Nothing like loading up the family truckster and heading out of town for the weekend to remind a guy that he’s not 22 anymore, no matter what the Instragram filter in his head (name: delusional) projects.

Said truckster is actually a maroon, Chrysler Town & Country. It has automatic sliding doors and stow-and-go seats. I used them both in getting precisely packed for a two-night trip to Minneapolis with my wife and two daughters, and got inappropriately excited about that. Strike one.

Other surreal events, in no particular order:

* Being alternately cheap and crabby. My 8-year-old wanted to try a rollercoaster at Nickelodeon Universe, a theme park situated smack dab in the middle of the Mall of America. It’s definitely in the top 5 on the terrorists’ list for hating America. And, to be fair, it’s one of the more understandable. I ponied up for overpriced tickets and proceeded to exact retribution by getting huffy when the crew didn’t get from one ride to the next in militarily efficient fashion.

Nickelodeon Universe put a not young and definitely crabby TV on the brink of an epic meltdown.

Yes, I can pout with the best of them.
The same kiddo wanted me to buy a cast and crutches for her doll at the American Girl store. I put the kibosh on that one and then kicked a random 5-year-old in the shins, just for good measure. (Not really.)

* Driving past, rather than into, Soundset, an annual hip-hop fest held at Canterbury Downs, a horse-racing track in the southwest suburbs. Worse yet, I snapped a picture of the venue from the freeway and posted it on Twitter.
There was a considerable traffic jam – even by legitimate city standards – leading up to the exit. I sweated the whole thing, lamenting how much longer it would take to get home. But the concertgoers, stuck in smaller cars packed with more people, looked genuinely stoked sitting in the same mess. In no time, they’d be lounging in 90-degree heat, listening to music, drinking and/or smoking (only legal tobacco products, of course) while waiting for the late-afternoon thunderstorm that was projected to hit.

* I patronized a Byerly’s for (maybe) the first time to pick up some random items, and returned to the hotel room raving to my wife about the expanded selection and carpeted floors. Good grief. Is that really what gets me excited these days?
The next night, we ate at a restaurant that has a location in Sioux Falls – breaking a self-imposed rule of travel – AND did so in take-out form rather than going out. (I’m literally SMHing myself right now.)

* I hung out with a college roommate and a childhood friend, two of the most dependable dudes in my life … plus their wives and children. OK, so this part was more upper than downer. But it’s still strange – even if not all that new – to see ya’ boys taking care of their boys. Predictably, they’re great at it, reaffirming so many of the things I liked about them in the first place, when we were younger and cooler (maybe) and skinnier.

Thankfully, some things do translate over time.

  1. Rich Jensen says:

    “Being alternately cheap and crabby”

    Welcome to fatherhood.

  2. Rich Jensen says:

    After 38 years, my dad’s line is, “All I do is drive the car and sign the checks.”

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