In order to keep myself from wasting away my summer and to help me make the most of some free time with my family, I've decided to document the next sixty-six days in a middle-school-esque FASTE summer feature I'll call "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" or "The Summer of Tim" (equal parts reference to Summer of Sam and rip-off of a friend's declaration that this is the "Decade of Chad").
I figure if I have to document what I do, the chances decrease that I will spend the summer napping. Feel free to follow along over the next two months as I play in the backyard with my kids, visit flea markets, and do things that truly will not be all that exciting to you as the reader.
DAY 1 - June 1 - Records, beer, and Teen Wolf
After a pretty hefty thunderstorm the night before, my neighborhood woke up early the next day for our annual garage sale day. With about 1,200 records in my garage that I had picked up in a sale a few weeks back, I decided at the last minute that they needed to go. I threw together a quick sign for my yard and pulled out the boxes of LPs -- 25 cents each or five for a dollar. A handful of people stopped in and a few even bought a handful of records. In the meantime, I had spent five bucks of my earnings at my neighbor's sale on a complete Fisher Price Magic Track Train set in its original box.
As I was about to shut down for the morning and was resigning myself to the fact that I was going to have to come up with an alternate plan for the leftover records, two gentlemen showed up eager to see what I had to offer. Without hesitating, I said "Fifteen bucks for everything."
Done. They gave me a twenty.
Hitting the road just before lunch time, we headed to St. Louis to celebrate my brother's recent 40th birthday. Despite a double-header going on at Busch Stadium, the traffic was sparse and we had no problem getting to the Schlafly Tap Room on time.
Two hours later, I had successfully accomplished several things:
- Caught up with some old friends I hadn't seen in a long time.
- Discussed important topics such as Teen Wolf, Public Enemy, and how much coffee it takes to create bowel issues.
- Eaten a meatloaf sandwich served on an English muffin with a fried egg while sitting across the table from my brother who had the "Plate of Swine."
- Sampled my share of Schlafly's fine beverage selection.
DAY 2 - June 2 - The comforts of home, old toys, and Double Cola
My kids got up at 5:45am. Seriously. I guess they were excited to be at my dad's house. Either that or they knew somehow that I wanted to sleep in a little bit.
Either way, we spent a cool damp day around my dad's doing what I always do when I'm there -- digging through boxes of my old stuff. My wife even said to me at one point, "Why don't you come down here sometime by yourself and get all of this out of your system so we don't have to do this every time we're here?" She was clearly in the minority as my kids were thrilled to play with my old Playskool McDonald's set while my dad and I (unsuccessfully) attempted to repair a couple of late-70s Speed Burners.
As dinner time drew closer, I made a quick run to the store for some groceries. On the way back, I stopped off at a gas station to pick up a bottle of God's gift to the world known as Ski. Little did I know that from a beverage perspective, my evening was only going to get better. You see, as I may have mentioned before, when I was a kid, my uncle used to own the Double Cola plant in Evansville, Indiana where they bottled Double Cola and Ski (among others). While Ski is readily available any time I head back to Southern Illinois, Double Cola is a little more difficult to come by. A recent trip to Evansville by my brother, however, turned up a twelve-pack of Double Cola for me.
Double Cola definitely tastes different than Coke and Pepsi, and it may be my imagination, but my first drink of Double Cola in over 20 years tasted exactly as I remember.
DAY 3 - June 3 - A greasy burger, the Muppet Show, and the library
A pretty uneventful day, really -- unless you count the fact that I ate an awesome hamburger.
Spending seven years in Charleston, IL going to college at Eastern Illinois University (undergraduate and graduate), I became quite fond the the greasy goodness known as McHugh's Double Drive-Thru. Over the past ten years, my wife has become a believer in the awesomeness that is McHugh's, as well. As we neared the Charleston exit, she suggested lunch at McHugh's but I was ready to get home and wanted to keep driving. Nonetheless, our car slowed at Exit 190A and I soon found myself with burger in hand.
And. It. Was. Awesome.
Once we were back home, we capped off the day with a trip to the library where I walked out with the first season of the Muppet Show and a super cool book about the early years of hip-hop.
The Summer of Tim is off to a solid start.