Football (sort of), cleaning, party; just another weekend


Did not get too caught up in watching the NFL draft on TV, mostly relying on online sources, kept me mostly sane. Spent a lot of time getting the house ready (including teaching a new chore.) Hosted our annual Mothers Day event. Just another typical weekend as we get very close to ending the school year.

NFL Draft

Every year I get caught up in what is really a manufactured wholly media event. But I think this year I did a better job of net getting so caught up in it that it became my sole focus. I mean it is certainly an interesting mental exercise to analyze how teams build, and think about if they made the right choice amongst a large pool of players. But it isn’t really sports, which means that it is not much different from watching a TV show about commodity traders or stock brokers making their choices. It really is amazing that the NFL has made such a seemingly boring event into a huge show. Enough commentary, how about my teams?

Broncos

What do you get the team that came in second in the NFL, and then ‘won’ free agency? This wasn’t a team with a lot of real needs. But it did a good job of getting players that will help this year or at least in the near future. They drafted a Corner who could start in the event of an injury ar at least play in Nickel or Dime situations, strengthening a defense that did need help. The Wide receiver they picked will get to essentially red shirt this year, only playing in a few sets, while he learns the offense and the NFL. And then they improved offensive line depth and linebacker.

They didn’t really get the return guy I wanted. I am assuming they expect to get that help either from some undrafted free agents, existing players or maybe in the second phase of free agency. But that was the only need they didn’t fulfill so I would say it was a good draft for a team that didn’t have to hit any home runs, just not screw up or reach too high for a pick.

Rams

Very happy with this draft. No they did not go the exciting route that I had hoped for as a football fan. But as a Rams fan I am happy with what they got. They continued to build along the lines, with top picks on offense and defense. They improved in the secondary. They got my favorite running back, a guy that I think could be a real difference maker. And they continued the franchise tradition of making history.

I am not certain that they got the quarterback of the future.  But they solidified all the other offensive positions so now there current ‘franchise quarterback’ doesn’t really have an excuse. And should he fail, as I was pointing out to a friend, 2015 should see a banner crop of top QB prospects in the draft.

Housework

We were hosting a party for Mothers Day. So Saturday morning became cleaning day. And I made the kids do their part, telling them to clean their rooms and basement ‘the way Mommy would’. And they actually did a good job of it. And then I taught Jimmy how to do his new chore, as he has been without a good regular chore since Blaze died. I taught him how to scrub the bathrooms. At one point he asked why he was being asked to do things no one else wanted to do, which got the simple response of “that’s why they are chores and not fun.” But we all did a good job, Kim was happy.

Mothers Day

I made sure Kim got to rest for Mothers Day. I cooked our normal Sunday morning breakfast, dealt with kids, dogs etc. And I did my best to make sure she didn’t do any of the work for the party.

It was a good party, the food was good, and people had a good time. In spite of what would normally be considered an unseasonable snow storm (but with climate change who is to say what is unseasonable any more?) No major battle amongst the cousins and everyone certainly had plenty to eat. And we were glad to be the hosts so there was room for all the kids to spread out and theoretically keep out of each others hair.

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An Obligatory pre-Draft post #Rams #Broncos #Football


Taking a break from family discussion. And a break from my traditionally ‘geeky’ interests. Instead throwing out a few thoughts about what I would like to see and what I think I will see in the NFL Draft. Which means that yes, Kim will throw up her arms in desperation tomorrow night or some time over the weekend in wonder that I would watch such a boring event. And yes, I do agree that watching the draft itself is boring, so I may not watch that much of it, unless I get sucked in.

Rams

This team dominates my thoughts. First, because they have 2 picks in the first round, more picks overall. Second, they are still building, and therefore the picks could play a much bigger part in what happens with the team. Third, there is far more variation in what could happen.

What I would like to see:

I’ve been playing with a mock draft web site, throwing together options, which is only limited by my imagination and the fact that you cannot include trades. But here is my dream scenario, the Rams realize that it is time to fight fire with fire, and accept that Sam Bradford will likely never reach the potential of his original draft position. So, they take Johnny Manziel with their first pick, the second pick overall, and that throws off just enough teams boards that his teammate Mike Evans is available at the 13th pick. They then trade Bradford for some middle rounds picks which can be used to solidify the lines and secondary.

The reason this excites me is that it has been far too long since the Rams had a real play maker on offense, Tavon Austin might be that player but he doesn’t play quarterback. And in a division with 3 very good defenses the additions of Manziel and Evans would be enough to provide the offensive spark that has been missing since the Greatest Show on Turf days.

What will likely happen

I don’t think the current team leadership will take that chance with Manziel. I think they want to continue to play a boring conservative offense. So I think they will likely draft one of the top tackles at their first pick and then a defensive player with the second pick. The only semi-risky variation could be if they have the shot to pick Clowney and take it. In which case it is clear that their goal is try to beat those top teams with a super defense and an offense that just doesn’t make mistakes. While that approach does make sense I think that it doesn’t really make sense in the current NFL (Super Bowl results aside.)

I also think that the team lacks the creativity on the offensive side to take advantage of a talent like Manziel. I do think that if they get Clowney that their defensive staff will find a way to maximize his talents. So if there is some chance taking I would be less surprised if it involved a defensive player than an offensive player.

Broncos

What I want to happen

The Broncos clearly don’t need as much as the Rams. So this is more of a wish list, and less about making big moves that change the team. First, I would like to see the team make a move to get one of the 2 top middle linebackers in the first round, because that is the one position that I think could make the biggest difference to the team. And second I would like to see them draft one of the top returners, because that is the other place they could use help. The Trindon Holiday experiment is over and it is time to move on.

What will likely happen

No big move in the early rounds, instead they will wait and select the best player available. Because that has pretty much been this teams plan. And it has worked mostly so I can’t complain too much. But I do think that they will try to get a player that resolves that return game issue. Not sure if they will get one of the 2 players I want, but I think they will try to get a player who can impact the return game.

 

Coming to grips with a surprising reality


Realizing that we can no longer put off a major decision on Danny. Allowing children to grow up and take some responsibility. And a final word on the Super Bowl.

Danny & Learning

The signs have been there, really they have been there for a while. And after more than a little resistance and a lot of discussion the time has come to get aggressive on helping Danny. For quite a while we have had some problems reconciling what we see as his ability and intelligence with what comes back on his report card. But recent events have made it increasingly clear that he very likely has a learning disability. That is hard to accept for me, not because I think it is impossible, but simply because I had very few problems myself (aside from motivation) which makes it hard to detect in my own children.

So now comes the fun part, getting the testing done. The school district does not do the testing due to lack of funding. It is unlikely that my insurance will pay for it. And then when we do the testing, assuming it comes back with the results that we expect then the school will have to make adjustments along with us.

I can accept that this is the case, and I know it has no impact on who Danny is and in the long run will be worth it, and help him. But it is still strange, and infuriating that we & the school did not detect it earlier.

Responsibility

Today is a snow day here. Mostly because it is really cold, 6 below when I left the house to come to work. But it was my first real test of telling the kids that Jimmy is ‘in charge’. And then just leaving them to their devices (literally as they were all playing on their Kindle’s and computers when I left.) Legally I know Jimmy can do this. And I know that with Mom next door they have resources easily accessible plus some level of supervision. But it is still a big step for the kids to basically leave them alone at the house.

Broncos

I’ve spent the last couple of days reading recaps, assessments, interviews etc. about the Super Bowl. And have come to a horrible realization that I have been here before. As an admitted sports bigamist I have also been a life long fan of the Rams, first in LA, then in St. Louis. And a lot of what happened in the Super Bowl and the stories afterwards read like a repeat of the 2002 Super Bowl, and the 2003 Super Bowl as well. What everyone agrees happened in 2002 is that the Rams, with a great offense, came into the Super Bowl and refused to alter their game plan, even when it was obvious that the Patriots had their scheme figured out. Many of the post game analysis of that game was about how the Rams Coach, Mike Martz, stubbornly refused to run the ball more, even when it was clear the Patriots were able to defend the pass at the expense of leaving the run game open. Even creepier was what happened in 2003 when a great offense lost against a great defense (the last technical #1 vs. #1 matchup before this year), and many of the defensive players talked about knowing the plays as they developed.

So guess what are the 2 themes that have cropped up after this game? First, the Broncos more or less abandoned their run game in the first half, kept throwing it when it was clear that the Seahawks defense was very capable of defending all of the routes and plays that were called. Sadly and oddly guess who is the man the Broncos offensive coordinator calls his mentor? Mike Martz, the same coach whose stubbornness in sticking to his game plan partially cost his team a Super Bowl. I sincerely hope he learns his lesson and makes adjustments before next season, and in general. Second, some of the Seahawks players are talking about how they basically knew what routes and plays the Broncos would run as the plays were starting. I don’t think this was a case of spying or a failure to change like what happened with the Raiders. But again, this comes back to coaching. You know as a coach that the other team has 2 weeks to prepare and all the film in the world on your team. So if you are a good coach you make adjustments, taking advantage of the fact that you have one of the greatest quarterback minds of all time and do something different, or disguise what you are doing better. And again this did not happen.

I am not trying to take anything away from the Seahawks, they played a practically flawless game. And I am not trying to deflect some of the blame from the players who did not execute well (I am looking at the offensive line.) But I do think that there was a serious failure on the part of the coaches leading up to the game and during the game. And it is a failure that I hope they learn from before next season, otherwise they could end up in the same exile that Mike Martz eventually ended up in because of his refusal to adjust his style.

Another step on the road, and gradually getting back to normal


At last, all 3 children are at school. We have a full 5 day week to look forward to.  And then a super busy start to the 3 day weekend, but at least there is that 3 day weekend to look forward to.

Saturday was a relaxed day for the most part. We took Chewie in to get a very necessary grooming. Emily went to a Girl Scout event. And otherwise we kept it low key. Tried to focus on getting everyone as much rest as possible, to recover from their various ailments.

Sunday was also relaxed at the start. I managed to get back into running (although clearly not fully back to health yet.) And the kids ended up having a day at home without anything dramatic and got another good nights rest.

Kim and I on the other hand spent Sunday morning getting ready and then drove up to Denver to attend the Broncos game. Thanks again to Dave for giving us the tickets! I will talk football specifics later. But suffice to say we had a good time. And handled the cold wind as well as we could (layers, as always the secret was layers.)

At last though we can focus on settling into the routine: kids in school, establish the after school routine of home work and regular bedtimes. Regular extra-curricular activities (Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, wrestling club.) And then await the next inevitable challenge to that routine.

Obviously I was pleased with the results of the Broncos game. It was harder than I would have liked, a few too many unforced errors. But hey, a win is a win, and when you can claim a win when your team loses the turnover battle 2-0, and also misses a field goal you have to be happy with the results. Now comes the seemingly inevitable rematch with the evil Patriots. But for once they have to come to Denver. And I would like to think that this team has the ability, in Denver in decent weather, to game plan around what the Patriots will throw at them.

On the other side of things it is a downright depressing time to be a Rams fan. Because they have the terrible fate of being in the same division as the 2 teams playing in the NFC conference championship game. And based on how these teams are playing and are made up it is unlikely that they will get worse in coming years. So the Rams have to figure out how to get not just a little better, but a lot better in what could be the toughest division in the NFL.

Mixing the fun days with the relaxed days


One of the struggles I have is that when I get a weekend day where I am the only parent, due to Kim working or going out or both, I tend to just let the kids do their own thing around the house while I relax and do very little. Which isn’t a bad day necessarily, but I do think it gets a little boring for the kids, especially when the weather forces them to play inside. This is something I am trying to change though.

This weekend I made the effort to say: Saturday lets get out of the house and do something, then Sunday can be a stay at home day. And I think it turned out well for everyone.

Saturday I took James and a friend to the Game store, to give his friend a taste of what else is out there, and a chance for James to buy his own Magic cards. Then we all went and saw Thor the Dark World as a family. So they kids got a couple of meals out, some time with friends, and saw a movie in the theater. And everyone seemed to enjoy their time out of the house.

Sunday was a home day. Got the boys to do their homework. I did some picking up and laundry. Then the blackjack girls came over so the little ones had something to do. And James did his own thing: played some on the computer and iPads, we played some Magic, and he played with the little ones some as well. And I was able to watch lots of football.

And that is a recipe for the weekend I hope to keep following to some extent: do something out of the house one day, and then a day at home. I can’t say we will go to a movie every weekend, and I cannot guarantee what we will do when the weather is cold. But the goal is to mix things up, for everyone’s sake.

I can pronounce myself happy with the weekend football results. My Buffs won a Pac 12 game, and have a theoretical (albeit highly unlikely) chance to make a bowl game. The Rebels continue to take care of business against inferior teams. The Rams ‘won’ by virtue of the fact that the Redskins lost again, helping out the future draft options. And the Broncos game went about as well as I expected/hoped. I had kind of thought that while the Broncos offense was good enough to generate points against even the best defense, that the game would hinge on the Broncos defense. And they did not disappoint, playing really their best game of the season.  The defense may not be as consistent as the last year, they are still as talented, and when they get a lead they can be really good. And with this offense getting a lead is almost a given.

In other news I may actually be getting back into the game store/regular table top game. When I was at the store I was invited to join a Blood Bowl league and Kim said we should be able to work things out for me to be able to get out at least 1 night a week. I am kind of excited. Blood Bowl is one of the funner games out there. And it won’t require much, if any, painting. If it works out I will make certain to post about it.

An offbeat, off kilter but ultimately good weekend.


Instead of my normal Friday night off I went out Saturday night, which threw a lot of things off. James had a sleep over as part of his 3 day weekend. We got to walk in the Veterans Day parade with the Scouts (which felt strange.) I watched basically no football Saturday, but made up for that with a 3 gamer on Sunday.

Friday night was the last night of stay home and nurse maid all the sick people. By then they were all mostly better, but needed that one last early night with a good nights rest. So I stayed home instead of going out for my regular Friday night out. We watched a movie and everyone got a good nights rest.

Saturday was busy. After I got back from my run we got all the kids ready and then took the younger 2 to walk in the Veterans parade. Which felt a little strange to me, not being a Veteran. And with my own feelings about the ‘Warrior Code’ that is taking over the country. So I wore my CU colors and thought of it more as Remembrance Day, the way the other countries participate in the yearly ritual.

After the parade and quick lunch we came home and got in some much needed work on the basement storage room. Clearing out the items that we had been stuffing back there the past few months so we could use it again. And some house cleaning and laundry pick up. Just enough work that I was happy to get out of there to drop off Jimmy and head out for a movie.

Jimmy spent the night with some friends. He got a little more of a taste of what Magic is like playing against other kids his age. Although some of them had some pretty tough custom decks which caused him to rail against the cheesiness of the game. I explained to him how that happens until he has been playing long enough to have a custom deck of his own. And that most stores have sealed deck tournaments so there is less of that going on.

I had a quiet night, although was not overly impressed by my movie choice (The Counselor.) But I made up for it with a good meal after the fact, and then got some more quiet time when I got home as pretty much everyone had gone to bed.

Sunday was quiet, with no Jimmy in the morning. And I skipped my morning run due my tummy not really liking the big meal I had the night before. So I just got some stuff done on the computer, and then played games until football started, and then watched NFL games the rest of the day.

I was very pleased with the results of the NFL schedule. Not only did the Broncos do the expected and beat the Chargers in what was a competitive game. But my Rams pulled the shocker of the season as they shocked the same Colts team that beat the Broncos. That was an odd game, because I was trying to follow it online, and for a while it seemed like every time I refreshed the Rams had scored on another long play or forced another turnover. I don’t think the result means that they pull a miracle turn around and win out to make the playoffs. I think it is more like they win enough games to finish at .500 and then know what they really have going into next year when Bradford is healthy.

So there was variety over the weekend. From parades and movies to sitting and watching football. We got some much needed things done around the house, and the whole family got in some necessary recuperation. Now it is just a matter of a few weeks until the Thanksgiving holiday and a week off for me!

 

The busy weekend was busy, but not as I expected.


Enjoyed the museum trip with the kids. As well as the movie. Got in some early morning work on Sunday, then settled in for some football. All in all it was a nice weekend, but didn’t end up doing all that I expected or wanted.

Our trip to the Peterson Air Force base museum was fun, and not nearly as strenuous as we expected. From the initial planning it was supposed to take the place of a hike, so I expected far more walking. But it was not strenuous at all, Emily had zero problem keeping up, to give it some perspective.

It was interesting to give some perspective to the kids by reminding them that Daniel, Emily and Brandon’s great grandfather had been a part of that initial training group, and had in fact been the person who spread Lt. Peterson’s ashes on the field after he was killed. They kept interested for most of the visit. Here they all are, as Brandon got to try on some headphones in the Constellation radar plane:

Brandon pretending to give orders while wearing headphones, Emily & Danny looking on.

Brandon pretending to give orders while wearing headphones, Emily & Danny looking on.

The rest of Saturday was pretty relaxing. Jimmy enjoyed his wrestling clinic. We all enjoyed our family move trip to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. And then we all got to relax that evening while I watched some college football.

I would be remiss if I did not mention one other thing on Saturday. After lunch, I got bored watching the college football mismatches, and the weather was really nice. So I asked Jimmy if he wanted to go toss the Frisbee around. We went out in the road and spent nearly an hour out there, eventually getting all the kids playing. I was a fun thing to do, and nice to share something like that.

Sunday morning I got in a good run, and then I got to work on a neglected project. When we did the front yard part of that project was going to be a better porch option. So we built up some dirt, and the put in some retaining bricks, but never finished it. Mom had asked me to please move the gravel that we were going to use to finish the porch. I had initially planned to just move the gravel, but after my run I decided that was a foolish half measure. So I got going and just did it, finishing up the porch. It isn’t perfect, but I like how it looks and enjoy the fact that that part of the front yard now looks fully finished.

Finished porch

Finished porch

 

Of course between my long run and the work it took to finish the porch I was pretty much wiped. So there were some other planned activities that did not get done. But I think it was worth it to be finally done with that project (and also done with one less space for the dog to dig and stray cats to crap in.)

I enjoyed watching the Broncos stomp the Eagles. This is a really novel experience. From the very recent memory of the ‘Tebow Time’ era to this utter dominance is kind of disorienting. Just a reminder that at least in the NFL teams can change really quickly. Which gives me some hope for my hapless Rams (although really depressing to see average college offenses show more innovation than the Rams sorry excuse of an offense.)

Did some things get left undone this weekend? Yes, there are a number of things we would like to get done before the beginning of the Birthday party month. But overall, it was still a nice, fulfilling weekend.