Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Well-Rounded Weekend

Considering my college roommate and I were nearly inseparable during four years of college, some might find it surprising that there have been times where we've gone a year or more between visits.  That's certainly not our ideal, for sure, but God knows kids and jobs and life in general can get in the way sometimes.  In fact, our "third"--our friend who ended up making us a trio more than a duo for the last year and a half or so of school--hasn't been part of our get-togethers in years.  I've seen her once since her wedding, for her baby shower, and in the five years since, we haven't seen each other at all.  It's not for lack of trying, at least the first few years, and I honestly worried that something like that might happen to Mary and me, as well.  After all, it is hard for me to get a weekend alone, particularly during lacrosse season, and she spends many weekends traveling to ride her horse hours away.  Add in that we live almost two hours apart anyway, and it gets complicated.  But the one thing we've been able to do is keep an eye on concert schedules, and when someone comes to one of our respective towns (my territory includes Buffalo), we make it a priority to make it happen.  And lately, we've hit the jackpot!

Back in November Mary came in to see Plumb, who I've been dying to see again in concert for nearly 20 years, and Big Daddy Weave.  As we waited for the show to start, we were bemoaning the fact (again) that a couple good tours weren't coming to our area at all.  One was Mary's absolute favorite, NEEDTOBREATHE, and the other involved Switchfoot, a band we saw in Syracuse a few years ago, and Relient K, who I've loved for years but never seen live.  To open the show, a couple radio guys from a station sponsoring the show came up to talk and started naming off a couple artists who were coming to town soon.  And then they asked if people liked Switchfoot and Relient K...and then they mentioned the date February 18 and hinted that an announcement was imminent!  So, basically, one of the exact shows we were complaining about added another tour leg, and voila--they were coming to Rochester.  Suddenly our next weekend together was only three months away!

Fast-forward to this past weekend.  It had obviously been a busy couple weeks with Carter's party, his actual birthday, and Valentine's Day thrown in for good measure.  Fortunately, the party meant that the house only needed some minor sprucing up instead of another full-on cleaning, but despite that I still had a bunch of random crap to do, like clean the shower, file a ton of paperwork, and catalog some donations that were living in our guest room/office so I could bag them up and get them out of the house.  I also had a few things I wanted to get done that never happened, like hanging up my wall collage of pictures in that room, but hopefully I can do that soon and not add it to the last-minute crush next time.

Fortunately, Jacob was able to spend Saturday with Craig at work.  He enjoys his ball boy duties and is actually pretty good about sitting quietly next to Craig when he is broadcasting.  As for Carter, I found out the day of his party that my cousin, who had said she'd watch Carter during the concert, had accidentally made other plans.  She bought a ticket to a different concert, and I hated the thought of her having to sell it.  Luckily, her mom (my aunt) said she was happy to watch Carter.  Since she was at the party and he could see her and get to know her a little, I figured that visiting a week later wouldn't be a big deal.  And thankfully, it wasn't.

Mary arrived just before noon on Saturday and after some debating (we cannot make decisions) we drove down to Geneseo for the day.  The weather, by the way, was amazing.  It was in the 60s (yes, this is February) and it made for a pleasant walk around campus (or run around campus, if you're Carter).  We ate Mama Mia's pizza for lunch (much better than the last time we took Carter there) and picked up Aunt Cookie's subs for dinner.  We stopped at Kohl's on the way home, as I was determined to get a pair of Converse sneakers during their sale and was having a heck of a time figuring out what I should get.  That stop didn't help much but I did decide on a tweed (!) pair that night online!  Fingers crossed I actually like them in person!

We got home with just enough time to eat our subs and pack up a dinner and some toys for Carter.  We dropped him off without incident and headed off to the show.  This was a no-seat show, which we feel like we're getting a little old for, but it was really an awesome show.  Relient K made great choices for their set list, digging deep into their old albums and picking most of the best. 

I was intrigued by the giant white buffalo that was part of the stage setup...

And it was even funnier when it took a few crowdsurfing shifts!
Switchfoot was amazing as well.  Maybe not quite up to the level of the last time we saw them, at which time they pretty much picked every single one of my favorite songs, but this time they played most of my favorites from their new album and a number of other awesome songs...but with the noticeable absence of two of them.  But still, the show was so great!

The whole band singing an acoustic version of a song

Aside from burning out the insides of my cheeks with a bag of Sour Skittles (seriously, today I think they're finally normal), it was a great night.  We went to pick up Carter, and despite it being 10:30, he was still wide awake and sending cars down a 10-foot-long Hot Wheels track!  He had a great night, too!  He went right to bed when we got home, and Craig and Jacob made it home about a half hour later.  After some online shopping, it was off to bed for most of us...except Craig who was still working until 1:30am.  And, of course, he was the one that had to be at the airport at 4am for a roadtrip. 

The rest of us were up and off to church at 9:30.  Usually we try to go to Geneseo for church when Mary is here, but with both kids in tow, I knew that would be an issue.  That's why we got Geneseo out of the way on Saturday, and went to our church as usual on Sunday.  Both kids could go to Sunday School and we could enjoy church in peace.  It would have been a perfect plan had the sermon not been about marriage (Mary is very single), but I did find the pastor's perspective interesting.  He talked about how people think it's archaic that scripture says that women should submit to their husbands, but when you look at the verse in context--that men should love their wives like Christ loves the church--indicates that men need to sacrifice themselves for their wives, not lord over them.

We went to lunch at Red Robin after church as it was one of the only non-fast food places where Jacob can eat and Mary could get her beloved grilled chicken sandwich.  The kids were absolutely brutal by that point, to the point that Mary and I could barely talk at lunch.  Carter talked her ear off, Jacob was ridiculous, and it was pretty awful all around.  Carter refused to eat most of his lunch, and by the time we grabbed balloons on the way out I had had it with both of them.  Mary took off pretty quickly after that, partly because she was driving a bunch of hours to her parents' the next morning...but I'm sure the kids didn't give her any reason to hang around.  Carter really liked Mary a lot, and he's still talking about her and when she's coming back.  He wants her to live in our basement, and he asked for the password to bring her back.  So, yeah, he's pretty into her. 

But it was moments like lunch (and getting ready for church, among other things) where it becomes readily apparent how different our lives are.  We can spend time together and you'd almost never know it's been over 16 years since we lived together.  But then you think about how I'm married with two kids, with three different careers under my belt, and it's clear there has been a lot of change...and yes, sometimes I wonder how that might impact things.  She's mentioned before that because she's single and basically living the same life she's had since graduation, the passage of time isn't as obvious.  But for me, I have a dozen significant milestones by which to measure time so it's a very different perspective.  This weekend was the first time I felt our differences more clearly.  Maybe it was when I was getting three people ready for church, or ordering three lunches, or just trying to keep my kids from maiming each other that it was obvious how many things we no longer have in common.  We did fine nonetheless, but hopefully less time with the kids next time around will be better.

I spent the rest of the day trying to keep the kids apart, then took Jacob to lacrosse training.  The highlight of the day was no doubt the trip through the car wash on the way home--the kids loved it!  We had dinner, listened to the Knighthawks game, and soon it was off to bed.

Luckily, I was off on Monday since Jacob didn't have school and Craig was still on the road, so at least I had one more day to recover from the weekend.  Because Carter usually begs to stay home every morning, I figured I'd keep him home too.  Jacob had a lacrosse clinic first thing in the morning, so I figured the morning wouldn't be that bad anyway.  We stopped back at Kohl's after we dropped him off (30% off coupon!) and ended up killing time there until it was time to pick Jacob up.  Craig was home when we got there, and after lunch we were off to see the Lego Batman Movie.  We don't usually go to the theater, but now that our dollar theater is closed, we can at least try to hit a matinee.  And when both kids want to see the same movie, you give it a shot.  The movie was pretty funny and Carter loved it.  I think Jacob thought it was pretty good.  We even ran into a lacrosse buddy of his.  But the good vibes ended when Carter ran down the hall at the theater, Jacob chased him, and Jacob sort of tackled him and Carter came up crying.  It turned into another major battle with Jacob about his behavior and lack of respect for others, which sort of wrecked the rest of the day.  Despite going to bed at a reasonable time, I was in a fog half of the day on Tuesday, which I think is my sign that it was a bit of a crazy weekend.  But a little friend time and a little family time is really all you can ask for, right?

Oh, and that NEEDTOBREATHE tour?  They announced a few weeks ago that they're coming to Niagara Falls in May, so we already know our next date!  Carter is officially counting down, and I'm trying to figure out how to make the most of the weekend when the concert is the day before Mother's Day. But it will be a great show and I'm sure Carter will be as excited about Mary's return as I will be. 

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