Chaos for Khaos

OK, team. The day started out just great with an 11-2 win at the 10am game. Then a short break before beginning their sixth game of this weekend at noon. I know, for some of the hardcore softball Mom’s and Dad’s out there, that doesn’t sound too tough, but by noon it was around 91 degrees and the second team they played today had only played 3 games all weekend. Interesting.

I’ll just give you a few pictures so you can get an idea of how the second game went from the perspective of the umpires.

Abby stealing second.

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Ball bobbled just before Abby hit the bag.

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Base ump called her out and told our coach that she slid too early.

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What does that even mean. Is that really a rule? These pictures covered about 1 second of time in that game.

Another really bad judgement call was by the home plate ump. It was a passed ball for the catcher so our runner was sent home from third. The catcher got the ball to the pitcher about the same time our runner slid and collided with the pitcher. The pitchers mitt was on the ground under our runner and the ball came out of her glove. This was visible to everyone on our team, but not the ump who was on the other side of the play. He stood there for about five seconds, without moving around to see what was going on, enough time for the pitcher to pick the ball up and bring her mitt out for the ump who then called our runner out. That was about the fifth inning and would have given us a 2-0 lead.

There was an uproar from everyone on our side which resulted in admonishment from the home plate umpire that we weren’t allowed to question his calls. Even bad ones, apparently.

The game went to the bottom of the seventh inning where the opposing team scored two runs and the game was over, 2-1.

Now that I’ve said all that, ensuring that you just KNOW I’m a whinnie loser, let me add this. Our girls team is not a tournament team. They are a composite group of selected players from two different recreation teams in St. Helens. All the other teams who played this weekend are tournament teams and our girls beat three of them quite handily. They held the last team, an all-star team, scoreless for 6 innings.

I understand that the umps can only call what they see, but sometimes you just have to wonder if there isn’t a little bias going on. A little lack of effort to “get it right.” Know what I mean. Of course, the same is true for all sports where judgement calls can sway the course of a game.

Gotta quit now. Sorry for ranting. Please forgive me. The girls played just great and we’re proud of them. An, honestly, had those bad calls been against the other team, I would have honestly commented on decision. It wouldn’t have changed anything for them, just as it didn’t for our girls.

Team Khaos in Albany

Today was brutal. Both for the girls on Team Khaos and for those who came to watch. The first game was at noon, right about when the temperature hit 112 degrees, then continued through to evening with the last game ending about 9:30 pm. They played four games. Won the first, then lost the second which put them into the losers bracket. Then they lost the third and won the fourth. Weird brackets. With the final win they continue playing tomorrow starting at 10:00 am. Even with the two loses they have a chance to win the whole thing with four wins tomorrow. The two losses today were in the heat of the day and the girls were just drained. The first three games were back-to-back-to-back – 15 minutes between games that lasted an hour and 45 minutes each.

After the third game they got a short break during which they ate, finally, then had a chance to play in the pool and unwind a little. The result was astounding as they ripped the last team 9-0. So, they are going into tomorrow with a positive attitude that could yield results a lot different from today’s.

Daniel and I kept the scoreboard current during the first three games. It was in the outfield and totally in the sun. So, I’m burned nicely, although Dan did the lion’s share of the work.

It’s 10:30 pm and time for bed so I’m quitting.

Oh … it wasn’t really 112 degrees. Just felt like it. I think it was more like 90 or so, but that’s hot to someone who’s really comfortable at 60 degrees. Know what I mean?

Softball, I-5, Heat, and Albany

So, here we are in Albany, Oregon. That’s about 100 miles south of St. Helens. Normally that equates to about a 2 hour drive on the freeway. Then, consider that today is Friday,  next week is 4th of July, our trip south was directly through the heart of Portland, and everyone in town was hell-bent on getting out of town. Oh, ya. We didn’t leave home until after 3 pm, ensuring we would hit the big city at rush hour.

Now, I know you folks on the East Coast can’t imagine that traffic through Portland could possibly be as bad as, say, Boston, or Hartford, but it can. Really, it can. Rush hour in every large city is the same, the world over. Some cities just have more lanes of it. Portland only has 4 lanes each way, not as big as many cities, but congested just the same. I think there are a special breed of people who are bred specifically to make everyone else’s life in a traffic jam just a little more miserable, or to add that little element of excitement making those around them wonder if this is the day they’re going to die.

For me it was not a problem because I don’t have to contend with those drivers, or get caught up in the moment when someone makes a foolish pass, or cuts me off, because I’m not driving. Diane won’t let me, as many of you know. I’m a professional passenger everywhere I  go, unless it’s down the hill from home to ACE and back. Maybe a trip to Warren for something, but no long trips. That’s fine by me. Because of my diminished status, I get to navigate and just sit in my seat. I’m pretty good at both of those, except when I get my arm in front of the right side rear view mirror at the exact moment Diane wants to look at it.

Thankfully, the worst traffic was heading North on I-5, so we found the trip better than we thought it would be. Still, the two-hour trip took us about 2.5 hours. Not a bad delay.

The temperature, in case you’re wondering, made it up to 94 as we left Portland, but the weather folks will only claim 85. Silly. They only count the temperatures at airports, not on the freeways.  Does that make sense? I think not. In Portland’s case, the airport is right next to the Columbia River so it’s always going to be cooler there. Silly.

We’re in Albany, as you may recall, because Lydia is playing in the ASA state tournament for 14U teams. We arrived at our Super 8 Motel hungry, so checked in and headed directly out for dinner at Sizzler. It wasn’t the best dinner we’ve ever had, but not the worst, either. Jennifer, however, suffered from the two bites of ice cream she had. Lactose intolerance is a terrible affliction. Diane has it, too. Not fun.

Once back at the motel, Diane and Jennifer decided it was time to head for K-Mart for some needed items. The kids were playing in the pool so I went down to watch and enjoy some fresh air for a while. Sounded good at the time. The pool, however, is in an open patio which is surrounded by two wings of the motel. The result is a venue with sound reflective abilities that rival some really nice music halls. In this case, however, the source of audio wasn’t music, but the excited laughter of five kids playing Marco Polo. I only knew four of them so attempted to keep my corrective nature in check, letting them play and make noise. It was just fine for about an hour, then an entire herd of small, softball playing girls descended on the pool causing the noise level to increase dramatically. I can only equate it to what it must have been like to sit in front of one of those huge speakers at a Def Leopard concert. The main difference between the two was that I was experiencing the treble cleft far more than the bass cleft. Very skreechadelic, as Austin might say

At last count there were about 25 kids in the pool so no one was really swimming – there wasn’t enough room for anyone to attain a prone position. They all had to stand upright.

There was a negative aspect to yesterday’s trip that was brought to our attention around 9:30pm. I actually had it all documented, herein, then lost it when the WI-FI signal just “went away” making it impossible for the blog to auto save the data. Sad, but true. So, I’m going to have to rely on my notoriously bad memory for what happened.

It’s simple, really. After battling our way south to Albany, then digging in near the freeway, it was discovered Lydia was missing her sports bag containing all the things she will need today in order to fulfill her obligation to the team. No shoes, no glove, no helmet, no bat, no nothing. The bag containing those essential items normally resides in the back of the Walters’ SUV. That’s because 99.9% of the time someone driving that SUV takes Lydia to and from practice.

Except the last practice when the family SUV wasn’t available and Lydia got a ride with someone else. She took her bag to her room, and there it sat. All the way back in St. Helens.

So, as it was getting dark, Daniel headed north to retrieve the bag. The plan was for him to secure the bag, sleep at home, and return this morning in time for the first game at noon. We could only hope the hoards going north had dwindled to a navigable size so the trip was a reasonably easy one for him. As we were leaving Portland yesterday, the north bound jam was taking drivers at least a couple of hours to transit the 18 miles from Tigard to the Washington border Interstate Bridge. That’s really not unusual for that trip because people who live in Washington and work in Oregon do that every day. It was just compounded by the extra people heading north for cooler air.

Now it’s 10:15 Saturday morning. Diane are sitting next to the pool while the boys play in the pool and the hot tub. We’ve not heard from Daniel yet so don’t know his status. He was to meet Jennifer and Lydia at Bryant Park for the first game. Diane and I have 1.5 hours remaining to enjoy the shade before we must extricate ourselves and head for the park. We have umbrellas, so we’ll survive.

Just heard from Jennifer that Daniel made it back OK with the necessary equipment.

Now I’m stopping.

Painting, Gluing, Brakes, and Weeds

I’ve almost got Diane’s bathroom finished. As many of you know, it’s one of the projects I’ve been working on for the past 4 years, between other emergent projects that demand attention. Now all that’s left to do is apply a bit of touch-up paint and it’s done. I thought about sneaking into the room this morning to do that but figured I better wait until Diane is alert enough to realize there’s wet paint in there.

Yesterday, while various parts of the bathroom were drying from whatever kind of adhesive and/or paint I had applied, I did a brake job on Dan & Jen’s SUV. Yes, I can actually do stuff like that once in a while. Jeran helped me. It was a simple matter of replacing the front disc brake pads. Les Schwab wanted around $300 but I did it for $40. The difference is, Les Schwab insists on replacing perfectly good calipers so they can guarantee the work. Since I don’t guarantee anything, I didn’t have to do that. With Jeran’s help the entire process only took about an hour and the only injury I received was when I moved the work light and burned my arm. Apparently it gets really hot.

Then, after all that work, Diane made me go outside and pull weeds until I could barely stand. She didn’t make me do it, but seeing her out there all alone, pulling up grass, tugged at my little heart-strings making it necessary to participate. I’ve been wanting to hack down all the black berry bushes threatening to overrun the house, but just haven’t had time. Today I made time. My reward for the effort is scratched arms which made their presence known when I showered and rubbed soap in the wounds. That works almost as good as Old Spice for finding injuries.

At this moment in time I’m waiting for 0900 to roll around so I can go have coffee with the ‘guys’. After that we’re going to go repair a crack in the church parking lot that sprouted weeds. Since I still have two hours to go, I think I’ll just read my book for a while. I’ll set an alarm, too, because I know I’m going to fall asleep. I always do this early in the morning.

NCAA CWS on ESPN from OMAHA

The UCLA Bruins just won the College World Series by beating Mississippi State 8-0. The won yesterday, too, sweeping the Bulldogs in this best of three playoff. I’m reporting this even though I’m not normally a UCLA fan because they are a PAC-12 opponent of the Oregon State Beavers and the Oregon Ducks. Today, however, I had to root for them simply because they are a PAC-12 team. Gee. Another PAC-12 team, Arizona, won the CWS last year. I guess the PAC-12 is pretty darn good at end of season play. Sadly, Oregon State bowed out in the second round, attempting to make a run from the loser’s bracket.

Oh, well, there’s always next year.

I’m sure that the vast majority of you were hoping I’d say something about this, right?

Spooks, and a Marching Band

Greetings Earthlings.

To those of you who are quite sure about how the Earth works, I’m here to tell you. It works just fine. There are many suspect humans upon it, however, whose actions make me wonder how that is. They are like a wrench, thrown into the reduction gears of life, interrupting the normal flow events for multitudes in order to satisfy their own selfish whims.

Now, how about that guy who ran off to Hong Kong? Is he a traitor, or has he unleashed the hounds to ensure his brief moment of fame? Personally, I believe he is a traitor and should be held accountable for his crimes. That should go for the people who hired him, too. From what I’ve read, he’s got a pretty sketchy background for someone hired by the CIA, then by a contractor who apparently had lots of access to sneaky secrets. With his history of quitting school, and jobs, he’d have a very difficult time finding any kind of meaningful work at most reputable places. Reportedly, when he quite the CIA it was for the purpose of getting a job with the contractor so he could work at NSA and gather his secrets to share. He only worked there for three months and his salary was, reports say, $122,000 annually. Not bad for a quitter. I can only surmise that neither the CIA nor the contractor did much of a background check on him.

Enough serious stuff …

Today it rained all day. Again. A friend of ours is scheduled to head for Calgary with the old Miller Beer One More Time Around Marching Band. They are a NW favorite, marching in parades all over the place. Miller Beer no longer sponsors them, but I still call them that. They always play “Louie Louie”. Always. It’s fun to watch them because the band is composed of ‘anyone’ who can play an instrument and walk. They are pretty good, too. Our friend, the church organist, is a baton twirler with the band. Perhaps some of you have seen the band in one parade or another.

Diane just told me it’s 11:30 pm and time for bed, so I have to quit.

Good News, Bad News

The good news is that today Diane gave me a new, huge, jug of Dial body wash. She did this because I ran out of the bottle of Avon body wash she gave me last year. It was a big jug, too. I like the new jug because it’s got a pump. I don’t have to pick it up.

Now for the bad part … the label says it’s yogurt, vanilla honey. I’m here to tell you, that stuff doesn’t taste ANYTHING like yogurt, vanilla, OR honey. It’s just awful. I believe this is false advertising because there’s absolutely nothing on the label that warned that I couldn’t  eat it.

But there’s more good news … it cleans my skin nicely, and I do believe my tongue is a lot softer.