Lost in the shuffle of this wild September was last weekend’s impromptu father-son trip up to the Dallas-Forth Worth area. Over the three-day Labor Day weekend, we had very few plans. We hung around the house on Saturday, and when I woke up Sunday morning it was more of the same. As I browsed the interwebs on my laptop around 9am, I remembered the Twins were up in Arlington to play the Rangers at 2pm. Realizing this was two very bad teams playing each other, I checked on tickets and was astonished to see third row tickets behind the Twins dugout going for $15. I mentioned to Lauren, “fuck, if we leave right now we could easily get to the Twins game in time.” Lauren said no thanks, but insisted I go and take Johnny, probably so she could have some sweet R&R around the house before baby girl arrives. So, I threw a handful of crap in a backpack, gassed up the van, and off we went!
After just 2.5 hours on the road, we arrived to Arlington, the city right smack between Dallas and Fort Worth known for its entertainment—the Rangers and Cowboys play right next to each other, and the big Six Flags amusement park is next door. We got to the Rangers ballpark almost 45 minutes early, and took our seats in the scorching hot Texas mid-day sun. There is no breeze, no shade, no forgiveness of any sort. Just total exposure. 99º on the thermometer, but felt like 200º. I immediately realized why these tickets were so cheap. Most smart fans were way in the upper decks under the shade. We had great views of the game and witnessed some history, as the Twins chose to use an “opener” for the first time in team history. Gabriel Moya was to pitch one, maybe two innings, before giving way to the real starter. Johnny couldn’t bear the heat and melted down very early on. I hated to give up the sweet seats, but I too was drenched. My shorts even had a sweat ring. We left in the sixth inning before the real fun started, when two Twins were ejected, the Rangers scored 18 runs, and for the first time since 1972, a Twins pitcher homered. Man, I was so dejected we missed all that.
We booked the cheapest motel nearby, a shady Quality Inn. We could have easily driven back that night, but Lauren insisted we stay overnight; who were we to argue! Rooms were expensive and scarce thanks to huge crowds in town for the LSU-Miami college football opener at AT&T Stadium. Johnny couldn’t have cared less—the idea of the two of us in a hotel room with an outdoor pool all to ourselves was amazing! We swam in a very warm pool that literally had electrical cables coming out of the water. When I opened my eyes underwater they burned very badly and everything was all blurry when I opened them after. But Johnny didn’t mind; we played until we were pooped out. After changing clothes, we walked across the parking lot to some random Mexican restaurant that wound up being a hidden gem! I downed two frozen margs and Johnny loaded up on his favorite dish—tortillas, beans, and rice. Back at the hotel, we stayed up late watching Frozen on ABC Family. I was sleeping long before the dude.
The next morning was very rainy. We wandered to the lobby for continental breakfast, where Johnny chose a mini corn muffin as his only form of sustenance. He dropped it many times. It rolled under multiple tables. But he insisted on eating it anyway. After killing some time with even more TV, I drove him to the Fort Worth Zoo, the nation’s seventh best zoo. Lauren detests zoos—she hates the idea of caging animals—so this was a rare chance to take Johnny to see some animals. As I said, it was pouring. Just an all-out downpour. Especially considering it was a holiday, the zoo was a ghost town. There were probably 200 total guests there, and guess who literally the only two people at the zoo were without any sort of protection from the rain. Yep, us! I wound up buying Johnny an umbrella, but the damage with me had already been done. Every square millimeter of my outfit was soaked to the bone. I wrapped my phone and keys in some paper towels and stuffed them in a cargo short pocket and hoped for the best, otherwise I just sucked it up and got soaked. Given the weather, not many animals were out and about. We got up-close to some giraffes, but other than that it was kinda slim pickins. Johnny was being very whiny, and not really because of the rain. He either wanted to find the cheetahs or go back to the hotel, and nothing else was acceptable. So, very much like the baseball game, we left far earlier than I had hoped, and headed for home.
We arrived back in Austin around 3:30. It was a bit more than I had bargained for when the idea to go to the game first occurred to me Sunday morning, but all in all, a memorable trip, and a fun final one-on-one father-son outing before baby sister joins the family. I love the idea of the spontaneous trip, and it just so rarely all aligns to where I can actually pull it off.
And I can’t emphasize enough how wet I was the whole time. I was soaked in sweat at the baseball game. I was soaked in the pool. I was soaked in the rain at the zoo and on the drive home. I was just so moist the whole weekend. It was nice to be dry again.