Just got back from a week-long trip out to California to spend the holidays with the folks, so I apologize if you were expecting a post last week. Andrew was back from Australia, so it was good to catch up with him and hear about his adventures. I got a nasty stomach virus on Christmas day, and I was disappointed I couldn't enjoy one of my favorite foods: Honeybaked ham. But Mom was nice enough to save the leftovers and she made me a ham sandwich for the flight back to Detroit.
One of the chores the folks had lined up for us was to help Andrew move into his apartment. Since he had been in Australia since the beginning of the school year, this was his first chance to set up his room. I had never been to Santa Barbara before and I heard that the UCSB campus was amazing, so I decided to be a good brother and lend a hand. When Andrew said his campus was right on the beach, I figured that meant it was a short walk or bus trip away. But he wasn't kidding: some of the buildings on campus had a view of the beach from the classrooms. I kept thinking that anyone from the midwest would never be able to get any work done, as we would just want to lay on the sand all day. While he sometimes laments missing out on the big school experience I had at Michigan, he never regrets the beautiful campus.
It was also nice to be away from snowy Michigan, where I heard from a co-worker that some parts of Washtenaw County lost power last week.
Despite getting it right once in awhile, I still tend to scoff at doomsday weather reports from local meteorologists. The reports for last night called for 5-8 inches of snow to fall overnight and conditions to be awful this morning. I assumed we would have a slight dusting and business would continue as usual today. Again, they got it right.
According to my unofficial measurement (see below), we had over 7 inches fall in less than 24 hours. I was unable to leave my complex this morning, so I had to use a vacation day for work. I’ve been checking my work e-mail throughout the morning and it seems like only a brave few made the trek into the office this morning. The plows finally came through my complex around 11:30, but they left a pile behind my car, so that took about 10 minutes to remove. Almost all the schools in the area were closed, so the kids joined me for an extended holiday break.
The winter thus far has been especially awful, with a few sub-zero wind chill days and high winds over much of the last week. We had been receiving moderate amounts of snow, but nothing on the level of the 7 inches from last night. I’m heading out to California next week and I doubt the weather will be much better: Mom said they had temps in the 40s (frigid for them) and even Vegas had a dusting of snow this week.
Photo: Yup, that's really 7.25 inches of snow
Making my list
The holidays seemed to sneak up on me again this year. I guess I was oblivious to all the themed ads on TV and WNIC playing Christmas music since October. But thanks to all the members of the omnipresent media, I am now in the holiday spirit!
This year, Tracy talked me into sending Christmas cards. I have been living on my own for three years now, and I never felt the need to send out cards. I guess I felt that sending someone a Christmas card implied that I didn’t talk to that person on a regular basis and the card was supposed to say, “Hey, I didn’t forget about you!” But Tracy said that wasn’t the case at all and it was supposed to show your close friends you are thinking of them. I read an article that said you should send out cards “to anyone you don’t see at the dinner table every night.” So basically there were telling me to send them out to everyone I know, except Cosmo.
Finding the right card was tricky too. I wanted to find one that was an actual Christmas card (and not a holiday card) without being overly religious, as well as one that seemed appropriate for the holidays and still seeming masculine. I think I found one that worked and I spent a good part of the morning sending them out. So if you were not lucky enough to receive one from me this year, I apologize, but the box only came with 16, and since my dinner table is empty, they ran out quickly.
Winning sports weekend
Now that the Michigan football season is mercifully over, it’s been awhile since I watched any sports team that managed to win important games. That changed this weekend, as I attended the MAC Championship game at Ford Field on Friday, and the Michigan basketball and hockey teams notched big wins over important opponents yesterday.
I think I’ve mentioned before that as a subscriber to the Free Press, I use auto-debit to pay for my subscription. The Freep likes to reward these folks with periodic giveaways by sending out an e-mail blast asking for subscribers to rank their interest in the prizes they have to offer. They usually have lame stuff like a free pizza or a cup of coffee, but they occasionally have good prizes. I won tickets to see the Beach Boys last summer, and I scored a pair of tickets to the MAC game this time around.
Yesterday was a red-letter day for Michigan, thanks in large part to no football game to painfully watch. Coming off an awful season last year, the Michigan basketball has put the Big Ten on notice with its second upset of a top-five opponent already this season. Yesterday’s victim was Duke, who handled the Wolverines the last time they played a couple weeks prior. But the combination of Duke being ice cold from behind the arc and Michigan hitting key shots, the Wolverines scored another upset on national TV and gave Ann Arbor something to get excited about. I’m not ready to say this team will be dancing in March, but just the optimism sure feels nice for a change.
Not to be outdone, the hockey team completed the sweep of Michigan State, the first time either team has secured two wins in a weekend in a decade. The icers certainly are playing below expectations due to the injury bug biting particularly hard early in the season, but they seem to be getting guys healthy and turning the corner. I would be shocked if they didn’t manage to squeeze into the NCAA Tournament come April. (Hey Sparties, we’re not about to put up billboards just because we swept you guys in a down year.)