Monday marked six months of married life for Carina and I. I coordinated with my folks to watch the kids (thanks mom and dad!) so I could take her out for a small celebratory dinner at The Black Horse Inn, the restaurant we dined at on our first date. It was nearly empty, so we enjoyed a leisurely dinner, and had a great time talking. I joked that when Carina earns it I’ll take her back to Hyde Park Grille, and that got us discussing our “best meals”. Mine was a tie between the Hotel Falenhof in Ampfing, Germany, and The Duck (or whatever it was really called) in Milan, Italy. This reminded me, for some reason, of my worst meal: the baitfish that Bobby ordered for us in northern France! I vowed to make fun of him for that, so consider this the appropriate mocking.

After dinner, Carina and I did a little holiday shopping. I’ve purchased a Nintendo GameCube from a friend, so we bought Mario Kart: Double Dash and SSX3. Both Tayler and Tyler thoroughly enjoyed the N64 version of Mario Kart, and they frequently ask if we’ll hook it up so they can ‘play the drive game’. During a family reunion at Carina’s grandfather’s house we all got to play - and fall in love with - SSX Tricky. So SSX3 seemed like a good choice for “family fun”. I’ve got my eye on Prince of Persia, and Carina wants Zelda: The Wind Waker. We’re going to hold off buying any more video games for a little while, though. We’ve got much better things to spend money on than luxury entertainment. We also bought four disc sleds, hands-down the best choice for sledding enjoyment. As a kid, I never had one of these, and borrowed one from anyone I could whenever we went sledding. I can’t wait for the first solid snowfall now, so we can all go sledding together in our new disc sleds!

After shopping we went home. After chatting with my parents for a bit, I broke out the GameCube and ripped open our new games. SSX3 was quite fun, and Carina and I raced each other, furiously trying to out-trick the other. I’m generally not much of a console gamer, but I’m really looking forward to playing this single-player so I can unlock the extra tracks, and buff up the riders. After several races, we switched over to Mario Kart: Double Dash. Oh my goodness. I have fond memories of playing the original Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo, back at the Love Barn in college. We’d stay up for hours, racing one another in round-robin tournaments. The N64 version was also highly entertaining, usually fueled by liberal quantities of Samuel Adams Ale. The GameCube version is undeniably the best of the bunch. The character details are outrageous, the voices silly, and the overall gameplay perfect. They took a good franchise and capitalized on what made it good: an easy to play game with a good sense of humor. The new tracks are a mix between easy and hard, the weapons are largely the same. But the fact that two people ride in a kart, and the fact that you can double up on weapons, and the fact that you can make Waluigi do a little pose that is almost exactly the same thing that our Tyler does, all adds up to high hilarity. I can’t wait to play this game with the twins!

Speaking of the girls, Tayler had Carina and I laughing to tears the other night at bed time. She called out to me, as she often does, for the umpteenth time, desperately searching for a tough question that’s really important to her so that she can stay up (and, failing that, at least keep an adult close to her) just a little bit longer. “Scott, what did they say before they said don’t let the bed bugs bite?” “Who?” “What did they say?” “Who, Tayler?” “No, what did they used to say instead of don’t let the bed bugs bite?” My frustration was rising. “Who, Tayler? Who would you like to know about?” Tayler, quiet and firm, as if it were perfectly obvious: “The Indians.” I had to bite my lip to keep from bursting out in laughter right there. I smiled at her and said “Sweetheart, I really don’t know. I’m sorry.”

Where did that come from?! We hadn’t talked about Indians all day!

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