Sunday, April 26, 2009

If Only

What a wonderful weekend we had in Happy Valley. The sunshine and 80-degree weather put an abrupt end to what was a cold spring. Unfortunately, it is still just the two of us living here in Paternoville.

If our child had been born by now it would have had such a great time. This weekend was Blue and White Weekend, Penn State's spring version of homecoming. State College was bustling with alumni and visitors from all over to take part in the festivities.

If our child had been born by now it would have been able to have its first taste of Clem's BBQ. A regionally renowned pork-puller, Clem sets up a tent by the carnival rides for all PSU-related events. We stood in line 20 deep waiting for our pork BBQ while being serenaded by the PSU rap contest. We're hoping that Junior heard DJ Kake, the eventual champion, win over the crowd with his chorus line, "Joe Paterno will come soon / He's been to more bowls than a cereal spoon."

If our child had been born by now it would have been able to help us make fun of the overzealous Nittany Lion fans that paid $5 for three attempts at hitting the target and sending a PSU football player into the dunk tank. Chad begged for $5 when his IM basketball teammate, tight end Mickey Shuler, got up on the platform (and when every other player got up there).

If our child had been born by now it would have been able to play its first games of beer pong, quarter bouncing, dizzy ball, and fris-beer at the tailgate Saturday afternoon. Instead, we are going to have to resort to breast milk pong, formula quarter bouncing, pacifier ball, and fris-teether on Saturday afternoon's in the fall between diaper changings.

If our child had been born by now it would have been able to go watch the intra-squad football scrimmage in Beaver Stadium on Saturday. Our child would have made the attendance 76,001 ... at a scrimmage! (Michigan had their spring game at Saline High School last year - no big deal). Our child would have heard Chad and JT drooling over the abilities of freshman quarterback Kevin Newsome. Our child would have heard Kathi and Erin discussing anything but football. Our child would have noticed that we were sitting right in front of quarterback Daryll Clark's family, and it would have seen Chad eavesdropping in on their conversation, laughing and nodding in their direction whenever they said something funny.

If our child had been born by now we would not have been able to take Kathi's 38-week picture with over 70,000 of our friends. Can you see any of them in the picture, or did she block them all? All we know is that she sat next to Chad and he didn't get any sun.

Our child may not be born yet, but we are eagerly awaiting its arrival. We know that there will come a point in time when it gets sick of its daddy talking about PSU sports all the time.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

QT in Siesta Key

Any time spent with family on vacation in Florida is quality time (QT). For Chad's parents, simply being with their children is QT. For us, QT involves long walks with Kathi asking Chad to feel the baby kicking and Chad asking what body part of the fetus he just felt. For the newlyweds, Chad's brother Jeff and his bride, Shawna, QT is a work in progress.

After reading "The Five Love Languages," they have at least agreed on one thing - that they both need QT. They are still working out the details, though, as they each have their own needs. Shawna needs to cuddle while watching the karaoke version of "Mamma Mia" every so often, while Jeff needs to watch basketball and reruns of "The Office." Shawna needs to shop, while Jeff needs to work out. Shawna needs to dance everyday, while Jeff needs to clip his toenails everyday.

Since Jeff and Shawna are not a couple to ask for help, its good that they had two other established couples around from which they could model. Our QT may not be perfect either, though. We all have QT issues to work out. Chad's dad's QT involved waking up right after dawn every morning and pacing around the condo (not so) quietly waiting for the prescribed time at which he could get the others out of bed (not so different from a little kid on Christmas morn).

Chad's mom's QT involved persistently asking the expecting parents (us) how quickly she will receive the phone call that will allow her to drink from her "World's Best Grandma" coffee mug.

Kathi's QT involved her complaining about pregnancy making her skin more susceptible to sunburn. It also involved her asking her support person (Chad) to bathe her in aloe and rub her back.

Chad's QT involved him telling everyone about the world-changing work he is doing on play and games - while digging holes in the sand for no apparent reason.

We all have our quirks, and the newlyweds seem to be adapting just fine. In fact, by the end of our week on the Siesta Key Shores most of our T was very Q. We all find common ground in people watching along the beach. We had a great time making fun of the speedo-clad, acne-faced high school guys and the old codger that was so intently walking backwards down the beach that he was sweating through his jeans. (We rationalized this cruel behavior by acknowledging that what goes around comes around - there is plenty to make fun of under our visors.)

Steel City

What's the first image in your mind when you think of Pittsburgh? Probably dirty waters flowing past rusty steel mills under dreary skies. For the more sports-minded, Pittsburgh evokes thoughts of nasty black and yellow uniforms. If each of a city's three professional sports teams are black and yellow, then the entire city must be seen through that drab lens.

These preconceptions couldn't be further from the truth. Chad and Kate Oberholtzer gave us a tour of the Steel City which totally decimated our misconception of the town built on three rivers. Aside from the outstanding tour guidance, here are the highlights:

6. The record number of Super Bowl Championships that the Steelers have won, the place that the Pirates finished in the 6-team National League Central last season, and the numeral in the tens and ones digit of the Penguins all-time greatest player. Could there be a more better reasons to visit a city?

5. The world ranking of the ice cream store, Dave and Andy's, that we visited. All of the ice cream and waffle cones are made on-site. After double scoops of birthday cake, malted milk ball, cookies and cream, and cookie dough, our intuitions led us to agree with the USA Today rankings having Penn State's Creamery one spot ahead of Dave and Andy's (but the waffle cones were without equal).

4. The world ranking of the burgers we had at Tessaro's restaurant. Fourth place seemed a little low because the burgers were dee-lish. Its too bad that the two women at the adjacent table didn't order burgers. Feeling jealous of our heavenly half-pounders dripping with cheese and condiments, they complained about their fish being too buttery (shouldn't have ordered fish) ... and about the olives in their martinis (shouldn't have ordered martinis) ... and about the poor iPhone coverage in the restaurant (shouldn't email during dinner) ... and about the men in their lives (those men don't deserve this).

3. The number of rivers in Pittsburgh. The Allegheny, Ohio, and Monongahela drew the first settlers to the area centuries ago, and their beauty continues to do so today. Nevermind the signs that read, "Avoid bodily contact with water for fear of unidentified disease," or the crochety Canadian geese that guard their precious waters like a big business CEO protects his yearly bonus - both groups are usually caught with their pants down taking ownership of dirty goods that are not really theirs.

2. The number of beautiful stadiums/stadia/stadii (whatever the plural of stadium is) along the rivers. Heinz Field is a beautiful structure that houses a capacity 80,000 Terrible Towel-toting fans every Sunday in the fall as they cheer on their perennial powerhouse Steelers. PNC Park is a beautiful structure that houses a fraction-of-capacity 10,000 fans hoping to cheer on the Pirates if they ever have a winning season (they having the longest current losing season-streak).

1. The number of nights we stayed in Iron Town (also known as "Una Noche" to 98-Degrees fans). Chad and Chad spent the evening in the hotel's hot tub while Kate and Kathi watched a double-episode of "What Not to Wear" (it was on TLC and it was live as Chad and Chad walked shirtless and in short shorts down to the aforementioned hot tub).

0. The number of exotic dancers in Pittsburgh's Strip District. It's not what you think. It is actually a really cool flea/farmer's market.