As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……….more cocktails before game time! When you have kids, your time is never your own. Like a doctor (while I don’t play one on TV, I do pretend to be one in real life. My customary response is, “In my expert opinion, you’re fine.”), parents are always on call. Can you drive me here? Can you drive me there? Tell him to stop touching me! Tell her I don’t want her in my room! I have nothing to wear (oh wait, that’s me)! Where are my shoes? Where is my homework? Can I have friends over to watch the Super Bowl tonight? And, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
However, when opportunity presents itself, we parents have to rally. We totally have to be prepared to take full advantage, even when we’re eaking out a whopping 60 minutes to ourselves. Saturday night, Nick was scheduled to play his very last hockey game, of his High School hockey career, of the regular season before playoffs. The pre-game ritual usually consists of me whipping up a quick pasta dinner (you know; carb loading) before packing up the car for parts unknown. Before we can leave, he has to get his bag together. Have you ever seen or smelled a hockey bag? It’s big enough to conceal a dead body and it reeks of decomposition too. He stick handles to loosen up, packs a few bottles of water (good hydration is vital), grabs a banana and when he’s feeling it, packs a PB&J just like Sydney Crosby. We’re exhausted before we pull out of the driveway.
Our game was in Niles at 8pm, Saturday night. Woo hoo! Chuck and I dropped Nick off at the rink at 7; we had an entire hour to spare. I suppose we could have popped into a Starbucks for a warm caffeinated beverage, but it was a Saturday night (or as the Bay City Rollers would say S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!). Surely, we assumed, we could find a cocktail in Niles. We were right next door to the Golf Mill Mall for Heaven’s sake.
We pulled away from the rink and headed down Milwaukee Ave (apparently in the wrong direction). Surely, we thought, we would run into a strip mall with an Outback Steakhouse or a Chili’s (with a pleasant little bar. You know, hockey games are at their very best when fueled with alcohol), but the more we drove, the less we saw. We’re not quitters, but I was about to give up hope of ever finding a glass of Pino Grigio. As we wound our way back to the rink, Chuck spotted a sports lounge, which sounded promising.
We pulled into the parking lot of Lucky Magee’s and made our way to the front door. Never in my life have I seen so many cigarette butts! People, huddled outside, in the sub zero temperatures, having a smoke. I was about to enter…the Twilight Zone. Clearly, I live under a rock, because I’ve never been to OTD, otherwise known as Off Track Betting.
A total sucker for old movies, I felt like we were on the soundstage of the Robert Redford/Paul Newman classic; The Sting. There were cocktail waitresses, betting windows, racing forums, TV screens; wall to wall, floor to ceiling, all featuring horse races. I’ve never seen anything like it.
All I can say is, “Thank God for OTB!” We enjoyed a cold beverage, a little conversation and a few moments to ourselves to reconnect before game time.
More family life, more stolen moments, more Off Track Betting…….