Saturday, December 27 (cont'd)
4:30 PM - While slowly lugging assorted luggage across the icy sidewalk outside of Salt Lake City's airport, our son Jalen darts away from us, weaves through the chaos of assorted strangers and gridlocked traffic, then happily bounds inside the open passenger door of the SUV driven by his grandfather – who he's seen all of twice in his life. See how easy it was to come up with the plot for The Changeling II?
4:45 PM - Mrs. Bootleg has been fiddling with the kid's car seat for the last fifteen minutes with all four car doors open as she "just can't get it in there". She's attacked it from every angle save for sliding through the moon roof. Her stepdad finally pulls away from the curb before my wife gets her seatbelt on.
(This is a GINORMOUS pet peeve for my wife, as I've had to immediately slam the brakes on repeated occasions to the harpy-shrieks of, "STOP! I'm not buckled in yet!" She doesn't say anything here out of politeness, I assume…and, it's killing her to keep quiet. This moment has made the whole trip worth it, already.)
5:00 PM - The mother-in-law surmises that we must be hungry after our long, uhh…90 minute trip. She suggests Chic-Fil-A. Good call. I've always heard about these "food courts" in "malls", but I've never had the pleasure of actually eating in one. Will they be able to seat a party of five on such short notice?
5:15 PM - We arrive at the Newgate Mall. I've never been in a car with the heater running for 30 straight minutes, so I'm actually looking forward to the now-sub 20° air. (See, kids, during "winter" in California we run our car's heater for a few minutes in the morning just to "take the chill off" and un-fog – not to be confused with actually defrosting – our windows. This is why all of our car heaters smell like slow-roasted dust whenever we turn them on.)
5:20 PM - I can see why my mother-in-law was pushing Chic-Fil-A so damn hard. It's the only restaurant in the entire food court doing any semblance of business. And, look! Ogden, Utah has douchebag, disaffected kids standing around for no apparent reason in their malls, too! We need another Vietnam to thin out their ranks a little. (Oh, right. Sorry.)
I briefly consider something other than fried chicken on a buttered bun. My choices include Sbarro's Pizza, Javier's Rapido Mex(!!!) and Jungle Juice(!!!!!) I opt for the least ethnically offensive and get Chic-Fil-A.
6:00 PM - We get to my in-law's house where we're aggressively greeted by their dog, "Scout".
6:00 PM - 6:15 PM - Jalen's running around the house in sheer terror of this dog that's twice my son's size. My mother-in-law assures Jalen that Scout is "just playing", while she openly wonders if Jalen is just tired from the long day. Yeah, that's it…it's got nothing to do with an animal he's generally unfamiliar with knocking him down, barking and trying to eat him.
6:15 PM - My father-in-law proudly displays the remote control that runs their household. They have Dish Network and my attention is turned away from extracting Jalen out of Scout's belly and towards the majesty of one million channels.
6:16 PM - AIEEEEEEEEEE! Including NFL Network!
6:17 PM - AIEEEEEEEEEE! It's a replay of Week #2's Chargers/Broncos game, which was arguably the game of the year!
(In truth, I'm probably just a slightly-more-than-casual football fan these days, but the set-up here is terrific. The dead time is completely edited out of the game, with fewer commercials, to boot and even though I know the outcome, it moves along at such a brisk pace, I couldn't turn away. Why have none of you told me about this NFL Network before? I can't wait to watch it on my Time-Warner Cable system at home!)
8:15 PM - Jalen has apparently lightsabered himself out of the Taun-Taun's stomach, so I take him upstairs for two stories and a bedtime chaser.
8:30 PM – 3:30 AM - I fall asleep next to the boy, which turns out to be a grievous mistake on my part. Here now are the next seven hours. And, for those of you in on the joke, imagine it told in voice of WWE announcer Jim Ross:
Collar and elbow tie up to begin. Jalen backs his daddy into the far corner of the
Jalen's daddy back to a vertical base, dragging his son to the center of the bed. His daddy's no slouch, King. He's a former six-year marketing major from San Diego State University. On campus, he was known as "The Cerebral Aztec".
Jalen's daddy is back down, but wait! What's his son up to? Jalen's now perpendicular to his supine daddy and…uh oh, King! Jalen's tuning up the band! His daddy can't see it coming! Sweet Chin Music! He hit it! He hit it! He hit it! Jalen for the cover! One! Two! No! His daddy's up at two.
Jalen dragged back to the center of the bed. His daddy regains the advantage and lies back down. And, wait…Jalen's moving into position…oh, a headbutt right between his daddy's eyes! Jalen falls on top for the cover!
Damn it, Mrs. Bootleg get in there and help! That…that jezebel! She's pretending to be asleep! She won't help her man! One! Two! Three! Jalen! Jalen! Jalen!