It's funny how, even with today's technology, it becomes increasingly more difficult to spend time with friends as the years tick by.
Busy with careers, and wives, and kids, and bills, my longtime friends and I try to make it a point to get away for a weekend each summer, but sometimes it just doesn't work out. So when I got a text from two of my best friends since middle school, Rob and Erik, inviting me to a Cubs game this past weekend in Chicago, I made sure I had the time.
I took off from work around noon on Friday and joined my friends in Des Moines, where they both live and teach, before making our way east. Friday night we stayed with Erik's relatives in Winfield -- a suburb outside of Chicago -- and stuffed as much deep dish and beer in our bellies as we could before heading into the city for the Cubs vs. Phillies game on Saturday afternoon.
As most of you probably know, it was a game for the ages.
It was obvious from the start that Phillies lefty Cole Hamels was in another stratosphere. The three-time All-Star and 2008 World Series MVP mowed through the Cubs lineup, leading Rob -- a lifelong Cubs fan -- to proclaim, "Hey, at least we get to watch a no-hitter today," as his team was retired hitless once more in the third inning.
While his statement was said in jest, it turned out to be true.
Save for a couple of walks to Chicago outfielder Dexter Fowler, Hamels was perfect in his outing, pitching the first no-hitter against the Cubs since Sandy Koufax's perfect game in 1965, and the first no-hitter at Wrigley since the Cubs' Milt Pappas in 1972.
As we exited Wrigley, everyone was shocked and excited for what they just witnessed, but little did the 41,000-plus people in attendance know, Hamels wasn't the only person to record a no-no in Chicago that weekend.
As we sat around Erik's relatives' kitchen table Friday evening, filling our faces with Giordano's, I sent my fiancee Tessa a text to let her know we made it to our destination safely.
"What?" she asked in her return text. "What are you talking about?"
Apparently, in the entire month that I had been planning this trip, I had forgot to even mention it to her, so I scrambled.
"I had to have told you," I said. "There's no way I wouldn't have. I told literally everyone else."
That was my second mistake.
Fortunately, Tessa, after spending the better part of a decade dealing with me and my penchant for random acts of idiocy, was gracious in our ensuing phone call, as my friends howled laughing in the background.
After we hung up -- both still in disbelief -- Rob, a husband and father of two young daughters, chimed in.
"Man, you can't even understand the hell I would be in if I just went to Chicago without telling my wife," he said. "In fact, I can't even imagine how that happens. I don't even remember what that's like."
When I got back home Sunday night, one of Tessa's friends messaged me on Facebook saying, "You DO realize, had you been in a relationship with anyone else, you would be so dead."
As I sit here writing this column, I still don't know how it happened, but I do know that I'm one extremely lucky guy to have witnessed and survived a no-no in the same weekend.