Hockey Timekeeping pt2

Our goalie, aka ‘The-Youngest” just rolled his eyes at me.

Yesterday, we left off with our hero, (yes me), acting less heroically, desperately trying to figure out how to work the hockey rink’s time machine.

So far, the game was about to start and all I’d managed to do was set the clock to the wrong time.

I waved for one of the refs to come over (I looked like I was trying to land a plane or something), and the ref who came over had no idea how the time machine thingee worked. So, terror creeping into my voice, I asked, as politely as I could, would there be another ref who would know about this machine?

As he went to see, I reset the time machine, (sadly not a real time-machine because if it was, I would have reset it to before Carter took up hockey and I locked him in the basement so he couldn’t sign up.) Then, I tried to set the clock again, but by now, jeez, how much time should it be for?

Our team might get more penalties than the Hanson brothers

Another ref came over and took me through the steps. Thankfully, I got the setting of the time clock down, and then he tried to show me how to set penalties, (and with our team, this was something I really, really, really needed to know.)

Meanwhile, beside me, we got a phone from another parent that could load up the scorekeeping app, and the dad was busy getting instructions on how to use it.

Like all apps, it’s pretty easy once you overcome that learning curve, but that learning curve is steep because unlike a piece of paper which pretty much has everything right in front of your eyes, an app has everything hidden and you need to know what button/tab to press.

The ref showed me how to do the penalties, but when he tried to show me how to override the defaults (which were 2 min penalties), to create 4 min penalties (and this, too, would be something I would HAVE to know due to how our team plays), he got confused, like me, and couldn’t figure out what he’d done wrong.

In the end, it’s all about doing the ‘hit this button, then this one, then this one, then this one, then that one, then the other one, then enter a number, then hit enter,’ in the right order.

And for me to do so, meant it would mean reading the instructions as I did it.

Had anyone been watching as I learned all this, it would have been like watching someone in slow motion.

I began by putting my face so close to the time-machine that I could lick the buttons, then I stared at it until I found the hometeam part of the ‘hometeam’ button group, yup, got that, then find the penalty button, not that one, but the other one that says player and penalty, then hit that one, yes, that one, then hit enter, which is that button in grey over there, right, got that, then enter the players number, but remember it has to be two digits, so if it’s #2, then it’s 02, then hit, ah enter? Yes. Enter, again, then, yes, it loads up the automatic 2 min penalty, good, then, ah, hold on, yes, hit enter, again and wait, it’s up on the board!

Score!

Now, to make it a 4 min penalty means hitting another 4 buttons, an arrow key and do a certain amount of swearing, at least that’s what the ref did, so I prayed that none of our team would get majors this time around.

Finally, it was time to start the game. This I realized, (since I’d never gotten around to properly setting the practice time in time) because the ref blew his whistle and both teams went to their bench. I set the time clock for 15 min, as dictated by the ref, and hovered my finger over the start button.

I won’t lie, by now, my finger was shaking.

The puck dropped and I started the clock.

“It’s all easy from here,” the other dad said, smiling, and I laughed like the Joker in that Joker movie about the Joker.

But he wasn’t wrong. Ok, sure I wasn’t super fast at putting up the 100 penalties our team got, but they got up without an error. Ok, sure, I may have forgotten to hit the start button for 3 seconds while I stared off into space and thought of Maui. Ok, sure, I looked like someone taking a final exam to get into Harvard after a long, long night of drinking, but hey, it was all fine.

The logical part of my brain said, see, nothing to worry about, you got this.

The phobia part of my brain said, you need a drink. And a nap.

But, I survived that experience, learned from it in some way that’ll hit me in a couple of weeks after I’m released from the mental health unit, and felt vaguely proud of myself for not running off to Mexico. I mean, hey, I’d done my parenting duty, had a laugh or two with the other dad (who definitely got the raw part of our deal), and did something that terrified me, like any good adult.

I count this as a dad-win.

#Dadwin

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Hockey Timekeeping

fears

Oh, there are all sorts of phobias.

Are you afraid of anything that’s kind of irrational? Me, I want to deal with one of my phobias.

Like all good phobias, it’s not logical, (except arachnophobia, which is completely understandable because it’s a fear of freaking spiders with their spooky eyes and ability to leap into your hair from 20’ away.)

But the fear I had to deal with yesterday was the fear of hockey timekeeping.

At its core, it’s either a fear of looking like a complete moron or a fear of new stuff (or a combination of the two). Being old, or at least older, looking like a moron is part of the deal, (I deal with that one a regular basis), but learning new stuff is hard and stressful. I don’t quite understand why my 13-year-old can reprogram our remote to speak to aliens on a distant planet, and I can’t figure out how I set the closed-captioning to Bulgarian.

So this last Sunday, I was tasked with scorekeeping for The-Youngest’s hockey team (or more specifically, I was tasked with ‘timekeeping’). To say I was nervous, would be an understatement.

The logical side of me (I want to say it’s right next to the part of my brain that says I need coffee every morning), well that side said, “Why worry?”

Worst case, you bugger something up and it has to get fixed. Like, say, you put 20 min for a penalty instead of 2, then the refs will come over and sort it all out, probably rolling their eyes at the old guy, but it would get sorted out, and hey, I’d not be the first one to bugger something up – one dad couldn’t figure out how to turn off the horn last game, so I just needed to chill out, right, chill out.

The phobia side of my brain, (I want to say it’s right beside the part of my brain that says it’s a bad idea to stuff lego up your nose or zap yourself with an electric fly swatter), well, that side said, “Run, dude, run, no one can make you do sh*t you don’t want to do if you’re in Mexico.”

However, somewhere in between those two brain parts is the Adult-Joe that says no matter the fear, you’re an adult so just f*cking do it.

time machine

The dreaded time machine

So, on the day I had to do my duty, I raced over to the booth as soon as the timekeeping area was vacated by the previous parents, sat down, took a deep breath and read the instructions.

There was only one thing I didn’t quite get, but all the other operations had instructions like ‘hit this button, then this one, then this one, then this one, then that one, then the other one, then enter a number, then hit enter’.

Those buttonie instructions could be followed, but I needed to sort out the one thing I didn’t get, which was how to reset the machine from the previous game.

Luckily I was able to find one of the super-amazing-parents who seems to know everything about everything, so I bugged her, asking her to give me a 5-second tutorial. As I did, the dad who was responsible for the scorekeeping (that is to say, the actual writing down of who scored and when and who assisted and stuff like that,) came up.

The poor dad tasked with that job needed help as well, and maybe more than me. First off, he needed a phone, needed to download an app (because those things are not done on paper anymore), and well, that app wouldn’t load up, and we couldn’t sign in, even after we tried time and time, again.

Suddenly, I was thinking I got the better deal, but honestly, at this point, at least one of us (me!) was starting to panic.

And time was ticking away (though there was no official timekeeper), so we went to the rink, sat in our booth, and hoped we’d get things sorted out. The super-amazing-parent got me to reboot the machine, and I brilliantly set the practice time to 50 seconds instead of 5 min. The-Youngest, now on the ice, looked over to me and shook his head in shame.

Oh, Yoda, you know me

Yes, this was turning out exactly like my nightmares, only at least in real life, I was wearing pants and not being chased by a clown with spider eyes!

To be continued.

Part II tomorrow.

If you like what you’re reading, please share, subscribe, comment (hey, what are your irrational fears?)

 

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The Past and the Future – Part 2

Cutest-Baby-in-the-World. Soon she’ll be The-Cutest-Toddler-in-the-World, then The-Cutest-Girl-in-the-World.

The Future

The 2nd part of my amazing weekend was hosting a birthday party for my step-niece (is that the right word?)… aka, The-Cutest-Baby-in-the-World.

It would be a first for both of us.

See, that’s the most incredible thing about kids.

Unlike me, or my 96-year-old Baba, everything is new. First birthday party, first steps, first stumbling walk, first drawing, first school day, first boy crush, first kiss, first robotic implant, first dance, first self-driving hovercar, first book about her Uncle Joe, first graduation… yup, soooo many ‘firsts.’

It’s why I think both parties were so very interesting to have back-to-back. Great Baba, much like me, lives a lot in the past. Not that she can’t have some firsts, like first skydive or kiss from the Rock or something, but after about 50, so much time is spent looking back on one’s life, not forward.

But for The-Cutest-Baby-in-the-World, (who realistically can’t remember much of her life at this point), she can look forward to all the incredible things that the world will bring her way.

Imagine what the future will hold? Honestly, I’m not a great believer in all the gloom-and-doom that gets propagandized these days, no, I believe the future will be an incredible place. I believe it will be different in ways we cannot even visualize. What if this generation lives to be 250-years old? What if nano-bots and DNA manipulation cures all diseases and ailments? What if Vancouver wins the Stanley Cup with a new roster of cyborgs?

Ah, who knows?

Yet, as a one-year-old, I’m pretty sure The-Cutest-Baby-in-the-World doesn’t care about much beyond people who light up when they see her, about tasting something new and delicious, about making her dad laugh or having a very satisfying fart after a good meal (though to be fair, that’s one of my favourite things, too.)

In other words, at her age, she lives in the moment. It’s a mythical place that I cannot go. Oh, I’ve heard the gurus say, just live in the moment, meditate, relax, take yourself away from the world for a moment… but at a certain point, either living in the future or the past dominates your life in such a big (and sometimes overwhelming or very sad) way.

For The-Cutest-Baby-in-the-World, however, everything in your life is taken care of. When you’re hungry, someone whips out a boob to feed you or grabs your favourite bottle it’s way faster than even uber-food-delivery. When you need to poop, you poop – no running to the bathroom or anything.  When you’re sad, you cry, you don’t hold it in for years and take it out on your therapist. When you’re happy, you laugh.

It’s that easy. Life is simple.

Birthday cake? Yum! More please.

So her party was all about her having an incredible experience at that moment. Cake. Lots of hugs. Lots of laughter. Cool presents she can stuff into her mouth or throw at her Uncle Joe. It was about letting her make a mess, about the simple fun of ripping off the wrapping paper, and about having family around who loved her beyond all measurement of love.

I doubt she’ll remember (though we took a bazillon pictures to record the event), but I know, at that moment, she had a good time.

As did I oddly, enough, captivated by her blue eyes and giggling laughter.

She will have such a brilliant future.

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The Past and the Future

I treasure life’s unique experiences, especially those that come out of nowhere.

Last weekend, I had one of those experiences. I went to two parties on one weekend – one for our 96-year-old Baba and a first-year birthday party for my littlest niece. It was the past and the future all rolled into one weekend.

One of my most favourite people in the world

Baba first.

At 96, I can’t help but be amazed at the life Baba has lived.

Born in 1923.

Let’s think about THAT for a second.

To say it was a different time would be like saying the winters are a little cold in northern Saskatchewan.

Her mother and father were children of Ukrainian immigrants, simple farmers fleeing violent oppression, seeking cheap farming land in Canada.

She grew up in a time where religion and community went hand-in-hand, through times when her family didn’t know if they’d have enough to eat over the winter, and in a home with no running water or Google (FYI, of the two, I think I could survive longer without water than the internet.)

She survived the Great Depression, all the sicknesses that took so many back then, and literally had to walk miles through blizzards to attend school. (And me, I complain if I have to walk to my car in the rain.)

So, imagine how the world has changed in her lifetime.

She saw how the world transformed after World War 2, from the rise of feminism, to the growth of suburbs, to the civil rights movement. She would have listened to the Beatles on the radio, watched men land on the moon on her black and white TV, and seen the ushering in of the computerized world.

For most of her life, she would have used a rotary phone, likely with an overly long spiral cord that risked strangling anyone who got in-between you and the phone. For most of her life, she would have gone to an actual store to shop, not Amazoned a blender or a book about bees. For most of her life, she would have had to rely on her memory to recall who was that actor who played that doctor on that show set during the Korean war, not simply spoken her request to the god-like Siri.

I could go on and on (and actually did, but edited this for brevity). This was a woman who not only lived through those times but refused to be confined by those times.

She never finished school, yet created architectural drawings for the church she helped build. While raising 4 children, she helped run a drive-in movie theatre (which I think is super cool). All of her life, even into her 70’s and 80’s, she organized and led her church women’s group, and worked in the kitchen cooking up legendary dinners at the Ukrainian Hall in Surrey.

She is a woman who has never slowed down, never given up, and always finds a way to contribute.

So, for her birthday, we all gathered to celebrate this amazing woman. Married at 16 to a man 8 years her senior, she had four children, who went on the have great lives and provide her with a boat-load of grandchildren who, in turn, brought forth many, many more great-grandchildren.

One of several tables full of family. Great Baba is at the head of the table.

Nearly all were able to come for her birthday. We sang, (poorly,), laughed loudly, watched a slide show of her life with her family, and cried with her as she thanked everyone for their love.

Personally, I love spending time with her, listening to her stories, hearing her history and shaking my head in wonder at someone who has been through so much, remains so positive, so productive and still so funny.

She is an inspiration.

Tomorrow, the future.

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Hockey Challenges 2019

goalie bantam

The-Youngest readies himself for a Canuck-like season

I thought last year would be, you know, the last year of hockey. However, The-Youngest decided to play another year. As goalie. In the Bantam league.

At this point in boys’ hockey, the field is narrowing. More and more boys drop out because of the demands of school, other extracurricular activities, and the biggest killer of having time to play hockey, girls.

Luckily, none of those things apply to The-Youngest. Yet.

Now, had we agreed to drive The-Youngest up to a mountain every weekend and twice on the weekdays, he may have declined hockey, since his real love is mountain biking and skiing.

But apart from the driving time, the cost of gas and ski passes and rental gear, despite the cold and the lift rides and all the falling, the simple fact is we’d have to do it with him and since I haven’t skied in 30 years and would likely break something (other than my ego).

I mean, if I had to get on the ice with The-Youngest and skate for 8 hours, we wouldn’t likely sign him up for hockey either. Add in a 90 min to drive there and another 90 to drive back, and, yeah, I can guarantee we wouldn’t be doing hockey.

But after last year, after an amazing hockey year, the-Youngest thought, why not?

So, we bought new gear since he’d done the silly thing of growing over the spring and summer, we signed him up for goalie camp (which was delightfully free!!!! Since they wanted to encourage young goalies), and we prepared for the duties of goalie parents.

Oh, sure there’d be early morning practices. Honestly, I never minded them at all.

Oh sure, we’d have to fork over money for tournaments and gifts for the coaches and bribes for the refs, (wait, no, sorry, no bribes, nope I never said that.)

Oh sure, we’d have to do something terrifying like scorekeeping or socializing (that latter very hard on an old introvert like me who knows nothing about how the Canucks are doing – though if I go with the old, they suck, I’m pretty safe).

It’s easy winning all the time. And fun. But what if that’s not how a season goes.

But it would all be worthwhile if The-Youngest has fun. Because, by having fun he would not only, you know, have fun, but continue to learn about teamwork, about sportsmanship and about trying your hardest. And with a good coaching team, he’d learn about being a good man as well.

This year, though, he will have another value tested.

Losing.

Last year, they were tournament champions twice and came second in the Langley Cup (beaten by a better team).

This year?

Well, 10-2 loss in the first game, and an 8-1 loss in the second.

On the plus side, unlike last year when I asked, how’d you do? and he said, “I got bored sometimes. I only had to stop 2 or 3 shots,” this year, he’s looking at 30+ shots each game, multiple rebounds he’s going to have to stop, and snipers who can rocket a shot over his shoulder when he’s in the butterfly position.

Now, being a writer, and a teller of stories, these are starts from which great legends are born. The underdog team, struggling at the beginning, somehow manages to come together and win the final game, learning about life, values and the importance of having a hidden superstar on the team like in Bad News Bears.

We’ll see what happens.

It’ll be …. Interesting. Stay tuned.

 

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Day 8 The Last Hours of the Last Day

Like NASA, so much had to go right to make sure it all didn’t blow up in our faces.

We’d not seen everything there was to see at the Kennedy Space Center and (The-Youngest would like to point out), we didn’t do the only ride there (a shuttle launch simulation.)

But we had to get on the road. We were about ½ an hour behind what was already a tight schedule. To make it, we would need the luck of the Irish to catch our flight.

Basically, we had to have no problems on the road, no problems turning in the car, no problems at the check-in counter, and, lastly, no problems going through security.

Easy, right?

By the time we pulled out onto the highway, even I was stressed, and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World kept checking her watch like a terrorist wearing a bomb vest about to go off.

I drove as fast as I could without being super crazy. The roads in Florida are Albertan in their straightness, and a huge hill in Florida is about the height of our car. So we made good progress and we blazed through the toll stations (not stopping to pay because we had a pass that captured our rental car’s license plate and we’d be charged later).

We made it to the airport at 4.

The first hurdle overcome!

Thanks to the superior navigating team of The-Youngest and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, we didn’t make any mistakes finding the rental-car parking lot. And, as we pulled in, someone came out immediately to check the car in. Alamo did a fantastic job speeding us through the process. A quick read of the mileage, a quick check for damage, and we were in the airport by 4:15.

Second hurdle overcome.

We found the counter for Alaska Airlines and, again, everything went smoothly, the woman behind the counter ensuring we found seats together – and even upgraded us to the comfy-seat section (not first-class but apparently the seats had more legroom.)

Third hurdle overcome!

It was about 4:45 when we reached the security line, a line as long as any in Disney World and with far less fun at the end (unless you enjoy your bags being scanned, opened, and your bottled water taken). Without slowing, we got in line and waited because, at that point, that’s all you can do. Passports were pulled from backpacks, water was thrown out, and The-Oldest kept his eye out for a piano.

It took a while to get through the various stations. Passport control (where I always look guilty of something for some reason), then the baggage check (where I always forget I left something in my carryon like suntan lotion) and finally the human scanner (where I have to enter, beltless, holding up my pants like a failed German general in Hitler’s kangaroo court).

But we played the lines like pro’s (and very un-Canadians), leaping into one that just opened up by the baggage scanners.

We’d cleared security by about 5:45.

We’d cleared our last hurdle with a good hour to spare.

Huzzah, I say, Huzzah!

Stress melting away, we ate in the food-court, looking like people with peanut allergies surviving eating 10 peanut butter sandwiches. Due to time constraints, this was the only meal we’d had since breakfast, 7 hours earlier.

As we boarded our plane, only one problem

remained. We had a tight turnaround for our connecting flight in Seattle. Everyone said it wouldn’t be a problem, but then everyone thought the new Star Wars movies would be awesome.

In the end, like any good story, it all worked out

But the luck of the Irish was indeed with us as we arrived at the Seattle Airport 20 mins ahead of schedule! I credit The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World (for using her mystic power to bend the world to her will.) I suspect she may have promised the dark gods a sacrifice of a chubby, nerdish husband, but that’s another story.

This story, however, ends well, with us arriving home at about 3am, very tired, very happy to sleep in our own beds. It had been a perfect end to an epic trip.

A final few blogs remain, blogs I’ve promised. Stay tuned!

 

 

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Day 8 – The Day That Broke the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World

NASA awaits!

Now you have to understand. The Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World is the most easy-going, fun-loving, goofy, giggly, accepting, loving, tolerant patient, understanding, funny, and positive person I know.

But not by the end of this day, the Day That Broke the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World.

In hindsight, we fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is “Never get involved in a land war in Asia,” but only slightly less well known is this: “Never go in against a Sicilian, when death is on the line!” Or, the much lesser know, trying to do too much in one day, especially with a need to be at an airport at a specific time.

See, we’d planned to get up, drive out to the Kennedy Space Center, on a Sunday, see all we could see, then, casually drive back, looking at all the lovely Floridian scenery.

The plan faulted at the start, with no one super keen to get up, eat and get on the road. So, instead of arriving there at 10, we got there at 12. Not a big deal, I thought. Our flight was at 7, and we had to be there about 5, so taking two hours to drive there, say 2 ½ to include parking and me taking the wrong exit off the freeway… that left, ah, wait, 12 minus 5, minus, uhm 2 ½, carry the two, errrrrhm, about 2 ½ hours there. Plenty of time, right?

Wrong.

But that time crunch was only a part of what broke The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World. That stress of having to do stuff quickly was bad enough, but all of the waiting in line had to be outside in the scorching heat of the Florida summer sun!

Plus, on a Sunday, in the middle of the day, the crowds were thick and nasty.

It began well enough as we raced (and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World HATES racing) past the JFK Monument to the entrance, past all the cool rockets on display outside, to stand in line for the Heroes and Legends Museum. It was hot, and while it wasn’t humid, the heat cooked us like a turkey at thanksgiving.

In the line, I became Chatty-Joe for some reason and we talked with a nice, wheelchair-bound lady Floridian who was originally from Bawston, her accent still thick and delightful. We met two guys from Kentucky who were very outgoing and entertaining, and one fellow from California who seemed like a very nice young man. (Good lord, when did I get old????)

Inside, the museum was extremely well put-together but we moved through it like coffee through my colon. Pictures were taken, one plaque was read but I’m pretty sure The-Youngest fondled everything in the building. Twice.

By the time we left, it was 1ish. We had found out that the big tour, the one where you get on a bus and see the launch sites and the big Saturn rockets took about 45min. That was doable, since we would finish about 2, and needed to leave by 2:30.

So we got into line. We could do this, I said, perhaps blindingly optimistic, but while we stood in the heat, again, sweat running down my back, The-Youngest took this time to start acting up. I have no idea why. The-Oldest will stoically endure anything, but The-Youngest, the moment he gets his nose out of joint at something, he can be a bit of a challenge.

We almost called it at that point, but we’d stood in line for about 15 min and we had that weird choice where you invest a ton of time in something that abandoning it seems like a failure, yet other factors (the heat, the time stress and, now, The-Youngest) seemed to make leaving a good idea.

This is the moment that The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World broke. Unlike me when I break, there’s not a lot of swearing and stomping of feet, she just frowns and withdraws. Instead of her normal chatty self, she’s monosyllabic. Instead of having a cheerful air, she radiates murderous discontent.

Being me, I wanted to fix it, but I was way, way too late on that one. Like realizing I should have put on suntan lotion at 9am, not after 8 hours in the sun.

But she was still determined to see the rockets. We still had enough time, and the bus would have A/C.

The countdown to launch clock, or our clock as we ran out of time

At about 1:45, we got on the bus. 45 min to finish, that left us at 2:30. Tight, but we could still get to the plane on time.

The actual tour was fantastic, with a grumpy old bus driver taking us past the launch sites, the MASSIVE vehicle assembly building, and even an alligator lurking in the water. I took lots of pictures while The-Youngest came out of his funk and gaped at all the rockets.

It really is a fantastic tour and I would highly recommend it, and when the tour ended it, was 2:35.

Good, right?

No, because the tour didn’t end at the main site, (where our car was), oh, no, it ended in the building with the Saturn Rocket, and we had to take a bus to get back.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, now in DESPERATE need of a bathroom, gave me a look that said, “if there’s a cliff, I’m pushing you off it,” but I was still hopeful. All we had to do was race through the building and get to the bus.

Only one problem! There was no direct route. We had to go through the space shows, normally very interesting histories of what happened or recreations of the space launches in the control room, but when you’re already behind schedule the inability to race through the damn place was super, super stressful.

However, after we cleared the first room, I went up and asked an attendant if we could just skip this and go through ‘that there door,’ like my life depended on a yes answer. She did say yes and we moved with astonishing speed through the building, ignoring astronaut memorials, cool suits to touch, and even another control room where it looked like we could control stuff.

By the incredibly huge Saturn rocket, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World found a bathroom, but like all women’s bathrooms, there was a huge wait. Bouncing from foot to foot, she waited while a family of 10 decided to have a chat in one of the stalls, all the while our clock ticking down.

The-Boyz mugging it up on the ass-end of the Saturn Rocket. That rocket is HUGE!

While The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World nearly exploded waiting for a toilet, The Boys and I wandered around the Saturn rocket. Honestly, you wouldn’t believe how big that thing is, and looking at it, walking along its length, it hits home just how incredible this achievement was. Putting a man on the moon was one of the most epic moments in history and those going up into space risked their lives to accomplish something extraordinary.

When we finally took the bus ride back to the main site, ran through the space center like we were being chased by rabid dog zombies, and reached our car, it was 3:07. We were now seriously behind schedule and in danger of missing our flight.

Everything had to go our way not to make this one of the biggest traveling mistakes I’ve ever made.

 

 

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