Did you ever have one of those times when what feels like several weeks' worth of social events get compressed into one ginormous Blowout Day of Fun? Yeah, last Sunday was like that for us. It started bright and early with a 7:30 wakeup call. (Not literally--more like a quick shake, a brisk swishing open of the curtains, and a lot of grumbling. Vacating our cozy beds was a necessary step toward the entertainment to come...but it didn't mean we were so very cheerful about it at the outset...) Once everyone's eyes had sufficiently opened, we commenced with the critical Layering of Winter Apparel portion of our agenda. Long underwear, wool socks, sweat clothes...all of which required precise instructions from a parent to ensure they actually made it on, as my children would leave the house wearing shorts and tee shirts every day of the year if left to their own devices. Then the REST of the gear--piles of snowpants, coats, hats, gloves, boots--needed to be loaded into the car. Finally, equipped with as much portable food as we could hold for a car-breakfast, we hit the road. Destination: Ski Liberty, for a tubing excursion with my brother's family in celebration of my nephew's birthday.
Once we arrived, it was an extravaganza of slippery, snowy amusement. I have to say, this is one of the few legitimate reasons I can accept for voluntarily being out in the cold for several hours. Even though I'm an "amateur" (Riley's word) or even "boring" (yeah, one guess which pre-teen smart aleck said that) because I refused to take a running start, fling myself onto the inflatable ring face-first, and slide down the track on my belly...it was still enough of a rush for me, thank you very much. Gazing down the steep hill, feeling the inner tube pick up speed as you skim the moguls, blinking against the wind and fine frozen spray--whoo, good stuff. We made the loop up the lift and down the course as many times as we were allowed in our two-hour session, before regrouping in the lodge for some toe-and-hand-defrosting. But wait...that was only the first event in the day's plan. Next we rendezvoused at a nearby Pizza Hut to feed the ravenous savages...I mean "children" and present Redskins cupcakes to the Birthday V.I.P. (And don't ask me about the team-that-shall-not-be-named. That's what he wanted, so that's what I made. Hopefully this is just an unfortunate, but temporary, phase...)
After the ear-splitting and chaotic lunch, Team WestEnders returned to Home Base for a few hours to clean up (i.e.: ditch 27 now-extraneous articles of clothing), rest, and ready ourselves for the final shebang on the schedule: Super Bowl viewing at my Dad's house. Although I'm not a football fan myself, I knew I'd be awash in a crowd of rabid purple-clad Ravens supporters, all hyped up about the Big Game. My dad, my brother and sister, my niece and nephews, my sons, and Husband and I all gathered around the television to soak in the full ceremonial splendor surrounding the NFL Championship. From the stirring America the Beautiful, (nicely presented by the student chorus from Sandy Hook Elementary, with a lovely assist by Jennifer Hudson) to the Star Spangled Banner (soulfully delivered by Alicia Keys), to the highly-anticipated advertisements, nothing was safe from comment or critique by the vocal, bluntly-honest Peanut Gallery. Oh, and somewhere in there, a football game might have occurred. Just kidding--I couldn't possibly forget the action, as my beloved relatives indicated their approval...or disgust...with the force and decibel level of their conversation...whether aimed at the referees, the players, or their fellow spectators in the room. (And it was an exhilarating contest, so they had plenty to cheer or jeer about...)
In the end, after a Ravens-dominated first half, a thrilling kickoff-return TD by Baltimore to start the second half, an unfortunate SuperDome power outage that delayed the game for over 30 minutes, and an impressive (albeit nail-biting for us) San Francisco comeback that closed the score differential by quite a bit...the Ravens finally prevailed to win Super Bowl XLVII. Whew! Purple Nation was equal parts exuberant and relieved...oh, and exhausted. A long February day of food and frolicking came to its happy conclusion...and I think we'll need the next week or so to recover! Excuse me while I go clear my calendar...