I survived, sort of.

It was a pretty good weekend, except for the parts that weren’t. I guess that technically fits all weekends, but at least most of this one was good. Well okay, most of it wasn’t really good. It just wasn’t bad.

Went over to see friends in Indiana Friday night. This is a pretty regular thing, we try to get together every Friday, although we do sometimes have scheduling problems, like holidays, vacations, or illness. We have been doing this for years. Actually, we have been doing it for a couple of decades at this point. We started after college graduation and have kept it up ever since. Even when I moved to Virginia for five years, the others continued getting together. We originally got together on Saturday nights, but moved it to Friday nights earlier this year because it worked better for work schedules.

Why do we go this, for over 20 years now? Well, for one, we like each other. We don’t agree about a lot of things, like politics or religion, but we still like spending time together. We show up, usually at Linda’s house, and spend several hours talking and playing games.

Guess I forgot to mention the games. That is how we started hanging out during college. Sort of. Most of us met and became friends and started playing games there. We had heard about some sort of game dealing with wizards and dragons and wanted to try it. So we found some Basic Edition Dungeons & Dragons and basically taught ourselves how to play. Our DM at the time was not the best, but we still enjoyed the games.

From there, we expanded to board games, especially Risk. We also played other thing, like Rook, Shogun, and Civilization. We were pretty open to playing about anything, as long as we enjoyed it.

Getting older did slow us down a bit. Jobs made it harder to find the time, I lived an hour away from the rest of the group, then I moved to Virginia. But the others kept getting together and playing games. We went to Gencons (before it was in Indy), Origins (I still get to this one as much as possible), and a local game con. One of us died very suddenly on a Saturday morning, a few hours before we got together, leaving his wife and 3 daughters. And still we get together as much as possible.

These days we mostly play train games. We started with Rail Baron, then moved on to the Empire Builder games. We own all the versions and like playing them, but the India version is pretty much our favorite. Well, I am not liking it all that well after the last 2 weekends. My game both weekends was poor to say the least. But that is how it goes sometimes, you just don’t get the cards you need when you need them.

We also played a couple of games of Ticket to Ride using the USA 1910 cards. We like that version because of the large number tickets available, making each game so different. We also play the Switzerland version on occasion. It can get pretty cutthroat, but is still fun. I did manage to win one game of Ticket to Ride, but again failed miserably at the second.

So it was mainly a losing effort Friday night. An hour drive, got my butt kicked at multiple games, then an hour home. Lots of fun. Wish we could get together this week, but the holiday schedule makes it impossible.

Saturday was more fun. I drove to Kentucky and participated in an orienteering event put on by the Orienteering Cincinnati group. It was marginally closer than the event the IndyO people were running. Considering how badly I did, the less time I had to drive to get home, the better.

I do not expect to do extremely well at the events. I left myself get too out of shape over the last year for that. I go to get out of my house, get some exercise, and basically have a fun walk through the woods. But that doesn’t mean I want to do badly on the course. And this time I did. I was doing the orange course and read the map wrong at the first control. (A minor mistake, after all, how important is reading the map at an orienteering event.) So I found the second control first, realized what I had done, and had to go back to the first control, then back to the second. Given my slow speed, this was a real problem.

So I walked through the woods, occasionally frustrated, usually sweating, and trying to find the shortest way between two points. Since I like the straight line definition, I did some of the sections the hard way. It was mostly fun, except for the cramps I had most of the time in my quadriceps. I didn’t warm up enough before starting, and it was a chilly day. They were painful, and driving for over 2 hours getting home didn’t help. Which was why Sunday was not a fun day at all.

Which pretty much leads me back to my first paragraph. It was a good weekend. Except for the times it wasn’t.

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