Sunday, July 14, 2013

Boy Camp 2013

For four years now, the female contingent of our little family has gone on an all-girl retreat the second weekend of July leaving the two of us to be dudes on our own for a couple days. I chronicled this last year, and while certain traditions hang, others get created as we go.

Friday evening we made our pilgrimage to Freeway Lanes in Solon, joined once more by Dr. Dean and Mr. Boy and I was killing until halfway through the second game when I just blew it out. The Dr. can attest, I was on fire, but then handed him my mojo which was entirely fair.

Mr. Boy (not to be confused with my son, who is simply "the boy") and I seem to have entirely identical taste in music. He was encouraging the boy to break out some moves but that usually just leads to my son grabbing the nearest boy in the room around the neck and wrestling him to the floor.

I took a picture of my food.

Lately, not just this weekend, we have been dining outside, on the side porch. Some days this is because every available surface in our house is covered with books, bills or fall preparatory materials, but even when they aren't it is a habit we have grown fond of.

Saturday morning I made whole wheat pancakes with (frozen) blueberries, with syrup, a little whipped cream and what was left of the blackberries from City Fresh. The rest of the morning was spent reading and coping with the boy's recent absolute, unabated obsession with Clash of the Clans.

The boy has coach-pitch baseball at noon on Saturdays, which is pretty grueling. In spite of my having remembered to find and apply sunscreen, I still found a slight burn on my scalp from that gap in the back of my ballcap. Geez.

Earlier this week the wife and kids has visited friends out in Chagrin and came home with a bunch of big tomato plants, all ready to put in the earth. After several days of getting mightily watered by recent storms in their little travel cups and boxes, and then wilting in the unforgiving heat, I figured this was as good a time as any for the manly business of gardening.

We worked as a team, ripping up a great, long path of weedy mint, hoeing and mulching and finally planting them in four great towers. The work took longer than it may have as every time the boy found a worm he needed to put it in the compost barrel, which I believe currently has a 1:1 ratio of worms to compost. I don't know. I am afraid to look.

In the meantime, we entirely forgot to eat. Late lunch/early dinner was had at the new Katz Club Diner. We were big fans of the original Dottie's Diner, which was open briefly around the time the girl was born. That was a decade ago, and in the meantime several concerns have tried to make a go of it. I stuck my head in a couple times and the decor alone told me those people had no idea what they were doing.

The rumors are true, the place is beautiful, the food is good, and its entirely too expensive if you are the kind of person who liked to spend hours drinking of coffee and smoking cigarettes at Chucks. This is not that kind of diner.

The boy was entirely taken by the style and structure of the dining car, pointing out the features which told him this was once a real train car, and not just an imitation. His words, "This is a very welcoming place. It's beautiful, makes you want to come back." Really, my eight year-old talks like that.

We were both satisfied with the Reuben I ordered, and the homemade chips and fires, though he chose to add mayo and vinegar to his chicken salad sandwich, which he believes didn't have enough "pop" for his taste. I admit it was mild, but I found it flavorful, not overpowering. We're looking forward to sharing this place with the ladies some time in the near future. I hope it succeeds.

To conclude the evening, we furthered the boy's Marx Brothers education by taking in the bravely plot-free Monkey Business (1931) which features the absolute worst hand-to-hand combat ever recorded on film.

Poor Thelma Todd. She really was hilarious.

Now, it had been my intention to rise this morning at the not unreasonable hour of 6:00 am to do some much-needed writing, but after one slap of the snooze bar I had to ask myself, and I am waking up at 6 am on Sunday because why, and just turned the alarm off.

Sunday has been low-key, as it should be, reading, playing video games, watering tomatoes, feeding gerbils (no really) finally getting down to learning the rules to Ticket To Ride, before heading to the Lantern Theatre for this year's family-friendly, historical fiction drama John Henry, written by colleague and neighbor Eric Schmiedl.

John Henry (center) and friends.

Anybody can enjoy these plays Bill Hoffman and his crew at the Lantern Theatre offer (last year's Boy Camp we saw Singin' On The Ohio, which I am happy to say will be revived starting next month) but I strongly recommend them for my friends with elementary school aged kids. They tell good, interesting stories, with a lot of great history and very enjoyable characters.

And really, that's it. For the weekend, I mean. The boy is off into the neighborhood riding bikes with the local kids and I am going to sit on the sideporch with a beer and book. That's Daddy Camp.


  1. Very nice! Sounds very tranquil (and a little irritating, but mostly tranquil).

  2. Irritating? Where the irritating?

  3. Never Saw Monkey Business.


  4. Seriously? It features Zeppo's best moment in all of his films.

    "I'll never leave you."
    (Sees officers coming, runs away.)