This is one of the first non-chronological jgwkia posts -- I'm guessing there will be more in the coming days. Sometimes it's just not possible to blog in realtime.
Many folks have asked about the Philly trip, so I figured I'd post a bit about it. Before I do, though, I want to wish young Orion H. Greene a very happy and healthy first birthday. Happy first Birthday (3/23/11), O-man:
OK, so last week we went to Philly to visit friends and family and attend my Nephew's Bar Mitzvah. I don't think it's too common to take a coast to coast trip the week before you get a BMT, but my oncologist was cool with it, so that's what we did. We flew out on Tuesday and came back Sunday. The travel days were extremely hard. Under normal circumstances, I would never even think about taking a one- and three-year old on a plane for upwards of six hours, but these were extraordinary times. We really wanted to be there for Justin's big day and we wanted the family to meet Orion. Even if things go perfectly with the BMT, I'm probably not going to be able to fly anytime soon, so this was really the last chance to get out East.
Unlike previous trips, we didn't go into town, do any sightseeing, or anything like that. This was all about seeing family and friends. We stayed in Plymouth Meeting which was pretty central to the people we were seeing and the event venues. The room had a very small kitchen-ish area with a counter, sink, 'fridge, and microwave: perfect little nook for Orion's pack-n-play. Floyd got to sleep in his very own queen bed (as did we), but the small quarters meant that he essentially slept and woke when we did, depriving him of 2 or 3 hours of sleep every night -- certainly not good for his mood. He did pretty well, all things considered.
On Wednesday afternoon we visited my brother and his family in Ambler, PA. My nephew has a nice drum set and my niece has this cool fake guitar that plays a couple 80s songs minus the power chords -- you have to fake strum to get the chords to play. Of course Floyd obsessed on both of these. And, uh, dude? You're not a lefty. Click each pic for a larger version.
My sister in-law made a delicious dinner (salad, chicken marsala, and pasta), but all Floyd wanted was the dessert:
On Thursday afternoon, we visited my parents in Huntingdon Valley. My mom saved my favorite childhood game, Creative Playthings' Multiway Rollway for Floyd. He definitely needed my help, but once he started, it was hard to tear him away. Eventually it was nap time, though, and the inevitable transition tantrum. When he got up, and for the rest of the day, all he could talk about was the game. I'm thinking it'll be a great 4th birthday present. Here's a pic of my dad watching the Temple/Penn State game in the same kitchen where I grew up:
On Thursday night, we got to meet our sitter for the next few nights. Maddie came highly recommended by Lauren Spike's sister, Susan. (Thanks, Susan!) She came over to our hotel to meet the kids and hang with them for an hour so we could get a St. Paddy's Day drink.
(Maddie and Orion)
On Friday we spent most of the day with my pal Eric (ejsphilly) and his family (Tracy, Hope, and Ruby.) Even Eric's brother, Doug -- the one who got me that signed Carter Jersey -- and their kids (Jordan and Cooper) came by for a few hours. Doug's kids are practically the same age as Floyd and Orion; Hope (not pictured) is six months older than Floyd. Here are some pics from the visit:
(Heather, Orion, and Ruby)
(Tracy, Orion, and Ruby taking a stroll)
(Orion and Cooper getting to know each other)
(Eric and Ruby)
Later in the afternoon one of my best friends from childhood, Jen, came over. Back in the day, Eric, Jen, and I were inseparable. Jen might actually be a bigger Phillies fan than I am, if that's possible. I love you, sweetness!
(Jen, Ruby, and Eric)
Friday night was the Bar Mitzvah service. I had never heard of a Friday night service, but leave it to my brother to do the non-traditional.
(my dad and my niece, Lauren)
As I mentioned in the 3/19 post, Floyd only lasted about 10 minutes during the service, but he had a great time at the Oneg that followed:
(Floyd going nuts with balloons)
Saturday was probably the best day of the trip. After a less than stellar breakfast experience where these meatheads from the NYIT baseball team took up tables long after they were done, we spent the day with the Spike's and the evening at Justin's party. I've known Rob Spike since about seventh grade (he was Robbie then.) For you old-time computer geeks, Rob and I actually met on a BBS. I think it was Pat-Net, right, Blob?
I've known Lauren (Rob's wife) since we were about 3 as we grew up around the corner from each other. Yes, I had a hand in their introduction -- I don't think they've ever forgiven me. The pictures will tell it all here:
(Cheesesteaks for lunch)
(Floyd and Carly playing iPhone games)
(Lauren and Carly -- so cute)
A quick story about Rob and Lauren's wedding (5/5/96). I will always remember the date because my old band, yeP!, played a show the night before in Northampton, MA. Jen and Eric drove up from Philly (approx 5 hours) to watch the Flyers playoff game and attend our gig. After the show (at 1:00am), they drove me down to Philly so I could go to the wedding. I had hoped to sleep in the car, but I was so wired from the gig that I didn't sleep at all. I got to my parents house around 6:30a, and needed to be at the wedding venue at about 9:30a for pictures. No sleep... just a shower, shave, coffee, and wardrobe change. What a crazy weekend.
So onto the party night. My bro had the entire upstairs of the Manayunk Brewery reserved. It was the perfect venue for a Bar Mitzvah party. There were two huge rooms: one with a big bar, adult food setup -- big woo sushi platter and some great apps -- and big TVs; and another with a DJ, dance floor, and kids' food table. All the grown-ups were watching the Temple/SDSU game when we got there. Exciting game, wrong result.
After the candle lighting ceremony and a great montage showcasing Justin's life so far -- great job, putting it all together, bro -- the dancing really kicked into high gear. Even the adults started throwin' down... again, the pictures tell it all:
(Justin and me)
(My mom, Heather, and me)
(Dave and Jess -- my brother and his wife)
(Heather looking smokin' hot)
(the kids: remember dancing like this?)
Gotta go do some laps. I've been blogging too long.
I will kick its ass,