Musings from all members of the Thomas family, even our dog.
Here are some of the things I’ve been doing instead of updating this Tumblr for months on end.
A & C are back in school, and we are juggling soccer, tennis, art lessons, and the general drama associated with middle school girls.
I am training for a half-marathon in November, which is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. The dog’s arthritis has gotten too bad for him to run with me, which is sad for him and for me.
For my day job, I am the production coordinator for a new environmental news series for PBS. It is currently airing on several PBS stations around the country. You can watch a preview here: http://youtu.be/gKWPma6Huxw, and you can view the entire broadcast schedule here: http://thisamericanland.org/FrontLines/airtimes.html. If you get a chance to watch it on your local PBS station, please let me know what you think!
I covered the Atlanta Falcons training camp for my very favorite Falcons blog of all time, The Falcoholic, and am going to be a regular contributor to the site. If you have been desperately seeking a retroactive overview of training camp and the Falcons’ last preseason game against Baltimore, this is your lucky day.
I will try to do a better job of posting updates, but I make no promises, because I am realistic about my inconsistencies.
I am not remotely impressed with the breakdown of labor negotiations between the NFL and the NFLPA.
I was generally in support of the perspective of the players’ union until it became abundantly clear to me that they never had any intention of trying to get a deal done.
I never supported the avarice of the owners and the league, and my worst suspicions about that group has now been confirmed as well.
Who loses in this massive fail of alleged effort toward reconciliation? I do. You do. All of us who love this game, yet are not fortunate enough (emphasis on fortunate) to play it, own a team, or be paid to be involved with it at a high level. At the end of the day, Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and the rest of the jackholes involved with this sham of a process are still millionaires, whether the players are on the field come fall racking up more millions, or sitting at home enjoying the millions they already have. I’ll be the one sitting at home waiting for my season ticket refund check, fuming and furious because there’s no football.
The players are quick to remind us of the low-level players who make the league minimum per year, which was $310,000 per year in 2010. How many typical NFL fans bring home that kind of bank each year? Give me a break. The lowest paid player in the league is paid ridiculous amounts of money from the perspective of an average American. I don’t have a problem with the amount of money the players are paid, and I want to see the players get a fair deal based on overall profit for the league. Realistically, without the players, there is no football. But, now that the legal process has been initiated, and the players union has decertified, I’m pretty much over the arrogance of everybody involved in the process.
I don’t want to hear Roddy White’s sad, sad tale of having to pay $2,600 per month for COBRA insurance. We pay almost $1,000 per month for our health insurance through my husband’s job, and to say we don’t even approach Roddy’s income is a gigantic understatement. I love Roddy, but he’s not winning anyone over by whining about money. I don’t want to hear Drew Brees say much of anything, but to insist that the NFLPA is doing everything they can for former and future players when, in reality, rookie pay scale and benefits for retired players seem to be afterthoughts, obviously second to the major issue of compensation for current players and the possibility of an 18-game season. News flash, NFL players. Your fans aren’t idiots. We understand the process. We love the game, and we support you guys, but we’re normal people with normal incomes, and our patience is waning with all the woe-is-me drama.
I used to be a huge baseball fan, back in the day. I read all of the box scores every day, and watched as many Indians games as I could. On any given day, I could have told you what was happening in each American League division, who was leading each and by how many games, as well as details about the performance of every single Tribe player. Then the players went on strike in 1994, and this lockout is bringing to the surface all of the negative feelings I developed toward the players and the leadership in Major League Baseball that prompted me to give up on the sport altogether.
Anyone who knows me knows that my affection for football borders on the obsessive. I love NFL football. I live, eat, sleep and breathe it during the season, and it occupies a fair amount of my time throughout much of the offseason. I drive my non-football-following friends insane with my constant football talk. I don’t want to turn my back on football, but if they don’t get this thing worked out, I fear that I will not have any patience left for it.
I keep hearing these guys say that they’re working toward the best outcome for the fans, but their actions are inconsistent with their words. Their actions tell me that neither side ever had any intention of coming to a workable agreement, and that a lockout was always in the cards. It should be no surprise that any optimism I had about seeing a new CBA in place in the near future has completely disappeared.
I don’t want to see sad sack Roger Goodell insisting that they’re going to get this done for the fans anymore. I don’t want to see DeMaurice Smith walking around in his jaunty cap with his inexplicable cadre of bodyguards anymore. I don’t want to hear any more whining about Judge Doty and his bias toward the players. I don’t want to hear the NFL blaming the NFLPA anymore, and I don’t want to hear the NFLPA blaming the NFL, either. I am tired of the he said/they said ridiculousness. This is a bunch of grown men, and they need to put on their big boy pants and work this thing out, now.
A has been getting an alarming volume of emails from a specific boy. She’s pretty and smart and has a good sense of humor, so it was really only a matter of time, but I’m not prepared for this with a 12 year old child.
The great thing about it, though, is that these awkward, and I do mean awkward, missives are forever preserved in digital format. As I read through them (her emails all come into my inbox. She’s fully aware of this. My kids know there’s no such thing as a ‘right to privacy’ for minors living in my house, and they’re better kids because of it) I can’t help but be glad that my similar communications from my pre-teen years haven’t been preserved for posterity. A’s, however, will be. Hopefully there will come a day when she can laugh at them as heartily as I have today.
As per usual, this southern winter weather is inconsistent and features dramatic changes from day to day. In the middle of last week, we had wintry precipitation overnight, resulting in about an inch of snow on the ground by morning, and roads covered with deceptively treacherous black ice.
If you don’t know what black ice is, it’s a thin layer of ice, called “black” because it’s so thin that it blends with the black pavement of the road. You can’t see it, therefore it’s particularly dangerous. You drive along normally, thinking the road is merely wet, not knowing the treachery beneath your tires until you start to slide.
Growing up in Ohio, I learned to drive on black ice. It was a common feature of our Ohio winters, and sometimes our falls and springs. I remember one particularly brutal winter, when I was working as a waitress at a local restaurant. We had this chef—a great guy, this big, gregarious African-American classically trained chef from New Orleans. The guy was absolutely a magician in the kitchen, and he was fun, and had a great sense of humor. I really liked him.
The restaurant was dead—zero customers, due to a combination of snow and ice that had left, what else, a thin layer of black ice on all of the roads. We were at work, though, prepared in case some hungry soul decided to brave the weather because they were so desperate to get out of the house, which, with the recent Atlanta Snowpocalypse so fresh in my mind, was probably not an unrealistic expectation.
The staff was all gathered around a couple of booths, drinking coffee and talking, mainly about the weather. I was talking in a very dramatic fashion (incidentally, this is usually the only way I talk about anything) about my drive to work. I said, “It was crazy! I had to drive so slowly, because black ice was everywhere! It was so dangerous!”
Chef had come out of the kitchen and joined the group shortly before I said this, because he was in the kitchen making gumbo. Yes, we took full advantage of his New Orleans roots. I was facing him, and his face changed when I said that. He was visibly angry, which was confusing. I didn’t know if perhaps he had some inexplicable fondness for black ice, or if he just thought I should be a more confident driver than that and was disappointed, or what was going through his head, until he said, “I can’t believe you would say something like that. I really thought you were better than that.”
I went ahead and apologized, even though I really didn’t understand what was happening, and I had that feeling in my stomach that I get when I know I’ve hurt someone. I followed him out of the room and apologized again, and said I’d like to understand what it was in what I said that offended him.
He exploded with anger. “So, you’re scared of black guys, huh? You can’t drive slowly when there are black guys on the road, because that’s too scary?”
And, I exploded with laughter, because of course, this was not even remotely close to what I had said. I explained, “First, I said “black ice.” Totally, totally different. Second, you were correct, I AM better than that! I would never say something so terribly racist! Third, ‘black guys was everywhere’?! In what context would I ever say something so grammatically horrible?” I take racial equality very seriously, and I take grammar almost as seriously. I then had to explain the concept of “black ice” because this is a term with which they are not familiar in Louisiana, which was probably the root of this misunderstanding, really.
Sadly, Chef passed away a couple of years after the restaurant shut down. He had this congenital heart defect that was always a matter of concern for him, and he succumbed to complications from it. He was only 29 at the time. Every time I hear the term “black ice” I think of him and remember him fondly, and have a good laugh about this ridiculous misunderstanding.