Today was my first Father’s Day as a Dad. I enjoyed it immensely. Last night, we hung out at the In-laws’ place. We dined on Italian sausage & potato wedges. I consumed much Goose Island 312 while sitting barefoot on their deck. It was a wonderful evening and I even got to see my sister in-law and her girlfriend, who have been M.I.A. for the past few weeks. My daughter, Grace, turned 4 months old on Wednesday. She had a cranky day yesterday, as she is beginning the wonderful process of teething, but even her crankiness could not ruin a wonderful, relaxing night with family. I received a beautiful framed picture of Grace that reads “Happy Father’s Day,” as well as a “Rookie Dad” t-shirt and hat combination as my first Father’s day gift.
We left Streamwood around 11 pm, came home and enjoyed some ice cream (wife and me…not the baby lol). Grace went to bed around 1:30, which is a little early for her. We have been trying to get her to bed earlier the past week, as prior to that she would stay up until 4 am and wake up at 11 or 12 the next day. As nice as it was to get 8 hours of straight sleep, it was making getting to work on time very difficult. Her new bed time is more reasonable, but she has been getting up a lot more often through the night to eat. Not quite sure why that is, but hopefully as the new time sets in a little more, she will go back to sleeping through the night. Our first wake up call was 6 am on the nose. We zombied our way through a feeding and went back to bed around 6:30 or 7. She got us up again at 10 or 11 or something like that. From then on, I just stayed up, as it was Father’s Day. I had numerous sporting events to watch. In addition to that, my parents were coming by for dinner. We were going to make a 3 pound top round that wife’s Mom had given us a few weeks earlier.
Around 12:30, we began thawing the frozen meat and preparing the marinade, which consisted of Lawry’s 30 minute mesquite marinade with lime juice, some worsteshire sauce, minced garlic, fresh lime juice and brown sugar. We got it in the fridge at 1 with the intent of giving it between 3 and 4 hours of time in the chill chest. At that point, I sat down and prepared myself for an afternoon of racing, golf and baseball.
The U.S. Grand Prix was on FOX. I have been watching a lot more racing recently, and since my buddy John made the trek out to Indy this week to see his boy Lewis Hamilton run, I figured I should watch. F1 is fantastically cool. The Indy 500 is fun because it happens once a year and because of the sheer speed, but street courses (you know left AND right turns) are more fun to watch. There is more planning and thinking to be done by the driver and the team, more variables and more action. I particularly like the on-board telemetry they show, when the driver is shifting and braking and the engines drop down to 6,500 RPM from 9 or 10,000. Plus, the races are only 73 laps, so you do not have to devote 3 or 4 hours to watch one race, which is nice if you are not a fanatic. Hamilton had won the pole position on Saturday and ended up winning the race rather handily. This all after winning the Canadian Grand Prix the weekend before. This Hamilton kid is good, and he’s got a good car too. He’s gotten me to pay more attention and hopefully others will follow suit, because F1 is so much more compelling than NASCAR.
During the race, I was, of course, flipping between the Cubs and Sox games. The Sox are in the midst of an awful streak in which they are floundering against bad AL and NL teams, while on the North Side, the Cubs have turned it up and are playing solid ball. Plus, on Saturday, the Cubs and Padres had a bench clearing brawl and Carlos Zambrano took a no-hitter into the 8th inning…so I was trying to keep an eye on both teams. Today’s games were rather uneventful, though, and I plan to do an in-depth post on both teams sometime this week, so I will digress and talk a little about what I was most excited about watching today, the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania.
Today’s final group in the Open was the young Aussie Aaron Baddeley and some guy named Tiger Woods. Baddeley came into Sunday with a 2 stroke lead on Tiger, which was erased on the very first, which Baddeley triple bogeyed. He never got his bearings after that and shot a disappointing +10 (80) and nowhere near the leaders.
As per usual for the U.S. Open, Oakmont was a torture chamber, with impossibly thick rough and impossibly fast greens. Many people bemoan how challenging this major is setup every year, but I personally love it. These are the best golfers in the entire world, and I would rather see a tightly contested match with numerous people in the hunt on Sunday than the silly tournaments where someone has it won on Saturday because he is twelve under. I like to see the people with the best game, the best swings and the best equipment challenged. I want to see them have to make difficult shots and difficult putts, and I want to see them punished for not playing consistently, and Oakmont gave us plenty of that, with only a handful of rounds throughout the whole weekend under par.
Talking with my buddy Brandon yesterday, we had made our picks. He chose Stephen Ames, who was 4 strokes back, and I went with my guy Jim Furyk who started the day 5 or 6 strokes back. Both gentlemen flirted with the lead all day, including a couple holes where Ames had the outright lead, but he ended up dropping down after spending a few too many holes in the rough. Furyk made a late charge, but it turned out to be a little too late, as he would end up tied with Tiger for 2nd. Angel Cabrera of Argentina was the pace car for most of the round today and was in the clubhouse with a 1 stroke lead over Tiger Woods with 2 holes to play. After a par on 17, Tiger need a birdie to force a playoff, but his second shot on 18 from the intermediate rough carried well past the hole, leaving a long putt for birdie, which he was unable to sink, giving Cabrera his first major win of his career. I am all about Tiger NOT winning, and Angel seems like a good dude, so I was happy. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, it was an exciting hour or two of golf, with the leader in the clubhouse so early and so many names still in the hunt, with Ames, Furyk, Tiger, Niclas Fasth and Steve Stricker all posing the threats throughout the Sunday round. In the end, though, Cabrera managed the course the best and deserved to win this tournament.
Of course, the tournament ended around 6:30…other things happened during that time. Earlier on in the day, right after I took our frozen pizza out of the oven, Grace had a major poo-poo diaper blowout which required an impromptu bath and outfit change. After that, Nik fed her and I straightened up the apartment a bit since we were having company later. Dusted all the tables, vacuumed the cat hair off the couches and cleaned the bathroom. By that point, we were nearing 0 hour on the meat. Since we had used such an acidic marinade, we did not want to leave it on the meat too long, so after 3 1/2 hours, we pulled it out of the fridge and I began prepping the (boxed) mashed potatoes and (canned) frenched green beans. I also fired up the grill and got it hot for searing purposes.
I gave the meat 5 minutes of sear per side, backed off and let it cook low on each side for 5 more minutes. Right when I was taking it’s temperature for doneness, my parents arrived. I buzzed them in, returned to the grill and took off the meat. I let it sit in a glass baking dish for 15 minutes while I prepared the taters and beans. Onces the sides were done I cut the meat and plated it, and reduced the jus with some Jack Daniel’s. I was running around like crazy and did not have a chance to snap a photograph, but it came out very well and everyone seemed to like it.
My Dad & I watched the end of the U.S. Open while we ate. They hung around for another hour or so after dinner, and Grace let both Grandma & Grandpa hold her and let Aunt Julia play with her. It was very nice. After they left, Grace crashed for an hour or two, which gave Nikki the opportunity to run to the store for supplies…and by supplies, I of course mean Ben & Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Crunch.
Grace fell asleep while I held her on my chest. While she and Nik were both out, it allowed me to catch up with our Comcast DVR, which has been roundly neglected of late. I had the most recent episode of the History Channel show “The Universe.” This past Tuesday’s episode dealt with some of the extra-terrestrial ways that the Earth might come to an end. Asteroids, expansion of the sun, the Big Rip and my personal favorite, gamma ray bursts from distant supernovas that will vaporize our atmosphere and everything else on the planet. No warning. No survivors. That would be something else. When Nik returned, I asked her to snap a picture of my little girl and me, a memento of our first Father’s Day together.
About 10 minute after Grace awoke from her coma, Nikki’s parents arrived, straight from a different Father’s Day celebration. I made a pot of coffee. Her brother Chris also came by a little later, and we all hung out, talked and played with the baby all night. We even gave Grace a quick bath before they left. She seemed a little perplexed by everyone watching her get washed, and she was moderately cranky afterwards, but by and large, it was just a nice, fun night spent with family. I don’t think I could have drawn up a more enjoyable first Father’s Day weekend.