The Retro Weekend

I thought Jesus loved everybody!

It came and vanished quicker than a Cessna aircraft navigating the Bermuda Triangle, but after 26 long days, I finally got to play dad to Sloane again!  Throw in that the FIRST PLACE Cincinnati Reds are 5-1, and this weekend has been pretty damn good, crappy Indiana weather notwithstanding.  Exciting times for yours truly in blogger world also.

I suspect the L’s will outnumber the W’s before the season is over, but I’ll take it right now!

Going to take a flash poll really quick with the denizens of the Skipahsphere.  Is this daily dribble book worthy?  This girl thinks so, and I’ve had a few others rib me about it; personally it sounds about as daunting as rebuilding a glitter bomb.  I’m flirting with the idea, just not sure yet.  My biggest fan Sloane was coo coo for cocoa puffs when I mentioned it to her, Miss Madison is fully on board, although I don’t think she quite understands we aren’t talking J.K. Rowling money!

It’s a personal conundrum for me, as I ask myself, “Am I good enough?”  Stay tuned, I’m testing the waters on who could possibly want to read about a suicide-surviving divorcee who has done more tours of duty in the custody wars than one man should ever have to.  Throw in financial luck that literally had me contemplating if dust bunnies were edible, meeting a rock star girlfriend, and the whole time trying to look out for the best interests of one little girl—really doesn’t sound that exciting to me.

With visions of a New York Times bestseller dancing in my head (just kidding), the blonde bomber and I were finally reunited at roughly 5:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on April 9th.  It was rather anti-climactic, as there is only so much celebrating that can be done at a Pilot truck stop in Simpsonville, KY.  (Although the Diet Dr. Pepper fountain machine is by far a top five that I’ve come across.)  Any commuters or big rig drivers that have to trek down Interstate 64 and have a fondness for the savory goodness that is 23 delicious flavors, including aspartame, of Diet Dr. Pepper in a fountain form, I highly recommend a pit stop at Exit 28. You can even get some outlet mall shopping done if time allows, and if you are lucky you might actually get to attend a cockfighting match with the governor!

Immediately after setting eyes on my little mini-me, the first thing I could mutter was, “Wow, you’ve grown!” Sloane, who has my DNA and is quick with a joke (but not a light of your smoke) herself, muttered, “You should see the other people I’m around they are large!”  From there, the weekend was pure poetry.  First stop was meeting up with some of her old classmates as we were invited by a family of fiery redheads for an evening of bowling and good fun.  Miss Madison and the gang met us there and for three hours that bowling center was never the same!

Full disclosure:  The bumpers were up and I didn’t get that last pin in the tenth without a little assistance.

Sloane beat all the boys in her first game, and yours truly, who hasn’t slung the 16-pound rock in ten years (future shoulder surgery pending), shocked everyone with a PBA-like 193 in his second game back from retirement.  I fancied myself a bowler long before I had a kid and carried a respectable 170-175 average when I was an active league bowler.  In between games, Sloane, Miss Madison Jr., & the turtle man were wearing out the U-Pick-It crane and Ms. Pac-Man Jr.  Whoever owns those attractions at that bowling alley probably will think they hit the lottery when they go to collect the coins out the machines.

Thankfully nobody was singing Pac Man Fever by the end of the night!

Saturday, in our quest to keep it retro, Skipah’s Travelling Road Show headed off to the architecture capital of the state, aka, Columbus, Indiana (look it up) for some roller derby fun!  Sloane had never been roller skating, and I probably hadn’t laced up a pair of wheeled shoes since I was Sloane’s age and thought I was Inspector Gadget.  Miss Madison Jr. was in hog heaven, Sloane had a blast, and I got out of there with my dignity and no appointments with an orthopedic surgeon.

Good lord, when the Saturday Night Fever remake is ever launched, you can bet I won’t be an extra!  I kept requesting to the deejay to bust out some Bee Gees or Abba’s Dancing Queen, but I kept getting a response of, “Go learn how to skate!”  I hugged the rail more than a jockey who drew the one spot in a horse race.  Windmills don’t put off as much energy as me flailing my arms trying to stay upright in a pair of skates.  I eventually retired my short-lived roller derby career and went back to being the family photographer.  Once Sloane got the hang of it, she didn’t want to leave, and, for $6.50 a person, this will be a go to for us again in the future. (Especially if Miss Madison Jr. has any say in it!)

Not pictured me running outside to get an internet signal to watch YouTube videos of learning how to skate! 

Since Miss Madison did most of her student teaching in Columbus, she is somewhat of an expert.  I’ve only been through this little treasure of a city to pretty much grab a bite to eat or check the cleanliness of the restroom facilities.  Unbeknownst to me, the old craptastic mall that was there has been transformed into a booming old-school/modernized downtown with one of the coolest playgrounds I’ve ever seen anywhere!  While the kids were scaling new heights, and Miss Madison was playing on Facebook, I took a gander around downtown to discover one of the cooler courthouse areas (unfortunately I’m a bit of an Indiana courthouse expert) I’ve come across.  Since my cell phone was in need of CPR at the time. I didn’t get too many great photos, but trust me, worth a see.  An awesome veteran’s memorial (not pictured) and there was even a local American Ninja Warrior competition going on that I wasn’t able to capture in all of its cinematic glory.

Free is always a good thing!

Once the kids burned off enough energy to be considered clinically sleepy, what better way to re-invigorate them than some ice cream.  We headed across the street to Zaharakos, an old timey soda jerk joint that Mr. Skipah could write a novel about on the Brownie Sundae alone!  It felt like something straight out of an episode of Boardwalk Empire with the old time organ music and the accompanying museum.  Needless to say, we all overdosed on calories and headed home with smiles on our faces.

My belt buckle hit the soda jerk square in the forehead after my waistline rapidly expanded!

My final day with Sloane was spent making her and the Miss Madisonians some soul food.  Ribs, baked beans, green beans, corn on the cob, and a big time fruit bowl.  Sammy hinted the other day that he was feeling lonely of late, so I put him back to work and the combination of flame and cherry wood chips in Sammy’s belly produced an amazing love child.  It was Sloane approved and capped an otherwise awesome weekend!

Sloane loves her ribs, and Skipah loves cooking for the masses!

I don’t get her much these days, but the love she gets with me and Miss Madison is something she never gets when she isn’t with me.  Don’t ever accuse me of being a Disneyland Dad—kiss my ass—you want to take a father’s child from him merely because you can, you get to reap what you sow.  Watching Miss Madison interact with Sloane just warms my heart, because I know she gets zero of this kind of activity from her stepdad.  I’m learning the hard way it’s a “long” game with this custody stuff, and from day one, I’ve done it right.  I never had a shot at full custody from the beginning, something I never grasped until I was a zillion dollars in debt to figure it out. In an unrelated note….no, I’m not engaged before anyone asks!

About it for tonight, I’ve got to work on my upcoming book title (maybe), talk shit to Cubs fans on Facebook (don’t put a catcher in left field that couldn’t play dead in a cowboy movie), and work on getting my daughter here full time with me!



Send Skipah Sailing!


  1. That is awesome to hear, would love to visit Dublin one day.

  2. Glad you had a great weekend! Last week, I too had a great weekend in dublin with my wife.

  3. Pingback: A Most Expensive Holiday

  4. You don’t have to tell me Disney is overrated. If live goes as planned I will never spend another dollar at the mouse palace!

  5. Not pictured was all the old time organs they had in the museums. If you are ever in Columbus, IN (and why would you be it’s not Miami) check it out.

  6. Disneyland is overrated! Sounds like you had a super weekend and that you are loving Sloane perfectly! Stay strong as you keep fighting for full time custody! And I could see this having book potential Yes!

  7. Seeing that you spent time with her and had so much fun makes me sooooo happy! What a fun weekend! Love the soda joint pictures! What a cool place!

  8. I can imagine. I don’t think I’d be able to walk for a week 🙂

  9. It’s definitely not as easy at it looks.

  10. You’re a very brave man. You’d have to pay me a million bucks to put wheels on my feet 😉

  11. Thankfully not living on my arse!

  12. Skating? Living on the edge!

  13. Duking it out tonight!

  14. Thanks Roxanne, we definitely value our time together :).

  15. 50/50 in the summer :). She’s got another six weeks of school then I get to rescue her.

  16. I think I’m going to do it pal, just got carve out some time. I can only imagine trying the inline skating thing, I could barely move on a standard skate!

  17. Your commitment to your daughter is inspiring and touching. She’s a lucky girl, and I’m sure she knows how much you care for and about her. Glad you had such a good weekend together!

  18. It’s almost as though I can feel your mood lightening in this post. Glad you had a good weekend. Here’s hoping there’s a lot more time coming soon.

  19. Bowling, skating, and good ribs? Sounds like you spent your time wisely. Although, I’d be hugging the rails trying to skate too. Maybe roller blades would be better but….nah…

    And do the book man! I’ve been wanting to write a children’s book for a while, so maybe seeing you write something will give me the extra push!

  20. That sounds like so much fun, Gary! : D

  21. Good to know, thanks!

  22. If spending quality time with your little girl is considered “Spoiling” her, she deserves it! Keep it up, the memories will help both of you survive this ordeal as best you can.

  23. Thanks Anna, stay tuned :).

  24. Books…IMO you are funny and bring us with you through an interesting life. For me the ridiculous amount of cutting and editing is a big barrier to bookdom. That and being able to spell. If you can handle the hacking I vote yes!

  25. Yep, I understand - been there buddy! 🙂

  26. I don’t have the resources to be the typical “Disney” dad, it’s all about having fun when we are together though. Sure in the hell beats her other life!

  27. Next time you venture south hit up C-bus. You will have a years worth of door pictures!

  28. Going damn near a month should be illegal!

  29. If we had any more fun we probably would have been arrested!

  30. Everybody tells me that, maybe I’ll have to do a food division on here. No complaints about the weekend other than it is not supposed to snow in April!

  31. There sole goal in life anymore is to embarrass me any way possible!

  32. LOL, that’s right we play you all starting tonight don’t we.

  33. Sounds like a wonderful weekend! I’m sure Sloane was over the moon to have been able to spend time with her favourite people. Your “Disney dad” comment made me chuckle LOL cause that’s exactly what my soon to be ex is. Just that a Disney dad…so sad.

  34. I don’t see why there wouldn’t be a market for divorced dad with funky humor. It can’t hurt to try!
    Weekend looks fab by the way! Glad y’all had so much fun!

  35. What a wonderful weekend - happy you all were able to spend time together.

  36. Nice to know you all had a great time

  37. Sounds like ya’ll had an awesome weekend. The ribs look delicious. You should share some recipes on your blog too.

  38. Looks like an amazing time was had by all. It’s great to see the two ladies in your life getting along so well too.

  39. Better re-check those stats this morning Dude! Sounds like you all had a great weekend. I would read your book if only for the food porn and your poor judgement in baseball teams!

Tell Skipah all about it!