The annual CJS rendezvous was one society member shy as Hart had obligations that prohibited him from making the usually splendid trip. And while Dagger, Lady E, and Senor Limon were living it up without a care in the world, Hart was stuck in his craptacular routine. We decided to use today to share memories from the trip. Hart has supplied us with a comparison about his weekend to allow us to fully appreciate a good vacation.

  

Thursday, 1:30 pm, Tucson Electric Park

What we’re doing: Enjoying our first beer, saying hello to Senor Limon

As I wrote yesterday, we bid adieu to Tucson baseball, and we had the most beautiful Tucson weather to do it with. Senor Limon had overslept (those of you who know us from college are silently nodding right now), and had to meet us at the park, so it wasn’t until approximately the 2nd inning that we saw him. He was rocking the molestache from our last Cinco de Mustache, had a dynamite Coors hat on, and appeared to be in better shape than we’ve ever seen him (which is saying something considering he’s generally one lithe motherfucker) which gave him a strange Uncle Touchy/Bruce the Triathlete look to him that was hard to place.

Anyway, the sounds, the smells, and friends you associate with baseball filled up our senses as my fingers re-found the joy of cracking peanut shells and dropping them right on the ground. I didn’t think about my dork job, my irritating clients I fed to a hapless co-worker during my vacation, or some Lean Cuisine fail-lunch I had stashed in the shitty work freezer. All I thought about was how soul cleansing it was to hear the National Anthem played outside again. Hints of summer surrounded us which betrayed the calendar, and malted hops glided down our gullets with the ease of a lazy afternoon breeze.

We found our inner dudes (to get a bit Lebowski on you) and lived like the sun-soaked vagrants we used to be in college. We lived the life of leisure on the first day of our vacation.

Thursday, 1:30 pm, Downtown Office

What Hart Is doing: Living my own personal version of “Office Space.”

After doing my best to stay awake in the dim, comfortably warm meeting room I took to the task of cleaning the vacated offices created by a few lay offs. Meanwhile I had my other duties stacking up, the clock is ticked away, and I didn’t seem to have any help.

One office smelled of dude sweat, one had a drawer filled with crumbs, and one had towers of paper that appeared ready to topple with every breath I took. I should really have gotten hazmat pay. But it didn’t matter as I was interrupted and asked to deal with the piece of shit printer upstairs. What the hell? The printers are the problem of the IT department now. A simple paper jam made me question the degrees of my coworkers.

 I was supposed to be under the Tucson sun, not the florescent lights.

Thursday, 5:00 pm, In N Out Burger

What we’re doing: Indulging in a thin slice of fast food nirvana

We’ve written about In N Out Burger at length here, so I won’t torture those of you who don’t live near one with another fawning description of lightly toasted buns, flawlessly cooked beef patties, tangy spread, or fresh cut french fries (ok, maybe I will a little), but needless to say, each yearly In N Out excursion is somehow even better than you remember. When you throw in a light buzz from drinking and sitting in the sun all afternoon, mere words cannot describe the cuisinal euphoria associated with chasing a baseball game with a perfect hamburger.

The world could have ended while I sat in that In N Out in the ass end of Tucson right next to the I-10, and considering I was with my wife and one of my best friends in the entire world with an outstanding meal in front of me, I would have died with a smile on my face.

Thursday, 5:00 pm, Arby’s

What Hart is doing: Sitting in traffic

A weekday at 5 o’clock on I-25, yeah I wasn’t moving. At least I was out of the office right? Yeah screw the optimism. “Why aren’t these cars moving!?! Who is the ass-tard effen everything up? And why do I only have one Rise Against CD and the soundtrack to “Friday” in my car.” These were the thoughts I had, well these and, “I’m hungry. What should I have for dinner? Am I thinking Arby’s? Yes, yes I am.”

I finally got off the highway but “Big Booty Hoes” continued to play in my head as I searched suburbia for a nearby Arby’s. Then I wondered why I am going to Arby’s, and the answer was it sounded tasty for some stupid reason. Perhaps I was high from too many car fumes.

I pull through the drive through and was greeted by a mumbled voice. I let her know I had no idea what she said and order the regular roast beef sandwich meal with curly fries. I get home and eat one of the blandest meals I have had in awhile. It’s so bland because they forgot my Arby’s sauce. Have you ever had an Arby’s roast beef without Arby’s sauce? Yeah it sucks. Perfect evening to a perfect day.

Friday, 11:00 am, The Condo

What we’re doing: Enjoying the first Gin Rickey of the day

One of the greatest things about going on vacation is knowing that you can drink before noon totally guilt-free. Drinking while the clock still says a.m. on it becomes rarer and rarer the older and more square you get, so when opportunity knocks, you answer that damn door. I had had an exceptionally strange morning (real life insisted upon impinging upon Vacation Dagger and culminated that morning – all is well), so my pre-noon cocktail tasted even better. Nothing tastes quite as good as checking things off your to do list and celebrating with a cocktail. It’s even better when this happens before it’s even time for lunch!

Once Senor Limon returned from a short errand, our group was whole and one drink became two which became three, which became “holy shit, we better eat something before we all pass out!”

Not that this was an epiphany of any sort, but it warranted mention since insights into the obvious always come while you’re drinking. Sitting on a patio in nice weather with a few cocktails, a couple of people you love, and some good tunes in the background is my absolute favorite thing in the world. I even said to Lady E, “Not to cast a weird pall over things, but if anything were to ever happen to me and I died unexpectedly, the way I want you to celebrate me is by gathering my closest friends together, getting some drinks on a patio, and telling some weird Dagger stories. Nothing would make me happier.”

She happily obliged, and just like that, we were back to a happy mix of Ben Folds, Johnny Cash, Jamiroquai and the rest. Life stands still with good friends, good drinks, and good music. And for that afternoon, nothing else mattered.

Friday, 11:00 am, Downtown Office, again.

What Hart is doing: Killing the hour before lunch

The awful part about working is by 11 am you realize you have already been awake and have been at least quasi-productive for 5 or 6 hours, and you still have 4 hours to go until you can drink, and not get fired. It is another reminder of why I had to stop drinking when the clock read “am.” Everyone leaves the office by 11 on Fridays, and this Friday was no different. And as usual I had to stay and find something to do for the longest hour of the morning.

I was alone with my thoughts; no one around to share my crazy ramblings, stupid jokes, or semi-deep thoughts with. No awesome music playing, just an eerie silence lingering in the empty corridors. When I die and someone decides to write the Lee S. Hart biography, make sure to leave this part out. But that shouldn’t be a problem since no one is around to know about this part.

At least after a rambling like that happy hour is only, dammit, 3 hours and 58 minutes away.

Saturday, 12:00 pm, Hi Corbett Field

What we’re doing:

We grabbed Chik-Fil-A before the game and ate it off the trunk of our shitty rental car in the parking lot like we always do to get parking at the impossible Hi Corbett Field. I had dropped my money clip in the car in the drive thru earlier, so I put the car in park and looked for it. My foot accidentally stepped on the accelerator which revved the engine something fierce. Thankfully we were in park so nothing happened, but we all joked that since this was a Toyota, at least we had an excuse for random acceleration in the drive thru lane if I had fucked up. It was the only time all weekend we felt good about driving a Toyota.

After that, more baseball, more gawking at Spilly, laughing at poor Joe Lo Duca, and our favorite Rockies prospect (wait ‘til Friday for that). Another awesome day.

Saturday, 12:00 pm, Casa de Corazon

What Hart is doing:

Aside from making “Hart’s Apartment” sound better by translating it into Spanish (sort of, corazon = heart, oh and casa is house not apartment) I ate some chip crumbs and salsa because I needed to go to the grocery store and that’s all I had in the cupboard. But it was all the nourishment I needed for my day filled with cleaning my apartment and doing homework about my short term school goals. I was able to take a much deserved break from about the hour of work I had put in to finish both tasks, and enjoy the lovely weather we had, upper 50s, hell yeah. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon cussing at Mario, which I wouldn’t have to do if he didn’t act like a little bitch and just jumped when I told him to. You hear me you spicy Italian jerk?

 

Saturday, 6:30 pm, West Tucson

What we’re doing:

Friends of Lady E live in Tucson, so part of our agenda was to visit them and have dinner. I know what you’re thinking… “Dinner with the wife’s friends? Have fun with that. Loser.”

On the contrary, any trip is better when you listen to Patton Oswalt’s new disc on the way there, and becomes even better when the host alludes to wanting an Irish Car Bomb before dinner. Who are we to turn that down?

Senor Limon indulged in a game of “Narrate the Baby’s Thoughts” before dinner, and due to the sheer size of this regal 9 month-old (he wore clothes for a 2 year-old at 6 months), we adopted the vocal manner and delivery of a friendly, barrel-chested 19th Century British king.

“Fair maiden, there appears to be a wayward Gerber Graduate piece stuck to my royal visage. Please be so kind as to remove it from my countenance, for I fear that I will find it later stuck to my kingly façade and eat it besmirching the nobility I have worked diligently to craft. And should thine retreat to the kitchen to fetch another yogurt, it is the chocolate flavor I desire this time. Cheerio.”

I’ve never seen Senor Limon enjoy a child so much in any capacity, but projecting the disposition of a confident monarch onto a baby was undeniably delightful. The rest of dinner was fantastic, but finishing it was laced with melancholy as it meant our trip to Tucson had come to its conclusion.

Saturday, 6:30 pm, Pepsi Center

What Hart is doing:

The one time this weekend I was happy I was in Denver and not Tucson. Yes I would have loved to have spent sun filled days with some of my closest friends drinking and not working, but Saturday night made everything ok.

I went on blind date to the Avalanche game. At drinks before the game is when I learned that the date would turn out to suck; she looked like a weirdo version of a good friend of mine which was unsettling and she was a low talker, though she never said anything interesting any way. But the game itself was fantastic. We were five rows from the glass and I got to see a penalty shot and a hat trick. The amazing game more than made up for the lackluster company. And truth be told I will take a regular season hockey game over a preseason baseball game any time.

But I had a pounding headache when I got home and was in bed early, well early for a Saturday night.

Great vacations are things of beauty. They are even better when you realize some suckers are still stuck at home without the break from the crap storm that is their life.  So whenever you can, make sure to enjoy a cold brew with good friends on the porch as the set fades into the horizon.

Your thoroughly relaxed and bitter CJS staff.