Tuesday, March 25, 2008

When it Bleeds it Pours

So, Sunday everyone went to Wisconsin to my in-laws place up there. The in-laws have a house, not a cabin, on a nice sized little lake and the kids wanted to go there for spring break. I had to work on Monday so I stayed home alone while they went sledding and played in the fresh snow that had just fallen the day before. Mrs. PE’s dad drove up there for her because of her eye bur she was well enough to drive home on Monday night.

She finally had a good night of sleep and made it home with no problems. We got the kids ready for bed and hung out watching a movie. That’s when she started to bleed tears. She wasn’t actually crying but there was a release of blood from around her eye as the swelling gave way in a red mess running down her cheek. She wasn’t to freaked out other then the fact that it looked gross as hell. My oldest daughter had to leave the room until it was cleaned up for fear of throwing up.

I’ll take evenings like that because I really missed them while they were gone.

Monday, March 24, 2008

She Can See and Some Poker

Well everyone is doing fine...Mrs. PE is a little sore from her eye surgery but doing well. She didn't have much sleep for a couple of days because it hurt more to have her eyes closed then when they were open but finally she slept well Sunday night.

As for me, I played a little poker and saw quads 4 times on Saturday. The first one was in my opponents hand when I had pocket rockets on the 2nd hand in a tourney. But the I hit them on the flop with KK on a KKA board. Most people would slow play the kings but I bet out...well take a look.

Full Tilt Poker Game #5731942297: $2 + $0.25 Rebuy (43531146), Table 1 - 25/50 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:13:12 ET - 2008/03/22
Seat 1: Chapdawg777 (6,725)
Seat 2: GaryBettmann (1,284)
Seat 3: PLEASURE ROD (11,693)
Seat 4: zaj232323 (2,900)
Seat 5: muchdutch33 (6,329)
Seat 6: VegasSister (1,675)
Seat 7: pokerenthusiast (13,147)
Seat 8: briandtam (1,300)
Seat 9: tdream00 (2,617)
Chapdawg777 posts the small blind of 25
GaryBettmann posts the big blind of 50
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to pokerenthusiast [Kh Kc]
zaj232323 folds
muchdutch33 folds
VegasSister folds
pokerenthusiast has 15 seconds left to act
pokerenthusiast raises to 200 - I raise 150/200 here...the table had been aggressive so I opted for the bigger bet.
briandtam folds
tdream00 calls 200
Chapdawg777 folds
GaryBettmann folds
*** FLOP *** [Kd Ks Ad] - Can I ask for a better flop...Now how do I take his chips...afeeler bet.
pokerenthusiast has 15 seconds left to act
pokerenthusiast bets 200
tdream00 calls 200
*** TURN *** [Kd Ks Ad] [Ah] - Now I check her just to see what he does...If he has an ace he will surely bet.
pokerenthusiast checks
tdream00 bets 350
pokerenthusiast raises to 700
tdream00 raises to 1,050
pokerenthusiast raises to 1,400
tdream00 raises to 1,750
pokerenthusiast raises to 2,100
tdream00 raises to 2,217, and is all in
pokerenthusiast calls 117
tdream00 shows [7s As]
pokerenthusiast shows [Kh Kc]
*** RIVER *** [Kd Ks Ad Ah] [9h]
tdream00 shows a full house, Aces full of Kings
pokerenthusiast shows four of a kind, Kings
pokerenthusiast wins the pot (5,309) with four of a kind, Kings
tdream00 adds 3,000
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 5,309 | Rake 0
Board: [Kd Ks Ad Ah 9h]
Seat 1: Chapdawg777 (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 2: GaryBettmann (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 3: PLEASURE ROD didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: zaj232323 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 5: muchdutch33 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 6: VegasSister didn't bet (folded)
Seat 7: pokerenthusiast showed [Kh Kc] and won (5,309) with four of a kind, Kings
Seat 8: briandtam didn't bet (folded)
Seat 9: tdream00 (button) showed [7s As] and lost with a full house, Aces full of Kings

TOugh hand for him but do I really care?

I ended up flaming out in this on the final table but made a nice run.

Went deep in a few tourneys but nothing to write home about. Overall a losing weekend as I played a couple of higher games and backed someone who shall remain nameless. Also played some razz but you can check that out at BTN.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Eye Surgery, PLO and the NCAA Tourney

Been very busy with work so not much time to post. I don’t even remember the last time I put something up. Anyway, been playing and spinning my wheels. Had some luck in Razz cash and I’ve been playing a little PLO cash and some tourneys. Made a nice run again in a PLO tourney but couldn’t get away from a flopped set of jacks after a dude raised pre-flop. I had KKJJ double suited and when the flop came JAx I re-raised the raiser for all my chips. Stupid move in that the only thing players raise with in the late stages of these tourneys is AA or KK. I should have known my set of jacks was behind his set of aces. I missed the money by 4 spots when I could have made the cash easily.

Mrs. PE will be having eye surgery on Friday. Apparently, the muscle on her eyelid has detached or something and the need to put it back together. It is an out-patient surgery so no major concerns. We’re not sure how it happened but she will be able to return to wearing contacts in about six weeks.

So with me taking her for the surgery, I will get to watch most of the NCAA tourney on Friday. This time of year is about as good as it gets for sports fans and I am pumped. The only drawback is that Illinois sucked this year so I have to enjoy the games without a personal favorite involved.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I'm Running Good

I always dread this time of year. The anticipation of the unknown coming upon me as I wait for the dawning of a new age puts me into a scattered mood. It is time for my review.

I’ve done a lot for the company in the last year but did I do enough to justify a good raise. Product optimization, quality investigation and sucking off the customer should be worth a little something in my honest opinion. If you look at the amount of travel I did last year, which was equal to about a month of my life, then I must be of some importance.

Well, after all was said and done I received a 2.5% raise. Not the biggest in the world but I can’t complain…well I could complain but I won’t because I like the place and we continue to expand. In the end I have to believe that any raise in this economy is a good raise.


My oldest daughter is in The Pirates of Penzance, a musical being run by the drama department at her school. Her first performance was on Thursday with her finishing up on Monday afternoon. As someone who has been in musicals, I think they did a great job of pulling this off. A draw back was that Softball E didn’t get the part of Mabel because she is 6 inches taller then her counterpart and it wouldn’t have worked. Instead, she gets to sing some of Mabel’s parts because the girl who has that part doesn’t have the range to pull it off. I think it’s a great sign of her character that she did this without any fan fair. Maybe she can get a job with Milli Vanilli.


After getting home from the Musical last night, I fired up the lap top and donked in a 6-max tourney and blew it when I forgot that low buy-in players don’t know how to fold. I flopped two pair with a flush draw on the board in a battle of the blinds. When the turn brought a 3rd heart I bet again and he called. A fourth heart came and I check raised him committing my stack with two pair that was no good but knowing he had a weak flush and should lay it down. He called with his weak 8 high flush and busted me.

So I jumped into a PLO tourney and looked down at AKTT double suited on the 2nd hand of the tourney. Five players saw the flop and I hit the joint when it comes down AQJ.

*** FLOP *** [Js As Qc]
Souperfly bets 540
Moikster has 15 seconds left to act
Moikster raises to 2,160
taggyo folds
adrian1300 has 15 seconds left to act
adrian1300 folds
pokerenthusiast has 15 seconds left to act

Now I have the best hand but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to play it. It is very early so do I just jam to try and isolate vs. calling and pricing in other players? If I call I am committed and I do have the best hand possible to this point so I jam.

pokerenthusiast raises to 2,880, and is all in
Souperfly calls 2,325, and is all in
Moikster calls 570, and is all in
pokerenthusiast shows [Kd Ah Td Th]
Souperfly shows [Jc Ac 5h 3c] – He has two outs
Moikster shows [Ad 7c Qs Qd] – He has one out.

Can I ask for a better situation…I don’t think so and I triple up right away.

I lost a few chips later with a set of jacks and the nut flush draw when my flush missed and my opponent had a set of kings. Later I was crippled when I lost a big hand vs. some guy who called me to the river with aces and sixes and hit his third 6 on the river vs. my flopped set. Down to 1200 chips I was in trouble. But, five hands later I was back to about 4K after a timely hand and on to 5K and almost back to par. The deck came back to me again an orbit later and I was over 7K.

Hello…is there anyone there…crap

My laptop crashed with some stupid stop error and I had to wait for it to reboot. Luckily everything came back ok and I only missed two or three hands.

Right away I double up with a set of 8s and move to 14K. I gave some back on a busted draw but doubled again to 20K with a boat vs. a straight. I moved to top 5 with a straight a bit later and started to think I was going deep. We are finally in the money a bit later and I hit a big hand to move to 40K. I’m playing very tight aggressive and trying to take advantage when I can. From here though I went a little card dead in that I wasn’t willing to commit to a pot with much of what I saw. Eventually we got to the final table bubble with me a the short stack as the chips flew around the table. I found AAxx and went with it and got called by QQJx. I flop a set but he has a gut draw. The turn is a blank and I have one bullet to avoid. A king hits the board and I am the bubble boy for the final table.

I played well so I can’t complain a whole lot.

I did have the pleasure of stacking the worst poker player ever in a PLO cash game so overall it was a great night.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Running Deep

I have returned to making some deep runs as of late and I realize now why I need to change parts of my game. This epiphany came last night as I played the ultimate game of skill…a low buy-in turbo knockout.

Before I get to deep into my epiphany, I’d like to explain a few of my thoughts. For one thing, to get deep in a tourney you have to get lucky. Luck comes in many forms like winning multiple coin flips, avoiding big suckouts/winning big suckouts and catching some good flops. Another thing you need to have is the ability to adapt to table conditions. Identifying the different types of players at your table is very important if you want to have success. Finally, you need to know your limitations and work on them to close the leaks in your game. Solid opponents will take advantage of tendencies they see from your play.

Now to my epiphany.

Like I said…I played a $3 turbo knockout tourney last night. The skill level in these is very low and with a few timely hands it is easy to get deep. Last night is a prime example of this as I played very tight and waited for solid hands to get me home. I chipped up a little when I flopped trip aces and then busted a guy when my JJ beat his short stacked KQ for a knockout. I got my 2nd knockout when I raised to limpers with my AK and a short stack called with K9 to move to 3100 chips. With blinds at 250/500 and with 2500 chips the action was what I wanted. With a limper, a raiser and a caller in front of me on the BB, I look at 45 suited and make the call. I basically committed to the pot but I didn’t want to push the limper away with a push. I wanted to quad up. The limper folded anyway to we wait for the flop. It comes 6s 5d Td and I push. I am probably behind a pocket pair but both of these players have pushed every pocket pair they have had. I put them both on over cards and hopped I was right. I got one caller and was right when he flipped over KQ. My pair held up and I have 7500 chips. A bit later I won another coin flip and busted a player to move to 14K. I knocked out another with AQ vs A3 to move to 26K and I feel like I have a chance to make the final table if I can hit one more hand. In a hand I needed I get AK suited and see a small stack push to 2K, the size of the big blind and another player pushes for 8K. I am in the BB for 2K already so it costs me 6K to win 13K. Getting better than 2-1 I call and see opponents holding 44 and 66. I don’t catch and I’m down to 16K. In my last hand I ran KT into J9 and had no chance as he hit runner-runner for a straight. I can’t complain because it is really a luck box game and 25th of 600 something players doesn’t mean much other than catching cards at the right time.

What I truly realized is that playing tight is easy for me. Opening up my game when the table is tight is harder. I’ve made this observation before and at times I do well with changing gears but I need to keep changing gears and not revert to the old tight style of play that is my comfort zone.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Donking Up Some Omaha and the Mookie

The night started off with me jumping into a nice cheap $2 MTT to get thing started. I’m maybe 15 minutes into it when I find Q7 on the BB. It is folded to the SB who calls and I check. The flop is A7A and the SB blind leads out. No considering that this is a $2 tourney, the skill level is such that I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t have an ace. I call his bet with my 7 paring the board. This is a place that I will almost always re-raise but I felt I could get a little more from him. Anyway, the turn is 3 and he bets again…about half the pot so I re-raise a bit more then the pot. He insta pushes and I have to make a decision. I go back over it in my head a bit and I can’t see that he has anything, his shove is trying to make me think he has an A when he has air. I call and he shows JT for nothing. He hits a J and I go home. Now I know you are not supposed to lose your chips in an unraised battle of the blinds but how cane he think he is ahead. I prolly should have bet the flop but he would more than likely push so it works out the same other then I could have folded the better hand. Just frustrating.

I was actually really pissed after that because I felt like the worst poker player ever. So I joined a PLO o8 tourney because it is more like playing bingo and anyone can win at bingo. I hit my first big hand when I was dealt 8h 2s 9c Jc in the SB and saw a flop of 7d Ts 6s. It is about as wrapped as you can get. Two of us saw the turn after an early position raise and I hit a straight. It wasn’t the nut thought but I put the raiser on the low draw. As it turned out he had a gutter ball that hit when a 9 came on the turn and I had the bigger straight. I chipped up with some smaller pots when I look down and see 2h 5h 6c Ad in the BB. Four of us saw the raised pot that gave me the nut low and the weak side of an OESD. In the end I split the low end with a short stack and scooped the bigger end side to move way up to over 7K. I hung around that level until catching a nice a ¾ pot to move to 11K. I started to lose traction and was down to 7.7K when I doubled with a scoop vs. an agro goof. I stayed at that level until the final table.

The final table was a little tough in that I was short but I worked hard. I had a couple of timely doubles and was in position to make the top two even but as you know…when the blinds get big that you are committed to just about any raising hand and I raised my AK63 double suited into A2JJ and lost. There was a short stack that out lasted me but the difference between 3rd and 4th was on $20 while 4th and 2nd was $65 I wanted to be in position to get at least 2nd so I really don’t mind getting it in there. I ended in 4th but thats OK. I have to thank Riggs, IT and surf for railing. If I missed someone else then let me know and I can give you props.

I also played the Mookie and made the top 40 or so but tried a resteal vs. Lucko and my game was over.

Still, not a bad night overall.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

2 Years of Blogging and Bodog Pimpage

I missed me 2 year anniversary for the blog a while back while, during the time when my father passed so I guess I’d like to say cool beans. 400 and something post during that time and I’m still an idiot when it comes to writing. I went back and looked at some old posts and I have seen a change in how I write and also realized that I started this blog with no idea in what direction I or the blog was going.

I did have a minor screw up the other night. I was running poker office and had a bunch of screens open when it crashed. I’m not sure what caused it other then that I had to many screens open and it couldn’t handle the info coming in. Anyway, I couldn’t get it to start so I eventually had to uninstall/reinstall it and lost all of my history. 10s of thousands of hands played are gone. Not really that big a deal because I started over at the beginning of the year so really only had maybe 2 months of stuff gone from what I really wanted.

Also, remember that Bodog has its Blogger event going on Tuesdays so jump in and have some fun.

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All Play and No Work

Now that ball season is approaching fast, my commitments as Director of Softball have increased. I had clinics over the weekend that I had to attend as well as drafts for a couple of the age groups. Tonight is the draft for the girls Majors. the level that Speedy E. plays. My wife is one of the managers but cannot make the draft tonight so I get to do it in her place. I'm not sure if there is a conflict of interest involved but someone would have to do it for her anyway. I am going to try and get a free pick for her team because all of the other teams have multiple coaches with kids on the team while Mrs. PE's assistant doesn't have a child on the team. We should be able to pick first in my opionion. We'll see what happens.

I'm also looking to find coaches for next year's traveling teams at 10U and 12U. I hope we can find someone to step up and run a team. There are plenty of kids that want to play so all we need is someone to take over the program. I will coach the 12U team if we don't find someone but that isn't really my first choice. I think we have someone already but I need to confirm before doing cartwheels. The 10U team will be a little harder but I'm sure some parent will step up and do the job. We have someone who does all the scheduling so all they need to do is coach.

So no Skills for me tonight and no Riverchasers on Thursday more than likely. We shall see.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Busy, Busy

After a busy weekend of driving around I think things are starting to return to normal. It nice to have a lot of things to do but last weekend was crazy. Friday I drove to a customer’s plant and did a review of there process. It was 300 miles each way and with a snowstorm coming I got in an out of there as fast as possible. There was about an inch of snow on my car when I left but as I drove back home the snow went away and I made it home with no problems.

I spent playing some tourneys and did well in the Razz 2K with a final table. I ran a little card dead at the end to keep me from getting a little deeper. I also played some Omaha and did ok but didn’t cash. Ran on OESFD and the nut low draw but missed my 14,732 outs and lost to his 66xx that was good.

Saturday was spent running to the lawyers and then taking Softball E. to pitching and hitting practice. I flew from there to a coach’s clinic I was involved in and had to miss my son’s hockey game. Grandma had to pick up softball E. and get her costume for the musical she is in for school. I finally got home at some point and played that night. Had a couple of deep run cashes in hold’em but nothing huge. Got killed by a four flush with my AK vs. AQ in another tourney. That one hurt. Anyway, had a solid night overall. Also played the Bronze Freeroll for 7 hands when my over pair lost to top pair crap kicker when he hit a 5 outer.

Sunday was more softball clinics but this time it was for the players. We had 100 plus girls show up for some instruction from the high school coaching staff as well as league reps. It was a great turnout and we look to improve upon it for next year.

Have a great day.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Am I Stupid

StupidTester.com says I'm 2% Stupid! How stupid are you? Click Here!

I took this today.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Getting Back on the Horse

Life is returning to semi normalcy after a couple of tough days. I was hoping for a crisis at work to help me get through my first day back but things actually went well. I’m just trying to get through the run down feeling I have right now.

I made the choice to play the Mookie last night to get back into the flow of things and my weak/tight game got me to a mediocre finish as I just couldn’t get things going. I was in position to make it deeper but had to lay down AT and the tried a steal from late position with T9 and ran into QQ. I had outs when I was open-ended but my luck ran out in 31st place. I had KK a couple of times, once early with a raiser and a caller in front of me. I popped it up hoping the original raiser might push but he folded followed by the other player. The other time I raised from early position and everyone folded. I played a little too tight but it was hard to get into the action late as players were raising and re-raising like crazy. Oh well, I’ll try it again next week. This was my first BBT3 event and I truly expect to get deep and have a chance at one of these.

I also played the Dookie and luck-boxed my way to a bubble finish. It was PLO, one of my favorite games and I pushed some edges early and gained some chips. By edges I mean having KKxx vs. AAkk and catching a king to suck out. I also did it with JJxx so I was running good. My luck-box skills left me though when I flopped a set of 5s and lost to a bigger set.

I’m to busy to write any more…Have a great day.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Thank You All

What can say other then thank you to everyone who left a comment! I didn’t really write about this for any other reason then to get my emotions out there. There are things in those posts that some people my not like but they were how I felt at the time. Some of my thoughts were just momentary and not necessarily how I truly feel but more of a reflection of the grief I was dealing with and how I saw interactions as they went by. Many of you have offered to do anything you can and I thank you for your gesture. I will only ask that you lend an ear if I need it and to make sure you give your loved ones a hug, a call, or whatever it is you do and be there for them in their time of need. And if I didn't leave a note of thanks on your blog please understand that I truly appreciate your thoughts.

Lying in bed last night I saw my dad with his smirkish smile as I drifted off to sleep. I also thought of him on the drive to work and while sitting in a meeting about 30 minutes ago. I know that the days ahead will be harder for a while.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Ode to...Final

Getting up the morning of the funeral was a chore. I stayed up late, not because I couldn’t sleep but because I wanted to vegetate alone for a while. When I went up stairs for bed I turned on the TV and watch Sand Lot. Its funny how there are certain things like movies or music that help you escape for a while and that movie did it for me. I feel asleep around the time that the kids tried to get the baseball away from the big dog and woke up during the final credits. It was 3:00 AM so I turned off the TV and went back to sleep.

I didn’t want to get up but it was time to get moving. Everyone was dressed and ready about ten minutes after when I would have preferred but we still had plenty of time before we had to be to the funeral home. We were the first to arrive by a couple of minutes and talked with Pastor Bob for a few minutes until my sister arrived. The finality hadn’t real hit yet.

We all took a moment to be with dad. My family went up and had our last private thoughts about him before the people started to arrive. As everyone started to appear, we greeted everyone with a smile, hand-shake, hug or a combination of the three. Eventually, everything got started as everyone was invited for one last moment with dad. The PE family was second to last, just before my sister and her family. We held each other as we looked at my dad for the last time, tears falling from or pooling around our puffy eyes. We stepped out of the room before they closed the casket…the beginning of the rest of my life without my father.

We sat down together on the couch that was to soft. It would have been a great place to take a nap but it sunk down to much for my liking. I half listened to the words being said and choked back the tears…kind of anyway.

Sing “Amazing Grace” was a bit of a chore for me. I skipped some lines and ignored the off key signing from the group of people in the room. Its hard to sing sometimes. And as Pastor Bob went into the Homily, I perked up as he talked of my father. A man he din’t know but understood from conversations he had with my sister and I. I can’t imagine anyone else doing a better job then he did to describe my dad.

The Aurora Pipes and Drum group played a song as the pall bearers carried him to the awaiting car. The funeral procession was long and we had to wait a bit for everyone to arrive at the grave site. There were words spoken, music played and gunshots fired signifying who my father was. There was ice everywhere which is much better then the mud that would have been there the day before. We cried…and it was over.

People drove away in their cars and went to work, headed home or came to the luncheon we had. I have always found it strange that we feed people after words when in reality we have just spent a lot of money and could use a hand out. But it is a time to gather together in remembrance and as in most cases, we had way more food then we needed. It was nice talking to my aunts and uncles that have been away for so long. We talked about getting together this summer but who knows what will happen. Either the death of my father will bring us back closer together or will be the thing that all but ends any relationship we had.

As we packed everything up I thought of all the other people I have known who have done this same thing. Give some food here and send some flowers there…It is almost as if we are giving away those feeling we have just tormented through. It can be a burden dealing with all the flowers and food…but I would do it all over again for my dad.

Ode to....Continued #3

I woke up in the morning late…some time around 9:00 I think and I threw on a pair of shorts and an old t-shirt. My laptop was sitting on my chair so I fired it up and sent an IM to a couple of people at work. Sitting around waiting for the visitation didn’t seem to make much sense so did a little work. I had one of my guys do a test I needed done and chatted a little about some things that were going on.

We have a bunch of Easter stuff that we brought up and put away some winter things like snowmen and some nice throw blankets that sit on the back of the couch doing nothing but looking seasonal. I really didn’t feel like putting some of this stuff away but I eventually gave into the requests of my wife and took them down stairs until next year.

Eventually, I got out of my chair. It is my chair and I have asked people to move to another seat if they sit in it. I needed my chair today. I wasted time in it trying to put off getting ready as long as I could. Procrastinating is something that I can do well when I want to and I waited as long as I could before dressing in my suit and tie.

I realized about 20 minutes before we had to leave that I have gained way to much weight because there was no way I could wear my suit pants. My enlarged stomach impeded my ability to button my pants. Luckily I found a pair of pants that would work just fine and I finished getting ready for the visitation.

The kids were fighting a little as we prepared to leave and I tried my best to let it go. There are times, many times, when my children drive me crazy with their almost constant griping and today was no exception. I think they realized quickly that I wasn’t in the mood because they stopped on their own without a tirade by me. Things were going well.

Everything was in place at the funeral home. The flowers from friends and work places looked beautiful and I took time to read each of the cards from everyone. We gave Speedy E the job of writing down who sent what so that she could be involved. She really enjoys doing things like making lists and we wanted her to feel special. I didn’t really take any time to be with my dad other than a quick moment with my son and daughter. Instead, we all talked quietly while we waited for people to show up.

My step-brother and sister were two of the first to arrive. I expected Mike to show up because he still lived close and would still drop in on my dad from time to time. I’ve only seen him five or six times in the thirteen years since my step-mother passed away. As for my step-sister, she has been away for a long time. She had an affair on her ex-husband and gave custody of her kids to her him. She asked my father if she could move in with him while she tried to get back on her feet and he said no. I guess he didn’t like what she stood for. I truly think the only reason she came up from St. Louis is because she wants to know what she has coming to her. I hope this isn’t the case but she hadn’t talked to my dad since he turned her down.

People came and went. Friends of mine, friends of my sister, friends of my dad and people from the old neighborhood came in an endless barrage of “I’m sorry” and “How long was he ill?” They are the standard comments we all make when we try to comfort others. I tried to mix up my answers to help control my own sanity as I heard the same thing over and over. I know they all mean well and I appreciate everyone that came by to help us and to show my father their respects.

My best man spent an hour or so hanging out with me and my family. He was lucky to be there based of a snowmobile accident a couple of years ago that almost killed him. He hit a tree at about 70 miles per hour and woke up a few weeks later without the ability to talk and with a skull fracture that would kill most of us. He still has troubles to this day but I am thankful he is alive and could be there for me.

A few neighbor ladies from my childhood showed up. All of them have lost their husbands in the last ten years. I can now empathize with them in some ways but I don’t truly understand all of what they feel with their loss. One of them asked me to come by with the family sometime if I’m driving through the town I grew up in. None of her kids live near her so I’m sure the seven years without her husband bothers her from time to time. I told her I would try to stop by but in reality it was probably just lip service. I have been down my old childhood street maybe ten times in the last twenty years. But I will knock on the door if I am in the neighborhood.

We had a nice surprise when all of my dad’s brothers and sisters showed up. They live a ways away and didn’t think they would show up until the funeral. The last time they had all been together was when my grandfather died twenty years ago. The bickering that ensued after his death split the family for years. I have my opinions on the stupidity of it all but things like death seem to put those misunderstanding aside.

After four hours of standing on my feet, talking to so many people I finally had a chance to sit down. My back hurt and my feet ached but my heart seemed to be at ease. Remembering the good times with old friends and learning new and wonderful things about my dad from people I have never met brought a piece to my mind. Yes he will be missed by many people but I realize that the tears that flowed that day were from others. And that I was actually there to comfort them and not them to comfort me. I never really looked at it that way but I think there is some truth in that statement. They come to be with us and our grief and we tell them thank you for coming. But in two days he is a nice memory for them and we are left to deal with the loss for however long it takes to let it go.

Before I left, I took a moment to look down at my father. The man who help cast the person I am today. Looking down at a face that really doesn’t look like him with all the make-up and embalming fluid, I saw the man that everyone else saw. A man who would help others in need and not expect anything in return. A man who often put the needs of other in front of his. I didn’t cry as I stood there remembering him. I smiled as I turned and walked away.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Ode to...Continued #2

Flowers, food and other things dealing with the visitation and funeral just seemed to pop up as we went through the process. These are all thing we know about but don’t really occur to you right away. More costs in honor of the deceased that are all very worth it.

Saturday wasn’t too bad. The kids had things to do like hockey and softball and the busyness helped keep my mind off dealing with my father’s death. I made the early trip to pitching practice and discussed life with Softball E. She didn’t really want to talk that much so I didn’t push it to hard. We all need to express and relieve our selves in our own time. Anyway, while we were gone, Mrs. PE, Speedy E and Baseball E went through all of our pictures to find the right ones for a mosaic of pictures for the visitation. They brought a smile to my face as I glanced through the memories.

The rest of Saturday was uneventful other then a few calls. The biggest call was trying to find someone to take care of my dad’s dog. He had a husky that is three years old and is full of energy. I would love to keep the dog but with two cats and a small dog, it wouldn’t work. Huskies are pack animals and this one wants to be the alpha male. He would eat up our little dog and we wouldn’t want that. My sister doesn’t have the room for the dog so we ended up asking a friend of my dad to keep him for now. She agreed so we don’t have to worry about that for a while. This lady has a friend up north who will probably take the dog and give it a good home with lots of room to run around.

Later in the day, I was taking my middle child to a friend’s house and almost missed the turn. I was lost in thought of my dad at the time and almost drove by without a second thought. I’m not sure how long these random moments of refection will continue to pop into my head but I enjoy the memories of my dad.

I knew Sunday would be bad. I arrived to church early hoping to get the pomp and circumstance out of the way as soon as possible. We have a close nit congregation so I knew I would be flooded with condolences from many people. However, it really didn’t shake down that way. A couple of people came up but not as many as I thought. The news might not have gotten out as well as I thought but I knew that it would change.

His visitation and funeral arrangements were announced during the service and the heart felt warmth of my church family came pouring out like a tsunami. As the condolences came, I found it hard to concentrate on their feelings of sorrow and condolence. I fought to hold back the tears and many times I had to take a second to collect my self before responding. I thought I had good control over everything until I saw my daughter…tears in her eyes…wanting to be held and told everything would be ok. 14 is a hard enough age to be alive with all the hormones and such so I turned my back on the elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife and held my daughter…trying to take away her pain with my love. My wife walked up and joined us in a moment of family tears that needed to flow to maintain our sanity.

My other daughter walked up during this and I stepped away to be with her. I’m not sure she totally understands the finality of all of this. I think she is trying to be strong and putting the pain away in the back of her mind. She has had aloofness about everything but I truly think it is her way of dealing with the sorrow. I gave her a huge and kiss and told her how much I love her just because I can and because I want her to know it is ok to cry…with her dad...and that her dad is man enough to cry for something lost.

After church, we had some running to do and I was semi lost in thought as I drove to our destination. I wasn’t crying but I know that tears wanted to come and Mrs. PE asked what was wrong. I jumped immediately back into man mode and said nothing. Stay strong and show no weakness…It is what my father would do.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Ode to...Continued

Trying to deal with the death of my father at that point really couldn’t happen. My wife was there for me and I can’t imagine trying to get through this without her. As we stood there holding each other, letting the tears run down our cheeks, the nurse walked back into the room and handed us bag of my dads things. A credit card, a gift card we had given him, his membership card to Amvets post 103 and $92 in various bills. I figuratively had to sign his life away to get his things.

I needed to leave the cold cubicle of death as I felt uncomfortable just waiting there for my sister. As we stepped back out of the room, a police officer said he needed to talk to us before we leave but said it was no rush. Dealing with this sort of stuff was low on my list but I know it has to be done.

My sister showed up with my niece and nephew a few minutes later. They had been there for a while but some well-intentioned person sent them to the Chaplin instead of to the emergency room. We hugged, something my sister and I rarely do, and prepared to step into the room again. Her son and daughter didn’t want to step in and I don’t blame them. I didn’t really want them to see him with a tube down his throat and some contraption on his face. That doesn’t need to be one of the things they remember about him.

My wife, my sister and I held each other in a moment of confusion and disbelief as we looked down at our recently deceased father. The tears were back but easier to deal with. Everyone left in his immediate family consoled together. I’m not really sure I thought of anything other than the confusion I felt at that moment. What do we do now? What is our next step?

The hospital Chaplin told us everything that would be coming. We informed him which funeral home we wanted the body taken to and he gave us some idea as to what we needed to get through the first part of the process. After all of this was done, we met with the deputy coroner and finished our obligations at the hospital.

Mrs. PE and I chatted quietly as we headed to my dads house. We were all meeting there but my sister wasn’t there yet when we arrived so we headed to the club where he was the treasurer and, in general, the guy who kept it in business. The people were in shock as we explained that my father had passed.

My dad would show up at the club every morning at 5:30 to do his work and the two custodians would arrive by 6:00. On this morning, the lights were still off when the custodians arrived and they found my dad sitting on the floor. He never made it to the office and thus couldn’t reach a phone. They quickly called for an ambulance but it was mostly over by that time. He was in ventricular fibrillation by that time and all attempts by the paramedics came up short.

When my sister arrived at the house we started to go through his stuff. We found many of the documents would need in the weeks and months to come and we finally left to get some lunch. Lunch was on dad this day as it was many other times we were with him in the past. It was kind of strange spending his money but it will all end up with us anyway. A morbid thought but reality.

Eventually we met with the people at the funeral home and went through everything that will happen in the next couple of days. When it was all done I realized that being dead costs a lot of money and that I think I will try and get all of that stuff taken care of to make it easier on my children.

My sister and I said good bye for the day but we still have much more to go through before it is done.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Ode to....

After a few days of travel I made it home Thursday night feeling good and ready for Friday. I woke up early Friday morning because I had a lot of work to do and left the house about 6:45. At around 7:00 I got the phone call on my cell phone.

You know the call I’m talking about…It comes in many forms but is dreaded by everyone. I can be based off an accident or a sickness and hits you in the junk much worse than any bad beat you’ve ever had. It is the phone call that says someone has died.

Flying through traffic I answered the phone wondering why my wife would be calling me 15 minutes after I left the house. I wasn’t sure what I had forgotten but it could wait until I made it home later that night. Then the word “emergency room” clicked and something about “passed away” slowly crept into my consciousness and I realized that someone I know had just died.

Death is something we deal with in different ways. I don’t like to talk about the loss of loved ones until I’m ready to fully deal with the emotions that go along with the pain. Ignoring the pain doesn’t last forever and eventually I have to come to grips with it or be caught up in a maelstrom of conflicting feelings as I balance real life with the past memory.

I turned the car around at the stop light, not caring if a police car was around because I needed to get home. There was a lot to be done in a short time and I had calls to make. I called my boss and let him know I wouldn’t be in that day by leaving a voice mail message. I also called John and let him know because I wanted to cover my bases. As I drove home I wasn’t flooded with memories of the past…I only had thoughts of doing what needed to be done and to be strong.

I’ve had family and friends pass away in the past. The last was my wife’s grandma who died a few years ago. Actually…now that I think of it, a friend died a few months ago. He wiped out on his motor scooter on the way to watch a football game. Cracked his head on a culvert and died on the spot. I saw his wife a couple of weeks ago and even though she was trying to show strength I could tell the pain was eating her up. Condolences only do so much…they cannot replaces what has been lost.

When I arrived home, Mrs. PE was on the phone but dressed and ready. I made another work phone call and we headed out the door to head to the hospital. We stopped by the bank to get some cash and filled up the gas tank just in case there was a lot of driving in store for us that day. We made the 20 minute drive and walked into an emergency room that was empty. Nobody was there to greet us with their smiles and helpful ways.

All of my grandparents have been dead for a few years. My grandfather on my mothers side was the last to go. We suffered a lot in the last couple of years of his life as this great story teller could no longer remember who any of us were. There were glimmers from time to time where he came back for short periods of time but just a small piece of the man I remember as a child. He loved to tell stories, some made up and others real, that could captivate just about anyone.

After waiting a few long minutes, the receptionist walked up. We told her who we were and she took us to a waiting room. The doctor came in and told us what happened. We got the whole story from the beginning, probably to help easy their own minds as well, and we were asked to wait a few minutes more. I was hoping my sister would be there by now but she had longer to drive.

When I was in high school I saw a man die. He was very old and fell over in his back yard as my buddy Doug and I drove by on our way to go drink. It was very hot out and he was working in the garden. We started to do CPR and continued until the ambulance showed up. I knew he was dead and had no chance but I still tried as hard as I could to give him a chance. I was drinking to forget that night.

The nurse came in and asked us some questions. My sister wasn’t there yet but my wife and I decided to go anyway. As we walked to the curtains with the nurse, I held my wife’s hand and proceeded through. There was a body on the table, or bed, or whatever it is called. The nurse said some things that I didn’t really hear and I slowly walked up.

Death is natural. We will all die and we will all have friends and family that die. It is a hard thing to deal with but it has to be done. People cry, people act strong, people try to empathize but can’t truly understand what it is that you are going through. Our experiences are all different but I can’t imagine anyone who likes dealing with these things.

I couldn’t make my self look. I didn’t want to look because it would mean it is true if I see it. My feet were stuck in mud as I tried to move closer. I looked everywhere but at the face. His arms look so frail. There has to be a mistake because my dad’s arms aren’t this small. He is a strong man with a strong will. There is no way that they could put that tube down his throat. What is that thing on his face? Oh my…I will miss you dad.