America 2022 – Day Eighteen

She’s got Brazilian leather boots on the pedal of her German car
Listening to the Beatles singing ‘Back in the USSR’
Yeah she’s goin around the world tonight
But she ain’t leavin’ here
She’s just going to meet her boyfriend down at the street fair

It’s a French kiss, Italian ice
Spanish moss in the moonlight
Just another American Saturday night

– Brad Paisley

Saturday 3 September

Less exciting news on the home football front when I woke up: the Wallabies seem like they were pretty thoroughly schooled by South Africa in Sydney, extending their woeful record in my home city. I’m about ready to call for no more Sydney tests, because you’re just handing wins to the opposition. Ahh, the bipolar Wallabies.

Up at 9am this morning when I could absolutely have done with another hour or two of sleep. But no rest for the wicked, I guess. We were out the door at 10am and headed up north to meet our friend Sagar and his kids at a Buffalo Wild Wings (a giant sports bar chain that specialises in, as you probably gathered, wings) to watch some of the early kick-off games on the first Saturday of college football.

It’s actually possible to get whiplash there, because there are literally dozens of televisions each showing a different game, and you tend to look from one to another when there is a big play or a score, sometimes switching back quite quickly. Even in the bathrooms, there are TVs so you literally don’t miss a minute of the action.

We ate mozzarella cheese sticks for an appetiser with a tall Bud Light, then got down to the serious business of ordering wings. I always go for the boneless ones – they’re easier – and I admit it’s been a while since I was at BWW’s, so I chose a sauce that was probably six or eight from the top of the list, these sauces being ranked by heat. The Jammin’ Jalapeno seemed reasonable.

Alas, it was not even close to being reasonable. First bite, I was okay, but it was a slow build until my mouth felt like it was on fire and I was sweating (and swearing!) like a machine. Thankfully there was plenty of water, and the wings came with celery sticks, which really came in handy. All I can say is, if the Jammin’ Jalapeno is midway up the list, I’d hate to imagine how hot the Carolina Reaper is.

Once I put out the fire in my mouth, we headed back to Sagar’s house in the nearby suburb of Northbrook, Illinois and finished watching the football games we’d begun at BWW’s in his man cave basement, which features a very impressive twin 75” TV setup. If only the games we watched were as high quality as the TVs we watched them on!

Before we headed off, we played some baseball in the backyard with Sagar and his three kids. I was pretty sweaty after about half an hour in the sun, chasing the boys’ hits all over the backyard. I have basically mastered the baseball stance when hitting, but Nathan was stuck on cricket, and faced the boys’ pitches like it was the first day at Lords or something! I had to remind him where we were.

Saturday afternoon/evening was at Scott and Kristina’s back in Wheaton. We had some early afternoon margaritas, which Kristina made to perfection – like cider, they are a serious trap, because you can hardly taste the alcohol when you’re drinking them – and watched a little more football. Scott is an Arizona grad, and followed the Wildcats/San Diego State game with interest, before we tuned into the USC game.

Kristina made beautiful steaks with green beans, potatoes and white sauce for dinner. We had cheesecake as our first dessert, then Scott’s parents came over and brought some of the best tiramisu I have ever tasted. Kristina’s folks also came around, which was great because I hadn’t met them before. Lots of laughs, as is standard when we’re at the Weller’s house.

A comparatively early finish to the night: we were home before midnight. A long day, but a good one. And another fun day coming tomorrow.

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