Just Chillin’ (After A One-Day Delay)

Jan 11, 2019   //   by bwilber   //   Bob's Blog  //  1 Comment

Well look at this! With enormous help from our web guru Laura I am back up and running after being unable to get anything posted yesterday. Laura has come to my rescue numerous times since we moved the blog to this location, and she was able to do it again today. I contacted her yesterday and despite the fact she was on a business trip she got right back to me. She shared an informative link about the new “upgrades” to the WordPress system that were all befuddling me, and the story made it clear that WordPress was aiming to totally revamp the whole program in one big move. I didn’t like it.

I’m not typically “that guy” who just hates change because it’s change. The trouble with this change was that the overhaul was so big and vast, and most of it was aimed at web developers who do much more technical and complicated stuff. It required unlearning a ton of stuff that now comes naturally to me, and learning stuff that was like a new language. All I need here on Bob’s Blog is a quick and easy way to type some text and drop in a few photos. The old way made that simple and easy, right in my sweet spot. I did notice, however, a link in the story Laura sent along that indicated you could reload the old “classic” program if you did not want the new program.

This morning, Laura did that and now I feel like I’m home again, in my familiar neighborhood speaking my native tongue. And it bears mentioning that Laura was also instrumental and indispensable when it came to bringing the entire TPGF website into existence when my brother Del created the charity. She’s the best.

So, the following four paragraphs were what I started yesterday, on my duly appointed Thursday Blog Day. This was all that survived my attempt at new technology…

We’ve had a strange Minnesota winter, to this point. It’s been a seesaw kind of season, with temperatures ranging from “normal” cold to unseasonably warm. Or maybe it’s been a teeter-totter kind of winter. For instance, just a couple of days ago we started the day, early in the morning, with our high temp of about 30. By noon, we were approaching 12 degrees and the wind was whipping, creating a wind-chill of somewhere well below zero. By this weekend, we may be back to 40.

One thing we haven’t had is brutal bone-chilling frigid temps, yet. The operative word there is “yet” I suspect. And by merely typing that sentence I guess I’ve insured that it will happen. Right now, it’s 20 degrees and sunny. I’ll take it.

So here’s something interesting… Earlier this week it occurred to me that I was in a position, with Delta Airlines, that I could not remember being in since the beginning of time. Or at least since the Delta – Northwest merger. I had no listing for “Next Trip” on my account. The page was empty. There was nothingness to look at.

For the last 20+ years I’ve worked about three months ahead of time in terms of booking flights, and that means that I’d always have my first racing flight booked by early December, whether it was for preseason testing or Pomona. PomonaPomona.

See that, right at the end there! That was when the last paragraph and five or six more disappeared out of the box the system had me working in. I couldn’t find them and couldn’t see anything after the first Pomona. I kept trying to open things up and see what I was doing, but now it’s clear that all I was doing was erasing and retyping the word “Pomona” time and time again, in an attempt to make it magically reappear. It was pretty frustrating. It’s all good now, though. We’ll call it Friday Blog Day this time around, and next week we’ll get back to Thursday.

So yeah, by now I’m usually all the way out beyond Gainesville in terms of booking flights and hotels. It’s totally weird to have had no trips booked.

I have plans! (Click on any image to enlarge)

Now, I do have two trips booked but they’re not for races. This is what the “My Trips” page now looks like on Delta.com.

The first one is MSP to TPA, which would be Tampa. Our SIUE “Roomies Reunion” is all set now, for a Spring Training trip through part of the Grapefruit League in Florida. We’ll all arrive in the Tampa area on March 7, and I’ve booked an Airbnb private home on the water for three nights. If the photos and reviews of the place are anywhere close to accurate, it’s going to be pretty fantastic.

On the 8th, we’ll make the drive over to Lakeland to see the Tigers play at Marchant Stadium. If you’ve read my book “Bats, Balls, & Burnouts” you’ll understand why I wanted to get to that ballpark so much. It’s the only one left down there that I actually played in. When we approach it in the rental car, and I see the massive light towers, I guarantee the hair on my arms will stand up.

On the 9th we’ll see the Pirates play a home game at historic McKechnie Field in Bradenton. How historic is it? It was originally built in 1923. That’s pretty historic. It’s undergone renovations in 1993 and 2013, but the bones of the place are really old and it’s really cool. I have a connection there, as well. When my dad was the manager of the Minnesota Twins team in the Florida Instructional League, during much of the 60s, they played their home games at McKechnie Field. I, therefore, shagged fly balls and acted as the bat boy for guys like Rod Carew and Graig Nettles, on those teams, when I was 10, 11, and 12 years old.

On the 10th we’ll get up early and make the drive down to Fort Myers, and we’ll head straight to Hammond Stadium to see the Twins play the Blue Jays. Yeah, there are two more connections. We’ve scheduled an “off day” for ourselves on the 11th, to maybe go to the beach or find some good food, and then we’ll venture over to the east side of Fort Myers to see the Red Sox play in their incredible new Spring Training venue, Jet Blue Park. On the 13th, I’ll fly home from the Fort Myers / Naples airport.

Should be a great time, and we’re all looking forward to it. Four ballgames in five days, two different Airbnb homes, and lots more to do.

And for the record, Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland is now officially Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, while McKechnie Field is now officially LECOM Park, and Hammond Stadium is officially part of the CenturyLink Sports Complex. Times, and names, do change. I don’t have any story to tell about Jet Blue Park, because it’s new and the airline has been the title sponsor since it opened.

On the photo above, you can also see a second scheduled trip. Yes, boys and girls, I’ve once again been “hired” to cat-sit for my sister Mary and her husband Lonnie, on Kauai, so they can come over here to see their kids and grandkids. I’ll head over on Sunday March 17 and fly back on the same red-eye we’ve been using for the last couple of years, out of Honolulu, on the 26th. I’m sure Biscuit cares not one bit that I’m coming, but I also swear that Maxie not only remembered me when were just over there for Christmas, he warmed right up to me immediately and even let me rub his little belly. It’s going to be another adventure, I’m sure, and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve always felt I had a valuable mission to accomplish in my life, and now it is before me. I’m a cat sitter. But, I reserve the right to select and approve my cat-sitting locations.

After that, I have no idea. There will be races to attend, I’m sure, but my main focus now is on getting the new book “How Far?” finished and edited. I’m going to try to write for at least three hours a day for the next few weeks, and we’ll see “How Far” I get. See what I did there? I suspect there will still be writing and editing to do when I’m over on Kauai, likely quite a bit more writing and editing, so that will be a great time to get a lot done.

My assistants have reported for work.

This is, indeed, a short one but considering I didn’t think I’d get one done at all this week, I’m good with it.

I’ll end it with this shot of my two executive assistants as they anticipate their newest assignments, waiting patiently on my desk.

They’re all clocked in and ready to use the litter box, crunch on some food, squawk at birdies, and crouch down when that pesky little red squirrel comes around. They usually clock out about an hour later. Attention spans being such as they are.

As always, if you read this short installment and “like totally dug it man, and thought it was groovy” please hit the “Like” button at the top. That would be totally groovy, if you would.

And finally, one more time…  THANK YOU LAURA! You have saved me once again.

Bob Wilber, at your service and happy to be “home” on the old WordPress program.


1 Comment

  • Thank you and Del for always being one of my biggest supporters and for all you do to help people sorting through their careers. YOU are the best.

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