2011 NFL Pro Bowl Weekend: How To Amuse Yourself When Football Is Over

Jacqueline Moen-KadlecContributor IIIJanuary 29, 2011

Two more weeks of football...
Two more weeks of football...Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


The depression has begun, friends, and I am not sure how to deal with it.  Since August, I have happily watched the Green Bay Packers play (including preseason and Packers Family Fun Night) and have enjoyed every single minute of it. 

Not only have the Packers made it through the playoffs, but now they are playing in the Super Bowl in another week.  I realize that fans of the Packers are fortunate.  Our season has not yet ended.  And for that, I also realize, I am very fortunate.  But the question remains:

What am I going to do after the Super Bowl?

My weekends, up until this point, have been set up around the Green Bay Packers.  It starts on Friday after work.  While foraging for food at my local grocery store, the main thought in my mind has been, "What, dear girl, are you going to have Manpig (my husband) cook for the Packer game?" 

My dear Manpig is the cook in our family, and he has become progressively proficient in cooking excellent tailgating food during the duration of our courtship and marriage. 

One rule of tailgate food in our household has been: "At Least One Food Cooked For The Packers Game Must Be Beer-Based... Or Result in Beer Consumption."  As I do not drink, Manpig has deemed a subsection to this rule: "One Food Must Be So Hot That Manpig Must Consume Beer To Douse The Fire." 

It is a win-win situation:  Manpig gets to eat the hot food, and Manpig gets to consume the beer. 

After purchasing the food, I must look at my Saturday schedule. As I realize that, in normal circumstances, the game is on Sunday, I must plan all events/family functions/shopping excursions/work related activities on Saturday.  This can result in me waking up at three in the morning to conclude all activities prior to Sunday. 

Manpig has been woken up at four in the morning when the shrill sound of the vacuum cleaner/carpet shampooer has been fired up in order to meet the "Must Not Do Anything On Game Day" deadline. 

Manpig, in his divine wisdom, has become okay with his wife meeting this goal, as he has witnessed his wife scrambling on Sunday morning to get things done prior to the pregame show.  This is not a pleasant situation and he has learned to pick his battles.

After the house is clean, it is normally time for Saturday visiting.  I have aging grandparents, who are very comfortable with calling me and saying, "So, did Manpig sell you for beer money?  We haven't seen you in awhile."  This could also be translated as, "Jacqueline, we haven't seen you in a day," or "Jacqueline, we haven't seen you in a week/month."

Either way, when my caller ID says my grandparents' name, I know that it has been long enough, and they are suffering from separation anxiety.  My grandparents must spend time with me, and as they are Norwegian, and therefore crazy by default, it is time for me to return to their lair.  

My grandparents have requested Sunday visits during football season, and it has almost always ended badly.  I have gone to their residence for one hour, said, "Yup, the Packers are playing," and they, in their cute, elderly ways, have stared at me blankly and said, "They are?" 

My grandparents, whom I love dearly, are not football fans.  Therefore, they do not understand my love for the Packers.  It wounds me.

Sunday, during football season, is my day.  Manpig prepares the food that I have hunted/foraged for.  I read the Sunday paper, which is a Wisconsin paper and therefore has a lot of information on the upcoming game. 

The pregame show is set to an automatic timer, and my day begins.  The washing machine does not operate on game day.  The phone, which always seems to ring, is silent.  My family, whom I love dearly, is put in the back of my mind. 

A note to my family: If you cut off your foot during the game, call the ambulance and let me know how it turns out.  But only after the game, please.  

Non-Packers fans must realize that if you call during game day, I will not be pleasant.  You have been warned and please realize that I do not mean to be a jerk, but you are interrupting me, and therefore the Packer game.  This will not be allowed.  You will be reprimanded.

So, the question, and my main point, remains: What in the world do I do without football?

I can spend time with my family, obviously.  However, they have been neglected during the football season and we must therefore become reacquainted again during the offseason.  And really, are they going to want to hang out with me, knowing that I am going to be unavailable during the next football season? 

The answer is yes, they will welcome me back with open, and knowing arms.  They have become accustomed to this, and have learned to deal with it.

I can garden,  I guess.  But, I live in WISCONSIN.  We have about 15 feet (an exaggeration) of snow cover on the ground.  And really, I can kill houseplants with amazing speed and accuracy.  I am ninja-like in my plant-killing skills to the point that I am amazed that my pets have flourished. 

Trust me, my plants and pets are thankful that Manpig refuses to be scared away and sticks around to care for them.

I could clean the house more, I suppose, but I am afraid of my closets.  The early 1990s Motley Crue t-shirt that I bought during the Dr. Feelgood Tour?  I still have that.  I should probably focus on making a Goodwill donation...

And really, what else can I do? 

The answer is simple:  I have the Pro Bowl this weekend and the Super Bowl the following.  I will focus on those two games, and take one day at a time. 

I will wait, impatiently I might add, for training camp.  Then the preseason, and then, thankfully, the regular season.  There is hope!  Hope, I tell you!

Go Pack, go!  (And hurry up regular season.)