We gardened in 2015, took a break in 2016, and now we are gonna try our hand at gardening again in 2017!
We wanted to keep our garden-related shopping at Home Depot cheap (seeds and weed-blocking tarp), but we didn’t walk out with our two carts for less than $200. That’s the Home Depot / Lowe’s story, isn’t it?
The four of us got the garden plot in a decent shape by the mid-afternoon, after many hours we had the garden cleared of weeds, tilled, old fencing removed, and ready for planting.
This year, we’re gonna try to grow melons, cucumbers, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, and something else I’m probably forgetting. It’s probably green peppers.
The kids are also trying to grow cilantro and parsley in the house. It’s gonna be an interesting gardening year. Wish us luck!
This year I wanted to keep my birthday pretty low-key. No big parties. No dressing up. No big fancy dinners. No polite debating whether the 40-year-olds should go to a club, and see who drops out before we get to the sidewalk.
During the day, I was running around during errands, but the four Ipes met up for lunch — specifically, burgers, fries, and milkshakes — at the new Steak N Shake that somewhat recently opened up in West Windsor. Yes, you heard me. A Steak N Shake located above the Mason-Dixon Line. I can’t believe it, and they have the hats!
In the evening, the brave / fun people met up at Air Trampoline Sports on Rt 35 in Cliffwood NJ. We were going to dress comfortably, and act like kids again. For an hour, we jumped on trampolines, played dodgeball, and jousted like American Gladiators.
While they also had a rock wall available, I decided to try to conquer this thing called the Walking Sticks, where you climb successfully higher on these wobbly podiums. It gets high, and you can easily lose your balance. You know what, I’m 41 years old. At this point in my life, the only thing I have to be afraid of in life is quitting. And I ain’t no quitter. Never have been. Never will.
After we all got hot and sweaty, we met up with our friends Lenny and Evanessa at Big Ed’s BBQ in nearby Matawan for endless all-you-can-eat ribs. My God, there was a lot of food.
On Sunday, I went to the gym, we all went to church, and had lunch at home. After lunch, we drove down to my south Jersey to watch my niece Abigail play soccer, then we hung out at the playground, and around my sister’s house. We later had dinner, had some birthday cake, then got on the road home.
Oh, in case you were wondering about birthday gifts…
This is how you celebrate being 41, people.
The kids had Spring Break for the week of March 9th, as did Namita’s niece Sophia. Namita decided (and I agreed to come along!) to drive down to Baltimore for a few days, stay over a few days, and let the cousins keep each other company. I took off that Monday only, and worked remotely Tuesday and Wednesday. The kids really wanted to go biking with Sophia, and I wanted to go biking there too on my day off. With only a few hours before we would be packing up and leaving, Joshua and I went to our local bike shop to trade in his old bike, and purchase a more grown up one.
We didn’t hit too much traffic on the way down Sunday night. Nothing fancy — we had a home-cooked meal at their house before bed.
On Monday, I took the kids out biking in the late morning, and we covered about 5-6 miles riding around the Baltimore suburbs, hanging out in a local park, and grabbing some ice cream. In the later afternoon, I struck out on my own to make my way to the Inner Harbor using Google Maps biking directions. Let me tell, you, those biking directions should definitely be considered beta, because it took me through some awful neighborhoods without bike trails/lanes. Heck, at one point I ran out of road, and was left with a dirt sidewalk. The good news was that I didn’t get jacked. I have to say that I was amazed and appalled by how much abject poverty there is around and within Baltimore.
I rode all the way to the Inner Harbor, and met up with our neighbors Brian & Teo (and some of their kids) who were also vacationing in Baltimore that week. On the way back, I found the Jones Falls Trail, and took that as far as I could up through Druid Hill Park, before reverting back to dangerous streets. Overall, I rode about 24 miles that day. When I got back, I quickly showered, and the five of us went back down to the harbor area for dinner at Roy’s. After dinner, we walked around and all the way to Fells Point to meet up with Teo and Brian (and their respective families) to say hello.
Tuesday and Wednesday was about me working remotely while everyone else had fun. Namita took the kids out Tuesday for lunch, a bookstore, trying to see a movie, etc. I found an Orangetheory Fitness gym in Hunt Valley, MD, and took an hour class there after work. After dinner, we played Telestrations for the first time, which was fun.
Wednesday at the end of the day, I took the kids biking one last time, and we did some more exploration of the surrounding areas. In the evening, we loaded up the car, drove for a while, and grabbed dinner at a Waffle House somewhere along the way.
I wish I didn’t have to work while traveling. I would have enjoyed hanging out with everyone else, but what can you do sometimes. At least we had the evenings together.
I was a little surprised to learn Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation came out two years ago. Wow, really? It’s taken me two years to get around to watch this movie? Color me surprisingly busy to think about stuff like this for a while, all of a sudden remember that I wanted to do something, then act surprised that it happened.
In case you were curious….
Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate – an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF.
Instead of Ethan Hunt being the only person disavowed and having to run around looking for a mysterious arms dealer, the entire team has been disavowed. Which I think happened at least twice with this series. Look, I gotta tell you — after all these years, these films are frankly getting a little repetitive. Ethan Hunt and/or the entire team is on the run after being betrayed, and the villain is an nefarious arms dealer.
The plot is okay. The action is okay. The acting is the usual. I don’t know, folks. It wasn’t the most exciting story, and it was really similar to the previous films. No big deal.