Blog Archives

Two days of heartache

These have been two of the strangest days I’ve been through in 2015. 

Yesterday I was dressed and ready to go before 9 a.m. On Good Friday. Why the hell would I get up that early on a day when I had absolutely nothing to do? 

My car needed me to be up that early. My oil ilife montior on my Impala was telling me it was time to change my oil. The oil life was down to ZERO. As in get it done now. 

I did just that. Got to Morse-McCarthy Chevrolet on Metcalf Avenue just after 9. I had to wait a little longer than usual for an oil change and tire rotation, but that was to be expected, since it was Good Friday and a lot of people took their day off to get their cars serviced. The good news? It was free due to my loyalty to Morse-McCarthy. 

I didn’t get to Buffalo Wild Wings until 2. Lisa was bartending, and she was on pins and needles, because the regional manager, Tory, was there, which marked the fifth time he had been there in the past three weeks. Brittany and Tori took over for Lisa at 5, but I didn’t stay that long. 

Dawn and her husband came in for happy hour. I didn’t play trivia against them, but I didn’t leave, either. Then came two of my favorites (not), DIGDUG and RONDO. Time to get the hell out of dodge. 

Not only did I leave, I did so in tears. I was still very upset over what had happened with Liz the previous night, and I wasn’t up to dealing with certain people. In fact, it was RONDO playing trivia against me which caused me to snap the day I almost hit that guy in the Buffalo Wild Wings dining room three months ago. 

I didn’t stop crying until I finally got back to the Marriott. I stopped at Dunkin Donuts at 75th and Metcalf for an iced coffee, went to Hy-Vee for a few things, and then picked up dinner at Outback at Oak Park Mall. Three lobster tails. Outstanding. 

Then I did something I almost never do, especially if I am staying in Overland Park–I went back to Buffalo Wild Wings. I’m glad I went back.

First and foremost, I got to see Dan and Pam and their kids, Emily and Parker. I had not seen them since New Year’s Night. I had missed them four times in the past three weeks, and each time I got frustrated at missing them. But this time I didn’t miss, and it made me feel much better to see them.

I’m glad I came back to see Liz. She had a rough day, and it only compounded her problems. Not only is her mother back in the hospital, but her grandmother and Aunt Loretta, who lives in MIchigan, are also in the hospital. I hate to see anyone going through that, especially someone who is 21 years old and someone I love so dearly like Liz. I’m going to be 39 in October, and both of my parents and my paternal grandfather are still living. I feel guilty about that sometimes. 

I had a horrendous time getting up today. I kept falling asleep and falling asleep. At one point, I dozed off in the chair at the desk and had a really weird dream. 

I didn’t fully wake up until 5, and it was time for the Michigan State-Duke game in the Final Four to tip off. I got in the shower and then went out, going back to Dunkin Donuts and Outback, with a stop at Walgreen’s across the street from Dunkin to pick up insulin. 

I felt really awful as I ate my T-bone and coconut shrimp. I felt like I had left my friends, especailly Liz and Brittany, in the lurch by not showing up to watch the Final Four games. I felt like I had been a bad friend. 

I didn’t leave the hotel room until 8:40 to head north. Stopped at Dunkin on 87th Street in Lenexa for another iced coffee, then made my way into Missouri. I got to Buffalo Wild Wings at 10, but at first, I couldn’t bring myself to go in.  Finally, Liz brought me in. 

I still have a little guilt. I shouldn’t. I would have been intimidated by the large crowds. 

I still haven’t decided whether or not I’m going back to Russell tomorrow to eat steak with my parents. Part of me says no way. The other says I don’t want to let them down. Decisions, decisions. 

Weekend whirlwind

It has been quite a journey since the last time I posted. I’ve been to Russell and back–again–and had another incident which makes me question if I’m really making progress in therapy.

It happened Friday evening at Buffalo Wild Wings. I knew the place would fill up at night due to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament games which would be played that night. I wasn’t ready for the crush.

Three men I had never seen before wanted to sit around me at the bar. I got panicky, demanded my tab, and then picked up and walked away. I went out to the patio, even though it was quite cold, and sat there until someone came outside to smoke. I cannot stand smoke.

I went back inside and sat down for a few minutes. Liz suggested that I go back to the bar and sit at the end where there was open space. I did, but I felt really bad, because I felt I had embarrassed Brittany. Brittany said it wasn’t the case, and she calmed me down. She and Alex made me a smoothie–I drank it too fast and got a brain freeze–and I was able to get myself back under control. I sat out of trivia for awhile before getting back into the game.

I felt much better by time I left at 9:30. I picked up lobster from Outback Steakhouse across the street, then drove back to the hotel and ate.

I knew I had to drive back to Russell Saturday because I had to bring my parents to Kansas City. My dad’s next heart procedure at the KU Medical Center is tomorrow. Since I didn’t have a set time to be back home, I slept in.

Really slept in.

I didn’t step in the shower until after 2. By time I got out of the hotel, it was almost 3. I spent a little time at Buffalo Wild Wings because I wanted to see Brittany, and I also saw Liz and a few others before leaving a little after 5. The drive home was uneventful, and I was back at home before 9.

I’ve been back in my room at Overland Park since a little past 4. I’m about to go north to Buffalo Wild Wings for a little while.

The Final Four is set. Duke vs. Michigan State, and Kentucky vs. Wisconsin next Saturday at Indianapolis.

Key blunder

I am the biggest fool on the face of the earth.

I’m in Hays at the Quik Shop at the corner of 13th and Vine yesterday to get gas. When I’m done fueling, I go to my pocket to get my keys.

They’re not there.

I tried my other front pocket and the pocket on my sweatshirt…not there. Not anywhere in my car.

OH (feces).

I must have dropped them in the trash can when I threw something else away. I was really screwed.

I screamed at the top of my lungs, something I have not done in a very long time. I was panicked.

An employee came out to see what was wrong. I told her and she tried to calm me down, but to no avail.

After a couple of minutes, she fished the keys out. I got in my car, closed the windows, and screamed at the top of my lungs twice. Then I punched the horn four times. I was so angry at myself.

HOW. CAN. I. BE. SO. STUPID? 

I called my dad and told him how stupid I was. He tried to reassure me everyone makes mistakes, but I had to remind him nobody had done anything as stupid as i had. We did come up with a new strategy, however–from now on, I will throw my trash into a bag in my car and fill it up before throwing it into the trash can. Also, I need to make sure my keys are in my pocket before getting out.

Before that moment of stupidity, things actually had been gong pretty well.

I left Overland Park at 3:30 Wednesday afternoon. I was late getting out because I was filling out all those guest surveys for Buffalo Wild Wings, mostly to help Lisa. I also filled out a couple for Tori, whom I still feel terrible about because I didn’t say goodbye to her Tuesday night when I left.

I picked up a steak at Hy-Vee to cook on my indoor grill when I got back to Russell. I drove through the rain and made it back to 1224 North Brooks at 7 :40, well in time to cook and watch the new episode of Law and Order: SVU. The steak, a bone-in strip, came out perfect–rare, but not undercooked.

I had my latest appointment with Crista Geyer yesterday in Hays. I got my hair cut first–it had been three weeks–then made it over with a few minutes to spare. The session was great, again. This has turned out better than I could have dreamed.

Following the key fiasco, I watched basketball. Wichita State was eliminated by Notre Dame, Utah ousted North Carolina, Arizona edged Xavier, and Kentucky demolished West Virginia 78-39. The Badgers and Wildcats play for the West Region title Saturday at Los Angeles, which will be followed by the Irish and Wildcats in Cleveland for the Midwest crown. The winners of those regional finals play in the Final Four April 4 at Indianapolis.

Tonight’s games are North Carolina State-Louisville and Michigan State Oklahoma in the East; and UCLA-Gonzaga and Utah-Duke in the South. Other than the MSU-OU game, I don’t expect any to be particularly close. I think NC State gets Louisville again, Duke eases past the Utes, and Gonzaga blows away UCLA.

April 6 cannot get here soon enough. Major League Baseball is overdue.

Sunday winding down

Seven and a half hours on a Sunday is plenty of time to spend at Buffalo Wild Wings. I’m about ready to head back to Overland Park.

It has been a fine day. Got to see Liz, Tori and Braidey, all of whom loved my floral shirt. I didn’t overeat and I had a great time playing trivia. 

The second round (round of 32) is down to one full game, Northern Iowa-Louisville. Wisconsin is about to put away Oregon and advance to the West regional semifinals Thursday at Los Angeles. 

The winner of the UNI-Louisville game is in good shape. It gets North Carolina State, fresh off of its upset of top seed Villanova, in the East Region semis Friday in Syracuse. The Wolfpack are dangerous and could be on a Cinderella run reminisicent of 1983, but NC State may also have shot its wad agianst Villanova and be vulnerable. 

Getting ready to head south. This will be a relaxing drive. Got a little work to do in the morning, but nothing too daunting. I should be able to make it back to B-Dubs in good time to see Lisa behind the bar tomorrow. Tori is back tomorrow night. 

About leaving time

Editor’s note: I should have posted this Friday. Forgot to. SIlly me.

It has been a better night at Buffalo Wild Wings than expected. The patrons who have sat next to me at the bar have been pleasant, and having Brittany and Alex take care of me has been a joy.

Going to have to cut it short tonight, though. Got that long trip to Smith Center facing me tomorrow. I have to be on the road by 10 in order to make it to Smith Center in time for the 4 p.m. tip of the girls game. The boys game starts at 6. I might leave the boys game at the half in order to get on the road and get back to KC before its too late. If I leave the boys game at the half, I might be able to get to Belleville before it gets too dark. 

God I wish I could stay until 1 a.m. and closing. But duty calls. If I don’t have a job, I don’t have money to come to KC and enjoy Buffalo Wild Wings. Besides I need a break after nine consecutive days, as much as I love everyone. 

Tiresome Saturday

I watched basketball yesterday. Only it was in person, and it wasn’t the NCAA Tournament.

The fifth annual Sunflower Shootout, an All-Star game featuring high school players from northern Kansas, was played yesterday at Smith Center.

The format matched graduating seniors from the Mid-Continent League against a gorup of seniors from other schools around the area, extending from Colby to Clay Center and north to the Nebraska state line. Ellis, TMP-Marian and Trego are in the MCL, so they get to skirt the geographical boundaries.

I left the hotel just before 9. I took a slightly different route to Smith Center, taking I-70 to the K-177 exit, then turning north to Manhattan, where I caught US 24 and took it through Clay Center and Beloit all the way to Osborne, which added up to a 126-mile jaunt on the two-lane highway. At Osborne, I turned north onto the familiar US 281.

The North Central Kansas girls won the first game 86-68. I left at halftime of the boys game with the MCL ahead 52-50. I drove all the way back to Kansas City the familiar way, US 36 to St. Joseph and then I-29 south. I was dead tired. Dead tired.

I returned to Overland Park a few minutes after 11. I collapsed after midnight, and it took me until a few minutes ago to get going. There was a washing machine open, so I’m washing shirts right now.

The Kansas-Wichita State game is at 4:15 this afternoon. Better be there early if I want a seat.

Back at B-Dubs x 9

I decided just after 3:30 to make the long venture to Buffalo Wild Wings. 

It was longer than usual because of a bad accident on I-35 north just past Antioch Road, the last exit before the junction with I-635 north, the 12-mile spur to I-29. 

I decided to exit on Johnson Drive, which I knew would lead me to Metcalf, and eventually I-635. Apparently, many others had the same idea. The exit ramp was backed up onto I-35, and the left turn lanes had really long lines. I cooled my heels for a few minutes at the QuikTrip for a pop and a crossiant. Turns out most of the traffic wanted to turn onto Antioch going north, so once I passed that light, it was clear sailing to Metcalf, and then to 635. 

I didn’t have to drive around nearly as much to find a parking place at Buffalo Wild Wings. It was still pretty busy, although not nearly as busy as it would have been during the Kansas-New Mexico State and Wichita State-Indiana. 

It’s certian to be packed SUnday when KU and WSU meet for the first time since 1992, and for the first time in the NCAA tournament since the 1981 Midwest regional semifinals at New Orleans. I think the Jayhawks win comfortably. 

Brittany and Alex are behind the bar, and they are the main reasons I came in tonight. I saw Alex last night, but I left without saying goodbye, and I felt bad about it. She was ecstatic because of all the positive comments I left for her on the surveys I filled out. 

I have a long trip to Smith Center tomorrow for a high school basketball All-Star games. I’m coming back to Overland Park at night. 

The NCAA tournament has produced no upsets today. Every higher seed has won. 

Friday away from the fray

I did something last night I haven’t done in a very long time.

I cried.

I left Buffalo Wild Wings at 6;30 and made the long drive south through the rain. I took US 71 to I-435 instead of going down I-635 like I usually do. I stopped at QuikTrip on State Line Road for gas, then went back to the Marriott. When I got back, I was given a icy greeting by Amanda, which tells me that she has never forgiven me for my days of staying at the Marriott at the KCI Airport.

That’s when I went to my room and broke down. I was determined to leave the next day and go back to Russell. However, I discovered that it wouldn’t save me that much money to go back, so I decided i would stay at least one more day.

I wanted to do laundry, but the laundry room was packed. The hotel is hosting many teams competing in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II women’s basketball national tournament, and of course, they didn’t pack nearly as much as I did. I went down to the lobby and saw Megan, whom I expressed my concerns to about Amanda. I told her that if it would be better for me to stay elsewhere, I would do so, but she said no, everything was fine.

I went to get a steak from Outback. This time it was rare, the way I like it. Wednesday night, it was closer to medium. I could eat medium as a kid, but not anymore.

I did NOT cry over the ending of the LSU-North Carolina State game. I was simply numb over the way the Bayou Bengals could blow a 14-point halftime lead by going 0-for-12 from the field over the final 10:50, and then miss six free throws over the final three minutes. Then again, LSU deserved to lose that one.

I found an open washing machine at 4:45 this morning. Of course, I fell asleep and then suddenly realized at 8:30 my clothes were still down there. Lucky for me, there was an open dryer, and by 9:45, I had clean underwear again.

I haven’t left my room today. I slept through most of Kansas’ victory over New Mexico State, and I have had the Wichita State-Indiana game on, but not really watching it, more for white noise. I figure I’ll drive to Zona Rosa to survey the situation, say hello to the ladies, and then depart. I have to drive to Smith Center tomorrow.

Texas strikes out

Nolan Ryan would have been right had home had he been on his ranch in Texas watching the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

WHIFF. WHIFF. WHIFF. WHIFF. WHIFF.

Texas had five entries in the tournament. By 9 p.m. Central tonight, all five were making plans to return to the the place where everything is bigger, but not always better.

We’ll excuse Texas Southern and Stephen F. Austin. They were going up against the Pac-12, which isn’t the best conference this season, but it is a major conference, one where the basketball budget at Arizona and Utah, the teams which vanquished TSU and SFA, respectively, is far larger than the entire athletic budget at the smaller Texas schools.

The big boys from the big state fared no better.

The losses by Baylor, Texas and SMU reminded us once again that Texas is a FOOTBALL state first and foremost. If there is a second sport, it’s BASEBALL, not basketball. And women’s basketball has been more successful on the national stage than men’s basketball in the Lone Star State, as evidenced by undefeated national title runs by Texas in 1986 and Baylor in 2012.

Texas’ loss is forgivable. Butler is a good team which knows how to win at this time of the year. The Longhorns were too inconsistent to go very far, and they were exposed by the boys from Indianapolis.

SMU lost to a UCLA team the vast majority of experts claimed had no business being in the tournament. Committee 1, “experts” 0. Now the Bruins are heavy favorites to reach the Sweet 16, since they get UAB in the next round.

Baylor. Wow.

Scott Drew must have taken the PhD course from Art Briles in how to blow big leads. A little more than two months after the Bears football team blew a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter of the Cotton Bowl to Michigan State and lost 42-41, the Baylor roundballers lost a 12-point lead in less than two minutes to a less than stellar Georgia State team which scored a whopping 38 points in the Sun Belt Conference tournament championship game. THIRTY EIGHT POINTS in a game with a 35-second shot clock. Villanova and Georgetown went way over that in the last major college game played without a shot clock, the 1985 championship game won by the Wildcats 66-64.

Then again, where Baylor is now is light years from where it was 10 years ago, when it came within a whisker of the NCAA Death Penalty following the cover-up in the murder of Patrick Denehey by teammate Carlton Dotson. Coach Dave Bliss committed egregious violations and also covered up the murder, which led to a 10 year show-cause penalty, essentially blackballing him from coaching at another NCAA school. The Bears were banned from playing non-conference games in 2005-06, the first time such a harsh penalty had ever been handed down.

I don’t think many will care much about college basketball in Texas for much longer. Spring football at the colleges is well underway, and the large high schools will hold their own spring drills in April and May.

Broken down ponies

Now I know why I do not play for money when filling out an NCAA tournament bracket. 

SMU joined Iowa State and Baylor as higher seeded teams to lose today. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t have taken a team which won the American Athletic Conference, which is highly suspect. 

The Mustangs lost 60-59 to UCLA, a team many felt should not have been in the tournament, or at the very least, have been playing in the First Four instead of Dayton, which got to play on its home court last night. 

It means Larry Brown’s current school lost to a former school. Brown coached UCLA to the 1980 national championship game before going on to coach the New Jersey Nets in the NBA before going back to college to Kansas, where he coached the Jayhawks to the 1988 national championship. Shortly after that, he went back to the NBA and the San Antonio Spurs, knowing KU was about to get hammered with probation for recruiting violations committed both by himself and predecessor Ted Owens. 

UCLA now has a sugar coated road to the Sweet 16. The Bruins will play UAB in the second round Saturday. The Blazers probably shot their wad by beating Iowa State.