Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Playing Ketchup

It’s been what? almost three weeks since I last posted? My bad. The fact of the matter is…and Paula always gets fired up when I say this because it sounds like we’re boring, but it is what it is….that not much is going on. But, out of respect for the 3 or 4 people – 10-15 if we address infant ear-piercing – who faithfully check this blog, I will post some random drivel.

Weekend Wanderings
The LP Roberts family’s free time has been largely invested in two things:

1.) Looking for a house
2.) Wondering how people ever afford a house

For the past two Saturdays, we’ve traversed Gwinnett County for a house we can afford not in a drug neighborhood. Easier said than done. You know its bad news when the houses you can afford are in areas where the others houses have eight cars parked in the driveway, on the lawn, on the street, in the flower garden, etc…and they hadn’t got the memo on the invention of a little device called a lawnmower. But, what do you do?
We’re confident we’ll find something decent and safe; I’m not looking for the Taj Mahal, but something a little bigger than the linen closet.

Walk of Shame
We did trek out to Conyers a couple Fridays ago to see the new residence of Greg and Melissa. I don’t have any pictures to post because I forgot my wide-angle lens…I kid! I kid! But, seriously folks, it’s a beautiful home and we had a good time. So good, in fact, that most who came out stayed up until 3:30am playing pool and singing karaoke. Even Paula (who is not known for her ability to stay up past 8:30pm) was up until almost 2:30 – I was so proud! The singing was abysmal, to say the least. They don’t make buckets large enough for me to carry a tune in, and Dave, Todd and Greg share in my disability. So I was in great company. Paula and I crashed in one of the guest rooms and rolled out the next morning, arriving home in the same clothes we left in. Apparently this is what is referred to as “the walk of shame” (returning the next day in your same clothes). I almost felt like I was young again. But then I had to take a nap, and I remembered I’m not.

Weighting For The Results
Nathan and I are engaged in a contest regarding our waistlines. To put it gently, Nathan’s really porked out. He’s huge. Pavarotti, if you want to know what happened to your pants, I saw them in Nerf’s closet. (I think they’ve stretched a bit, so just buy new ones.) Meantime, I’m pretty much packin’ the six-pack abs I always have, modeling for Men’s Health on the weekends. It’s a burden I bear, this perfect body. We all have our crosses…
Really though, Nathan’s not huge and I’m no fitness model, so we are seeing who can shed the most weight by the reunion at the end of July. Nathan mentioned the other day he’s employed a strategy of biking to work, softball, swimming in the ocean and puking after every meal; the strategy I’ve employed has different activities since I don’t have an ocean, bike and hate vomiting. I engage in intense gaming to break a good sweat (10 pushups per offensive score, 15 per defensive in NCAA Football 2007) and using laxatives to purge. I’ve been able to get through the first 4 Harry Potter books with this strategy. You can’t do that throwing up…

Another Face In The Crowd
Finally, I’m now on Facebook. I was trying to hold out (like a blog is somehow infinitely superior to a social networking site) but got a couple invites from old college friends, so since I wanted to see what they were up to, I joined. I think that was last week and now I’m getting ‘poked’ and having my ‘wall’ written on by tons (or dozens) of old college friends and friends of college friends. So, if you’re a Facebooker, let me know. If I don’t confirm you as my friend, it’s nothing personal.
I just don’t like you.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

What A Trip, Man...

Caveat: Some May Find This Post Objectionable.
This post contains a lot of pictures of a baby and is very long.
A week ago today I surprised the Nerf with a surprise visit to California. It was pretty much awesome since Lindsay and I conspired to keep it under wraps. We surprised him at work; he opened the back door of the car to see Beckett and found his big brother sitting there. It was like a MasterCard commercial:

"Round-trip ticket: $260. Hotdog: $14. Nathan’s expression: Priceless."

It was a great time in Beverly Hills/LA/West Hollywood/All-The-Other-Cities-That-Run-Together. It was the first personal time I’d taken in 2007 and served up the remedy I needed to the doldrums of everyday life. SoCal was great, primarily because of the incredible weather we enjoyed. The locals call it ‘June Gloom’ because it is grey and hazing until around 12-1pm; but then it just opens up to a beautiful mid-high 70’s with a wonderful ocean breeze. Basically, the weather rocks. I loved it. Someone offer me a job. As opposed to my lovely Atlanta residence where it’s mid 90’s with humidity and a breeze that feels awkwardly like an over-aggressive hand-dryer in the men’s room at the Citgo where people deal drugs and there are more adult magazines than alcohol-free beverages. But you’re out of gas and even though it’s a dollar more a gallon, you gotta put $5 in or you aren’t making it home…
I digress.
One of the highlights for me (and one of the main reasons I made the trek) was chillin’ with Beckett, the first of Roberts: The Next Generation. He took to me instantly and we had a great time, as evidenced by this video on their blog; it was awesome to see my brother – the one I fought with, played football and basketball with, roomed with and have competed with since I lost my exclusive rights on all attention at 16 months – interact as a father. Additionally, having been there within hours of the time Nathan and Lindsay met five years ago to now, it was fun to see them as parents. They do good work.
Anyway, I got there Thursday afternoon it wasn’t long until Nathan, Michael and I were playing Halo (I don’t care if you’re suddenly a parent or not – some things never change). Friday Lindsay, Beckett and I went to the mall, cruised around Beverly Hills and took in the sights. I’m not exactly sure if I was in Silicon Valley, but I was definitely in Silicone Valley. The 6 Millon Dollar Man had more human left in him than some of the women I saw.
Friday night we went over to dinner at Dan and Paula’s. This isn’t some fancy restaurant (though the filet mignon, baked potatoes, ice cream and endless flow of IBC root beer certainly would make you think so); rather, it’s Lindz’s uncle and aunt. They are awesome and we had some good times with them, their daughters Sam and Jules, and some friends Michelle and Peter. The have a beautiful home in the area fairly close to the ocean and I they were awesome hosts. Good times.
Once we got home, we played Halo till 1:30 in the AM. It never gets old.
Saturday we got a slow start due to the intense gaming session. Once everyone was up, we went down to Venice Beach to take in the crazies…oh, the ocean too…and all they have to offer. It was like Chinatown in NYC, except the peddlers were Hispanic and illegal instead of Chinese, the food was pizza and hotdogs instead of duck and egg rolls and the air smelled like the ocean instead of sewage and death. And I saw this guy strutting around in a man-thong. Big-G, little-Nasty - GNASTY (the G is silent).
Later that day Nerf and Linds went to the LA Temple for a session in the upper room in commemoration of the temple’s 50th anniversary and I watched Beckett. I fed him ice cream and soda and Swedish Fish and…oh, I forgot that’s all frowned upon for a 4 month old. Oh well, all’s well that end’s well.

Saturday night us grown-ups went to The Magic Castle. TMC is an exclusive club – I refer to it as the Augusta National of Magicians –you have to belong to or be invited to in order to gain entrance. Tie and jacket for the fellas, dress or suit for the ladies, was just up the road for Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and is indeed a castle. We made an appearance because Nathan’s company was having a shindig and it was awesome. There was some great food and amazing feats of magic. Seriously. It was incredible. As Nathan aptly pointed out, it would have been more comforting to think magic actually was happening as opposed to the fact these magicians were so quick with their slight of hand.
Also, I met a kid Nathan works with who can solve a Rubik’s Cube in 30 seconds. Tyson Mao was on the TV show “Beauty and the Geek” and is a celebrity of sorts. Tyson is a developer and writes the programming EWT uses for their trading; in fact, that’s how he can do the cube so fast: he created an algorithm by assigning numbers to colors on the cube. Crazy.

Sunday was church. It was cool because there was a kid there I went to college with. Wes and I lived in the same apartment complex for 3 years and were in the same ward for most of my post-mission collegiate experience. He’s married with a little one year old girl name Halle. So that was fun.
After church, we went to a park with the Eav family and us guys did a little lawn bowling. The parks there are awesome. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Suffice it to say as the rookie of the group, I didn’t grab any victories. I’m not bitter…stupid Bocce Ball!!!!!
Monday was my last day and Nathan worked a half day. I went on a walk with Linds and Beckett, Ashley and Arleigh, and Angie and Charles to the Post Office. It was a little weird as I was the only man with three women and three children in strollers, but when in Rome…
We grabbed a bite at Jack Sprat’s in memoriam of Rach and her days in LA. I had a delicious Mediterranean Quesadilla. Then we stopped by the mall to try to find me a shirt as all mine had spit-up all over them, courtesy of my awesome little nephew. But I didn’t find anything, so I just wore Nathan’s shirt home. It’s nice. I think I’ll keep it.
Anyway, that’s about it. We cruised down to the OC and I caught my flight at 8pm, arriving back in Hotlanta at 5am Tuesday morning. Good times. I sure miss the little guy (his parents too, but mostly the little guy…and working Nathan at Halo) and the weather, but such is life. I’m already excited to go back. In the words of Phantom Planet:

Pedal to the floor
Thinkin' of the roar
Gotta get us to the shore
California here we come

(I didn’t buy a $14 hotdog.)