Monday, January 3, 2011

NHL Winter Classic 2011

On Thursday we headed out of town for the start of our whirlwind weekend.  My sister (who obviously has too much money to spend) had gotten tickets for the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh for us, my parents, and herself.

So we packed up our crap and put the dogs in the car and headed to Charlotte to drop them off so his parents could watch them while we were in the 'burgh.
Baxter and Boone patiently riding in the back

Friday morning we got up and cleaned out the Sequoia and waited for my parents and sister to get there. Once they arrived and we got everyone situated we were on the road by 11:09 AM.  One stop for gas and lunch and another bathroom break and we made it to the hotel around 6:30 PM.

We got cleaned up and decided to go out and grab a bite to eat. Now, it was NYE so I knew places would be crowded.  After driving around a bit we ended up at Primanti Brothers - not the original one downtown, but the one on Route 51 that was closer to the hotel.  Ordered up some fried pickles, wings, and pierogis for some apps and settled in to watch the USC/FSU bowl game.  We were cracking up about the fact that they gave us styrofoam plates and the water cups were paper. No hoity toity NYE dinner for us!

Chowing down on some Pittsburgh grub

Didn't realize my face looked so chubby  :(

Got back to the hotel a little after 10:00 and watched the rest of the game.  USC lost, making the state of SC 0-2 that day. I took a quick shower and when I got out my sister, the dog, and J were all asleep.  J woke up when he heard me and we just hung out and watched the ball drop and couldn't believe they had Dick Clark on tv since he had a stroke and is obviously kind of impaired from it.  Anyway, not a super exciting NYE.

Saturday we got up and had breakfast and then headed downtown to Station Square.  Since the hockey game had been delayed from a 1:00 start to an 8:00 start, we had time to go do a little shopping and watch my bowl game.  There are a TON of shops with Steelers and Pens gear and I found the cutest little onsie for our little guy.

Perfect for football season next fall

What makes it funny is that J is a huge Cowboys fan and I am a huge Steelers fan.  There was a big rivalry with the two teams back in the day so it's kind of funny when we get this Steelers stuff.

After some shopping we found a sports bar to watch my team in the Outback Bowl. I always forget that not everywhere is like Charleston where you are not allowed to smoke in restaurants and bars. I really wish that was a national law since the bar we found reeked of smoke. But I figured I could deal.  The game started good, but then our QB decided to set a school record and throw 5 INT's, so the stupid Gators won.

We headed back to the hotel to get ready for the game and hopped back in the Sequoia hoping any rain would hold off.
View of Heinz Field from the West End Bridge

After finally finding parking (for $40 - insane) we walked to the stadium and found our seats.  Smack dab in the middle of a bunch of Caps fans. Stellar.

During the 1st period I didn't even have my jacket on - I was fine with just my long sleeved shirts and sweater and scarf. 
J and me during the first intermission

With my sister who forked out a small fortune for the tickets

At the start of the 2nd period I put on my coat since it was getting a little cooler and started to drizzle a bit.  The Pens scored on a Malkin breakaway and Heinz Field was rockin'. Of course the jackass Caps fan behind us wouldn't shut up and was getting really irritating.

Unfortunately then the Caps tied it up and got the go ahead goal on a goalie mistake, which made the Caps fans even more obnoxious.  The Pens almost tied it up, but the goal was disallowed due to incidental contact with the goalie (total crock if you ask me).

During the 2nd intermission it started raining a bit more. It would start and stop - not really heavy rain, more like a heavy drizzle.  At the start of the 3rd it rained harder and we wondered if they would call the game.  They didn't and the Caps scored on a breakaway to pretty much put the game away.  They later had a goal disallowed for incidental contact, too, so the final score was 3-1 Crapitals.  I controlled myself and didn't punch the drunkass fan behind me in the face, but I was happy to get out of the stadium and out of the crowd.

View from our seats

When we got back to the hotel we found Mike, my sister's cat, curled up on our bed again. I swear he knew we didn't want him on there. Or he just couldn't get on Nic's bed since she had so much crap on it (love her to death but she is a complete slob).
Mike trying to make his escape

I took a shower and got into bed - this was around 1:00 and we wanted to be on the road at 8:00.  Well, I maybe got 1 or 2 hours of sleep because the damn cat was making noise all night. Scratching at his catnip pad, eating, crawling in and out of the window, and to top it he took a giant shit in his litter box and didn't cover it up.  I was livid.  In the morning I completely snapped at my sister about the cat and I knew that I upset her so I felt like crap.  She had just spent over $3K on the weekend and here I am bitching about her cat.  I apologized for being cranky and hoped she wasn't mad at me.

We got on the road at 8:30 and with a couple stops for gas (including the one where my dad yelled at the Canadian guy for leaving his car at the pump while going into the convenience store for 10 mins) and some restroom breaks for my pregnant bladder we were back to Charlotte at 4:00.  Grabbed a quick bite to eat and left his parents house at 5:00 getting back to Charleston just after 8:00.  I was so tired (I drove that last leg) that I just wanted to unpack, shower, and go to bed. So that's just what I did.

All in all a very cool experience and I can't thank my sister enough for the opportunity to go. I wish I could've showed J more of where I grew up, but there just wasn't time.  We had fun, though, and now he can say he has been to an NHL game.  Now hopefully we don't have to go anywhere for a few weeks since 3 weekends in a row of travel have wiped me out.

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