May 15, 2005

Saturday in the Park

Last night was my first opportunity to meet some bloggers in real life, courtesy of Ted's invitation to the Potomac Nationals game down in Woodbridge. You know how little kids get excited about something and want to leave four hours early, as if leaving early would make the anticipated event occur more quickly? That's sort of how I was yesterday. I was ready to leave mid-afternoon. Victor expected it would take us an hour to get down there and wanted to leave more like 5. We compromised on 4:30.

At 4:29, we left the house. Victor locked the door, then turned to me wide-eyed, holding up his housekey...with the core of the lock attached.

Our house has a lot of...idiosyncrasies. Over the years, one tends to forget about them. I had forgotten that at some point one of the screws had fallen out of the lock and disappeared. I had failed to notice that the other screw was loose. I lock and unlock that door several times a day, it doesn't fall apart, why would it ever fall apart?

After a stunned moment, Victor tried opening the door and confirmed that while the lock was no longer in the door, the bolt was firmly in the frame. Removing the key from the lock caused a small cascade of little pieces of brass all over the front porch.

Victor is a mechanical genius. I was going to call a locksmith (wondering if Saturdays were triple time the way the are for plumbers), but he put all the little pieces of brass back together and, with some cursing, managed to get the door unlocked. Removing the key, we had a cascade of little pieces of brass all over the foyer floor.

We don't live in Hell's Kitchen or anything, but leaving the door unlocked for the evening still didn't seem like an acceptable solution. Our 13-year-old arthritic timid beagle is not much of a theft deterrent, and the big hole where the lock should be looked rather like a neon sign. Victor tried putting the brass pieces together again, but the one remaining screw wasn't holding it in place.

Luckily, we have a mom & pop hardware store in the neighborhood. It's the place to go if you run over your tv cable with the lawnmower and need a connector to patch it, or if you need to buy a single washer for a leaking showerhead, or if you need a pair of screws "this diameter but 1/4" longer" in a hurry on a Saturday afternoon. By 5:15, Victor had the lock back in place and securing the door. Only trouble is, you can't get from Gaithersburg to Woodbridge in 45 minutes, particulary on a Saturday afternoon, particularly in a freak thunderstorm.

I called Mookie's cell phone from the road, trying to shout over the pounding rain, and feeling very self-conscious about being so late: "Hi, this is, Nic the blogger? We're meeting you guys for the baseball game?" Meanwhile trees are blowing by the windshield. We arranged to get our tickets at will call, and continued the crawl down 95.

(Yes, I do have a habit of making short stories long.)

Anyway, we arrived at the stadium about ten seconds before the first pitch. Ted, Mookie, Robyn, Dawn, and the Buckethead family were all waving to us as we climbed the bleacher stairs, and it was like meeting a group of old friends…which I guess we actually are, we just hadn’t seen each other in person before.

It was a lovely evening, but not so lovely for baseball…rain (and lightning) halted the game, and the G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium concourse was not designed to hold quite as many fans as the bleachers. It was a bit cramped, and after Ted’s wife called to tell us the weather radar still showed a rainbow of colors moving our way, we retired to a Mexican restaurant for chips and drinks and more talking. (And not that we needed a conversation starter, but Dawn had a little drama on the way over.)

I can’t wait to do it again, rain or no rain. (And we have a beautiful new sturdy lock in the front door now, so hopefully we’ll be on time.)

Oh, and I’m flattered my family stories made everybody laugh. This post is already just a wee bit long, though, so I’ll save that one for later.

Posted by Nic at May 15, 2005 03:09 PM

Excellent story! Victor sounds like a keeper, by the way. I would have been perfectly useless in that situation.

Posted by: RP at May 18, 2005 04:02 PM
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