On Saturday we went to the older Secret’s swim meet, at a mysterious high school a long, long way from home. In fact, I’m not even sure we were still in Pennsylvania, we might’ve been in “Hampshire.”
Before leaving we told the GPS unit where we wanted to go, and she said, “You’re joking, right?” Not really, of course, but it would’ve been justified.
We drove for almost two hours, and finally arrived. It was one of those deals where the elementary school, middle school, and high school are all on the same sprawling plot of land. Like a mediocre education superstore.
One of the arrows near the entrance said “Natatorium,” and Toney told me it’s where we wanted to go.
“To the natatorium?” I asked.
“Yeah,” she answered.
“I thought we were going to a swimming pool?”
The meet was scheduled to start at 3:00, and the swimmers were supposed to report at least 30 minutes early. It was only 2:10, but Toney wanted to go inside anyway. I asked if there was any reason I had to go into that sweltering ballsweat heat box so far in advance, and she said I could wait until about 2:50, if I wanted.
“I’m staying with Dad!” the younger boy shouted eagerly, and the two of us sat in the parking lot and listened to The Kinks.
“They’re pretty good, aren’t they?” said Secret 2.
“Oh, you got that right,” I agreed.
Finally it was time for us to go inside, and both of us needed to locate a pee-catcher. We walked up and down several hallways, and saw nothing but classrooms. What the heck, man?! It was starting to turn into an emergency. If we didn’t find relief soon, I might have to sneak into the music room and urinate into a trombone.
Then I saw a sign for the faculty men’s room. “We can’t go in there,” the Secret whispered. “That’s for teachers.” I didn’t even answer, and almost tore the door off its hinges.
After tending to the task at hand, I took a look around. So this is what a teachers’ bathroom is like? Huh. Nothing special. Maybe it was a little cleaner than average, but that’s all. I always imagined they’d be extra-posh, with recliner toilets and mink-lined urinals, or something. What a letdown.
As we exited, a man rode by on what might’ve been a Zamboni. He saw us coming out of the VIP restroom, and did an angry double-take. I could tell by the look on his face he was preparing to unload on us, but decided against it at the last minute, for some reason. We just walked away, without saying a word.
We passed a lunch room, where the concession stand was located. I asked my partner if he wanted to get something, and he said he did. So, we started checking out the spread.
And it was all healthy! What the?? There were no Kit Kats, no nachos, and no pizza. Instead, they had bananas(!?), granola bars, and (I’m not joking) baggies filled with carrot and celery sticks. Worst concession stand ever.
The Secret bought a Fruit Roll-Up (or somesuch), and I didn’t get anything. I mean, seriously. I’d look like a complete idiot gnawing on a length of celery inside a natatorium.
We finally found the pool itself, and I braced for instant discomfort. Those things are almost always breathtakingly hot, but this one wasn’t as bad as usual. In fact, it was close to comfortable. It’s unheard of.
A woman from our neighborhood said a few words as we walked past her, and when we sat down I instructed my son to spread out so she wouldn’t sit with us. I don’t have anything against her, really, I just didn’t like the idea of being forced to make small-talk for two hours, with a charley-horse smile on my face.
Toney was working “on-deck,” so we wouldn’t be talking to her until after the meet was over. The older Secret was to swim in races 2, 7, and 23. As usual, there was a big gap in there… “More Kinks after 7?” I suggested to the younger boy, and he thought it was a fine idea.
The announcer asked everyone to please stand – and remove your hats – for the playing or our National Anthem. I wondered if they’d added that part about the hats because of me. Twice I’ve been publicly reprimanded at swim meets for not taking off my Brooklyn Dodgers cap during the anthem, and in England I got a good dressing-down inside a church, for similar reasons.
While the song played, I realized the man beside me was singing. And he had a real deep voice, like that guy in the Statler Bros. way down on the end. As it progressed, I noticed my sternum was vibrating. I could feel him singing, more than I could hear him.
When it ended, he looked at me, smiled real big and said, “I love patriotism!” I think it was the first time I ever heard someone string those particular words together.
There was a kid on the other team wearing tiny bikini trunks, and was all pumped-up like he’d emerged from the womb doing five-pound curls. Everybody else was wearing swimwear that nearly reached their knees, and this guy was sashaying around in panties. I’d never laid eyes on the kid before, but couldn’t stand him.
The Secret did well in his first two races, and we headed toward the car. But my cell phone rang, and it was Steve. I talked to him for a while, inside the room with Satan’s snack bar. Steve’s birthday was Friday, and I jokingly called him an “old bag.” And I’m not 100% sure of it, but I think it offended him.
After the meet was over, the younger Secret and I returned to the car several minutes before the swim folk arrived. I used the GPS to locate the nearest Cracker Barrel, and it was 30 miles in the wrong direction, somewhere in New Jersey. I found a more logical location, and stored it in our favorites.
And I was pleased to learn Toney was thinking exactly the same thing. There’s something about returning from a day trip that just screams Cracker Barrel. I told the British GPS lady to lead us there, and she took us on roads we’d never traveled. And before long we were told to “turn right on Cracker Barrel Lane.” Good ol’ Cracker Barrel Lane.
The place was crowded, but I was relieved to learn there wouldn’t be a wait (my stomach was sucking-up against my spine). They seated us in the middle of a room, near the fireplace, and there was another table pressed against ours. So, we basically had dinner with another family — four strangers we’ll never see again.
And they were going to town on it. I mean, those people could eat! I was afraid we might be hit by cutlery sparks. The woman seated next to Toney kept lifting her plates and bowls to her mouth, and performing a horizontal shift. There was much grunting and nose-breathing, and I did my best to just pretend it wasn’t happening.
I ordered pot roast with mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, and macaroni ‘n’ cheese. I also requested sweet tea, but the dingbat waitress brought me unsweetened, and disappeared until it was time to give us the check. She apparently outsourced the actual delivery of our food, and I wasn’t a fan of her performance. Which was reflected in her tip.
When we got home the boys went to bed, and Toney and I watched Pineapple Express. Well, to be more precise, I watched it, and Toney snoozed on the couch. I think she konked-out before the DVD menu fully loaded.
I enjoyed it. The plot was fairly weak: substitute counterfeiting for drug dealing and it could’ve been the premise of a Drake & Josh movie. But the two main guys were funny, and I liked the over-the-top brutality of the fight scenes. A nice, unexpected touch.
I gave it four stars at Netflix. Here’s what I’ll be receiving for next weekend. I’ve heard good things.
So, that was my Saturday. What did you do?
Before I call it a day here, I want to alert you to four new Smoking Fish sightings, all captured by Good2Go. Excellent! I appreciate the effort. Keep ’em coming, folks.
And I want to get your feedback on the new header. It was designed by The Evil Twin, who also did the latest t-shirt. I think it looks amazing. Thanks, also, to Chris McMahon, who installed the thing for me. I probably could’ve done it myself, but was afraid I might tear a hole in the universe, or something.
See you guys tomorrow.
First? Hopefully, hopefully….
Great post, Jeff!
Oh Happy Monday!
When did the smoking fish become laminated? The times they are a changin’. I think a lot of schools now are doing away with pop and junk food.
Top 10! Woo!
Top ten again, baby!
Lovin’ the new header, Jeff & ET. Sure wish I could get that printed onto a LONG SLEEVE T-SHIRT.
Took a 2 hour walk with the Beast on Saturday – besides that I don’t have much recollection, but I think there was beer involved.
Happy Monday, Surfers!
In Bruges is good. With a little midget surprise!
Header is wicked awesome. I’d invest in a shirt of that.
I liked Pineapple Express too, the car chase was excellent.
I picked up my new-to-me 2005 Mustang GT on Friday and spent the weekend cruising and visiting friends. This is a much nicer, quicker, stiffer car than the 1994 Mustang GT I traded in. Ottawa in January, a slumping economy and low interest rates equals a great deal on a V-8 pony car!
I like the new header but I do miss “The state of my fat ass”
Nice header!!! Evil Twin’s got some talent!
New smokin’ fish header looks good!
Love the new smoking fish logo. Really cool.
As long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset I am in Paradise!
over a foot of snow in London today They had to shut the sucker down!
In Bruges is Brilliant! The evil twin is certainly talented but why go for pixar over 1930’s Disney?
Clenched fists on the fish! Nice touch!
Great job by the EvilTwin for making it look all growed up and shit around here. Anyone else remember the really old site?
WIllie Williams says
Banner looks mighty good. Still a little scary when the page firsts open, I keep thinking I stumbled on some fetish site for a second.
I can’t do the Barrel. It reminds me of staying over a friend’s house and being forced to eat what his mom cooked for dinner. It seemed a little scary and always a runny version of what I got at home. Not paying good money for those kind of memories.
Yeah.. teacher’s bathrooms aren’t usually anything special, except we aren’t subjected to the usual tampon on the floor or pee on the toilet seat. I think that is the idea.
I could go for a heated seat though, or scented hand towlettes. Or something. Maybe an attendant to hand me the towlette? Nah… State budget cuts would dp away with that before the attendant ever picked up their first paycheck. Hell, I am lucky they have seats on the john, you know?
Anyway, I am the only one I know who goes into the “general” bathroom for any reason. And I work at a universtiy so I can hardly imagine what a high school bathroom would look like after 8 hours of use.
Awesome new header!
Like the home cookin’ @ Cracker Barrel, I just can’t deal with the mouth breathers that frequent the place.
Good Afternoon Surf Reporters!!!!
seems that my first post didn’t post….. so we’ll try this again.
Header is very nice, dresses up the page a bit.
My Saturday was so so, worked until 3 o’clock, went home and power napped. Was supposed to play poker, but nobody showed. Pissed at that I went home, watched the Penguins lose and drank a 12 pack.
Yesterday was about the same, although we in the ‘Burgh partied until the wee hours of this morning.
Dragged myself into work with the one bright spot being I won the final office pool for two hunnert fiddy dolla.
Very nice. Almost offsets the raging hangover.
I too spent part of Saturday in the natatorium. Really it was the kiddie pool at the community center, but I actaully called it the natatorium when I was trying to talk with my wife about taking The Peanut swimming without saying the words pool or swimming.
She didn’t get it and I had to resort to pantomime.
In my high school it was called the natatorium. We also had a planetarium and a gymnasium. Oh yeah, we’re all about the latin in Detroit area high schools.
The rest of Saturday was spent doing homework. I had 2 online quizzes in Pathophysiology and 3 papers due. I wrote two of them and as of this afternoon am about half done with the third.
Sunday was chores and helping my wife do her online class. Then to a family Superbowl gathering, home at half-time and asleep by 9:15.
We live life to its fullest.
I’m cool with the banner, but I still wish they’d never changed the formula for Coke and that Barney Miller was still on TV.
Also, I’m thinking about a netbook for school. I don’t need a full on laptop, just something I can use for notes and whatnot.
I’m thinking a Dell, either the 9 inch or the 12 inch with Onubutu.
Anyone have any good advice?
It’s always appreciated.
Thanks for the help.
After a small spat with my mailman in which he was outraged by my suggestion that he match the house to the address on the mail, my husband and I went down to the Phipps Conservatory for a touch of Spring. The flowers were nice but I spent more time trying to take a decent pic of a couple doucheketeers roaming around the place. The male half sported long hair tail, a navy blazer, tight eighties stonewashed jeans, and large white velcro sneakers. He also carried a man purse (of course). His female companion had on thigh-high leather boots with five inch spike heels. Who in the hell wanders around a plant show dressed in that getup?! Lordy.
Sunday was spent cheering on the Steelers to their sixth Superbowl win. YAAAAAY!
Shelly in St. Louis says
Spent my entire Saturday at my daughter’s volleyball tournament. Was there from 8 am to 6 pm and had a major case of PAS! The team played well though and took 5th out of 12, so no real complaints.
Trisha aka Mrs. Wally says
Saturday I worked until 3. Then went mattress/boxsprings shopping. That is not my idea of a good time. Found a pair at Sam’s Club. Paid for them and then had Wally meet me ther for the pick up when he got off work moments before they closed. Wally got them loaded in the back of my truck. I asked him if he thought that they should be tied no. He said that no they would be fine. Halfway home the mattress flew out of the bed of my truck and off the side of a bridge. Luckily it was wrapped in plastic. He and a buddy climbed down there to retrieve it and then got it home with no more incindences. Lordy, was I pissed when he told me he lost it though!
Shiny Rod says
Love the Banner Jeff saaaawwwwwheat!!!
Susan In NWPA says
I also watched Pineapple Express this weekend. I’ll watch pretty much anything with Seth Rogan in it!
The new header looks awesome.
Shiny Rod says
@Jorge – pen and note pad work great, save the money for some serious beer.
Father Bob says
I happen to like the old logo. Sorry.
I did errands on Sat and the gym on Sunday. Then watched one of the ugliest men to quarterback a team to victory in a super bowl. Man is he ugly. I used to think the Patriots were the dirtiest team in football. The Steelers now have that distinction. Watching them is more like cage fighting.
I drove to Birmingham on Saturday to look at an office building. Total waste of time. I stopped at a Texaco on the way back and walked into what has to be the filthiest bathroom on record. It had one of those continuous towel things on the wall, where the towel is a loop, and it looked like someone had used it to wrap a pot roast. The sink was literally full of soaking wet toilet paper. The toilet was full of piss, bite-sized turds, and more toilet paper. The floor was covered in plops of shit and about 1/2 an inch of piss. This bathroom looked like it had been used to house livestock.
I slammed the door without pissing. Then I bought a bottle of windex and a roll of paper towels (about $30 for the pair) and washed the bottoms of my shoes before I got back in my car.
Anybody know where I can get a good deal on a laptop? I need one that I can plug one of those cards into (any advice on those?) and get the interweb wireless wherever I’m at.
Love the new header.
Well you have to remember, Father Bob, Big Ben bounced face-first off the hood of a car not to long ago. The plastic surgeons did what they could. As far as the Steelers being dirty, I haven’t a clue where you got that from. Would you prefer they just hug and play yahtzee?
Trisha aka Mrs. Wally says
Harrison is a dirty player. The personal foul he got in the 4th quarter should have gotten him kicked out of the game!
Shiny Rod says
Jason, what the hell are bite-size turds?
Shiny Rod says
For moment there, I thought it was the Eagles playing Arizona.
Jason, the term “bite-size turds” induced my gag reflex. Well done!
One player losing his cool does not a dirty team make. If that were the case then every team would be dirty.
Harrison was just showing that little bitch who was boss, that’s all!!
Heh heh, good one JCIII.
Ad block blocks the header for me. I like the old logo anyway, so I think I will leave it that way.
Pineapple Express…..loved it. Characters very close to the guys I grew up with in the kanawha valley. New header is good but kind of angry for such a good time site.
Nice header Jeff.. props to the Evil Twin, buuuut it’s not working under Google Chrome, which may also pose a problem for Opera/Safari as well. You may need to put those HTML skillz to work Jeff, though from a quick look, the problem may be in your CSS. IE and Firefox checked out ok for me, anyone else having this problem?
Taiwan On says
I like the new header, but I love the old header.
Saturday was our last day of vacation in Bali. Me, the wife, her Mom, her sister, and her sister’s boyfriend. Visited a very cool temple built on the ocean’s edge. I believe I spotted a smoking fish there. Will post soon.
Ian the Errolite says
I like the fish’s general demeanour with the clenched fin and all, but have you considered having it (the fish) on a litte surf board? -fish out of water and all that?
Maybe it would look to ‘busy’.
‘In Bruges’ is feckin great. Colin Farell finally redeems himself after ‘Alexander’ -the one where the greeks had Irish accents, ‘ Begorah, by the holy wings of Aphrodite!’ , though I don’t think your patriotism loving friend would rate it too highly….
What is ‘Onubutu’?
Round these parts it translates as ‘What do you mean?’ and can be used with more colourful language eg ‘F*”ckin onubutu?!’
Try it in angry Scots accent. It really works!
I didn’ t sleep today after nightshift last night and things are getting a bit trippy. It’s kind of fun just now but I know at some point i’m going to hit ‘the wall’.
Firefox doesn’t see it on my Mac, Safari likes it fine!
What is the deal with having to share a virtual picnic table to dine on decent Southern Food. I like the food, not “visitin’ with folks.”
The new header will grow on me I liked the subtly and simplicity of the old one. Spent Saturday fighting with a forms page, followed by wedding ring shopping, followed by beer & pizza and Mama Mia
I love the new header. That ET is one talented dude. He should start a side business making headers for blogs. I’m especially fond of the cartoon cleavage on ETW’s page!
We attended our very first BBQ cook-off this Saturday. It was a great time but we were so smokey that immediate showers and laundry were required when we got home.
Other than that, Texans know how to burn meat.,/a>
You’re so lucky. I’ve been aching for a decent brisket for a long time. I moved to Alabama from Texas about 10 years ago. Up here it’s all about the pig. It’s half-ass okay, but not really. They soak it in vinegar. I’d smoke my own brisket but they’re hard to find. They only sell the flats up here, and trimmed at that.
There’s a BBQ cookoff here in Huntsville, AL that I usually attend. It’s called the “Whistle Stop” and it’s held at the train depot downtown (where we had our wedding reception, incidentally). I think I’m a shoe in to be a judge next year. The ribs are okay but the goddamn vinegar pork, give me a break.
Back to the matter at hand – you’re lucky.
Evil Twin's Wife says
Dave, he knew better than to leave the cleavage off mine. That’s my signature look! LOL.