What a week – Fall to Summer to Winter

One week ago today I got up at 4am and left for the airport. It was dark, 42 degrees, and pouring rain as I left the house. I drove to Payless Parking on Brown Ave. to try them out for the first time. The experience was very good, by the way. It was a cold, wet, dark, fall morning. There were leaves in the driveway, on the road, and more were falling all around.

After getting through security, getting on my half full flight to Chicago, and landing in San Jose, I arrived in summer. The sun was shining. There was not a cloud in the sky. The temperature was a perfect 70 degrees and I couldn’t help but smile.

Of course, the night before I left for California the forecast here at home was calling for maybe 1-3 inches of snow over the weekend. As Thursday and Friday progressed that forecast changed quite a bit, as far as the snow totals were concerned.

When I last had seen my son Ryan, it was the end of August, the weather was about the same, and I knew not what was in store for him. Now, he’s two months into school, he has four A’s and a B in his classes. He has been playing baseball almost every single day, and has been the starting catcher in Ohlone’s fall baseball games. Ryan has done a great job with school, baseball, and living so far away from home, on his own.  I couldn’t wait to see him.

My brother and a family friend also made the trip to California so we could all see Ryan play. We also wanted to spend some time getting some video of Ryan hitting and throwing to second base, so we could update his website. My brother and friend have worked so hard on Ryan’s baseball career, it’s great when we can all get together.

On Thursday night we did get together and watch the amazing game 6 of the World Series. Friday afternoon , Ryan had a game at Laney College in Oakland. So we made our way to Oakland to see Ryan play at Laney.

Ryan bats at Laney College in Oakland, CA. They have a beautiful turf complex right on campus.

Ohlone was at Laney to play a double-header, 2 games, 9 innings each. That’s a long day, but that’s how they get all the players innings and at bats in the fall. Ryan started game one behind the plate. He played 6 1/2 innings and batted 4 times.

Ryan fouls a pitch straight back @ Laney.

Ryan at second base @ Laney, where he was stranded three times.

Ryan was hit by a pitch, walked twice, and was out on a fly ball to center field. He was on base three times and stranded on base all three times. Even though he didn’t score on offense, he did what he could on defense.

Ryan receiving a pitch at Laney.

Ryan shows a steady hand receiving a pitch.

Ryan is balanced and ready to receive the pitch

Laney had a few runners on base early in the game and each time they were given the sign to steal, the batter either fouled off a pitch, or put the ball in play. It seemed to work pretty well for Laney, and they were quite aggressive on the base paths. Finally there was a straight steal attempt, with the batter taking the pitch to allow for the steal of 2nd base. Ryan was ready. He received the pitch, popped to his feet with his right arm cocked to fire.

Ryan finally gets a chance to throw on a straight steal. It was the last straight steal they tried.

He uncoiled the throw to second base, a perfect one hop throw right on the bag. His pop time was 1.9 seconds are measured in digital video of the throw. The result was obvious. The runner was out by a lot, and was quite shocked with the outcome. That was the last straight steal attempt Laney made while Ryan was catching. Ryan made some nice stops behind the plate and played a good game.

Ryan shows his strength. Blocking the ball.

Ryan didn’t get off the field until after 8pm, more than seven hours after they had arrived at Laney College. So, we didn’t get to see him on Friday night. Saturday morning Ryan had practice with the team. Then after grabbing some lunch together we worked out on a local high school field. He threw down to second base to work on his pop times. He also took about 60 swings, hitting only with his wood bats, to get the best feel there is in hitting. Later on, we ate dinner together and watched some college football. Once again, I was forced to say a good-bye to my son. Ryan then returned to his apartment for the night and our visit was done.

Meanwhile, at around 4pm Eastern time, the snow started to fall here in Goffstown. In no time, it was snowing very hard. Almost instantly fall transformed into a winter scene. While I was on a ball field with Ryan in California, with temperatures in the mid-70’s, his younger brothers and sister were playing in the snow at home.

Sebastian, Theodore, and Jacqueline playing in an October snow storm

The twins and Sebastian in the snow. Look how big the snow flakes are!

The kids were playing in the beautiful white snow. That’s innocent enough, right? The forecast had been upgraded, we were now set to receive 6-10 inches of snow. The kids were loving what had already fallen.

Jacqueline sits down in the snow

Theodore is ready for the cold weather and wet snow

Jacqueline takes in some large snow flakes

The kids thoroughly enjoyed their time in the snow. The twins, as always, were happy to be playing with big brother Sebastian. Soon it was time for them to come in, warm up, and hunker down for the night.

Jacqueline walks in the snow

Theodore appears to be frozen stiff

Ah, that's better. It looks like he did move

Jacqueline can't go too far without checking in with big brother

It was somewhere around 1:30am Eastern time when I received a call from my wife that they had lost power here at home. For the next few hours I didn’t sleep well, knowing Amaris and the kids were without power back in NH. Somewhere around 7:15am Eastern time I received a call from Amaris asking me about the generator and snow blower. Now I was wide awake, even though it was still 4:15am in California. I got up and went down stairs to use the computer in the lobby of the hotel. I pulled up weather info, updates from our power company, flight information for my return flight later that day, spec sheets on our generator and snow blower models. I tried to communicate as best I could with Amaris to make sure she got power going and to get a way in and out of the driveway.

Ironically enough, the last time I had been out to California to see Ryan, we got hit by a hurricane after I left. I recall my son Steve and I being worried about our return flights as many east bound flights had been cancelled or delayed due to the hurricane. So those thoughts rushed through my mind and Amaris’ mind as we tried to get her through this October Nor’easter. Oh, and by the way, the storm ended up dumping 18 inches of snow at our house.

Amaris did a fantastic job! She got the driveway (we have a difficult one) cleared enough to get in and out. She couldn’t get the generator started on her own. Thanks to some dear friends from hockey who came by to help us out. They got the generator up and running, and at least there was power and heat. Once I heard that news, I breathed much easier, what a relief. Normally I am home, and I would be the one taking care of the snow blowing, the generator starting, and making sure we had things as prepared as possible. In my absence, Amaris was awesome.

As it were, my flights were full, but on time. It was a long day of travel after a long night of uncertainty. I landed just before 11pm in Manchester. Payless Parking sent their shuttle right over to pick me up even though they had just regained their power minutes before. Again, the experience with Payless Parking was good. I will use them again. I drove home along the eerily dark highway as just about everyone was without power. I got the top of the ramp at my exit, and as I looked north and west, there was not a light to be seen. It was memorable.

I was stopped at a dark traffic light, there were no other cars in the area, it was just black in front of me and to my left. It was as if the frame of perspective we use to measure and calculate had vanished and nothing looked near of far. It just looked dark and endless. I didn’t take either of the first two streets I would normally choose to go home as I knew with the power outages there was a real good chance neither road was passable from trees or lines being down. I knew this from recent memories of the famous Ice Storm of 2008 and also from the brutal Wind Storm of 2010. I would find out in the morning that this was a wise choice. Anyways, I got up the driveway after a couple of tries, as the melting snow had refrozen in the driveway.

The generator was running and we had power in the house. I made sure the generator was full so we could sleep through until morning before refilling. My wife and kids were all sound asleep. Amaris was so exhausted she barely realized I was home from California. She deserved the deep sleep she was in.

To make a longer story short, we ended up without full power until late Wednesday afternoon. Almost four whole days without power. I may write more about that later I suppose. Our generator served us well. After living through the two storms I mentioned before, when we were without power for 5 days or more each time, it was nice to have a generator to use instead of talking about how bad we need one. My wife and kids performed admirably. Friends came to the rescue, as we would do for them, as it should be. In a week I experienced fall, then summer, then winter. Thanks to the weather, I am now banished from making another trip to California.

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