June 8, 2017 -- Day 68:
Well. Talk about a scheduling pickle. We planned on Star Wars night at the Pirates game for months. Franco and I bought new themed shirts at Target and carefully planned our outfits. (That, as you can imagine, quite put us out.)
And then, the Penguins decided to play the pivotal, all-important, literal do-or-die Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. On this very night. Damn it.
So, along with Auntie, Gram, and Pap -- who were all a part of the plan -- we made the crucial decision to go to the baseball game, eat, watch a few innings, and then book it to Lebo to (hopefully) enjoy the Pens game. Franco and I donned our Star Wars jazz, took the T downtown, tailgated at Atria's on Federal Street, saw some Storm Troopers, and headed into the ball park.
|Who's stalking whom?|
|First, we did this.|
June 9, 2017 -- Day 69:
Ol' Scotty P. headed to the cabin for something called "Ole Man's Weekend." Okey doke.
Before Gram and Pap went home, we had lunch at Eat 'n Park. Then, they dropped Auntie, Franco, and me at the T station for our planned Three Rivers Arts Festival outting. Because we had never been, we decided to go! "No day but today!" (Shameless Rent reference. SorryNotSorry.)
We had a glorious afternoon. We walked through the city and enjoyed all the vendors. Franco especially loved the different artists. We ate fried Oreos. We stopped at a cool bar for refreshments. Once back in Lebo, we ate a delicious Mexican dinner at Totopo, then walked home at dusk. The air felt cool and we could take our time. Franco only fell down one time. When we got home, we played games and laughed and listened to music.
Whatever the crap an "Ole Man's Weekend" is, it could not be better than our day.
June 10, 2017 -- Day 70:
Once we got up and around, we set out for lunch at Mindful Brewing Company. But,
A few times in the past, Scott, Franco, and I had tried to eat there, but the crowds would not allow it. We were pretty excited that at noon on a Saturday, we could walk right in. Straight away, we knew we'd made an excellent choice. Our waiter was a human embodiment of Pittsburgh. He mused about his sleepless nights, anxious about the Pens possible Stanley Cup repeat. He gave us awesome recommendations, and the food lived up to all the hype. We truly had a wonderful time.
After stuffing our faces, we loaded Emma into the car and headed for Gram and Pap's. We all (well, not Emma, who stayed at Gram and Pap's) went to a high school graduation party for a dear family friend's son, where we luaghed and reminisced and again stuffed ourselves with delicious treats.
When we returned, we played some epic board games. Gram, thoroughly frustrated over her station in the mansion, threw the Mystery Mansion die at Pap, and a moment of sheer family bliss was born. We partied into the wee hours, as per usual, and fell asleep completely, delightfully happy, if not subconsciously anxious about tomorrow's hockey game.
June 11, 2017 -- Day 71:
When we woke up, we all became painfully aware that we only had ten or so hours until the puck dropped for Game 6. This final series is getting ridiculous. And, if we lose this game, I don't entirely know if some of the city's population will be alive for its inevitable conclusion one way or the other later in the week. Please, for the love, can we just finish this out? (These are tidbits of actual conversations had in the house all morning long.) The mood fluctuated from nervous excitement to plain nerves to just wanting to throw up. (That last one is all me.)
Before we left for home, we headed for some ice cream, which we had to eat as quickly as possible due to the temperature being roughly 150 degrees Farenheit.
And.......well, it can't properly be described as "fun" or entirely "enjoyable." No one scored at all for nearly the entire game, leading us to believe it might actually go into overtime tied at nothing. (Forget about the actual players for a minute --does anyone think I could even remotely handle that scenario? Come on.) I did not even jump or muster further talismans because the tension prevented all rational thought and movement besides labored breathing and hand-wringing. Scott stomped up to bed, not knowing how long into the night this could go, so he could just go to sleep if it all became too much. That left Franco and me downstairs, standing on our step, panicking, and muttering to ourselves.
And then, like a Christmas miracle in June, Hornqvist took an ugly, yet spectacularly beautiful, shot at a puck and it landed in the net. Mayhem ensued. (Also, the Penguins appeared happy as well.) Franco and I screamed and hugged and ran upstairs to high-five Scott and we bounced around for the last several minutes of the game, simply hoping that this score would hold and we would repeat as champions. Thankfully, with less than a minute to go, Hagelin scored an empty-netter, and we could finally exhale. We won the Stanley Cup. AGAIN!
The celebration in the house was a fraction of that on the ice, or in the South Side, but nonetheless, we did our best. We watched some post-game reveling and then crashed out, elated and exhausted.
June 12, 2017 -- Day 72:
Unfortunately for Franco, he did not sleep peacefully. He woke up sick in the night, and the poor guy spent hours awake, desperately trying to settle his stomach. He never gets sick, so it seemed brutal to end the wonderful weekend this way. But, alas, such is life.
We spent the day napping and watching TV, and later in the evening, he felt good enough for a game of Old Maid and some Stanley Cup highlights and recaps.
June 13, 2017 -- Day 73:
Franco desperately wanted to skate at his lesson, and he genuinely seemed okay to do it, so we did. He had fun and played in the gameroom afterward with his pals.
Once home, it became clear he was not out of the woods yet, and he spent the night sick again. He cried and cried because the Stanley Cup parade was the next day, and this state of affairs made it clear we could not attend. I vowed to make it up to him somehow, which did not really help anything in the moment, but calmed him down eventually. Poor little fellow.
June 14, 2017 -- Day 74:
We snuggled up on the couch to watch the parade live on television. Which ended up okay because this day was hot as tamales and our house was as cool as an ice surface upon which the Penguins WON THE STANLEY CUP. Still obviously bummed not to be there, after our tremendous time last year, we decided that life does indeed go on.
|So sad and pitiful. Also, a true example of first-world privileged kids' problems.|
We enjoyed the celebration, and afterward Franco told me that we could just "go next year, when they win again." (I like the way that kid thinks. Sounds like a plan to me!)
Later in the evening, he did perk up and want to play, marking a good end to a decent day.
June 15, 2017 -- Day 75:
Another day spent mainly at home, recuperating. Franco and I decided in the evening that we would go out, but it rained very hard and we decided to pass.
He did start to have an appetite and wanted fish sticks, so do you know what this terrific mom did? I booked it to Trader Joe's for fish sticks and other goodies. Because going to Trader Joe's, as we all know, is a sacrifice that will be made anytime, anywhere, for anyone, for anything. (Seriously. I love Trader Joe's.) Later, we played together and it seemed Franco was one day closer to being himself again.
June 16, 2017 -- Day 76:
We had to get out of this house. We had to buy Stanley Cup champions merch. We had to go to Dick's.
And, though I did know the Stanley Cup was scheduled to be displayed this evening, I really and truly believed that we had not planned accordingly to be able to see it. I did not even mention it as a possibility.
Which made this adventure all the more special.
|Lord Stanley, Lord Stanley....|
I did tell Franco I would make up to him our absence at the Penguins parade. He has since told me that this may have been "the greatest day of his life."
***To Be Continued.....