Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Long Ass Day

Boy, what a long (ass?) day we had this past weekend. N had two games down in southern NH, so we traveled for about 1.5 hours down to Manchester for an early morning game, the first of his doubleheader. We were up by 6:00AM and out the door by 7:00 to make it down there by 8:30. They played well, won their game, and we had several hours to kill down in a town we knew very little about. On a bright note, it's a big city compared to where we live, so there were more opportunities for entertainment. I was hoping he could meet up with his special friend up in the capital, but she was busy all day, so we were on our own.

Our plan was to see a movie, and we picked Jumanji. Not necessarily the sort of movie that I would choose, but it wasn't rated R (or X, for that matter), and was “mom-approved.” The only problem was that it started at 12:30, and his first game ended at 10:30, so we had some time to kill. We drove around a bit and then went to Bass Pro Shop, which is sort of famous around here. I'm not sure what inspired us to go, but we figured we'd check it out. I have to say, the place was enormous, and they even pointed out to me that this one in particular was one of the smaller ones. I would go as far as to say it was very impressive, except that it's really geared to people who hunt and fish, i.e., plenty of guns, rods and reels, and flannel. If those are not your thing, then the place probably doesn't have much to offer you. We walked around for a bit and within 15 minutes were done. For the record, I was impressed with all the boats, some of them fairly big, that were for sale inside the store. 

We then headed over to Best Buy so N could check out some high tech gear. He is in the process of building a computer (more on this later), if you can believe that one, so he wanted to see if they had any components, which they didn't. The woman working there, however, was very well informed about where to get the parts and shared her insight with us, or I should say me, because it was all old news to N. He's clearly been doing his homework. N went off to look at some camera and game stuff, and I wandered around the store. I have to say, being old and boring, that all that high tech electronic stuff does nothing for me. I have zero inclination to be spend money on 99% of it, so what fascinates young and hip people like N basically bores me, which naturally means that I'm a painfully old and boring person (my kids would concur). Personally, I would have rather been in a library reading books and magazines.

The Best Buy was linked to a mall, I guess it's the Manchester Mall, or something like that, so I decided to wander around there a bit, and my feelings went from boredom to depression. Malls are some of the most depressing places around, mainly because they are slowly sinking into oblivion. We went to the mall in LA and it was so desolate, I don't know how it was staying afloat. This mall was no different, with very few people walking around, and all the stores basically empty. I was talking to my mom in LA and she said that the mall that we visited, the Westside Pavilion, had gone from bad to worse - the two big “anchor” stores, Macy's and Nordstrom, were both closing. Pretty sad, if you ask me. Either way, I walked around for about 10 minutes and found N and told him it was time to go.

We headed over to the theater and ran into a couple of his teammates. If we had somehow communicated with each other or coordinated things, we could have just got the guys tickets and sent them inside. I had no clue what everyone's plan was, and in this regard, this team is a lot different from teams (for both A and N) in the past. Previously there were always plans for the team to do things, even if it just meant hanging out at a common location to watch TV and eat pizza. This has happened only once during his tournament, and in a way, it makes life easier, though less social. We simply made our plans and as luck would have it, N didn't have to sit with his boring dad (who embarrasses him to no end) and instead hung with the guys.

I will say this - it was one of the nicest movie experiences I've had in a long time. The tickets were a little pricey ($10/pop-standard city prices), but they had reclining seats which almost went completely horizontal. I could have taken a nap! When we first entered I thought the theater seemed small, but they had to limit the number of seats so that you could recline, and there was plenty of space to spread out. Oddly enough the seats are reserved, and the movie was almost sold out. N and I got the last two seats next to each other, and I traded my seat with one of his buddies so they could sit together. It didn't really matter, every seat was comfortable as heck.

And, the movie was good. I laughed the entire time, Kevin Hart and Jack Black are both a scream. The guys liked it, too. We left the movie in good spirits, and we had a couple of hours before his next game, so we went looking for food. We had to go to a different rink that was about 20 minutes away, so we found it first, and then headed back out for some vittles. We decided to find a Five Guys since it's one of the greatest restaurants in the history of humanity, and ended up on a bit of a wild goose chase to get there. It required driving through retail hell in the suburbs of Manchester, and traffic was bad. Also, everything is located in a strip mall, and all the strip malls (there are dozens of them) have separate parking lots that are not connected. This means that is you mistakenly drive into the wrong lot to, say, look for Five Guys, if you pick the wrong one, you have to exit that strip mall and enter the next one. We did this 2-3 times, and by the end, I was ready to give up and go without food. It didn't help that the clock was ticking on the start time for his next game. I guess I could have done better research before searching for food, so blame dad, as usual.

We found the Five Guys, got the food to go, and N ate in the car as we went back to the arena. He was a little late, but not horribly, and the game went well. His friend, who couldn't meet up during the day because of a prior commitment, made the trip to the game, which I thought was really cool. N scored an amazing goal, to boot. Nothing like impressing the girls, right? His team destroyed their opponent, and by the end, it was nearing 7:00PM and time to go. Earlier in the week N asked if he could hang out with said friend after the game, but I vetoed that because I didn't want to get home really late, especially after being out since 6:00AM. Of course I felt bad afterward, but we stuck with that plan and just headed home.

The drive wasn't that bad, I wasn't as tired as I thought I'd be (coffee helped), we got home by 9:00PM and chilled out. Mom and A were up in Burlington for their concert, so we relaxed and I was in bed by 10:30. It was a brutal day, but as is often the case, anticipating it is the worst part, and it always feels good when all is said and done.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to schlabbalabba for the pic.

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