Saturday, February 28, 2009


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 80*

I woke up at 6 AM on Saturday morning to a nice cool 60 degree morning. By 7AM I was out watering the grass seeds, which are popping everywhere. At 9AM it was 72* as I set out on a run. I had run 3.4 last Monday, 5 on Wednesday and intended to do 7 miles today. I have just two weeks until the Bay to Bay 12k race in St. Petersburg and my confidence has been challenged lately. I kept a nice 5 MPH pace and ran every step of the 7 miles.

My weight loss has hit a bit of a plateau in the month of February. It was about 3 weeks ago that I hit 240.5. Since then I have fluctuated in the low 240s and back to 240 but never below. Finally, after today's 7 miler, I broke the plane and saw 239.5. LOCK IT IN! I'll take it. Remember, this started from 280.

More good news. Michelob Ultra now comes in flavors! There's Lime Cactus, Raspberry Pomegranate, and Tuscan Orange Grapefruit. Each is just 107 calories and less than 3 grams of carbs. I'll take it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Palm Beach County
High of 74

After work today I got out and ran 5 miles around the perimeter of a large shopping mall in Wellington. The landscaping work at home had me exhausted for a couple of weeks and my running training really suffered. I feel like I'm on my way back now, having done 3.4 miles Monday and 5 today. I need to run again Friday, at least 5 miles. I only have two and a half weeks until my 12K, which is nearly an 8 mile run.

Kathy says the new grass is coming up a little more everyday, under her five times daily watering. I am looking forward to getting home tomorrow and putting some fertilyzer down to kick start the seed germination.

My daughter Stephanie (16) is coming to visit us for spring break on the same weekend as my 12K. We are looking forward to hosting her again. She wants to spend lots of time on the beach, working on her tan.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


This ceramic pelican is Kathy's latest rescue bird
After restoration

Before I rescued the seawall from years of hurricane beatings
After restoration. Fingers crossed for 2009 hurricanes.
The new seawall and beach, with Kathy's pelican and seagulls looking on in the distance
After a tough weekend of work, I wet a line while running the boat engine to charge the battery
Home in Port Charlotte
High of 77*
The weather has been perfect this weekend; cool mornings in the mid 50's, warm days in the upper 70's. After 5 tons of rip rap, 2 tons of sand and 3 weekends of back breaking labor, the seawall/beach restoration is complete.
Kathy followed up her seagull project with restoring a pelican and birdbath, which sits near the dock. She has done a wonderful job on these birds and wants to do more. We will keep an eye out for worn ceramics and statues in our area and help her continue to use this previously untapped gift of artistry.
Speaking of birds (real, living, breathing birds), today our backyard was visited by the first cardinal of 2009. He was joined by several bluebirds and a red headed woodpecker. It's quite amusing to sit in our lanai (screened in porch) and watch the variety of wildlife that visit us.
I started the boat today, to run the motor for a while and charge the battery. I was pleased that it fired right up, given that we haven't been out since December. After running the engine for 20 minutes in the brackish water of the canal, I raised the lift and flushed fresh water through the motor for an additional 15 minutes. While running the motor I fished for a little while with no bites. In a few weeks, the Gulf waters will be back in the 70 degree range and fishing will pick up nicely.
Today is one week since we dropped seed in the front yard and I was pleasantly surprised to find some baby grass blades pushing up through the soil. My research indicated that Bahiagrass seed normally takes 14-28 days to pop. The fact that we are way ahead of that estimate is very encouraging. We received our soil sample analysis report from the University of Florida. All nutrients were in the very high range. The report indicated no need for soil amendments to grow Bahiagrass here. That's great news. The other surprise was that we've had no problems with birds stealing the grass seed. The package indicated the seed was processed with Penecote, which makes it undesirable to birds. It obviously works just as they claimed.

Thursday, February 19, 2009



Home in Port Charlotte
High of 77

Kathy has been spending some time restoring some decorative ceramic seagulls that were perched on our dock. We don't know how long they had been there before we bought the house but you can bet, if they could speak, they would tell the tales of hurricanes past. They were quite weather worn; some missing beaks when we rescued them. We forgot to take good "before" pictures but above is the biggest gull just after Kathy scrubbed him down and began cement surgury on his schnoz. The other two photos show the finished products, after painting and reposting them on the waterline.
Her next project is a pelican birdbath. We'll post an update soon.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 79

The complete renovation of our lawns took another step Sunday when we spread the new Bahiagrass seeds. My experience of overseeding perenial ryegrass in Arizona a few times is proving valuable here. We must keep the seeds moist but not have standing water, which can move the seed and create bare spots. We have to water light, but frequently, throughout the daylight hours. My honey has taken on the duty of hand watering five times daily. We have to keep this routine up until the seed germinates, which for this seed will take between 2 and 4 weeks. After that we can cut the watering back to 3 times a day until after the first cut. We are doing the property in two sections, about a 60-40 split, because of having to hand water.

The reason we didn't put in an automatic irrigation system is two fold. One, Charlotte County charges $180 for a permit to install a system, even on an existing home. Two, once your 60 day grow-in grace period expires on new plantings, Charlotte County restricts home owners to one day weekly watering using automated systems. Oh you can hand water everyday. Needless to say the time and money involved in installing an automated system is just not worth our while. Especially when you consider that come June, we will get rain nearly everyday throughout the summer.

Valentines dinner was great company, a great boat ride, a great dolphin show and not so great service and food at Palm Island. Kathy captured the below picture of dolphins chasing our water taxi, using her cell phone. We have to remember to bring the good camera whenever we go out. This was the first time we were actually chased by dolphins and it was fabulous. There were two of them diving and swimming after our wake and along side the boat.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Home in Port Charlotte
61* at wake up, going to a high of 81

Happy Valentine's Day. It has been a busy week of work travel on the Gulf coast and report writing at home. Early in the week, after the weekend of rock moving, I didn't have any run in my legs for the first time in a long time. I managed to do 2 miles on Wednesday and 2.5 on Thursday but that was it. I had more rock and sand delivered on Monday and that load awaits my attention for this weekend. I need to get that project off my plate so I can get started planting the new grass seed in the yards. The warm temperatures this week have old grass and weeds trying to push up through the soil and we haven't even had any measurable rain in a month. If it does rain before I get my seed down, I'm going to have a lot more work created for me.

Last night Kathy and I went to a late dinner with Rolando and Kathy, who arrived for their twice a month weekend next door. We went to Barnacle Bills for the Friday night fish fry. It's such a bargain at ten dollars for a basket we share and can't even finish. Tonight, to celebrate Valentine's Day, the four of us will join some other part time neighbors, Ron and Carol from New York, and we will have dinner at the Palm Island Resort. We haven't been there but it sounds great. It's located on one of the many Gulf barrier islands in this region. The evening tides won't be right to take our boat, so we will drive about 30 minutes and take the ferry to the island.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 79*
After years of hurricane tidal surge, our shoreline needed shoring up

We purchased and moved 2 cubic yards of rip-rap; about 4000 lbs

Needing to start from the bottom up required me to get in the canal at low tide

Once the base was built I was able to toss some in place from our neighbor's high dollar concrete seawall. A few rolled back down to the canal so I got to test my new wall by climbing down it into the canal. I'm happy to report it didn't avalanche under my newly fit body.

See the dock in the foreground? Last year's Hurricane Gustav brought a tidal surge that submurged our dock. We have to complete this project before 2009 Hurricane Season.

Our newly shored up sea wall.
The next step will be to haul in a couple of tons of replacement sand.
The path you are looking at leads from our dock to Rolando's next door.
We will still have to move a few tons more to other areas, pictured below.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Home in Port Charlotte
headed for a high of 76*

Thanks to all who clicked on for the first time to read my Super Bowl story. I had nearly 300 hits to the blog this week. If you are a new reader and would like to see more or if you missed the Super Bowl story, you can always use the blog archive, which is the drop down window located on the right hand side of the page just below the hit counter. At the bottom of each story, above the current weather conditions, are links to go to the previous story; the next story or home to the current story. The blog dates back to December, 2007 when I arrived in Florida. Enjoy.
I spent the past week travelling for work. I was on the Atlantic coast of Florida and visited Delray Beach, Deerfield Beach, Palm Beach Gardens (sushi at RA) and Stuart. We had record cold temperatures all over south Florida but I'm happy to say they are gone now. Above is the 7 day forecast, as of today, so hopefully winter is on its way out.

Last night I got back on the street and continued my running plan, as scheduled. I ran 7 miles last night, without walking. This gives me 20.4 miles this week and an even 91 miles for the new year. My running schedule gives me the weekend off to rest, however that just means rest from running.

Today I am going to pick up a ton or two of 6-12" rip rap (rock) to begin the erosion repair work on our beach. I will have to unload it out of my truck, load it into a wheel barrel, walk it back to the canal and place each piece to shore up the seawall. After placing all the rip rap I will have to load and shovel sand to rebuild the beach. This project became necessary after Hurricane Gustav eroded our shore line. It will take a few weekends to complete. I will take some pictures to share and post.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Most of you know, I moved from my native Phoenix to Southwest Florida (Port Charlotte) in December 2007 for the sole reason of accepting a job promotion. I'm a former season ticket holder from both Sun Devil Stadium and Univ. of Phx stadium. My wife and I have our picture on the wall of fans. I was the landscape maintenance manager for the Great Lawn and had the priviledge of cutting the original turf there for the very first time (before we tore it out and redid it last year). My oldest boy (24), Ryan, was with me at SDS in '98 when we beat San Diego to make and win the wild card game. He still has a piece of the goal post net in his garage. When I announced my move, he had just had his first child and was a little bitter that I was moving away. He understood the financial reasons behind hit but still hated the thought. In November, 2007 he said to me, "You watch Dad, you move to Florida and the Cardinals will get to the Super Bowl after you leave." He was prophetic.

Any other year in the last 9 years, I would have had the financial resources to make this happen. But with the economy and such, I had no money to get game tickets. My wife has been unemployed for 13 months and my job barely pays the bills. I tried to offer my home and serve as a personal driver to any Cards fans coming to FL for the game, in exchange for a game ticket, but there were no serious takers. As game day ticked closer I got a little depressed thinking I wouldn't be there. I called my boss, who knows people on the Board of Directors for Ford and tried to see if he could score me a ticket but even he couldn't get me there. Then on Friday night, before the game, it happened. My 76 year old dad called and said it wouldn't be right for me to miss this. I didn't need a plane ticket, a hotel or even a meal out. I just needed a ticket to the biggest game of our lives. He would wire me $2k and said to try and get tix for my wife and I. Needless to say I was overcome with emotion and joy. I can only hope to someday be in a position to do this for my kids.

I spent Friday night searching online but the prices were pretty much consistent at $2300-3500 for two seats, plus online fees. Plus, who knows where these seats came from. When I got to go to Game 2 of the D-backs World Series in '01, I heard a story of an elderly guy who was booted out at the bottom of the first cuz the homeplate seats he bought in the streets were stolen out of the mail. He had given five grand for four seats. I PM'd some other board members and thankfully one answered me and explained all of the security features I should look for on the ticket to know if it's genuine. Of course, even a genuine game ticket could have a cancelled bar code on it and I could be denied entry.

I stayed up till well past midnight just staring at windows from Ebay, Stubhub, craigslist and others. Stub Hub's website showed about 1,600 tickets in their inventory. My wife graciously offered, that if it came down to it, what really mattered is that I go. If we can't afford two seats she insisted I go without her.

Saturday morning I drove the 70 miles north to Tampa to look for seats. There had to be a hundred thousand people in the area, mostly for the NFL Experience Theme Park. I spent 7 hours walking around the stadium and surrounding area looking for tickets. There were a few shady looking guys with signs saying need tickets, but no one with actual tickets to sell. The Stub Hub tent at Legends Field had the cheapest single seat at $1,895 plus 10% fees for a nosebleed corner. Stub Hub's kiosk was showing fewer than 300 seats left in their database. After 5 hours I began to wonder if I would really get to go. I called my wife and explained and she reitterated, don't turn down a ticket. She knew she wouldn't be going and she was okay with it. "It's your dream, not mine. As long as you go, I'll be happy knowing you're there." I was going to have to pay $50-100 to park too, so I needed to not spend more than $1900 total. Some Arizona news stations were reporting tickets available at or near face value but that report appeared to be greatly exaggerated. This place wasn't like Glendale, where they set up designated reselling areas. I was totally in unfamiliar territory here.

I went to the licensed brokers on Dale Mabery Highway. Every time I had to move my truck, I had to pay to park, even on Saturday. I decided to continue walking. The broker shops wanted $2000 each for nosebleed corners. I met a Phoenix couple who was looking to trade up from upper deck 50 yard line to lower level 50. The broker offered them face value for their two, plus he wanted $1,200 cash from each of them. When you factor in market value of the tickets they had, this was a $6,400 deal. They said forget it. I followed them out and offered them a thousand dollars for each of their seats but they said no, they were worried about giving up what they had and not getting new seats. I can't say I blamed them. As I talked with them, another guy came to the broker looking to sell a single seat. He wanted $1,900 but the broker would only offer him $1,500. He said no and I followed him out. I got to talking with him and learned that he had two seats for he and his dad. He bought this extra seat from an advertising executive and was hoping to sell it to help off-set some of his travel costs. He felt the broker would get at least two grand for it and I agreed. He told me he would sell it to a fan, rather than the broker for the same money. We were 26 hours before kickoff and I still didn't have a ticket. He let me examine the ticket's security features and even compare it to his other seats. The Phoenix couple let me compare it to theirs and I was convinced it was not counterfit. He showed me his Tennessee driver's license and offered to let me copy down his personal information to help reassure me. I didn't even have a pen but he was pretty convincingly sincere. I paid him the $1,500. The seat was section 107, Row M (13 rows off the field) right at the 4 yard line, Cardinals side. Wow, I could have done worse. I called my wife to ask if I should stay a few more hours and try to parlay this seat into two nosebleed seats. She said no, to quit while I was ahead, and come home for dinner. What a woman.

I took my wife out for a nice breakfast. She would watch the game on two screens; one inside the house and a second screen on the backyard patio during smoke breaks. She didn't want to miss a second of the action. I departed for Tampa at 10:30 AM for the 6:30 PM kickoff.
Traffic was actually lighter on Sunday morning than it was on Saturday afternoon. I guess most of the throngs of people down here yesterday probably didn't have game tickets. I really saw tons of parking lots charging $100 to self park. Wow. I drove back to the lot where I'd paid five bucks on Saturday and I coughed up $50 bucks. At least it was a fenced lot, with security. They said they'd be there all night, which was good because when we win, I planned on staying in the stadium for hours after the victory.

There was still a part of me that feared being turned away at the gate. I contemplated what I would do, but quickly forced that bad charma out of my head. I saw all kinds of tailgating going on and more Cardinal fans than I expected. I thought about making some new friends but decided it best to play it safe, get into the secured confines of the stadium, and not risk meeting up with foes dressed as friends. I'd come too far to risk being robbed or worse.

I had read stadium policies and learned that I couldn't bring my camera case in but I could carry in a small bag or purse. I brought my fanny pack to carry car keys, Blackberry, Canon camera, cell phone camera and of course my game ticket. (didn't want it being folded in my pocket). Upon arrival at security the agent denied me entry saying no fanny packs allowed. I told him what the web site said but he said only women could bring in purses. I politely but firmly asked for his supervisor. He pointed me toward a young lady who stood on the same ground and said men could not carry in a bag or purse. I told her that amounted to gender discrimination and didn't think the NFL would support her on that and I asked for her supervisor. She said, rather snotty, "I AM THE SUPERVISOR." I said, "Well you're not the last line supervisor of the Super Bowl, so I am respectfully requesting to speak to YOUR supervisor." She went away with an attitude and a very nice young man came over, introduced himself by first and last name, and shook my hand. I explained my situation that my truck was so far away and thought it was unfair of them to post that small bags or purses were acceptable. He told me that he had been told no "fanny packs" but that items less than 12x12, carried over the shoulder as a purse were permitted. I laughed and said, "Well, allow me to show you my man-purse," as I slung it over my head. He laughed with me and asked that I please not wear it around my waist at any point during the day, so as not to arouse security. Truth be told, this fanny pack actually is the gun holster style, left over from my years as a cop. The empty hoster is still velcro'ed inside. Can you imagine if they would have seen that when they searched it. They didn't and the supervisor actually escorted me through security so they wouldn't stop me again. How's that for customer service? It pays to be politely persistent.

It was an emotional day for me. From the moment the gate agent scanned my ticket and said, "Enjoy the Super Bowl", I had to hold back tears of joy. Okay, I'm lying...I really cried. You have to understand how passionate I am about football; how many years in Phoenix I suffered ridicule for being a fan of the loser Cardinals. 21 years they were in Phoenix and 19 of them were losing seasons. I always told my sons to support the hometown team. You can't pick your family, some people say, and my philosophy was that you also can't pick your football team. You go to the game with the team you have. And the Cardinals were our team. I told my boys that someday...someday, the Cardinals would make it to the Super Bowl and when they did; EVERYONE would know that our family never game up on 'em. No one will enjoy it more than us, boys. When you spend 21 years telling your kids that, see if you don't bawl like a baby when you realize that not only has your promise to your sons come true, you're going to be there to see the long suffering Red Birds be introduced on the world's biggest stage. Yeah, I cried when I got in.

After clearing security, I found the entire perimeter of the stadium was fenced off, guarded by FBI agents in ninja gear. I couldn't get into the actual stadium yet but the permitter walk led you to the area where the NFL experience was set up. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that admission to the theme park was included for game ticket holders, today only. I got to kick extra points (20 yard away), throw touchdown passes, see a travelling exhibit from the NFL Hall of Fame and watch a 20 minute I-MAX style movie from NFL Films called Road to the Super Bowl. In the theatre, when they showed the Cardinals winning the NFC Championship I started crying again. HAHAHA. I was gonna be a mess when we win this thing. As I stood in line to get a free picture of me holding a replica game ball, I called my Dad to thank him again for letting me come here. Yeah, you guessed it; more tears.

Concerts at the NFL Experience on game day included John Legend, as well as Journey.
About 3PM I decided to head for my seat. As soon as I got inside I bought a 16 ounce beer for TEN DOLLARS! Holy crap. Other prices included a slice of pizza was nine bucks. Hot dogs were $8. A shrimp salad sandwich was $18. Game programs were $25. So much for the recession. I'm happy to report the bathrooms were still free of charge.

My picture diary below shows the celebrities I encounted and tons of game shots. You all know what happened in the game so I won't recap that except for this little nugget. When the 4th quarter started, the Cardinals down by 13 points, many fans in my section started talking like it was over. The Steelers fans were gloating; the Cardinals fans were gloomy. There was a family from New York, seated behind me, with two little boys about 8 or 9 years old. I noticed one was wearing a Cardinals jersey so I told them this: "Pay attention boys, it's not over. What we're about to see will be a Hall of Fame moment. You're about to experience a story that you will tell your grandchildren someday. Kurt Warner is going to lead the Cardinals down the field and retake this game." They looked at me with wide open eyes, probably wondering if I was drunk or crazy. The answer was neither.

When we got the ball back with just over 5 minutes to go, I turned to them again. "This is it boys, Hall of Fame drive coming right up. You gotta believe we can do it. You gotta believe! Do you believe?" They both nodded but that wasn't good enough for me. "You gotta say it, baby, say 'I believe'."

"I believe," they said. SHOUT IT. They both screamed out, "I BELIEVE!" Their mom and dad, admitted Giants fans, smiled and high fived me. When Fitzgerald broke out that 64 yard touchdown catch and run; when the Cardinals took the lead; these two boys hugged each other with a love that can't be described. They both high fived me and looked at me like I was a God. I started to cry tears of joy. Could it really be?

The clock showed 2:37 seconds remaining and we all know what happened.

Despite the outcome, I had a wonderful, spectacular, fantastic experience at the Super Bowl. I told Kathy and Ryan, it was my dream to attend the Super Bowl; I never said my team had to win. It was the time of my life and I will forever cherish it. My love of the Cardinals was vindicated by their appearance in this game and with 2:37 seconds remaining, we were going to win the world championship. But like a heavy weight fight, in the final seconds of the final round, the underdog, Cinderella, challenger took a knockout blow to end a beautiful chance at infamy. I thought of Rocky I, where he gave it a shot but came up just short. Remember how good you felt as the music came on and even though you knew Rocky lost; you felt so good. You felt like a better person. You felt like this wasn't the end.........

Did you happen to catch Rocky II?
Super Bowl XLIV will be February 7, 2010 in Miami, Florida


some pictures removed in 2010 to clear memory on

The moment I cleared security and had my ticket scanned for validity

The NFL Experience theme park

From my seat, 13 rows up from the field

Cards fans brought some attitude

Happy to be here, proud to cheer

Actor Jeff Goldblum is a Steelers fan?

Paris Hilton was down the row from me. She's wearing a Fitz jersey under her coat

I couldn't resist telling Jeff this would be the Cardinals "Independance Day"

I almost missed the fly-by
Toss of the coin. Cards won the toss and deferred

Click on this picture; Rackers opening kickoff, look at the leg in motion

Warner, with leg up, uses the silent count in shotgun
Fitzgerald and Boldin are both lined right
Fitz would break open and score the Cardinals .............


2:37 left in the 4th quarter; Steelers 20, Cardinals 23

However, with 0:43 second on the clock, the Steelers call the game winning play in the huddle

As time expired, the Cardinals found themselves down and out

The confetti falls on the Steelers as I make my way out of the stadium

Sunday, February 1, 2009


47* at 6AM
Forecast high in the upper 60's

For as long as I can recall, I have been telling friends and family one of my goals in life was to attend a Super Bowl. Before Arizona even had an NFL franchise, back when I used to root for the Giants because I liked the play of Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor and then coach Bill Parcels, I would dream of someday being in the stands at the Big Game. I learned early on that you can't just "buy" a ticket to sit aside the world's grandest stage. Sure, a few hundred fans of the participating teams get drawn in lotteries with the chance to buy two tickets. Even fewer of the season ticket holders from the host city's team get some. But most of the tickets to the Super Bowl are accounted for long before the game's foes are set.

Every active NFL player on every team gets two. So do coaches, assistants, staff members and so forth. That's over 5,000 tickets right there. The participating teams players each get 10, with a chance to purchase 25 more per person. Sponsors and advertisers make up the majority of the ticket holders. Local government, dignitaries and VIPs get theirs.

At the Super Bowl nearly every ticket is priced the same, no matter where the seat is located. Back in 1987 when the New York Giants defeated the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI, the face value of tickets was $500. Today's game price on the printed ticket is $800. Although there were a few seats in the extreme upper corners going for $500 and suite seats cost $1000 per seat, the vast majority of the 75,000 tickets originally went for 800.

In my quest to find tickets for this game, I began tracking prices of the online auctions about 2 weeks ago. Market prices consistently stayed between 150% and 300% of face value. As of Friday night, there were still a couple of thousand seats between Ebay and Stub Hub going for an average of $1,600 for the upper decks and $2500 for the lower levels. After many painful hours of online study, I decided the best thing to do was to head to the stadium in Tampa and find tickets there. I researched the security features of the real tickets so that I could reduce my chances of falling victim to fraud.

The traffic around the stadium, 36 hours before kickoff, was akin to the Las Vegas strip. You could walk faster than drive. I spent many hours walking miles around the perimeter of the stadium and found very few brokers or scalpers with game tickets to sell. There were more than a few shady characters holding signs but I trusted my instincts and didn't approach these guys. The stadium was entirely fenced off and the actual box office was closed. At one time, I heard a guy ask where the ticket office was, saying he heard the NFL had released a block of tickets for sale. Security pointed him in a direction and he took off running. I gave chase for about a mile and followed him to what turned out to be the place to buy tickets for the NFL experience, the league's interactive theme park that travels to the Super Bowl site every year. This was getting ridiculous. There were tens of thousands of people roaming the streets, mostly there for the theme park. The area was absolutely crawling with Steeler fans. If this is any indication, I will be out-numbered 10-1 during the game.

I went to the Stub Hub tent and found their were fewer than 300 tickets left for sale, with the cheapest being $1,895 for a single upper deck. When you add the Stub Hub fees, it would be more money than I had to spend. News reports of this game's tickets going for face value or less were greatly exaggerated.

I called my wife and shared my dilemma. The chance of getting two seats with the two thousand dollars I had was looking bleak. It was also going to cost $50-$100 to park on game day. Knowing what this chance meant to me, to see a Super Bowl featuring the Arizona Cardinals, she said to not pass up a chance to buy one ticket for myself.

I made my way south of the stadium, about a mile and a half, to where I had seen some ticket broker offices on my drive in. I went inside and found they were selling nosebleed corner seats for $1,900 each. A couple from Phoenix was inquiring about trading their upper deck seats for sideline lower level. The broker could do this but he wanted their $800 tickets, plus $1,200 cash from each of them. This was the equivalent of $2,000 and they said no. I offered them $1,000 for each of their upper level seats but the wife worried that the entire trade would be out of their budget. They, like me, had been trying to find affordable seats all day without luck. A guy from Tennessee came in and inquired about selling his extra lower level seat. After the broker examined the security features he asked how much the guy wanted. The man said he wanted $1,900 for it. The broker offered him $1,500 and the guy said no. I followed this guy outside and spoke with him about his ticket. He said he had bought his own pair and then an advertising exec buddy of his gave him this one. He intended to sell it to offset his travel costs. He asked if I was interested in it and I told him he wanted more than I could spend. He said he'd sell it to me for what the broker wanted to give, $1,500. He let me examine it and the Phoenix couple let me compare it to the security features on their ticket. It had the Lombardi trophy hologram and the micro lazer cuts that enabled you to see through the words Super Bowl XLIII when holding it up to the sun. This looked like the real deal. The guy tried to reassure me by letting me see his Tennessee driver's license and he said I could write down his personal information. I didn't even have a pen but I looked at his license. It was him on the picture and he also had a deputy sheriff's badge & ID from Tennessee. I told him my history and we found that quite coincidental. I contemplated this transaction and I told the guy that I was a believer in charma. He laughed and reiterated that he wasn't going to rip me off. I said I had been a faithful Cardinal fan for 21 years, as I looked to the sky and said, "Lord, please make this a real ticket." I did the deal. The seat is on the Cardinals side line, around the 10 yard line, 13 rows off the field. I will be on the north end, closest to the pirate ship, but on the Cardinals side.

Have I mentioned that my favorite rock & roll artist of all time will be playing the halftime show? I should be close enough to see the Boss sweating on stage.

My thanks go out to my Dad for making this happen. He knew a chance like this doesn't come along too many times in life. I couldn't have done this without him. Thanks also to Kathy for giving me the green light to at least get one ticket. I would have loved to have shared this with her in person. Thanks to my son, Ryan, for believing me when I told him this day would come. He, like me, never failed to dream our team could reach this game. He's the second biggest Cards fan I know. Perhaps one day I will be in a position to do something like this for my son.

It's game time.