Steve WatsonKNOW YOUR 1980s DENVER BRONCOS

This week, #43, Steve Foley.

Steve FoleySteve was drafted by the Broncos in the 8th round of the 1975 draft, a round so late it doesn’t even exist anymore.  He overcame this humble beginning to spend his entire 11-year career with the Broncos, and remains near the top of the team’s all-time games played.  Steve started out as cornerback, but shifted to the free safety position in 1980, where he remained until his retirement following the 1986 season.  He is the Broncos’ career leader in interceptions.

He played in Super Bowl XII, in which the Broncos were pummeled by the Dallas Cowboys 27-10, and Super Bowl XXI, in which the Broncos were pummeled by the New York Giants 39-20.  The team’s even more severe pummelings in Super Bowls XXII and XXIV might be attributable to the loss of Steve’s veteran leadership on defense.

So what makes Steve Foley so awesome? He is the star of one of my more vivid 1980s Denver Broncos memories, a famous Monday night snow game matchup against the Green Bay Packers (here is another link with story about the game and a photo, but also approximately four million ads, so please decide for yourself how badly you crave more information about it).  Wintry conditions lead to two separate Broncos defensive touchdowns via fumble return, including one by Steve.  An additional Rich Karlis field goal put Denver up 17-0 at the half, which was unfortunately my bedtime*, and I would have to wait until the next morning to learn the outcome of the game**.

These days, Steve runs FS Land, LLC, the Denver-area land-development company, with his business partner Bob Swenson, another 1980s Denver Bronco.  Per a 2007 Denver Post article, the two have remained close friends and enjoy cajoling each other and taking about themselves in the third person.  They also consider themselves to be in the “people-development” business, which I found disconcerting.

*Nowadays my bedtime is also at halftime of night games.  These games start at the same time they did in the 1980s (in fact, they might start a little earlier now), and my bedtime is now probably two hours later than it was when I was seven, but now I live two time zones further east.
**Though I went to bed disappointed since I imagined there would be dozens, if not hundreds more zany snow-induced scores, the second half was relatively boring.  The Packers scored two touchdowns to get as close as 17-14, but that was all they could muster, and the Broncos won despite failing to score any offensive touchdowns.

Artie’s FHO on Wednesday went well for the most part.  No complications or anything weird.  We weren’t sure if he had actually broken a bone or if there was some kind of degeneration, but turns out it was broken.  Who knows how–a clumsy landing, one would guess.  But he came through the procedure all right.

The vet went berserk shaving the poor little guy.  I think normally when pets have something done they get shaved around the area.  Artie got shaved pretty much all over one side from his middle to his tail.  The back left leg (the one operated on) got shaved down to this odd little boot-looking remainder on his foot.  The scrawny hairless cat leg then puffy foot looks unfortunately like this terrible current fashion trend of Ugg boots and shorts.  I kind of want to post a picture but I kind of don’t want to shame Artie.  Anyway, I don’t know why they went so overboard on the shaving other than being extra cautious about sterility.

We took him home for the night Wednesday but that’s when things got a little dicey.  He had a catheter tube and bandage still on one paw just in case, but he pretty much relentlessly worked it out whenever we left him alone and ended up with the thing dangling out and a little blood on his bandage.  He was also more preoccupied with his stitches than he should have been.  So we ended up taking him to the after-hours vet, and didn’t get home and settled to bed until midnight, but it was worth the trip.  They cleaned up his paw and outfitted him with the dreaded e-collar (AKA the pet cone, and they really need less sad-looking dogs on that Wikipedia page).  He obviously doesn’t like it much but it’s keeping us from worrying about his stitches.

At this point we’re in recovery mode.  He’s handling his meds well (and we only have a few more days of lots of drugs), he’s eating and using his box, and is even submitting to his physical therapy regimen for at least a few minutes.  That’s just as hard on us: twice a day I have to hold him down (and that little dude is strong for a creature weighing13 pounds) and K gently stretches out his back leg.  It doesn’t feel good, but I think he hates being held down just as much.  Mostly the issue is that he’s perking up a lot and is getting bored and lonely in the confined bedroom we’re keeping him in.  We have to keep him confined for two full weeks so the tissues can heal, and two days in that seems like a looong time.  Whenever we come in, he purrs like crazy and limps around trying to rub up against us a lot.  Then when we leave he digs at the door to get out.  Luckily he doesn’t have much stamina yet and hasn’t gotten up enough strength to spend a lot of time meowling.  But we need to leave him alone as much as possible to keep him calm.  He doesn’t want to lay around all day, but that’s what he’s got to do.

On top of this, K has a nasty cold, and we’re both stressed out and behind on sleep.  All in all, not a fun week around the house but we’re getting through it.

Strange week on the horizon.  Our cat Artie hurt his hip and has to undergo a femoral head ostectomy.

Last Saturday he wasn’t himself.  Instead of hanging around the porch in the morning, he was just lying in the basement. Sometime in the afternoon we checked on him because he hadn’t been upstairs all day.  He tried to go back up the stairs to get away from us but he was gimpy.  I’m not sure what might have happened.  Could have been anything.  He’s notoriously clumsy.  When he jumps off furniture he lands with a thud that sounds like someone just dropped a bowling ball.  And generally he’s kind of accident-prone anyway.  He always seems to be on the wrong side of a door that’s opening up, or getting accidentally stepped on, or falling off his cat tower in playful exuberance.  We joke a lot that he’s the most Extreme! cat we know, and have even invented a unit of measurement to describe his baseline extremeness, 1 Artie, which would be equivalent to, say, a BMX stunt rider doing a backflip off a cliff while chugging a Mountain Dew.  But he was down to about 0.3 Arties and we were a bit worried.

We were hoping it would clear up within a few days because he’d just been to a vet a few weeks back and obviously superfluous trips are worth avoiding for his sake and ours.  But it didn’t, so I brought him in for a checkup Tuesday afternoon.  Even though he’d been getting around the house a lot more, he was still in some pain and they needed to take x-rays.  Those revealed either a break or some general deterioration at the head of his femur (the ball joint that connects to his hip).  Not the kind of thing that would heal up on its own.

So, an FHO.  He’s going in Wednesday.  They remove the head of the femur and apparently the muscles and scar tissue are enough to keep the joint working normally in small animals.  It won’t be a fun time and it’ll be a while before he’s back to full strength.  Nor is it cheap, but we’ll let him pay off his debt at a reasonable interest rate. The good news is that he should recover completely and have a lot of years of normal activity ahead.

artie 067

Hopefully this normal activity will be him learning to jump down from things a little more gracefully and not hurting himself again.  Wishing him a good week and speedy recovery.

1. Do not examine USB drive.  Instead, guess a proper orientation and attempt to insert.  Note that USB will not insert during this step.

2. Assume original orientation was wrong.  Rotate 180 degrees.  Attempt to insert.  Note that USB will continue failing to insert.

3. Return to original orientation.  Attempt to insert.  This time, it will work.  Do not seek an explanation for this.

In March we bought a house and thought it logical to also live there. So we moved, leaving behind a stellar rental townhouse that I’d lived in for nearly five years, longer than I’d lived in any one domicile since the house I’d grown up in. It was a great place that I was sad to leave behind, but it was a rental and we’d simply outgrown it.

The thing I miss the most? The bathrooms.

Here was a truly glorious set of bathrooms. First off, there were three. Three! For a 1300-square-foot townhouse. We were awash in excess. (And, washing in excess.) Yet quantity was only one of the great aspects. Each was uniquely terrific in its own way.

I’ll start with the ground floor half-bathroom.

I loved this bathroom.  The house was built in the late 1970s I think, and while the rest of the world grew up, this bathroom stayed exactly the same.  The olive green fixtures served as an ode to a bolder time.  The wallpaper wasn’t just dizzyingly patterned, it was fuzzy!  I affixed a note on the mirror encouraging guests to touch the wallpaper.  I left the note behind when we moved.

Next was the hallway bathroom at the top of the stairs.

As you can see, this bathroom was very, very red.  It reminds me of the bathroom from The Shining.  Also, harder to tell in the pictures, it was huge!  I’m pretty sure this bathroom is bigger than my freshman dorm room.

The only real negative of any of these bathrooms was to be found in the tub/shower here.  There is actually a sliding door behind the curtain.  So why did I need the curtain?  Because the caulk on the door was the most stubbornly useless water repellent ever encountered by mankind.  It proved utterly beyond modern human technology to prevent it from leaking.  In fact, I believe that I could initiate a flood simply by applying this caulk to the outside of a major dam.  Water would somehow seek out the caulk, through the dam, in order to leak through it.  After a while we gave up trying to use the door and just put a curtain over the thing.

Finally, the truly excellent master bathroom.

Like its counterparts, it is a very distinct color.  In this case, purple.  It also has a jacuzzi bathtub! I can tell you these are no fun to clean because they’re huge and gunk gets in all the jets.  But the trade off is worth it.

The new house also has three bathrooms (or, to be accurate, both houses really have 2.5).  But these three are sorely lacking what was left behind.  We’re planning some remodels once we’re feeling like spending the money and putting up with the hassle.  But even when we do, it’ll be hard to match what we had.

So I have to admit: my lifetime peak access to great bathrooms is now sadly in the past.

Steve WatsonKNOW YOUR 1980s DENVER BRONCOS

This week, #49, Dennis Smith.

Dennis SmithThe Broncos selected Dennis as their first round pick (15th overall) in the 1981 draft, and he went on to become one of the greatest safeties in team history.  Dennis became a starter in his second year and remained an anchor in the Broncos’ secondary until his retirement following the 1994 season.  He developed a reputation as an extremely hard hitter and was feared by all rational offensive players.  He was voted to six pro bowls and four all-pro teams during his career.  Dennis recorded over 1,000 tackles for the team, making him one of the all time team leaders (tackles were not officially or consistently recorded for most of his career).  He also is among the all-time team leaders in interceptions and fumble recoveries, and is behind only to John Elway, Jason Elam, and Tom Jackson in total number of games played for the Broncos.   Dennis was inducted into the Broncos’ Ring of Fame in 2001. He’s also considered one of the great players in USC history, but I don’t hold that against him.

He played in Super Bowl XXI, in which the Broncos were pummeled by the New York Giants 39-20, Super Bowl XXII, in which the Broncos were pummeled by the Washington Native Americans 42-10, and Super Bowl XXIV, in which the Broncos were pummeled by the San Francisco 49ers 55-10.

So what makes Dennis Smith so awesome?  Like his protege Steve Atwater, Dennis was a fantastic combination of power and speed that recent Broncos teams have sorely lacked.  Dennis also deserves Hall of Fame consideration, but has never seriously gotten it as a safety with low interception numbers playing for an unglamorous western team.  (Yes, I believe there is an East Coast bias in sports journalism.)  Further, he played his entire career with the Broncos and is one of the better options for defensive players to control in Tecmo Super Bowl.

These days, Dennis lives in southern California and owns several properties there.  In lieu of opposing running backs, he attacks the needs of children by donating his time and money to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Covenant House.