What can you imagine Peyton Manning doing? Let’s build him an analogical world. You can imagine him wearing a short-sleeve button-down dress shirt. You can imagine him speed-typing numbers on an old-fashioned adding machine. You can imagine him lining up the corners on a pack of yellow legal pads. You can imagine him carrying coffee. You can imagine him researching lawn mowers. You can imagine him leaving early for work to take the station wagon in for a wax job and sliding Astral Weeks into the CD changer and watching the gray morning light settle on a street full of Dunkin’ Donuts and drive-through bank branches and thinking to himself, This is the time of day I like best.
It’s a clichÃ© to note that he’s got some curious OCD tendencies â€” all that finger-licking under center,3 those rapid-fire Tourette’s bursts of audibles. What’s incredible is the cumulative effect 10,000 perfectly executed seven-yard reads have had over the years. At this stage in his late career, really for the whole season-plus he’s been with Denver, Manning makes being a midlevel IT manager look like a form of ruthless conquest. It’s as if he wrote a script to install automatic PC updates, and somehow it made him the god-emperor of hell.4 This is how he plays football: He goes out every week with a graphing calculator and a stack of forms, and he just audits teams to death.
Christmas for us started on the 23rd as we joined our good friends Gloria, Jerry, and Kristy for our traditional Christmas together. Â It was a bit different this year because of Gloria’s cancer but it was a fun night of exchanging gifts and hanging out. Â We gave some books (as is our tradition) but I gave Gloria a Sound Spa which should help her sleep while the boys gave her a plush blanket.
Because I like to make fun of Kristy, we gave her an Edmonton Oilers Snuggie. Â Because most of Kristy’s life is dedicated to a) staying warm and b) the Edmonton Oilers, she liked it.
Christmas Eve had Wendy working all day. Â This is the worst schedule she has ever had over a Christmas season and it hasn’t been a lot of fun for us as a family but that is the life of people working retail. Â I worked part of the day and then headed home to spend the rest of the day with the boys. Â We gave the boys two early gifts of some NHLPA hockey sticks so they could play some road hockey during the day. Of course it was freezing outside so instead of playing hockey, we just taped them up. Â While she worked, we packed up the Mazda and headed out to Warman where we spent the evening at Â Lee and Brittany’s place for a traditional Christmas supper of lasagna and fighting over who got the lasagna leftovers before opening gifts.
Lee is known to master such phrases as “less talking, more chewing” on Christmas Eve. Â While he loves lasagna, he loves presents more. Â In the past when Wendy was working, he would spend most of the day badmouthing Wendy and trying to convince Mark to open Christmas presents without his mom. Â He takes this whole Christmas gift opening seriously.
Of the delay in eating turned costly when Oliver was playing with Tika (Lee and Brittany’s dog) and fell nose first into the edge of the carpet. Â There was crying, rug burn, and blood all over the place. Â While Oliver’s new shirt paid a steep cost, all was okay. Â It wasn’t as if I didn’t expect blood, I just expected it over the lasagna.
Santa gave Mark a new HTC Desire CÂ Android Smart phonewhile I got him aÂ Fuji AV150 camera (and tripod). Â I had created a Instagram, Foursquare, and upgraded his Flickr to a pro account on Sunday. Â We made sure we had batteries, SD (and Micro SD) cards all ready to go. Â Now we have to download some apps which will mean some quality time on Google Play today. Â I gave him a 1932 Chevrolet Truck scale model to build, Oliver gave him some adventure and Star Wars blueprint books (and some Daytona 500 cologne). Â He also got a graphic novel story of Canadians in WWII as well as a book on how to create his own graphic novel
In his stocking he found a new watch, a big bottle of the worst cologne known to man, Brut 33 (Wendy wept tears of pain when I showed her the bottle) Â Mark also got some high quality headphones; both on the ear and in ear ones. Â The less I have to listen to 90s rock, the better.Â
Lee and Brittany gave him a Denver Broncos jersey with his name and number on it. Â Thank goodness Tim Tebow was traded before the season started. Â He was pretty excited with that. Â Almost as excited as Tim Tebow gets about everything.
He also got a Starbucks travel mug and gift card from myself. Â It’s a bit self-serving as he wanders down to The Lighthouse and takes me out for coffee. Â To keep all of his special memories safe, we gave him a small chest to keep some of life’s momentos.
All Oliver wanted was a pogo stick and I found him one from Santa on Amazon.com. Â I gave him a toy F-22 Raptor jet. Â I would have gotten his a F-35 toy but the price kept increasing until Stephen Harper told me not to get it for him. Â Mark gave him a rescue play set, a puzzle from the dogs, an Obi-Wan Kenobi lightsaber, and an Optimus Prime Transformer that talks. Â He is getting into hockey to I got him some mini hockey sticks and nets.
Lee and Brittany gave him a tricked out big wheel for Christmas. Â I immediately thought of this.
What’s scary is that I think Oliver would think that was a good idea.
His favourite gift by far was a Power Ranger that transforms into something else. Â He was quite jacked about it. Â
With the new iPod I gave Wendy for her birthday, I gave her a set of iHome speakers and some perfume. Â We got her an electric griddle and skillet (she asked for them), a new popcorn maker (which she was really excited about). Â Mark gave her a pink Zepco fishing rodÂ which she was horrified of. Â Lucky for Wendy, the fishing is horrible in our part of Last Mountain Lake. Â We also got her some high quality over the ear and in-ear headphones. Â If nothing else she will be able to tune us out for Christmas. Â The dogs gave her some new knives and a kitchen scale. Â Not sure where they got the money to get those.
Lee and Brittany gave her a gift card for Dutch Growers which made her day. Â She’s out right now waiting for spring to hit.
I bought Lee a Leatherman Skeletool multitoolÂ and case.Â Mark got him Red Dead Redemption for the PS3, while Oliver got him a George Reed collector’s edition figurine. Â Lee and Mark got into an argument a couple of weeks ago where Mark called his uncle, “Uncle Glitter” which has kind of stuck. Â Mark got him some glitter stickers for his new iPhone 5. Â Â “Uncle Glitter” didn’t seem to appreciate his nephew’s gift that much. Â
He tried to pull his knife on the Skeletool on Mark for bugging him but he couldn’t get it open. Â Once he got it open, he cut himself. Â
Brittany was given a nice fountain pen, two journals (one lined and one unlined), and an Indigo gift card. Â Because both Lee and Brittany are getting new iPhones, we tossed in some iTunes cards as well. Â Holding her Indigo gift card was Cooper the Bear which apparently has been a Sears mascot for years (a fact that I did not know). Â It just seemed to work well for us. Â Brittany is an english teacher and I just think an English teacher with a fountain pen is more intimidating. Â It was either that or do what the NRA is suggesting and that is to give her a firearm.
Wendy gave Brittany a soapstone statue of a couple from Ten Thousand Villages which I really liked. Â As much fun as it is to bug Lee, him and Brittany are a wonderful couple.
I wasn’t expecting too much but Wendy and the boys did a lot of planning and looking for good deals. Â Wendy gave me a trail GPS and a George Reed limited edition action figure, Oliver gave me a Toronto Blue Jays hat, Mark gave me Assasin’s Creed II and Red Dead Redemption. Â I also got a Leatherman Skeletool. Â To balance out my Tim Tebow action figure from last year, Wendy gave me a Peyton Manning action figure. Â Lee and Brittany gave me a remote control helicopter. Â It flies and crashes quite well around the house. Â Â Also because I don’t smell enough like David Beckham, I was given some of his cologne. Â Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Â To replace my old barbecue tools (that are showing some age), Wendy also got me a simple set of three barbecue tools which is all we really use.
The advantage to only periodically playing PS3 games is that I never own the new ones which means that Wendy can find me games for $10-$15 at Wal-Mart and it doesn’t matter since I haven’t played them. Â
I really had no more success than Lee in using my Leatherman today although no blood was spilled.
The photos can all be foundÂ here.
Today is being spent around the house setting up things, doing some reading, and then having a more traditional Christmas dinner. Â I had hoped to get get down to work but for the second day in a row, someone has swiped our power cords to the car which is frozen solid in this cold. Â We had planned to take a long walk downtown today with Mark’s new camera but as the song says, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. Â Hopefully your Christmas is a good one and you are enjoying the time with family and friends as well.
On Sunday I decided to take the family to Waskesiu for the day. We drove up through Prince Albert, past the Prince Albert Penitentiary and Riverbend Institution (Wendy was curious over where the Salvation Army has our prison barbecue) and then to Waskesiu (Mark thought we were headed to the cabin via Regina but in his defense, I had purchased him an issue of Transworld Skateboarding and he may not have noticed the forest through the many trees).
After eating at The Angry Taco, we wandered around the beach, did some shopping, and some exploring. During most of the day, I had chest pains which I have had for months but had been telling myself, they were stress. I have stress at work and for those of you who read Wendyâ€™s blog, I have a lot of stress at home, depending on the state of her depression. For the last month, I would walk the fifteen blocks home and be totally exhausted. I have walked back and forth from home to the Salvation Army hundreds of times and while I am walking up Caswell Hill, it isnâ€™t as if I need to use climbing ropes for safety. Itâ€™s a pretty tame climb.
On Monday morning I woke up with pain and I decided to go to Royal University Hospitalâ€™s Emergency Room to get it checked out. I was hoping they would tell me it was stress but after my chest X-Ray, they told me it something more serious and I was being admitted. So off to the 6000 ward I was sent with all of the other cardiology patients where I awaited my angiogram. The first night was just annoying. Wendy brought my noise cancelling headphones which makes sense but I sleep on my side so I knocked them off my head where I was greeted with snoring, snoring, and more snoring. As soon I would fall asleep, I would knock off one of the heart monitor points which would sent a nurse scrambling in to see if I was dead and/or fix the points. If I wasnâ€™t doing that, I was rolling over and jamming my intravenous. I was also woken up blood work techs and of course they needed to wake me for my blood pressure and temperature. On top of that the blood thinner they gave me made me cold which all adds up to under two hours of sleep. I donâ€™t know why but in the silence of Monday night, I felt scared for the first time since Wendy was giving labour to Oliver. Death has never bothered me that much but the idea of giving up on life prematurely because of stupid diet decisions and choices really bothered me. My mom declined to have chemotherapy when she was dying of cancer because she didnâ€™t want to go through it and I have always questioned that decision. I donâ€™t want Mark and Oliver to think, â€œWhy didnâ€™t Dad cut the McDonalds out of his diet and choose to be with us for some more years?â€ I felt quite disappointed in myself.
Tuesday was spent waiting. I saw my cardiologist and other doctors who lectured me on my diet and weight. Fair enough. The other thing that hit me was they were on me because of how high my cholesterol and blood pressure was which was news to me. They put me on Lipitor for probably the rest of my life and also Ramipril to help me deal with high blood pressure. Wendy had to work Tuesday night so I was chilling out reading Fareed Zakariaâ€™s The Post American World Release 2.0 when Cam Broten came by and chatted politics and life for a bit. The best part of the visit was he brought up The Economist and a fantasy football magazine. The next day this doctor comes in and looks at my reading material and says, â€œNo wonder you are in here, you canâ€™t relax reading The Economistâ€ He picks it up and sees the football magazine and then without batting an eye goes, â€œShould I pick Manning as my QB with the neck problems or Brady with Ochocinco?â€ Apparently global economic stress is bad while NFL fantasy league stress is good. Thatâ€™s why I am not a doctor.
Wednesday morning I was in for my angiogram. They found a lesion on my heart as well as two partially blocked arteries and some blockage in another one. The most concerning were the two arteries that are partially blocked as they arenâ€™t bad enough to deal with. Those mean that I need a drastic change to deal with or schedule myself a series of heart attacks, by-passes, and strokes in the coming years.
After having a 40 minute heart ultrasound and nurses tearing away connection point after connection point off my body, I was allowed to return home where I hung out with the boys before I fell asleep. My right arm was useless as that is the artery they chose to get to my heart which resulted in some spilled milk but we survived as a family. Mark fired up Netflix and showed Wendy the Arrested Development where GOB is CEO and going on and on about how much his suit cost. At the hospital he goes to Wendy, â€œCâ€™mon, Iâ€™m the guy in a $3700 t-shirt and you want me to get you a pop?!â€. Itâ€™s even funnier now that Wendy gets what he was talking about. Even Oliver is going, â€œCâ€™mon, look at my pantsâ€.
Today I went to Indigo and bought a couple of cookbooks. One is on eating Heart Smart, the other one was The Vegetarian Bible. We have the Mayo Clinic cookbook and some other heart healthy eating books so I have some choices. Low cholesterol diets can be summed up with one word, bland. I had a chicken fajita tonight and they werenâ€™t bad which is kind of pathetic but that is how food will be defined now. After that I stopped by work to chat and after 30 minutes of that, I was too tired to wander over to the other side of the building. Wendy drove me home (I canâ€™t drive for a couple of days) and I have just been exhausted all day. My proudest accomplishment has been writing this post and doing some dishes. Other than that I have been sleeping and resting. Oh yeah, thinking. I have been thinking a lot as well.
For those of us who are trying to tell ourselves that things in Denver will be fine without Jay Cutler and Josh McDaniels will be great, here is are some stats to think about.
- Super Bowl wins for Mike Shanahan without John Elway: 0.
- Super Bowl wins for Chuck Noll without Terry Bradshaw: 0.
- Super Bowl wins for George Seifert without Steve Young or Joe Montana: 0.
- Super Bowl wins for Jimmy Johnson without Troy Aikman: 0.
- Super Bowl wins for Tom Landry without Roger Staubach: 0.
- Championships for Paul Brown without Otto Graham: 0.
- Super Bowl wins for Tony Dungy without Peyton Manning: 0.
- Super Bowl wins for Bill Belichick without Tom Brady: 0.
Don Shula seemed to be the exception who proved the rule although in Miami, they did not have a RB or much ofÂ a defense.Â Â Not a lot of Super Bowl titles are won with the Trent Dilfers of the world.