Oh rats, a mouse!

October 28, 2013 by Mark McGlothlen · Comments Off 

I fell asleep in the recliner the other night. That rarely happens, but I was so tired that I ended up dozing off while watching TV. Everyone else was in bed; the living room was lit only by the TV, which by this time was showing something that comes on well after the local news. To be honest, I can’t remember what channel I was even watching when I dozed off.

The sound of a “thud” behind me ,followed by some stifled meows and other rustling sounds awoke me from my slumber.

It took me a few seconds to fully wake up and when I did, I was in for quite a shocking sight.

In the twilight of the TV, my eyes focused in on our cat that was walking in front of the recliner, with something in his mouth.

At first I thought he was playing with a toy of his or one of my children. Both of them seem to leave their toys all over the house anyway, so why not. Plus, he has been known to become rather playful at night and cause a ruckus that can wake the dead.

As he walked into the kitchen, I suspected that it was no toy at all, but in fact….A MOUSE. A toy does move like a real mouse can and by the looks and sounds of the action in the kitchen, this was a live one.

I am not a fan of rodents, reptiles or anything creepy-crawly. I cringe when I see things that slither, slide, hiss or otherwise.

And while I really hate possums, snakes and spiders, a mouse, especially when it is dark and you wake up to the drama unfolding before your eyes, it is a little unnerving. Oh, did I mention I hate possums?

The little critter escaped the clutches of our vicious “watch-cat” who was more interested in playing with the mouse than killing it. And as luck would have it, he took refuge behind the refrigerator.

Not wanting the mouse to escape, I woke my wife up to assist in the fun of catching this little pest. As you know, trying to catch a greased pig is probably easier than catching a quick little mouse that can squeeze into places you never knew existed.

A half-hour later, the little mouse was shown the door, literally. After scurrying behind an end table, my wife opened the front door and out he hopped.

Breathing a sigh of relief, we went to bed knowing we were mouse free.

We opted not to tell our girls about it for fear they may freak out. However, two mornings later we were left with no choice as our cat pranced through the living room with the same little mouse in his mouth. Awkward!

I knew we were too kind just sending him on his merry way the night before. It is almost like we sent him off to school with his backpack and said “see you later”.

That little creature escaped my clutches that morning as we had to leave for work, but precautions have been placed around the house should he be brave enough to wander out again.

I am not a fan of rodents, not at all. I am just glad that my daughters were too distracted to realize how freaked out their dad was over that tiny little thing!

I just hope for my sake and that of the mouse, that he has moved on and moved out. There is a no vacancy sign hanging on my door for his kind.

Living with regrets

September 29, 2013 by Mark McGlothlen · Comments Off 

Last week, among others, I made the following comment: “We can live our lives with regrets, I suppose, but I prefer not to. It can drive you crazy worrying about the ’what ifs‘ in life. Every single thing we do can be analyzed and debated, so why bother? So while I may wonder, I do not regret.”

When I wrote that comment, I believed it. I told myself that, sure, I wonder how this or that may have gone had I handled things differently. Both good and bad. But to say I do not regret, I guess, was a bit of a fallacy.

We all regret things in life; who was I kidding? Heck, sometimes I regret what I had for dinner. But I mean it when I say I NEVER and I mean NEVER, EVER regret….dessert!

Yes, my sad attempt at humor. Nice, huh?

But in all seriousness, I really believe that regret is a not only a fact of life, but also a very large part of it, as well. It is how we handle that regret that is what is important.

Do I regret waiting so long to get my degree? No. And yes, I do mean that. I have enjoyed my life up to this point, and I am really enjoying it now as I travel on this new career path.

However, I do have many regrets in my life. I think of them now and then and wonder how things may be different today in my life, relationships with others, or in any number of things, if I had made a different choice. I would like to think that those regrets are just in the back of my mind waiting to be triggered from time to time.

Some are, but others pop up more frequently.

I regret not being more outgoing in high school. I wonder how different my experience would have been had I been the person I am now. What if I had made the decision to stick with Cross Country instead of quitting? That is not a huge regret, but I wonder if I would have found success if I had kept on running, rather than running away.

I guess you can call me a quitter because I also quit band during my sophomore year. I do not regret that, however, as that didn’t last and I was back making music a week later. That is a story that Marge Caid (band director) and I still laugh about all these years later.

The ones that stick with me the most are probably the most common amongst us all: the loss of a loved one.

I regret not going to visit my grandma more when she was in the hospital. I wish I had spent more time with my grandpa when I lived just a few blocks away from him. I wish I had asked my dad more questions and had more in-depth talks with him about life before he succumbed to cancer. I regret the times I do not get to spend with my children, knowing that they will be grown before I know it. I can change that, however.

Those are the ones that hang over my head like a storm cloud.

I also regret the lack of communication I have with some of my family members, especially those that I used to be close with. Life is a flowing stream, we change, our families grow, but the ties that bind a family should not fray. And sadly, in my own family and in families of those that I care about, the bond has broken. In some instances, especially for some in my family, the distance between them seems way too deep and divided to even attempt reconciliation. To me, that is sad, and I hope for the best.

It is human to regret. I think that is part of what gives us character and helps us make better decisions in our lives.

But if we do not learn a lesson from the regrets that may haunt us now, we are doing a huge disservice to ourselves and those around us.

Emotional Day

September 29, 2013 by Mark McGlothlen · Comments Off 

Last Friday was a pretty monumental day in my life.

What started out as a day full of excitement, anticipation and yes, nerves, ended on a very somber note when I got home.

To backtrack, last Thursday afternoon I received the phone call that I had been waiting for. A JOB OFFER! Of course I accepted, without hesitation, mind you. I mean, this is what I have been dreaming of doing my entire life. Yes, I am now (and proudly) able to proclaim that I am a TEACHER!

The road to becoming a teacher was not easy, as I have covered in this column a couple of times. But, regardless of the bumps in the road and the fact that I am nearly 40 years old and FINALLY working in the career that I have always dreamed of, I would not change a thing.

I do not regret where I have been in my past careers. I have met many wonderful people that I would never have had the chance to meet otherwise. Many of those past co-workers are now close friends of mine.

However, there is a part of me that, from time to time, says, “Imagine if you would have spent the past 16 years in the classroom instead of with the bank”. We can live our lives with regrets I suppose, but I prefer not to. It can drive you crazy worrying about the “what ifs” in life. Every single thing we do can be analyzed and debated, so why bother. So while I may wonder, I do not regret.

What I do know is that I am VERY happy with where I am at this moment in my life. I feel such a sense of accomplishment every time I walk into my classroom, I enjoy the students and I will continue to strive to be the greatest teacher I can be for them.

It will take time to get into the full swing of teaching. It is certainly not something that you can just walk through the doors and expect to do or know it all. I was blessed to have so many excellent teachers in my life and it is because of them that I am where I am today.

After an exciting first day at school, we came home to a sad, but not totally unexpected surprise. For the past few months the health of our 16-year old cat, Dreyfus, had slowly been declining. After several visits with the veterinarian, the decision was made to end his suffering.

I guess the old boy had other plans. After coming through the door, our other cat was meowing and acting different. I feared the worst and my suspicions were true. After telling my wife, we sat the girls down to tell them about Dreyfus.

I have lost pets before, but Dreyfus had been with me longer than any other.

Dreyfus had a rough and gruff exterior, but was a gentle soul deep down inside. He had attitude, swagger and was a fighter. He was the only cat I ever had that liked to eat Pringles and French fries, but most of all, he was my buddy.

We will miss him, but very glad he is no longer suffering.

It was an emotional day for us all with the beginning of one exciting chapter and the sad ending to another.

Kalamazoo Wings announce affiliations

September 29, 2013 by Mark McGlothlen · Comments Off 

KALAMAZOO, MI – What do the Vancouver Canucks and the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League have in common?

Both teams will be affiliated with the Kalamazoo Wings for the 2013-14 season.

While the Canucks and K-Wings renewed their agreement, the addition of the Blues marks the fourth time in the past five seasons that the K-Wings have had a dual affiliation.

In addition, the two deals include partnerships with both clubs AHL teams, the Utica Comets (Vancouver) and the Chicago Wolves (St. Louis). Under the agreement, Vancouver, St. Louis, Utica and Chicago will have the ability to assign players to Kalamazoo.

“We are excited to extend our partnership with an elite organization like the Vancouver Canucks,” said K-Wings Head Coach Nick Bootland. “Vancouver does an outstanding job in communicating with our organization which leads to the aid and growth of their prospects.”

The Canucks are excited to remain with the K-Wings for the third straight year.

“We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with the Kalamazoo Wings,” said Canucks President and General Manager Michael D. Gillis. “We’ve been pleased with the support and development of a number of our players with the K-Wings. We look forward to continue working with this great organization as an important juncture in our prospects’ careers.”

For the Blues, keeping close ties on their players is one key factor in joining forces with the K-Wings.

“Wendell Young and the Chicago Wolves introduced us to Kevin McDonald and the St Louis Blues and upon introduction we realized our organizations had similar values,” said Bootland. “By having an affiliation based entirely in the Midwest, the Blues will be able to keep a close eye on their prospects.”

The K-Wings have ties with the Blues as current head coach Ken Hitchcock coached the K-Wings from 1993-96. When Hitchcock was coach of the Dallas Stars and won the Stanley Cup, he brought it to Kalamazoo for the fans to see. Eric Bechtol, the K-Wings Equipment Manager worked for the Blues in the same capacity for nine seasons from 1996-2004.

“The St. Louis Blues are excited to begin a new development agreement with the Kalamazoo Wings,” said St. Louis Blues Assistant General Manager, Kevin McDonald. “Nick Bootland and the Wings have had a great deal of success developing players with our AHL affiliate in Chicago, and we are proud to be joining them as we strive to develop future St. Louis Blues players.”

Young, who has made several visits to Wings Stadium over the past few seasons, is confident that the organizations players are in good hands.

“We are pleased to renew our relationship with the Kalamazoo Wings,” said Chicago Wolves general manager Wendell Young. “We are looking forward to our players continuing to learn and develop under Kalamazoo head coach Nick Bootland”

MVP goaltender Martin returning to K-Wings

September 29, 2013 by Mark McGlothlen · Comments Off 

KALAMAZOO, MI – Last season did not go as planned for the Kalamazoo Wings, but one of the few bright spots is coming back for another season.

The K-Wings announced yesterday that goaltender Joel Martin, last season’s team MVP, is returning to the team for his fifth season.

Turning in a stellar year for the K-Wings, Martin also added his name to the K-Wings ECHL record book in several different areas. In addition to allowing the fewest goals per game (2.70), Martin also set a record making 63 appearances, playing 3,739 minutes, accumulating 31 victories and making 2,051 saves for a save percentage of 0.924.

“Joel’s conditioning and competiveness gives our team a chance to win every night,” said head coach Nick Bootland in a statement released by the team. “His play between the pipes was one of the main reasons we had a chance for a post-season berth last season.”

Martin played in 39 consecutive games from November 23, 2012-February 23, 2013, which is a rarity among goaltenders in any league. Martin made 40 saves or more in 11 games, including four games in which he stopped 46 shots, which tied his own K-Wing record.

Another familiar face will be joining Martin on the ice this season as defenseman Mike Matczak returns for his third season with the K-Wings.

Matczak played in just 23 games for the K-Wings last season before being called up to the AHL where he spent time with both the Manchester Monarchs and Abbotsford Heat.

“Mike is a young defenseman that is continuing to develop his overall game,” said Bootland. “In his time in the AHL, he showed he has the poise to play in all situations.”

In addition to Martin and Matczak, the K-Wings roster stands at 13 players. The 40th season of K-Wings hockey kicks off on Saturday October 19th when the K-wings travel to Evansville, Indiana to take on the IceMen.

K-Wings get offensive; roster expands to 11

September 29, 2013 by Mark McGlothlen · Comments Off 

KALAMAZOO – The Kalamazoo Wings roster continues to grow with the latest installment of announced signings.

Bryan Cameron, Ryan Del Monte, Yanni Gourde and Ian Saab have all inked deals with the K-Wings for the upcoming season.

Cameron spent last season in the ECHL playing for both the San Francisco Bulls and Utah Grizzlies where he scored a combined 20 goals and 27 assists.

Picked in the third round (82nd overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Cameron got his start with the Abbotsford Heat of the AHL during the 2010-11 season.

“Bryan is a player that knows how to pay the price to score goals,” said head coach Nick Bootland, in a statement released by the team on Thursday. “He is a hardworking player that has a very high hockey IQ.”

Splitting his time last season with the Worcester Sharks of the AHL and the San Francisco Bulls, Gourde is set to begin his second season as a pro with the K-Wings.

In just 10 games with the Bulls, Gourde scored four goals and six assists. Spending most of the season with the Sharks, Gourde scored eight goals and six assists in 41 games.

“Yanni is a playmaker that goes into the tough areas of the ice and battles,” said Bootland. “He is a dynamic player that will be used in all situations.”

Del Monte was signed by the K-Wings before the 2011-12 season but never played a single game with the team. Instead, Del Monte attended training camp with the Worcester Sharks of the AHL, earning a spot and spending the entire season with the team.

Spending last season in Germany playing for the Rosenheim Star Bulls, Del Monte scored 10 goals and 20 assists in 42 games.

“Ryan brings championship experience,” said Bootland. “He has played in a lot of the top leagues of our sport and his experience will be an asset to our team.”

Del Monte was a member of the 2010 Kelly Cup Champions Cincinnati Cyclones.

Rounding out the signings is Saab, a defenseman, who will be playing in his first full season as a professional. Saab played in eight games last season in Austria.

“Ian is a scrappy defenseman that has the tools to be an all around player,” said Bootland. “He knows how to stick up for his teammates and he knows how to protect the crease.”

Saab started his junior career in the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MJAHL) playing for the Halifax Lions. Following his time with the Lions, Saab spent four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) splitting time with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, Lewiston MAINEiacs and the St. John Sea Dogs.

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