Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What the puck?

So, now that I've started my blogging renaissance by time-traveling all the way back to February I figure let's just continue on playing this game of catch up. We arrived home from Colorado the day before my birthday, leaving Jason precious little time to get his act together. But, as he usually does, he managed to sort something out.

He knew he had to travel to Philly for work later in the week. He knew he wouldn't be able to fly due to having had a small procedure on his leg. He knew the Hurricanes were playing the Devils in New Jersey that Wednesday evening. He knew that Newark is less than two hours from Philly.

We smelled a road trip.

But not before some birthday cake pie. Key Lime. Accented with colorful wax drippings. He even scraped the whipped cream off because he knows I hate it. That's true love right there.

But back to the road trip. We figured D.C. was a pretty good stopping point on the drive and a nice enough place to find a nice posh bed and a nice delicious dinner. And because our timing was actually perfect that day, we arrived to our top floor, corner room just in time for sunset. I think we paid extra for this view. Worth every penny.

Our hotel was located on Pennsylvania Avenue, which made no sense because we weren't nearly to Pennsylvania yet. But I hear it's a pretty prestigious address.

And I guess it is. Our neighbors had a HUGE house. But they didn't seem very friendly. The place was surrounded by an iron gate and guarded by guys with semi-automatic weapons. But they were nice enough to let me stick my camera through the fence at least.

Once we realized the neighbors weren't coming out to say hi, we ventured toward our next stop. And on the way, we happened upon the World War II memorial. There are 56 granite pillars - each inscribed with the name of one of the 48 contiguous states along with the District of Columbia, the Alaska Territory and Territory of Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since they seem to like Pennsylvania so much here, we chose our photo-op accordingly.

After the let-down of the (non) encounter with our other neighbors, we were very pleased to see this one had a much more liberal policy regarding social callers.

Even if the host was a bit stiff. (Harharharharhar...)

You know, I hadn't visited D.C. since I was a sophomore in high school. And I can assure you the impact of viewing the seemingly endless rows of names on the Vietnam Wall didn't stick with me like it should have. So I'm glad I got to see it again.

Finally, after a pretty ridiculous dinner at a French bistro our evening was done. It was very early rising the next morning. We had to get on the road to be in Philly by 10 am. The only benefit of waking up that early was this:

So, that's our D.C., from sunset over the Washington Monument to sunrise over the Capitol Building.

After dropping Jason off at the office, I drove to our hotel in Philly to check in. It was less than one mile between the two and I only missed one turn and only peed my pants five times. City drivings. I waz nawt made for it.

I passed the next few hours plotting the Caniac invasion into hostile territory. When the time came to make the journey, we removed the Hurricanes season ticket holder magnets from the back of the car and hit the turnpike.

Arriving at the Prudential Center in Newark was quite a shock to our southern, small-market senses. We pulled up to the attached parking deck and I caught sight of a sign bearing a Devils logo and reading: EVENT PARKING $30. I almost choked on my own tongue. I actually said out loud to Jason "They don't mean that, do they? Like, they're not serious, right? They're just trying to scare people off because they want you to park somewhere else. " Oh. But they were serious. (To compare, parking at Hurricanes games is $10. And we only pay $7 with our STH discount.) Whaddayagonnado, eh?

But we were shown to a lovely parking spot quite near the arena entrance so we grabbed our 'Canes jerseys, carried them strategically so that the logo wasn't easily visible and made our way.

WE'RE IN. Operation Caniac Invasion complete.

We were there pretty early since we gave ourselves plenty of extra travel time in case of bad traffic or navigation failure. Which meant we got to watch warm-ups. Which meant I scrawled "It's my birthday!!! Puck?" on a piece of paper and held it up. Which meant Troy Bodie flipped me an official NHL practice puck over the glass! (Look, I know it wasn't technically my birthday. But this trip was my birthday present so it's close enough. And Troy Bodie doesn't need to know the details, mmkay?)

And here's my analysis of the game, in a nutshell:

*Okay, Kovalchuck makes different amounts in different years but that's the number you get when you straight divide his preposterous $100 million contract over the ludicrous 15 years he's signed for. ARE YOU SERIOUS???? It's a FRACTION of a cent away from being all 6's!!! He plays for the DEVILS!!! I'm not saying he sold his soul to anyone or anything for that contract... BUT I'M JUST SAYING.

And while I'm not saying things... Can I just say how nice everyone was to us? Seriously. From the ticket-takers to the concession workers to the seat ushers to (about 98% of) the fans. We were stopped by a few fans who wanted to chat about hockey and wanted to know if we'd really come all the way from Carolina for the game. We were warmly welcomed by the guys in the seats in front of us. In fact, they were such good sports that they turned around to give us an on-the-down-low high five when the 'Canes scored. I can only hope that visiting fans at the RBC are treated similarly. (The well-behaved ones anyway. Feel free to accidentally-on-purpose spill your beer on the a-holes.) (I KID.)

The best part was that we were able to meet up with fellow-former-London-expats Scott and Libby between periods. And we had such a nice time chatting it up with them that we invited them down to Raleigh to catch a game at the RBC. And dang if they didn't show up a couple months later. And dang if we didn't have such a good time hanging out that they're coming back to North Carolina and we're renting a cottage in Ocracoke together in July. Fun times surely await!

And I'll probably only give them shit about being Buffalo and Jersey fans if we dip into the beer supply a bit too much one night.

Which is to say I will 100% be giving them shit about being Buffalo and Jersey fans.

P.S. The Hurricanes lost. And that stung a little.

1 comment:

The Tune's said...

For the love of Puck! It seems like so long ago you were welcomed into the "armpit" of New Jersey, Newark. I am sure there will be a bit of trash talking and probably not just about Buffalo and Jersey but I am sure about the Yanks too! Looking forward to seeing you both soon.