May 25–28, 2013

As our son approached his two-month birthday, Joan and I embarked on our first big adventure as a family — bringing him with us to visit with my family in Stone Harbor, N.J., for Memorial Day weekend!

Michael stayed with Joan and me in a second-floor bedroom at my parents’ house and slept in a Pack ’n Play crib that we’d brought along. We decided against bringing him onto the beach just yet, but he seemed to adjust well to the new surroundings overall. And while Joan and I had been accustomed to sleeping in during weekends at the shore in previous years, we also needed to quickly adjust to getting out of bed much earlier (around 6 a.m.) for Michael’s first feeding each day.

On Saturday night, my parents offered to watch Michael while Joan and I went out to dinner. We opted for the Windrift Hotel, which had been completely remodeled just last year. We even managed to snag the very first parking spot in the huge lot — on a holiday weekend, no less! Joan and I enjoyed a delicious dinner in the main dining room, then had some drinks on the second-floor beachfront deck, where we were treated to a perfect view of a full moon rising over the ocean.

Times have certainly changed since my days in a group shore house, but in a very good way.

[ No. 643 ]

May 5, 2013

Met up with my friends Jeff and John for a bright Sunday afternoon of tailgating and Phillies baseball, although we could never have predicted how the day turned out.

We met up at the Marple Crossroads shopping center in Springfield at 11 a.m., which should have given us plenty of time for a pre-game Cinco de Mayo–themed tailgate with our friends Liesje, Leanne, and Erika. But we didn’t count on getting stuck in a horrible traffic jam on I-95 North en route to Citizens Bank Park. The 17-mile carpooling trip to the stadium took 2½ hours to complete, and I felt especially bad for John, who had graciously offered to drive.

After the three of us finally arrived, we decided to stick around for some food and drinks at the tailgate well beyond the game’s start time of 2:35 p.m., and that turned out to be a good move. As we eventually passed through the gates with our tickets, we learned that the last-place Miami Marlins had jumped out to a commanding 9–0 lead — and it was only the third inning!

The game ended in a 14–2 loss — almost certainly the worst Phillies loss I’ve ever witnessed in person. But in spite of the double-digit defeat, we still managed to savor the good weather and plenty of laughs with old friends.

[ No. 642 ]