Sunday, August 16, 2015

King Pin

Dear Ian,

As promised, I am finally getting around to writing about a specific part of our summer: your first State Bowling Tournament. 

In late May, we wrapped up your youth bowling league season by heading down to the Naples - Cape Coral area for the annual state tournament.  And boy, did we have an adventure.  At the start, it was a pretty straight-forward trip.  We drove down on Friday afternoon and checked into our hotel, where you swam in the pool and we had a yummy pizza dinner at Blue Moon Pies.  Incidentally, it was when you took your first bite of pizza that you noticed your very first loose tooth! 
This picture isn't the best; your facial expression looks like you're a little... well... drunk.  But there's that first loose tooth!! 

The next morning dawned bright and beautiful and fairly normal, and your first game didn't start until 2pm, so you and I headed off to the Bonita Springs Beach Park nearish Naples, for a little sun and fun before bowling.
 Man, you love to swim.  Here's my fish in the water. 
But you did come up for air and a little sand castle building.  I also taught you the fine art of looking for shark's teeth on the beach. 

It was after all of this beachy frivolity that we had a monkey wrench thrown in our works.  Or there was a wrench involved in there somewhere, as our precious, beloved car decided to DIE in the parking lot of the Bonita Springs Beach Park.  Oh. My. Stars.  At this point, it was about 10:45am, so we still had time to work out our issue and get you to the bowling alley.  But how to figure out what was wrong.  I tried everything I knew to do.  I called your Daddy, but alas, he was in an airplane headed back from Amsterdam to the United States.  He was sorta out of pocket.  I called Grandma and Papa, to see if they had a suggestion, and they tried, but as Imola (our car's name) is German, they were sort of at a loss.  I tried friends who were mechanics.  I tried friends who had other Bimmers... Nada.  Finally I conceded defeat and called BMW roadside assistance, and she called us a tow truck.  Unfortunately, then we had to wait almost an hour for the tow truck guy...  and if you're paying attention to the math, by the time he got to us it was noon.  He loaded us up and took us to BMW of Naples...

...where you had a delicious lunch, courtesy of the complementary snacks in the service waiting area.  Mommy was TRYING to be on top of it all.  And it wasn't too bad.  A clementine, a granola bar, a cookie and some water.  And please keep in mind, at this point, I was hauling your bowling ball and car seat.  You were vacillating between being COMPLETELY freaked out by all of this and having a blast because you got to ride in a tow truck.  But anyhoo... We're at the dealership. It's noon.  We could make it to the bowling alley.  We got this.  I called your teammate, Nijah's mom, and she came to get us.  But unfortunately, she was an hour away.  So by the time she got to us, it was now 1pm.  And it was going to take us an hour to get to the bowling center.  Whew.  But we did it! 
 It was neat seeing your names up on the scoring monitors.
 You and your teammates.  You all did pretty well, and at the end of the weekend, you were in 10th place!
Treat bags I made for you and your teammates.  And yes, I was hauling these with me during all of the car drama.  

During your three games of the team event, I spent a good bit of time on the phone trying to figure out what to do next.  I finally got through to the service department of BMW of Naples, and they told me that they wouldn't get to our car until MONDAY!!  It was Saturday! Now what?  We had a hotel room until Sunday, so as far as housing went, we were ok for the night, but how in the WORLD were we going to get around?  So, I spent a good deal of your three team games calling for rental cars and taxis and everyone else while cheering you on.  I managed to find us a car, and sweet Ms. Betty, Nijah's mom, came to our rescue again and dropped us off at the rental car desk at the airport.  We ended up with a swanky Toyota Camry, and with that combined with our good humor, we were good to go.  After all the drama of the day, we gave up and headed back to our hotel and, much to your happiness, Mommy just ordered us room service for dinner, and we sat on the beds in our jammies, eating supper and watching cartoons.  

Sunday was your singles and doubles events, and it was check-out day for our hotel, so we loaded up the car and headed to a different bowling alley for the mornings games.  You and Aaron were great partners and did a great job, securing yourselves a top five spot for the weekend, and in singles, you bowled your way to a top 10 placement.  I was one proud Mommy!

 You, getting ready to go to work. 
The dynamic duo of you and Aaron.  
You with the sign outside the bowling alley, welcoming all of the Florida State Youth Bowlers.  So proud.

With that, all of your bowling for the weekend was officially over but we were still stuck in town because of our car.  We needed a room.  We needed something to do.  So Mommy looked a couple of hours north and found us a great - and believe it or not, inexpensive - room at a Disney resort!  I loaded you and all of our stuff up, and we headed to the land of the Mouse. 

We stayed at Disney's All Star Movies Resort, and you were so excited!  You spent hours in the pool, we explored all of the neat Disney art around the hotel, and we ate in the resort cafeteria, which, for some reason, just thrilled you.  We also took a trip to Downtown Disney to the Lego Store, where you played and built all sorts of stuff and picked out a Lego set with castles and knights.  (Are you surprised?)
A Mickey fountain at the pool.  Thank you, Mr. Mouse, for having a cheap room and entertainment for my little boy. 
You, swimming like a fish in the resort pool.
 We wandered around and found all kinds of cool things to look at and play with. 
Outside the 101 Dalmatians wing.  I love this movie.  And you say I drive like Cruella DeVille.  Gee thanks.  
You in R.C. from Toy Story.  As far as places to be stranded, it wasn't bad!
Us on the bus headed to Downtown Disney.  ANOTHER form of transportation.  If you've lost track, there's our car, a tow truck, Ms. Betty's car, the rental Camry and now a bus.  Hang on...  there's one more to go.

Monday morning, we got a phone call that Imola was ready to go, so we packed up, again, and headed back to Naples.  First thing, we had to turn the rental back in, so we headed back to the airport.  But wait?  How were we going to get to BMW?  Yep.  I had to call a taxi service.  There's the last form of transportation:  the taxi.  But your poor momma.  I looked like a homeless body builder.  I was now hauling around, by hand, your car seat, your bowling ball, my suitcase, a tote with all matter of various sundries, including a new Legos set (I didn't think that through, but I figured after all the drama you went through, a set of Legos was warranted), your suitcase and you.  You helped by pulling your own suitcase and wearing your own backpack, but I was carrying the lion's share of the junk.  I ended up going to the chiropractor twice a week for three weeks to fix myself after all that... 

The taxi took  us to BMW, we loaded up one last time and came home.  It was 3pm when we left town, and I didn't care.  We were going HOME, even though it was an eight hour drive.  I was not stopping, and we made it home in one piece.

It was a crazy weekend, one that I'd rather not repeat, but I would do it again to help you pursue your dreams and goals.  I love to watch you bowl, and I love how seriously you take it.  You work so hard, too!  And one of your goals just recently came true.  For a while now, you've gotten closer and closer to beating me, and I know it was something you were eager to do.  And I am both resigned and thrilled to admit, it has finally happened.  Two weeks ago, we went bowling for fun one morning, and you didn't just beat me, you trounced me! 

The final score was your 181 to my 133.  And no, I wasn't letting you win, and no you didn't use bumpers.  The grin on your face was so big, and I was so proud of you.  At not even six years old, you were only 19 pins away from a 200 game.  What in the world?!  Yes, you're still using your slightly unorthodox style, but you know what you're doing, and it wont take much to switch you over to a more conventional approach, and when you do...  Wow.  Big kids, look out!

I am such a proud Mommy.  There's not much you do that doesn't just amaze me, and I can't wait to see what you do next!

Love always,

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