The NFL regular season ended on Sunday, and with it, the Pick’em Pool for this year. All in all, everything went out on fairly high notes: the Giants beat the Cowboys to claim the NFC East title and a spot in the playoffs; the Steelers (my wife’s team) and the Lions (my Little Bro’s team) are also wildcard-round-bound. (None of us happen to be rooting for teams that managed to get a first-round bye, which arguably matters more than any hair-splitting about how the Giants finished with a weaker record than either Detroit or Pittsburgh yet are higher-seeded overall, somehow …) Ideally in a few weeks there will be at least one team still standing that the family can rally around! Or possibly a looming showdown. Either way it should be exciting (unless we end up with two weeks to coutn down to yet another Packers/Patriots Super Bowl, which would be a drag).
In the Pool, my grandmother ended up winning the grand prize for the entire season – which, funny enough, she managed to do by being consistently good week in and week out, despite never claiming the prize for most correct picks in any single week. More power to her, she is adorable. My dad finished all alone in second place, and then there was a six-way tie for third, which I managed to snag 16.7% of. (That comes out to a little less than 10 bucks, which honestly just amuses me.) It will be strange to go back to watching football with zero vested interest in certain games, but that arrangement is at least less stressful, and more conducive to enjoying crazy unexpected upsets and whatnot.
College football is almost over, too, and of course our household is looking forward to the University of Michigan’s bowl game appearance tonight. Hopefully the high notes will continue! If they do, they may actually succeed in keeping my wife and myself awake until the end of the Sugar Bowl. I miss football when it’s not around, but I have to admit that I am looking forward to a few months devoid of grappling with the temptation to stay up and watch a gridiron battle to the final whistle of the final play. It must be some combination of getting older and yet having a months-old daughter who can still interrupt a good night’s sleep pretty authoritatively, but man, I am wrung out.
And here’s another example of fatigue’s overall effects on my brain: I knew that this morning it was going to be significantly colder than it has been so far this winter, so I made sure to grab my heavier winter coat as I was leaving the house. I also remembered to reach into the side pockets of my lighter-weight jacket that I’ve been wearing lately and retrieve my wallet and keys (granted, I wouldn’t have been able to leave the house without the key to my car) before heading off to work. It was only when the train was about one stop away from the station where I get off that I realized I had failed to check the inside breast pocket of my autumn coat, which of course was where my government building badge and the magnetized keycard to my office suite happened to be. I know I’ve talked before about the general inconvenience of bumpy transitions from one jacket to another, &c. so suffice it to say it’s all come up once again and winter is still my least favorite season. Too many jackets too many pockets blurgh.
Fortunately, the whole forgetting-my-badge thing is not as bad as it could have been. I’ve done it before (though this was a first since the office move to the new building) which means I at least know the process for going to the security office and obtaining a temporary visitor pass and so on. I also happened to bump into one of my co-workers in the lobby and asked her to hang out a minute while I got the visitor pass, since it requires me to be escorted throughout the building. But once that was done, it became a day at the office like any other. The old office building was excruciatingly difficult to work in for eight hours with a visitor pass, because even the restrooms were in the hallway, outside of the secured suite, so you made use of those facilities at any point you ended up locked out of the cubicle farm. Luckily the new office is much more self-contained and I’ve been able to hunker down and not bother anyone as I go about my day. All I need now is to remember to grab my badge as soon as I get home tonight and make sure it joins me on the way to work tomorrow.