have to pick up some cleats at one of the local sporting goods stores when they put them on clearance in another week or two.  I figure I’ll be able to run the bases better next year if I’m in cleats.  😉

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