I need to wrap up the washing machine story. Let's just say the old washer is still residing in my master bedroom, as we continue to embrace our hillbilly lifestyle. I'll share the end of that saga once I know how it all turns out.
The best thing about having 3 kids away at three different colleges is visiting them. Tank's Jesuit school has no football team. He'll be home for a 9 days starting Oct. 7th. SO . . . I arranged to tailgate at Ed and Mini's schools so that Tank could accompany us. Back to back tailgate weekends.
I'm conserving on calories now in preparation.
While you read this, please mull over what tailgate recipes you'd like to share in the comments. For Ed's school, the game is at noon. NOON! I'm thinking breakfast burritos. Thoughts?
Tank: What? You've planned both of my weekends home. I want to work and make money since I want to go abroad next semester.
Me: Um, this is going to be a ton of fun. You're welcome.
Sometimes Tank's obsession with making money is great, and sometimes I feel he needs to give.it.a.rest. He's NOT hurting for funds. Don't get me wrong, hard work is a great quality - but time with family revolved around him is a wonderous thing (says his mother, a long suffering middle child). Plus, if we showed up to Ed's college and we did not have Tank in tow, Ed's fraternity brothers would cry in their beers. They've shared some good times with Tank over the yeas, and he's a fan favorite.
In July I found out the day before the ticket lottery that as parents of a Notre Dame student, we'd have access to up to 8 face-value football tickets. I studied my calendar and tried to predict stuff.
My sister, Marie, had/has kids at ND, but she offered me no tips ie: "you'll have the option to buy football tickets", or "join the FB page for class of '26 parents - that has lots of info."
Thankfully, Tank's good friend's mom 'Martha' is full of tips. Her son swims there.
Any who, Coach was scheduled to teach a handful of times in the fall. Mini and I chose our tickets during our assigned time slot. Rest assured, this sounds easy but of course there was an issue with our sign-in and we were in mini-panic mode till it worked. We chose cheap seats, yet still pricey, if you know what I mean.
We hoped for a warm weather game, so I chose Sept 17th. Coach was not teaching. I also chose Oct. 15th, because Tank would be home for a week for fall break. Guess what? Both dates ended up having conflicts:
Conflict #1: Tank shared the day AFTER ticket sales: "Sept 17th is Creighton's parent weekend." Not missing that. Way too much fun. We sold those tickets.
There's a FB page football ticket/exchange strictly for parents of current students. Tickets can only be sold for face value, or less. Great Martha tip.
As we drove home after dropping a sobbing Mini off, I vowed to attend the Sept 10th, first home game of the season.
|Reg and Curly playing bags in an|
empty spot across from our car.
Although Coach was teaching 9/10th, that's the only weekend we could swap out for the 9/17th 'oops'. Looking ahead to next year . . .
Me: YOU'RE NOT TEACHING DURING ANY HOME ND FOOTBALL GAMES. *Best to keep our options open.
I was preparing to attend the Sept 10th game with Coach's sister, her daughter (who was in the adjoining bedroom cheering for Curly during the hilarious and memorable tampon attempt, if you recall), Curly, Reg, and Reg's friend. I texted my SIL that I was fine sending the kids into the game and bypassing being a ticket holder, in case that aligned with her preferences.
SIL: Um, if I'm going to ND, I'd prefer to go in the game. (just one more reason she might think I'm nutty, but I know she loves me anyway, so there's that).
I scurried to FB and found us 6 discounted tickets together in the nosebleed section.
As the date approached I was busy making so.much.food. Mini admitted that our tailgate was stressing her out. Understandably. She felt pressure to come and hang out all day with us. She wasn't sure if she could steer her new friends to my tailgate. I assured her that she could stop by, say hi, and be on her way. We could meet up after the game and attend mass together, etc.
I wanted a tough-to-find parking pass close to the stadium. If I was off the beaten path, I knew it would be challenging for Mini. I also figured that Marie would be in the premier lot (although at this point she hadn't shared her game day plans with me). My sister wears her Notre Dame alum status like a feather in her cap. I refused to do my first tailgate as a half-ass, out in the boonies kind of thing.
Hard to explain but all four of my siblings either went to Notre Dame or married someone who did. They've all had tickets at their disposal for years, along with my dad who is an alum. It's sort of a secret society/special club and I didn't want to flub my way through my first I-have-a-kid-here experience, and look like a rookie.
I bought an insanely expensive parking pass on StubHub. The next morning a mom on the ND FB page responded to my old-ish request after I'd given up hope: "I HAVE ONE." Face value. Shit.
Martha assured me that I'd have no problem selling the pricey Stub Hub one. I took her advice, bought the face value one. My blood pressure stabilized a few minutes later when someone on a different 'charge any amount you want' FB page bought my StubHub parking pass for the amount I paid for it. Bullet dodged.
The tailgate scene at Notre Dame is nuts. Some people use flags on top of their cars to help friends locate them in the sea of cars. A few nights before the game, I bared my soul to Coach.
Me: You're not gonna like this. You're gonna think I'm crazy, but I have a vision and I might need your help. I want to hoist your old Gumby costume on top of the car while I'm tailgating. He's green, so he looks like a fighting Irish guy. It'll be hilarious. He will be a beacon.
*I may or may not have initially said that I wanted to 'mount Gumby' (implied: on top of the car.) Coach may or may not have asked me to re-phrase.
People, I'm here to tell you . . . dreams do come true.
I didn't really need Coach's help. My friend with the lake house gave me a pool raft that they were done with, which made Gumby erect. *couldn't resist.
Another friend lent me her kitchen step stool. Wedging that between his legs (now I'm getting carried away) was the trick to give him balance.
I bought a 3x gray t-shirt at Goodwill, plus fabric paint. The day before my first tailgate with a kid at Notre Dame I prepped food, then painted Gumby's game-day shirt. Then I folded him in half and wedged him into the back of my minivan.
My SIL: (upon arrival to my house EARLY Sat morning) Oh, am I driving separately?
*she didn't believe we had space for the two of them. Silliness. We're just a little tight, that's all.
Words I never thought I'd say: I hope all of the food fits, because at this point Gumby is non-negotiable.
Conflict #2 will be shared in my next post. Hit me with your fav tailgate recipes, the ND game the 15th is in the evening. Chili? Might be hard to keep warm. The one the 8th is earlier - breakfast type stuff? Open to suggestions. Do you sometimes think outside the box and do weird stuff that makes your spouse/friends think you are nuts?