I had a crazy-busy week at work last week, spending a whopping 73 hours away from home (and my family) from Wednesday to Sunday, as we hosted the annual gathering of WCACYM (Western Canadian Association of Catholic Youth Ministers). While it was a wonderful week of faith and fellowship, I was understandably excited to get home to Gail and the kids at the conclusion of the conference on Sunday evening.
The much-anticipated reunion was delayed by another hour as I attended Mass at St. Paul’s before finally walking into the house just before 8pm. Thankfully, the 4 of them recognized me and allowed me to sit at the dinner table with them.
As we ate, I told the kids that we would do whatever they wanted to do before they went to bed. To my pleasant surprise, the agreed that they wanted to play our brand new Monopoly (the NHL Collector’s Edition). So after a quick meal and even quicker clean-up, we opened the game and started the slow process of unwrapping all of the materials: the tokens (skate, puck and Zamboni instead of horse, hat, and car), the structures (arenas and luxury boxes instead of hotels and houses), the cards (Western and Eastern Conference cards instead of Chance and Community Chest), the property cards (Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens instead of Boardwalk and Park Place), and of course, the money.
Kayla helped me painstakingly divide up $1,500 to each player (comprised of the traditional 2 $500s, 2 $100s, 2 $50s, 6 $20s, 5 $10s, 5 $5s, and 5 $1s) and then I re-read the rules as a refresher. For the sake of simplicity, I decided against introducing mortgages into the game, and I even skipped the auction process for un-purchased property.
As I explained how to play to the boys, I knew I could be in for a long night. While Sean picked up the concepts quite easily, Jake seemed more interested in how to get thrown into jail.
By the time I added in the “Rules for a Short Game”, it was just past 9pm. Finally, we were ready to go. And yes…I realize that it was a school night.
Things started off fine, with Sean and I buying up whatever property we could. Sean was quite creative and clever actually, as he tried to negotiate and bargain with both Jake and me to trade properties (as part of the “short game” we each started with 3 title deed cards). Kayla insisted on rolling the dice and moving the tokens for all of us, regardless of whose turn it was (at least she was working on her addition and counting skills). Meanwhile, Jake inexplicably saved all of his money…perhaps because he didn’t understand how to win the game. Or so I thought.
At exactly 9:11pm, a mere 10 minutes after starting, Jake yawned and said he was going to bed, signalling the end of the game. Incredulously, I watched Jake go upstairs and Sean leave the table to set up NHL 11 on the Xbox, leaving me to clean everything up.
Total set-up time = 30 minutes.
Total playing time = 10 minutes.
Total clean-up time = 5 minutes.
Percentage of “Monopoly” time actually spent playing the game: 22%.
As I put everything back in the box, I gave a quick count of cash on hand at the end of the game. I chuckled to myself as I realized that Jake actually won our mini-game of Monopoly. Maybe there was method to his madness!
More importantly, I was grateful to spend some quality time with the kids after so much time away.
Even if I lost to a 7 year-old who didn’t know how to play.