Not only did I come down with a case of strep throat this past weekend, I have contracted pink eye (conjunctivitis) in both eyes. You would think someone who has taught elementary school for 11 years would have come down with it before now. Wrong! This sucks. I hope to never come down with this again. I was miserable at school. I had to go to the Walgreen clinic on Monday around 2pm because the itching and pain was just terrible. I then had to officiate a girl's varsity contest at Hillsboro. I couldn't find anyone to take my spot and didn't want to hang the school out to dry. On top of everything else, it was the worst night so far this year. Fans were absolutely horrible. No one was there and the one fan that was decided to complain about everything. I felt horrible and didn't have my "A" game, but this guy was a real peach. What else would one expect from a guy from Hillsboro, Mo in a girl's JV game? I have since gone to see my eye doctor just to make sure everything looks good. She said I should be fine, but not to wear my contact lens. Therefore I have been wearing my spectacles to work and possibly to ref on Thursday. Two days of school left and then off for 12 days. I will be officiating 8 games at the Flat River Christmas Tourney to help pay for Santa. Some of you out there know how it is. The things you put yourself through for your kids and the ones you love.
I guess the title pretty much sums up our weekend. Kirsten was supposed to go to Bunko on Friday, but came down with strepthroat instead. I had been feeling poor all week as well with my throat hurting and being tired. I decided to go to the Doc on Saturday morning and sure enough, I had it too. This is our second round in three weeks.
Since I had no game Friday and Kirsten didn't go out, I met Hovis down at Johnny's for a few frosty ones and then made our way down to O'Malley's for one or two. My throat was hurting, but after a few it felt much better! I didn't stay out late as I had planned on doing some mtn biking early, but the snow put a hex on those plans. I was able to sleep in and then made my way to the doctor to get some meds.
After going to the Doc I recieved a call from my friend and co-worker Chris Bumgardaner. He was on his yearly Christmas shopping trip with his friend Tony. They wanted to go to Johnny's so naturally I showed them where it was. I also took them O'Malley's for one. I then made my way home in the snow where I spent the rest of the day and evening on the sofa. I was able to watch my favorite Welsh film "Twin Town". It was filmed in Swansea, Wales, UK where I taught school for few months. It was released during my stay there and was completely filmed in Swansea. It was cool to see some familiar places on screen.
On Sunday morning we ventured down to lovely Sikeston, Mo for Christmas with my Aunt Sandi and Uncle Buck. The roads were horrible in STL, but got better the further south we went. I would say we got about 5-6 inches here in the city, while Sikeston didn't get one bit. Uncle Buck went all out on dinner having a 9 course meal. I am still stuffed and may not eat until morning. They are headed to Florida by months end. We will see them again sometime in the summer. My Grandpa is supposed to make it to my Mothers for Christmas eve. It will be nice to spend time with him and the rest of the family.
Hopefully I will get a chance to ride mtn bikes over Christmas Break. I have to officiate down in Flat River, but should have time to do some riding. I am off for only 12 days this year. I am sure the time will go by fast.
Take care. I am sure I will post more over the break.
Tatum is the only kid in the Christmas cards this year (if they get sent out), because Reese refused to take part. Note the top picture and how nice Tatum looks.
Not much has happened since I last posted. I have been officiating a lot, going three days last week. Todd Hogan and I made our way down to Potosi, Mo for our one game. The place was packed with the band playing and every hoosier in Washington County yelling at us. Really it wasn't that bad except for they screwed us on the pay. No worries as it will be our last trip to Potosi ever!!
I have not been riding at all as the weather has been absolutely horrible here in Missouri. It has rained, sleeted and snowed the last few weekends. I even had a sitter lined up this past Saturday and didn't get to go. Hopefully over Christmas I will get to go at least once. My time over the break is minimal as I am calling the Park Hills Central Christmas Tourney. It is a bit of a drive, but they pay well.
While cleaning the basement today, I found these photos in an emvelope. I tried to take a photo of them, but they are hard to see still. I don't know the dates, but they are of John and Mark Mountford and my brother Todd. We were sledding in DeSoto with my Mom and Dad. That old 1970 International Scout brings back some good memories. The other picture is of us out at the old Vineland Bridge. It has since been torn down. I am glad I found the photos as they bring back some really good memories. Strange how something so simple brings a smile to your face!
Kirsten took the girls to see Santa Claus at Crestwood mall last week. It was the first time that Reese did not go balistic. She actually smiled and told him what she wanted. All previous years we have photos of her screaming while someone had to hold her on him. I was very proud of her.
The other picture of Reese and Colin along with the teady bear, Pumpkin from Reese's school.
We had Thanksgiving at Mom's on the Sunday after the real Tday. It was also my Grandma Rapp's 88th Birthday. Mom did a great job on the food as usual. Grandma made one of my favs, liver dumplings! I hope I am on top of my game like she is at that age! The photo is of all the great-grand kids and her.
Tatum got Student of the Month for November in her class at Antonia Elementary. She received an award from the principal at a breakfast banquet this past Friday. We are very proud of her. She studies hard every night and really enjoys school.
The Friday after Thanksgiving I went riding out at Castlewood with my brother. Before meeting him, I did about an hour on my own. When I got back to my car and meet Todd I noticed that it had been backed into. I know the schmucks who did it as I had just briefly met them when I first pulled in. They were getting done and we had a pleasant conversation about the trails and bikes. They were in their 50s driving big ass truck with a hitch mount. They were parked directly behind me and just ran into my poor little car. They left no note and just bolted. I have the square piece off their carrier. It fits perfectly into the mold left in my bumper. I am now searching for someone to fix it. Parktown Audi has a guy that does just plastic bumpers and a fellow cyclist has offered his services as well. I hope this doesn't cost an arm and leg as Christmas is around the corner. My car just turned over on 50k miles as well. The warranty is now out. It has been great car to this point. I hope it can keep rolling.
I would have left a note and offered to pay for it. People now days are just plain irresponsible.
The week started off good as I knew I only had to work two days. I was also excited about having an opportunity to ride mountain bikes Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Unfortunately I had to officiate a basketball game at Windsor High School on Tuesday night. The game went fine with no major problems, but the weather here in good ole Missery decided to throw a wrench into my cycling plans.
The weather was just beautiful here all last weekend and the first two days of the week. It even reached near 80 degrees on Tuesday, before starting to fall rapidly overnight. It also started to rain some Wed morning, but still decided to go out to Chubb Trail and give it a try. I met fellow cat 4 BigShark mates Alan and James around 10am at the trail head. It was just misting and decided to give it a go. The trail was not muddy at all when we left but still very damp. The massive amounts of leaves and the wet roots and rocks made the trail very hard to navigate. It started raining harder about halfway out the trail, but we kept going. We eventually turned around because it was becoming much too dangerous with the rocks. We ended up doing around 10 miles. James had one flat and the bikes got good and muddy on the bottoms along the river. The large amounts of rain the rest of the day then made any chance of a Turkey Day ride obsolete. Not only did it rain ,but the temps outside at Noon are hovering around 40 degrees. I will ride at Castlewood on Friday as the weather is supposed to be sunny and in the mid 40s. Only in MO can it go from 80 to 30 in a day!
Met good friend Kevin Hovis at Johnny's last night for the best wings and sights in the LOU. My neighbor Carey showed up a little later and then we made our way down to O'Malley's for a few pints of Guinness.
We are off to Kirsten's Aunt Caroline's house for Thanksgiving in a few hours. Kirsten's whole family comes down from Chicago every year to celebrate Turkey Day and Christmas together. They will have a huge spread and many will partake in vast amounts of spirits as well.
The weekend just flew by. It all started out by going out with my neighbor, fellow cyclist and friend Carey to The Royale for some supper and a few pints. It is not far from my house, located on South Kingshighway near Tower Grove Park. I heard about this place from numerous people and finally got to try it out. Well, it did not disappoint. Carey convinced me to try out the beef brisket tacos. Holy Cow!! They were absolutely amazing. The tender beef along with fresh blue cheese, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce in a soft taco just melted in my mouth. The atmosphere was cool and the beer they had on tap were tops as well. The various framed pictures of JFK, RFK, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and Harriet Tubman made my liberal ass feel at home. My mother would call the atmosphere very Bohemian.
Saturday started out just like the rest of the work week with me and the girls heading out early to Ste. Genevieve. I had to ref at Mineral Area College at 1pm, so I had to get the girls to Mom's around 11am. She watched them overnight so that Kirsten and I could go to a co workers party.
The game was OK as it really was not much different than a regular varsity girls contest. The brand of ball played was a little better, but still just plain bad when compared to a men's game. One notable differences between the college and high school game was the behavior of the coaches. The coach from MAC was not too different from a high school coach, but this idiot from the visiting Vincennes, IN team was a completely other story. This guy was the biggest asshole from the get go. He complained non stop for the entire game. He yelled at all the refs, players, whoever would listen. He cussed, gave dirty looks and tried to be as intimidating as possible. I just took it from him and found myself laughing most of the time, which just made him more upset. I really couldn't help myself. Here was this guy coaching a college team that seemed to be completely ignorant of the rules and the game itself. If he put the energy he used to yell at the officials he teamed maybe could have been better. His team did not run an offense and couldn't play a lick of defense. The players acted just like the coach, whining all the time. I never heard a word from the other team. They just took care of business and went with the flow. Granted, the other two officials I was with were not very good, but still no reason for the jack off from Vincennes to act the way he did. He left the court after getting beat by 20 points screaming that we were the worst refs he had ever seen. I again started laughing and told him I didn't think I would be able to sleep that night do to his kind words!
After the game, I headed home to meet Kirsten to go to my co worker, Kathy's party down in Imperial. She had just bought and new house and was having quite a few of us over to have a good time. A good time we did have. I won't go into any details, but no one hurt or arrested. Just a good time had by good friends. Kirsten and I made it home around 4am. Fortunately, as I stated above, the girls were at Mom's so we were able to sleep in. I think we rolled out around noon. It felt good!
We then went down to Mom's and picked up the girls. They had a great time with Mom. They went to a Tiger Sanctuary in Bloomsdale, Mo Saturday afternoon and then to dinner in Ste. Gen that evening. Mom said they behaved well and had a great time watching them.
It sure is nice having family around when trying to raise a family. Kirsten's parents and my Mom, brother and sister-in-law help us out a ton. Without them, it would be hard to ever get to do anything by ourselves. We do appreciate everything they do for us.
Tatum and I have only two days of school this week since it is Thanksgiving on Thursday. Kirsten's family is in town from Chicago, so her and the girls will be spending lots of time with them. That give me the freedom to do some mountain biking. I am planning on going out to hit some tails on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. It should be fun as the weather is changing and snow and rain is in the forecast. I will let you all know how it goes next weekend.
As some of you know, basketball was my first love in regards to sports. I started officiating basketball when I was 18yrs old when my Dad convinced me to do it. I had good high school carreer as a player thus the transition to ref was an easy one. My Dad did it for 30+ years and now I am on my 14yr, minus the 5 yrs I took off when I was an Assistant Varsity Boy's Basketball Coach and Seckman High School. I liked coaching, but the hours were not conducive to guy with a new child and a wife that works lousy hours. Officiating allows me to pick and choose the hours I am out, plus make some good cashola! I originally got back into reffing to support the outrageous daycare costs.($1200 a month for the past 3 years) Yes, that's right fellow cyclists, $1200 frickin dollars a month for two kids. How many bikes could you buy with that kind of money a month x 12?
Well, now that Tatum is in Kindergarten, the money is not near as tight. Now I am reffing more to support my habit. You know, cycling.
I don't really enjoy officiating all the time, but it keeps me in good shape and keeps me involved in the game I love and have grown up playing. Another thing is that I think I do a damn good job. I had a great rating last year and did almost 45 varsity contests. Some nights I feel good and enjoy what I just did, while other nights I come home just pissed off. Who likes to have coach and fans piss and moan at them for three hours a night? They really don't pay enough to listen to most bull shit. I get home at 10pm 5 nights a week only seeing the kids in the morning on the way to school. Leaving in the dark and getting home in the dark. I know, you say then quit. I did only take 25 games this year, but I am getting calls already for games. I picked up a college girls game for this Saturday afternoon. Did I really want to do it? No, but how can I justify passing up a couple of bills? That pays for a new stem on my bike, or the camelback I just bought. It helps pay for Santa Claus here in a month or so. You all know how it is. Perhaps I should have gotten a degree where I could have made enough money and not had to pick up a second job. In any case, basketball season is here and my life is nothing but on the go for the next three months. Call my cell phone if you want to get in touch with me.
What a morning of mountain biking! My friend and neighbor Carey and I out went out this morning to ride the infamous Chubb Trail in and around Lone Elk Park and Tyson Research Center. He had a late night and was a little sluggish at first. He then preceded to lose me on his fixed gear as usual. I had never ridden the trail before and now it has kicked my ass. I was not used to such technical climbing and decending. It has a ton of really technical rocks that are just incredibly hard for a person new to mountain biking.
I only fell three times today, but they were good ones. You can see from the photos how things went. I tried to do too much a couple of times and paid the price. I was not going fast when I crashed,but I was unable to unclick in time and bit it pretty hard. The last time I fell off the trail and rolled down a hill a couple of times. I also bent my chainring on a nice drop off when I took a wrong line. I didn't go down, but I could hear it hit as I jumped down. It was the big ring so it did not hamper my riding for the rest of the day. I can't wait to get back out and try it again. Now I know what to expect.
I also managed to mess up the coil on my lefty after I got home. I knew the fork-up was loose and couldn't figure out why. Now I know. I took it over the BigShark and they fixed it quickly. I had tried first, but then managed to screw it up even more. I also bought big ring and put it on. The mechanic convinced me to buy a cheap one until I polish my mountain skills.
The girls went and saw The Bee Movie while I was riding this morning. They enjoyed it quite a lot. When they got home we went to the park and played on the playground and swings. It was another beauiful day here in the STL with the temps reaching nearly 70 degrees.
What global warming? The Bush Administration has been right all along. That silly Al Gore. What does he know?
Kirsten's old college friend, Lesley was in town this weekend form Florida. We had not seen her in a few years, so it was good to catch up on things. The girls went out last night for supper and drinks and had a great time. Lesley stayed the night with us and Kirsten and the girls took her to the airport the morning. The girls from left to right are Lisa Sturm, Lesley Hurta, Kirsten and Amy Hogan.
Met fellow Big Shark racers James Nelson and Matt Struckman out at Castlewood for a little mountain biking today. I had a good time riding with those guys. They took it easy on me as they both have a cyclocross on Sunday. We did about 15 miles. The weather was great although a little on the chilly side. When we started out is was about 30 degrees, but sunny. Not many people were on the trails when we took off at 7:45, but plenty were out and about when we were finishing up around 11. All three of us took a spill with myself taking the hardest fall of the day. I was descending and came around a turn with a lot of loose gravel and my front wheel slid out from under me and down I went. I hit hard on my left knee and elbow, with the knee taking the brunt of the fall. I ripped a hole in my leg end and had some minor cuts, but no damage to the Cdale. James went down right in front of me going up hill. His tire got caught in some roots and went right over his bars landing on his head. Looked scary but he hopped right up and kept on going. All in all it was a good day. I hope to ride with these guys again.
It was nerve racking not only because the bike was just a few hours old, but also because my 80 yr old Grandpa was riding it around his driveway on a Sunday jaunt. I was worried he would crash it and break his hip, neck or something. Really, I was more concerned about him than about the new ride. As you can see he did just fine. You know what they say! Just like riding a bike. You never forget. He did say how easy it was to ride, more so than his 1940 Western Flyer. He tried stopping with a foot break that of course was not there. I had to grab him and slow him down. I about crapped on myself.
Walter Wyman is the man. I hope I can make it to that age, much less ride my grandson's new bike!
This is the newest school picture of me. Nice HUH!! I think short hair is in now.
After talking with some fellow teachers, I starting thinking that I have a school picture from almost every year of my life from age 5 til age 34. I of course have one from kindergarten to 12th grade and even two or three from college taken with the fraternity. I did go to college 6 years and I know I had 3 fraternity pictures taken. I am missing three years worth somewhere from ages 21 thru 25. I have one for the first 11 years of teaching as well. That puts me at roughly 27 school pictures in my lifetime! HOW MANY OF YOU CAN TOP THAT? I know my Mom and Dad can as they taught school 30 years a piece. Can my Mom find all her pictures from K thru 12th grade though? We shall see. I will take up the task between now and Christmas to see how many school pictures I can find of me.
Tatum loves Root Beer. Reese refuses to drink it as she says it is for Moms and Dads only! We try to explain it is not REAL beer, but you know how Reese is.
What a weekend! I had parent teacher conferences all day Thursday and then Friday off. The conferences went well for me and for Tatum. She did very well getting perfect marks and her teacher had nothing but good things to say about her. I know she is a great kid, but it is nice to hear someone else not related to you say it as well.
The girls and I went down to Ste. Genevieve, Mo on Friday to visit my Mom and help her get a small bit of yard work done. After the yard was done, I took the girls swimming at the Community Center. We were the only ones there, making it a really good time. Tatum is getting better at swimming and Reese is really coming along as well.
Saturday was a spectacular day. I met my friend and neighbor Carey out at Castlewood State Park to do some mountain biking. He had gotten there early and done 8 mi or so. I got there around 9am after dropping my offspring off at my at my brother's house. It couldn't have been a better morning. The leaves were in full color and not many people on the trails. I hadn't ridden a bike in about a month. I was a little burned out after a full 5 months of training and racing on the road and decided I needed to spend some time with the family and get my school stuff in order. It felt really good to be back out on the bike and really good to be back out on the mtn bike. I hadn't been on a trail since 1995 while down at the prestigious Southeast Mo St. U.
Carey led every trail and kicked my ass up, down and around all of them on his fixed gear. He is in really good shape and a really good mtn bike racer. My time off showed not only in the aerobic dept, but also in the technical dept. The Cdale 29er was a blast to ride and did make me a better mtn rider, but a lot of work is still needed before I even consider racing. After a few miles I started to feel better on the trails. It is still very nerve racking to be going down a gravel hill with at least a 20% grade with the Meremac River only 200ft straight down! To cap it off, their were a few hikers watching us go down the hill only making me a little more nervous. No one wants to bite it front of a couple nice looking ladies on a morning hike! Carey just zooms down with no problems, while I take my time just hoping to stay on the bike! I don't like heights! One thing I didn't lose was the joy of taking some big jumps and getting some big air. Carey let me play around on one of the jumps for a little while. I just did it a few times, but was still a rush. Bigger air next time!
I don't know how far we rode, but Carey estimates we did 8 or 10 miles together. I wanted to do more, but I had to get back to pick up the girls to take them to a birthday party. I am completely stoked about the mtn biking. I can't wait to get back on the bike next weekend. I hope to get a chance to ride Sat and Sunday at Castlewood again or perhaps the Chubb Trail. My goal by this years end is to ride the Berryman Trail down in exotic Washington County, Mo. Thanks Carey for convincing me to give mtn biking a try again. I am pissed that I didn't give it a go sooner. I am now hooked. I am sure Kirsten is happy as I now have more things to buy!!
The birthday party I took the girls to was fine. They had a good time and the food and drink was swell. I do wish Kirsten could take them to more of these parties. I am generally the only Dad there and have to talk with all the moms. Sometimes that isn't all bad though!!!! One cool thing is that I had to go and buy the boy a gift before we went. I got him some hot wheels and a cool race track that shot the cars out and did a big jump! I would have liked that when I was 4!!
Last night was fun as well. Tatum wanted to watch a movie so I put in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It was one of my favorite films when I was younger and she absolutely loved it. It sounded and looked good with the plasma and surround sound as well. I fixed some home grown popcorn from my Grandpas' farm the old fashioned way just like my Dad used to do. I popped it in a pot on the stove and then put lots of butter on it. It went down smoothly with an ice cold Pepsi. Nothing better! Thanks Dad!
With the time change last night, the Wyman family got out early. Those of you that know us know this is highly unusual! I had been planning on going to down Fort de Chartres in Randolph County, IL for the past couple of weeks for the winter rendevoux. While I had ridden my bike down there a couple of times over the past couple of years, the family had never been there. My parents used to take us to the summer rendevoux and we always had a good time. I remember buying my first rabbit fur and bowie knife there. The original fort was built around 1720 buy the French. Since then it has been moved, burned and rebuilt buy numerous countries. The most recent was by the USA! For those of you who have never been to such an event, you must go. I was very impressed as there were French, Indian, Mountain Men and British re-enacactors from all over the country there to participate. They had all authentic goods for sale as well as gun shooting contest and cannons shooting off. I even bought Tatum a bottle of old fashioned Root beer. I think the girls had a good time.
The drive to and from the fort down Bluff Rd was just beautiful. It only takes an hour to get there from out house in the city, but because of the nice weather it just flew by. We got lunch at the little general store in Prairie duRocher just a few miles from the fort. I knew from bike riding that we could get a really good bologna sandwich for next to nothing and an ice cold drink as well. Four sandwiches with loaded down cheese and bologna only cost $5! We sat out on the front curb and ate them before we headed home. What a nice weekend.
Most of the photos are from today at at the rendevoux. Talk to you all later.
This past Friday evening was the annual Fall Festival at mine and Tatum's school. It started out with some sprinkles, but eventually the rain tapered off and things went very well. Kirsten and my Mom took the girls around to play games and to eat. Reese won a ton of prizes, while poor Tatum couldn't win a thing! Here are a couple of shots of the girls. Reese insisted on kissing the cow!
Reese's Pre-school class at A Child's Place went to Stuckmeyer's pumpkin patch last week. It was the first field trip for the pre-schoolers. It rained a little but not enough to dampen the fun. Contact me if you would like to rent Reese.
"It liberates the vandal to travel - you never saw a bigoted, opinionated, stubborn, narrow-minded, self-conceited, almighty mean man in your life but he had stuck in one place since he was born" MARK TWAIN, 1868 With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. Steven Weinberg
Just call me the D-Town Hero!
I was born and raised in the small town of DeSoto, Mo just about 45 south of St. Louis. I now live in the big city and teach in a school district in northern Jefferson County. I have a great family that supports all my endeavors. My passion for the last 4 years has been bicycle racing. I have always been into cycling, but have taken it to another level over the past few years.
I enjoy watching bicycle racing on tv along with Cardinal Baseball and high school and college basketball. While it is not my passion, I also officiate high school and college basketball. It pays the bills in the winter!
Travel has made me the person I am today. If more people got out and saw the world it would be a much better place. Read the quote by Twain on the front of my blog. Couldn't be more true!