I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon, a day after the official National Play Monopoly Day. I usually like to get this blog out either late on the actual day of the national holiday or nice and early on the day after the celebration. However, we ran into a snafu with this day, which in truth is one of the consequences about the day we were celebrating. Like any good game of Monopoly, ours turned into a marathon. We started playing last night at about 7 pm. We went to bed about eleven and agreed to pause the game because we were starting to fall asleep and make unwise decisions. Then we picked up the game around 10:30 this morning and it just ended at 2 PM. I lost. Oh, and in between our play break, I ran a 5K by the beach in Newport dressed in Santa clothes, but that’s a story for my next post.
When National Play Monopoly Day started, I didn’t expect to celebrate it. It was National Carbonated Beverage with Caffeine Day too and that’s what I was going to commemorate. I had big plans for the day, but did you know they no longer make Jolt cola anymore (at least on the East Coast)? With sadness in my heart, I sadly stared into the beverage cooler at Cumberland Farms until the clerk finally told me to stop looking at the soda because I was creeping everyone out. I just grabbed a Mountain Dew and made my purchase. It was a tall boy Mountain Dew which is just what the world needed – 16 ounces of Dew. But Dew is the beverage I think of when I think of caffeine in soda, so I figured starting my day with the Tall Boy would be a great way to celebrate. I opted for that instead of my morning coffee.
I did it. I did the Dew. I never had a sip of the Dew until I went to work up in Maine and New Hampshire where you were required to drink it before crossing the state line. It’s not bad, but it’s too sweet to drink in mass quantities and I think the caffeine boost is different than it is in coffee. It’ll get the job done, but it’s more of a sugar buzz than anything else. I used to have a bartender make me a Mountain Dewrita (a margarita made with Mountain Dew). That never really caught on, but it did bring you the nice buzz of a margarita with the sugary caffeine boost of Mountain Dew in one sip. Maybe someday.
Because birthday celebrations seem to last for a week in these parts, we were heading over to Pete and Cherie’s to another party for Calix today. He deserves all the parties he gets, plus this one would have some of his favorite little cousins in attendance, which made it a bit more festive. You only turn one once. Cherie put out a great spread with awesome food and snacks and a giant cake shaped like the number one. Calix seemed delighted. My hope for the day would be that I could introduce all my nieces and nephews to the fascinating world of Mountain Dew and they could help me celebrate the day. It would be great. They would love the taste because it’s carbonated sugar. I’d get them all hopped up and then just when they were all starting to come down and crash, Lola and I could go home. That’s the nice part of being an uncle. However, this plan never really took off. Parents like to put an end to feeding kids Mountain Dew (rightfully so), so my celebration plans were foiled. I figured my celebration was going to be limited to that morning Dew that had started my day. That really would have been ok too.
That’s when I realized it was National Play Monopoly Day too so when we got home after the party, I asked Lola if she wanted to play. Then I asked if we even owned Monopoly. Lola was tired, but it sounded fun so she gave me a tentative yes. We didn’t have the official Monopoly game from Parker Brothers, but we did have a version called Portsmouth-opoly which was a commemorative game released locally back in the late eighties when Portsmouth was celebrating its 350th anniversary. It is just like normal Monopoly, but all the properties are local businesses. Better still, they were local businesses from 1988. It suited our needs just fine and it also made us think that Gigi would be glad we were playing this version. She probably picked it up at the IGA or at the Portsmouth Shop on one of her shopping trips. She probably thought it sounded fun. And fun it was.
To my surprise, Lola was not really that familiar with the game. She had naturally played before but she wasn’t that accustomed to the strategy of the game with the hotel building and all that jazz. I realized that she was the victim of being the youngest in a family of five and no one wanting to play long board games with her. Plus, she probably got bored after the first half hour like most people do. So when we started playing, I had to explain a lot of the idiosyncrasies of gameplay. As time went on, I could see that she was catching on and was really starting to get into the strategy of it all. We started out pretty even. At some point, I had a lot of properties but then things switched when I started landing on Lola’s spots. I traded all my mortgaged properties to Lola so I could complete the orange group and build some hotels to start generating some cash. For a while, I had hotels on both my properties, but that was all I had. I was cash rich but nothing to spend it on. Lola on the other hand kept landing on my spaces and had to keep a rotation of mortgaging properties going to liquidate her assets for cash. She had all the properties but no cash to build with. That’s when we started getting tired and knowing that we had hills to climb in the morning, we went to bed and paused the game. The slight advantage was on my side.
After the 5K this morning, we were having coffee to warm up and we decided to finish the game. That’s when the tide started to shift. Suddenly my cash was depleting and the more I gave to Lola, the more building she could do. Within two hours, she had all the properties except two and she had hotels on all. My game was doomed. I was able to stay in it for another hour or so, but when I was down to my last houses on my last property, I pulled a Community Chest card that plopped me back onto Boardwalk with a hotel on it. (It wasn’t actually Boardwalk. It was Napa Auto Parts, but it is the same spot where you find Boardwalk on the actual game board and it still generated $2,000 if you landed on it with a hotel.) That was it. I was done and Lola had won.
It was neat to play with a game board based on the local community. Landing on spots that Lola could tell me stories about (Nadeau’s had a room for stuffed animals, Irving Shoes was where she had her feet measured every year, Ray’s Shell was where Lola could buy smokes underage). It’s just funny to see the game played out in those terms. Everything was the same as regular Monopoly, just different in a fun way. Lola seemed to really start thinking about the game too. She’s really been in a reflective frame of mind lately and that came out today. She wasn’t thinking about how to make me go broke (although she did), she was thinking about the socio and macro implications of how her hotel purchasing would affect the global economy. She was seeing the big picture and was identifying its ups and downs as a symbol for the current political climate. She was really seeing everything in a different light. I may have a Monopoly enthusiast in the house.
It was a marathon. Almost eight hours of play. I didn’t even know we had that in us. But sometimes it’s just fun to play a board game. It takes you away from all the chores and to-do lists and lets you have fun with those around you. It’s fun to be competitive too. I really didn’t think Lola was going to want to play, but she did and she had fun (and she won). It made it a real celebration. I say we start pulling out those board games more often and having more fun like that. Anyone up for a Payday tournament?
Next Up: National Peanut Butter Fudge Day (Santa Hustle edition)