Whadda ya want from me?
The Wife on 34th street last night. (It’s gotta be the shoes.)
Late last night The Wife says, “I should get the purple heart for dealing with your ass.”
I say, “You’d get a purple heart if you’d married a Mets fan.”
Touche, she says.
When the Yanks finally won it was after midnight. I was typing away on my computer as she talked to me. She laughed because I wasn’t listening. I heard her laughing but didn’t hear what she was saying because I wasn’t listening.
She announced she was going to bed.
“The wife is exhausted,’ she said. Then, to herself: “Purple heart. And if you don’t give it to me, I’ll give it to myself. I don’t need you to give it to me. That shit is mine, man.”
The first date I had with The Wife was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in January, 2002. Home field advantage I figured. Little did I know that painting and drawing don’t move her. So I took her on a tour and she smiled as I talked and talked. She was probably bored silly and finally she was hungry. Still, she was too polite to stop me and I was so nervous I kept talking.
As she tells it, “You talked until I was limp.”
She has not been back to the MET since. Until this past Saturday. This time we didn’t look at paintings or drawings but we went through the Japanese collection–The Wife loves the Japanese aesthetic. She wasn’t bored and we left before she was starving.
A Heppy Ket.
My wife adores baseball mascots. I think she’d rather meet the Phillie Phanatic than any player–oh, how she wants a kiss from that furry green beast. She complains that the Yankees don’t have a mascot. “What a bunch of tight asses,” she says. This helps explain why she is attracted to Francisco Cervelli, the closest thing the team has to a fuzzy cheerleader. She’s liked Cervelli ever since he joined the team a few years ago–though she did not like when he crossed home plate in a hot dog fashion up in Boston last season.
Ever since I’ve braced her for the possibility that he’s a short-timer in pinstripes. He’s spirited, throws the ball to third after a strike out with flair. The pitchers seem to like throwing to him though he doesn’t have a great arm and despite a few Luis Sojo-like streaks of clutch hitting, he’s not much with the stick either. And yet he’s still around and will go into spring training as the favorite to be the Yankees’ back-up catcher.
Over at Lo-Hud, Chad Jennings looks at organizational depth at catcher. There’s also a news-and-notes post featuring word on Phil Hughes and a rumor about Godzilla Matsui. As always, the Lo Hud remains an essential stop for the well-informed Yankee fan.
[Photo Credit: Barton Silverman/The New York Times]
My wife is sweet and polite, she is proper and feminine.
She is also a good shot.
Last week in Vermont, I shot a handgun for the first time in my life. Guns scare me but my father-in-law is an expert teacher, calm, cautious, and encouraging.
I kept thinking of Lorraine Bracco in “Good Fellas” when she said, “I gotta admit the truth. It turned me on.”
Ham and cheese, made to order for the wife. That’s three slices of black forest ham and six slices of jarlsberg cheese, red leaf lettuce (dressed with olive oil, champagne vinegar and maldon salt), dijon mustard and thinly-sliced cornichons on rye. That’s how she likes it, that’s how she gets it.
Hey…it’s good to be the queen.
I am less selfish now than I used to be and less resentful too. The world doesn’t owe me bubkis. Nobody is out to get me and I haven’t been jipped. Sure, I know better intellectually, but emotionally? Well, that’s not always so simple. But if I keep my head buried in the past I’m sure to be angry and cold, remote and self-loathing. Hard to love.
It’s easy for me to fall into that line of thinking so I remind myself every day to be present, in the now, not yesterday and not tomorrow. After all, it takes a lot of energy to be pissed off. And it would be shame for me to act like a spoiled brat at my age, especially considering all the good things I’ve got going on, especially this peach of a woman I call my wife.
Damn, I’m one lucky sonofabitch.
A few weeks ago my wife turned to me and said, “What are we going to do when baseball ends?”
“Hopefully, we’ll be watching another victory parade,” I said.
“But then it’s over and what are we going to do? Maybe I should start watching football.”
Football? She hates football. What is she turning into?
Emily still likes to bust my chops when I become shrill and unreasonable, announcing the season is over after a first inning at bat. But on Sunday night, the pressure finally got to her. She retired into the bedroom by the seventh inning and listened to the game on the radio. I stayed out in the living room and watched it on TV. By the 9th inning, I came in and she said, “I think I’m going to vomit.”
An inning later, after the Yankees had won, I came in again, and she said, “I’m never going to watch or listen to another baseball game again. I can’t take it. I’m sick to my stomach.” I had to stop myself from smiling. This after the Yankees had won, mind you. “Welcome to my world,” I said.
Last night, with a chance to clinch a playoff birth, A.J. Burnett gave up seven runs in just over two innings, and I opted for the wife’s world of Dancing with the Stars. Figured I owed her one. The Bombers rallied but fell short, 7-5. The Red Sox also won, but the Rays and Twins both lost.
We’ll do it again tonight.
My wife Emily and I have seen most of our friends become parents over the past six or seven years. It’s been painful at times as we don’t have children of our own. But as our friends’ children grow up, any discomfort we’ve experienced has eased.
As childless parents, our cats have become our kids. It might sound corny to some, but for animal lovers it won’t. We adopted our oldest cat, Tashi, a few months before my old man died. I never knew I could love an animal as much as I love her. At night, she’ll crawl up on our bed and sit between our pillows. I press my ear to her belly and listen to her purr. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I wake up overcome with emotion because I know that one day she’ll die and life will continue without her. It almost makes me sick and I imagine that’s a small variation of the kind of anxiety parents must feel all the time about their kids.
I don’t miss having children now. I enjoy the ones I know. And I cherish every day with my wife and our two cats. I force myself to stop and appreciate the moment–like I do every time Mariano Rivera pitches–because it’s just a moment, and no matter how tightly I hold on to it, time slips through your fingers and nothing lasts forever.
Last night my wife and I sat on the couch, facing each other and she told me about her day. We didn’t turn on the TV all night, a rarity. At one point, she showed me the cartoons from last weekend’s Week in Review section. I told her how those were the only cartoons we ever saw in my house growing up. She said they always got the Sunday Funnies and I told her the Times never had comics. I said maybe her parents got one of the tabloids.
“Can you see my parents reading a tabloid?”
“I’ll bet your mother grew up reading the Post.”
“Sure, it was a liberal paper back then. I’m sure they got the Post along with the Times. Maybe the Herald Trib too. Or the Journal-Amer–”
She burst out laughing.
“The Herald Trib?”
Laughing at me. In my face.
“Well, that’s what they called it,” I said, raising my voice in mock fury.
“Yeah, right. You are such a dork!”
“That’s what they called it!”
She curled into a ball as if to protect herself from attack and I picked up the phone and called her mother.
Her mom answered and Em and I took turns talking to her, laughing. She called it the Herald Tribune. But they read the Post in their house.
“See, I told you,” I said.
Emily spoke to her mom and her voice dropped, “Oh-no.”
Emily’s folks had to put down their dog in the morning, a fourteen-year old Dalmation. We stopped giggling and Emily’s voice became soothing and concerned. As childless parents, our two cats are like our kids. The thought of life without them is dreadful. I often day-dream about what will happen when Emily’s parents die, how I’ll feel when my mother dies. In two days it will be the third anniversary of my father’s death. And I think about when our cats will die until I force myself to think about something else.
This morning, I sent Emily’s parents an e-mail, letting them know that I was thinking about them. Em’s mom sat on a rug in the Vet’s office a few hours later and held her dog as it was put to sleep.
Em and I talked about that tonight. The pain of losing loved ones. We talked about the shrine we’d make for our cats when they go. She was back on the couch. A re-run of The Office played in the background. I got up to get some some cereal. I found an unopened box and brought it into the living room and handed it to her.
“Why can’t you open it?” she said.
“Oh, I don’t think opening it is the problem. I think it’s when you leave it on the counter all night, wide open so that you make sure that it gets completely stale. That’s the problem.”
She laughed at me again.
“Hey, listen,” I said, “I’m trying to be pro-active here, and what’s with the editorializing?”
“I figured it might work well in the Herald Trib.”
A pause. She scrunched into a fetal position and then filled the room with laughter.
The wife and I were on our way home Saturday night, riding the IRT back uptown to the Bronx. Two young, heavy-set women sat across from us with a stroller in front of them. One of the women drank a can of orange soda and played with her infant son; the boy gripped her fat fingers and laughed. The other woman tapped her cell phone and complained about how long it was going to take for them to get ready–showered and dressed–to go out.
“It’s nine o’clock, you gunna take forever to get your ass in gear. I don’t even know what I’m going to wear.”
The women chattered along–giggling and talking loudly like teenagers–and the child became restless.
“What are you bothering me for?” the mother said to him. “Why do you keep saying, ‘Papi’? Your father isn’t here. Papi, Papi, Papi. I’m here. He’s not here. You want me to call him so you can talk to him? I brought you into this world, why you need to always bother me? I’m the boss. You do as I say.”
The Mrs and I were tucked into the two seats at the end of the car. We were distracted by the mother, our conversation halted. Finally, Emily turned to me and said, “Can we move?” I had been thinking about changing our seats for several stops. At 168th street, we moved to the next car.
It’s not about being judgemental it’s about comfort. If you can do something about it, why expose yourself to something that makes you uncomfortable, anxious or upset? Yeah, when I’m aware of it–and both Emily and I are exceedingly sensitive to this kind of thing–I don’t think, I just move.
Watch the closing doors.
Sitting close to the action on Saturday night at Citifield (“I’m Still Calling it Shea,” read a t-shit), Emily and I were surrounded by Mets fans. We didn’t wear any colors. “We’re undercover,” my wife said to me. And so we were. I kept score (a scorecard costs five bucks; they go for twice as much in the Bronx) but had a mitt on my left hand in case a screaming line drive came our way. No such luck.
The Yanks held a 1-0 lead into the sixth. The wife excused herself and went to the ladies’ room. (She was in the bathroom when Aaron Boone hit that dinger in ’03 and ever since I send her in when absolutely necessary.) Mark Teixeira doubled on Tim Redding’s 99th pitch of the night, and his next three pitches were hit as well: single (Alex Rodriguez), double (Robinson Cano), and home run (Jorge Posada).
AJ Burnett, meanwhile, allowed just one hit and three walks while striking out ten in seven innings of work. He mowed ‘em down, as you’d expected against the Mets’ depleted line-up.
There was no blood orange sky but it was cool, pleasant night. Most of the Mets fans in our section had cleared out by the eighth inning. Em and I could have danced all night as the song goes. So we soaked it all in and went home heppy kets.
Final Score: Yanks 5, Mets 0.
Greetings from the Bahamas, my peoples.
So Em and I got hitched yesterday and it all went swimmingly. We are staying at a resort by the water and were all set-up to have our ceremony, just the two of us, on a pier over-looking the ocean. 1:30 p.m. was our launch time. Em went off to get her hair and make-up done just after 11:00 while I stayed in our room and finished ironing my shirt and getting myself prepped. And yo, wouldn’t you know it, but by 11:30 the skies opened-up and it started to rain like mad. And it didn’t stop.
I turned on the Weather Channel, and kept going out onto our terrace to look at the sky. Gray and raining, the palm trees rustling in the wind. Man, I was bugging thinking about Emily bugging (and she, in turn, was bugging about me bugging about her bugging). We came all the way down here to Paradise and it’s freakin’ raining, you’ve got to be kidding me. But then I thought of my cousin Eric who would have embraced the rain, the sense that Mother Nature was doing her thing, and it was all good, and that calmed me some. Then I thought, “Hey, I’m totally happy, I look great, and I’m marrying the love of my life, screw the weather.”
The rain tapered off some by a quarter to one when Em called. She sounded calm. I asked if we were going to change the location to inside and she said “No, not yet.” I went off to meet the minister, A. Dewitt Hutcherson, a tall-strapping man who looked vaguely like Michael Irvin. We were going to be the 9,796th wedding he’d performed in his career.
The rain had stopped and the humidity hit with the quickness. As we walked to the pier, believe it or not, the sun came out. Ten minutes later, my bride joined us, and it was completely sunny. The ceremony was short and sweet and lovely. We took pictures for a long while against the brilliant blue-green backdrop of the ocean and we were very happy.
Then, after eating the cake and drinking some champagne, we finally got back to our room. Em went to the bathroom to fix herself up and I quickly checked the ESPN ticker for the score of the game (incorrigible, I know, but come on, I had to distract myself for a minute). Yanks were down 6-2. Oh, well, I thought. No big deal.
We then consumated our love for each other while the Bombers roared back in the ninth. When we checked the scores later and saw that the Yanks had won, we couldn’t believe what we were seeing. They didn’t have any details, but when caught the highlights on Sportscenter, and…holy my god! Talk about Kismet. That was the icing on the gravy to what was already an amazing day. All those two-out, bottom of the ninth hits? Man, I was nervous just watching the clips. And our boy Alex Rodriguez hitting another huge home run? Dag, man, what a wonderful thing.
I realize that the Boston series is a thing onto itself (hopefully, the Yanks can take one out of three), but no matter what transpires this weekend, Em and I will always have the memory of A Rod coming through on the most meaningful day of our lives. It’s a small thing, but a beautiful thing.
Hope everyone is doing well. I’ll get atcha when I return next week.
Last fall, when Emily and I got a cat, a friend at work told me that she once had a cat that she loved very much. She said that once it died she never got another one. It was simply too painful for her to get a pet knowing that she would likely out-live it. I had animals around my house when I was growing up–cats and dogs–but I haven’t owned one as an adult. But in no time, I’ve grown attached to our charming little cat, Tashi. I had to board her at the vet’s late last week before I trooped up to Vermonth to meet-up with Emily at her folks’ place for the weekend. I asked to see the vet where Tashi would be staying and was shown to the basement where the boarding animals stay. Dude, I had to hold back the tears, and when I got home, I burst-out bawling like a baby.
Loss has been foremost on my mind recently. My dad had a heart attack one month ago and he died the following day. I miss him dearly.
I’ve been thinking about ol’ Bernie Williams this weekend, about how much I’m going to miss him–that is to say, if he’s really gone. It’s not so much his production, or lack thereof, that I’ll miss, but him. Of course, I don’t know him personally, but I’ve watched the majority of his big league games and have grown accustomed to his face, his swing, his mannerisms, his gestures. It isn’t the big things but the nuances, the details.
I love the continuity baseball offers. Each year, guys get too old and retire, while new guys come up and offer us something new to admire. If you’ve been a fan for a long time–as most of us have been–you see the professional life and death of many players. Sometimes, it is soothing to see a familiar face just because they are familiar, and nothing else. I thought of this last week when I read that Steve Trachsel was signed by the Orioles. I find his games almost intolerable to watch, he pitches so damn slowly. Otherwise I have no particular feelings about him. But I am used to him. Knowing that there is a chance that, months from now, in the middle of summer, he’ll be involved in one of those agonizing Yankee-Oriole, four-hour-plus slugfests, is strangely comforting.