One week until the return to my homeland…

Just another week until my trip back to Ontario. I am greatly looking forward to it. Nothing much planned for this week. It is supposed to be warm, temps in the upper 20s, so I think the dogs and I will visit the lake a few times. I will enjoy the extra time with them as I won’t see them for 10 days or so when I am away. I know they will be well looked after though, so that’s good.

I drop them off on Friday evening. I umpire a double-header on Saturday for Baseball Alberta, which got changed over-night last night. I am now umpiring at 3pm in Strathmore, Alberta. Definitely, a bit out of the way for me, for sure. I umpire at 3pm and 6pm, so the evening game will be cooler anyway. I will have to see if I can check into my hotel before I leave for the first game, but it is doubtful I can check in by 1pm, we’ll see.

I am umpiring 18u on Saturday and 15u on Sunday. I have partners for both games anyway, so that’s good. I think next season I will likely stick with Babe Ruth baseball games. I know where the parks are and the pay is a bit better. I am also very familiar with the league.

I would like to try to do another World Series next year, if I can. I will have to see how things are then. It would be cool anyway.

So, back to this week. It’s an early start today, woke up just after 3am. As I said, not much planned, nothing really. At some point, I will have to go to Lethbridge to Costco to pick up my new prescription sunglasses. The ones that I have been using are getting old, are really scratched and the prescription is old – I don’t really think they are at all good for my eyes any more. At some point, I would like to send them to Oakley to get a new prescription put into them. They are the only ones who will do it.

Well, enjoy your week, I know I will enjoy mine. Gotta get stuff ready to travel back to Ontario. I have decided I will pay to check a bag at the airport for my trip. It’s going to be easier than trying to jam everything into a weekend bag. It will also give me some room in case I buy anything in Ontario and I always seem to buy something.

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A little down time…

It’s been a quiet and relaxing week. I’ve spent time with the dogs, going to the lake, and have enjoyed some real down time.

For the first weekend this summer, I have nothing going on. I was going to umpire, as per usual, but no one was available to either look after my dogs nor let them out. I feel bad that I can’t help out with any games, but I’m not willing to leave the dogs for 10 or 11 hours and go to Calgary to umpire a double header. Going for a single game makes no sense either, I’d spend more in gas than I’d receive in a game fee.

So, today, we’ll go to the lake again. Nothing else planned, although I may go for breakfast.

This coming week will likely zoom by. Nothing really planned though. Friday, I will drop the dogs off at boarding and they’ll stay there until August 11. Saturday, I head to Calgary to umpire two double headers for Baseball Alberta. I’m umpiring 13u and 15u, should be fun.

I’m staying in Calgary until I fly out to Toronto on late Tuesday night. I’m taking the Red Eye to Toronto. I arrive just before 6am on Wednesday morning and have a rental vehicle to pick up. It’s going to be a busy and fun 6 days in Ontario. I’ll see some friends that I haven’t seen for 10+ years and others that I saw just 2 years ago on my last trip back to my home province.

I’ll be driving all over the place. From Peterborough to Kitchener to St. Catharines and points in between. My schedule is jam-packed. I’m really looking forward to my trip.

Well, it’s the weekend, hopefully you’ll enjoy yiurs, I’m sure I’ll enjoy mine.

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A slow few days, a welcome change

I’ve had a slow few days, which is good. June and July have been relatively busy, relatively busy for a guy who’s not working that is. So, a couple of more down days is welcome. I have no umpiring this weekend either.

I was going to umpire 2 games on Saturday, but no one is available to look after my dogs at all. The people where they normally board are full. Crowsnest Pet Care is taking some well needed downtime and are going on vacation with their families. My neighbour is on vacation so she can’t let them out for me and my other neighbour is also away. If I was to umpire on Saturday, I would need to leave at 7am and would not get home until 6pm or so, this would be for a double-header. There is no way I want to leave the dogs for 11 hours. They’d be OK, other than a bathroom break, or two. So, I will skip umpiring this weekend.

I hope that the weather is nice, I will take the dogs down to the lake on the weekend. I am trying to get Blondie to actually swim. She is currently the world’s only non-swimming Lab. When she was a puppy, we were in Ontario and I didn’t want to take her to Lake Ontario as should would have grown a second and third head. When we got to Alberta, we’d go down to the Bow River but the current freaked her out so I think she developed some sort of fear of water.

We have plenty of lakes here that are great, no current and not overly deep. Island Lake, which is about 10km to the West of where we are is awesome. You can walk right in, steps away from the parking lot, it’s not deep so it warms up in the summer and there is absolutely no current. Wish me luck anyway, Blondie doesn’t take well to “new” things.

Today they head to doggie day care for the day to socialize with their dog friends. They have a great time and come home exhausted. It’s my day to run around, I have not decided what running around I need to do. I typically go to Lethbridge to Costco, but I don’t think I need anything. I am sure I will find something to do.

Enjoy your day.

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A busy weekend of umpiring…

I ended up umpiring 3 games on Saturday. I was scheduled for a double-header, but the league sent out an email looking for additional umpires so I picked up a 7pm game in the tier 3 division. It was actually a really good ball game, ended up with the home team coming back to win in the bottom of the 7th inning. It was a long day of umpiring though. I started at 10am and finished just after 10pm.

I went for breakfast yesterday to Phil’s with a friend. I had the steak and eggs, an 8oz sirloin, and I must say it was one of the tastiest steaks I have had in a long time. It was perfectly cooked as well, just a bit above medium. I wish I could cook a steak to my actual liking, but no – I either have a rare steak or a well done steak, not medium, it doesn’t seem possible.

I received an email when we were having breakfast that the 10am games were cancelled due to poor air quality in Calgary. The smoke was rather thick, visibility was only a few hundred meters. We sat and chatted for a bit since I didn’t have to be anywhere for 10am. I was sort of hoping at that point that the 1pm games would also be cancelled so I could head home early. I got back to my hotel room around 10am and my wish was granted – games for the rest of the day were cancelled so I headed home.

I picked up the dogs on the way home – they were very happy to see me and I was very happy to see them. It had been almost a week since I saw then, an age for them, I am sure. I am now home until the end of the month, no umpiring next weekend at all. The following weekend, I umpire some games for Baseball Alberta and then I head to Ontario for 6 days. I am looking forward to the trip, should be an excellent time.

So, not too much planned for the next two weeks other than trips to the lake with the dogs and I intend on getting Blondie to swim, so I hope that’s a success. I don’t want to have the world’s only non-swimming Lab. I am sure she’ll take to it with me in the water with her, time will tell.

Enjoy your week.

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A great Friday and a busy weekend to come…

Today was a great day. I didn’t wake up until 4:50am. I know that most of you would think that’s pretty early, but for me, that’s sleeping in. Since I don’t have my dogs until Sunday evening, I didn’t have to get up and tend to them, so I stayed in bed until after 6:30. Pretty lazy. Pretty relaxing.

I had coffee with my across the street neighbour and we caught up. It was nice and cool outside, perfect for coffee and a hoodie.

I headed to Crowsnest Lake around 8:30, my friend and I were going kayaking. Two and a half hours later, we finished up, my shoulders and arms are sore, I have not kayaked in a LONG time and I was not used to it. It was a lot of fun though and I think I am going to buy myself a kayak at the end of the season.

I had a great nap in the afternoon, napped almost as long as I kayaked. Dinner tonight with a friend at an amazing Mexican place in Twin Butte, Alberta. Absolutely fantastic food.

I head to Calgary tomorrow for umpiring. I was supposed to do a double-header tomorrow but I picked up a 3rd game at 7pm to help out. I had no plans for tomorrow evening, so this will work well. I am now umpiring at 10am, 1pm and 7pm and again on Sunday at 10am and 1pm. I then head home after the second game and stop on the way to retrieve my dogs. I will be very happy to see them after 6 days and I am sure they will be happier to see me.

No umpiring next weekend, I am taking a weekend off. I was going to do a DH on Saturday, but no one is available to let my dogs out and I can’t board them as those friends are full. I don’t mind a weekend off, believe me.

The season is winding down already, seems very quick. I do umpire for Baseball Alberta on the weekend before I head to Ontario and that might be it. I am unsure what baseball will be left when I get back in the middle of August. If there is some ball, I am sure I will umpire some more games. I will take on some Fall Ball as well, pending what happens with Hera’s surgery.

Speaking of Hera, today marks 6 years since I took her home from the Calgary Humane Society. You’re a great dog Hera, and I am glad to have you in my pack.

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A good Calgary getaway…

My mini-getaway to Calgary is over. I checked at the hotel and to book another night last night would have been $135 plus tax, more than I wanted to pay for sure. I had booked it at pre Calgary Stampede rates, so I got a good rate but didn’t want to pay that much for an extra might. So, I checked out at 11am yesterday.

I visited a couple of malls and did some window shopping. I stopped at Thai Express for lunch. I ordered General Thai Mango chicken and ordered it very hot, but not hot enough to kill me, she laughed. Man, it was hot but good. I got a good sweat on, my nose was running like a faucet and my mouth was burning off of my head, but it was good. It took about 20 minutes for the burn to subside. I don’t know why I do this to myself.

I didn’t have much to do in the afternoon. I was remotely thinking of heading to the Stampede, but I didn’t have anyone to go with and it’s really expensive once you get in there so I decided to pass. Instead, I had a nap in my truck. I slept for about 1.5 hours and felt refreshed when done.

I got to the park WAY early for my 7pm game, over 2 hours early actually. That’s ok, I sat in the shade and used my phone. Thank goodness for phones, what did we do before them?

The game last night was excellent. The home team held a 5-3 lead going into the 7th and it looked like we would get out of there early, but the visitors wanted none of that and scored 4 runs off of the new pitcher who just couldn’t find the strike zone.

It was 7-5 going into the bottom of the 7th and although the home team threatened (they got a runner to 3rd), it wasn’t meant to be. The pitcher threw quite hard and I believe it was a complete game victory. Well played on both sides, few errors, just really good baseball.

I headed home at 9:30, stopped briefly as I normally do in Okotoks for a drink and a bite to eat and made it back to the Pass just before midnight. It was a busy few days.

Today, I need to bring my truck in for service. The doors aren’t unlocking when I put it in park and the drivers door won’t actually open from the inside. I called a few Ram dealers in Calgary yesterday, but none had availability. So, back on the road this morning to Fort Macleod. I hope it’s a quick fix, at least it’s under warranty.

I am heading back to Calgary this weekend for another couple of double headers. Umpiring is starting to wind down, I have 3 weekends left. It’s been a fun summer of umpiring for sure and it will give me some needed cash for my trip to Ontario.

Almost the weekend for any working folks, hold on, it’s almost here.

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Traditions are pretty cool…

The first year I lived in Calgary, a friend from Ontario visited me during the Calgary Stampede. On the Tuesday night, he and I along with a friend/coworker went to Boston Pizza to watch the MLB All-star game. It was a good evening, chatting, catching part of the game as well.

The coworker and I continued the tradition and went out again a year later, back to Boston Pizza and watched the game.

She left BDO where we worked, but we remained friends and we have continued the tradition of meeting on the evening of the all-star game and going to Boston Pizza.

Last night was the 10th annual dinner, again, at Boston Pizza. We enjoy meeting and catching up. We chat occasionally on Facebook, maybe 2 or 3 times a year, although one of those conversations is always confirming dinner.

This year, I made a mini getaway out of it. I arrived in Calgary Monday afternoon and stayed over for 2 nights. I umpired a baseball game for the Babe Ruth league on Monday and I umpire another this evening. I will then head home. It’ll be a long day, the game won’t be over until 930 or so, I’ll get on the road for 10ish which means getting to the Pass by 1230.

It’s been a great few days, highlighted by dinner last evening. I hope the tradition remains for many years to come. We’ve joked that I’ll be 104 and ER will be 97 and we’ll still be at Boston Pizza. That would be sorta cool.

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A little Calgary trip…

I woke up at my usually insane time yesterday, around 4am… I was productive, did a few loads of laundry. I had to wash my umpiring stuff for a couple of games, Monday night and Wednesday night.

I dropped the dogs off at around 10am for their stay in boarding. They are there until Sunday evening. I wouldn’t have been able to get them until Thursday morning and then I’d have dropped them off Friday evening for more umpiring this coming weekend, so leaving them the extra two days made sense.

I’m actually looking forward to getting back to a regular routine and not heading to Calgary every weekend. Only a few more weeks of baseball, the end of the month should likely be it for umpiring this season for me. I guess it’ll depend if Hera needs surgery in late August or not.

So, I headed to Calgary around 1230, it was an uneventful trip. No issues on checking into the hotel. I caught a short nap and had dinner. Last night was a Tier 2 Babe Ruth game, it was a good game, ended 7-6 for the visitors. Well played all in all.

The pool was closed at the hotel by the time I got back, do it was off to bed.

Today will be some running around and dinner tonight. It’s the 10th Annual MLB All-star game dinner with a friend and former coworker. It’ll be a good time, I’m sure. Nothing fancy, Boston Pizza, but it’s always good and inexpensive. We end up watching very little of the game, sometimes we don’t even know who wins…

More umpiring tomorrow and a late trip back home for a few days before two double headers on the weekend. The week will fly by.

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Imagine, I do need sleep at night…

Apparently, I should not stay awake all night any more. Well, I did have a short nap on Saturday evening after I got home, but only for about an hour and a half.

I headed out for my last volunteer shift for the Sinister 7 race around 1:15am. I stopped at 7/11 and grabbed a 5 hour energy and was surprised that they weren’t $4.99 a bottle, they were actually cheaper. Since when is anything cheaper at 7/11 than anywhere else in the world? Anyway, downed it and filled my Bubba with Cherry Coke, I wasn’t feeling coffee at 1:15am.

I found the checkpoint pretty easily. I really enjoy how dark it is away from the lights at night. Completely dark, even though I live in a very small town, there are still plenty of lights at night.

We weren’t waiting for too many runners. There were a lot of drop-outs, Saturday’s temperatures got to about 30C, that and the elevation likely contributed to people dropping out. I think we were only waiting for 6 runners to pass by in total.

By shortly after 3am, the last running checked in and continued on their way. The race HQ then asked us to pack up and head out. My truck was loaded with water bottles, jugs and all of the supplies for the check point. I headed back to HQ and unloaded. I was done shortly after 5am and headed home.

I went to bed until about 730am, got up and fed the dogs. I went back to bed until 10am or so, still felt out of sorts. An afternoon nap straightened that out for the most part. I spent the rest of the day just taking it easy, went out for a walk with the dogs in the late afternoon and went to bed at 10. I slept well, until 4am so for me, that’s not bad.

I hope on my flight back to Ontario in a few weeks that I can sleep on the plane. It’s the red-eye flight, so I should be able to.

It was a good weekend at the Sinister 7. I think I will see about being more involved next year, I had a great time.

Off to Calgary today. Umpiring tonight in my favourite ball park, Foothills Stadium. I umpire there again on Wednesday and then head home. That’ll be another late evening getting home. Oh well, I am getting used to it.

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What? No umpiring this weekend?

Yesterday was a busy day. It was house cleaning day to start with. I made French toast two different ways for breakfast – both with banana bread and with apple/cinnamon bread, it was excellent. I left for Lethbridge around 12:30 to meet a friend for a late lunch / early dinner.

We went to an event, a parade of old cars and what-not, it was busy and it was odd. They didn’t close down the main business street in town (Mayor McGrath Drive), wow, was the traffic ever insane. I was way later getting out of town than I wanted to be and didn’t get home until after 10:30pm. I let the dogs out and immediately went to bed.

Today is the Sinister 7 race in Crowsnest Pass. I am volunteering, not racing. There are two options for the race. You can either enter as a team (or individual) and have 30 hours to complete 100 miles, or enter as an individual and you have 24 hours to complete 50 miles. Either option sort of sounds insane to me, but, then of course, I am not a racer. I am definitely not a back-country, up this mountain, down that mountain racer either. The change in elevation is around 7000 feet. No thanks. I am happy to volunteer.

I head out at noon and work until 8 and then again early tomorrow morning, a 2am-6am shift. Should be fun. That will consume my weekend. No umpiring, it will be a bit of a break from that.

Monday morning, the dogs go to boarding and I head to Calgary for a few days. Have a good weekend. 🙂

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