Red Sox

RAMBLINGS OF A SLEEP DEPRIVED RED SOX FAN

Not being able to sleep is a serious bummer. In my case, it’s my back. I can’t find a comfortable position and the drugs that are supposed to make me sleep are not nearly as strong as the back pain. It’s not that I don’t sleep at all. I sleep a little. Restless, light sleep and then I’m up again. Waking and sleeping and waking again. As I said: Bummer.

Sunrise

It gives me a lot of time to think during those long, uncomfortable nights. I think about what I should do that I haven’t done. I really get myself going by thinking about what I did do that I shouldn’t have done. Best of all, there is what I should have done differently. In that direction lies true madness and I don’t recommend it.

Eventually, I crawl out of bed, get sort of dressed. I turn on the coffee, throw the dogs out into the cruel world to do their business, then settle into the recliner in the living room. Blearily drinking coffee as the sun sort of rises. It’s been grey and dark for the past three days, so it never really feels like daytime has come and sunrise is just a slightly lighter color grey than night.

Right before bed last night, Garry and I were having a conversation. It was a reminder of why I love that man. We were talking about baseball. For those of you who aren’t fans and don’t follow this stuff, the “winter meetings” are in progress. This is when teams dig into their pockets, pull out their checkbooks, and negotiate with players.  Whatever the holes in their lineups — pitching, hitting, fielding — they are going to try to sign players to fill the roster for the coming year. Hopefully, for a lot longer than just one season.

fenway_480x200

The Red Sox, our home team, traded away pretty much the entire pitching staff at the end of last season in favor of a bunch of sluggers. Not that it helped much because we still managed to get a firm grip on last place and hold it to the bitter end.

So, no one is arguing they didn’t need the offensive players, but perhaps they might have shown a bit more restraint in cutting loose people like Jon Lester, who clearly didn’t want to be traded and is the el primo pitcher in baseball. This week, as the meetings continue, they are trying — balls to the wall — to get him to come back to Boston — and he isn’t playing nice. No home town discounts this round of talks.

I said “They over-estimated their ability to sweet-talk him back to Boston.”

Garry said “They over-estimated their clout at the winter meetings.”

I said “They under-estimated how pissed off he was at getting traded.

And Garry summed it up. “Hubris,” he said. “Hubris. Gets them every time.”

Hubris: (noun) Excessive pride or self-confidence. Synonyms: arrogance, conceit, haughtiness, hauteur, pride, self-importance, egotism, pomposity, superciliousness, superiority; more. Antonyms: humility
(In Greek tragedy) Excessive pride toward, or defiance of, the gods, leading to nemesis.

“Hubris,” I agreed. “That covers the whole thing.” After which we stumbled off to bed.

But in how many husband-wife discussions does “hubris” figure? Not a lot, in my experience. That we can have conversations like this and not have to say “Come again?” or “What do you mean by that?” makes a world of difference, to me at least.

Better yet, it was all about baseball. They should have held on to Lester. Especially in view of the fact that Lester just signed with the Chicago Cubs for 6 years at $155,000,000 with a 7th vesting year that could take the contract up to $170,000,000.

Theo Epstein, who left the Red Sox with a mad on because they didn’t treat him well — and Lester, who was unceremoniously traded by the Red Sox against his wishes and thus also departed with a mad on, got together to jointly stick it to the Red Sox. I’m sure they are both smiling. Chicago has reason to celebrate while Boston scrambles to find a couple of top-quality pitchers. Good luck with that.

Hubris, hubris, hubris.


(Note: In case the Daily Prompt gets their act together this is part of today’s dysfunctional prompt: All or Nothing? – “Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” — Sylvia Plath

The Red Sox wanted everything. I hope they don’t end up with nothing.

Prescience

Marilyn Armstrong:

Doobster says it better than I could.
There is no joy in Mudville.

Originally posted on Mindful Digressions:

Red Sox World Series ChampsBack on April 1st of this year I published a post, From first to worst. In that post I wrote:

This is an unmitigated disaster. It’s almost the end of the baseball season and my beloved Boston Red Sox are in last place.

Of course, if you know anything about baseball, you know that my post was tongue-in-cheek. After all, it wasn’t “almost the end of the baseball season.” In fact, it was the very beginning of the Major League Baseball season and the Red Sox had played just one regular season game, which they lost to the Baltimore Orioles, 2-1.

The Sox won the World Series in 2013. That put them at baseball’s pinnacle — the top of the heap. They were the best team in professional baseball last season. So I was highly confident that, despite losing their opening game of the 2014 season, they would do…

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MYSTERY ENDING — DROPPING THE OTHER SHOE

MYSTERY ENDING – WEEKLY WRITING CHALLENGE – This weekly writing challenge focuses on the “weekly” part — start your post today, and build on it for the next four before publishing. Who knows where you’ll end up?

I promise, if there are developments, I’ll add them.


Yesterday was an easy day. A little humid. A trip to the grocery to pick up a few things, a prescription. A baseball game and the Sox won. They’re on a winning streak. They’re so deep in a hole, it’ll take an awful lot of winning if they are going to be anywhere near in contention for much of anything this year.

75-GameDay-Fenway_01

Garry is dealing with his relationship to the Red Sox as if it were a 12-step program — one day at a time. Don’t let them lead him down the garden path. Keep calm. Enjoy the moment. It’s a process for a die-hard Sox fan.


Today was something else. Just because yesterday was pleasant, rolled along without incident, I could not assume an uneventful week to come. I woke up at 7:23 am. I know. I have a big digital clock on the headboard. I can read the time without eyeglasses.

While I wait to fall back to sleep, I decided to skim my email. No special reason. I often take a peek at it while I’m waiting to drift off. Sometimes I fall asleep before I read anything. It’s just something to do.

This time, though, I saw something did need attention. A message from Bank of America. Unusual activity had been detected on my account. Please call the bank immediately. I’ve gotten other alarming messages from my bank, including last year when they were hacked.

2013 was a prime year for hackers. Bank of America, Lands End, Adobe among others were all hacked to the tune of millions of customer records. I was phlegmatic about it, recognizing there was little I could do under the circumstances. I followed the various instructions including changing passwords and my user name all around the Internet.

This was different. Personal. Someone had hacked my bank card. I checked my account, saw I was $1,719 overdrawn. Some bogus Cancer Research project in the U.K. had withdrawn funds from my account. More accurately, was attempting to remove funds. I called the bank. The fraud resolution department lady told me she would cancel my bank card, order a new card (you will receive it in 4 to 7 days, blah blah blah).

Assured me the fraudulent withdrawals were on hold and would not be withdrawn from the account. My balance would return to normal (low, but positive numbers) at the next bank reset. Not to worry, she had it in hand, would take care of everything. Bank of America values my business. They are always looking out for me and protecting my interests. That’s what they told me, so it must be true. I drifted off to sleep.

When I woke up a few hours later, I was feeling good. I’d taken care of an emergency and all was well in the world. I went to the kitchen, started coffee, passed out biscuits to eager canines, then turned on the computer. 96-PhoneAndComputer-1 When I opened my email, I saw another message from BOA telling me that my account balance had fallen to unacceptable levels and I needed to immediately fund my account.

I went to look at my account and sure enough, those “on hold” fraudulent withdrawals were no longer on hold. My money was gone. I called the bank again. “I took care of this already.

This morning. At 7:23 am.” I was furious, not good for blood pressure, but I was past caring. Then I heard the words I most love to hear: “We have no record of an earlier call from you.” I exploded. Meanwhile, this new rep, obviously reading from her script, was explaining that having taken the money from our account (erroneously, but she didn’t seem to grasp the importance of this tidbit), it would take 90 days to get it back.

It takes a nanosecond to grab my funds, but 90 days to restore it? I went hoarse shouting into the phone. When the dust settled, I had no bank card and it will still take 90 days to complete “an investigation of this incident.” Where’s the lady I spoke to this morning.

She obviously exists because at 7:30 am, my new bank card was issued. She didn’t stop the illegal withdrawals or cancel the old card, so we were hugely overdrawn and vulnerable to more withdrawals. But BOA had locked up our savings account as insurance against our overdraft. I finally demanded a manager.

Mr. Hamzey, Account Manager at the Electronic Claims Department in Tampa, Florida assured me my account is back, though there might be minor anomalies along the path to resolution. NOT TO WORRY. Even if my funds sink deep into red numbers, they will pop right back up. No need to worry. Because Bank of America is on my six and surely they would not lie! I feel so very safe. (NOT!)


It’s the morning after the night before. Yesterday’s headache is lingering. Stress does that these days. Did I imagine adulthood would be rife with battles between me and customer service robots? It wasn’t even a blip on my radar. The robots hadn’t been invented. I only wish they had stayed that way — uninvented, I mean.


Sometime between yesterday and today, In an unending, inept attempt to “fix things, Bank of America made the fraudulent withdrawal vanish. Which should have left our account where it ought to be and the other little things would disappear because they are linked to a deactivated bank card. money in the sky Not content with this relatively benign solution, BOA gave us a temporary credit against the non-existent withdrawal, so it appears as if we have a lot more money in our account than we do. They’ll eventually take the credit away. I hope they do it soon. Though it will be useful today, because we have to shop. The refrigerator is just about empty. Meantime, I have to remember to not use the money that isn’t truly there. My calling them to try to explain would be futile. It would only confuse them. Talk about inept handling. Wow. What a week, eh?

MYSTERY ENDING — BECAUSE BANK OF AMERICA CARES? REALLY?

Yesterday was an easy day. A little humid. A trip to the grocery to pick up a few things, a prescription. A baseball game and the Sox won. They’re on a winning streak. They’re so deep in a hole, it’ll take an awful lot of winning if they are going to be anywhere near in contention for much of anything this year.

75-GameDay-Fenway_01

Garry is dealing with his relationship to the Red Sox as if it were a 12-step program — one day at a time. Don’t let them lead him down the garden path. Keep calm. Enjoy the moment. It’s a process for a die-hard Sox fan.


Today was something else. Just because yesterday was pleasant, rolled along without incident, I could not assume an uneventful week to come. I woke up at 7:23 am. I know. I have a big digital clock on the headboard. I can read the time without eyeglasses. While I wait to fall back to sleep, I decided to skim my email. No special reason. I often take a peek at it while I’m waiting to drift off. Sometimes I fall asleep before I read anything. It’s just something to do. This time, though, I saw something did need attention.

A message from Bank of America. Unusual activity had been detected on my account. Please call the bank immediately. I’ve gotten other alarming messages from my bank, including last year when they were hacked. 2013 was a prime year for hackers. Bank of America, Lands End, Adobe among others were all hacked to the tune of millions of customer records.

I was phlegmatic about it, recognizing there was little I could do under the circumstances. I followed the various instructions including changing passwords and my user name all around the Internet. This was different. Personal. Someone had hacked my bank card. I checked my account, saw I was $1,719 overdrawn. Some bogus Cancer Research project in the U.K. had withdrawn funds from my account. More accurately, was attempting to remove funds. I called the bank.

The fraud resolution department lady told me she would cancel my bank card, order a new card (you will receive it in 4 to 7 days, blah blah blah). Assured me the fraudulent withdrawals were on hold and would not be withdrawn from the account. My balance would return to normal (low, but positive numbers) at the next bank reset. Not to worry, she had it in hand, would take care of everything.

Bank of America values my business. They are always looking out for me and protecting my interests. That’s what they told me, so it must be true. I drifted off to sleep. When I woke up a few hours later, I was feeling good.

I’d taken care of an emergency and all was well in the world. I went to the kitchen, started coffee, passed out biscuits to eager canines, then turned on the computer. When I opened my email, I saw another message from BOA telling me that my account balance had fallen to unacceptable levels and I needed to immediately fund my account. I went to look at my account and sure enough, those “on hold” fraudulent withdrawals were no longer on hold. My money was gone. I called the bank again.

“I took care of this already. This morning. At 7:23 am.” I was furious, not good for blood pressure, but I was past caring. Then I heard the words we love to hear: “We have no record of an earlier call from you.” I exploded. Meanwhile, this new rep, obviously reading from her script, was explaining that having taken the money from our account (erroneously, but she didn’t seem to grasp the importance of this tidbit), it would take 90 days to get it back. It takes a nanosecond to grab you funds, but 90 days to restore it?

I went hoarse shouting into the phone. When the dust settled, I had no bank card and it will still take 90 days to complete “an investigation of this incident.” Where’s the lady I spoke to this morning. She obviously exists because at 7:30 am, my new bank card was issued.

She didn’t stop the illegal withdrawals or cancel the old card, so we were hugely overdrawn and vulnerable to more withdrawals. But BOA had locked up our savings account as insurance against our overdraft. I finally demanded a manager.

Mr. Hamzey, Account Manager at the Electronic Claims Department in Tampa, Florida assured me my account is back, though there might be minor anomalies along the path to resolution. NOT TO WORRY. Even if my funds sink deep into red numbers, they will pop right back up. No need to worry. Because Bank of America is on my six and surely they would not lie! I feel so very safe! (NOT!)


It’s the morning after the night before. Yesterday’s headache is lingering. Stress does that these days. Did I imagine adulthood would be rife with battles between me and robotic customer service drones? That my life would be in the hands of imbeciles reading a script? This wasn’t even a blip on the radar. I should not worry as I know my bank cares. They are watching out for me. They remind me of this in their advertising, in the many recorded messages they play while I wait on hold.


There will be no mystery ending to this story. It will end, as it began, in silence. No one from the bank will call me with reassurance that all is well. Vulnerable people like us — older people surviving on shrinking fixed incomes composed of pensions and social security — know the only thing between us and life on the street is a too-small inflow of money. Pensions and social security were designed assuming we would die quickly after receiving benefits. Our refusal to croak has ruined their plans. Unless you are in the same position, you have no idea how that makes us feel. It won’t change by Friday. It will never change, as long as we live.

Mystery Challenge

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME

Offside Memories – Team USA is playing today in the soccer World Cup in Brazil. Do you have any funny/harrowing/interesting memories from a sporting event you attended, participated in, or watched?


One weekend, shortly after Garry and I began living together, he had read the sports section of three newspapers and was watching the fifth or sixth baseball game in a row. I thought: “I really better learn to love baseball. If I don’t, I will never have a conversation with Garry from April through October.” Little did I know when baseball ended, it would be time for football.

I love baseball. I understand it. Never took to football with the same enthusiasm, but I’m good with basketball. Hockey and soccer don’t do it for me. Other than that? If it’s done on a horse, I’ll watch it.

nationals in DC baseball

I’ve been to a lot of baseball games, mostly at Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox. But in our travels, we’ve caught a game at Candlestick Park, in Montreal and most recently, a Red Sox-Yankees match-up in the new Yankee Stadium.

Watching the Sox trounce the Yankees on their home turf was the coolest game I’ve seen in a park. And we had great seats.

These days, we watch on the big TV. The greatest sports moment I can remember? How could I forget? It was the Red Sox winning the Series in 2004 with a walk-off homer by David Ortiz. We sat there stunned, waiting for the umpire to say it was a mistake. It had finally happened!

By now, we’ve gotten used to winning. We have higher expectations of our team performance. It had been a long dry spell.

Here we are again. After a winning season in 2013, the Sox can’t seem to hit the ball with the bat. The season has been so godawful, we are already trying to forget it. And it’s only the middle of June.

Still, it’s a long season. You never know, right?

P.S. Almost forgot! It was pretty memorable when Garry and I cuddled up in the big bed (I had the flu) to watch a World Series and instead, watched the big San Francisco earthquake. I had returned from San Francisco the day before. That was unique.

EVIL DREAMS

There is a herd of elephants in my living room. Sometimes there are so many elephants lolling about that there is hardly enough room for me to settle down, have a cup of tea and watch the Red Sox on a warm summer evening.

They are the elephants of my childhood. Snidely grinning elephants. Scary elephants. One pachyderm carries a belt. I know he’s going to beat me. Others smile sweetly. I don’t to trust those smiles. These are not real. The smiles are camouflage to hide an evil so deep it makes my blood turn watery.

75-Funhouse-Paint-1

For most of my life I had a recurring nightmare. I would be sitting in the middle of some particularly bucolic setting, a field, meadow or alongside babbling brook. The day would be perfect. Blue sky, puffy clouds and sunshine. I was happy. Content to sit and watch the birds, bunnies or butterflies. In the midst of this bucolic setting, the cute little creatures would transform into flying or crawling little monsters that would swarm over me. I’d wake up screaming, drenched in sweat.

The monsters were never the same twice. Sometimes they looked like spiders or snakes; other times, they resembled nothing in the real world. Perhaps they could have emerged from the primordial ooze or a sleazy horror movie.

Always there were many monsters attacking simultaneously. Escape was impossible and in any case, I was paralyzed with terror unable to run, barely able to scream. Only waking ended the attack. But not the fear. The fear stuck around.

The dream sometimes went away for a few months, but inevitably returned. And so it continued for more than forty years. Finally — a lifetime later — all the little monsters came together and formed a face. My father.

My eyes snapped open. I was fully awake and understood.

I never had the dream again.

WINNERS OF THE 2013 WORLD SERIES, RED SOX DO IT AT FENWAY IN 6!!!

WorldChampionRedSox2013

It’s only been 95 years … just a blip on the monitor of history. But it’s been a long wait for Red Sox fans, to see them win a World Series in Fenway Park. Tonight the magic worked. The third series in a decade and the first clinch of the Series at home. WE DID IT!

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