October 19, 2022

back-to-back tailgates: fun, exhausting, & the unexpected defense component

I've given my friends strict instructions to slap me and holler:  GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF!  - if . . . 

I sound like I am entertaining the idea of hosting tailgates on back to back weekends while simulatneously opening my home midweek to four out of town college buddies of Tank's all while organizing homecoming rides/flowers/wardrobe/pictures for two high school kids who are staying home . . . as I continue to babysit for an active tot crowd. 

Things that cropped up during the 6 days between the two tailgates included, but are not limited to:  driving home from tailgate #1  in a round-a-bout fashion to deliver Mini (who had a TERRIBLE COLD) to ND, finding out the next day that she had the flu, scoring Mini an appointment at a minute clinic and finding her a ride that would wait while she went to said doc appointment, attending a long-awaited appointment at my rhuemotologist in the city (translation:  half of a day gone), cheering at two volleyball games of Curly's, editing a paper for Tank, zooming while sitting for 9 kids during Reg's 504 plan, getting my allergy shots, adding two kids to my easy-breezy Thursday group because they needed care that Thursday, and potty training twins.  

I powered through all of the above while making 3 HUGE crockpots of chili, 6 loaves of pumpkin bread, 3 loaves of choc chip banana bread, 7 layer taco dip, cowboys caviar, 3 dozen shamrock sugar cookies, rocky road fudge bars, and 60 choc chip cookies. One day I experienced one of my least favorite episodes:  waking up in the middle of the night and then sleep alluding me. I got 5 hours, which beats the week prior when I got a whopping 4 hours and was awake for 20 hours straight. 

Did we have fun? YES, we sure did. Am I exhausted? YES, I am. Does my house look as though the tailgate took place in my home and the cleanup committee walked in, shrugged and opted to skip this place? YES, it does. 

The highlights: 

Oct. 8th we were at Ed's school. We shared our Airbnb with Mini's BFF's parents. Coach and I were up early cooking the make-ahead frozen breakfast burritos that I'd  thawed overnight. We re-heated the sausages wrapped in bacon and put them in a giant thermos. We hoped to arrive to our meeting spot ahead of schedule, because Ed's girlfriend's mom, Lydia, had gotten us a parking pass. We planned to enter the parking area in a caravan with Lydia and her friends in two other cars. 

Running ahead of schedule is not my strong-suit, but we feared the making Lydia wait party foul of having Lydia. We didn't want to be blamed for getting into the lot late and missing out on a great space, so we arrived 10 minutes early. Shock. The couple we shared our bnb with were coming to the field later. Cell service often fails at crowded college events, so we simply said:  LOOK FOR GUMBY. 

Words to live by. 

The weather was perfect. 60 and sunny. I was so very grateful for the beautiful day and for the good night sleep. This was a few days after the 4 hours of sleep and I was thrilled to be feeling so well rested.

Due to a lack of direction from staff, the parking lot was a free for all. Fortunately Lydia hopped out of the car, idenitified a space, and waved us into a spot. 

Coach and I got Gumby into position. One of the other moms in our group, who I'd never met before suddenly popped up on the other side of my car as I was struggling with the big green guy. She offered to help. That's when you know people are good people - not snooty or uppity or anything, because manhandling a foam guy and maneuvering him into postition when it was still chilly out is a sign of a genuinely good person. Let us all go forward and gage how good people are based on their willingness to lend a hand when affixing Gumby to a car roof. 

The day was amazing. Tons of Ed's friends showed up. People praised Gumby for leading them to our car. My food received generous compliments. One of Ed's girlfriend's friends told me I was a queen because of the food I made. The breakfast burritos were a huge hit. The sausages wrapped in bacon were a huge draw. 

Tank had hemmed and hawed about how he wouldn't be able to hang out with his brothers, because they were actually 21 and older and his fake ID wouldn't get him admitted into a real bar. Well, everything worked out because he borrowed an ID of one of Ed's roomies. It was a legit ID. He skipped shaving, donned a hat, and was believeable as a 21 year old. Some of Ed's friends at the tailgate told me that they thought Tank was Ed's older brother vs his younger brother. What do we call that? Art imitating life? Dumb luck? 

We were next to a group of college kids tailgating. They occasionally wandered, or staggered in a drunken stuper, towards our tables and oogled our spread. I don't know each and every one of Ed's friends, or his girlfriend's friends, so I had no idea if people who were helping themselves to our food were imposters. I elbowed Ed occasionally for clarity. Tank was ON IT. So was Lad. 

Tank witnessed a guy swipe a piece of pumpkin bread, take a bite, and make a celebratory face at his friends. Tank realized the thief was not with our group because he rejoined his friends at the neighboring tailgate. He walked up to the offender, snatched the pumpkin bread, threw it to the ground in front of him, and stomped on it. 

OK, this sounds extreme, but my kids were not afraid to send a message in their plight to guard our food. Robbing other tailgates of food goes against proper tailgate code. The rest of us were very entertained at Tank and Lad's dilligence. 

Have you ever had to protect your food? Met new people and feared 'they're gonna think we are weird for (insert whatever - for me, hoisting a Gumby on top of the car), and yet they embrace your weirdness, no questions asked?



Nicole said...

I love that you found a person to help with Gumby - true sign of a good person!

Ernie, how are you not DEAD from all that? I am exhausted just reading about it! That is a LOT and I sure hope you can just get some rest. Yes, it sounds fun but WOW. Tiring!

Colleen said...

YOu are doing too much! Ha! BUt that's the life of a mom I suppose :) I think growing up in a big family teaches you to fight for and defend your food every night at the dinner table. Tank's been preparing his whole life for that moment.

Beth Cotell said...

I am dying at the thought of Tank retrieving the pumpkin bread and stomping on it in front of the offender. That is hilarious!

I'm glad you guys had such a great time at the tailgate! I'm hoping you are starting to recover from your crazy week in between the two tailgates and hopefully sleeping better.

Also, I think you need to do a post sharing all of your recipes!

Pat Birnie said...

Wow that is a crazy week! You must have been exhausted. My main thought now is to start grooming one of my grandchildren to get into a US College. I want to be part of this tailgate craziness! It looks like so much fun.

Nance said...

I am exhausted just reading this. And all of it Self-Inflicted, too. We are such different people, you and I. LOL.

Soon, you'll be famous! One of the college papers will do a story on The Gumby Tailgater, and then a local news channel will pick it up. Shortly thereafter, you'll be the Feel-Good Story that ends the nightly national news.

Better get those extra appliances out of your house in case they want to do an in-home segment; you know, as part of the Origin Story.

Ally Bean said...

Well in answer to your three questions: NO! I don't even quite know what to say about what happened to you and yours while tailgating, but I do know that Gumby rocks.

Ernie said...

Nicole - To be honest, I felt like I might have a sinus infection on Monday. My glands were so swollen it hurt to bend over and I was so tired. I slept great the last 3 days, so I have been feeling great. My in laws came to watch Curly play volleyball which spurred me on to get the kitchen in order. I had to reorganize cabinets to find a spot for my newest crockpot. I now own four. Yikes. I wonder if there is a meeting I need to attend or something for this addiction.

Ernie said...

Colleen - Yes, this comes with the territory of having 3 in college at once. It falls under the 'sounded like a good idea at the time' category. Ha.

I laughed at Tank preparing for this all his life. So true.

Ernie said...

Beth - It was honestly SO funny. Not sure that it translated well here - hard to describe the vibe of us all feasting on food and then raising at eyebrow, wondering if this guy was with our group or if he was sneaking off with my prized food. The breakfast burritos were wrapped in tinfoil - even Ed followed a few guys and retrieved the tinfoil wrapped food when he spied someone stealing. It added a very funny element to our day.

Three nights of excellent sleep feels amazing.

I will get on the recipe sharing post.

Ernie said...

Pat - I hope you are successful in getting a grandkid on board with your master plan. If not, you are always welcome to come to one of my tailgates in the next 3 years at Notre Dame. I know how you like to travel. Beautiful campus.

Ernie said...

Nance - 'Self-inflicted' killed me. Yes, it sure was. I asked for it. It falls under the 'sounded like a good idea at the time' category. At the first tailgate the husband in the couple we were with looked at me and asked me: YOU ENJOY THIS, DON'T YOU? I told him that YES I DO. We don't entertain at our home very often and this is a hassle but it beats having to have my house in perfect order.

I may or may not have caused a scene at the ND tailgate and I now have opened myself up to having haters know who I am because of my association with Gumby. My actions, by the way, were completely justified - just saying. Story to follow.

No camera crew is getting access to my upstairs without a fight. Over my dead body.

Ernie said...

Ally - It is a rare occasion that one must protect one's grub, but if it happens always best to have inebriated, loyal offspring on hand. I assumed that I wouldn't bring Gumby - adding him in the 11th hour was key.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Woman, you wear me the heck out! HOW THE HELL DO YOU DO IT ALL? And with little sleep, no less....a sign that I am a true princess because I can not do all of what you do.

My cholesterol went up each time I read "sausages wrapped in bacon".

Laughing at the fake ID and which boy is older, but really, your child taking stolen food out of a thief's hands and smashing it on the ground? This is the best. 😳
Did he learn that move from one of your toddlers? But it's funny because we (your readers) all know how important food is to your kids, and damn the thief for thinking of stealing it!


Ernie said...

Suz- You did cater A WEDDING recently and organize a major music themed fundraiser, so I think you are underestimating your own super powers.

I did not have a SINGLE bacon sausage appetizer . . . only because I ingested so many at a recent book group that I think the host was considering scheduling an intervention. The guilt after that was enough to make me steer clear.

My boys protecting the food was hilarious and only got funnier with every adult beverage I drank. Good times.