Monday, January 26, 2009

The Hard Man


There are a million things I didn't know about kids until I became a parent. My wife and I didn't read a lot about the subject of parenting. We talked (and talk) a lot about how we would handle certain situations, expectations and so on but we weren't the types to really study what we were about to get into.

Now I don't care how much you read, nothing prepares you for when you bring that tiny baby back home for the first time. Friends of ours described it thusly:

We brought him home, took him out of the carseat and laid him down. We looked at him, looked at each other and burst out laughing. We hadn't a clue what to do.

We were the same. We had friends who had gone through it a few years previous so we made a couple of calls and we have been on the receiving end of a few of those ourselves now but for the most part its sink or swim and of course you swim. The first one is a little stressful because you're afraid they will break and that they will stop breathing in the night and that you just might not be as smart as you think you are. The second one you have the experience and so you are relaxed and wonder what the fuss was about the first time. And once you have a third (if you do) then you do what a buddy of mine did:

We got rid of the gates and as soon as she could walk we took her up and down the stairs, up and down, until she had the hang of it. We hadn't the time nor the energy to go chasing after her or to open and close the gate every time one of the older ones needed to get up or down the stairs. So we showed her what to do and then she was on her own.

With us the biggest issue this time has been sleeping. Our baby never slept in the bassinet and so she was in the bed with my wife from day one. I had the couch. As she got older we had to figure out the logistics. First the boy had to get moved into a big boy bed. That went just fine (it can be a disaster). Then we had to decide the rooming situation so that as little sleep was being disturbed as possible. And finally we had to steel ourselves because now that she had been sleeping with her Mommy for six months there was a bit of a cord that might have to be cut. I knew there would be a lot of wailing, rending of clothes and gnashing of teeth. And that was just my wife. ;) So the thing is that we let it slide, part of it for good reason, partly just out of tiredness and not wanting to deal with it. And now we had to deal with it.

Because here is a little tidbit for you non parents - a woman is wired not to let a baby cry. My wife and all of our friends who are Moms say the same thing - when a baby is crying they actually feel physical pain and have to stop it. And doing what we had to do meant there would be a lot of crying.

Me, I don't believe in letting a baby cry. (My parents and her parents, all wonderful, loving, caring people, all interjected when we had our first and went to pick her up when she was crying, saying that letting her cry was okay and that by picking her up we were spoiling her. I responded that picking up my week old daughter was not likely to mean that she would be living in my basement into her thirties, her mom still picking up after her. But this was common practice back in the day.) Having said that if the baby is crying and I am doing something that has to be done then the baby is going to cry and I am going to do the dishes, laundry, make supper, put another kid to bed, pour myself a beer, finish with my pull.

So Friday night we debated and then we put her down in her crib for the first time. And she cried. For twenty minutes she cried. My wife was going mental. Me, I turned up the volume on the TV and drank my Gritstone. She accused me of having a hard heart. (I do not.) At twenty minutes I was satisfued that she was not going to settle herself, went upstairs and rocked her to sleep. This was at 7:30. At 9:30 she woke up, cried for a while and I repeated. At 11 she woke up and fed. She went back to bed until 7am.

Seriously fucking amazing.

Saturday night she was up at 1am to feed. At 4am she cried and did not settle so I went in and did the job. She got up at 7.

Sunday night I had to settle her after twenty minutes of crying. She fell asleep and woke to feed at midnight. At 4am she woke and fed again. My wife put her down and she awoke and began to cry. Five minutes later she had settled herself and was asleep until 7am.

Now this may seem like nothing to a lot of you out there but my wife has had more sleep in the last three nights then in the previous week total and I am back in our bed. We have our evenings to ourselves for the first time in six months. Hell, we might even have sex sometime soon.

Baby is fine, not scarred for life. All it took was a little steel.

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44 - Sheldon Souray - I hated this signing and , uh, yeah, I was wrong. The only question is his health and there are some who say now is the time to move him but unless you get a youngster ready to step in and do what he is doing then I don't think it can be done. Big asset offensively and the one guy in the top four who will scare the opposition physically. He is the Oilers' hard man back there and you can't move him unless you replace that.

77 - Tom Gilbert - People talk about moving Gilbert and he is actually the guy after Hemsky who I would make an untouchable. A better player than Grebeshkov, signed longterm to a nice contract and much younger then Souray and Lubo. An important part of this club through the window we are talking about and beyond. When Souray and Lubo's contracts expire he won't be thirty yet - you don't move a guy like that

71 - Lubo Visnovsky - Again I don't think you can move this guy. People talk about all of the money sunk into the back end but these guys are quality players and the main reason his club looks to be turning the corner. Look at Lowetide's measure of this season so far - its the D who are driving the bus, not the forwards. Visnovsky is a terrific player and you don't move him unless you can bring in a guy like Bouwmeester or Seabrook or Keith - in other words the unattainable.

37 - Denis Grebeshkov - he is the prime chip the Oilers have but I wouldn't move him unless they are replacing him with a quality veteran who can add a little toughness but can still make that first pass or unless he is part of a home run deal. I think that a fair part of his numbers are the result of playing with Lubo but I also think the guy is quality and while it would be nice to think that Smid could suddenly step into a top four role when he's still a little iffy in the bottom pair, that's probably not reasonable. The Oilers have a nice top four all of a sudden. If you're going to break them up then you had better have a good reason.

5 - Laddy Smid - You don't move him yet. He's making progress and he's still a kid. You certainly don't move him for a rental and I don't think you move him this summer unless you have given up on him and I can't see why you would. You need those young, cheap guys.

24 - Steve Staios - I love Staios but after this season they need to move the guy. They can get a guy to play in the bottom pair who will likley do a better job on the PK for half the price, I would think. He's not dead yet and I hate to see him go, just like I hated seeing Smith go and Reasoner go, but he's getting close to being done. He's not going to be able to help this club when it really counts, two years down the road, so move him while you can before his salary is complete dead weight.

43 - Jason Strudwick - um, who cares? Hey I like the guy in the role he is in now but you'd get nothing if you moved him so what does it matter. He's not really taking a spot that would be better used and my guess is he's happy to still be employed, which makes him a better fit then a kid to be healthy scratched. They'll keep him and they may sign him again in the summer and it really makes no nevermind to me.

35 - Dwayne Roloson - Well with Garon gone Roli is going nowhere. There is a possibility that they sign him in the summer for one more year if they cannot find a younger guy that they feel can do the job down the line. Not a factor for 2011 or 2012 anyway you cut it.

38 - Jeff Deslauriers - With Garon gone he has the backup job. It makes me nervous as hell but they have confidence in him obviously. Hopefully its the right call. Anyways he's in the mix this year and next and then they will decide on him.

11 comments:

doritogrande said...

My wife and I didn't read a lot about the subject of parenting. We talked (and talk) a lot about how we would handle certain situations, expectations and so on but we weren't the types to really study what we were about to get into.

And here I'm not yet asking for advice, but getting to read it for free. It's win-win!

I wasn't a big supporter of the Souray signing either, but I'll freely admit the man's been worth his $$ this year. Gilbert's done this year what Grebeshkov did last year. Come on strong after a poor dozen or so games. His turnaround, along with the great play of Grebeshkov have made it possible for the D to handle the falling-off of Staios' play.

Black Dog said...

dg - I think Gilbert was trying to earn that entire contract in the first month of the season

since he relaxed he's been just terrific

rananda said...

i think it's at least possible that you think grebs' success has been a result of playing with lubo because of grebs' lack of pedigree, size, and stature. the recent pk scoring chance numbers, where grebs has been great and has not played a lick with lubo, certainly indicate that he's not simply being carried around the ice by visnovsky. i haven't seen too many oiler games this year, but grebeshkov was fantastic in quebec city last spring, playing against and with the best players in the world, and he was being paired with a guy named konstantin korneev. there's absolutely no way the oilers can trade him as an impending rfa and get anything near value for him. the smartest think they can do is to try and sign him to a contract just under gilbert's numbers. if you must trade someone (i'm not sure they must), souray, on the other hand, has a fair amount of value right now that i still bet he won't deliver on going forward. i still think souray's a knee injury away from becoming shawn heins.

HBomb said...

Denis Grebeshkov - he is the prime chip the Oilers have but I wouldn't move him unless they are replacing him with a quality veteran who can add a little toughness but can still make that first pass or unless he is part of a home run deal.

Two words: Anton Volchenkov.

Ottawa needs puckmoving. Expand the deal to include Nilsson and Vermette if possible.

That would be what I'd do if I were GM.

doritogrande said...

Two words: Anton Volchenkov.


Ottawa management would be batshit crazy to make a deal like that. Volchenkov is their best defenseman. To trade him for our (IMO) 4th best defender says a lot about a)our depth, and b)Ottawa's complete lack of defensemen.

I always thought Kuba was a puck-moving type. And Brian Lee certainly is too. Grebeshkov may be a good fit there if he's paired with the right guy. But chances are they'd be forced to give him way, way too many minutes and he'll crash under the added responsibility of being a #2 guy behind Phillips.

Good Muckin' Tonite said...

'The Oilers have a nice top four all of a sudden. If you're going to break them up then you had better have a good reason.'

Have to agree completely with you there. You don't start dicking around with your horses like Tampa and Ottawa have over the past couple of seasons forcing their gunners to play 2-ways, meaning D first, scoring 2nd instead of a healthy balance -unless the return is just too good to ignore. Smid's doing a fair job and is a plus-player so I wouldn't be batting for the fences here when a solid #5 might be all it takes to solidify a pretty decent looking back line.
I hate to admit this, as a forward in my glory days - but a dependable set of D gives the forwards the comfort they need to do their thing and it's showing.

Black Dog said...

rananda - I'd rather keep him

I don't think that Lubo is dragging him around per se but I think he's not hurting ;)

hbomb - Volchenkov isn't going anywhere but if I have any quibble with the Oilers' D its that I think they could use that type of guy - a little more of the "defensive Dman" type, a little more toughness

so he's that type of guy

like I said though I'm happy with the status quo on the top 4

GMT - that's exactly it - remember two years ago - passes around the rim, in the skates, etc

Huge difference this season.

OF17 said...

I just wanted to comment on how much I enjoy the blog. It's always a highlight of my day to check the site and see a new post up. Your ability to tell a good story is uncanny, and I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say that I feel like a friend of yours when I read the blog. It's top-notch writing.

Thanks.

Black Dog said...

Thanks OF17 - appreciate it

hunter1909 said...

Oilers back 4 are as good as most in the NHL.

Break that up, and what are you left with? A weak young forward team, with a broken up back 4, and Steve Staios, and Roloson.

Black Dog said...

hunter - yeah I'm with you, leave the back 4 as is and work on shoring up the forwards - experience will help there but they need some new bodies as well