Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Busy Bee

Strap yourselves in readers. I’ve got a non stop, mad cap, adventure laden weekend to catch you up on.

I should note that I’m over 40 with two kids so the term ‘non stop, mad cap, adventure laden’ is based on the normal perspective of hanging around the house while the boys play in the backyard and beat the crap out of each other.

I’ll let you decide for yourselves. I can tell you it was the most relaxing and active weekend we’ve had in a while. Fun, too. It helps when you’re normally pain in the ass three year old has suddenly figured out his life is a lot easier when he just does what he’s asked and doesn’t fly into a temper tantrum every time he doesn’t get what he wants. Friggin’ brat!

For your reading (dis)pleasure.

Friday: I decided to take Friday off to further extend my weekend. Unbeknownst to me, Friday was declared ‘Boys Day Out’ by my eight year old. Wifey, sensing a day to pamper herself, immediately jumped all over that and jetted out of the house (leaving skid marks on the street as she tore away) first thing in the morning.

Left with the two boys, we started planning our day. That conversation went something like this:

Me: ‘Sooo, what do you guys want to do today?’

Eldest: ‘I dunno. Can we go to Game Stop?’

Me: ‘No! You just got two new games’

Eldest: ‘Aw, man!’

Youngest: ‘I want to go on a train!’

Eldest: ‘I know, let’s go to the Aquarium’

Done and done. We take the train in to the New England Aquarium, spend most of the morning looking at jellyfish (great exhibit there right now), sharks, turtles, eels, rays, seals, big fish, little fish and penguins. We then had lunch on the wharf, trained it back to our town, stopped at Game Stop (yeah, I know, but he didn’t buy anything), got some ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery (Fine! I’ll admit I like it!) and headed home.

Thinking the boys would be exhausted, I planned for a nice night of cigars and beer on the back deck. Perhaps some cribbage with the wife while the boys snoozed away. What I didn’t count on was being exhausted myself. Was in bed by 10pm and never had my cigar. I’m getting old.

Saturday: The initial plan was to hit a beach somewhere, but the weather was questionable in the morning. Instead we went to the Museum of Science to catch the Hall of Fame exhibit on it’s last weekend.

What a great idea! I have never had the urge to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, but this partial piece of it makes me want to pack up and head there tomorrow. Just fantastic; informative and entertaining. We saw Schilling’s bloody sock, Manny’s batting helmet (still covered in pine tar) he wore during the 2004 World Series, Mike Lowell’s hat from last year’s WS, three bats used to break the single season home run record (Ruth’s 60, Maris’ 61, Big Mac’s 70) as well as the bat Sammy Sosa used to hit 66. Oddly, no Barry Bonds bat.

Even better were the artifacts from the past. An ancient hot dog vending machine, original gloves from the 1800s, old advertisements, old movie posters, pictures and baseballs autographed by so many different players I lost count. Most absorbing was an entire case devoted to Hank Aaron’s pursuit of 714. It contained the jersey he wore when he broke the record, an autographed picture of him rounding third, and – unbelievably – one of the hate letters he received complete with uncensored insults and curses.

I must admit that after the visit my view of the Hall of Fame has changed entirely. This shouldn’t be about who deserves to get in or not. Let everyone of any credible creditials into the Hall, but display them in all their glory. Good and bad; warts and all. Let Barry Bonds in but, as part of his display, include ‘Book of Shadows’ and public testimony regarding his steroid use. Allow voters to make a decision about Pete Rose, but include the timeline of his ban from baseball and his own videotaped admission that he bet on his own team while he was managing.

The Hall of Fame isn’t simply about the integrity of the sport. It’s about it’s biggest names and biggest events. For crying out loud, Ty Cobb is in there and he’s unquestionably one of the biggest pricks to ever play the game. The Hall should reflect and report on the history of the game. If you can include a racist letter from a cowardly fan to Hank Aaron, I’m pretty sure we can handle seeing Roger Clemens and his hilarious ‘misremembered’ statements playing on a loop.

This goes for all Hall of Fames, by the way. There is no purity in sports and there never has been. Exposing the good, bad and ugly of your sport should be the main goal. If voters don’t want to let certain players or people in, that’s their business.

The rest of the Museum was fun, too. There was a butterfly exhibit that the boys loved because there were so many of them, they would flit and land everywhere. Including on their heads and shirts. They loved it!

Saturday night was goodbye to summer. We usually have friends and neighbors over on Friday nights during the summer. Just a casual, impromptu cookout and socializing on our deck. It works for us because we can put the boys to bed when it’s time and still hang out. This night was the ‘End of Summer’ blow out with about 15 people coming over. Steak tips, chicken wings, potato and pasta salads, deserts were all consumed with extreme prejudice. Good time had by all.

Sunday: You’d think this would be a recover day, but you’d be wrong. We were supposed to have my buddy and his wife over, but he called in the morning to say he was under the weather. Instead, we managed to get my parents to watch the boys while wifey and I took a trip to Newburyport. It was a perfect day. Sunny, slightly windy, but in the mid 70s so it wasn’t too warm or too cold. We strolled along the dock with approximately 75,000 other people, window shopped, browsed the antique store and wound up at ‘The Black Cow’ where we had an early dinner right on the water.

If you’ve never been, I highly recommend this place. Located on the heavily boated end of the Merrimack River, this place has plenty to look at, great food, even better service and decent prices (slightly expensive, but not overwhelmingly so). Bonus points for serving all Stellas in the appropriate glass. I had the swordfish special with a key lime cheesecake for dessert. Mmmmmmm, good.

Labor Day: Now here was recovery day. Want to guess what I did? Not a friggin’ thing. Played some Tiger Woods (won two consecutive tournaments), watched a Red Sox game I thought was live for about 20 minutes before noticing the ‘Sox in 2’ logo in the lower right of the screen, did laundry, took a nap, and watched ‘The Hammer’ on DVD.

It was beautiful.

The boys? Oh, they were distracted with two new games from Game Stop.


Today’s distraction: A quiz about Labor Day. I scored a 90, baby! Oh, yeah!!! I’m Labor Day Master.


Hammen said...

Completely agree with you on the Hall of Fame. It should be about the history of the sport, good or bad.

French said...

I had always thought that the Black Cow was a complete waste of money but that was before I stopped using my mom's guidelines by which to determine 'overpriced'.


I believe she once scoffed a bit at the prices at the Olive Garden.

Now I know that a $10 burger is pretty average and by that token, the Black Cow (in Hamilton) is pretty fair. Good food, good drinks. And Newburyport is nice, couply place. Well done, chief.