Jen’s birthday was back in August, and I completely dropped the ball on her. I didn’t have anything planned, and at that point I was still on a limited diet so she didn’t see the point in going out for dinner anywhere. I should have come up with a Plan C but completely failed her, and I’ve felt terrible about it ever since. I decided I’d try to make it up to her in some small way by arranging a spa day someplace fancy, and enlisted Karean to help me with a recommendation. We agreed on About Faces in Annapolis, and I arranged for a four-hour treatment with lunch for the two of them. In the meantime Finn had a double-header soccer day, because they missed a whole weekend on account of the rain.
I packed Finn off in her soccer gear and Jen left for the spa. The Purple Panthers kind of got their asses kicked in the first game, but Finn had one good half before she ran out of gas. There’s a mixture of fourth, fifth, and sixth graders on the teams so the skill levels are wildly different and the younger girls are generally much less aggressive than the older ones. As we got in the truck to head home between games, she asked me if we could skip the next game because she didn’t want to play. I did my best to buck her up and pointed out that her teammates were counting on her to come back. Then I reminded her that all I wanted her to do was have a good time. Then I sweetened the deal with a donut–to be eaten only after the second match.
The second game was mostly a repeat of the first, but the score was a little closer. She stuck with it and made some good stops on defense. As I ran across the field to hand her water bottle over at halftime, she called back to me, “I’m having a good time, daddy.” That made me feel better, and the parents on the other side of the field with me all smiled as I walked back over.
Returning home I farted around with some small repair stuff on the Scout and around the house, then rustled up some dinner for the ladies when Jen got home. Apparently the spa was a hit; she came back relaxed and feeling good.
Sunday morning I hit the lawn early and hustled to clean up the yard so that I wouldn’t embarrass us in front of the father of one of Finn’s friends, who asked if I could show him how to homebrew. After the lawn was done I set up a table in the backyard, dusted off all of my equipment, got a new propane tank, and cracked a beer as he was unloading his car in the driveway. We got his turkey fryer repurposed to cook wort and fired up the burners by about 2. His burner took a long time to come to a boil, but the staggered timing worked in our favor because I could show him what I was doing with my kit and get it chilled while his was starting. When mine was done we moved his kettle to my burner and finished the boil. By about 6 we had the gear packed up and were shooting the shit over our final beers, and he took off to get dinner. I humped my carboy down into the basement and let it cool off overnight before adding the yeast. It’s another grapefruit IPA I meant to brew for the summer, but time and the summer got away from me. Actually, during the boil I realized that the last time I brewed beer was the day Rob passed.
After dinner, we put Finn to bed and I walked over to the neighbors’ to watch the Ravens beat Pittsburgh on the big screen in his backyard. That was an excellent way to cap off a great weekend.