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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

'Twas the Night Before Hammond..

For some reason, I feel an unusually high level of excitement for this next trip...and quite possibly, the last trip of 2012 for the Poker Monkey. At 8am, Idiot #1...Kai Landy, will board the Hummer from Hell of Claudia 'The Claw' Crawford...who has added a few other nice nicknames to her mantra the last few weeks...and they will come pick up me, Idiot #2...who will then leave for New Orleans and meet up with Idiot #3...Barth Melius. We will then depart for Chicago, by way of Atlanta...for an pleasant 4:15pm arrival. No more limo there to meet us. Called to confirm today, and find out they inadvertently scheduled my pickup for Nov. 9th. Um. No...that would be OCTOBER 10th!?? And wait...I'm going to Hammond, Indiana...not downtown Chicago. And that's a problem?

For the record? Hammond is a shorter distance from Midway airport than downtown Chicago. Which is why when they told me the price was going to go from $87 to $215, I laughed and said "Cancel, please!" Why the sharp increase? No clue. But who cares? We can get a van taxi for about $60-$70. Or maybe we will all just decide to rent a car. Not that it will get all four of us and luggage to our hotel...but whatever. Not going to let one little hiccup slow us down!

I want to say how proud I am of my wife. I got down to their benefit for the late Billy Bridges at about 1:30 on Sunday...and they already had a great crowd there. The Bounce House was a real hit...kids everywhere. They always have all-you-can-eat crawfish on Sundays...so it was pretty busy for that too. I brought Carley, and almost never saw her until we were ready to go home at around 6pm! She was being passed around by all of Squirrels friends and co-workers at the Beau. She's quite a popular little girl! Squirrel worked the table practically the whole time. The night before she was up baking cookies and brownies...and sold them all. When it was all said and done...she was there from 8am till 11pm...they raised just a little over $2500 for the Bridges family. I talked to his brother Tony when I got there...and you could tell he was really shaken up by the whole thing. It's hard to have that conversation, because what do you say? I tried to give him something positive, but its always hard. Felt really bad for the poor guy. But I think the day might have given him some hope and let him know how much everyone cared for his brother and him. I know I really married a good woman, that's for sure.

So tonight, as if death hasn't visited our doorstep enough this year...she is in the middle of giving Carley a bath, when I watch her face go pale. What is it? She just found out that the guy she dated in high school...and almost married, had just died of a heart attack. He was 44. I mean, I'd heard all about this guy, Brad Wilkes. About what a crazy, drunken psycho he was. But she kept going back to him...for some damn reason. Finally she snapped...left him, and that was it. When you're from a small town like she is...I guess those people never totally leave your life. I wasn't sure what to say to console her...or if it was even necessary. I tried to imagine if my ex-stripper girlfriend Hannah from Atlanta were to suddenly just drop dead what I would feel. Wasn't really able to come up with anything concrete. Pretty sure I know how Squirrel would treat that news. ;)

Human beings continue to show me their jackass side this week. Oh, and to the fuckhead who keeps leaving (anonymously of course, because isn't that what all spineless weasels do? Speak behind the veil of anonymity?) me your ridiculous comments? If you think ANY of what you said in those two messages does anything but make me laugh? You should try saying it to my face...so I can show you in person just how insignificant and irrelevant you are. But you won't. And your 'hoping you're the one who busts me in the Main Event in Hammond' statement? This might be silly of me, but I think it warrants me pointing out that you first have to BE in Hammond to play in the Main Event. Not behind some desk, in a cubicle at your insurance company trying to sell another policy. Or hassling that person for their premium payment that is 3 days late.

No, what I'm actually alluding to (not the previous troll) are the piranhas out there who are coming to the feeding frenzy that is the breakup of my friends Gabe Costner and Claudia Crawford...like a bunch of, well...piranhas. Only...the way they are doing it, is by swimming up all calm and nonchalant like dolphins. 

Oh there are those who are falling hook, line and sinker for the version of Claudia that Gabe posted on Facebook last week sometime...and deciding in their minds that she is this village whore who is bouncing around from bedroom to bedroom. Now...a lot has transpired since that Facebook post...and I would like to think Gabe regrets putting that 'out there' in  Musemeci/Marafioti-like ambush style...but that certainly has seemed to be the popular way this year to end relationships. The 'ol Sherman March through Atlanta way of terminating an affair. Magical.

The fact of the matter is, Claudia is not a skank, or a whore. If she was, for one thing...my wife would NEVER be her best friend. Secondly...and without getting too personal about things between her and Gabe...she REALLY loved that guy, and tried like hell to make it work, for a LONG time. Things just built up...over a relatively long period of time...and she finally had just had enough. It's not like she didn't anguish over her decision. She did. I'd heard them on their card nights (when I was in my room watching football or something) over here talking about it. It wasn't like a big 'pile on Gabe' thing either. We all like Gabe. We think he might have a few bats in his belfry...but we like him! Bottom line...the relationship ended due to the relationship not functioning. And Claudia is still young, and decided to start over. That's it. So you mealy-mouthers out there...seriously? Why don't you give it a rest? You know...you can learn a lot about a person, not by what others say about you....but what YOU say about others. It's a clear reflection.

And as for those clowns...and you know who you are....who are texting her before the ink is even dry on the divorce papers (that is an analogy, not being literal, they weren't married) offering yourself to her 'if she needs someone to talk to?' Do you really NOT think she doesn't see through your sad, pathetic attempt to get into her pants? It's not only offensive, but you should be embarrassed, and must really not give her credit for being more intelligent than a pickle. Well, she IS smarter than a pickle...and you are only being laughed at. It's called timing, fool, and yours sucks! But I bet you are the same guy telling everyone what a whore she is...then turning right around and HOPING its true! Guys like you haven't changed since high school. And likely never will.

So yeah...sorry, but that is me taking up for a friend. And we HAVE actually had some 'I'm there for you if you need to talk' moments out on my back porch. Or at the bar on Sunday during the benefit. Because unlike most of your dorks, I don't have any ulterior motives.

Moving on. Those new Geico commercials? Where they have those two guys playing (or just holding onto) guitars...and asking how happy people are that they switched to Geico? As happy as a slinky on an escalator! As happy as a body builder directing traffic! As happy as....you get it? I don't which ones I hate more...those...or those fucking Free-Credit-Report.com commercials...>ANY OF THEM...over the past five years. If I ever see that guy in public, you know...fluky as it would be...I might just as a reflex punch the guy in the throat. It wouldn't be premeditated, or even...well....it would just be like...WHOA...did I seriously just break that Free Credit Report.com's guys trachea? Holy shit!??

The Saints finally won.

There still is NO hockey...and its looking more and more like there could be another lost season.

The NBA is about to start. Anyone care?

LSU lost. That makes three games they've almost lost this year. As much as I hate that team, and as happy as I am to see them lose...all that being said? I fully expect them to beat South Carolina at home this weekend. But I won't be sad if they lose again either.

As predicted my Huskies got murdered by Oregon. I knew we would. I can't believe they even put us in the Top 25 last week. Nice for recruiting purposes though, I guess. It's looking more and more like an Oregon vs. Alabama National Championship. Won't hate that either. 

Why does my wife have such a hard time understanding why I like to pack in the morning before I leave? I mean...it takes me like 10 minutes. Maximum. Whenever we go somewhere together, she starts packing like two days in advance. Won't let me go to bed until I pack. And then if I don't, packs FOR me. It doesn't really irritate me or annoy me, I guess its kind of cute. Maybe since she doesn't travel as much as I do, she is just fired up about it. It's no big deal to me. I just like doing everything at the last minute I guess. 

So today, I'm on my way to the bank...got Carley in the baby seat...dogs in the back...its a nice beautiful sunny day. Behind me in an older man on a Harley...with the gray facial hair. I've always known most guys on Harley's to be nice guys. Oh...not this guy. You know how there is a two lane road...and there is that car trying to turn left up ahead? And you know they are going to sit there forever trying to turn? Well, I am that nice driver, who will slow down...flash my brights, and let them know they can turn in front of me. So I do that for this person,  they wave the 'thank you wave' and what happens? Harley guy behind me goes berserk. Honking his horn, waving his arms, flipping m the bird. My dogs start barking at him. I tell them good dog, good dog. And then just ask myself..."why in the hell...would you freak out about something like that?" I mean...was he in a hurry to get to the red light? We were in pretty thick traffic...and were about 200 yards from a red light...and he is going ballistic. What is wrong with people? Maybe he just caught his wife in bed with a guy who owned a Porsche.

I don't know who is going to win the World Series. I don't even have a hunch. And frankly...I don't even care who wins. I guess I'd like to see two teams with tiny payrolls and fans thirsting for a winner. Like Baltimore vs. Washington would be fun. Or Baltimore vs. Cincinnati. New York vs. Cincinnati would bring back old memories. I don't know. Still a long way to go. But I know one thing...that ONE and DONE format for the first Wild Card game was a fiasco. That has GOT to be best of three or don't even waste your time. 

I am excited for Hammond. I really am. That first event last year attracted a shade over 3000 players. Imagine winning that right out of the gate? Good gawd, I might just turn around and come home! Yeah right, who believes THAT one!?? Good turnouts. Good structures. Soft fields. Great cash room. Decent SNG area. Yeah...fired up. And going with 3 really good friends? Pretty good recipe for a good trip. Can't wait.  The only downside...is that I am REALLY going to miss Carley...and my wife. Things between us since I got home from Shreveport have been really great...and I hate having to leave her. But having her best friend with me should (I hope) help alleviate any of those 'feelings' a wife has when her husband is on the road. 

Carley and I have been forming this amazing bond when Squirrel is off at work every day (earning very little but keeping us in  the health insurance!) and its amazing how much she changes and grows and learns every day. Being away from her for even 12 days is SO hard.  It really is amazing how much having a child will change your whole perspective on life, and those around you. Walking into the room and watching her face light up...and that infectious smile spread across her face? It just fills my heart with joy. When she wakes up in the morning, and looks and my wife and I, and just smiles? We both just look at each other...and have that same exact feeling. It's incredible. Carley is without a doubt...the greatest thing I have ever accomplished. I don't even go out on trips anymore wanting to win for me. When I was in Vegas, playing in the Main Event...and getting deeper and deeper...I just kept thinking about her...what this money could mean for her. What my success could do for her. What me winning a bunch of money, and being able to STAY HOME...could/would do for her. I don't have expensive tastes. I don't want for much. I don't long for doing things I've never gotten to do. I fell like I've gotten to do almost everything in my life that I ever wanted to do. Now...all I want to do, is re-explore all the things in life that make life wonderful...but do them with Carley. And doing them with her, will make them fun for me again. I've basically been reborn with the birth of my daughter. More than winning any poker tournament...all I really want to win, is the respect and admiration of my daughter. That's why no matter if I win or lose in poker...the game for me is never over. It's really just begun.

See you (some of you) in Chicago!!!

MONKEY

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