my hero

i’ve always looked up to cal ripken jr. i grew up outside baltimore, and my family got orioles season tickets every year. Each spring we’d make the 20 minute drive into the city and trek to camden yards, which i believe is the most beautiful baseball stadium, to watch “my boys” play.

and for some reason, cal ripken became my favorite player. i followed his record in games, i collected his baseball cards. my one wish was to meet this man who earned my respect when he would spend an hour or two in the sweltering sun before each game signing autographs for fans while the other players relaxed inside.

in july 2001, i got my chance. it was cal’s last season playing, and his farewell tour was scheduled in atlanta (thank goodness for interleague play!). i had to go. i wrote a column about how i looked up to him for our sports section, and then pitched the idea of covering his press conference and game in another column to our sports editor. he made a few calls and secured press passes for me and matt, my photographer.

fast forward to july 12, 2001. i’m speeding down the interstate, stressing out that w’d be late and miss the press conference. matt is watching my spedometer reach 90 and is flipping out.

we get to turner field and are taken down into the bowels of the stadium to head to the dugout. i sit down, and when cal comes in to answer our questions, i’m just inches in front of him. it was amazing. but i still wanted to talk to him.

i approached cal’s publicist. i’m a baltimoran, i tell him. i grew up watching cal play both in person and on tv. i wait. the publicist smiles. cal would love to meet you, he tells me.

and then, i was talking to him. definitely one of the best experiences of my life. we weren’t allowed to have posed pictures taken, so matt was at the top of the dugout shooting away as cal and i talked.

i gave cal a copy of the first column i had written about him. “this is nice,” he said. “i’ll read it while i eat my pizza.”

that made my day.

our press passes allowed us access to the field and the press box, so after going up to the stands to visit my family who drove down for the gama and getting something to eat in the press box, i watched the game from the orioles dugout, no more than five feet from cal the whole time.

that was the best baseball game i’ve ever seen.

summery weekend

i had a fantastic weekend. on saturday, joe and i went to my parents’ house and had lunch with the family and visited with them, one of my brothers and my grandparents. that night we went to dinner at the dalton depot, my favorite restaurant in dalton, and then to see wedding crashers. that movie was absolutely hilarious. you all must go see it. now.

yesterday, we spent the afternoon at the pool at joe’s apartment complex. i laid out for a while, and then we played around and swam for a couple hours. we had fun and got quite a bit of exercise in, which is good. later that night, i discovered i got burned on my shoulders and back. and when i say burned, i mean really burned. i guess when my medicine says “avoid direct contact with sunlight” it means it. i figured maybe it would stop making me burn so bad. this morning when joe woke me up at 6:15 (yes, 6:15, now wasn’t that just so nice of him), he said, “cady? cady? where are you? oh, there you are. you’re like a chameleon against the sheets, but i can see your teeth.” yeah. i didn’t find that so humorous.

last night we were watching extreme makeover: home edition (i just love that show because they do such a good thing for good, deserving people) and the family included two deaf parents, a blind and autistic son, and a normal son. i was amazed at their story and how much the older son has to do since he’s the only one who can see and hear. the whole show was so sweet i cried. and it prompted the question, which i asked joe: which would you rather be, deaf or blind. he immediately answered blind, and i asked him why. he said, “because then i wouldn’t be able to see how beautiful you are.” that made me cry again because it was so sweet. and i’m not allowed to go any further, so we’ll just end it here. 😉

a fun, family and friend fourth

i’m still recovering from the long holiday weekend.

out of four days together, joe and i got to spend about a couple hours together. that’s it.

on friday we went shopping for things we needed for our trip. on saturday, we got up early and headed to joe’s parents’ cabin in blue ridge, georgia. it’s so pretty and peaceful up there. we sat out on the glider rocker on the porch with our books and got through about two pages before passing out for several hours. that night we cooked out and then went to a double feature at the drive-in: war of the worlds and batman begins. ticket price? $5. yep. you read right. five freakin dollars for two of the summer’s biggest movies. too bad i didn’t stay awake through most of them. since it’s outside the movies didn’t start until it was dark, which was around 9:30 p.m., and we didn’t get home until around 2:30 a.m. my poor body can’t stay awake past 10 p.m.

on sunday we left after joe’s sister and her fiance arrived, napped for a couple of hours at my house and then headed out for dinner and fireworks with julisa, one of my close friends who was visiting from memphis. we passed out after fireworks.

we woke up around 10 a.m. on monday and were going to have a leisurely morning with nothing really to do, but then joe’s friend jon called and wanted us to meet him for lunch. we both like hanging out with jon, so we headed back to cartersville early to meet him. then it was off to town center mall in kennesaw to hang out with joe’s other friend named john for about an hour before meeting phillip, wendy and one of phillip’s friends at the theater for war of the worlds.

whew. i’m getting tired just recapping everything!

after the movie, joe and i locked ourselves in his apartment and sat on the deck and watched fireworks. that is, until, i somehow broke out in a rash on one side of my face and my neck. so it was off to the quik trip for benedryl and then to bed.

what a weekend. we’re busy again this weekend, but next weekend we’re locking ourselves in and not answering the phones.

home, sweet home

it felt so good to take a shower today.

really. i mean, i haven’t showered since sunday morning.

why, you might ask?

well that’s what happens when you’re stranded at an airport.

our trip to new york started off great. we flew standby, but made it on our scheduled flight. after dropping our bags off at the staten island hotel and having lunch with rachel and dave, joe’s sister and fiance who flew up friday night, we went with joe’s parents for a ride on the staten island ferry. i had never been to new york and, since we didn’t have time to go into the city, this was the next best thing.

usferry

i was fixated on the statue of liberty as we rode by it. there’s something about looking at that that makes you proud to be an american.

usstatue

as we looked at the skyline of new york city, joe’s dad said, “it’s just so sobering.” since i’d never seen the city before, seeing it now without the twin towers didn’t hit me as hard as it did joe’s family.

skyline2

when we got off the ferry, we spent a few minutes at battery park, where i bought a pretty prada purse (yes it’s a knock off and i’m not ashamed!). hehe. then it was back on the ferry for the ride back.

that night we went to joe’s great-uncle and great-aunt’s 40th wedding anniversary party. and can his family throw a party. it was excellent. it was catered by this chinese restaurant (and they made sure i had vegetarian food for each course) and seemed more like a wedding with place cards and personalized chocolate bars and lifesavers at every plate. there was an open bar and plenty of dancing. it was so much fun. i’m a really bad dancer, but joe and i had a great time dancing with his parents and rachel and dave, as well as slow dancing. and now we finally have “our song,” which i’ll post later when his parents send us the pictures of us dancing.

usparty

joe and dave even danced together.

boysdance

sunday morning we were up at 7 a.m. for breakfast at one cousin’s house and then brunch at another cousin’s. it was bagels at both, and now that i’ve had a new york bagel i don’t think i can ever eat another bagel again. i can’t even describe how good new york bagels are, but i can tell you i’ll be emailing joe’s cousin greg to see if he can fedex me some. 🙂

then it was off to newark airport for the flight back. but when we got to our gate we discovered that the first two flights had been delayed, and the third cancelled, which means that flight’s passengers were going to be put on the last two flights to atlanta. i was a lower priority than joe’s family since i’m not related, and we knew we wouldn’t get on a flight, so we took a cab through new york to laguardia. we missed a 4:30 p.m. flight there to washington d.c. but made the 5:30.

at d.c.’s national airport the flights to atlanta were supposed to be wide open. that is, until they were all delayed and the last one cancelled. i was number 87 on the standby list when joe’s family was cleared for the 7:05 p.m. flight (which actually left at 8:05 p.m.). joe’s parents weren’t going to leave me there, and with the ticketing agent yelling for someone to get on the plane, they pushed rachel and joe on. i got upset for a few minutes, mainly because one minute joe was next to and the next he was gone without me being able to say goodbye, and i was stressed out. but i got over it and we began trying to get on the 8:05 p.m., which was scheduled to leave at 9:05 p.m.

we joined the crowd of other standby passengers at the gate, hoping to get on. i was the last person called. they tore our tickets, and as we were walking down the ramp to the plane, a man ran down and said that he had been called ahead of us. he had, joe’s dad said, so we let him go and asked one of the employees to make sure there weren’t three seats left.

there were only two, he said, so we told them to call two more people. as they did, one man said he’d check one more time. while he was gone, two girls ran down the ramp, excited to have gotten on the flight. we told them to wait because our seats were being checked on. they said, screw you, and got on the plane. the man came back and said there had been three seats left instead of two, but no one made the girls get off, and they let one other person on.

we were mad. not only had they given our seats to other people, but it turns out they had given seats to people with lower priority than me. we should have been on that flight no matter what.

we contemplated driving the 12 hours back to atlanta, but decided to book a room for the night and try for the 7:05 a.m. flight on monday which had 42 empty seats. when we got to our room around 10 p.m. or so, joe’s dad got on the phone to relist us while his mom and walked two blocks to a 24-hour cvs pharmacy to buy toiletries since our bags were in atlanta without us.

while we were there and while joe’s dad was still on the phone with delta, joe and rachel arrived in atlanta and began searching for our bags along with about 3,000 other people. it took them about two hours to find all our luggage.

we fell asleep somewhere between 1 and 2 a.m., and i was awake at 4 a.m. and out of bed at 4:45 a.m. to get ready to meet our 5:15 a.m. cab.

we got to the airport, checked in and went through security.

“you just won the lottery,” the security officer told me as he looked at my ticket after i walked through the metal detector.

that just couldn’t be good.

“you’ve been randomly selected for additional screening.”

yippee.

so while joe’s parents watched, my feet were inspected and another officer ran a wand over me to make sure i wasn’t hiding any weapons that the metal detector may have missed (didn’t know they’d miss that kind of thing). then she looked through my purse. camera. chocolate bars from the party. money. driver’s license. debit card. must have been pretty boring for her.

on to the gate. finally. we sat in the mini food court eating muffins for breakfast when we heard any announcement over the loudspeaker for any 8 a.m. passengers to atlanta who wanted to to switch to the 7 a.m. flight.

no. really, no. we had to be on that flight. HAD TO. it’s a thing called work. and a shower. and sleep.

we sat at the gate, and i was a nervous wreck wondering if we’d make it on the flight. joe’s parents were called, and his dad told them they were waiting for me. i was the last person cleared. i was relieved. joe’s dad later told me he had told them we had been screwed over the night before. maybe that had something to do with it.

so yesterday around 9:30 a.m. we got back to atlanta, and i was able to have lunch wtih joe, which was really nice.

and now it’s back to the grind. the daily routine. how nice that is!

it’s the middle of summer

and we finally made it to the pool. i’ve been dying to use joe’s pool since it opened on memorial day, but i always forgot to take my bathing suit with me. last weekend, however, i remembered, and sunday afternoon we walked down for an afternoon in the water.

joe dove right in while i tried to brave the sun beating down to get a tan. i made it about 20 minutes before i had to get in and cool off. i had taken the waterproof camera we had bought for the 4th of july float down the river in blue ridge that didn’t happen thanks to the rain, so we took some pictures of us enjoying our first day at the pool.

joe was obsessed with taking pictures underwater. “it IS a water camera,” he said.


this is joe sitting on the bottom of the pool.


this is a not-so-cute me swimming toward joe.


i was sitting on joe’s lap when i took this picture, hence why my feet are sticking out behind him. 🙂



some ok pics of me. joe likes the bottom one for some reason.


and finally, a cute pic of us.

woo…i love the pool.

well, the pictures aren’t showing up right now for some reason. i’ll put them back up later.

leaving on a jet plane

joe and i are heading to new york early saturday morning. and i do mean early. our flight leaves at 9 a.m, which means we have to be up by 5 a.m. to get ready and be at the atlanta airport the customary two hours before the flight leaves.

and let me tell you, i am not a morning person. joe can attest to this. i’m grumpy and cranky…and that’s when i’m waking up at 7 a.m.! so that coupled with my fear of take-offs probably won’t be a good combination. hehe. and, in the back of my mind, will be the lingering thought that my parents took out life insurance on me. i can understand that, but it always makes me more nervous. at least i know how much i’m worth now though!

it’ll be a fun trip though. fun and quick. we’re coming back sunday afternoon. but it’ll be fun. we’ll be going to a party for his aunt and uncle’s 40th anniversary, and then meeting up with other family sunday morning. lots of people to meet. lots of people to impress. i’m getting kind of nervous!