Vacation, Day 2: Oh Say Can You See

We spent our second day of vacation in Baltimore. This was the day I was looking forward to the most, not just because of the Orioles game honoring Cal Ripken, Jr. that night but because Baltimore is my favorite city. I couldn’t wait to spend time there.

Our first stop was the Inner Harbor. We grabbed lunch at Uno’s (one of my favorite restaurants) and ate outside overlooking the water.

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While we were eating, Lucy spotted dragon paddle boats, so we took her for a ride in the harbor. She had a blast, probably because she wasn’t the one paddling!

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After our paddle boat ride, we toured the USS Constellation. Joe was super psyched about this. It was pretty neat, but I ended up dealing with a cranky toddler (that’s what happens when she misses her nap), which put a damper in things a little.

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Lucy was so cranky that we picked this shirt up for her at the gift shop on the way out. We thought it was pretty appropriate. 🙂

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I got to pick what we did next, so we headed over to Fort McHenry. Although I lived in the Baltimore/D.C. area for 14 years, that was the one place I had never visited. I’m really glad we went. It was so neat to stand in a fort that was built more than 200 years ago and to look out to the water where Francis Scott Key penned The Star Spangled Banner on a boat.

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This is one of the “bombs bursting in air.”

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After touring the fort, we trekked to Camden Yards for the Orioles game.

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We got there several hours early but there were already THOUSANDS of people there. It was insane trying to get around. We ran into a TV reporter and told him our story of having traveled there from Atlanta specifically for that game. He wanted to interview us but, because of horrible cell service at the stadium, his text to us was delayed and we missed out on it.

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It was neat getting to see Cal Ripken, Jr. honored as one of the Orioles greats. He has been my favorite baseball player since I was a child, and one of my best memories was getting to meet him in Atlanta. He’s a class act.

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Despite not having had a nap, Lucy was pretty good for the game.

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We hung out at our seats through about the 6th inning. After we left to try to meet up with the TV reporter, we stumbled upon the kid’s area. Lucy had SO much fun.

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When we left, Lucy wanted her picture taken by all the players’ numbers out front. Because of course she did. And, no, I won’t show you them all. You’re welcome.

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Up next, our trip to the National Zoo and Philadelphia!

 

Enjoying our Nation’s Pastime in our Nation’s Capitol

We had quite the trip last week, and we were going, going, going every day except Saturday. Part of me feels like we should do all that we can on vacation while the other part just wants to relax!

Since we did *so* much, I’m going to break up our trip into three posts so I won’t overload you all at once. You’re welcome.

We left town on Tuesday. Our plan was to leave around 6 a.m. BUT…Joe woke up at 1 a.m. sick. He was up every two hours like clockwork until about 6 a.m. or so. It was awful. We thought maybe he had food poisoning at first, but we later come to think it was a stomach bug as my brother and Joe’s sister’s hubby both were sick as well.

We sloooowly packed up the car (we didn’t have much to put in since we spent the night at my parents’ and left most of it in the car) and headed out around 9 a.m. I started to feel nauseous at that point, so we stopped two exits up and headed to a pharmacy. We called our family doctor (thank goodness we have the same one!) to see if he could call in a script for Zofran (note to self: always take said Zofran on trips!), but the receptionist wasn’t sure how long it would take. Since we didn’t want to sit in the pharmacy all day, we went to a nearby urgent care clinic to be seen and get a prescription. It was RIDICULOUSLY busy for a Tuesday morning, and we waited a LONG time.

Two hours and three prescriptions later, we were on our way back to the pharmacy where we discovered our doctor had called in a script for Phenegren. We filled that and two of the new scripts, and were finally on our way.

That night, we stopped at the Tennessee/Virginia border because we were exhausted and Joe wasn’t feeling up-to-par enough to continue. Lucy was very concerned about her Daddy at dinner.

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We didn’t make as much progress as we wanted, but the rest was necessary, and the next morning, Joe was feeling MUCH better, so we trekked on to Washington D.C.

We rolled into town mid-afternoon and went the house where we lived in Beltsville. My old neighborhood hadn’t changed at all (though the person who now owns our old house has made several changes to the house and property), and it was fun to be back there. We took Lucy (briefly) to my old neighborhood playground. It was too hot to stay long, but it was fun to see her play where my brothers and I did as kids (albeit on new equipment).

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Then, we headed to the Metro to ride to D.C. We always rode the Metro when we lived in the D.C. area, and was excited to introduce Lucy to it, especially since she’s obsessed with trains. She loved it, as I expected, and she called it the “Lucy Jane Schulman” train. LOVE HER.

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The Metro stopped right at National’s Park, which was super convenient. We were excited for our first game of the trip. Unfortunately, we only stayed through the 3rd inning because Lucy was super tired (she asked us to go home, which is something she never does), and it was already getting close to 9 p.m. and we didn’t want to get to my cousin’s house too late on the first night.

It is a beautiful park, though, and we had a lot of fun.

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The view of the river from the stadium was awesome.

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And, Lucy had fun meeting Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson!

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It was a fun but exhausting day. Up next…BALTIMORE!

It’s Baseball Season!

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Meeting a Legend

Fourteen years ago today, Cal Ripken, Jr. played in his 2,131st consecutive baseball game, breaking Lou Gehrig’s long-standing record. I remember that day like it was yesterday, and I was proud to call myself a Baltimoran.

Since it’s the anniversary of the record being broken, I thought I’d share my experience meeting Cal Ripken, Jr. In 2001, the Orioles came to Atlanta to play the Braves during Ripken’s farewell tour. I was working for a small daily newspaper outside of Atlanta, and I was determined to go. I found a way to write a story for our sports section out of it, got it approved by my editor, secured press passes for me and my photographer, and we were on our way.

We arrived several hours before gametime for Ripken’s press conference, and we joined the throngs of reporters and photographers in the visiting team’s dugout. I squeezed my way up in the front row, sitting right in front of the man who had been my favorite baseball player and one of my heroes since childhood. It was awesome.

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After the press conference, I had a brief moment to try to meet him. I introduced myself to his press secretary, and told him I’m a native of Baltimore and grew up watching the Orioles play at Camden Yards. He said that Ripken would love to meet me, and took me over to introduce me. Ripken and I talked for several minutes, and my photographer snapped pictures the entire time. I gave him a copy of a column I had written about him for our sports section, and he told me he would read it while he ate his pre-game pizza. Cool!

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He spent quite a while before the game signing autographs for fans, which I thought was awesome. He was always a player to stand out on the field and sign autographs while the other players relaxed in the clubhouses before games, which is one reason I really respect him.

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Our press passes gave us field and press room access, so I spent time going back and forth, spending some time in the press room but hanging out on the field for the majority of the game. The dugouts have a separate section attached to them where photographers can stand, and that’s where I sat in the visiting team’s dugout. In fact, Ripken was sitting just a few feet away from me for most of the game, which was awesome.

That was definitely a day I will never, ever forget, and I have a binder full of pictures to show for it. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually get them scanned in. 🙂

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go to a baseball game again and sit in regular seats. Not after sitting in the plush *front row* seats at last night’s Atlanta Braves game.

Joe got a set of four corporate tickets for last night’s game, so we invited our friends Jon and Michelle and planned for a fun night in a corporate suite, which is where we have been when we’ve gotten other corporate tickets. Boy, were we wrong.

When I checked our tickets on our way down to the stadium, I noticed it said we had to park in a valet lot and enter through the Suntrust Club entrance. We arrived, waited until 6 p.m. when the stadium opens, and then were ushered down into the basement of the stadium, passing by the signs for the teams locker rooms to enter the Suntrust Club.

We were in awe when we walked in. When we walked down the steps, we first saw a chef standing by a station serving steak. The bar was to our left, and to our right was more gourmet food. Duck, yellow fin tuna, steak, calamari and lobster rolls were among the items served either on the buffet or on the menu. The chef made me a delicious veggie wrap and a veggie plate. We also tried a more gourmet version of nachos (and decided that would make a great Top Chef challenge!) and buffalo fries, which Joe said he would actually kill for. We spent the two hours up until game time eating. Then, when there was a rain delay, we ate some more! Our waiter, who was awesome, brought ice cream treats to each table as we waited.

Dessert was brought out after the game started, and the table was filled with mini apple pies, mini apple crisps, mini chocolate swirl cheesecakes, creme brulee and souflees, among other things. There were supposed to be homemade chocolate chip cookies, too, but we were too late for those. 🙁

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Joe said he wouldn’t have been too disappointed if the game had been called because of rain, but we were all glad it wasn’t. Our waiter told us we had awesome seats, but awesome doesn’t even begin to describe them. We were Row A, as in the FIRST ROW. We were behind home plate perpendicular to the third base line. We were literally four people away from being in the camera shot each time a player was at bat.

We certainly weren’t upset about not being on TV, though. And, we did get on TV briefly, which we were able to tell from the TV screen in front of our seats! Yes, just in case we were too lazy to lift up our heads and watch the actual game, we could watch it on a TV screen.

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We were closer to home plate than the pitcher, and we could hear all of the umpire’s calls. I told Joe it would have been a great night for Braves manager Bobby Cox to get ejected because we would be able to hear the whole squabble with the umpire. One player, shortstop Yunel Escobar, warmed up right in front of us rather than on the on deck circle. The first time he walked up, he nodded and smiled at us. I said, “Hey!” Yes, I’m retarded. Oh well. He was so close that I could have reached out and touched him (if the net hadn’t been in the way, that is!).

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It was definitely one of the best and most fun games we’ve ever been too. We didn’t even mind the fact that the game didn’t end until 12:30 a.m.! I think Lucy had fun, too. I’m pretty sure she was doing the tomahawk chop in my belly!

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I will leave you with a trivia question our waiter asked us, since I know I have a few readers who are baseball fans: What are the seven ways a player can get on base? Joe got the seventh one, which the waiter says no one is able to guess. Care to take a shot??

Weekly Winners — 04/05/09-04/11/09

Go Braves!
opening day

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Nothing Beats Opening Day Baseball
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(The following were taken with my cell phone, hence the bad quality.)

Have I Gained Weight?
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Cuddling Under the Covers
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Check out more Weekly Winners over at Lotus’ blog.