Monday, June 30, 2008

Release me

I've got 'em all right now. Excitement. Apprehension. Stress. Frustration. Its one of the things I look forward to most each year and dread the most at the exact same time. Only a few days to go and I'm confident we'll do it well as its gone well before, but I still stress and don't get sleep over it because I want it be better in some way every year. The release will come on Sunday evening when we can sit back and reflect on the weekend and I'm looking forward to it and a weekend well done.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Register that thing

So, I like to think that I'm pretty able to figure stuff out. I'm not always the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I ain't the butter spreader either. I've figured out I'm about to be pretty screwed tho.

I was a bit ill last week with a fun bus ride (bus is slang for ambulance, try and keep up) to the ER; a bunch of tests; a little bit of "we don't know what's wrong with you" and some "go home and rest it'll probably get better and if it doesn't maybe stop back by or something." Couple this with the my astonishing performance in OH at the hundr'd last weekend and the six or seven times I quit the sport completely during those 10 hours and I wasn't much for riding.

Kris thought she'd cheer me up with a bit of shopping. This almost always does the trick for a quick pep. First up was the "Quest for New Furniture!!" Nothing like a quick drive in the car to a long drawn out stab me in the eye with a sharp stick please trip for a new living room suite and exactly the right fabric and upholstery for the new couch. I shouldn't complain too much its not like this wasn't an informative trip. I did find out that I must not have a very discerning ass since I couldn't really tell that the particular couch I was trying desperately to sink into the cushions on and disappear from view for at least a little was ever so slightly less comfortable than the 27 other ones we'd tried so far and that I obviously also have zero sense of color coordination. I'm quite sure that not a single one of the print/solid combos I suggested was seriously considered (yes, I did try to contribute for after I started to root for the football team in red on the fake television used to fill out the entertainment center display I figured I should likely move on.) At first I thought I was doing well, but after a bit I noticed that I was starting to get looks of disdain and then I think I heard either Kris or the salesperson mumble something about, 'why the hell is he here?' which was really my point exactly.

But as there was more cheering up to do we weren't done. Day 2 dawned with the specter of yet more joy brought on through retail bliss. This time though the gloves were off. It was time for the Baby Registry.

For the first time, but I'm oh so very positive not the last, I set foot inside that compillation of all things tiny tot (though I wish it were tater tot) related - Babies 'R Us. You'd think that the cute little 'R would help endear this bastion of baby related products to me. Nope.

Things started off innocently enough. A large sign welcomed us to the Registry Registration table. A well ensconced young lady sat us down and went over all that the store had to offer and things we should consider for our new addition. She was pleasant enough with her glazed over expression and monotone delivery only perhaps hinting at the excitement she was feeling inside for our new arrival; her love of all things babyized; and her commitment to a long and fruitful career in this little slice of heaven. With a last flurry of sloth like activity she brought forth that wonderful gun with which to scan bar codes and as has been done for generation (yes, singular, not only did they not have fun bar code guns, dads seem to have somehow gotten themselves out of these sorts of things in the past, perhaps it really was the greatest generation) handed it with care to the father to be . In doing so she was really welcoming him to Wonderland -- and trying to trick him into thinking this adventure may still hold some promise since perhaps he'd get to shoot something.

Then it began. Dumbness sets in.

Aisle 1. Child proofing the house. As an aside, this of course will have the added effect of Mike and Kris proofing the house as well and likely lead to the kid's first encounter with naughty language when I can't get to the Oreos one night. So we begin by looking at the some of those cabinet locks at the end of the aisle and it goes something like this:
"Which ones should we get."
"I don't know which one do you think we should get."
"I don't know, how many cabinets are in the new house do you think?
"I don't know, how many do you think there are?"
"I don't know, do you think we should put these on the registry?"
"I don't know, I guess so."
"Okay, so how many should we get?"
"I don't know. What do you think?"
"I don't know. What about these."
"Okay. Oh look, there are 100 more of these down this aisle."

This was the basic gist of a conversation that repeated itself far too frequently during the day. Substitute diaper pail for baby proofing gear and color of the paint for number of cabinets and you get the idea.

So, I point the gun, close my eyes, say a little prayer, and start firing.

Then its off to aisle 2. We're actually able to navigate a few things. Lots of diaper rash creams here. There is one that's "organic." Quick scan it since that bit at least differentiates if from the others and gives us a reason. "Why'd you choose that one?" "Well, it's organic of course." Perfect.

Then its potty time. Not time to choose a potty, that's still a ways off (umm, I think anyway), but time for Kris to make run since being preggy certainly pushes that button often. No problem, I'm a soon-to-be-dad of the 21st Century and I'll do some of this on my own.

Aisle 3. Bottles.

I don't believe I've ever stared at something with as dumbfounded an expression for as long as I did at that wall of bottles. My eyes got as big as saucers and I was completely frozen. If I didn't move maybe the bottles wouldn't see me and I could dart out when some other unsuspecting not-quite-yet-a-dad wondered in unaware of what waited on that wall.

I started to pick them up. I started to read. "Most life-like nipple," said one. "No PBAs!" touted another. "4 out of 5 babies choose this bottle for babies that use bottles," noted a third. "Oprah's favorite!" on one even. Now, I don't know what the hell Oprah is doing sucking on baby bottles, perhaps thats something she and Steadman are into.

There was even one that touted "most breast-like look and feel." Now of course, this I needed to investigate as its only the best for my boy! I open 'er up and sure enough its a bottle that looks like a boob. If boobs were clear that is. It was definitely a little fake feeling though which certainly took away some points. On the upside though it was perky.

Probably obviously, this was the highlight of the day as then it was on to strollers, play pens, swings, toys to hang from things, diaper pails, bedding. Somehow or other we did manage to avoid all contact with the breast pumps on this little venture which was nice, but I'm sure was actually due to a wrinkle in the space-time continuum and will be remedied in the not so distance future.

Four hours later and we've covered half the store. HALF! Then, as if a prayer had been answered, a voice from above boomed out, "The store is closing in 5 minutes, please bring all your baby related crap to the register so we can over charge you for it" or something like that.

Four minutes and 30 seconds later Kris disengaged from the bedding display and we made our way to the front of the store. The nice young animatron in the Reg Reg downloaded the gun, informed us that there was a bunch of stuff we didn't have on there that we really needed to get from B R Us to ensure that the child didn't grow up an imbalanced mess and sent us on our way.

Luckily there was just enough time left before closing for one purchase.

C'mon, its not like I wasn't coming home without one of those perky booby bottles. I mean how great will it be to get that hand up in the feed zone?!?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Run, Don't Walk

Some info is up, more good stuff to come - click the tractor.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Here we go again

Another month gone by and me with nothing at all interesting or at the very least amusing for me to post - 'cause in the end its all about me.

But, since there are some things going down in about a month or so, I figure I oughta pipe up a bit.

The Stage Race and Festival Weekend is coming! Tell your friends! Spread the word!

The jist is the same as its been for the past four years. Just the baddest mountain bike weekend ever!!

The big news for this year is that we're doing something a bit different with the points that we have in the past. Just like its always been, for the non-xc races in the stage race you will race as part of a combined field designated A or B in your appropriate ability/experience category.

What is different this year is that we are no longer awarding "bonus" points. The points this year that are awarded for the stage race (which is still the ITT/STXC/HC combo) are (the equivalent of) a fully dropable XC event. So, you don't just get extra points for showing up that another racer is unable to catch up to you no matter what.

However, what is also different this year is that we will be separating out every age group category in the stage race for MASS points. (Note that we will NOT be separating these groups for race day prizes or the overall awards - its a combo category for the stage events.)

This means that if you are the only person in your category to race the stage race events and you place LAST OVERALL in your stage race group you will receive FIRST PLACE MASS POINTS in your MASS category!! We can only do this because we are using the chip timing and the chips allow us to separate every individual racer into the appropriate bucket. It aint cheap, but its worth it!

So, you do the Betty's Tasty Buttons STXC, the Lupine Night TT, and the Your Name Here Hill Climb and you have a shot at full on first place MASS XC points in your category for those events. This is just one more reason you do not want to miss the MTB Stage Race and Festival Weekend!