Saturday, October 23, 2010

LIVING LIFE: The Sports Wedding Calendar

I don't think my love of sports – OK, obsession with sports– is any big secret to anyone that really knows me; however, here lately I'm beginning to believe that the rest of the world isn’t sharing in my passion.

One of my best buddies, Paulie, just got engaged. He and his fiancé decided to have to have their wedding next month.

In November.

During one of the best annual sports stretches of the year.

“I know, I know,” Paul said. “Don’t even start with me.”

“I just want to make sure that you realize that you will be getting married during a college football Saturday,” I responded.

“Yes,” he said, becoming more dejected. “I'm well aware of the situation.”

“Then you will be leaving on your honeymoon and missing the NFL on Sunday, Monday Night Football on Monday, and a whole week of NBA games during the week,” I added.

“Just tell me where to turn in my Man Card," he said, now sulking.

Paul’s wedding will be just one more instance in what’s becoming a disturbing trend as of late. Within the past two years, I have missed a lot of March Madness basketball, tons of college football, almost missed Game 3 of the World Series featuring my favorite team, and the PGA Championship all because of weddings.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I did miss the PGA Championship because of my own wedding, but still… you get the point)

The problem isn’t that my friends are maliciously scheduling their nuptials during prime time sporting events on purpose, it’s just that we haven't been better informed as to when all of the prime time sporting events are being played. So, that’s what I’m here to do.

You’re welcome, world.

At the most recent wedding that my w
ife and I attended that was scheduled during an important game, I started to get a little chirpy. I began to pontificate profusely about how if you do get married during a huge sporting event, then you should have to be required to take into consideration all the men that have no desire to even be there in the first place (I lost it during that eternity between the ceremony and the reception, when you have to wait for the wedding party to finish taking pictures. Gets me every time).

I added that it should be mandated to have televisions strategically placed throughout the reception area because there will always be some big game on somewhere throughout the year.

Not wanting to force brides into having to deal with installing extra television sets, my wife wanted to know when the best times of the year are to have a wedding based on the annual sports calendar to make everyone happy.

And to shut me up.

After careful consideration and extended research, I have come to the rescue and have compiled a very helpful calendar that everyone can now use to schedule their future weddings around major sports events.

Men, I would suggest printing this out immediately and keeping it in your wallet because information this revolutionary tends to “disappear” quickly.


- January 1 (NHL Outdoor Winter Classic)
- The rest of January (NFL Playoffs)
- First weekend in February (Super Bowl)

- Second weekend in February (NBA All-Star Weekend)
- March (March Madness)
- The first weekend in April (the Final Four and MLB opening weekend)
- The second weekend in April (The Masters)
- The last weekend of April (NFL Draft)
- May (NBA playoffs)
- June (NBA Finals)
- September (College and NFL football return)
- October (MLB playoffs, NHL returns, football every weekend)
- November (NBA returns, glorious football)
- December (NBA, NFL, NHL in full swing, college football bowl season)


- Last two weekends of February
- July
- August
- The third weekend in April*

*July and August are always the safest because baseball is the only sport being played at the time and no one actively wants to get married at the end of February. Besides, even if you do dodge a bullet with scheduling your wedding on that open weekend of April this year, your subsequent anniversaries will inevitably come back to haunt you for the rest of your life.

No need to be a hero, pal. As you can clearly see, there are pleeeeenty of other acceptable dates.

Here's my ultimate point: guys know that when we are in relationships, situations are going to come up where we are not going to get to watch every minute of every sporting event during the calendar year. But we just want women to understand that before you came along, this is all we did.

There's no grand mystery to solve about us.

My answer to every one of my wife’s questions pertaining to my life before her is always some variation of, "I was at my buddy's house watching the game."

How about a compromise? For every regular season game that we miss because we were at the mall with you, can we just please stop scheduling our weddings during MAJOR sporting events like March Madness or the World Series or the PGA Championship? And not just for us, but for every man that will be forced against his will to come be a part of our special day.

Is that really too much to ask?

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

LIVING LIFE: Giving Me the Business

Our one year of marriage is the longest my Wife has been without a dog in her house since she was in elementary school and it’s starting to get to her. Everywhere we go, she oooh’s and ahhh’s at every dog we see. She even has a “Puppy of the Day” feature on her iGoogle homepage that I’m forced to suffer through looking at every evening.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t want a dog. I love dogs. I can’t wait to have a dog. But I keep trying to explain to my darling bride that the only issue keeping us from having a dog is that we can barely afford to take care of the two of us right now. Let alone one of man’s best friends.

Fortunately, I have found a decent alternative to keep her temporarily happy while we wait on getting our own canine companion. Our friend, Laura, lets us occasionally puppy-sit her Lhasa-Poodle mix, Millie, whenever she has to go out of town or if my Wife just desperately needs a doggy fix.

We have watched Millie a hundred times in the past and Laura asked if we could watch her last weekend because she had a lot of things to do and didn’t want to leave Millie alone for an extended period of time. Normally, this wouldn’t have been an issue, except for the fact that this particular weekend, my Wife was ALSO going to be out of town for a friend’s wedding.

Not wanting to leave Laura – or her dog – in a jam, I offered to take care of Millie by myself for the weekend.

Much to the surprise of My Wife.

“What’s the big deal?” I said to her. “I used to take care of my parents’ dog all the time by myself.”

“I know,” she said. “But this is someone else’s dog. What if something goes wrong?”

“What could possibly go wrong?” I responded defensively.

I should really start reading my own columns.

Laura dropped Millie off at our apartment on Friday night and we had a great evening. We played with her toys. We went out for walks. We watched the baseball playoffs (that reminds me, I still owe Mils money on the bet we had).

And as I drifted off to sleep that night with Millie cuddled up next to me, I was hooked. When my Wife got back in town, we were going to get our own dog. No matter the cost.

Saturday morning started off as pleasant as Friday had ended. I took Millie for a long walk and it’s important to note that she… um… took care of her business while we were out. We came back in the apartment and I jumped in the shower, only to find another nice little surprise when I got out.

She took care of business on our carpet.

Not a big deal, dogs do that kind of stuff all the time. Quick clean up and we were good to go.

Or so I thought.

About an hour later, I took her out for another walk and she took care of business three more times. I was getting a little concerned because, while I’m not expert, this seemed like a lot for a small dog in one morning.

We weren’t back in the house 10 minutes after the walk before she handled her business on the carpet again.

At this point, I didn’t know what to do. Part of me wanted to call Laura just in case something was medically wrong with Millie but my pride stepped in and convinced me there was no way I was going to fail at dog sitting.

I decided to have a little pep talk with Millie.

“Hey Mils,” I started. “Any chance we can tone down the business inside the house?”

Millie looked directly into my soul and I could instantly tell what she was thinking.

“You’re mine, buddy. I own you. I’m going to do whatever I want and you’re going to like it.”

Uh, oh.

After business was conducted on two more walks in the afternoon, I thought we were done for the night. Millie snuggled up next to me on the couch while I was watching television and I was starting to nod off when I noticed her getting up off the couch.

In what could have only been maybe a full minute, Millie did her business in three different places on our carpet.

Naturally the shock and smell caused me throw up on the carpet too.

Realizing something must be really wrong, I finally had to call Laura to come pick up Millie and spent the rest of the night cleaning the business filled war zone that had become our living room.

When my Wife got back home the next day, she couldn’t resist.

“How did it go?” She chuckled.

“Great,” I snapped. “Guess who is NEVER getting a dog?”

“Oh, come on,” she said. “Just consider it good diaper changing practice for when we have a baby.”


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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

LIVING LIFE: Pretty Fly for a White Guy

Now that I’ve gotten a little bit older and have a little bit more money, airline travel has become one of my new favorite past times (and let’s remember to keep the emphasis on “little” in both of those cases).

I've always loved traveling in general, but driving back and forth across this great country of ours four times already has burnt me out on long road trips for a while. In the meantime, I'm appreciating being able to travel more conveniently through the friendly skies.

The only problem is that every aspect of flying goes against every aspect of my nature.

There’s too much waiting that goes into flying. You have to wait in line to check any bags. Then you have to wait to disrobe in the security line. Then you have to wait at the gate to board the plane. Then you have to wait for the plane to take off.

Then there’s the worst wait of all: when you’ve landed and you’re dying to get off the plane but you have to wait for the flight attendants to help the one idiot dislodge his slightly too large bag from the overhead compartment.

Considering how I flip out if I have to wait at a stoplight longer than a minute and a half, this is not a doctor recommended list of activities for me.

Oh, and then there’s the actual flying.

I know it is all science and physics but if I can’t even comprehend how it’s possible for me to program my DVR at home from my computer at work, I’m never going to get past a man-made aircraft lifting off the ground and flying through the air.

At the end of the day, it’s just a bunch of people climbing into a metal tube and hoping for the best.

But when my Wife and I decided to move almost 2,000 miles away from most of our family and friends, flying suddenly became a necessary evil.

I’m proud to admit that almost two years in, I’m finally starting to calm down, relax, and borderline enjoy it. During take-offs and touch-downs, I no longer have to cling on for dear life to my Wife or, worse yet, the absolute stranger sitting next to me.

Baby steps.

What’s really strange, though, is that when I went to meet a buddy in Missouri last weekend, I realized that I am slowly starting to take on somewhat of a Clive Bixby alter ego when I fly.

First, I noticed that during that aforementioned wait at the gate, I always buy the most recent issue of Esquire magazine. I know that’s that not ridiculously abnormal; Esquire is a well-known, widely read publication. But it is kind of abnormal when you take into account the fact that after buying the magazine a few times at airports last year, I even subscribed to receive it at our house... only to never read it… unless I was on an airplane.

We finally had to plan random flights just to unload the stack of unread issues that were piling up on our coffee table.

Then I observed something unusual when the attendants come by mid-flight for my drink order. I always order tomato juice. In my everyday life, I NEVER drink tomato juice. It’s basically thinned out ketchup. Once again, after ordering it a few times on flights last year, I picked up some tomato juice to keep at our house... only to never drink it… unless I was on an airplane.

Is there some kind of clinical diagnosis for this kind of alternative behavior?

I mean, other than just being a weirdo?

Finally, I have become increasingly aware that I spend money like a drunken sailor whenever I fly. At home, I am militant when it comes to our finances, but when I get out of town I spend it like we got it. I also become a very generous tipper and will tip anyone for doing anything for me.

It’s no coincidence that every city I visit experiences a temporary economic spike. I’ve actually received a few “Thank You” cards from town officials.

I genuinely like who I am as a person, but my alter-ego seems to be having more fun than I ever do. So the truly bizarre question then becomes that if this world traveling-Esquire reading-tomato drinking-free spending son of a gun is fundamentally 36% cooler than I am, why can’t I be him all the time?

Maybe it’s because when you get bogged down in the routine of everyday life, you just need something different – or someone different – to look forward to when climbing into a metal tube and hoping for the best.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

LIVING LIFE: The Playoff Beard

As I have mentioned before, my Wife and I never argue about anything of actual importance; but our disagreements are always of the utmost significance to us.

Here is the transcript of a recent hum-dinger:

ME: It’s officially October! You know what that means, don't you?

MY WIFE: Yes! Cooler weather and awesome weekend trips to the mountains!

ME: And if by “awesome weekend trips to the mountains” you mean staying home to watch a ton of football and baseball playoffs, then you are correct!

MY WIFE: Ugh, is it really baseball playoff time, again?

ME: Yes… it is finally baseball playoff time again.

MY WIFE: You’re not going to grow that gross, scraggily playoff beard again are you?

ME: I HAVE to!

MY WIFE: No you don’t. It makes no difference on how your team plays!

ME: Umm… let’s review the facts.

MY WIFE: Here we go.

ME: In 2007, I didn’t grow the beard and they got swept in the first round. In 2008, I grew the beard and they won the World Series. In 2009, I grew the beard and they made it to the World Series and then I shaved the beard for that stupid Halloween costume and then they lost. I rest my case.

MY WIFE: But we were so cute as Joan and Roger!

ME: Yes, but I cost us the Series.

MY WIFE: And you almost cost your friendship with your buddy Gray in ’08 when you wore that thing as a groomsman during his wedding.

ME: Yes, but I can’t help that he scheduled his wedding during my favorite team’s first World Series appearance in 28 years.

MY WIFE: But you were in their pictures!

ME: But it was Game 3!

MY WIFE: Is Halloween during the World Series this year?

ME: Yep. Game 4 will be on Halloween night.

MY WIFE: So what costumes are we going to wear?

ME: I have no idea! That's almost a full month away. You can dress up as whatever you want.

MY WIFE: No, we have to be a matching couple! We’ve been Fred and Daphne, Joan and Roger and I thought we were going to be Jim and Pam from “The Office” this year.

ME: We can still be Jim and Pam.

MY WIFE: But Jim doesn’t have a beard!

ME: That we know of.

MY WIFE: No! We have to look authentic. What famous characters wear beards?

ME: I don’t know. I’ll just go as a baseball player again.

MY WIFE: NO! You did already two years ago!

ME: Because we won the World Series that year!

MY WIFE: You’re not wearing a costume you’ve already worn!

ME: We were living 2,000 miles away back then! No one out here will know!

MY WIFE: But I will!

ME: Fine. Let’s look online and see what famous characters have worn beards.

(We spend a few minutes doing an Internet search)

MY WIFE: Well, it looks like we’re down to Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jules Winnfield.

ME: What if I did Obi-Wan and you dressed up as Princess Leia in her Jabba’s palace costume?

MY WIFE: I can’t.

ME: Sure you can!

MY WIFE: Noooo, I can’t.

ME: I will grant you that costume is a little revealing–

MY WIFE: No, it's not that! It's because she’s not a redhead.

ME: Wait, what?

MY WIFE: She doesn’t have beautiful red hair like me, so I can’t be her.

ME: So let me get this straight. You can only dress up as female characters for Halloween that have red hair like yours - on a night where the whole point is to dress up as someone else?

MY WIFE: “Beautiful” red hair. Yes, that is correct. Daphne, Joan, Pam… seeing a pattern?

ME: Yeah, but I thought those were just convenient, not mandatory.

MY WIFE: Sorry, don’t know what to tell you.

ME: So what’s the list of remaining, available characters that have red hair–

MY WIFE: Uh, excuse me...

ME: Sorry, what is the list of remaining, available characters that have beautiful red hair?

MY WIFE: Of the top of my beautiful red head, I can think of Wilma Flintsone, Jane Jetson…

ME: Hey, I like that one! I could get a wig and be George Jetson!

MY WIFE: But he doesn’t have a beard!

ME: Well then you just better hope that we lose before we even get to the World Series so that I can find a more accommodating Halloween character to be with you!

MY WIFE (with a devilish grin): Well if that’s an option…


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