Friday 7:33 p.m.
The first mate is off to the coast to pillage and plunder, leaving me alone with the swabs. What's a Big Pirate to do? We'll find out . . .
"The whole thing? For $5?"
It was hot enough to make my nose run, not blistering but nice and warm. He ate it all without batting an eye.
Alright. Everyone is asleep. We hit our favorite Mexican place for dinner and enjoyed carnitas, frijoles, rice, and salsa. The waiters always come up to the swabs and rub them on the head or pinch their cheeks. That is a common occurrence in the Mexican places around town. Many of them have little kids running around as part of the scenery already and a few more just seem to add to the fun.
Growing up in the middle of South Carolina, we had very few "ethnic" restaurants. Pizza was damn near exotic for us. I recall one Chinese place as a kid. Not a buffet mind you, but an honest to goodness order off the menu, call the day before for Peking Duck spot. Taco Cid was the only mexi joint, followed a few years later by Taco Bell. We picked up the first big chain in the form of Garcia's when I was in high school. I remember making the drive over to Northeast Columbia to impress a date with the fried ice cream. Unlike other preacher's daughters though, her awe did not translate into fun for me. Finally, we got the first of many local, family run places, with Hispanic cooks, servers, and hostesses. All of them served basically the same menu: rice and beans, ground beef in shells or soft, corn tortillas, all smothered in red sauce. It was all fantastic for me because I didn't know any better. Now though, there is an influx of restaurants with menus chock-full of new items such as real, husk wrapped tamales, fresh vegetable accompaniments, seafood with eyes still intact, goat, and a medley of sweet, hot, succulent sauces.
Best of all, the boys eat all of it. No picky eating so far. There will be very little McDonald's in their future so they better keep their minds open to the food Daddy eats.
Time for poker and Daddy's booty.
8:50 p.m. Saturday
I'm not ready to cry "Uncle" yet but I am surely more appreciative of the First Mate's work through the week. She stays home with the swabs most of the time, occasionally turning them over to Grandma when she does a little bit of work for me. The rest of the time though, she is watching, playing, cleaning, tending, and caring for the fellas with minimal complaint. I've got the big one down for the night (Hopefully. He was up at 5:30 a.m. asking for Mommy) with the little one practicing his standing on my leg while I am typing. It has been a full day. Swab 1 was gone for a few hours swimming with his Aunt while Swab 2 and I hung out at the house. We ran a few errands in the afternoon and I was hoping to get home in time to get them a three-hour nap before heading over to the 17th Annual Bristol Party put on by some friends and acquaintances. A group of friends and neighbors have been putting up a big screen in the back yard, cooking pig, and serving alcohol for a hundred of their closest friends (and whoever walks by) for awhile now. Seeing how many people it took to pull this party together makes me wonder at Otis's achievement in staging Brad-O-Ween this year. I don't think I have ever seen two such well put together parties in consecutive weeks. The coolest thing tonight was the corporate sponsorship. A major beer company provided promo material and lots of beer for the party. That's right; PBR came through with girls and everything.
Of course, the swabs did not cooperate and stayed awake all afternoon, falling asleep on the way to the party. I parked them in a double stroller under a tree and dug into the pig and PBR. Now, some of you may have been around last week as I expounded on the different types of BBQ in the Carolinas. Hell, in S.C. alone, there are four distinct regions with variations within those. I would never presume to say one is better than the other. I do like our pulled-pork though, and never thought I would find anything better. Then, I rode through Texas and had sliced brisket with their thin, red sauce. Good gracious, I was in love. I guess they make alright BBQ in other parts of the country. I figure we Carolinians always used pork as we were too poor to slaughter cows for meat as they were more valuable for milk and manure and the Texians used beeves cause the pigs were the only thing they could talk to on those lonely nights out on the range. Anyway, check this out for a dream road trip.
In the Party Poker 40 + 4
1050 of the best of the best . . . uhhhh, right
11:27 KQo late position 1 limper-I raise 3x get 2 calls and bet 125 on a rag flop. 1 caller who checks the turn and I check behind. He bets 225on th eraggy river and I think he's got 77 and fold.
11:28 Pick up AA and get it all back
11:42 QQ and I raise 4x and get four callers. Turned the flush with the A on the board and bump up to 1750
11:45 AQ v AJ 2720. Raised 3x from the cutoff and the button calls. Bet-call on Axx flop, bet and call on x turn, bet and call on x river.
First break and I've got 2565 with the average stack being 2050 with 508 players left.
Those were the only four hands I played inthe first hour.
1st hand BB Q8o with 1 limper, Flop is 8T3, I bet 300 and Sb and limper fold.
Get AQ in mp with 1 limper, I raise 3x and get one call by AJo. He makes a stab with a weak turn bet into a rag board but checks on river. My Q wins the hand.
12:20 Get KK and 1 limper. Raise 4x bb and the SB goes All-in for 625 more, I call to see AJo and am up to 4440.
12:54 No hands played since KK. Down to 3515. Blinds are 100/200 with 227 players and an average stack of 4625.
1:11 Little desperate here and go All-in with 66 in mp. No callers and I am at 3365 with 167 left. Avg. stack 6325.
1:12 AA in EP. I go all-in hoping someone figures me for a maniac but no one calls. Up to 3815
Double up and then some on the last hand of second hour by flopping top pair out of the SB.
2nd break- 152 players, avg. stack 6907. Me 7930
Hand for hand. 130 players, avg. 8067, me 7730
money 120, avg. 8750, me 7330. 1:42 a.m.
1:57 moved to table 1 89 players, avg. 11931, me 8930.
On the first hand at table 1, I pick up a straight draw on the flop out of the BB. Big stack makes minimum bets to turn that I call. Big bet one river when I hit straight. Of course he tricked me by hitting his flush onthe turn. That's not fair.
Last hand, nerf hammer,27s. Three callers, no help and I am out in 86th. It's a payday, albeit a small one.
Off to bed. The swabs are plotting and I need to be ready.
Sunday 10:00 a.m.
In retrospect, that was a very poorly played next-to-last hand I played. I made an assumption that the big stack was a bully and responded by playing a draw. I don't mind playing the draw there because I should get paid off if I hit it. I let my focus on my hand keep me from seeing what he was holding. Dumb. How long have I been playing again? I could have folded to the big river bet and still been alive with some sort of stack. rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Oatmeal is done. The swabs are yelling.
Monday 2:22 a.m.
Well, the First Mate is home and the swabs will be happy in the morning. It has been a fantastic weekend with the boys. The worst part was the diapers after the Mexican and BBQ combination. Oh well, it was worth it.
I don't want to toot my own horn here because I don't have any right to do so. All I did was do a job for 48 hours that some people do 24/7 with more (or worse) kids. I will say that the house is cleaner than it was Friday, most of the clothes are washed (but mostly unfolded), and I did my alloted one project around the house. I don't get that much done sometimes when we are both home.
On the poker front, I played 19 sit-n-go's on Party, about ten hours of NL on True, and one big MMT each on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. I came out ahead on all with two in-the-money finishes in the MTTs, including a final table appearance (8th) in last night's 20 +2 Limit Hold em on Party with 650 players. It was the first LHE tournament I have (intentionally) played in six months. I used to consider myself a better LHE tourney player than NLHE but worked into the NL for one reason or another. I guess I need to block out some time to play in a few more.
Being responsible for the boys' every need probably kept me away from the table until I was absolutely sure I was going to be able to play uninterrupted, barring emergency. I felt less distracted and more focused on the task at hand knowing they were taken care of and asleep. My game profited from this focus and I feel great about my play overall.
Most of all, I feel I didn't let anything get into the way of enjoying my weekend as solo Dad. Poker was an enjoyable sideline. Forced to find balance, I think I may have.