Thursday, April 30, 2009

Punched for a What?

Last weekend was Nicky Freitag's Bachelor party. Held in Baltimore, Maryland, or as we call it, Balmore, all the usual suspects from high school showed up for a very memorable evening. Shenanigans were had, beers were drank, and women were certainly gawked at. I find being married keeps things on even keel because it's easy to stare, but you don't have to do anything about it. It's like being in middle school again. Except you're just not afraid that you'll mess up if you get a chance, because the chance came and went when you said, "I do". My dad calls it window shopping.

A recounting of the night is illegal, but there were highlights...

1) Skinny Rob trying to fight the large African American scalper over ticket prices in front of Camden Yard Stadium. This resulted in the rent a cops "Holding Him Back". Rob...145lbs of financial wizardry. Stick to Finance man, not drunken Balmore fights.

2) Taking our 10 dollar scalped tickets and sitting 10 rows behind first base 15 people deep.

3) Seeing the various Blackberry and iPhone snapshots of the lucky fella receiving a "Blumpkin". We aren't' sure who he was, but we were happy to see such a thing is not just an Urban Legend.

4) Being punched at (with closed fist action) by a girl who was mad I stole her dildo hat...

What? You read right. As the night wound to an epic close, I thought it necessary to pal up with the bachelorette party at the club we were all partaking at. Throughout the night our party got along swell with their party. Let alone until I spotted a really angry looking petite blond stuffed sadly in the corner, who was wearing a dildo hat (yes, you heard it right, Dildo Hat).

Stupidly, I decided to take it, smile at her, and do some cute little "Dildo Dance". She being unamused, took to cocking back her fist, putting all of her 110lb frame behind that little arm of hers, and swinging for the fences (The fences being my purty little face). Thankfully both blows glanced off my left cheek. Instinctively, and rather slowly, I swatted her hand away after she went for thirds. Foreseeing violent retaliation would land me in the clink, I grabbed her Buffalo Babe colleague, stood behind her, and said, "Hold her back, protect me, she's gone wild"...thus infuriating "Little Miss Sunshine" beyond angry face recognition.

As her "Posse" held her back, I made my escape into the herd of drunken buffoons and retreated to the hotel, finding the last slice of late night pizza, grabbed a "beer for bed", and drifted off in front of "Baseball Tonight".

Fortunately, my buddy Drew and I left the weekend of bedlam a day early in order to go back home to our wives. I say fortunate because Saturday's activity involved betting on horses. If you know me, I hate to lose, and when I lose, I bet more.

We both had our obligations, Drew had his eighth wedding anniversary, and I had yard work "date weekend". I felt like "Frank the Tank" telling his pals, "I can't drink tonight, me and the wife have a nice little day planned, Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond...I'm not sure what we'll get to, I'm not sure if we'll have enough time".

But I must say, it was really nice to see the guys from high school. Hell, I hadn't seen most of them in 8 years, and like life, everything changes, but stays a little bit the same. Some guys were married, some with children, some still single. Most importantly, they were still the same old guys who always had your back, the only difference is that we had gotten just a little bit older.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mandolines and Violins

I had the pleasure of a day off on Friday. Actually, I had just gotten home from working all night and was operating on a one hour nap I picked up in between consults.

Foregoing sleep, I took on the day for Honey-Do tasks. Dog to the park for 1 hour, return things to the mall, buy things at the mall for Meghan and me, grocery shop, and return home for dinner prep and the benefit of a nice fat cigar in the dusky sun.

The most exciting part of the day (other than my wife coming home), was purchasing our new Mandoline. Why so exciting? Mandolines cut veggies, including potatoes, thusly giving you fries...we had determined our night would be devoted to truffle fries.

To surround that decadent side, we had decided on Mediterranean Lamb/Beef burgers, with a nice herby mix of rosemary, chive, mint, and garlic. It was a snap putting that together. And to be honest, the rest was pretty easy as well. I whipped up a nice cucumber, tomato, onion, and kalamata olive salad, made some tzatziki sauce for the burgers, kept dessert as the BIG SURPRISE for later, and started on the fries.

After ruining a few potatoes with our new device, I got the hang of it. I was whippin those russets through the slicer and julienning the frick out of those bad boys. Meg got home, we opened a nice starter bottle of white, and put the heady aroamed fries in the oven to bake.

After 45 minutes, the "Those are too thin Matty" fries were greasy limp lumps of grey flesh. Slightly buzzed, we had the idea of placing them in the frying pan to make Truffle cakes...

The char that ensued was neither edible or intelligible, so we scrapped the heap of Truffle dung and tucked into the burgers, and the salad, and a really nice bottle of Pinot Noir. Pleased, we settled into the couch, and with the dog nestled under the blanket, I sneaked away for our latest dessert creation.

Macerated Blackberries, Vanilla Bean Frozen Yogurt, covered in Creme de Casis....props to Bobby Flay, we got the idea whilst watching our tvo'd "Boy Meets Grill". Thrilled and exhausted my wife woke me up and said, "it's time for bed". From Honey Do, to Honey was a good day to be a Matty.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring is Springin and Sprung


Nothing like the joys of Spring. Hege and I used to praise the days when the girls started losing that winter weight and started showing up for class (and to the bar of course) tanned, scantily clad, and always ready for a romp!

And as much as that gets a young man's trigger happy, there is no more frivolous fornication with the abundance of loose and often times large women. It's a total blessing that those days full of risky business and liver damage are behind us. Frankly, it's a blessing we all survived disease free. As my good friend Mickey Burks said, "I'd be dead on the side of the road had I not met my wife". Here here I told Grandma Burton last year..."Meghan is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and regardless of whether I know her for 1 year or 100 years, I'd have spent the most important part of my life with the most amazing and wonderful person I know. A lot of people say that Jesus is their personal saviour. Not to get too far into religious mumbo jumbo, I'll just say that Meghan is mine.

I started reflecting on Spring the other day whilst our dog Fenway and I were running through the rain at our local park. As there was no one on the trail and I could only yell, "Good girl Fenway, run run run" so much, I started to think about Spring and what the season has signified at different times in my life. In my early days, I remember a lot of long holy days at church. I'm taking 2 services of 2 hours each. Boring? Of course, just a little, but I always remember the fellowship, the green grass, the new smells, the birds, the picnics as we braked for lunch, and of course, the nice pastel colors of flowers and new church wear accessories.

As things changed and I attended less and less of the marathon church services, the theme of new and exciting stayed the same. Even throughout those crazy college years there was always a new hope that certainly "sprang forth" (that pun is for Hege).

And it brings me back to the other day, finishing our run in pouring down rain, seeing the new plant life covering the forest floor, and watching our newly 1 year old "Fenway" happily running, tongue slightly poking out, and ears erect as to detect any foolish nuisance in the woods. Life has indeed changed, and it's pretty neat. No more boring 4 hour sermons, no more "Oh my God why did I hook up with that?", or "Why did you all make me drink that?", and no more, "I really hope she likes me, do you think she'll go out with me again?", more importantly, no more, "I hope I pass this test, graduate, get a job, buy a house, the list goes on..."

I used to think once you were married life just got boring, and predictable...especially when those kids come around. I'll have to say I was wrong. Married life rocks, coming home to the most beautiful woman in the world who is still happy to have you around kicks ass. Watching the dog run in the rain and play at the park is better than any stupid shenanigans I pulled in college, which brings me to the point. As unsure as life is, you have to make wonderful whatever happens around you. Embrace the little moments, and little things. Life isn't slowing down as we get older, it's trying to pass us by, and eventually it will.

As your spring days get longer and the season heats into the summer, remember we are all lucky to be alive, please make your days the best you can.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April Fool

Almost 3 weeks later I reappear. Fresh and ready to begin anew. You'll have to pardon the grittiness of the last few rants...overworked, underpaid....I now come back working, still underpaid, but ready to get things restarted.

It's daunting how much has happened over the past 3 weeks. Let's see if I can list it. Apparently making a list makes things easier to accomplish...I saw that on "The Office" last week....

In no certain order:

1) Snowboarded and hung out with our cousins in Colorado

2) Took a private Snow Cat ride with our cousin Tommy

3) Won a lot of money watching UNC beat the TAR out of Michigan St.

4) Went back to Mayberry (Mt. Airy, NC) for Easter

5) Visited with Will Hege (Hege Ramblings) for a Man Power Lunch

Folks, let me be the first to say, Meghan got me the best birthday present I have ever received when she took me out to Colorado for a week of hanging with family and snowboarding. Honestly, I'm a mountain man at heart. I love the thrill of hiking, snowshoeing, snowboarding, running up mountains, and basically any feats of strength and endurance I can handle in the great outdoors. After recently turning 30 and eating and drinking too much all winter, I was even more excited to push the limits in the thin air of the Rockies. We arrived to a sunny 55 degrees that quickly turned to 20s and snowing. Perfect Spring skiing...and man oh man it dumped about 3.5 feet of powder on us whilst we were out on Copper Mountain.

As a novice snowboarder I'm totally tentative. However my cousin Tommy and his two kids beat the wuss out of me by day two and had me bustin through the out of bounds trees, bombing down double black bowls full of moguls and any other type of ridiculous hazard. But, as a 30 year old with my cousin Tommy and his two kids in tow (10, 12 years respectively) who can board and ski like ego got the best of me. My favorite quotes were, "Matty, are you okay?" my 12 year old cousin yelled watching me slam into 5 feet of board buried into the tree base....and I yelled back..."Oh yeah baby....oh yeah!"....

Though my east coast lungs were getting shreaded in the thin air, and my legs were taking a pounding ...I was in heaven, I was challenged...I was living. Goddammit I had a helmet...I was gonna be just fine.

You had to love it when I decided to launch off the ramps at the snowboard park with my ten year old cousin Jakey (He is already sponsored by a snowboard shop). Meg even caught an action photo of me...stiff legged, a little wobbly up top, a whole FOOT off the powder. It felt better than it looked I guess...but the elation, the bliss...the appreciation that I was away from that East Coast grind was enough. Shit, I coulda landed on my head and I wouldn't have cared...I had a helmet for Christ's sake.

Rarely do I come back from vacations slimmer...but this time I came back a little leaner, and generally feeling good about my 30 year old self. Nothing like competition from some kids who can kick your ass down the mountain to keep you feeling young. I guess when I have kids...regardless of the type (boy or girl), I'll be that forever kid...trying to follow them where ever they are...bellowing behind them, "Oh yeah baby, I'm having a great time"...while my wife watches on and says, "You're a nut!"

Our cousin Tommy, a jack of all trades, happens to groom one the slopes at Loveland. During the season, he drives the Snow Cat at night, four nights a week. As a bonus to my already RAD present, Tommy offered to take us up on the Continental Divide at midnight. Indescribable is cliche, but I'll use it as I have no other words. Although the wind was gusting and overall visibility was poor, the magnitude of the elements were humbling. Most fun...getting to drive that 350,000 dollar machine. In fact, Meghan and I had a friendly competition of who could groom the best trail. I lost...but as we got out to switch places, I peed my initials in the snow...and I took a picture. I would publish it but I deleted the photo as it was pretty unintelligible...some things never change.

What could be finer than seeing Carolina whoop ass in the NCAA's? Winning a little bit of royaledge for our pockets at the same time. Long story short, Meg and I invested 30 dollars for one of those office type tourney pools and I won the whole thing. Money is already spent as Meghan has planned out renovations to our deck and fence. God Bless being married!

As I continued my blog less jaunt across America I found myself resting with the folks for Easter. A couple of months ago I made it a point to schedule a little Matty with folks time to reminisce on the days when I was a young spoiled only child without a wife. Time well spent indeed as I got to catch up with my mother and father, both whom I love dearly.

And who couldn't forget to mention hanging with his best pal. Yep...old man Will Hege and I caught up for a MAN lunch the day before Easter. No kids, no wives, and surprisingly no alcohol. When I got home my mother asked if we reminisced about the old days. When you have a great friend like Will, there is no reason to talk about the olden days because your relationship adapts to life beyond chasing women and booze in college. It was really nice to catch up with a guy whom I really respect and value as a human being in this world. Honestly, that lunch took me back to when Will and I used to chat endlessly the first summer we met. Call it the rekindling of a BROMANCE, call it whatever you like. Or you can call it special that you have a good friend and that you have kept a good friend through thick and thin.

As eventful it was for me to write the blog, I'm sure you're still searching for a clever punchline, or maybe a creative story. Maybe next time.

I'm less overwhelmed with the updates now and I am looking forward towards charging back into blogdom one snappy comment at a time. Until the famed words of T-rent from M0-town..."Good Night, God Bless, Trash Comes on Tuesday"!