Yesterday (Sunday) I spent most of the day driving to Portland to attend a 4-day class for work. It's about a 7-hour drive from my house. Parts of the route are scenic, but I hated the drive for a couple of reasons. The first is that Oregon doesn't allow you to pump your own gas. I hate having to deal with some random person at a gas station pumping my gas. So that makes me mad right from the start. The second was that it seemed like Oregonians are outraged at the prospect of being passed on the Interstate. It seemed like every time I came upon a slower-moving car and moved to pass it, it would accelerate to well past the legal limit in order to avoid being overtaken. If I gave up the attempt and fell back, the driver would immediately resume their original slower pace in front of me. If my passing attempt was successful, the cars would again fall back to their original speed and continue travel as if the incident hadn't occurred. Why did so many drivers accelerate by 10-20 mph every time I tried to pass? Everywhere you go, there are the occasional people (usually in lifted bro-trucks or other 4-wheeled penis enhancers) who will use all means necessary to avoid being passed, but on this trip it seemed like every single slow car turned a passing attempt into an honor duel. I think they feel emasculated because they aren't allowed to pump their own gas, and that's how they process that feeling.
I got to Portland in the evening, with enough time to unpack my bags and go to sleep. This morning I went to class at the scheduled time, and sent a couple of messages back and forth with my wife beforehand. Today was the day of the big ultrasound, where we were to find out the gender of the baby I talked about in January. Instead of good news, my wife's doctor found that the baby's heartbeat was gone, and my wife had suffered a miscarriage. I texted my boss to let him know that I had arrived in Portland and that we had received bad news about the baby, and he told me to excuse myself from the training and get home. So I went back to the hotel, packed my bags back up, and started the drive back home. Again, I experienced the same struggles with gas stations and other drivers, with the added bonus that one of the gas stations I stopped at was out of gas, so I had to talk to pump attendants at two different stations for one tank of gas.
There wasn't really a lot for me to do at home, outside of just being there. It's not like a miscarriage is something you can come home and fix. That part of it is pretty frustrating. I do think that coming back home was the right thing to do, though. We were really looking forward to being parents again, and our sons were looking forward to being big brothers. It was good to talk it out with the kids and talk it out with my wife. I'm not really sure how to deal with this, to be honest. The odds of this happening are like 5-10% at this point in a pregnancy, but once we saw the picture and heard the heartbeat a few weeks ago I had kind of planned on being the dad to this kid in a few months' time. Now there isn't going to be a kid. I'm not a very emotional guy on the outside, but there are things that get me emotional, and babies are one of those things. I'm pretty torn up about it, but I feel like having or showing feelings isn't the way a man is supposed to deal with this.
Anyway, today was a pretty shitty day because we found out our baby isn't alive anymore and I spent about 14 hours in my car over a 28-hour period, dealing with state laws and drivers that seem designed to push my buttons. I do feel blessed that I have a good wife and three healthy children, and I know that things will be okay eventually. I'm staying away from Oregon if I can, though.
Before I left, I picked up a hanger box of 2017 Topps Heritage at Wal-Mart to see the product in-hand. I opened it up at a rest stop somewhere in Oregon. I don't remember which one. I have a pretty small bladder, so I stopped at most of them as I criss-crossed the state. The hanger boxes have 35 cards.
Here are the odds and the NPN information, for those who are curious about that kind of thing.
This wasn't the first card out of the box, but it was pretty much the only Heritage base card I was really gunning for this year. This is my first card of R.A. Dickey in a Braves uniform. I kind of wrote off collecting the set this year, as there are 100 SPs and I just can't see myself spending the money it would take to build it or buy it. I like the cards well enough, but I don't have any particular ties to the original 1968 set. My parents were 6 years old when it was released.
I didn't scan all 35 cards in the box, but I scanned a few. I included the Valencia card because his hat and uniform are so obviously airbrushed on. The hat especially looks painted. I will usually include Astros in scans if I pull them, so Joe Musgrove and Collin McHugh made the cut. I noticed that Musgrove's hometown is listed as El Cajon, California. I spent some time there as a missionary about 16 years ago, so we're basically best friends.
Here are some of the horizontal cards I pulled. That Strikeout Leaders card might be used as an exhibit as Kate Upton continues her campaign to retroactively award the 2016 Cy Young Award to Justin Verlander. None of these other cards does a lot for me, but the Kluber card shows the World Series subset, the Robinson Cano card shows the All-Topps subset (with a puzzle piece of Mike Trout on the back), and the block of wood with a button and a cord is a primitive computer mouse from the News Flashbacks insert.
I pulled two Logan Morrison cards in a row. I can't find any difference between them, so I think the collation machine just got stuck on a Logan Morrison kick for a bit while loading up my box of cards. The Wil Myers is my short-print for the box (only 99 more to go!), and the Giancarlo Stanton card is a Chrome Refractor parallel, a 1:12-seeded pull numbered # 507 / 568.
This is a decent product and I am always very drawn to the idea of collecting the Heritage set. I failed to do so in 2016, though, and I think I will stay away again in 2017. I just don't get enough out of it. I'll probably still pick up a little of it over the course of the year, though.