I was supposed to take the canvas awnings off the house over the weekend so they can be stored for the winter. It was sunny and warm on Saturday, which would have made for ideal conditions — except for the 20-25 mph wind gusts. My family says I worry too much about things, but if I do it’s because I have a good imagination that makes it easy to envision worst-case scenarios taking place before my eyes. So, take stiff winds, a 40-foot extension ladder, large canvas surface areas and my own natural grace that has put me on the losing side of disputes with gravity many times and I had no trouble picturing myself doing a Flying Nun impersonation somewhere over my back yard. The clincher in my decision for staying earth-bound, however, was that the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers were playing football Saturday afternoon.
No, I had no desire to shirk my chores and actually watch them play against Penn State; it’s just that when the Gophers play football against ranked opponents, spectacularly bad and nearly unexplainable things happen. When such eery forces are afoot in the land it is wise not to take any unnecessary chances. In recent years the Gophs have found ways to blow a three-touchdown lead in the last 8 minutes of a game, snatch defeat from the jaws of certain victory with a botched punt and many other comical indignities I’ve tried to repress. This time they scored a touchdown in overtime and missed the extra point. Then, just when they had turned Penn State away with a fourth-down, game-winning play they get flagged for a phantom pass interference call, you knew it was going to happen again (and it did).
I did manage to get the leaves in the front yard mulched, but about half of them are still on the trees despite the winds. It’s a good feeling to get things accomplished, but I spent most of the time I was doing that thinking about another “Dad” responsibility that was coming up. We’ve just added another teenage daughter to the family for the forseeable future, to go along with the Mall Diva and the near-teen Tiger Lilly (anybody got a spare bathroom you’re not using? Can I borrow it?) It’s been an unexpected, but not unwelcome, event though it is a bit different to assume responsibility for someone just a few days short of 17 years old, especially when she comes equipped with a would-be boyfriend. The young swain was to present himself to the Reverend Mother and I for the first time Saturday afternoon for our “little talk” and I spent my leaf-collecting time pondering the proper accessories.
In the end, I decided to go without the gun or the knife, but I think I still got it across to the young man that I take this seriously, and clearly laid out my expectations and his responsibilities if he wants to have the privilege of spending time with one of mine. He listened very respectfully, and had her home only one minute late. Do you think I should also have him fill out the application? (There’ll be more about our new daughter as time goes on, but first I have to decide on a proper blog nickname for her; these things have a way of suggesting themselves, so be patient).
Saturday night the rest of us watched the movie, “My House in Umbria”, starring Maggie Smith, who was excellent. It’s a mystery movie, which we like, but it had the added appeal of being set on location in the Italian countryside. Umbria looked very much like Tuscany where we were back in May, and we were all wistful at the views of the scenery and the house and the garden. I liked the movie a lot, but the girls weren’t as impressed. I thought it was an interesting movie with a twist on the mystery genre in the way it went about unveiling its clues at a leisurely, sun-washed pace.
Sunday morning we made our usual preparations for church and we even got home in time for the kick-off of the Vikings game. I’m getting pretty frustrated with the Vikings offense. It’s supposed to be some version of the West Coast Offense, but it looks more like a “Let’s Coast” offense. When you hear “West Coast” you think sunshine, sporty convertibles, tanned blondes who wink at you and a diverse, high-powered style of offensive football that combines the power and grace of surfing. The Viking’s version is more like ice-fishing. In Cleveland. In February. While you’re sitting on a plastic bucket. The problem as I see it is that the defense knows the quarterback can’t get the ball deep without it hanging up there like a pinata, so they cheat up and crowd the passing lanes, making it even harder to complete the short passes. It’s boring, turgid and as predictable as Brad Johnson throwing the ball five yards on third and nine. Thankfully the defense is awesome this year, and it actually outscored their offensive counterparts this week as the Vikings defeated a Minnesota coach’s best hope for job security: the Detroit Lions.
When our golfing partners cancelled on us later in the afternoon I got a chance to flash back to the good old days of Denny Green clock management by watching the Cardinals-Chiefs game on one channel while also monitoring the over-hyped return of Terrell Owens to Philadelphia as the Eagles hosted the Cowboys. If there’s anything I enjoy in sports — even more than watching Phil Mickelson kack up a big lead or having the Yankees bounced from the play-offs early — it’s seeing Terrell Owens get his feelings hurt. Ahhh, it was a good day. Time to kick back and reflect and enjoy the evening — oh, hey, don’t I have a blog?