April building, on and off the bike

Its has been a busy month.

My wife and I have been planning and dreaming of a pergola (an open, unattached patio cover) for some time. Since I can’t use the “I don’t know how” excuse anymore with her so we decided I could build it. We started on it the second weekend of April and over the course of a couple weekends we got it put in.

It went from this...

It went from this…

to this...

to this…

to finally this.

to finally this.

My carpentry skills are still very rudimentary but they get the job done. There are a few things we want to do to improve it – I already built the noise baffle by the air conditioner unit – but we should get most of that done this Sunday. After that it is time to sit and enjoy it.

If it ever stops snowing. Good grief.

On the bike, it has been good. The construction work and a short stint of night and weekend duty have taken a toll on my training but I can still quantify improvements. Thank you Strava for making it easy to see performance ebb and flow.

I am racing this weekend in the marathon at Tranquility. They have a 50+ division so maybe, juuuust maybe, I’ll come away with some cash. We’ll see.




Evaluating 2012

Here it is: my annual self-evaluation and plan for 2013. Its really not about popping off about how great I did in 2012 as it is putting the plans for 2013 in place. Putting it down here makes it more likely that I’ll follow through.

2012 was the year of travel for the Downey/Wagners. Late in 2011 we bought a vehicle big enough to travel in style anticipating a couple long road trips and we used it to its potential. In July we loaded up and made the 29 hour drive to extreme southwest Florida to see my brother and his family. It was a good trip, but the drive was almost too long to do straight through. I’d do it again though.

August saw us going the opposite way to see our “adopted” family in California and attend a wedding. It too was a good trip and the 22 hour drive seemed like a piece of cake. There were a couple hitches on the trip home (one involving a meltdown on my part over a missing wallet) but it was a good trip.

In 2013 we’re pledged to take my brother-in-law to California by plane. You see, he has some special needs but he is finally game to ride on a plane so its going to be interesting. It will be fun showing him places I am sure he never dreamed of seeing. We may have to knock him out to get him on the plane but once we’re aboard it will be fine, I’m sure.

Over the winter of 2012 Kandy and I decided that we wanted new floors and the cheapest way was to do it ourselves. We also decided that we wanted wood floors. The only problem was that neither of us knew how to lay floors. It took a while but with some patience and a ton of advice from a Menards person we did it and it looks beautiful.

We wanted to put up a pergola on the back of the house but just never seemed to get it done. Our pledge is to start it as soon as the frost is out of the ground in 2013. Again, I have no idea what I’m doing, but that’s never stopped me before.

After the trip to Cali our grandson moved in with us. Braxton is only 2 so he had to bring his parents with him as well. They put their house on the market and it literally sold out from under them. Now they really can’t find a house they want and are still with us. I’m in no hurry for them to find a house as its has been wonderful bonding with the kids and spending so much time with B.

We had our last high school graduation party in 2012. The guest of honor is still with us while he continues school but I anticipate that when Braxton and his parents move Jake won’t be far behind. That’ll leave just Kandy and me in the house – that will be a whole new chapter that promised to be interesting. As much as I am not trying to get anyone to leave, I am looking forward to having that time with my wife. We’ve never had time to just be a couple and I am looking forward to having it.

I kind of let my cycling slide a bit in 2012 – I still raced some and did (not as well as I’d have liked but) OK but it was not my best effort. It started in the fall of 2011 when I really started to slide in both time and quality and ended up putting on a few pounds. Consequently, when I did race or go ride with friends the legs just weren’t there.

But, in 2012 I really upped my game with my yoga practice and made it a part of my daily routine. I also studied and taught myself the Tai Chi 24 form and have worked that and some qi gong into my morning practice. I joined a gym again and went sporadically until late November when I decided to quit messing around and go.

For 2013 I am determined to get back into decent shape. Nothing crazy and no humping to every race on the calendar but I want to do better than 2012. I have laid out a detailed training plan incorporating cycling, running, weight training and yoga/tai chi and am just finishing the first  microcycle. I think I am already in better condition than I was for most of 2012, certainly my base training is better that it has been for a couple years.

Oh, and I got a new tattoo – covering up an old one that needed to be gone. Now the new one needs a friend. I am thinking I’ll go back to the same shop in Cali again for the new addition.

There are a couple other things looming for 2013 that I just can’t discuss right now. A few people know what I mean, but suffice to says its Kind of a Big Deal, at least to me. I’ll let you all in on the secret regardless of the outcome at the end of 2013. You’ll all have to suffer until then.

Last – and most important – I need to work on being a better person. Not only for myself and my future plans but for my wife and family. There is always room for personal growth and improvement but in may case there is a ton of room for improvement. I am thankful every day that my wife has the ability to look beyond my poor behavior and see how much I love her and how much I want to do better. My goal is to not make her do that so often.

Happy New Year.

Happy New Year

Looking back, I had a pretty good 2011, and I hope you all did too.

Stay safe tonight (I’ll be out working) and let’s all have a great 2012. I’m looking forward to some traveling, riding, family time, professional challenges, and another year with my bride.

Happy New Year my friends!

How I spent my 2011

What did I do this year? Good grief, what what a wild ride.

Kristin graduated.

Kristin went off to college.

Braxton turned a year old. Man, I love that kid.

Jake had a nasty accident, but fortunately he wasn’t hurt. Totaled the car though. Not his fault.

Kristin had an accident. No one hurt, totaled the car though. Not her fault.

Looked for cars, a lot.

Worked a month of nights to help cover a personnel shortage.

Raced my MTB bike a lot. Did ok.

Raced my CX bike some, had results all over the board. That needs work.

Went to the Dakota 5-o again, did ok.

Had some interesting cases at work, some made the news.

Kandy and I had some really fun times.

Had my 10th wedding anniversary with my favorite person who happens to be my wife.

Pages turning faster than I can read them

Right now things are happening fast, so fast that it is hard to keep track of and process the important things.

Let me tick off a few things

Graduation for Kristin is only a couple weeks away, which means my little baby girl is getting all big on me. I keep telling myself that I am happy for all the new chapters and events and that this is all how its supposed to go and that her growing up doesn’t bother me, but at some point I am going to be reduced to tears. The emotional dam will most likely burst at her graduation ceremony.  There are already some leaks here and there.

Not only is she graduating, but she’s going off to college soon. Creighton University no less, and will a major scholarship. Hopefully with more scholarships to follow.

With Kristin being Senior Class President, her parents become the de facto head of the Post Prom party committee. Planning it is a monumental task, and my dear wife has taken it on almost entirely, and tirelessly. She has done a remarkable job, and I am so proud of her.

And, to top it off, Kristin has been nominated for Prom royalty.

Kristin’s life has been an amazing story with many ups and many downs. She has gone through so much physically and emotionally but has always come through things with poise and grace, and managed to hang onto her faith and her priorities throughout.

I can’t imagine being more proud of a person, let alone my own child.

>Work: College World Series Style part 2


With Oregon State winning and this being what looked to be the final game, we were sent to wait in the dugouts for the final out and then told to get on the field to keep people off. Now, I am just as fool-hardy as any other cop, but somehow 10 of us vs. 20,000 outraged/elated fans didn’t seem like good odds. But, down to the first base, Oregon State, dugout we went.

All five of us.

One of the five was a BIG guy I had gone to basic training with named Kim. So, here we are, the few, the five, lined up in the dugout. One, two, three outs and out we go onto the field, with me leading. As I run toward first base, several fans had jumped the fence behind me and were heading to the pitcher’s mound.

As I turned, I saw my buddy Kim in a wrestling match with one of them and another fan shouting “That’s my son!” running toward them. What was it – father and son day?! So the father tried dog-piling Kim and the kid. I grabbed him and yanked him off. Just as we stopped moving backward, two of the cops on the field with me pile-drived the dad into the First base coach’s area.

So, both were hauled away, probably to share some father-son time with the earlier pair.

What was really amazing was that I could hear the crowd yelling at the cops when Kim took the first guy down. I truly expected some sort of riot or at least a wave of fans running to the field When I drug the dad off and he got taken down, I heard cheering. Talking to people afterward, the crowd and the press were glad that these guys had been stopped so that the team could celebrate.

I like the CWS.

>Work, College World Series Style part 1


So I worked security at the College World Series a couple days, including the final game last night. I started out at the right field en trace gate, not too exciting. Finally, I was reassigned and moved to a rover position to just patrol the entire spectator area looking for whatever trouble I could find.

Mid-way through the bottom of the seventh, I spotted several of the other law enforcement guys like myself escorting a guy out. He had been way down in front in reserved seating area so I got to them as they got into the main aisle moving to an exit gate. usually, the only reason to escort someone out is if they are drunk or really obnoxious and this guy fit the bill on both counts.

He was in his mid-20’s and tanked. When I got to them I ended up in the front of the line of cops and next to the drunk guy. He was spouting off about how we couldn’t touch him, how he knew his rights, and just generally being a jerk. As we got to the exit from the seating area to the main concourse, he bolted.

I took off after him and body checked him into a wall. As I got my hands on him he and and I were swarmed by the other 6-8 cops who were behind us with all of them wanting a piece of the guy. Hands and handcuffs were everywhere until he was finally restrained.

We walked him outside and the security supervisor said to get him off the grounds. Once we had gotten outside, the guy’s dad came along and was trying to talk some sense into his son. The dad at least had the sense to know that if the kid didn’t quiet down he was going to jail. We did manage to get him to the curb of the venue property line but by now he and dad were getting more upset with each other than us. So, while the drunk was distracted by dad, we took the handcuffs off, told him not to come back and let them both go.

By the time we got back to the main gate, we heard that father and son were duking it out in the middle of the street. Off the grounds, not our problem. Not a minute later we saw the horse patrol from Omaha PD heading up there. I’m sure they went to jail at that point. Several people watching all this commented that the father and son had been kicked out of the beer garden across the street for acting the same way earlier in the day.