“What I didn’t do last night.” Steele Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014

I remember my friend Eric once telling me that during Husker football games, he now likes to take his family to the zoo. “It’s empty on game days,” he informed me with a shrug. At the time I thought he was insane. Miss a Husker game? No. Never. What happened to my friend? At that time, I hadn’t yet joined him in the cult of parenthood, and his obligations to — and love for, his two tiny children perhaps didn’t seem as clear to me as it does now. I continued to question his sanity for years to come.

Yesterday was a great day, if also a long and tiring one. I finished up at school and went to get the kids from daycare. Our toddler, Titus, was in a jovial mood, which was a nice change of pace, and Zooey was her usual melt-my-heart self. I took them home and had a light, early supper while I chatted with Sonja, and then headed off for a VinNebraska meeting. The meeting went well, and went long. When I got home from the meeting, feeling exuberant and exhausted all at once, Zooey was sadly already in bed. I’d missed our goodnight kiss. I rushed upstairs to read Titus his bedtime stories after that. We read Fox in Socks, Giggle Giggle Moo, and what he calls “Foona and Goona” — an abbreviated take on Dr. Seuss’s goodnight book during the reading of which I tickle him when we get to the page about the Foona Lagoona Baboona. Our ritual complete and my soul filled to the brim, I headed downstairs to meet Sonja. We had a project to work on.

We just bought a piano, which I’m sure will feature in a later blog and which will be delivered on Friday. Sonja had already begun clearing bookshelves. We needed to move the bookshelf on one wall over to the wall with two shelves already on it, strip their molding off, bolt them together, and create a larger bookshelf in order to make room in our living room for the piano we had purchased. This is the sort of thing my idiot brain can’t really wrap itself around, but my amazing wife had already sorted out the logistics when I got home, so all I really had to do was be grunt labor. That I can do. We got after it.

Allen wrenches in hand, we finagled things around, and the ultimate result was that we now have one, large bookshelf in our living space — and books scattered everywhere. While we worked, we sipped at a beautiful Pinot Noir, another great single vineyard effort from Lake County legend Jed Steele. The 2014 Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir is killer stuff, and Steele only made 250 cases of it, so if you see it, buy it. My tasting notes that evening, as I paired it with the task at hand, were brief: “Wow. Silky smooth. Black cherry and chocolate. Love this!” That pretty much sums it up. If you like Carneros Pinot Noir, I think you’ll like this one.

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What I didn’t do last night was watch the NCAA National Championship game, which is weird for me, maybe even a little “insane”. In another lifetime, I’d have made plans to meet half a dozen mates at B-dubs and made an event of it. But last night, well, I just had things I needed to do around the house, things that my family would benefit from. It’s a strange transition for me, looking back over the past month and realizing I didn’t watch one single NCAA tournament game, but not a bad one when I consider what I was doing instead of watching basketball. I guess I just have different priorities now, and maybe Eric wasn’t quite as crazy as I once thought. Just don’t expect to read anything like this during football season!

Cheers to realizing your friends aren’t as insane as you once thought,

Mark

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