Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Perfect Day

A perfect day, somewhere not terribly dissimilar from Painesville Township
So sayeth Weather Underground this evening:

Independence Day
A chance of showers and thunderstorms in the morning...then showers and thunderstorms likely in the afternoon. Highs in the lower 80s. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.

Wednesday Night
Showers and thunderstorms likely. Lows in the mid 60s. West winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.

Normally, this plus the fact that I have to put in an afternoon shift might put a damper on my July 4, but I am kind of in the afterglow of that rarest of rarities: the Perfect Day, which seems to make pretty much anything in the days immediately afterward A-OK. At least so far.

Yesterday was probably the best day of the year: a culmination of every factor being just about "right" from the moment I awoke to the time I went to bed.

It was a gorgeous day out: cloudless, breezy and warm. I spent some extra time in the morning puttering around the condo in no particular hurry with the windows and front door open, and the upstairs curtains fluttering strongly in the breeze, psyching myself up for the one thing that had to be done that day: this year's E-check.

I'd been dreading this day for a little while now, especially after the last time I had this procedure done and went through a little mini-carnival of Hell just trying to get the freaking thing looked at (for those that don't remember, you can read all about it here and here), much less getting a "pass" certificate. At a little bit after noon, I'd finally enough of delaying the inevitable and took the long drive out to Painesville Township to face the demon once again ... and win.

You see, on this perfect day, there were no unpleasant surprises whatsoever: after I got to the facility and let the car cool down for a few minutes while I read a bit in the sunshine, I managed to pass inspection the first time through. Yesss!! This was a particularly sweet victory as I do have a current issue with my exhaust system in the form of a small (but audible) leak just in front of the catalytic converter. Wunderbar, eh?

Unlike 2005, however, I was only going to dealing with a repair shop I trusted (Cal's Marathon in Mentor On-The-Lake) instead of the jokers at Conrad's. Once he located the problem, Cal advised to test the car first as the repair would be pretty expensive by nature of where it was. I admit that I wasn't extremely wild about this idea since having to do the same things over and over again is a royal pet peeve of mine, but Cal was right: the problem did not impact the test at all and I saved a ton of money that I was fully prepared to spend. Yee-ha!

Climbing back into the car and easing down Route 20 afterward felt very sweet indeed, and I had a nice leisurely drive home through miles of rolling hills and sunlit green fields: a drive which reminded me very powerfully of the summers of 1988 and 1989, when such relaxing, aimless cruises in these surroundings were commonplace for me as I was either on the way to my friend Rob's house in Concord or simply tooling around the countryside with the music blaring and nothing better to do. A time when time itself was not an enemy, but a luxury. (note to self: bring some music next time)

Then there was a splendid night at the Jake as Sarah and I took in the last Indians home game for the next 2 weeks. In my elated mood and in the midst of this heavenly weather, going to the ballpark seemed like the perfect way to cap it all off, and it was. This time out, we sat high up in the "upper boxes" a couple of stories above the field, gazing down upon the action from section 559. I even took a walk around the sixth inning in search of something to keep me warm as the setting sun cooled the breeze, taking a few moments to enjoy a few looks around the Cleveland skyline and tranquil Lake Erie glittering in the distance.

As for the game itself, pretty much everything you could ask for was on display: Rafael Perez put on one of the best defensive pitching performances with the bases loaded and no one out that I have ever seen, there was plenty of hitting, some nice defensive work, and even a towering grand slam to top off the experience. There was even a damn impressive "Rock N Blast" fireworks display afterwards that lit up the skies and sent us home with satisfied smiles on our faces (though quite frankly, the less said about "Cleveland's Favorite Son" Michael Stanley having to show up and very obviously lip-sync through "My Town," the better).

So, again: an absolutely perfect day. End to end. Wall to wall. Ceiling to floor. Lemme tell you, I'm beginning to really enjoy these Mondays off ...