Welcome back to 30 Weekends Without Football: Mood Watch, a post to see how the KSK staff is dealing with the long offseason and filling the time, exploring other interests and coping without their favorite sport to get them through life.
A great way to stay distracted during the offseason is to search for a New York City apartment. Be sure to create a wish list of aspects you want your apartment to have (dishwasher, closets, a single window providing natural light), then throw that list out the window you won’t have because you can’t afford anything in a safe neighborhood anyway. Seek out 2-bedroom places on Craigslist where “the second bedroom is your private outdoor deck,” which is a real thing that I clicked on because, hey, who even has outdoor space? And then, when you finally find a place well beyond the budget you established, write a broker’s fee for 15 percent of a year’s rent. Ha ha! Why would your child want to go to college anyway? Think of all that work the broker did, arriving at the apartment and unlocking the door. Thousands of dollars well earned, sir.
On Wednesday, I finalized the paperwork on the refinance for my mortgage. Beyond saving me about $400 a month (albeit resetting me to year one of a 30-year loan), it’s a very adult thing that I had to immediately undo that evening by going to Medieval Times with my girlfriend, who chose it as the best destination to celebrate earning her master’s degree. I plan to further undo any remaining adult bona fides by purchasing the new Mario Kart game on Friday and spending way too much time playing it. Though hopefully I can turn away long enough in the coming weeks to catch the next season of “Orange is the New Black” and this World Cup thing everyone seems so excited about.
I’m reading a LOT. Like, a SHIT TON. Right now, I just started in on The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Soccer in preparation for the World Cup starting in a few weeks. I’m also hanging on by a thread to hockey with the Blackhawks still hanging in it, so I should be good to go with sports until NFL training camps open in late July. I’ve also started watching THE SHIELD and am already midway through Season 3 and holy shit, this is great television. Can’t believe I missed it when it originally aired. So, yeah, I’m hanging in there, no thanks to an awful baseball team that continues to be awful.
Wait, it’s still the offseason? Time has ceased to exist, for some reason.
So I’m going to Europe for the first time this summer. Football has been pretty far from my mind. Or, at least, real football has. I’ve been busy worrying about getting pickpocketed, stabbed, or Taken 2’ed, since all the travel guides I’ve read have pretty much said that Europe is a hive of scum and villainy. I don’t really believe them, but it’s enough to put you on edge. Compounding this is the fact that while I’m in Europe, the World Cup will be taking place. Now, I’ve said it before, I do enjoy soccer, and watching the World Cup in Europe is an experience I’m sure I’ll cherish forever assuming I ever wake up from the coma I’ll be beaten into by hooligans in London after I cheer when the USA scores.
It makes me realize already that I’m in for a pretty gigantic culture shock. I won’t be able to talk football with anybody. I won’t be able to make RG3 jokes. This is a large part of how I interact with my fellow man, and it’ll all be thrown out the window as soon as I’m on the plane. So on one hand, I’m super excited. I’m seeing new things that I haven’t seen before, and it’s truly going to be an adventure. On the other hand, at the end of the day, I love football, and honestly, being away from it, even during the offseason, is going to be tough. No talking about KSK posts with my friends, no making fun of Peter King, no trolling twitter for idiot sportswriters looking into their dumb crystal balls about draft picks and squad cuts. Well, maybe not so much that last one, since I think my hostels will have wi-fi.
At the end of the day, my primary reason for watching football is not to watch a team win, it’s because I love the game, and I love sharing that love with my friends. It sounds dramatic, I know, and it’s probably because goddamnit I HATE THE OFFSEASON, but it’ll be weird to be in a place where I don’t have the ability to share my love of this sport without being branded as dumb, or worse, as “American”.
I’m mostly trying to catch up on sleep because I’ve been up worrying about Robotsfightingdinosaurs’ trip to Europe. I just don’t want him getting pickpocketed, stabbed, or Taken 2’ed. If that guy dies, I’m playing the Pokemon theme on my melodica for him at his funeral, like he would have wanted. Godspeed, little buddy. I can lend you a Canadian flag pin to pretend you’re not American over there. It lessens the chance of murder.
Last weekend I went to an after hours party that was decidedly the cool thing to do: people in their underpants, “visuals”, secret entryway. The night after, I DJed a corporate event for BMW which was supposed to be black tie, but in my fashion-challenged city “black tie” apparently meant to the attendees “Hawaiian shirt with the box creases still in it”, and “cargo shorts with polo shirt”. Truly, it was NOT the cool thing to do. Oddly enough though, the music at both events was the same, not just because I was playing it at the corporate gig. I played what the organizers TOLD me to play, and keep in mind they also booked a fashion show to take place (complete with a curious wedding dress at the end) and a dour, anecdotal, twenty minute monologue about pancreatic cancer from one of the MCs. It turns out we’re at this odd crux in culture where the too-cool-for-Christmas crowd and the new money dads ft. crinkly sex-moms listen to the same thing: restaurantica aka elevator house aka magician music. Layo and Bushwacka? At the afterparty. MK? BMW party. K&D sessions? St. Germain? What’s next? Maybe this is a product of the normcore phenomenon, which I choose to believe (at the suggestion of one of the kommenters) is wearing a tweed jacket and complaining about your wife, like Norm Peterson, not wearing Target clothes because you’re scared of making any fashionable move for fear of being behind the ever-increasing speed of culture.
I’m also preparing to go to Nashville next week. Gonna get whaled in a honky tonk and probably give this speech about boring house music to country music people who won’t even know what I’m talking about.
*Bottle washes ashore, there is a note inside.* Tell them Old James is in Mexico without a clue what day it is or when football starts again, and is coping just fine…at least for now.
I’ve gotten more deeply invested in the NHL playoffs than I have in a few years. Maybe because my Sabres were so fucking unrelentingly awful this year that the presence of two talented teams laying hockey every night was more alluring than usual. Of course, we’re getting closer to The Time Of Year When Baseball is The Only Sport and while I don’t mind watching Yankees and Mets games, it can be a bit of a grind.
I can only hope the summer concert season in Buffalo is enough to distract me. I’m seeing Arctic Monkeys in a few weeks, and I’m pretty excited. There at that perfect point where they have enough albums out that the set list won’t be predictable, but they’re still also very young and in their prime as musicians. Hopefully, that’ll put my mind off the pressing lack of football for awhile.
Am I jealous because RobotsFightingDinosaurs, Old James and Trevor are off traveling and having fun? No, not in the least. Not when I have this right here at home:
This is what my home has looked like for the past few weeks as we rewire the entire house to oh, have more than three grounded outlets and to make sure the house doesn’t burn down if I use the toaster and the TV at the same time. Construction crews show up before 7 am, the power goes of randomly and I’ve gone from making sure I’m dressed, fed and cheerful before anyone shows up to pajamas, making coffee in the garage and not even waiting for their lunch break to pee. Two weeks ago I forgot the window installers were coming and hungover, slept to the crack of 8 am just to have them knock on my bedroom window with, “Lady? Lady? Lady? Ma’am? Can you unlock the garage don’t worry you can sleep once you unlock the door.”
Is it done? No.
Same hallway as above. Now imagine all the walls of the house, inside and out, have the same blue tape over all of the holes. Patchwork repairs start next week.
At least there is some fun as I get ready for the next football season. We finally got the ceramic grill and smoker of our dreams thanks to a very generous housewarming present from my in-laws, so I’ve been getting used to how control the temperature on it through all the different settings on the vents. Made a decent tri tip, smoked some sausages and did high heat for burgers. Love it because I’ve always owned Weber kettle grills for charcoal, while my husband comes from a family that always cooks with gas for the ease of use. Since he’s not used to charcoal, we’ve had some fun conversations about grilling technique.
Bryan: “The fire went out on the grill. What did I do wrong?”
Me: “First of all you’re not holding a beer, it doesn’t respect you.”
Seeing the Pirates play at Dodger Stadium tonight, down at Petco later in the week. World Cup starts. Screw all the teams left in the NHL and NBA playoffs except for maybe the Thunder but even that feels tainted because of the move from Seattle. Whatever, we’re on the downslope now and the season cannot start soon enough.
Since we’ve officially passed the draft by and gotten into Johnny Manziel Stubs His Toe is front page news territory, I’ve been trying my hand at this thing called “Going Outside”. And no, further than just to the grocery store down the street, but into areas with trees and birds and nature. Places were the sun can actually reach my skin and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Joking aside I’m an avid hiker when I’m not in front of the computer and I spend most of my time on weekends going out to the Columbia River Gorge (My favorite place in the world) and hiking every trail I can. Mostly because I love it, and also because I hate doing gym exercise so letting nature kick my butt for several hours each week keeps me svelte. This occasionally ends with me scrambling up wet cliffs, slipping and tumbling into poison oak, only for me to start laughing because I’m one of those lucky people who is immune to Poison Oak/Ivy. All of this done so I can mark that hike off on my OCD list and get some pictures. Nothing beats a early rise at 6am, hiking 7 miles up a massive mountain, going to a brewery and having a juicy burger and a craft brew, then getting home and realizing it’s only 1 o’clock and now I can spend 8 hours slumped on the couch watching Blue Mountain State on Netflix and still feel like I accomplished something.