While I Was Away…

I spent Friday night through Monday afternoon on Damien’s Encounter Retreat. I am of the opinion that the Encounter Program is one of the two or three best things Damien offers its students and try to help out whenever I can. All I had this weekend in terms of internet connectivity was my phone and a 3G network. I haven’t been able to write an entry in what feels like ages, but even if I had a computer and a quick internet connection this weekend, I wouldn’t have had time to write one anyway. Now that I am back in the real world, I have to ween myself off of Coca-Cola. I drank more Coke this weekend than even the Coca-Cola company would approve of. Most importantly, though, it is wonderful to have hair gel back in my life. Whenever I go for more than a day without gel, my hair gets all bushy and crazy. It’s like it doesn’t know what to do with the freedom.

Man, those Cupcakes must feel like shit.

One of the big “news” stories that hit during the weekend was the reported end of the Hostess company, and therefore the end of Twinkies, Ho-Hos, Ding-Dongs, and many other delicious, sexually connotative treats. I didn’t even check the news; there were so many posts on Facebook about it that I just took it as fact without even checking to see if it was true. Lynnette has since informed me that there’s a slim chance Hostess won’t go away completely.

Honestly, I don’t care. I was never a big fan of those treats. Sometimes when they would be featured items at Costco, they’d have that big display set up where you could buy two boxes for $8 or something like that. I’d get roped in by my Romantic memories of such snacks. Then I’d go home, eat three Twinkies in a single setting, hate myself, and no longer want to eat any of it. I think we might still have a box of Ding-Dongs in the back of the fridge.

Once again, the threat of something going extinct has drummed up interest in it. This is going to be just like one of those LAST CONCERTS EVER for the Rolling Stones. Fans of the band will spend an absurd amount of money to seem. Then, 5-7 years later, the Stones will reunite for THE FINAL TOUR EVER and people will again feel obligated to pay extortion for see them live, in part because they want to say that have saw them last. My friend Dan made the joke on Facebook that his retirement plan is to buy as many Twinkies as possible, wait 30 years, then sell them on eBay. He’s preying on predictable human behavior. It’s genius.

It’s been a great run, ND.

In a season of Destiny unlike any other in recent memory, Notre Dame has ascended to #1 in the college football rankings. Despite underwhelming play at times, the Irish have remained undefeated. They have done all that has been asked of them by winning each of their games.

Oregan and Kansas State, on the other hand, shit the bed this weekend. Since I wasn’t able to watch either of the games in full, I can’t go into detail. Suffice it to say that both teams controlled their own destiny in terms of playing for the National Championship, and both squandered their chances.

These losses are just two more examples what appears to be the hand of God maneuvering pieces on the football landscape. Notre Dame narrowly escaped an overtime loss against an unranked Pitt team. A week ago, most experts had the Fighting Irish on the outside of the National Championship picture looking in. They were going to need help to play in the championship game, and man, did they get it. All that stands in their way is a disappointing USC team.

I am a fan of sports and no matter what happens, I am pulling for Notre Dame. Generally, I refer to the blue and gold as “the Yankees of college football,” but I’m a sucker for a great sports story. An undefeated Notre Dame season capped off with a National Championship would be one, no doubt.

Most of all, though, I am happy for my friend Mariel, a Notre Dame alum. She’s endured constant mockery at the hands of co-workers like myself during and after the Brady Quinn/Charlie Weis era. I remember that she was so thrilled that Manti Te’o (then the top prep prospect in Hawaii, and among the best in the country) opted for Notre Dame, she ran down from her classroom to tell us all about it in the faculty lounge. Well, Mariel, I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride, and I hope it has a happy ending. If nothing else, I hope you now understand why I am psychotic about the Mets and Cowboys, two franchises also enduring fallow periods. Those years of anger and frustration can be undone by a single season of excellence.

A win is a win.

Speaking of the Cowboys, they decided to spot Cleveland a 13-point lead before showing up on Sunday. Dallas ultimately won the game 23-20 in overtime. A win is a win. That said, such a win doesn’t exactly instill confidence in me.

After the game, Dallas head coach Jason Garrett said he was proud of his team’s effort. He made a baseball reference, likening the win to a pitcher’s ability to perform “without his best stuff.” Yesterday during NFL Primetime, one of the commentators referenced Garrett’s statement and said something along the lines of “Yeah, but you’d like to see your team show up with their best stuff once in a while.” Perfectly said.

That’s the thing about this particular Cowboys team. On paper, it looks better than last year’s version – missing Sean Lee and DeMarco Murray really hurts, though – and maybe that has lead to a misleading perception. Somehow it feels as if the Cowboys are underperforming. It feels like they should be able to win games against the Browns handily. But this is who they’ve been all season. We’re past the halfway point. Maybe this is just who this Dallas team is.

The Cowboys’ (5-5) schedule from here on out: Redskins on Thanksgiving, Eagles, at the Bengals, Steelers, Saints, at the Redskins. Can they get to 9-7? Is that enough to get into the playoffs? Ugh.

Oh, so wonderful to be back together.

I got home at 2PM, showered and knocked out. I was so tired that when I heard Madison shouting “Daddy!” my first thought was “Mad!” by my second thought was “already?” I napped for two-and-a-half hours and it felt like 10 minutes.

I asked Lynnette if we could eat sushi for dinner. She laughed and said “I figured.” We went to Kuru Kuru and Mad and I quickly got reacquainted while waiting for seats to open up. I have about 8 pictures similar to this one on my phone. Lynnette told me that the Goob cried on Sunday night because she missed me. This was especially flattering since prior to the weekend, she had been on that only-wants-to-hangout-with-Lynnette thing. I loved that we were able to spend some time together last night, and she was more affectionate that usual. She was very interested to see picture of my “camp.” When she saw the cabin and I told her that I slept there, she seemed puzzled. Maybe she expected a tent or something.

And the night ended with what has become one of our little traditions: me scaring the crap out of her. Before she went to take a shower, I was already in bed, under the covers. When she emerged from the bathroom after her shower, she mistakenly thought I was still there. I can’t blame her, I stuffed the pillows under the comforter and drew the covers up to the top of the bed. Madison jumped on the bed and said “Dad!” That’s when I popped out of my hiding spot on the side of the bed and shouted “Rah!” She jumped and screamed and started laughing. “I love you, dad,” she said, still laughing.

And then I slept for 8 more hours.

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