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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Where's that superhero when you need one?

Liz and I had an adventurous road trip to Michigan over the weekend. She's staying with the Michigan Hedgers while I'm in Boston for a few days.

We headed out on Saturday morning and about an hour into the trip, she needed to stop for water and a bathroom break. Once we got to a gas station, I swiftly found a parking spot and went to put the car in park when the gear shift became stuck and I couldn't put it in park. So, I was able to push the gear into neutral and turn the car off.

Unfortunately, when the car is not in the park position, you can't take the keys out of the ignition. So, Liz and I hurried into the gas station and I had the clear realization that it was very likely we'd return to the parking lot, and the car would be gone.

Oddly enough. We returned 4 minutes later and the car was still there. That was exciting.

I went to put Liz in the car seat and as I was trying to buckle her in, the car began rolling backward. So, my mind began swirling and I instantly wondered how to handle the situation. I was able to put one leg outside of the car and somehow stop it from rolling. Probably not the smartest move, but it didn't seem safe for us to keep rolling - especially since Liz wasn't buckled in at this point - and there were cars nearby and cars driving by us in the parking lots.

The tricky part was trying to prevent the car from rolling while fastening Liz into the car seat. I didn't want to jump out of the car until I had her fastened in. Most of you know car seats can be a pain without the hassle of trying to stop a rolling car with one leg.

Miraculously, I got her buckled in and I jumped out and hurried into the front seat to grab the breaks.

Somehow, it all worked out and we didn't hit any cars or people. I was able to make it all 220 miles to Michigan without any other problems.

Now, I'm just hoping that there wasn't anyone nearby videoing the event, because I really don't want to see it on You-Tube or the local news, where the newscaster says something like: "Look at this crazy Mom."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Catching Up

Here are some fun photos of Liz from Easter. It's taken a long time for this to happen, but I think she's really starting to look like me. That's quite exciting. She was a spitting image of Brian for the first three years of her life, but that's slowly begun to change. You can also see her dimple on her face that mirrors mine.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Finally, the sun

After enduring what seemed like an endless winter, we were treated with 60 degree weather this weekend and spent every possible minute outside. On Saturday, Liz and I worked on the leaves and spent about 3 hours at our nearby park. On Sunday, we all went to nearby Lake Michigan and hung at out one of the park's that tends to be more secluded, especially on a spring day.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The gift of baseball

Here's a column that Brian wrote in Monday's newspaper about his trip with his brother to Lakeland, Fla., a few weeks ago for Spring Training to see the Tigers.

I think many of you will enjoy it.

The gift of baseball still has its charm

By Brian Hedger Post-Tribune staff writer

Willie Horton has a huge belly and a double chin now.
Back in 1968, when the Detroit Tigers won the World Series, he was a hero to Tigers fans of all ages. My brother Curt was one of them. He was 11 in 1968. And I ... well, I wasn't born until 1974, when he was 17.

So, when we spotted Willie earlier this month at Tigers spring training in Lakeland, Fla., I saw a cordial, old guy whom I'd only heard stories about. My brother saw Willie Horton.

We didn't get his autograph. We were too far away. He was in a hurry. But Curt did snap a picture just before the old slugger slipped into the batting cage to tutor some prospect.

And here's why, on the first big day of baseball in America, I still love this game despite its myriad problems.

Just before he snapped the picture, my brother turned into an 11-year old kid again -- if only for a second. He's a corporate attorney in Michigan. He has a nice office in Ann Arbor. He has a wonderful wife. He has two kids in college and a third who's served two tours in Iraq.

And yet, for just a fleeting second under the Florida sun, baseball gave him a glimpse of his childhood again.

"Go get'em, Willie ..." he started to shout, before snapping the shot.

You know, I'll never forget that moment. Hopefully, he won't either.

This was my gift, belated as it was, for his 50th birthday last June. I had no idea what to get him on such a milestone. He has, after all, played the role of dad, brother and best friend for me. So, I fretted about it. And deliberated. And then, finally, my wife, Lisa, came up with the perfect idea (she always does).

I took my big brother to spring training. And what was supposed to be a simple baseball trip turned out to be even more fun.

Yeah, we saw a couple of Tigers games. And we watched a lot of the prospects from all those box scores that each of us pours over every summer. We even saw Alexis Espinosa, a muscled young mystery prospect whom we'd been looking for like bird watchers.

But we also cruised around Polk County on the day it rained. And we stopped at some of our favorite haunts. At the Salvation Army (yes, you read that right) we found a bright, yellow T-shirt from a Lakeland bakery that made us cackle.

It said, in capital letters: "ASK ME ABOUT MY BUNS."

Curt bought it. And wore it. Briefly.

One day, we drove South from Lakeland to Venice, along the Gulf of Mexico. We visited family. We swam in the Gulf, cold as it was. And we took pictures like, well ... the tourists we were. One of the best is a picture of these silver Airstream RVs buried upright in a line along Interstate 4 -- a chrome-plated ode to Stonehenge.

And then there were the chemical suits that we found in the men's room of a Publix grocery store. "What the heck was that all about?" we wondered, making sure to get a photo of them too. We even found the Publix headquarters in a rough stretch of Lakeland on our last day there.

Turns out you can't miss it, because there's a giant birthday cake/water tower out front -- complete with candles that light up to warn low-flying aircraft.

We laughed a lot on this trip. And we saw Willie Horton.

Go get'em, indeed.