Notes from section 201

Anything and everything hockey related

Notes of a different sort

As some of you have noticed, I have been around the twitter universe/blog universe very much lately. I wish I could say I’m too busy having a lot of fun, but it’s pretty much been the opposite.

We “think” my dad has Alzheimer’s. I say think because at this point, he’s being so secretive about what is going on that no one has been able to actually talk to a doctor about what is happening. He just keeps saying something is wrong with his head, but they don’t know what it is, and can’t do anything about it. Yes, I realize that is somewhat of an oxymoron, but my dad is more stubborn than I am so it’s basically like talking to a brink wall.

What we do know is that he is having some pretty severe memory loss. A few months ago we went to lunch and my dad had to call me 3 times to help him get there. This is normal if you’re in a new area, but he wasn’t. He was a police sergeant in this city for nearly 25 years. It was a restaurant not even a mile from the police station, in a strip mall that had been there for at least 35 years.

Then he had a seizure. He was sent by ambulance to the hospital and stayed for 3 days. He didn’t tell me until about 2 months after it happened because he doesn’t want me to worry about him. Because of the seizure, his drivers license was taken away. He has no idea when they are going to tell him if he can have it back or not. He seems convinced he’s not going to get it back.

That is one of the most frustrating parts of what is going on. He’s not sure when he has doctor appointments. He’s not sure when he’ll know about his license. If I try to push him to remember he gets upset because he just can’t recall the information. (Or he’s still trying to protect me, who knows at this point).

The worst part of this whole situation is watching my father disappear before my eyes. He’s always been so independent, and always working on projects. He had his own woodworking shop for about 40 years where he would make furniture and other wood pieces. He bought a 20 acre farm with my mom, where we had horses, cows, bailed our own hay, and had a gorgeous house that seemed like our own oasis from life. He had a duplex he rented out for so long that I can’t even tell you when he started. He use to maintain that house, plus our house on top of working. All of that is gone now because it became too much for him to take care of.

He’s lost a lot of weight/mass. He was a Marine, gymnast, and a cop. He was built with a lot of upper body strength that he maintained most of my childhood. These days he practically swims in his clothes, he’s just barely over my height of 5’3, and weighs in at a whopping 145.

This is the first song he thought me how to sing :)

Luckily, his sister lives very close to him and has been able to help him out a lot, otherwise it’s just me trying to look after him. But he still walks to the grocery store to get food, which he won’t be able to do once the seasons start to change and it gets cold out. He changes his mind weekly on whether he wants to move to assisted living.

As some of you know, I have massive anxiety issues. Needless to say, fearing something will/is happening to my parents is one of my biggest triggers so this has been a really tough time for me. I get so upset that I can’t “fix” this that I cry nearly everyday. My anxiety medication has been doubled, but I still spend most of my time dealing with a mind that won’t stop jumping to horrible conclusions. I had to quit my job (earlier than I was planning to), because I just felt like I couldn’t function correctly any more.

I’m not writing this looking for sympathy, although I will absolutely take any well wishes/good thoughts/prayers and the like to heart. I just don’t know what to do at this point. My mom says I should work on letting things go a little, but honestly I’m not sure I can. I wouldn’t be able to do so with her, and as much as I try I can’t figure out a way to do that without feeling like I’m letting him down or being a failure. I’ve tried to find out more information on Alzheimer’s, but there really isn’t a lot of information out there for caretakers that isn’t from the 80’s.

Maybe someone reading this has been through something like this before, and knows of good resources. Or maybe someone reading this is going through something similar and we can know we aren’t alone. At this point I’m willing to try anything to make this “changing of the times” easier on my dad and myself.

It’s tough putting this out there for everyone to read, so thank you for taking time out of your day to read it.


What can we learn from J.P. Parise’s death

Horrible news here in Minnesota today as JP Parise passed away after a valiant battle with lung cancer for the last year.

For the Wild, this is the second father of a star player to pass away, with Bob Suter dying of a sudden heart attack in September.

While the hockey community mourns the loss of this legend, there are a few things that we can take away from Parise’s life and death.

I believe that one of the things JP had to be most proud of was his son Zach. Having worked with the Wild players for 3 seasons, one of the nicest guys you could come across was Zach. As a guy who is making 13 million a year and being a local celebrity, you would expect him to have a bit of an attitude. But he was always willing to talk to the media, regardless of who they were, and has the patience of a saint. I’ve seen him upset once off the ice, and that was when he felt a national media personality was being disrespectful to a member of the local media. This speaks volumes of how Zach was raised.

The biggest thing to take away from JP’s death is that you can’t take things for granted. JP lived less than a year after his diagnosis. But it really seems like JP spent that time living. Michael Russo of the Star Tribune has done a number of great articles about JP and Zach that really show this. Please check them out here, here and here.

To honor JP’s life, I strongly encourage everyone to take a few minutes and reflect on how they can be a better person and how they can live a better life. Be kind to people, even if they can’t better your position in life. Even if they’re mean back to you. Take that vacation you’ve been meaning to take. Call your loved ones and tell them just how much you care. And then SHOW them how much you care.

Spend time thinking about how you can the things in your life that are negative, and make them positive. Hate your job? Try to find one positive thing every day about your experience. Smile often, laugh hard, and try to keep that sparkle in your eye. Let people who are full of negative comments worry about themselves, and just ignore them.

Don’t live your life by saying “I’m going to do this”. Live it by actually doing it.

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Waivers and Contracts: A Darcy Kuemper Story

There have been lots of talk about the Wild’s atrocious goaltending this season, and where there’s smoke, there’s probably fire.

However, a lot of people seem confused about how waivers work in relation to a one way or two way contract. I remember when I first started following hockey as a fan and was really confused on how the contracts worked. I just assumed that if a player was on a one way contract he had to go through waivers, and if he was on a two way contract it meant that he didn’t have to go through waivers.

Here’s a quick and brief breakdown of what each term entails. There are some exceptions, but this is the basic idea of each.

One way contract: A player who signs a one way contract gets paid his per year salary regardless of if he plays in the NHL or AHL.

Two way contract: A player who signs a two way contract gets paid a lower salary if he is playing in the AHL versus playing in the NHL.

Each of these contracts are NOT related to whether or not a player needs to go through waivers.

Waivers: A player who has played in a set amount of games has to go through waivers in order to be re-assigned to the AHL (or overseas). The actual number of games depends on age, numbers of years in the NHL and position.

Now we get to the fun part; what this has to do with Darcy Kuemper.

There have been a lot of fans who claim that because Keumper wanted a one way contract, he should own up to the predicament the Wild are in being his fault. This point of view seems to imply that because he wanted to maintain the same salary if/when he was sent to the AHL.

The assumption of course being that because Kuemper signed a one way contract, he couldn’t go through waivers. Clearly, since one and two way deals are not related to waivers on it’s own, that decision was made by Fletcher and company.

So if, as a Wild fan, you want to lay some blame for goaltending problems, there are plenty of people who should take the blame. Does Kuemper deserve some? Absolutely. But so do Harding, Backstrom, Fletcher and company, even Yeo. So lets share the blame a little.

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Work in progress

I’m finally giving in and starting my own hockey blog. Check back soon for posts on anything and everything hockey related!

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