A note about the title: It has nothing to do with Christmas gifts. Before one wraps anything, one must actually begin to purchase said gifts. Yikes.
- The parents arrived late Friday afternoon, and after a pre-dinner drink, we headed to Las Velas for dinner. We were met there by Mr. Burns, who took a minute out from his happy hour activities and generously bought a round of margaritas for the four of us.
- We were also met, again, by David and Hugo, both of whom now recognize Mrs. Crappy and me. That’s a pretty cool way to walk into a restaurant.
- We had another excellent meal at Las Velas. You’re not surprised by that either, right?
- After just two weeks off from our own tailgating gig, getting up early Saturday morning was rough.
- Heinz Field parking tip: Although we had a FREE pass to the General Robinson parking garage — thanks to the generosity of Calipanthergrl — we gave my dad’s handicapped hang-tag a try when we got to the stadium. It worked. Very well. We parked in the Gold 2 lot, about 100 feet from the stadium, close enough to have a Wannstache sighting when the team got off the bus midway through the morning.
- We were underwhelmed with the locals during our previous Pitt tailgating experience, but I have to say we thought everyone did very well during Saturday morning’s sprint. Grills everywhere, good-looking food spreads and friendly lot-mates, although people seemed a little confused by the Ohio State gear.
- One BIG difference — although we couldn’t see them, there was a hair-metal cover band set up in a nearby tent, providing a soundtrack to the morning. If we had been in Columbus, I would have been extremely annoyed, but on Saturday, it seemed to work.
- Ushers in Heinz Field aren’t much brighter than those in PNC Park. Once we were in the gate, we were pointed to the wrong side of the stadium. We had to hike all the way around to our seats, a long walk for my dad, who has that handicapped parking pass for a reason.
- The game itself? The word “insane” comes to mind. A little sloppy. Horrible officiating (I’ll never gripe about Big Ten refs again). And entertaining as hell.
- After the folks packed up Sunday morning, we packed up a mountain of food — purchased by us and Burgh Baby, who wanted to chip in even though she couldn’t attend — and headed to OTB for Abby’s deal. A very good day — 500 pounds of stuff for the new Oakland foodbank, a fun afternoon with friends, stuff from the goodie truck and — finally — a taste of Yakima Twilight, Victory’s newish black IPA. Great stuff all the way around.