Life has officially ended for me today. I thought turning 40 was bad, or maybe getting gray hair, or maybe even having a teenager. Today is my daughter, Annalee's, Sweet 16. She's been reminding me on a daily basis for the last 3 months that I have to take her to the DMV today to get her driving permit. In PA, they get their permit at 16 then have to log 50+ hours of "practical driving experience" and wait 6 months to get their actual license. She passed the tests with flying colors. I'm working this week from home so I tried to use the excuse that I had work I had to get back to and we wouldn't be able to go anywhere to practice. She called my bluff, so we headed to the church parking lot (where else!) and I stalled as long as possible, explaining every minute detail of the controls, how an engine works, the advantage of disc brakes and ABS, yadda yadda. Finally, she asked when I was going to stop stalling and let her drive. :-)
I think I got minor whiplash on some unexpected hard stops, and some sliding on the snow patches that where still there in spots, but otherwise she did quite well with no obstacles around. She wanted to drive on the street so despite my better judgment, she pulled out onto the street and after a couple blocks I had her turn into a development. I told her to put her right turn signal on and she started to panic since she hadn't used her signals while moving yet and so she just pulled into the development and stopped. I'm glad there weren't any pedestrians or other vehicles in the near vicinity! I had her go up a block and turn around, and that's about all I could take for the day. Whew! I think she inherited my wife's driving genes. I'm confident I can override those with practice and proper training. haha
Since the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet says she can't date until she's 16, the rule in our house is your first date has to be with dad...or in the case of my son, his mom...before you can date anyone else. For months I've been telling her I'd take her on her first date the night before she goes on her mission when she's 21, but that never went over well. I've tried the "you can date after your married" approach but she wasn't going for that either. So, knowing that kids will be kids and she'd just go date behind my back, I decided I'd use the Pittsburgh Penguins tickets I just happened to have for the game tonight and we'd go on our date. :-) It was supposed to be a surprise with me asking her out in a creative way, but my wife ruined it by telling her friends who are huge Pens fans who spilled the beans in front of the kids a couple of months ago since my wife didn't tell them it was a surprise. So, it wasn't the surprise I was hoping for, but that's OK.
The game was in the new Consol Energy Center that was finished this last year. It's sooo much better than "The Igloo," and thanks to my employer who's a major sponsor, the tickets I won in the raffle were awesome seats (as always)! My employer raffles off a couple hundred tickets for each of 10 games during the season. The first year I was here they gave 4 tickets per winner, which was awesome since then the whole fam could go. That was the best since our tickets were three rows up behind the glass of the Pens bench! After that year they started giving two per winner, which was fine, but then we had to decide who goes. I've won tickets in three of the four years I've been here.
Since I don't care who they play and I just want to see the game, I always pick the team that's the worst, or in this year's case, the date of the game. I figured right after Christmas people would be on vacation, plus we were playing the Atlanta Thrashers which I figured weren't a team most would want to see compared to the other games. It just so happened the date of the game was my daughter's birthday, but I didn't realize that until I won the tickets and my wife said, "Oh, that's perfect since that's Annalee's birthday! You can surprise her and take her for your date!" Me: "Um, yeah...um, I know! That's why I picked that game!" I'm a loser for not realizing that, although I probably would have picked another date thinking Annalee would have her birthday party that day. Anyways, I think I'm lucky to have won the tickets for the third time since one of my buddies was stoked he had finally won tickets after 5 years of trying. I didn't tell him my win streak... It was a sell-out standing room only crowd (18,322)...as always...and we had an AWESOME time! Here's some pics:
Our self portrait while waiting for the bus...Parking is nuts down there and the bus picks us up within a couple blocks of our house and drops us off in front of the arena. Why pay $20 to park when we can ride the Ghetto Sleigh? Of course, getting home took some time since the buses were also stuck in the traffic, but it was all good.
Here's Annalee with the Consol Energy Center sign in the background:
And a shot inside the Consol before the game:
And us memorializing our AWESOME date after the game. I think I set a pretty high standard that few, if any of her dates will be able to match. :-):
The funniest thing was in the third period when Sidney Crosby appeared to have scored his third goal (a "hat trick" for those even less educated than I am on hockey) and everyone started throwing their hats onto the ice. There must have been a couple hundred. Turns out it was only an assist as the puck glanced off another player's stick before going in. There were some people behind us yelling they wanted their hats back. Haha They probably could have went and gotten it since there's a net around the goal ends to keep the puck from leaving the ice so their hat had no chance of getting on the ice anyways. The people down several rows were probably picking up the cool, expensive hats to take home! :-)
We had a fantastic, very memorable time despite the extremely cold weather, the wind chill, me forgetting a hat, and the 7-11 cleaning their hot chocolate machine right after the game. I'm always up for an ice cold Coke, but not while waiting for the bus to come in 20o weather!
I have an incredible daughter and although I play the tough dad and give her grief sometimes, she melts my heart! If you're reading this, Annalee, Happy Sweet 16!! <3