For a week I worried about which team would receive my valuable moral support in the event of a Ravens-Eagles Superbowl. On the one hand we have Donovan McNabb. I like Donovan McNabb. I like the way he came back after being benched and I like that he's a battered football veteran. Besides, I have a vague proprietary interest in Philadelphia since it lies along the I-95 corridor of my girlhood. It's not DC and it's not Baltimore, but it's close. On the other hand the Ravens are Baltimore. You know, BALTIMORE. I love Baltimore. I love the Shot Tower and Patterson Park and the way the McCormick factory used to make the grotty little streets along the harbor smell like spicy heaven. I also like Ray Lewis - murder indictment notwithstanding - and I think the purple and black uniforms are dressy. However, quarterback Joe Flaco, Falco, Flacco whatever was born in 1985. Which means I could have babysat for him; if his parents had asked me and if I was free that night. On principle I disapprove.
So it was a long week leading up to the championship games and I did a lot of soul-searching. Then both the Ravens and the Eagles got their asses neatly packaged and handed back to them and I was faced with a new dilemma: Cardinals (eye roll) or Steelers (yawn)? I like an underdog but Warner leaves me beyond cold. The Steelers are full of themselves and favored by six and a half but my friend Seth really likes them and I really like my friend Seth...
what? You don't like football? You don't care about the Cardinals or the Steelers? Fine. Moving on.
I was surprised by the number of you who enthusiastically recommended Pittsburgh as a place to live. Not, I hasten to add, because of the football team that I am no longer discussing or because I don't think Pittsburgh is nice - I do! really! I like the way the three rivers come together and anyone who is passionate about Baltimore could find things to love about Pittsburgh - but because there are certain cities one associates with rabid partiality (hello Bay Area) or blank confusion over why anyone would want to live anywhere else (hiya New York) and Pittsburgh never struck me as one of them. But lots of you mentioned Pittsburgh. So ok. Spin that rally towel.
Steve and I had a great time reading your comments. Steve would say, "This sensible person has recommended Colorado, noting that the state has everything a non-tool could possibly want" and I would counter, "I'm surprised she was able to type after slathering on all that moisturizer to keep her hands from splitting open in the dry air; a problem my new best friend on page two does not have as the refreshing Oregon climate lends a dewy glow of health to every complexion."
As we talked about various areas I remembered why we wound up in Minnesota in the first place: Steve has always wanted to move back to Colorado (he went to college there. his best friend lives there. mountains thrill him) and I am happiest when it is raining (enough said); The Prince and The Frog Get Married and Compromise by Doing Something Not Quite Exactly For Either of Them. It's not that I am totally opposed to Colorado or that Steve is vehemently against the Pacific Northwest; we just aren't two hearts beating as one on the subject. We decided to take trips to both places next summer (I have never actually been to Oregon I just suspect that I would like it based upon general rumored dampness and recommendations from people I like) and see how we feel. And rather than pick up and move I think it might be advisable to take a sabbatical year with a rental and try out whatever area we think we might like. I looked at a few house swapping websites in order to gauge whether that might work for us but there are surprisingly few people out there are anxious to trade their Tuscan villa for a year in Minnesota. Not that we want to go to Italy, you understand, just that the market for the Upper Midwest is decidedly niche. Anyway, when we aren't fighting bitterly about whether a summer shower every afternoon counts as rain (it doesn't) or whether I could actually live in a state that possesses only one Target per 3.5 million people (Steve fights dirty and, oh Oregon, are you kidding me?) we are continuing to enjoy the discussion. So thank you for your input. Oh, and an extra thanks to Zerch for recommending www.findyourspot.com, a website that generates suggestions on where you might want to live based upon how you answer a couple of pages worth of questions (warning: they ask for a lot of personal information. they do not, however, require that it be your actual personal information.) I am not quite sure what to make of the fact that the site first recommended Charleston, West Virginia for me but I got a lot of mileage out of the next three suggestions: Portland, Eugene and Corvallis. Of course, Steve was over there with Boulder and Fort Collins and Jackson, Wyoming. Twenty cities each and not a single one was the same. Or in the same state. Or even the same region.
Fortunately we like Minnesota and all of our stuff is here; so there's that.
Against my better judgment we went out with the children to dinner last night. It might have been ok if things had gone according to plan (called ahead for a table, timed dinner perfectly between nap and bedtime) however the fire department arrived at the restaurant five minutes before we did. True story. So we went in search of something else, considered going home, drove aimlessly for a bit, returned to the original place which was no longer evacuated and wound up sitting down to eat at approximately the same time as the littlest finks usually go to bed.
"This is a terrible terrible idea," I moaned.
"Live a little," said Steve.
Caroline thought the whole thing was very pleasant and exciting and sat in her high chair politely eating bread and sweet potato like a dinner guest who wants to be invited back again. Patrick did the crossword puzzle on the kids' menu and drank cranberry juice. Edward hit his head against the edge of the table and cried. A nice woman stopped and told him he was a pretty baby to which he responded by first looking horrified and then uttering a piercing yell like an air raid siren right in her face. He sort of went downhill from there, what with arching his back and kicking his feet and making a total nuisance of himself.
As I understand it - unless the only other person in the place happens to be my mother - no one in a restaurant is going to find my children as adorable and charming as I do. This applies to pig-tailed Caroline quietly eating her dinner but this especially applies to Edward the banshee. So he and I spent the remainder of our abbreviated evening in the ladies' room making faces at ourselves in the mirror. My entire meal went home in a box.
"Never again," I swore.
"Oh, but I love listening to you complain," said Steve.
I once read an article, probably in the Washington Post, about some coffee place that had a full-blown feud going between the parents who liked to bring their young children to hang out there and... the rest of the planet. The owner posted a sign saying something like Your Children are Not Welcome Here and a bunch of people got all huffed but another bunch of people were all oh yeah etc. As I recall the article had a lot of good quotes; one in particular from a woman who said, "I just want to be able to have a cup of coffee [with her two year old in tow] and relax." And I read this and wondered if she was crazy. Seriously. Who thinks they can relax (RELAX!) in public with a small child? Or that they are entitled to do so. For shame, lady, for shame. But (here's my point) I am sure at least half the people in the restaurant last night heard Edward's head slam yell and Edward's stranger danger warning system and Edward's get me out of the seat and walk me around yapping and thought we were crazy to go out to dinner with the little bodies in the first place. And I'm certain that there is some critical difference between that woman and her coffee and me and my glass of wine but... I'm damned if I can think of it.
Hey, good LORD. Why did no one inform me that the Superbowl has started without me? I haven't even decided who I want to win yet.
Random baby picture. I like it.
Updated: Oooh! That was actually a good game. I felt sure that the Cardinals were going to be trounced by the Steelers - hence the anticipated boredom - but it was exciting until the end. Nice.