Thursday, August 13, 2009

Falling Down

Mental is the word to describe this life this summer and its just been racheted up a notch.

My wife has gone back to work.

She's a nurse at Sick Kids. She is an excellent nurse. She works with children who have cancer.

That sort of thing will make a lot of your problems seem very very small.

So how it works is that she does shift work. She works twelve hour shifts. Mondays and Tuesdays and then X number of days or nights on weekends over each schedule.

The weekends aren't such a big deal for me. She started last weekend with shifts Friday and Saturday nights. So up first thing Saturday morning, breakfast and then we were off to Fergus for the Scottish Festival and Highland Games so my wife could sleep in peace. Now that was mental. A tale to be told another time but it was something else. Pipers and kilts and crazy tests of strength and IrnBru and bacon and sausage and red faced men and pale pretty red haired girls.

Did I mention the bagpipes? Jesus. Everywhere you turned they were warming up and wailing, whaaaaa whaaaaaa whaaaaaaaaaa, and of course the Tattoo, hundreds of them marching into the makeshift stadium, the drums and the pipes. As we left my oldest watched another pack of them tuning up in the parking lot, surrounded by drummers and campers drinking beer, and turned to me and said:

"I wouldn't call this a festival. I would call it a big party"
Oh, you bet.

So the weekends - piece of cake. Its the weekdays that are spinning crazily and this past Tuesday was the first.

Wife gone before anyone is up. Baby up at 6:20. Rest of the Wild Bunch up ten minutes later. Prepare breakfast. Take out eight weeks of garbage (this was our first collection since mid June although to be fair we were away for nearly five weeks, actually we missed the whole goddamned mess). Cajole, threaten, bribe and wheedle two oldest into getting dressed, making beds, cleaning room, eating breakfast, brushing teeth and hair, not killing each other. Feed and change baby. Release the (aged) hound for morning constitutional. Prepare self for work. Admittedly this last task is simple. Tshirt, shorts, sandals. Simple lunch. Book for subway.

Out the door and kids to daycare. Off to work. Bring home bacon. Leave work and rush to daycare early because of playoff game at 6:30. Heat up supper while packing hockey bag, preventing kids from murdering each other, doing breakfast dishes. Bring in garbage and compost bins. Release the hound for afternoon constitutional. Prepare kids for bed. Take deep breath and await babysitter. And as the phone rings I hear:

Thump. Thump.

And I realize that something or someone is falling down the stairs.

Thump. Thump.

And I round the corner to see the baby hit the hardwood. And she starts to wail.

The boy went upstairs to take a whiz and in the chaos the gate was left open.

And the phone rings. Its my wife. Because I haven't a lick of sense I pick it up.

Hi. Yeah yeah. No, good day. Oh she just jammed her finger in the door. (No blood) No she's ok, just tired too I think (Baby still has all of her teeth), no she's ok, not that big of a deal.

And I pass the phone to my eldest.

Hi Mommy. How are you? Guess what, Kate just fell down the stairs.

She holds the phone out to me.

Mommy wants to talk to you Daddy.

Ratted out by a five year old.

Goddamn it.


Was kidding with LT this morning as he insisted for probably the nine hundredth time since Chris Pronger was traded that the Edmonton Oilers are going to make a move to fill a hole in their roster. As the Oilers shed the veterans who handled the tough sledding in that beautiful spring of 2006 - Pronger, Peca, Spacek, Dvorak, Smyth, Smith, Torres - we waited for the cavalry to come. We waited for the veteran defencemen who would augment a blueline that had Laddy Smid in the top four the year after the Cup run. They never came.

We waited for a replacement for Smyth and for Sykora and for the flawed Joffrey Lupul and instead we got a pack of kids up front to go with the kids on the back end. And once again we waited for the reinforcements, the simple hires who could step in and help the kids out. Strangely enough three players who came in who had exactly what this club needed, guys who came in cheap and could have been retained - Hejda, Glencross, Thoresen - all went away.

And so last summer we waited and Visnovsky and Cole did come and for the first time in a while we could look at the blue and the goaltending and see quality and depth. And the addition of Cole was a solid one. Problem is that three decent NHL forwards in Stoll, Torres and Reasoner went away, as did Glencross. It wasn't so much that these guys were sent away. They had their faults and they had their detractors. Stoll had three goals at ES or something ridiculous like that in his last season here. Torres was a little mental. And so on.

Problem was that they were not replaced. And so a nice blueline and decent goaltending was wasted as another young forward corps floundered.

MacTavish lost his job and Lowe was kicked upstairs. Somewhat.
And this past six months have seen Cole leave and Roloson and Garon and Brodziak and Ales Kotalik (oh we barely knew ye!).

And Khabibulin and Patrick O'Sullivan come in.

Four more veteran NHL players gone and a youngster who could do some things that none of the other kids do.

And so we wait again. While a club that has finished out of the playoffs three years running now, up against the cap again, gets ready to go to camp with absolutely no goaltending depth, a centre depth chart with one quality NHLer and a bunch of kids who can barely grow a beard between the lot of them, a team that is still too small and too young, especially up front. A club that missed the playoffs despite being very lucky when it came to injuries.

At the end of the summer Tambellini said that this club was too small and too soft and that he was going to change that and he has not done a single thing to address these issues. More importantly he has not addressed the lack of experience on this roster. Again.

Man we had better hope that MacTavish was that bad of a coach and that Quinn is that good.

Because next spring if they are out of it again and Tambellini steps up to the mic and says that they just missed out, that you know, they just kind of jammed their finger in the door, we might need my daughter to step up and tell the truth.

Only problem is in this case its going to be us fans who are crying out eyes out.


boopronger said...

Ah kids dont lie unless theres something in it for them. All that and you still have time to write the blog? I like you but your crazy.

Black Dog said...

This stupid earning a living thing is killing me. Seriously cutting into my fun time.

hunter1909 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hunter1909 said...

This summer I'm enjoying my latest hobby, studying the Patriotic War of 1941-45.

The Oilers situation is like Stalingrad, where the 200,000 strong once elite(they're the ones who marched through Paris in those newsreels) German 6th army were sitting there starving and freezing to death, while surrounded by the Red Army.

Goering promised Hitler that the Luftwaffe would have no problems resupplying them entirely by air. The problem was, someone forgot to tell the Russians who basically made the German air force run a gauntlet every time they flew anything to that city.

As a result, the army starved. And froze. And ran out of bullets.

Once a plane did manage to get through the ack ack, and when the 6th Army opened it up, they discovered it was full of condoms.

I just can't help but think that's what the Oilers fans are, freezing to death from frustration at this moribund franchise and instead of getting hot food, we get empty promises and condoms.

hunter1909 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hunter1909 said...

Black Dog: I wouldn't worry so much about having fun. I've had so much fun this summer so far that despite the fact I haven't touched a drop of alcohol in nearly a week, I still feel half drunk.

Starting a new project today, I feel like a 100 year old man, unable to think clearly, other than the job I'm doing. Everything else in my life is chaos, a mess, an unmitigated disaster.

Having fun is so overrated.

melanie... said...

I've been ratted out by my 5 yr old more times then I can count. Usually for using 'no-no' words and then I get in trouble with grandma.
Kids make you mental I swear! single mom of a 5 & 8 yr 2 weeks brings football practice x6, 2 football games, 2 birthday parties, plus 2 weeks of hockey camp and don't forget school starts soon too. awww the joys of parenthood. :)

wouldn't have it any other way..

hunter1909 said...

Melanie, that's such a hot name.

: p

Halfwise said...

You the difference between onions and bagpipes is that no one cries when they cut up bagpipes.

ChrissyT said...

Thats what I love about kids, they tell it like it is. I put on this shirt one day and stupidly asked my son if it makes me look fat, and he said yes (I didn't think it did, honest) and he saw my reaction and quickly said, "no mommy, you look beautiful!" Kids you gotta love them.

Or this other time we were goofing around on our walk home from getting groceries, and I hip checked him into the grass, he thought it was so funny, so I did it again except this time he hit the sidewalk and scraped his knee. Well all he told anybody for the next few weeks was that "Mommy knocked me down and made me bleed".

And boy I hope the Oilers bring someone in, they need to send Nilsson out and sign a Malhotra or Betts for cheap, lotsa guys are looking for work so they should come relatively cheap if they're offered a multi year deal, well cheaper than Nilsson anyways.

99thoilerfan said...

Black Dog...

Tell me more about "pale pretty red haired girls" mmm Redheads mmm

I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog. Your slice of life style, with a few Oiler comments added on the tail end makes for a great read.


Fake Craig McTavish said...

Bagpipe Music: the sound of two backboards mating.

Baroque said...

I like bagpipes - it reminds me of college (we were called the Scots and needed a piper in the band - he was under scholarship). :)

And as one of five children - the best thing about not being an only child is the opportunity to band together against the adults, and also to avoid blame by all claiming ignorance. If no one breaks, it can't be pinned on any of us. I always felt bad for only children.