Monday, September 12, 2011

No One Has Ever Accused My Husband of Being Succinct

Well. I didn't really intend to take a week-long blogging break, but I seem to have lost the ability to transmit cohesive thoughts onto a blog post. I have several posts drafted, with just pictures and no words, and a couple of posts in my head, but when I sit down at the computer, nothing happens.

Must be the computer. Technical difficulties.

I decided it would be the perfect time for my husband, Hot Brandon to jump in as a guest blogger and tell you about what the men of my family did on Labor Day.

Chances are, it's not how you spent your Labor Day. Unless you're the men of my family. Or Ethan "The Ross-a-tron" Berger. In that case, it is how you spent your Labor Day. Without further ado, here's Brandon's take on the day.

My father-in-law just happens to be the owner of a couple sets of huge risers that he had custom-made for taking football team pictures (He is a professional photographer after all), and these risers just happen to be the only risers like them in the world (I think it has something to do with the fact that he is the only photographer crazy enough to haul them around the country). Because of this, Pappy gets to take some pretty cool pictures. He has been hired the last few years to bring his risers to Super Bowls where they are used to take the team pictures. He shoots college football programs all over the country. And he happens to be the official, team-picture taker for the Houston Texans (Who are currently undefeated on the season – Whoop Whoop!). So Pappy decided that it was the perfect time to take Dane and Aidan, who just happen to be obsessed with football right now, to the annual Labor Day Texans picture extravaganza.

The morning started out as all mornings should…at the Cracker Barrel. After breakfast we piled into various vehicles and headed to Reliant Stadium.

Some of us were more excited than others.

Reliant Stadium has a grass field but the grass is grown on pallets that are removed and grown outside of the stadium during the off season. When we got to the stadium, we were able to drive the suburban with the risers into the stadium and onto the barren expanse of concrete that usually looks like a football field.

So all the adults on the trip (Dad (me), Pappy, Uncle John, Uncle Andy and Ethan “The Ross-a-tron” Berger) start unloading risers and getting them set up for about 11 and a half tons of football playing flesh to pile onto. While this was going on, the boys were free to run around on the concrete, play football, fly Uncle John’s remote controlled helicopter and just drink in the experience of being inside Reliant Stadium!

That lasted for about five minutes when the boys got “bored” and began filling the time by asking, “When are the players gonna get here,” about every 30 seconds and chugging Gatorade like it’s going out of style. Between them, Dane and Aidan probably backed down about 20 mini bottles of Gatorade in the three hours we were there (Seriously).

The closest bathroom facility from where we were was about 100 yards away. After the consumption of the Gatorade began, the boys inextricably worked out a system of having to pee about every 10 minutes. This may not sound too bad, but they weren’t on the same schedule…so every time I got back from the 200 yard bathroom trek the next boy would have to pee and it started all over again, meaning the three of us probably walked and extra 4 miles or so!!! I searched that “reliable” source of information – the World Wide Web (Thank you Al Gore) – for information about how long it takes water to pass through the body and found times from 62 hours (Those people have not met my kids) to 45 minutes. In my experience with Dane and Aidan, I think liquids simply fall right into their bladder because the turnaround time is almost instantaneous.

Somehow in between all the bathroom breaks, we were able to get everything set up for the photo shoot and the time had finally come…the Texans players began to arrive. Aidan decked out in his brand-new Andre Johnson jersey and Dane sporting Matt Schaub’s #8 had been instructed to follow Pappy around as he got the players situated on the risers.

The kids were in awe…they looked like two munchkins walking around in a forest of trees with 20-inch biceps.

6’4, 300lb. Shaun Cody saw Aidan and Dane staring open mouthed at their grid-iron heroes and came over to mess with the kids.

He knelt down and offered Aidan a fist-bump (His fist was about the size of Aidan’s head, on arms as big as my thighs), and just as Aidan went in to dap his knuckles Cody pulled his hand away and ran his fingers through his hair. Needless to say, Aidan thought that was AMAZING!

Pappy left the kids wandering around the players and went up to Matt Schaub and asked if he would sign Dane’s jersey (Pappy had the marker ready to go).

Schaub, who happens to be a really nice guy walks over to Dane, gets down on one knee and says, “Hey Dane, do you mind if I sign your jersey?” Dane, mouth open – unable to reply, simply turned and let Matt sign the back of his jersey. He regained the ability to speak just in time to squeak, “Thank you,” as Schaub returned to the risers.

Dane ran over to me afterwards and said excitedly, “I can’t believe Matt Schaub knows who I am.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him about the Pappy prompting…so my seven year old now thinks that he is household name among players in the NFL. That will help keep him humble…

Pappy then worked his way over the Andre Johnson (A man who many consider to be the best wide receiver in the NFL) and asked him to sign Aidan’s #80 Johnson jersey. And you have to understand, Aidan loves Andre Johnson. I told him a few years back that he was probably the best player on the Texans football team and that was enough for Aidan…Andre Johnson became his fav. He even named his favorite brown teddy bear after Andre and that bear terrorizes opposing defenses in Aidan’s stuffed animal football games.

Johnson who is also a really nice, soft-spoken 6’3 225lb. guy walked over to my tall-skinny 3’8" 48lb. Aidan and quietly asked if he could sign the jersey. It was so awesome to see the look of glee on Aidan’s face as the perennial pro bowler Andre Johnson knelt on the dusty concrete of Reliant Stadium and signed his jersey.

When I asked him what he thought about Johnson after meeting him up close later, Aidan said, “He was skinnier than I thought he would be.” Seriously Aidan? Andre Johnson is skinny? Um, I can touch my fore-finger and thumb when wrapped around your calves.

When all the players and coaches were lined up on the risers, Dane and Aidan were instructed by Pappy to sit inside an area right in front of the stands that was marked off by black tape.

The boys were able to sit in awe as the entire Houston Texans football organization was smiling for the camera as crazy Pappy yelled out things like, “Looky looky looky,” and “Yeehaw,” to get everyone looking at the camera simultaneously.

And of course, there was some wrestling in the taped off box as well. Who cares if you are 20 feet from a bunch of pro football players…there is always time for hand-to-hand combat.

After the players left we began to break the risers down and load them back on the trailers as Dane and Aidan, filled with gratitude about the amazing day they had just had thanks to Pappy, drove everyone crazy by messing with every possible thing they shouldn’t have, peeing three more times and complaining of the debilitating boredom they were experiencing.

Uncle Andy saved my sons from who knows what when he took half-finished Gatorade bottles left behind by the players away from them. The Texans are really nice, but I promise you I don’t want my boys drinking after professional football players…I don’t know where those mouths have been (Actually I do and that’s the scary part!) We piled back into various vehicles and headed home. As a fitting end to the day, five-minutes after leaving the stadium Dane was in desperate need of a bathroom. We made him hold it until he got home, where he and Aidan immediately ran to a bush outside of our garage and “watered” it…and that is the illustrious end to what was one of the best days ever for my 6 and 7 year old football maniacs. Thanks Pappy!


Candice said...

So completely jealous of this field trip! LOL what a fun experience for the boys!

Adrienne said...

Great post! He may not be concise, but he's entertaining! :)

Anonymous said...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..... OK it wasn't quite that long.... I finished it in only 3 evenings...

This Pappy seems like a wonderful man... Your children are so lucky to have him...

Everyone in favor of Mandy cutting back on housework, work, children and stuff to spend more time blogging.... Raise your hand.... OK... It's unanimous...