June Craziness and More Than A Fan

Finally relaxing with a cigar and a beer and waiting for Kelly to come home so we can go get some hanging out in, I feel it’s a good idea to address the fact that I’ve left this blog high and dry lately.

The reason is, in one word, June.

From Memorial Day weekend until tomorrow has been the most hectic few weeks I’ve lived through yet.

May 27th was my 30th birthday, and Kelly combined our late housewarming party and my birthday party to throw a bash that wiped away any doubt as to who the better half in this relationship happens to be. 100 people, two grills full of food, overflowing coolers and a house full of gifts. I never would have guessed that many people would help us celebrate, and so many more that I wanted to invite. If you were there, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. If you weren’t, I’m hoping for a smaller friends get together later this summer, so you better Mapquest Medina.

Kelly got me a humidor loaded with Padilla cigars. I’ve been melting over that gift since I tore the paper off. (That’s a figure of speech, we’re gift bag people. It’s just that “removed the tissue paper” doesn’t bring back joyful childhood memories of opening presents.). I got great bottles of wine, great beer, cards, books… just too many amazing things than I can list.

There was one gift that I think is the single coolest gift that I’ve ever received. My brother got me a poker chip set from 1926. Old (old) school clay chips that store in an old wooden box. They are awesome, and I’ll use them, too.

After a day of cleaning up followed by a couple of days of work, Kelly and I left for Eden Prairie, Minnesota. My oldest friend asked me to be in his wedding, and there was no way I was going to say no. Matt and I have been friends since we were in diapers, and while we may not have always been besties, we’ve always been close. Matt moved away to Minnesota for work after college, and I’ve always missed him. I often miss old friends, even the friends that only live 30 minutes away. Life tends to constantly scatter our pasts to places that we can’t reach, regardless of whether its distance, lifestyle or priority that separates us.

We flew into Minneapolis a day earlier than we were needed so we could have a mini vacation, and that long weekend turned into one of my favorite long weekends ever.

Right out of the airport we went to the Mall of America. There’s no possible way for me to accurately describe the Mall of America in a blog post, its just something you have to see. Its a large suburb’s worth of stuff in a giant building, with an amusement park in the middle.

The Rock Bottom Plunge coaster in the Mall of America

We spent a day and a half shopping and riding roller coasters, and I’m pretty sure that we somehow still missed most of the north end. Friday evening saw a giant group share an exceptional rehearsal dinner, and Saturday followed with a beautiful ceremony and reception.

One of the coolest things at the Mall of America is the old Metropolitan Stadium home plate.

I wasn’t the best man, so I didn’t have the opportunity to give a speech at the reception, but if I had, I would have talked about a childhood full of games and all-nighters. Exploration and mischief. About trying to live up to all the best things that Matt offered to our friendship, and hoping that I had a few best things to offer him. Congratulations, kid, I’ll miss you often.

(And the Snot Dispenser, just in case he reads this.)

We flew home Sunday, and had brief hopes that we’d get stuck in Chicago. I know that sounds weird, but Kelly and I are the best kind of travelers together. A night in Chicago because of mechanical problems would have only meant dinner and a show, which would have been pretty damn awesome.

Our hopes were dashed, however, by a perfectly suitable commuter jet that whisked us back to the Akron-Canton Airport 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Quick note for traveling on a budget, fly out of Akron, its cheaper, easier and the Cinnabon is exactly the same as anywhere else.

Another quick few days at work and it was time for Kelly’s uncle from DC to be our house guest for her brother’s wedding.

After a busy Thursday night and Friday, the evening brought another big rehearsal dinner and long night. The big difference between this Saturday wedding and the Minnesota wedding was that I was presiding over my corporate Cleveland Kidney Walk team that morning at Whiskey Island in Downtown Cleveland.

From 7:30am to 11:30am, I was in full on organize and shmooze mode. The Kidney Walk was a giant success and deserves its own post (which I can’t guarantee it will get), but for the sake of outlining the my disappearance, I’ll just mention that lots of thought and planning went into the event.

I don't often post pictures of myself, but when I do, they're for a good cause. Stay charitable my friends.

My company, Clark Reliance, was a sponsor (and will be again next year!) and our CEO, Rick Solon, was the corporate chairperson for the walk (our Chairman and owner, Matthew Figgie, is next year!). I’m proud of where I work, its leadership and the 170 walkers that donned the Team Clark T-Shirt to walk with me that day. (In case you’re wondering, my pay isn’t based on how much ass I kiss in a blog post)

After things got wrapped up downtown, I hustled home to shower and suit up for the ceremony, which was awesome. So many friends and family is always a great experience, and to get to be surrounded by that two weekends ina row was fantastic. We ate and drank and danced, and the next afternoon, Kelly and I had everyone at our house for brunch.

Then we slept. Pretty much until the next morning, when we got together with Kelly’s aunt, uncle and cousins to take a trip to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  The new elephant enclosure exhibit there is awesome.  The zoo made Monday a long day, but every minute was worth it.  We don’t often see that side of Kelly’s family, so being busy was a small price to pay.

After another long weekend, a few days at work have left me here; with a cigar and a beer, sitting on the patio.  (Actually, I finished the cigar and beer a few minutes ago and moved this draft from my phone to the computer, but you get the point.)  Tonight is a quiet dinner with Kelly, and tomorrow is my company picnic at Cedar Point.  We’ll be there a little earlier than usual, about 7:45 in the morning, because Clark Reliance hooks us up with an 8am early entry (that’s an hour before the resort guests and two hours before the general public) and two roller coasters that we can ride with no waiting.  Between 8 and 9am, we get the Magnum and the Raptor to ride as many times as we like (we’ve already done the Millennium Force and Maverick), and by 8:50, we’ll be in line for Cedar Point’s newest ride, The Windseeker.  I can’t wait.

Our busy June ends Saturday night, after that we’ll just be in the middle of a normal June, which for us is sort of hectic on its own.

There was some time left over in those weeks that I set aside for writing, but I wasn’t writing here.  On May 26th, after weeks of ideas and emails, Lisa Wade and I launched More Than A Fan, the newest (and most absorbed with awesome) sports website around.  If you like me, or like sports, or even like both, check us out.  Lisa has worked her ass off getting things up and running, and in addition to the both of us, we have two other writers on MTAF.  Ryan Isley and Deb Baratz have come on, and are both really talented writers.

I will do my best to keep a good string of posts on this blog.  More Than A Fan is my dream, I like having a voice about civic issues, or just plain old personal updates.  I really want to write a cheeky advice column someday, and who knows, maybe I’d throw some sincere advice in there, too.

Check out More Than A Fan, Follow Lisa at @LovinTheTribe and Ryan at @Isley23.  And as always, I’m @RailbirdJ

It’s almost dinner time, and we’re going to Rockne’s.  That means I’m going to eat about 42,000 calories, so I’m going to go drink some Pepto Bismal and run up and down the basement stairs for the next half hour.


1 Comment

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One response to “June Craziness and More Than A Fan

  1. I gave a whopping 5 bucks to the walk.

    hooray for unemployment.

    but yeah post more or you know bad things will happen and what not.


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