Perhaps this post would be more appropriately named “Attack of the Mommy.” She came, she saw, she conquered. Said more plainly, she kicked my krib’s butt.
During a visit of just over four full days (Thursday night – Tuesday morning), my mom did the following: painted my bed room, painted my living room, carpeted my bed room, carpeted my living room, hung curtains in my bed room, bought a bunch of random kitchen and bathroom stuff (some of which I knew I needed, some of which I didn’t even knew existed), found a really nice desk that also easily comes apart and lies flat (not that I’m already thinking about moving), did laundry, and bought a lazy-boy chair I’m sitting in right now for $3. Oh yeah, and my refrigerator is practically overflowing with excessively healthy and/or home cooked food.
The amazing part? Most of this happened while I was either at work or asleep. We still had time to tour the (famous?) Carlsbad Caverns and the Living Dessert State Park, find the one hill in Carlsbad and it’s corresponding lookout over the city, go to church, invite my neighbor Dan over for brunch, watch Modern Family and go to Bible study (I think she also read a book while here too).
To be fair, I did a decent job for myself in setting up a reasonable living arrangement. Also to be fair, it felt a lot like college. Now with a touch of Mom love, it actually feels like a real home. So while it is no longer anything like ‘Worth the Trip’ it now actually is worth the trip.
And what a trip it is, as my mom unfortunately found out. To get here from St. Louis requires either a) a day and a half of driving, b) three flights or c) two flights and 1-2 hours of driving. When it snows in Dallas and nearly shuts down the airport (as it did on my Mom’s travel day) it takes even longer. So don’t worry, I only expect those of you who really love me to come out.
Speaking of love, I had quite the Valentines Day here in Carlsbad. Well, actually it was on the day after. In an effort to serve, honor and appreciate the girls at Bible study, us guys got together to make the day special for them. We showed up to the Trone’s house a couple hours early to cook dinner. Jeremy designed a hand drawn card and made copies for everyone. We also had a rose and a small box of chocolates fro each girl. If any of this sounds suspiciously like ‘Naventines’ to my friends back at Miami, that’s because this may or may not have been phase 2 of my efforts to turn Monday Night at the Trone’s into Miami Navs (Phase 1 was inviting Ellen, of course).
It’s occurring to me right now, as I think of what to write next, that I have failed post an update about the one reason I am even down here in the first place: work. So I will now close by telling you stories from my job… which is to tell stories.
Being a journalist is an interesting (for lack of better word) career because you fall somewhere in between a normal citizen and a public figure. I have now been here long enough that when I introduce myself to new people, more times than not they will pause, give an inquisitive look and ask for my last name. When I say ‘Kukla’ they will then reposition their head, give a new inquisitive look and say something to the effect of “I feel like I recognize you from somewhere.” So far I’ve decided to play dumb and tell them that I’m new in town so I don’t know how that could be.
It’s a funny thing, having your name put in the paper everyday but only your picture every so often (whenever I get enough time, energy and interesting thoughts about current events in the sports world – all at the same time – to write a column. This has only happened twice so far). It’s like people don’t quite know who you are, but they have heard of you. Not quite citizen, not quite celeb.
Once people do figure out who I am, it prompts various responses. The two most common are to a) say something polite like “we’re glad to have you here” / “you’re doing a good job” / “I liked your article” or b) offer advice.
“All I ask is that you be fair,” one lady said to me. “You know, women can be athletes too.”
“It would be nice to hear how all the lower level team are doing,” one man told me. “We care about the C-team, JV and the 8th graders too.”
“It’s great to get stories about the Cavemen,” another said, “but we need to know what’s going on with all of the 5A schools for when Carlsbad plays in districts and state.”
Um, does anyone happen to own a cloning device. Apparently I not only need to be in multiple places at once, I actually need to be everywhere, all the time.
The best comments, however, come by some form of mail (snail-, voice- or e-). These come from people so worked up about something that they feel the need to go out of their way to call or write me.
My favorite was the hand-written letter someone sent me to welcome me to town… and inform me of every single sports interest in Carlsbad from middle school (PR Leyva and Alta Vista), high school (CHS… and every other 5A school in the state), college (UNM, NMSU, Texas Tech and UTEP) and Pro (Cowboys and Astros because of proximity, Marlins because of former Caveman Cody Ross and the Dodgers for no apparent reason at all). I wonder what would happen if I just started running all Cardinals, Rams, Blues, RedHawks and Mizzou stories.
My least favorite was an angry phone call from a dad angry about my coverage of his son’s 8th grade basketball game. I will say, for the record, that I went to this game, stayed for the entire time, wrote a full story with TWO pictures and ran it top front. Unfortunately, in my picture of the team holding up their conference championship trophy after the game, I did not list the names of every single player… and his son, instead of celebrating with his team, decided to skip out on my photo op.
Apparently this is completely my fault and also complete bull s***, among many other four-letter words.
The most random message I’ve received? I’ll just give you the entire thing: “NASCAR. Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday. Carlsbad want it. Now let’s see how good you are.” I wish he had left a phone number. He was so nice and I would have liked to tell him that he got the wrong number. There’s no way someone calling about cars driving in circles wanted to talk to the SPORTS editor.