I don't know about you, but I'm heaving a sigh of relief, because those of us who live in Punxsy are now free to "travel about the country," as that one airline commercial says.
As of Friday afternoon, all of our bridges were reopened to traffic.
The Sawmill Run Bridge, which many people didn't realize even existed until it was closed, reopened to traffic three days early.
In the beginning of September, the Route 119 Elk Run Bridge reopened to traffic.
Thursday morning, I pulled out the razor and did what I knew was coming â€” though I was hoping to put it off for a longer portion of this month â€” I shaved off my playoff beard.
To be fair, I had "cheated" and shaved off my mustache and the underbelly of my beard earlier and oftener than I'd let on I would â€” but I decided even playoff beards aren't worth looking creepy over.
Besides, Abe Lincoln didn't have a mustache or an underbeard, and everyone knows that dude still rocked the beard.
I edit pieces of writing for a living. Freedom of speech is something that's important to me â€” something that's very misunderstood, but something that's important to me nonetheless.
Lately, I've been doing a bit of writing outside of work â€” something I hadn't been driven to do much since I started as the sports writer here at The Spirit â€” and I've developed a few chapters for what I think might be my next book.
Wow, what a week, as I've returned home to Punxsy from the sun, surf and sand in Kitty Hawk, N.C., better known as The Outer Banks.
The whole family went â€” me, Linda, Mike, Joe and his girlfriend, Jennifer â€” along with our two dogs, Bailey, our Scotsin, and Chloe, our miniature poodle that we rescued from the Gateway Humane Shelter.
It turned out the trip down went very well, and the weather was really great while we were there, just what you want â€” hot and sticky, perfect for the beach.
It all started with a little bit of soreness in my joints on Tuesday afternoon.
In all honesty, I was hoping that it was just a change in the atmospheric pressures or something, indicating rain that night, that was causing my pain.
Alas, it was what I expected, and Wednesday morning, I woke up with a case of the sniffles.
Being sick is something that I typically don't look forward to â€” obvious, right? â€” but something that I've gotten used to.
Mother Nature and I have always had what you might refer to as a "love-hate" relationship.
In simpler terms, she seems to love to dole out weather that I hate.
On average, there are about 17 days â€” out of approximately 365 â€” in any given year during which I consider the weather to be a treat. And, that's an estimate on the high end.
Most folks have an "ideal temperature range," in which they're what they would consider comfortable.
I would venture to guess that the majority of folks fall within 10-15 degrees of comfortability â€” my range is about 2 degrees.
Wednesday morning, my sports writers each returned to the office as red as red can be in the face and looking like they'd been hit by a pair of semis after one of the longest days on our coverage calendar â€” Fall Sports Picture Day.
Spring and winter sports are more manageable with fewer teams to take pictures of, but the fall sports calendar is full and booming with activities â€” so many that we are forced to send a pair of photographers up just to get the task completed.
Unless I'm cracking jokes, my weight is not a topic of discussion I like to bring up a whole lot. I'm what most folks would call a "big guy," and I've always been OK with that. But lately, I've noticed that I've even let OK slip away.
Eating, for me, feels kind of like a sick addiction. A nicotine addict has to have a dip or a cigarette â€” it's more than a want â€” but food's a bit different, because we really do need food. I could live a long, healthy life without nicotine, but without food, I'd starve.
Someone told me the other day that "summer is over," which I personally find offensive.
How could someone say such words to me when we haven't even had summertime weather as of yet?
So, I've decided to ignore this announcement, which was based solely on the chilly weather we've had as of late.
When I was child, the words I grew to hate were "back to school sales are going on."
Some things were just meant to go together, weren't they?
We learn this fact from the time we're a very young age â€” and a lot of that experience comes through the portal of our taste buds.
When we are eating our lunches, we crave things that go together. We start dipping things into other things â€” testing the water to see whether or not this goes well with that. I honestly think it's an instinctual reaction; but if not, it's at least one we learn from others very quickly.