Frustrating…and “trying” my patience!Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Posted by: Jack Beckman, Valvoline MaxLife Dodge

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About the only highlight of a disappointing weekend in Reading was getting to spend some time with Bob Frey. He only came out for a few hours on one day, but he made a point to stop in the trailer and say hi. Charlie Neilson of NHRA was once a crewmember for Kenny Bernstein, and the two handsome guys in the crew shirts belong to our team!

Before you jump to conclusions and think that my title was an expression of disappointment at the way our title defense season has progressed so far…it’s not. Sure, I’d love to be leading the points, have several race wins, and feel confident that our Valvoline/MTS team had locked up another championship, but things don’t always go the way you want.

Heck, we haven’t had a bad season at all. We still have two more shots at the “Wally”, we banked the Traxxas Shootout, and we’ve been to three finals and again are solidly in the top five with a shot at the points title. I’m very confident in Todd, Terry, Mark, Jim, Kyle, Chris, Chris (the keyboard isn’t stuck…we have two), Brian and AJ, and we should be proud no matter how we finish. That being said, a couple of wins sure will make everyone smile!

My title was alluding to coaching Little League. Yeah, the winter-ball program at Norco, consisting of 6-8 year olds, has been medically proven to cause ulcers, early aging, and nervous twitching. While on the road nearly non-stop for the NHRA four-in-a-row schedule, I felt bad that I couldn’t help out with Jason’s team and watch my little guy do his thing. After being home for two weeks, which equals four practices and two games, I’m kinda thinking I was lucky to be absent! Strapping into the car to face John Force in a final round is a walk in the park compared to trying to keep 10 youngsters focused on the same thing for more than 30 seconds. I just may be a better driver after all these “tests” bestowed upon me by the aptly named, “Pirates” of Norco.  I know I have more gray hair!

We’ve been plugging away at the home projects, whether I’m here or not. Jenna had the front planters redone in solid gold while I was racing (She tells me those are real plants, but I saw the bill…they must be precious metal!), and we just reseeding and aerated the lawns. I also got to replace a ground fault receptacle and outside light timer in my spare time, and yet the list hasn’t seemed to have shrunk one bit!

I think I’ve got the guy to help finish the back wall, and we may try to tackle that between Vegas and Pomona (I don’t mean geographically…I mean chronologically). Soon I will need to put together a lumber list and began stockpiling for the backyard garage, and I’m sure Jenna not letting me off of diaper duty just because I’m holding a hammer!

I did get to hit the surf with Rich about a week ago; I just wish I could have done it two or three more times. Don’t tell Jenna, but I’m thinking of sneaking out there after we return from Vegas.

Speaking of Vegas, we’re leaving in 6 ½ minutes. Okay, we PLANNED on leaving by 4 pm (I am writing this Wednesday afternoon), but Beckman’s don’t do much on time (no jokes about my lights, please!). It’s been so hectic trying to get everything done around here, and the kids are always the priority. This morning we took Jason and Layla to a local farm as part of Jason’s first grade field trip, and those are the moments that you don’t want to regret missing. Besides, who could ever replace the smell of cow dung, the bite of horse flies, and the shoe-covering dust that this trip yielded?

If any of you are going to Vegas, Ron Capps and I will be at the premiere of Snake & Mongoose Saturday night at the Orleans. I’ve already seen it, but you know I can’t resist a free movie ticket, and Jenna gets to come with me this time. Cindy will be riding out in the RV with us, so she volunteered to babysit. My dad and Teri are driving out from Texas, so I’ll see if they want to tag along as well.

Aside from coaching ball, the other grueling things in my life lately consist of: washing the RV (it seems to get bigger every time); going to Chuck E. Cheese for a kid’s birthday party (that may even top baseball on my “don’t ever volunteer for” list!; and my new diet. Yep, Jenna thinks I may have a Gluten intolerance (I know I have a Chuck E. Cheese intolerance!), so she’s eliminated that from my diet. Unless you count me stopping at Panda express on the way home from surfing, which didn’t sit well with the Queen…oops!

On one hand, I’d have to say that I probably feel better. Having that “brain fog” so often is something I assumed got worse after my chemo and I probably was just stuck with it, but it certainly could have a lot to do with what I eat. On the other hand, Gluten is just so damn good! I’m not sure I can live without bread and all those other delicious things that seem to be bad for me. If I seem cranky and irritable at the races, blame it on the diet. However, if I seem sharper and more focused, then my wife is a genius!

Perhaps the coolest thing I’ve done lately is head up with Brent Cannon to Bakersfield Friday for the California Hot Rod Reunion. Plenty of legends of the sport were there, and Frank Hawley even showed up. He and Brent and I hung out for more than an hour in the stands watching the fuelers run and enjoying a great day. Normally we would have gone Saturday, but that four-letter-word prevented it: “b -a- l- l”.

We took the kids to see the Titanic museum in Buena Park. It’s only been there a few months (the display, not Buena Park), and was definitely worth it. You can actually touch a part of the hull, which is really surreal. To think that ship sunk over 100 years ago, and sat undiscovered for three quarters of a century is mindboggling. The fact that these artifacts were retrieved from nearly two and a half miles down in the Atlantic just adds to the mystique. There are several museums around the world with recovered pieces, but the collection in Orange County would justify a trip there. I’m not sure who’s idea it was to bring a ceramic toilet back up from the depths, but it’s in a case for all to see (I was going to say, “for all to enjoy”, but that could be taken wrong!

If there are any typos in this blog…sorry! I am out of time, and we’re hitting the road for what I hope is a fantastic weekend.

Stay tuned, man the poop deck, sell the farm, ADD and baseball are a bad mix, and so are “Jack and Chuck E. Cheese”!