Friday, July 5, 2013

I need a vacation from my vacation.

I promised my sister-in-law and her husband Steve that once they moved into a new house I would visit for a week and help them fix up their residence.  On Saturday, June 22nd, I headed west from Peoria, IL, with my tool bucket in tow.
What a great setting to take in a ball game!
The Vintage Game emcee.
At the onset of my trip I caught my Kane County Cougars in the Quad Cities playing the River Bandits right along the Mississippi.  My sister joined me for the first leg of my travels and we both picked up a Johan Santana bobble head and we were fortunate enough to take in a "vintage" baseball game.  We're talking about rules from the 1850's!  No gloves, underhand pitching, and everyone wore high socks.  It was great! If you caught a batted ball on one bounce the batter was out.  Crazy!
Dan Vogelbach, Albert Almora, and Rock Shoulders
The modern day game was pretty good, too. The Cougars had a 5 to 4 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, they promptly gave up a run, and then lost the game in the 11th inning on a Carlos Correa walk-off single.  If you're counting (and I know none of you are), the Cougars are now 0-for-5 in games in which I am in attendance.  Sigh.

Silver lining?  Well, the Astros' #1 pick from the 2012 draft may have had the game winning RBI, but I snagged the autograph of the Cubs #1pick from the same draft!  Albert Almora!  Sweet!

The next day was a total travel day: 13 hours in the car.  Bleck.  A big thank you to SiriusXM for getting me through the western half of Nebraska.  I think SVP and Russillo may be the best sports talk radio out there.

My in-laws' house is really nice, but it definitely needed a few things.  For example, here's the remnants of the door jam to the garage.  Yeah, no problem.  I cleaned that up, made it look sharp, and it now locks!
Here's a list of the other projects I took on:
  • laying plastic sheeting in the crawl space to serve as a vapor barrier
  • exchanging out the dining room chandelier for a more modern one
  • installing a ceiling fan in the master bedroom
  • laying down insulation in the attic
  • tearing down and building a new fence
New fence for the yard!
 There were many other little tasks that I helped out with, but those were the biggies. 

My favorite activities during the week were spent enjoying an adult beverage and watching my Cubs at a local watering hole with my brother-in-law, and participating in the blessing of their six-week-old baby girl, Lil.  I'm officially an uncle for the first time!  Hooray!

I split up the drive on the way home and stopped for a game in Omaha.  For the second consecutive year I managed to somehow miss the College World Series by a matter of days.  Bummer.

Koyie Hill (#5) is still getting after it in the minors!

But, it was "$1 Hot Dog" and "Bring Your Dog to the Park" night at Werner Park. 

And for the first time this year I found myself at a game where I didn't have a vested interest in either team...  well, until I learned that the New Orleans Zephyrs' catcher was Koyie Hill.  Koyie is a former Cub and one of my favorite role players during his tenure in Chicago.  Naturally, the team I decided to then cheer for lost the game, 2 to 1 in twelve innings.  Go figure.  I think I'm cursed.

I hit a card shop on the way home in the Quad Cities and arrived at my humble abode on July 2nd.  Nearly 2,000 miles of travel, two baseball games, five total card shops, a half-dozen house projects, and a blessing crammed in to an eleven day span.  Yikes!  I feel like I've been hit by a truck.

I found this license plate in the parking lot of my last card shop!
Speaking of baseball cards, look what I found at the last shop!  Two packages of Kerry Wood cards!  I haven't even had time to open them up yet as things are just now starting to slow down.
Thirty Kerry Wood cards for $2?  That's less than 7 cents apiece!  Score!

I also found these two beauties in a "5 for $2" bin.  A dinged up '73 Johnny Bench and Ken Griffey, Jr. card showing the "The Kid" being a kid.  Nice!  Oh yes, and lots of trade bait to fill yellow bubble mailers with in the future!

Look who was waiting to pounce on me when I arrived home.  Gus!

I celebrated America's birthday as I joined my wife and her parents at a local firework show on the 3rd.  A day early, but it was still a blast!  (Pun intended.)
Not the best picture, but not too bad for my camera phone.

I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday!  I'm looking forward to the last few weeks to recharge my battery before another school years comes calling.


  1. That first stadium looks fantastic.

  2. Cool trip. Congrats on getting Almora.

  3. Ditto to AJ, that stadium is awesome! Didn't know some of those old-timey rules either, that sounds like it would've been fun to watch.