Day 80: Farewell to the Summer of Tim

In late May, I knew this day would come.

Day 80.

The final day in the Summer of Tim.

Looking back over the last eighty days, I'm completely blown away by what a great summer this has been! From visiting the bowels of Wrigley Field to meeting a favorite band. From a Michigan vacation to reconnecting with old family and friends. From swimming and weddings to yard work and turning 40.

It's been absolutely wonderful and I'd be lying if I said I was ready to see it end.

Tonight I'll set my alarm. Tomorrow I'll wear socks.

But for now, to those of you who have checked in here a few times over the summer, it's been a pleasure sharing these eighty days with you!

Farewell to the Summer of Tim.

Day 79: Milwaukee Wedding

Amy decided to spend part of the afternoon resting up for the wedding so I set out to explore downtown Milwaukee a bit on my own. Looking back at the pictures on my phone, here are the highlights of my afternoon:

1. A blue building. Not sure what the building is, but it was blue. It was reflecting the sky. The sky is also blue. That made the building really blue.


2. A huge used book store where a dead cat was on a chair. He might have been sleeping.


. . .

The wedding was fantastic -- a formal affair giving Amy and I the chance to dress up fancy and play grown-up.


Watching my wife's uncle walk his only daughter down the aisle, I learned something about myself...

I'm going to cry like a baby when it comes time for me to do that with my own daughters.

Day 78: Milwaukee

Have you ever wondered where happy is made? Happy is made in places like this.


. . .

We arrived in Milwaukee today for Amy's cousin's wedding and a kid-free weekend. Having never been to Milwaukee before, I had a few preconceived notions about the city which included all things beer, all things cheese, and all things sausage.

Based on the gift bag waiting for us at the hotel desk, I wasn't far off.


We had places to be, but after almost four hours in the car, a cold beer sounded pretty good. It was time to put my college education to good use.
Warm can of beer + sink full of ice + spinning the can for 90 seconds = cold beer.
As I spun the cans in the sink, Amy seemed skeptical.

Amy is no longer a skeptic.

. . .

Sharing the ride north with my brother-in-law and his wife, our first stop in Milwaukee was the Lakefront Brewery tour which had come highly recommended. Ten bucks or so covered the cost of the tour, four ten ounce pours, and a pint glass at the end. If you're ever in Milwaukee, count me among those who recommend this tour.


That said, I was a little annoyed with the clearly scripted humor of the tour guide and the belly laughs that came from the crowd of seemingly-first-time-beer-drinkers as a result of his inauthentic punch lines. I swore that if he had us repeat the word "adobe" I was going to ask where the basement was and make a break for the nearest red bicycle.

Wow. That's a lot of obscure Pee-Wee's Big Adventure references wrapped into one sentence.

. . .

Dinner was at a place called Stubby's which came at the suggestion of a guy from the brewery. It was okay, I suppose, but I got the feeling that it was not much more than a glorified Applebee's -- just with more beer options.

Additionally questionable, Stubby's website currently redirects to a "Best Online Casinos" page.

Whatever.

I went after the "Pork Bomb Sandwich" but almost went with the "Humboldt Hipster Black Bean Burger."


The Pork Bomb was pretty solid but I have to admit, I honestly would have preferred the black bean burger. I just couldn't bring myself to order anything with "hipster" in its name.

. . .

The bride and groom and several of their family and friends gathered for a drink or two at an Irish pub later in the evening. It's my understanding that the place was actually called The Irish Pub.

I chuckle.

Maybe our hotel is really called "The Place Where People Sleep."

. . .

So far, as a first time visitor to Milwaukee, here are my take-aways thus far:
  • Walking over the river, I smelled all of Milwaukee at once. Beer, meat, and sewage -- all in one breath. It was like Wrigley Field had become its own city. And it was glorious.
  • I had never used Uber before today...but now, I'm an Uber master. You're telling me I can pay somebody with a clean car five bucks to transport me safely from THE Irish Pub back to my hotel in an unfamiliar city where I've had a few drinks? Sold.
All of this was a great start to our visit to Milwaukee, but my favorite moment so far came as we walked down the sidewalk from the brewery to Stubby's. Passing by a tall man in his late 20s carrying a small paper bag, we were energetically greeted from at least twenty feet away with a hearty wave, a toothy smile, and a "HI, HOW ARE YOU DOING?!?"

I'm not sure what was in this guy's bag and I'm not sure where he was coming from, but I'm pretty sure I want to go there tomorrow.

Day 77: Family First, Right?

Family first, right?

A good friend of mine from back home is the vocalist for a pretty amazing Southern Illinois band which hasn't performed together in years. When Brian told me last spring that they were planning a show for August, I knew I wouldn't be missing it for anything!

I went to add it to my calendar only to find that there was already something there.

I suppose I should've said I wouldn't be missing it for anything...except my wife's cousin's wedding in Milwaukee.

. . .

Tonight I spent an hour being more thankful for the internet than I've been in quite some time. As the band rehearsed for Saturday's show, some wonderful human being thought to live stream it through Facebook.

The next best thing to being there, I suppose.

And after a pretty low key day, this is how I spent my evening.

Watching their rehearsal.

Twice. Once live. And then again.


I'll certainly be fully present at the wedding this weekend, but I can't say that a part of my spirit won't be with Gogatta.

Day 76: New Memories Through Old Photos

Last spring, when I did an article for mental_floss, I got my hands on a converter for 35mm slides. After being back at my dad's earlier this week, I came home with a small box of slides -- some looked newer but several were marked with dates from the 1970s.

Interesting.

When I was a kid, I used to love looking through our family photo albums. In fact, I feel like this is a big part of why I remember so much from my childhood -- because I was able to relive those memories over and over through these photos. As the years have passed, I'm continually fascinated when I'm able to find photos from my childhood that I've never seen before -- maybe in an album at a relative's house or in the bottom of a box back home. These "new to me" photos fill in gaps in my memory -- moments lost to time but preserved for me to recall decades later.

The slides I brought back from my dad's did just that as I found pictures I remember seeing a time or two as a kid, but ones that were not part of our printed family photos.

It was time to stimulate the hollows of my long-term memory.

There were pictures of my brother and I with two of our cousins -- "Hey, kids! Go outside and sit in that pile of burning leaves!"


There were shots of us playing at home. Clearly my parents kept Fisher-Price in business in the 1970s.


And there were even some pre-Tim shots of my mom.

 

While this may not seem like the goldmine discovery I'm making it out to be, this stuff is priceless to me.

With many of my earliest memories solidified as a result of countless looks through our family photo albums, these are much more than just a few more snapshots to file away --they're new memories of moments otherwise forgotten.