Sunday, May 25, 2014

Riding in cars with (my) boys...

Memorial Day, you know what that means: grilling, chilling, least in our case, road tripping. With all of the mayhem in our lives--recent past, immediate present, and near future--this was literally the only time before we move that we could make the journey to Husband's childhood borough of Pittsburgh. The last several times the Male Posse has made the pilgrimage, I've had other plans. So this westward weekend would truly be a family affair, for the first time in years. Of course, we've logged many miles in cars together, but it turns out that there was one little tradition--specific to this excursion--of which I was unaware. It seems that when the Boys Team travels to the Steel City (typically a 5-ish hour jaunt) they stop only once, briefly, at the Traveler's Rest in Breezewood. There they...ahem..."use the facilities"...and comb the aisles of the convenience store for snacks that can be eaten in the vehicle as they continue down the highway. In other words: not a break of any substance, and no real "meal".

Therefore, as we approached their oasis of choice, the kids began rhapsodizing about the bottles of Powerade and bags of Chex Mix they planned to snatch in their rapid-fire race through the junk food mecca. I, on the other hand, was the prospect of scarfing down salty substances during a 2-minute respite from being behind the wheel. "But...but...what about some lunch?" I tried to reason with the rampaging testosterone-fueled hordes (yeah, all....3...of them...) Their response? They actually scoffed at though sitting down and eating nutritious food in a civilized fashion is an activity that is so far below the dignity of Real Men as to be absolutely unworthy of consideration. Sigh. However...the emporium they hold in such high esteem was actually quite impressive. There were the usual energy bars and trail mix options. But it also boasted fresh fruit, a veggie wrap, hard boiled eggs, and pre-cut carrots and celery sticks from which to select a wholesome midday repast. (Okay, I concede victory to the boys on that one...)

Then when we arrived in the 'burgh, we squeezed in some family visiting time (and an actual dinner...Chinese food) to round out our evening. The next day (which brings us up to current events) we planned to wander around Station Square for a while with an old high school friend of Husband's; we needed to kill some time before our date at PNC Park to see the Pirates take on (coincidentally) our hometown Washington Nationals. We meandered along the river, enjoying the landscape that included a brilliant blue sky, sunlight sparkling on the water below, and soaring metal structures belonging to various bridges, which swept majestically over our heads.

When the hour approached for the baseball game, we headed to the stadium with fingers crossed. You see, it was a giveaway day, and we hoped that we would be in time for each of the kids to pick up their free set of Andrew McCutcheon NL MVP wristbands. But first we had to go through security that rivaled--I'm not kidding--TSA-level scrutiny at any major airport. There was required bag emptying. There were buckets in which to place one's keys, cell phone, and camera. And for the coup de grace: you walked through one of those stand-up metal-detectors. Jeez! Who knew we were attending a baseball game in the 'hood?

When we finally passed the "we swear we're not bringing any weapons into the ballpark" test, we were rewarded with...wristbands! Yesssssss! After that, there was nothing left to do but soak in the energy of the extremely enthusiastic Bucs fans, admire the jewel of a stadium...and virtually ROAST alive in the sun. Holy Spring Heatwaves, Batman--after a long, frigid Winter, 78* under a cloudless sky feels craaaaazy hot! I mean, we even needed sunblock, for goodness sake! Unfortunately, the home team did not complete their sweep of the visiting dignitaries from the Nation's Capital....although this did not put a damper on our fun in any way whatsoever.

To cap off our Saturday, we had dinner with another old friend (and the portion of his family that was NOT in Cincinnati for a travel baseball tournament). And...after all that socializing and sporting it's B-E-D-T-I-M-E. Gotta rest up for the final day of the Whirlwind Tour...

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