Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Estrogen Lab 3.0

Since my last post my family has grown by 1. It's another beautiful and healthy little girl. That brings the female to male ration in my casa to 3:1, not that I am counting. Children are amazing and beautiful miracles. However, I know live in a sea of estrogen. While "Mitch and the Ladies" would be a great 80's cover band name, there are some realities to the situation for me:
  • I know the name of most of the "My Little Ponies."
  • I attend more than one tea party per week......a number that will likely increase.
  • I know more about "Pinkalicious" and "Purplelicious" than the Minnesota Vikings starting quarterback.
  • My days of tearing the limbs and heads off Barbie dolls is likely over.....banning a REALLY bad day at work. However, if needed, I will have access to plenty of plastic doll mass killing opportunities.
  • I am responsible for the end of the Hoffman family name.
  • Knowing a little girl is a daddy's girl is pretty awesome.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Levels of Domestication

I've resisted, and continue to resist, growing up. The effort is relatively futile as I am married, have a child, house, job, etc. Don't get me wrong, none of the aforementioned are bad things, but sometimes I find myself doing or thinking about something I never really thought would be on my radar. As I mowed the lawn today, an absolutely gorgeous day, I found myself reflecting on my level of domestic integration.

I pulled out the John Deere push mower and did my version of a 'spring tune up.' I'm not gifted mechanically with anything that runs on fuel. I do pretty well with general mechanical skill, but for whatever reason the gas engine skill was clearly a skip generation trait in my gene pool. Short story long, tuning up the mower for me generally involves wiping it clean to bring back the shimmery green lustre of the that green paint job on the deck and calling my father-in-law if anything else looks awry or doesn't, I dont' really do anything to the mower.

As a well trained and domesticated beast, I find myself obsessing and debating about all that goes into proper lawn care. My lawn is far from the fairways at Augusta, or for that matter the grass at the local school, but I still have this gravitational pull for unobtainable perfection. I will battle the weeds (with below average success), fertilize, and obsess over the care of each of those millions of blades of sweet, green, relatively useless turf. This paternal pride for the lawn finds me today debating how to mow the yard. Efficiency says the horizontal pattern is best, and definitely easiest. However, like those who dress their small dogs in clothes, I want more. Feeling in the zone, I went for the diagonal cut. A majestic diagonal bisection of the property that I can stand on the deck with a cold beer and admire those clean lines left by the precision 5 inch tires of the mower.

After the job was done there was little satisfaction as I dream of the yard I can mow cool patterns into like the big league ball parks. However, I did my best, and the Hoffman turf is maintained for now, and I stand proud. Not unlike the individual who enters their '96 Grand Am in a classic car's not that people don't understand, it's just that they don't care.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Losing Stuff

Everyone has lost something and knows it's in their house, but can't find it anywhere. Well, I have that going on. I have a few misc. photo accessories that I can't find, but I know are in my house and hiding together. When this happens we have this ingenious idea that we can just start in one room and literally scan and ransack every inch, therefore, making it impossible for the missing item to elude us. It never works, we have all done it looking for a set of keys. Maybe it's my obsessive compulsive tendencies, but this stuff consumes me. I lack focus to move on......I want to start tearing stuff apart, it's like a dog obsessing over a tennis ball, but probably worse. I can't sleep, my attitude is terse, I'm on edge. Damn, I need a drink. I will find the missing items, I'm as dedicated a Frodo to deliver the ring, however, I'm not a hobbit and don't have a 3/4 naked creature lurking around behind least I don't think so.

Monday, May 9, 2011

It's a's a, it's AJ Hawk on a mountain bike!

It was beautiful weekend. After the sun exploded sometime during the past winter, it was nice to see a new glowing orb decided to appear and finally allow Minnesota's mountain bike trails to dry out. I snuck in a few rides last week, and getting on the bike felt giddy like climbing the rope in gym class. As a result many rides started with pent up energy explosion and ended with slow pedaling back to the car, but that's all good.

Several of our crew spent the past couple months cobbling together parts and pieces to get our buddy, Mike rolling down the trail this year. After finally gathering the pieces and parts it was time to get Mike out for his first mountain bike ride.. His only other experience involved "riding a mountain bike over something and almost losing his sack." Sounded painful enough, so I didn't ask any more details upon hearing the story. I was hoping this outing went a little smoother, and hopefully would be more enjoyable for his sack. The spectacle that unfolded thereafter was a visual feast for the eyes.

First, we have the "rig" or "unit" that Mike was about to saddle up on. Cue up "One piece at at Time" by Johnny Cash and sit back and enjoy. We took a mid nineties Schwinn Homegrown frame (one of the nice Yeti's from back in the day) and paired it with a Tora fork that I think one of the guys traded bodily fluid for at a party. We then decked it out with a smattering of parts we all had laying around and that we would never use. A pair of bolt on FSA wheels and tires Brian got for polishing shoes at the airport and an LX drivetrain from a sweet Novara hardtail that died in my garage sometime ago......still don't know where or how it ended up there. Novara is not my first choice in bikes. We had a hardtail with 8 speed cassette, 9 speed shifters, oldschool Flite ti saddle and yellow cable housing.

Mike met me at the parking lot at 10 a.m. with his shiny new steed loaded in the back of his pimping mini truck with "PACKERS" painted on the tailgate. He mentioned the training for his inaugural ride involved drinking tequila until 3 am the night before with someone we will just call Tyler, for the sake of anonymity. Mike looked pretty sharp, all things considered, from the night before. His custom riding kit for the day, as he promised me, was a pair of Jordan basketball shorts and a well ventilated AJ Hawk, Packers jersey. The ride was great, Mike did well and only mentioned the tequila coming up once during the ride after a decent climb. Maybe it was the leftover confidence from the night before, but he rode a lot of the technical stuff with pretty good success. I look forward to Mike joining us for many more rides in the future and think his humor and candid approach will be a breeding ground for his success in our group.