Ended Up With A Nice Little Saturday

Until about 7:00 this morning, we were getting ready to head to Kansas City for a two day softball tourney.  But then spring in the Midwest happened.  Turns out rain for two days and then snow overnight followed by more rain today cancelled the tournament.  It was almost 70 down there a few days ago and is supposed to be warm again next week.  Which is good because we have to go back down there next weekend for another tournament.  Now whether or not you agree with youth sports being an addictive chemical fed to parents to bleed them of cash is immaterial to my story but is a point I felt that needed to spelled out nonetheless.

But here’s the thing – driving to KC takes us about 3 hours.  And we needed to be at the fields 75 minutes prior to our 1:00 game.  So – quick math – we thought we’d leave no later than 8, make some time for one stop, and bingo bongo we’re at the fields a little early.  Except the weather happened.  But we were already up – on a Saturday – just before 7.  Yes, I realize some of you are smirking and saying, “yeah doofus, go back to sleep.”  Well, my body just doesn’t work that way.  Anymore anyway.  Like joint pain, hair loss and college tuition payments for our oldest, it’s just the way it is now.

So we’re awake with a whole Saturday morning unaccounted for.  So I suggested, “Hey, wanna go get breakfast somewhere?”  Mom gave the thumbs up so we headed out the door.  So, just follow along here.

Lots of options available.  There’s a local bagel place that’s pretty good.  You got Perkins of course.  But we headed down the street to…Panera.  Mom got an ham & egg sandwich – no cheese.  I got a steak, egg and cheese sandwich on an everything bagel.  First time I’ve had it.  Pretty good.  Nothing special, but yeah I’d eat it again.  But, truth be told, breakfast sandwiches are amongst my favorite foods.  Not totally sure on the approval rankings as of today but nachos, donuts, cheeseburgers are the other front runners.

Regardless, we get our drinks and proceed to do the following.  We grabbed a paper off another table.  The actual paper, not like a shareable Panera iPad.  An actual physical newspaper.  I grabbed the sports section and Mom went right for the word jumble. Then two things happened.  1) I had to put on my +1.25 readers because I can’t see shit, 2) Mom got a pen and filled in the jumble even though it wasn’t our newspaper.  It was just a random paper that somebody left there or that Panera was providing to its customers.  Either way I thought it was inappropriate for her to fill out the jumble.  Who does that?  What if somebody else wanted to figure out the jumble?  Too late motherfu*%er, Mom ruined it for everybody.  So yeah, we were at a freaking Panera early on a Saturday morning and I was reading the newspaper wearing  my readers and Mom was doing the jumble.

But then we left Panera and went to Bed, Bath & Beyond because we evidently had yet to prove to ourselves that we’re no longer 22.  But you gotta draw a line somewhere.  And my line is evidently waiting outside a Bed, Bath & Beyond at 8:50 on Saturday morning because the store doesn’t open until 9 as you notice the grandma parked next to you doing the same thing.  That’s my line.  We immediately left.  Felt like I needed to go home and rewatch The Dirt just to remind myself that we used to be cooler, younger and far less concerned getting new towels.

So anyway it was a weird morning.  Like the interlude of spanish dinner music in the middle of Sleezebeez’ underappreciated hair metal hit Stranger than Paradise.  But you know what?  We still ended up with a nice little Saturday…



Scenes from Round 1

If you’re a college basketball fan, and I am, then this may sound completely normal to you.  If not, well, whatever I guess.  When I was a teenager I used to think one of the coolest things ever would be a chance to be on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament selection committee.  Your job is to literally watch a boat load of games and seed the field of 64.  Yeah, awesome.  However, short of that ever coming to fruition, I thought it’d be pretty cool to have tickets to one of the regionals and go and watch the whole set of first and second round games.  And, as luck would have it, Des Moines is hosting a regional for the second time in in the last few years.  And, for the second time, we have tickets.

Turns out it really is awesome.  But it was even more awesome this year than the first time.  Why?  These were available:Defleppardbeers

25 oz. beers for $11.  I know, bargain.  Not only did it make the Bradley-Michigan State game really fun, it allowed the Nevada-Florida game to be tolerable.  When you’re agnostic towards the 8 teams in your regional its easy to make friends.  Also, because of the lack of balance in bathroom equality, you end up spending a fair amount of quality discussion time with strangers.  At some point in the recent past it became standard operating procedure in the design and construction of entertainment venues to have two women’s restrooms for every men’s restroom.  Typical of intersectionality, this line of thinking isn’t interested in equality, it is interested in revenge and reparations.   So not only are the women’s restroom superior in number – and I assume odor – they are larger.  The natural result is long lines resembling the bread lines in the old Soviet Union.  But since AOC and nearly the entire field of Democrat presidential hopefuls believe soviet style central government planning is peachy keen, maybe it was good practice.  Regardless, the length of the lines do give you a chance to visit with the gentlemen positioned close to you in said lines.

For instance, the Michigan State guy behind me got in line with not one, but two 25 oz Miller Lites.  That’s a guy who doesn’t really want to waste any unused space in his bladder.  He also spent a fair amount of time explaining that Sparty fans really travel well but airfare was $1200 from Detroit to Des Moines last Sunday.  Not being a guy who regularly checks airfares, I took his word for it.

The Bradley fans however showed up in force.  Neither Michigan State guy or I were sure how far Peoria was from Des Moines.  Luckily, the two Bradley students in front of me did.  Turns out it’s somewhere between 4 and 4.5 hours depending on your appreciation for speed limits.  Bradley actually led at halftime.  And this was the game immediately after Minnesota beat Louisville.  So the Gopher fans were engaged in some serious Midwest Power Drinking.  I told the Bradley kids that if they held on to win the game, they’d have to fight the Gopher fans for beers at the bars downtown.

Bradley kids weren’t impressed. “Ah, dude, we’ll be fine.  They’re gonna need to keep up with us.”

To which I responded, “Whoa, whoa, whoa there private school.  Slow down son.  You don’t want to challenge the Gophers to a contest in beer consumption.  Yeah, yeah, yeah you guys are from Illinois but your fan base isn’t ready for this.  You guys don’t have a football team.  You haven’t been conditioning since August for this kind of event.”

Bradley kid laughs it off.  But I wasn’t done.  “Look at Michigan State guy here.  He’s holding 50 ounces of beer in a line for the bathroom.  You what that means?  He’s gonna finish one in line to free up a hand, then he’s gonna finish the other on his way back to his seat while he stops at the beer stand for another 25 ouncer.  And he’s just loosening up for later.  He hasn’t even really started yet.”

Bradley kids are laughing pretty hard but I think I made my point.

I think the total count on Nevada fans ended up at two.  Sure there were more than that sitting behind the bench but I only saw two in the beer lines.  Which is my metric.  So maybe Wolfpack fans don’t have the same appreciation for giant beers that I do.  But that’s weird.  Like the casting for the Stalkers in The Running Man.  Anyway, we’ll see who shows up Saturday.  I’m guessing the Gopher contingent is growing not only in number but also in their liquid exuberance.

Remembering Spring Break…

As you know, I kinda have an issue with being steamrolled into allowing – (read PAYING FOR) a senior year spring break trip.  Everybody arrived safely and appear to be having a good time.  Mom sent me some pics of their hotel room.  It is nicer than anything I lived prior to the age of 46.  So I’m a bit concerned our senior might have some outlandish expectations of what her living conditions are going be like in college and her 20’s.  But, then again, I may have contributed to her unrealistic view of the world when I sent her to Mexico.  On spring break.  While she’s still in high school.  Truth be told, I’m a firm believer in setting expectations low so this whole spring break situation has me unnerved.

Anyway, as result of this situation I’ve decided to go back to one of things that makes me the most happy.  No, it isn’t beer.  Although that was a solid first guess.  But listen, beer has been a solid first guess when it comes to me since 1987.  Seriously, how am I not a part of owner of Miller Brewing?  It also is not a full court binge on conference tournament basketball…although I am actually doing that while I write this.  No, I’ve decided to go back to the 80’s.  Again.  Quick aside, I’m psyched to see Ready Player One in a couple weeks.  Totally going to nerd out on 80’s pop culture.

The girls are, in descending order in 12th grade, 10th grade and 8th grade.  Aside from being totally outnumbered by teenage girls who go out of their way to pick fights with each other while also outwardly mocking everything that isn’t important to them, it gives me a frame of reference into spring break.

8th grade – 1984.  Ren McCormack was the coolest, Lionel Ritchie wanted to know if it was him we were looking for and Berlin had No More Words.  I was modeling my coolness after Nick Ryder and Cody Allen.  Riptide was, and remains, a manly source of coolness.  Not ashamed to admit this.  Nick and Cody fought Charlie in Viet Nam, they lived on boat, owned a helicopter and drove a ’60 Corvette with flames on the side.  And in a weird twist of fate, they kinda introduced me to Mom.  Go on youtube and look for Season 1 Episode 4.  Originally aired 1-17-84.  Skip all the way to the end and you’ll see an inconsequential appearance by waitress played by Rosalind Allen (credited as Rosalind Ingeldew).  Despite Mom’s objections, she looks exactly the same.  They’re dopplegangers.  Not kidding.

10th grade – 1986.  I’ve made this argument several times but 1986, as a year, is totally overlooked.  It gave us Top Gun, Ferris Bueller and Running Scared.  Along with the criminally underrated Heartbreak Ridge.  I had a pair of these:reebokclassics

Bought one of these at County Seat: fadeddenim

Despite it marking the end of Riptide, the spring of ’86 asked us if all Mike & the Mechanics needed was a miracle, if Honeymoon Suite was feeling it again and we once again totally understood the social strata based conflicts in Pretty in Pink.  Plus, and this kinda throws a bit of doubt on my consternation regarding the unrealistic expectations developed by our senior, but my Dad took the whole family to Hawaii during spring break of ’86.  My Dad traveled a lot.  And he built up what can only be described a f*ck ton of miles and he got free roundtrip tickets to Hawaii for not only my sisters, me and my Mom but my Grandma too.  Turns out my Grandma always wanted to go to Hawaii and when my Dad had the chance to take her, he did.  He’s a good dude.  Despite my record as a parent, I do in fact have a good example.

12th grade – 1988.  White Lion wanted us to Wait and David Lee Roth thought this was just like Living in Paradise.  I do remember putting away a 12 pack of Meister Brau with a couple buddies.  It probably was because Rick Astley and Billy Ocean both somehow had hits songs over spring break my senior year. But best of all, Man in the Mirror was topping the charts.  And I don’t care what you guys say, this is a great song.  Here’s the thing though, aside from those Meister Braus, I don’t really recall a whole lot from my senior year spring break.  But I’m pretty sure Mom and our senior will.  And that makes me smile.

Spring Breaking

Evidently a spring break trip senior year is a thing.

Did you know this?  I sure as hell did not.  But it is an actual thing.  As least where we live.  Most seniors, as least the ones that our high school senior is friends with, are going somewhere on spring break.  My feelings regarding 18 year-olds and spring break have evolved over the years.  Mostly because my impressions of Spring Break, like most things, were heavily influenced by cheesy 80’s movies.  In this case, Spring Break, Hot Dog The Movie and Up the Creek.  Pretty cool when I was 18, now with a daughter who is 18?  Not so much.

But here’s the thing, you know where I went on my senior year spring break?  Crystal Lake, IL.  Or, as I remember it, NOWHERE.  I stayed home.  Why?  Because I was an 18 year-old high school senior with two interests – beer and girls.  And my parents were sane  and also pragmatic with their dollars.  Closest I got to the beach was Surfing magazine.  And truth be told, I had done virtually nothing during my junior and senior years of high school to engender any kind of confidence in my parents to believe that I could conduct myself responsibly under my own supervision.  And if I were to throw around some rough estimates the chances that my folks would have forked out the cash and traveled with me and my friends, along with their parents, to go somewhere warm and beery on spring break in March of 1988 would be in the vicinity of 0.0 percent.  And that might be generous.

But that is exactly what I did.  I fully admit my weakness.  I caved.  Gave in.  I stood my ground about as firmly as Oilers defense vs. the Bills in the ’92 playoffs.  Way back last fall, our oldest daughter started talking about spring break and how some of her friends were going Florida and some others were headed to Mexico and few others were going to California.  Naturally my first question was “by themselves?”  The answer surprised me more than had she actually answered “yes.”  Apparently these high school seniors had somehow used  some sort of senior year sorcery to trick their unsuspecting parents into not only paying for this ill-conceived idea but to also JOIN THEM.  I know!  How is this remotely fun for the parents?  But its true.  So after a few weeks of incessant badgering, whining and other assorted infuriating behaviors Mom comes over and tells me that I better get used to the idea of her going somewhere on spring break.  If I remember correctly, here was my response:

“Are you f$#@ing nuts?  I’m not paying for that sh*t.”

This was of course translated as, “Thanks for agreeing, I’ll let you know the total cost of the trip.”

So Mom and the 18 year-old are in Minneapolis tonight getting ready to fly out tomorrow morning on their way to a resort just south of Cancun.  Yeah, when I cave, I do it spectacularly.  I not only stupidly agreed to paying for this terrible idea, I have also agreed to do it TWO MORE FREAKING TIMES.  Because there ain’t no way the other two girls are going to somehow allow their senior year spring breaks to come and go without a trip somewhere.  In fact, the sophomore already was letting me know how awesome her spring break trip to Mexico will be.

Without hesitation I informed her that wherever it is that she goes on Spring Break two years from now, it will be within the international boundaries of the lower 48 of these United States.  With a little time to prepare myself, I’m more confident in my ability to stand my ground.  But then again, so was Custer.

Why am I limiting her to the good ol’ USA?  Well we met with some of the other parents who will be going on the trip.  Several of them are veterans of taking their kids to Mexico.  In addition to everybody telling us that the kids can’t go anywhere without adults both in the resort and outside the resort for safety reasons, we were told that at some point somebody is going to try and sell you and your kid some kind of illegal narcotics and at some point, in or around one of the clubs, prostitutes will find their way in.  Turns out more and more Americans aren’t leaving the resorts so the local, uh, merchants are finding their way in.  Also the kids can legally drink.  So Mom spent some time in the car explaining some of the rules.  Like how you never leave your drink unattended.  Don’t drink something given to you by somebody you don’t know.  If at all possible, drink something out of a can or a bottle and not a mixed drink.  Because nobody wants to drink the water.  I mean unless you’re a toilet enthusiast or something.

So I’m kinda freaked out about this even though Mom will down there.  They get back Wednesday.  We’ll see how it goes…