Sunday, April 22, 2012

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!

Can you hear it?  Listen closely!  That crunching sound is coming from the skin on my arms, legs, forehead and nose crackling and blistering due to over exposure to the hot sun of Spokane.  Actually, that might be a bit of an overstatement, but for the first time in about 7 or 8 years I now have a little bit of color.  The weather today was sunny and the temperature, for the first time it seems since the last ice age, reached 80 degrees.  Taking advantage of the situation our church softball team...the St. John's Lutheran Geriatrics...took to the field for a doubleheader.

Since our team manager was dispatched by our government this week to the fly the friendly skies over Afghanistan I found myself in the position of the interim coach.  That's a really good thing in that I now make out the lineups, so it is very easy for me to make sure that I don't have to play.  I just stand there and tell everybody what to do, which is the job that my wife Kay has had for about the past 30 years.  I kind of like it!  Our first game began at 1:30pm.  Game-time temperature was 76.934572 degrees.  We were pitted against Pilgrim Lutheran Church, new to the League this season, whom we had beaten in the season opening tournament a week ago.  Due to my incredible direction we found ourselves in the lead by 8 after the first inning, and by 17 (17-0) at the end of two.  In the top of the 3rd we gave up a run, crud! and then only managed 3 in the bottom half of the frame.  Holding our worthy opponents scoreless in the top of the 4th the game was called in accordance to the rules at 20 to 1 after three and a half innings.  I found myself undefeated as the manager of the team.

Due to the short duration of our first game I had ample time to compose the proper line-up for game two, in which we were to take on another first year team in the League...Redeemer Lutheran of Spokane Valley.  This was going to be a much bigger challenge as Redeemer has somewhere near a million members from which to build a team.  When they took the field they looked like giants!  After an inning we found ourselves down by three runs, and it was the negative side after two.  That was about the time that my managerial expertise kicked in once again.  It had to be that I put three players in the game that were 13 years of age or younger that inspired our team and totally confused our worthy opponents.  In the third and fourth innings we came up with 9 runs to take a 9-7 lead.  Redeemer got a couple of runs in the top of the fifth, but then we hung 6 more on them before the time limit on the game ran out to win 15-9.  Now my managerial record stands at 2-0.  That's where things are in the regular season, and for the year the St. John's Geriatrics now stand at 4 wins and just one loss...a .800 winning percentage!  Due to the success of our somewhat younger players...those we still have several years ahead of them before they'll have to shave...we may have to consider changing the team name.  Following our success on the field it was time for a little fellowship over hot wings and beer at the Swinging Doors bar and grill on the city's north side.  If you go there make sure that you have Roxanne wait on you.  She does a great job!  Leave her a nice healthy tip.

Upon returning home from our triumphant conquest it was time to hit the porch for the first time this spring...hopefully there will be many more occasions to come.  Now it's time to head for the pillow to prepare for another doubleheader.  This one involves a tennis racquet.  At 8:00am I will be playing against my really really old group, and then at 9:30 I will hit the court with the really old group, my regular posse.  I should have an advantage as they'll likely be blinded by my bright red glow!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Well It's About &%#$ Time!

It was last Tuesday afternoon...almost a week ago...that I bugged out of work early (if you can honestly call what I do work?) to power rake the lawn and get the fertilizer down with the per-emergent weed killer.  It was a decent day, about 65 with a little bit of sun and the "Feds" were predicting rain for later that night into Wednesday.  That would be perfect!  Get the Weed n' Feed down and then have it naturally watered in a bit.  I got MY work done quickly and efficiently, but the weather has been holding out on its end of the bargain, at least until today.  Finally, after almost a week, the rain started to fall this morning.  Out at the airport we officially got two tenths of an inch in the rain bucket...but my lawn is not at the airport.  Actually I got just about the same here on the "Snobby South Hill", an unofficial .21"  The front yard is already looking greener.

With the Easter holiday in the rear-view mirror yesterday meant the opening tournament of the Spokane Lutheran Softball Association.  At least this year it didn't snow...last year we weren't so lucky.  It was a chilly 55 degrees or so with just enough wind to make it feel like 40, and a couple of sprinkles from time to time.  This is the second year in the league for the St. John's "Geriatrics" and we came into the season expecting BIG things.  We do have a bigger team this year, about 20 people if we all show up.  In our inaugural season a year ago we won all of two games the entire year.  Are fans on the other hand, went undefeated.  We have great fans.  Our first game began at 12:45, so it meant that we all had to hustle from church to the ballpark on the city's northwest side.  If you don't come to church you don't play you know!  That first tilt pitted us against Pilgrim Lutheran, and this is their inaugural year in the league.  We managed 22 runs, to their 10, so we were undefeated after one game.  Immediately after we took on Beautiful Savior Lutheran of the "Snobby South Hill".  In a pitcher's duel we came out on top 7-4.  SWEET!  We're 2-0.  Then came a break, and I believe 5 pizzas.  After scarfing down all of that cheesy saucy goodness we hit the field and got smoked something like 193-6.  Well, maybe it might not have been that bad.  We weren't sure what church that the other team was from, and they didn't know either, but considering this is a coed league I am sure that their entire choir sings bass.  The bottom line is that we have now won twice as many games as we have lost, and our winning percentage is a robust .667!  After our final effort of the day it was off to the Swinging Doors Saloon to toast our incredible prowess.

This morning, as I mentioned, the rains finally came.  Fortunately our tennis extravaganza was set to played indoors.  I had a doubleheader scheduled.  At 8:00am I was asked to fill in with the really really old guys.  Most of them saw Jesus when He came out of the tomb.  I was pretty successful there.  At 9:30 it was time to meet up with the regular posse...the really old guys...John, Bill and Mark.  They always present more of a challenge.  In an hour and a half we didn't even make it through two sets.  That was mostly do to one of the members of the group...who shall remain unnamed but generally Happy...constantly complaining about the unsportsmanlike nature of my shots.

It's now evening and the meatloaf and mac-and-cheese is in the oven.  I think I'll make a salad to go with it to insure that we have a healthy meal.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back In Business!

Okay...I'll admit it!  I have spent a lot of time and effort belly aching about the weather.  The reality is that up to now the spring has just plain stunk!  Up to now.  Today was totally different.  While the official temperature at the airport (who lives at the airport?) didn't reach 70 degrees...the thermometer in my car read the low 70s, and the electronic signs around our part of town registered the middle 70s.  It was just enough for us to deploy the Coleman Campfire Grill in order to produce the ultimate in supper experience.

We threw a pork shoulder roast out there for about an hour and a half, and the results were spectacular!  Since the wood pile was still a little damp...from its long winter nap...there was a bit of a challenge involved in getting the fire going, but in the end we were successful.  I have to give credit where credit is due.  Kay was the master fire builder of the evening.

In light of the favorable weather, I knocked off early from work (if that's what you call what I do) in order that I might come home and do some yard work.  I power raked the lawn, and then went to the hardware store to buy a reasonably sized bag of weed and feed for the grass.  After re-purposing the lawn mower to pick up all of the thatch I spread the fertilizer over the acreage and called it day.  At that point the beer began to flow and the grill was lit.  The grill is now out but the beer is still flowing!

Now that Easter has passed, and Lent is in the rear-view mirror, life should be getting a little bit more peaceful...the weeks should be a little more manageable!  we'll see how that works out.  There always seems to be more to do than there are hours in the day.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Trying To Keep A Positive Attitude

After my post of a week ago, I promised myself that I would not post again until I didn't have to complain about the weather anymore.  Well, It's been 7 days and the weather still stinks...but it's finally going to get better.  I can report some good news though, it didn't snow today, at least not that I saw.  Let me recount the last week.  Saturday it rained.  Sunday it snowed.  On Monday things weren't too bad.  Tuesday it snowed...about 2 inches.  Wednesday it snowed.  Thursday it snowed.  I already mentioned today.  Tomorrow and Sunday are going to be sunnier and least that's what the Feds say.  On Easter we might even see 60 degrees.  WooHoo!!!

It is Holy Week, and that means that there are a lot of things happening around the church.  Those of you who really need to show up for worship have again failed to do so...and you know who you are!  We had a nice service on Holy Thursday, and a drama for Good Friday earlier this evening.  Tomorrow starts with Men's Breakfast at the church at 8:30am and then there's the preparation and execution of our outreach strategy at the Eagle Ridge Easter Egg Hunt which takes place at 1:00pm.  Eagle Ridge is the huge housing development that is located just south of where we built our church.  The whole idea is to execute the Easter Bunny when he shows up, and before the little kiddies see him.  Being that we're Lutheran we will then offer coffee to everyone and pass around the collection plate.  It should be a fun day.

Since I'm not complaining about the weather I now have the opportunity to complain about my tennis group.  Due to a Gonzaga University tennis match with those wretched Mormons from BYU earlier today my posse and I were forced to rise in the pre-dawn darkness and play at 8:00am.  How inhuman!  I could barely keep my eyes open through the initial set.  In said set I was teamed with Bill" the Bohunk" Sefranek.  We quickly found ourselves down 5-0 and then proceeded to win 6 games in a row!  We gave one back to our opponents...John and Mark...and then went on to demolish them in the tie breaker.  Form that point on things got even better.  I ended up the "big winner" of the day.  I am always big, but seldom a winner.

Let see...what else is new?  The baseball season is underway and I think the Mariners may already be mathematically eliminated from post season contention.  Oh yeah...the our yard still needs to be made ready for spring.  The snow has finally melted again.  If any of you would like to come over and rake up the pine needles and dead grass, and pick up the dog bombs, consider yourselves very welcomed.  We might even feed you!