We have it down to a science now though. We drive the morning and then stop for lunch/gas/pee breaks for an hour and then drive until we reach our destination. 1700 kilometres in seventeen and a half hours. Yowza.
Big deal, you say? Try it with three kids five and under.
And we’re not done yet, another thousand to get under our belts before the end of the month.
A little worn down though I must say but all smiles these days. Our youngest just turned one and there’s not a much better feeling than knowing that you have made it through that year with your sanity and marriage still intact. It’s a tough one – this one, our third, was probably the easiest really. The first one was an easier baby but the first goround is tough – you’re a little overwhelmed and you’re afraid they’ll break and you have just one to concentrate on. It gets easier the more times you get your wife pregnant.
Trust me on that one – do give it a whirl. You’ll thank me later.
And Tuesday we celebrate eight years of marriage. The babysitter will be at our place at 8. Of course I will already be on the ice by that time, trying to stave off a winless season (oh its shameful, it really is a goddamned disgrace) and my wife will head out to her soccer game. By the time she comes home I will likely be abed.
We’ll celebrate properly on Wednesday with a bottle of wine or two and, if she’s lucky, a little bit of the ee ee ee ee. We’ll try not to break any furniture this time – we’re just a couple of animals really.
A fun year coming up, my wife goes back to work in a few weeks which means another level of stress and me with three kids alone instead of two for a few days or evenings a week. No worries.
And the boy starts school and our oldest is in grade one and we have a couple of weddings already next year, one that will take me back to Dublin for a third time. Sweet fair Dublin town.
We were on the south shore of the Island drinking wine in the gazebo before we went inside and smashed some furniture and we were talking about this upcoming year and the challenges it poses. My wife is a worrier, as I think most women are, and I, like most men, worry most about the next time I can get out of the house for some pints or whether or not the Oilers will pick up that veteran centre to take the load off Horcoff.
Pretty standard stuff. It makes her mental but there’s not much I can do about it. I am like my old man. I can’t worry about what may be because a whole lot of things may be. Have to enjoy it when I can. For all of us we don’t know what tomorrow might bring, a cell somewhere inside us or a loved one gone awry, a synapse misfiring, someone driving too fast or after too many beers, a patch of ice on a highway.
So when I said to her that what we do, this thing we do, we are pretty good at it, I meant it not in a bold or boastful way. We’re lucky as hell and we sure recognize it but at the same time I look at her going back to work and that challenge and I know that we'll rise to it. Piece of cake. This thing, our life, its what we do.
Not much happening in Oiler land these days and I'm ok with that. Looks like the Heatley deal is dead, probably a good thing. They have their goaltender. They have a nice looking new coaching staff. The farm team is being rebuilt with the addition of some quality AHL vets. The draft looks pretty good although of course that won't be known for sure until years pass.
Tambellini has had a solid summer.
With Heatley out of the picture and things beginning to slow down the latest question is whether or not this club looks the same in September as it does now. The departure of Kotalik is one less NHL forward on a roster that has been short of them for a few years now. Brodziak was a fourth liner, sure, but he had some experience and did a few things (PK, faceoffs) that the roster is short on. Plus he could score a little. And the unlamented Liam Reddox was at least a quality AHL guy who could do a little at the NHL level. Those who mocked his departure forget that he and Potulny were by far the best players in Springfield last season. To say that he didn't earn his shot with the big club is overlooking that simple fact.
Having said that the loss of Liam Reddox isn't going to be one the club cannot recover from.
So what's next? Anything? There's just enough forwards for the available spots - Penner, Horcoff, Hemsky, O'Sullivan, Gagner, Nilsson, Cogliano, Moreau, Pisani, Stortini, Pouliot, MacIntyre, Brule, Jacques.
Fourteen. Is that it? The team isn't bigger or tougher and its probably a little weaker up front. Will Quinn and Renney make that big a difference? I think Tambellini figures they are going to have a very big impact.
But he still needs to make at least a move or two doesn't he? Malholtra? Moore? Betts? Halpern? Ponikarovsky?
Darryl Sutter doesn't seem to have any problems finding low cost guys to shore up his roster. Lets hope that Tambellini, who has had a decent summer, imo, can find a player or two or three who can give this team some cheap vets to lean on without giving up any of the prize kids.