Sometimes it takes visitors to shake you out of your routine.

Our good friends the Nesbitts – who many of you know – were in town over the weekend and we hit a few spots we either don’t hit enough or had never checked out before.

They drove in Friday, so we met them at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, thinking their kids would enjoy touring the museum and then taking the bus ride around the track.1 One problem with that: there was a race going on so the bus tours were closed. That was kind of a bummer. Two of our girls had done the museum before but none of us had done the track lap, so we were all looking forward to that. Still it was cool to see those Ferraris racing on the road course. We could walk right down to the barricades and were maybe 100 feet away from them as they raced by. And even if you’re not a race fan – which I don’t think any of us are – it is really cool to see all the old race-winning cars that are in the museum. The kids all got to take a picture in a car and a couple of them drive a simulator that looked fun.

With friends from Kansas City in town it seemed necessary to share some of our inferior but still tasty local barbecue with them. Our go-to spot is less than a mile away and does a decent job. But we decided to shake it up and go to a place we had heard good things about down in the Broad Ripple area. It is a dual-concept space, with a German restaurant in front, a large, open beerhall-style space outside, and then they serve barbecue in the middle. The food was all ok, not great. They did have burnt ends on the menu, although under the appetizer section, and I felt obligated to try them. They were the best thing I had as my brisket sandwich was a little too fatty for my tastes and the sides were kind of meh.

We parents were laughing at how it took awhile for the kids to begin interacting. It’s been two years since they’ve seen each other, and although they remember each other and hear stories about each other from us, they didn’t immediately settle into a comfortable space until well after dinner. There was a lot of awkward silence at their end of the table at dinner. As the adults were finishing dinner a few of them went outside and played corn hole, which apparently began to break the ice. They all got in the pool when we got home and it took a good 15-20 minutes before they got truly comfortable together. Something did the trick, though, and they were finally talking, laughing, and running inside to watch Minecraft videos together. The rest of the weekend they did fine, and seemed disappointed when it was time to separate Sunday.

Saturday we went down to the Mass Ave area to show them one of the coolest parts of Indy. There have been a lot of changes in this district in the past couple years so this was just as fun for us. We went into several of the quirky shops and were laughing at all the funny magnets, cards, shirts, etc. Our girls especially loved picking up something that had an F-bomb or other naughty word on it, showing it to us, and then laughing when we laughed. We stopped at a really good taco place for lunch that we hadn’t heard of until that morning. As we were paying our bill we asked our server how long they had been open. He said they just passed one year. We really need to get out more.

In the afternoon and evening our friends the Heberts joined us for a pool party and cookout.

My fellow lovers of music, or just anyone who knows me and Mr. Nesbitt, would enjoy how we delighted at hearing old American Top 40s or Sirius Big 80’s countdowns throughout the weekend. There was much eye-rolling from the wives and kids, which I do not understand.

It was a busy and fast weekend, filled with good conversations and times. It was great to have long-time friends visit, even if I had just visited them two weeks earlier!

Going back to last week, Thursday all three girls had a friend over to swim and then we went to the festival at our old preschool’s church. We really enjoyed the festival this year because A) we went on wristband night when $20 bought the kids unlimited rides and we didn’t have to worry about tickets and B) we turned them loose and sat under a tent drinking a beer until some adult friends arrived. No more hand-holding while either L rides the kiddie rides, or the one girl who doesn’t have a friend there requires assistance. It was pretty nice!

Now shit starts getting real. Every girl will be in practice this week. M begins her orientation cycle on Wednesday. I know the shorter summers are better for retention of knowledge, test scores, and how are kids are prepared for their next academic steps. But these earlier starts still don’t feel right to me.

  1. Side note: my kickball supplier is out that way so I was able to stop in before and stock up on kickballs for the new season!