Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's a Sad Day in Washington

For sports fans here in the nation's capital, it is a sad day as the beloved Capitals, the best team in the NHL this year, laid an egg in the playoffs losing to the Club de Hockey Canadien - the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens were the 8th seed. Frankly it wasn't a fluke. Even though the series went 7 games, the Canadiens totally outplayed the Capitals though out the series. I think the loss certifies Washington as the worst sports town in the world. The Redskins - last place, the Wizards - last place. The Nationals - back to back 100 loss seasons. It certainly makes being a sports fan here a trial. Sigh.

On a lighter note, we got a new high def TV. Now we can watch our lame sports teams in sparkling 1080 clarity.

Another thing that makes me happy - Daughter#2 has decided to return to the pitch and play soccer. She joined a league in Harrisonburg. One of the things I miss, now that my kids are older, is watching them play their various sports. As the kids were growing up, particularly when they were in high school, our weekends were spent following the teams our kids were on be it Daughter#2's travel soccer team or her high school soccer team or the high school crew team that Daughter#1 and The Son were on Their regattas would literally last all day long from 8:00 in the morning to 4:00 or so in the afternoon and, in the bigger ones, do it all the same the following day. Anyway, I plan to travel out to the Valley to catch at least one of her games.

It's suppose to be a good weekend weatherwize so I'm hoping to both get out on the water and do some rowing and break out the bike for my first ride of the season. I just wish it would stay warm instead of this 80 degrees one day and 40 the next. A little consistency would be nice.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Back in Town

Last week I was out of town on business. I got an all expense trip to lovely Sacramento courtesy of the Government. For all that I was subjected to three and a half days of endless PowerPoint presentations. By the second hour of each day my eyes would glaze over as engineer after engineer presented their piece of the puzzle. They did feed us very well so there was that. One dinner included a catered affair at the Aerospace Museum of California, which was really nice. Dinner and drinks among the exhibits. We finally finished up on Thursday and I caught the red eye out of San Francisco. That was not without its own drama. I took a commuter flight from Sacramento to San Francisco. When we got to San Francisco we were told that the gate wasn't available yet as we were a bit early. Several minutes later the pilot informed us that the plane occupying our gate was going no where due to some problem or another. Long story short by the time I was finally able to disembark and get to my gate to catch the flight home, I was told I was too late, the plane door was closed and I would have to get rebooked. With visions of being stuck at the airport overnight, I approached the customer service desk. Turns out United has two red eyes going into Dulles with one leaving about 40 minutes after the flight I was booked on. I made that flight even though I got stuck in a middle seat versus the window I was suppose to have. When I finally landed at Dulles my bag was already there so apparently they let my bag on the first flight. At that point I realized I couldn't find my car keys. While I looked I texted Ann to stand by as she might have to come pick me up at the airport. Always the supportive spouse she first gave me a ration of shit and ended with the loving words of - "Take a taxi". It's all about the love. I did eventually find my car keys although obviously not where I thought they would be. Did I mention after traveling all night, I had an appointment for my annual physical? Well I did. As far as I know everything is working fine although I'm still waiting to hear the results of the lab work. I was expecting to hear the worst about my blood pressure given my traveling all night, but it was surprisingly good for me - 130/70. My weight was another matter. After pigging out all week, I was way heavier then I should be. I told the Doctor that i would be back at my lightweight limit (165 lbs) by the end of July and I should be. That was the bulk of my Friday not including running around doing errands at PetSmart and Target. I also crashed around 8;30.

Saturday was spent recovery from the California trip. I walked the twins in the morning, which is always an adventure. I also restocked the pantry after a trip to Giant. That's my job, going to the grocery store since Ann seems to have a phobia about actually going to the store. The rest of the day I watched the Nationals (wow they're above .500) and the Capitals stage an amazing comeback to beat the Canadians in OT.

Sunday my crew club held its first of three Learn to Row Days. We had 25 people show up to try out the sport of rowing. Given how windy it was, the water was surprisingly calm and we were able to get the visitors out on the water. Pictures and more of LTR to follow.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Back on the Water

The weather over the weekend here in northern Virginia was just great. Temperatures reached into the high 70s with low humidity. It felt so good just to sit out in the sun. The start of this month also marked the first time when I could get back on the water in a single. I directed my browser to the appropriate web site and paid my membership fees and then hoped in the car and drove over to Sandy Run Park. The park was pretty crowded for a Friday mid-morning. This was mostly due to the schools being out for spring break and the coaches taking advantage by scheduling practices during the day rather then late afternoon after school lets out. In addition, the first full regatta was the next day. So some last minute fine tuning of starts and getting familiar with the course, I presume. I signed out my boat (but forgot to list the time I left - oops) and headed up stream. The water conditions were good. A slight breeze, but no choppy water. The first time out I want nice flat water until I get the feel of the boat again. Sculling in a single is not unlike riding a bile. Once you master it, you never really forget how to balance the boat but the first few minutes you're still a little unsure if you'll remember how to row and keep from flipping the boat. Overall I would judge it a good first outing. I got the boat to move much better then I had any reason to believe. I'll be the first to admit that my winter training this year was pretty much nonexistent and I need to work my way back into shape before my sweep rowing starts in June. Again given my fitness level, I was able to row decent distances between water breaks. My hands came out in ok shape. First rows of the season are notorious for chewing your hands up with multiple blisters and abrasions until the callouses develop. I had no real blisters although I manage to abrade the skin off the tip of my middle finger on my left hand. and a small part of my left palm. My right hand came out unscathed. I rowed up to Fountainhead park and back. A distance of 7 miles. I'm hoping to get up to 350 miles before the season ends. The wind started to pick up just as I was finishing up, but managed to get the boat back to the dock in one piece. I just missed hitting one rather big log floating in the water and one large tree that had fallen into the reservoir due to high water eroding the banks. Both times I turned around just in time to see them and stop the boat. Hitting objects in the water is not recommended.

Saturday had a meeting of my men's team (sweep rowing) for some instruction on the erg having to do with catches and releases. Unfortunately I missed the part of the message saying that's what was going on and I just thought it was an organizational meeting of sorts and didn't dress appropriately for erging. I listened to our coach for a bit and then cut out after the other rowers started their pieces. I feel a bit bad about that. After I got home, I took our two new miniature schnauzers (Amy and Emily) out for a long walk. At two years old they have endless terrier energy and long walks helps to calm them down a bit and not get into so much mischief at home (like chewing up one of our dog beds). We still trying to arrange some basic obedience training for them so they don't go so ape shit every time they see a living soul be it human, another dog/cat/squirrel. It does make it challenging to walk them. I try to go out on our walks when I think the least amount of pedestrian traffic will be about. The rest of the day was spent running errands and then, finally, watching the Final Four. I was happy to see Butler win and not so much to see Duke win. I will definitely be routing for Butler tonight.

Sunday morning Ann and I headed off to mass. Lord it was crowded Not quite as bad as Christmas eve masses, but not an open seat to be found. Seemed all that kneeling was a bit harder on my knees then usual. Getting old is hell. After mass and another long walk of the twins, it was off to get some much needed mulch for the island out in front of our house and the shrubs that border the house. and front walk. The yard looks 100 per cent better. Given the yard work and the nice day, I cracked my first Corona(s) of the year. Now if it will just stay warm. Fingers crossed.