This weekend Awesome Girlfriend Megan and I made a concerted effort to keep our weekend low key and rest up. It's been such a long year, and we have a busy few weeks ahead of us. Year end behind the scenes of radio stations is always crazy, and for Awesome Girlfriend Megan the next few weeks are year end craziness at Rutgers University where she works in their Foundation Department. Even though we remained much more low key than normal, we still made many wonderful yule tide memories, and still enjoyed some laughs with wonderful friends. BTW - next week's Weekend In Pictures might not be up until Wednesday, depending on whether or not I'm able to burn a couple vacation days with my family.
Friday night while leaving the radio station I get a call from Awesome Girlfriend Megan. Whoops, she forgot to bring over the bag of meatballs. Meg and Steve Andrews were both teasing me Friday, because I announced that we were making meatballs when in reality, we're just dumping the bag of meatballs and a jar of sauce into my crockpot. For me it still counts as making it, even though in reality it's just cooking them. Fortunately I was already on my way to the grocery store to pick up her favorite pistachios and surprise her with those and some yellow roses. I was successfully able to find the bag of meatballs. The hoagie rolls, ragu and cheese were easy enough for me to find earlier in the week. Andrews was also busting on me because I had to ask Meg if I was supposed to put the ragu in the refrigerator or not. Meg informed me you don't put it in the refrigerator until after you open it. Andrews was busting on me on the air Friday "Steve, you didn't buy it from a refrigerated section so why would you think....?" I explained to Steve Andrews that when I buy my La Croix seltzer cans, I'm not buying those from a refrigerated section either, but need to put them in my refrigerator when I bring them home.
Later Friday night I was able to surprise Meg with her favorite yellow roses and pistachios, trying to get our weekend off to a great start. The Rutgers University football game wasn't on regular everyday television, so Meg was able to pull it up on her phone. Nothing says 2020 like streaming a football game on your phone, right? We enjoyed watching Rutgers battle it out. Even though they lost, we are so proud of all the progress they have made under Coach Greg Schiano in just one year. I think we were probably in bed by 10 or so Friday night, good relaxing night on my couch watching football. That's a huge win for both of us.
Saturday morning we had some goals in mind. We made a quick trip to Goshen to wrap up (hopefully) our Christmas shopping. Then Meg and I ventured off to Walmart Franklin to get some more errands done. Meg needed a new shovel and I needed some odd and end items for my place. We saw an angry customer who seemed to be simply mad at the world. She was screaming at an employee and seemingly everyone else around her. It took everything in us to not say something to her while she was yelling towards us. Not surprisingly, her 4 kids or grandkids were out of control running in the busy, icy Walmart parking lot on their way out. Meg and I were so disgusted, our blood was boiling.
After all of that fun, Meg and I were ready to swing by The Cottage for a drink. Everyone could tell we were off. We told them what we just witnessed and how it upset us so much. Fortunately, I saw a Space Farms truck pull in and I instantly got excited. Meg and I were so happy to catch up with our dear friends Jill and Parker Space. We always have fun joking about life stuff. At one point Parker joked about how he was going to grill up roadkill for Jill for dinner. We needed those laughs after the morning at Walmart we had. It was a terrific reminder of how lucky we are to have such wonderful friends.
Our meatball subs were a huge success. We basically did Madre's recipe. Jar of Ragu sauce, let meatballs cook in the crockpot for 4-5 hours. When we got home, I was stunned. I just smelled my place and I said "Meg, for the first time in my 7 years here, MY place smells like back home at my parents house!" The meatball subs were great. I wolfed down almost two huge ones and went into food coma mode. Meg offered to wrap them up for leftovers. I told her as amazing as they were, I don't want to see a meatball for at least a few days. We dropped them off on our friend's doorstep so she could enjoy the leftovers.
Meg then promised to take me out on a new surprise adventure for Saturday night. She wouldn't tell me where she was taking me. Meg would only tell me that she's been wanting to do this the last couple of years but hadn't gotten around to doing it. I only teased her asking for hints a couple of times throughout the day. With me being a slight control freak, it's always entertaining for others when I don't know details. I even let Meg drive and promised to be on my very best behavior.
She said she wanted to wait until it was dark outside. Okay, fair enough. She took me down 94 for probably 30 minutes or so. We seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, which in Sussex County can of course happen quite often. She pulled up in this random neighborhood I believe was in Andover. It was one of those houses who not only have a fancy light display, it is timed to to the songs that they're playing. This is probably the first time Meg ever asked me to change my radio station. I couldn't even figure out how to tune it to an exact radio station, Meg had to hit the "tune" button. They had the lights and effects timed perfectly to the Christmas music songs that were playing. It was awesome. Meg explained after our tough morning at Walmart, she needed another boost for Christmas spirit. The first Christmas song we were watching carried on, the second Christmas song was even more spectacular. Then everything quieted down and went dark for a few moments. All of the sudden, the Christmas lights all changed over to red, white, and blue. They played Lee Greenwood's 'God Bless The USA,' which moves me to tears every single time I hear it. It wasn't the most exciting starts to a Saturday night, but it was just what the doctor ordered for both of us. We then ran into future stepdaughters Cait and Hailey and they gave me such thoughtful Christmas presents. A Boston doormat that is so nice, hot sauce which they know I love, and seasonings and tools for my grill. The kids hit home runs on all of my favorite things. Great to swing by and see them for a quick moment.
Saturday night it was time to try to carry on a tradition. Every year around this time, Meg and I might keep wearing our business casual clothes and go out to Crystal Tavern at Crystal Springs for a fancy drink out. We are so lucky to be able to get away, while living in a vacation resort community. We didn't know if we were going to be able to do this since you can't sit at bars these days in New Jersey. We were going to try to pull it off and if it wasn't possible, no harm, no foul we would do a night cap drink at Kite's which is even closer to us on Campus anyway. Our main goal was to have a quiet, Saturday night in watching football. That's heaven for us basically.
We enjoyed seeing so many families wearing masks and enjoying the gorgeous winter wonderland displays at Crystal Springs. You could tell it was definitely helping everyone who's visiting us here in Sussex County get in the holiday spirit even more. The hostess was very helpful saying while the restaurant was full, we could do a drink together right by one of their fireplaces just outside The Crystal Tavern. A fireplace is definitely a strong way to Meg's heart. While ordering Meg's Winter White Sangria and my 1st ever Old Fashion, the bartender recognized us when she heard us make our order. She cracked up saying "hey, yep I know that voice!" We all got a good chuckle out of it.
Meg and I even met new friends who were visiting from South Jersey while we were enjoying our drink by the cozy fireplace. The families were blown away when we told them we lived just ten minutes away. They all agreed they also want to move to Sussex County. The suburban sprawl is apparently continuing, LOL.
Meg and I had a great Saturday night in relaxing to our Christmas Tree ambiance while watching football.
Sunday football Sunday was not kind to my Patriots. Ah well. We had a great run. While we were at The Cottage watching the game I vented about Bill Belichick's troubling record in Miami in December. Everyone basically yelled at me "really Steve? They went to 9 freakin Super Bowls and you're ticked about struggling against Miami every year?" Eh fair enough.
Overall we had a wonderful weekend seeing some of our friends, not as many as usual, but still had many great laughs. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my Epic Weekend In Pictures. Time to test myself, hopefully get a Negative result and get to see my parents in Boston for Christmas.