Great way to start the morning

tire blew out on the interstate
Driving the kids to school this morning and the car in front of me starts swerving to avoid things in the road. Naturally, I start doing the same but must not have been as good as them as I hit something with my front left tire. Naturally my check tire pressure light comes on and I just figure I'll get the kids to school and pop on the spare after I get them situated.

This was, of course, under the impression that it was just going to be a slow leak. No. No it wasn't. At all. The tire completely blew out and I couldn't make it to an exit. The worst part was that it was my left tire, so I pull over on the shoulder and have cars whizzing by me every five seconds. I called Christi when it happened so she was on her way driving in to calm down the kids in the car as well as park behind me to give a little more cushion with all of the cars driving by. Couldn't imagine doing that without her car there.

I like to think that I am similar to the dad on Christmas Story and can change a tire pretty quick. Pretty sure that I've done it at least a couple of times for every car that I've owned. Once Christi got there and I could lay down and get the jack under the car without too much worry that I'd get smoked by incoming traffic, everything went extremely fast. The only silver lining is that my tires are nearing 60K so I needed to get new ones anyways and I guess it's better to have this happen to old tires I was about to replace instead of brand new ones. Basically just jump starts the process.

The best part about this is last night I was describing someone to Christi, who will be held nameless, and I told her he was the type of person who doesn't even know how to change a tire. Then she proceeded to tell me that she's never done it and would love to learn at some point.

The time that random guy did not want to listen to me about betting on Nebraska

Yesterday, after supporting the parent company and seeing Rogue One, I swung over to get some award winning buffalo sauce at J Tim's. As I'm standing shoulder to shoulder with people in the bar I randomly hear three guys to my left talking about the Nebraska vs. Tennessee bowl game. Obviously my interest peaked and I listened in further.

You could tell all three guys bet a lot with how they were talking and I love to watch lines and see how movement works in Vegas, but have never been confident enough to bet the kids college funds, so I usually do it vicariously through a couple of friends I have. Not the point ... so back to the story: one guy is going off about how confident he is that Nebraska is going to cover. Kept saying they were getting 6.5 points and he couldn't understand why. So, naturally, I butt in to tell him why he's wrong.

At first he just goes, "what do you know about the game?" I point to the "N" on my jacket and he asks, "what does that stand for?" and naturally I answer with the joke everyone used in college, "knowledge." He didn't get it and goes, "Newington? Is that what it is?" After explaining how he missed the joke, I said it was Nebraska and then his interest peaked. First in what I was doing in Connecticut and then how much I knew about the game.

I told him some main things like the senior starters at QB, WR and safety are all out and basically are all record holders at the school and that the starting RB, also a senior, was probably going to be out or at least limited. I explained my complete lack of faith in our backup quarterback, sorry if you stumble upon this post Ryker, and that there is a massive drop off between the two players. Just because of that, I said we'll lose by at least 7, meaning to lay the 6.5 on Tennessee, and told him I have been saying to everyone since the opening line of 3 points came out to bet their mortgages on it. The biggest point which I was trying to convey to him was that I will root until my throat is sore for Nebraska, however I'm extremely confident that they don't win ... or even keep it close.

After a casual chat on how dogs have been killing spreads this bowl season, it seemed to reaffirm to him how he didn't want to back off taking Nebraska. As I was just there to pick up my wing sauce, my conversation turned out to be a lot longer than expected and I had to break it off at some point, although I was having a blast talking to these guys about college football teams in a region where people only care about what Tom Brady ate for breakfast. I gave one final pitch as to why he should listen to me but he said Nebraska was too good of a team to lose by more than six points.

Fast forward to now as the game just ended. Tennessee won by 14. I hope that guy is thinking about our conversation because I've been telling people about it left and right since I had it. Oh yeah, one of those friends I live vicariously through made some money on listening to me about it too ... probably wasn't the mortgage, but still.

My wife is better than yours!

Tree House - Haze and Bright
Sure, there are a lot of reasons that I could write on here for why I love my wife and why she is better than yours, but a couple of days ago she gave me a new reason. She used her lunch break to drive up to Tree House Brewing and grabbed a dozen cans for what they had that day. That should easily stock me up nicely now for the month going into the holidays (however, it doesn't mean I won't be back). The day after Thanksgiving she even ran out to grab some scarce BCBS in the area.

Thanks babe ... and if you keep it up, I'll keep writing blog posts praising you in all of your glory each time you go up there!

St. Thomas

St. Thomas vacation - 2016
Last month Christi and I were able to head down to St Thomas for a week (without the kids!). Mom and dad both turned 60 this year so Erica and I organized a trip and this is the spot where we all ended up. The entire USVI is probably amazing, but we were extremely happy with where we ended up.

Since Christi's mom was nice enough to come watch the kids, it enabled Christi and I to both leave the house for the first time since Natalie was born. Along with my parents, Erica and Tucker came out from CA and Gma came along as well.

The entire gang
Dad did some good research and found an amazing place to stay called Villa Amour. I almost didn't want to write this in here so it's more of a well kept secret, but the house where we stayed was absolutely amazing. Built on the side of a cliff on the NW side of the island, our views every morning/night were spectacular. Having an infinity pool that looks out to water that touches the horizon ensured that every day was a true vacation.

View out the back of Villa Amour
While the house was absolutely amazing, we ate cooked every single night at the house instead of going out, during the days we made sure to head out an explore. While hitting up most of the main tourist attractions, one of our favorite days was hopping on a boat and heading over to explore St. John and the BVI.

Relaxing on the boat ride
On our stops we snorkeled with turtles, manta rays and barracudas:

Snorkeling off of Maho Bay
Hanging out at Sandy Spit ... better known as Corona Island where they tape a lot of their commercials. It was extremely picturesque, except I had water on the outside of the GoPro so most of the pictures of the island itself were a little blurry.

Swimming outside of Sandy Spit
No matter where we went, you could just take a couple of steps and see amazing views everywhere. This was off of a lunch spot on Jost Van Dyke:

View outside of Foxy Taboo's
The absolute best part about our boat trip is that our captain was from St. John. While we were already planning to go there a day or two later he gave us some advice for good spots that aren't so touristy and one of them might be my new favorite spot in the world. Just casually, he told us to check out Oppenheimer Beach. Yep. Same Oppenheimer from the Manhattan Project. After we get off the ferry every taxi is trying to get people to go to the huge popular beaches and I finally flag a guy down to get us to go to Oppenheimer. He drops us off at an iron gate, with a big padlock on it mind you, and says, "Don't worry, just go around and head on down." Not sure what to think of that, we all bypass the gate via the trees next to it and head down a steep road. I'm really not sure what to think at this point until we hit some sand and there was a spot that opened up to the beach:

Opening to Oppenheimer Beach
This was one of the clearest and least populated beaches I've ever been on. Crystal clear turquoise water that couldn't have been a more perfect temperature made it extremely tough to leave while also tempting me to come back every day since we left. The other cool part of this beach is that they have a tire swing hanging off of a palm tree which easily lines up for some postcard types of pictures.

Tire swing at Oppenheimer Beach
Christi and I love our kids to death, but it was a great time away not having to worry about when to wake up or what people are going to eat for lunch. We had such a good time that we're trying to plan something for our 10 year anniversary next year. Hopefully will have some more cool pictures to post whenever we get that all figured out.

Two of us overlooking Magens Bay

Landscaping update

new landscaping around the house
The outside of our house is one thing that we have always wanted to update but have never really found a good time or company in the past. That all changed this summer when EcoTurf came over and updated everything for us.

They were amazing. We gave them full reign on what to update, including walkway design and plant choices, and we were completely satisfied. The best part is that we've been waiting to update our awesome door mat that my mom gave us when we bought the house, so we are proudly able to display that once again with a new one:

updated home plate door mat


another view of the house

Walk In Closet

new walk in closet

Over seven years ago when we were house hunting, we stumbled upon the place where we currently live. When I walked upstairs and saw the closets in the master bedroom my first thought was, "Why would anyone build two closets next to each other like this?" Two double-deep closets side by side made no sense to me and I told Christi at that point that if we ever bought the house that we'd tear the wall down between them and make it a walk in.

Well, it took a while, but we finally did it. I installed shelving throughout and the space that we are using now helped us eliminate one of our dressers to make our room feel even more open now. Below is a picture of what it used to look like:

what the closets used to look like

Maybe I waited all of these years so that I'd have a special helper paint the inside of it with me.

henry helping me paint

Anniversary: Part 9

nebrasketball road trip
Crazy that it has been nine years already. Even more crazy that we have spent seven and a half of those in Connecticut.

Couldn't be happier that all of these years ago I found someone crazy enough to not leave me.

How are we going to celebrate? Taking out the same car that I picked her up in for our first date over fifteen years ago.

8 years and counting

2001 Lake Powell trip
Another year in the books for the wife and I. It's crazy to think we're at eight years already and only two years away from double digits. The picture above is from our last trip to our favorite destination.

I'm pretty sure if Christi knew eight years ago that I'd come home and work for four straight hours since the NFL schedule was released tonight, she probably wouldn't have walked down the aisle with me. On the flip side, if I would have known I found a wife as perfect and understanding as her, we'd be way past eight years by now.

Here's to at least eight more babe!

ESPN.com Redesign

redesign in sc studio
The website has finally launched! I haven't posted in months, so this is definitely a reason to do so.

Everyone battled through sleepless nights over the past few months to produce the site you see in front of you. Take some time surfing around and let me know what you think.

http://espn.go.com

Updating the fireplace tile

new modern tiles
A couple of weeks ago I was getting antsy waiting for the Husker football game to start so I got a crowbar and hammer and started ripping up the chipped tiles in front of our fireplace. What happened next was a much more updated and modern feel to the centerpiece in our living room.

Since the tile saw was out ... well, I've got another post coming soon! Below is a picture of what it used to look like:

old original fireplace tile