Sunday, January 5, 2014

What Pairs Better than Duck Pin Bowling and Greek Food?

So…since you’ve ALL been awaiting more info about our evening out in spite of the snow (as opposed to today when even church was canceled due to the snow) I shall make you wait no longer.

OK, I don’t really think any of you have given it a second thought since I mentioned it previously, but I promised you the info and now I shall deliver.

Every year, for the past few (maybe 6? years) at least, during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, we have gone with my parents (ok to be honest, they take us and pay for it all) to Fountain Square to go Duck Pin Bowling.

And it hasn’t ALWAYS been that exact week, but close enough to count it; the first week of January at the latest.

I make this point because we want to be 100% accurate in our reporting. I was a journalism major after all.

The first year we went, we were in the upstairs alleys, which have lots of windows and a lovely view of downtown.

Ever since then, we’ve been relegated to the downstairs alleys, which are nice but are unmistakably underground.

Totally underground.

As in we might survive an atomic bomb down there, as no sunlight of any kind is getting in.

I don’t know what we did to deserve it, but it must have been offensive.

We also learned, beginning with the first year, that they don’t seem to clean the bowling balls too often…if ever…and you are left with a film of brown “God-only-knows-what” on your hands when you’re finished.

And though it has gotten better over the years, I am on high-alert the entire time to make sure no one touches their face while we are in the middle of playing.

And we immediately make a trip to the restroom following the game(s), hands in the air as though we are surgeons who have scrubbed in for surgery…although we are at the opposite end of that spectrum, and instead are trying to prevent the further spread of whatever disease has transferred from those bowling bowls to our hands.

We maybe follow-up the scrubbing with hand sanitizer.

I am certain that none of this surprises you.

For those of you who have never been duck pin bowling, it is similar to its cousin which we all know (and undoubtedly love, right?) but the balls are much smaller and lighter; they don’t have holes in them and you hold them in one hand.

It’s difficult when you’re on the small side and are trying to roll it down the lane with enough force to knock over the pins but at the same time NOT loft the ball.

Even some adults (who shall remain nameless) have trouble with the “no lofting” rule.

Actually, because I have been doing this blogging thing for long enough, I knew to at least take a picture of the rules for you…because I knew some of you would want to know what they were.

One other difference between duck pin and “real” bowling is the footwear. A couple years ago, Atomic Bowl (that’s the name of the place where we go) began allowing people to choose whether or not to wear the germaphobe’s-nightmare footwear.

I haven’t worn them since, and haven’t looked back. The PBA don’t wear them either (their choice!), but some people in our party elected to.

Mr. Always Random's bowling shoe. Yuck.

It’s not that these shoes are old, but my mom’s pair had a hole in the side. Yuck-o...I'm sure it was from the fungus eating its way through the shoe.

The PBA are definitely improving in their skill, while the rest of us have leveled off…or are slowly declining.
I came in dead-last this year; in the past I could count on one of the boys to be worse than me.

In fact, the 12yo almost beat Mr. Always Random for the championship this year. And let me tell you, there are big bragging rights AND a major award which accompanies the winning score: we have an old bowling pin on which we have written the names of the winners for each year, and the winner gets to keep it for the year.

My dad and Mr. Always Random are the only ones with their names on the trophy. I don’t presume that I will ever have mine on there. I would venture to guess that the 12yo will get it next year. And the 10yo soon after that (he came in third this year)…which then gives you a general idea of which spots my parents came in.

I didn't mean to create a story problem for you there. Sorry.

For the PBA, their favorite part of the bowling is the chocolate Cokes. I may have introduced them to these delightful concoctions. Don’t judge.

The 12yo not really wanting his picture taken.
And if you’ve never had a chocolate Coke, I encourage you to do so. A tip for you however (totally free of charge)…make sure you use a straw to drink it, and also use the straw to give the drink a good stir before you take a sip. The chocolate syrup is apparently heavier than the Coke (this is science right here, right? I think this counts as a school day field trip, don’t you?) and settles on the bottom of the cup.

And while it is tasty to suck a bunch of chocolate syrup up through a straw, it is better when the chocolate and Coke are blended.

One other thing about the chocolate Cokes at Atomic Bowl…the refills are free.


My 12yo had sucked down two of them after an hour and a half, while the 10yo was nursing just one. But, my frugal side told them to get another refill to go (which they did…such obedient boys) and took them home to put in the fridge and enjoy the next day.

Don’t judge.

And now, because my dad likes to take artsy photos and frankly the quality is much better than what I was able to take with my iPhone, here are some better pictures to capture the event.

The 10yo trying to will the ball to move by wildly gesticulating.

This was one of my was after I had rolled one ball...and yes, the one in the middle is the front pin. I have no idea how I managed this kind of split, and most-assuredly could never accomplish it again.

The alleys through a fish-eye.
Now, after dinner, we go down the block (BTW we’ve never walked it…always driven, because it’s either too cold, too snowy, or a combination thereof) to a FABULOUS little place called Santorini’s Greek Kitchen.

I don’t know why we don’t go there more often. Oh, that’s right…because we hardly ever go out to eat. But seriously, if you like Greek food, this place is the best.

And as an aside, if you are looking to save some money, the lunch menu is cheaper (as one might expect).

The favorite part for us is the “flaming cheese”…otherwise known as Saganaki. Who wouldn’t love this at their table (ok, maybe someone who has a great fear of fire…I’ll give you that):

So that’s all I have to say about that. A lovely time was had by all! And if you have questions about Duck Pin Bowling, clearly we are the people to ask...


  1. I'm trying to figure out why it's called "duck pin." From your dad's artsy photo, the pins appear to be shorter and fatter than regular bowling pins. I was kind of expecting them to look like little Donald Ducks.

    Chocolate coke sounds kind of, um, gross. But I'm so happy YOU like it. And that there were free refills, because I do like to get my money's worth on anything.

    We have a Greek place here that does the flaming cheese thing, but it's still Greek food, so I don't go there.

    1. Yeah I don' tknow why it is called "duck pin"...the pins are shorter and fatter, and they are attached to strings at the top. It is a very archaic system (not sure if every duck pin bowling place is like this, however). It all appears to be something of a misnomer.

      Umm did I steer you wrong with the salted caramel pretzel bark? Trust me, my dear...

      Really...not even for the flaming cheese? You could make a meal out of flaming cheese, I promise.

  2. Sounds like good family fun...we love bowling hubby and I were on many leagues back in the day when it was affordable. Nowadays we need to refinance the mortgage to go bowling...well maybe not but close. Duckpin bowling sounds like fun and yes I get the germ thing that you mentioned, in the summer the bowling alley around here runs free bowling so my family and two other families went 2 summers ago, it was fun and yes the bowling alley doesn't lose because we did order snacks and drinks ,,, but I swear I think my daughter ended up with coxsackie from those bowling balls. What a nightmare first a fever (which we didn't notice or (is that bad) she didn't tell us) then a rash on the mouth and hands she didn't get it on her feet and after a week finally she got better...only to suffer 6 weeks later with all of fingernails falling off....eew! So if we ever go again we will wipe everything down.

    Anyway sorry for the rant the germ thing just reminded me of my daughter's ordeal and to tell you that you are absolutely right to be concerned! By the way, chocolate coke sounds yummy ..

    Love to hear about family fun...its always an adventure! :)

    1. Thank you, Marisa, for validating my germaphobia...most of my "friends" on here make fun of me, so thank you for not. Clearly I am not totally crazy. You had me at fever and rash...but the nail in the coffin was "only to suffer 6 weeks later with all of fingernails falling off"...that is eew!

      Yes, don't listen to Dyanne...Chocolate Coke IS yummy. And I don't even drink soda...but I did swipe a couple sips of the boys' sodas. Yummo!

  3. When did you photograph my foot?

    1. You never know what I may take a picture should be paying better attention by now.

  4. oops! Didn't read the caption - thought it was my foot, not Mr. Random!