I’d like to start off by giving a hello to Nick Warkentien’s grandmother.  I was talking to Amy Warkentien tonight after we got back from Richlands and she said that she and Nick had mentioned us in conversation and his grandmother recognized my name.  Apparently she reads this regularly.  (That brings the total number of regular readers I have all the way up to, what, three or four?)  So, hello, Nick’s grandma!  Feel free to create an account and leave some comments now and then.

Phil Mercer waits to be waited on at Andy's

So, as you might have already read, we went to Richlands.  Karen, Amanda and Michael’s mom, whose 55th birthday it is, hadn’t come home from her parents’ house where she had breakfast with Aunts Joanne and Patsy.  She said her sister, Anna Frazelle, had called and she had been waiting for everyone to get off the phone so she could say good bye and leave.  So she missed out on the lunch the rest of us, Amanda, Michael, their dad Phil and I all had at Andy’s, where Michael used to work.  Honestly though, she was probably better off for it.

We got there right at noon and waited a while for the waiter to come take our order.  He was the only person there taking orders and while it wasn’t slammed, the restaurant was pretty busy.  So we finally ordered, then after the food came Michael pointed out something in my cup of lemonade.  There was a long, thick black hair stuck on the inside of the cup, on the side where I wouldn’t be able to see it.  Looking around, it seemed that the only person it could have come from was our hapless waiter. There were also a couple hairs on the straw I had just unwrapped and put in the second cup.  They might have come off my jacket though, because they looked a bit like Bruce hairs.

Then Phil ran out of drink and nobody came to fill it and his fries were cold.  He must have had the last of an old batch of fries, because the order Amanda and I split was pretty good.  Really, it was not a good dining experience.

Karen Mercer wears a bag that we'd put a birthday gift for her in

Karen was home when we got back to the house, outside with Paddy, Bruce and Harvey and raking leaves out of the driveway on her birthday.  We went inside, opened presents, ate the cheesecake Amanda made and watched YouTube videos.

At 3:30 Michael and I watched Carolina take on Maryland, which I, along with pretty much everyone else, had already ceded to the Tar Heels.  Amanda and Karen went to Jacksonville to Babies R Us.  Phil was helping out with a Baptist Women’s Meeting tonight whereat Anna Frazelle was giving a presentation about her broken back from jumping off a waterfall.

Carolina went up I think 16 points in the second half.  Amanda and Karen got home, and Anna and Peggy, Amanda’s grandmother, came over.  Maryland started a comeback and tied up the game.  Admittedly, there were a few bad calls.  Later on, some Carolina fans would complain  about the officiating, even though three of Maryland’s players fouled out to one of UNC’s.

Greivis Vasquez is a douche, but I don't mind when he gets a triple-double against the Tar Heels

Peggy and her daughters left as the game went into overtime.  After Maryland, one of the bottom teams in the ACC, won the game 88-85.  Greivis Vasquez had a triple double with 35 points.  The Terps went off from the three point line.  Michael wasn’t happy about it and I did my best to try not to show too much excitement in front of him, although to me a Tar Heel loss is almost as good as a Duke win.  Maryland’s next game is against the Blue Devils on Wednesday night, after Duke faces a tough Wake Forest rematch tomorrow night.  Since Duke whooped Maryland by 41 last time they met, it will be interesting to see how the two teams go into the next game.

I drove us home after the game ended.  My passport came in, which was pretty fast, I thought.  Barry Frazelle called tonight and I told him it was there already.  He had driven up Richlands-way with Anna, but he went to visit his mom.  I think her birthday is coming up, but I also heard that she had gone to the hospital with some sort of heart issue.  I asked after her, and he said the doctor said she should have many years left in her, that while there was a little trouble she seemed to be fine.

Barry had called to say that when we drive down to Charlotte he was getting a hotel room for the night instead of trying to have all four of us stay with Dain Dulaney for the night before we take off.  He wanted to know if Michael and I wanted to get a separate room or if we were okay sleeping on the pullout bed or whatever else was in the room, which I know is fine with me.

After Amanda went to bed I watched Oklahoma at Texas.  I wanted to see a bit of Blake Griffin’s play, but he got hit in the first half and was out the rest of the game with a concussion.  It was a really good game, with Texas (who was ranked early in the season but isn’t now) getting a double digit lead only to have Oklahoma claw back.  In the second half it stayed close with several ties, but Texas pulled the win out.  I was going for Oklahoma for a couple reasons.  First, they’re coaches by Jeff Capel, a Duke alum.  Second, they’d have been #1 next week if they won tonight.  They’ll probably still be ranked ahead of Carolina, but I think the Heels would have been knocked back further had they won.  Oh well.  Third, Griffin is the current favorite for National Player of the Year, over the pre-season favorite, Tyler Hansbrough.  At this point, I don’t think Hansbrough is even the most important player on his own team (I’d put him at third or fourth), so it’s probably not a serious threat, but any ammo to help Griffin and keep it away from Hansbrough is good to me.

Zach Dotsey