Microadventure #81: Virtual Reality and Birthday Fun with Diego

Illegal Burger with Diego

For the past few years, I have been having a lot more 1:1 parties than big parties to celebrate birthdays. I started this with my 60-until-60 project and, like virtual parties, they became even more trendy during Covid.

I’ve especially enjoyed having individual birthday celebrations with my grandchildren who both have summer birthdays. The other day, we celebrated Diego’s 13th birthday! He’s officially a teenager!

My tradition for the past few years has been to take them to lunch and shopping at the Flatirons Mall where we go on a little shopping spree for their birthday presents.

This year Diego picked Illegal Burger for the lunch portion of our celebration. This was a burger joint I’d never been to before… always an advantage for a Microadventure!

Yummy Burger!

Another tradition is to pig out and have the silly pig-out picture!

Speaking of traditional pictures, we also have to get the silly photo booth pictures in the mall.

Photo Booth pictures from last year and this year

I have my “Carpe Diem” journal where I record the birthday boy’s “favorites” (foods, songs, hobbies, etc.) and when I opened up my book, I found our photo booth pictures from last year!

In previous years, Diego would head right to Game Stop for his shopping, but this year, we went to Dick’s Sporting Goods first where he checked out the Avs T-Shirts and caps. The Colorado Avs won the Stanley Cup this year and Diego is both an Av’s fan and a hockey player himself!

Diego picks out a Stanley Cup T-Shirt

Diego still had enough money for a video game, but instead he wanted some skateboarding shoes.

“Shoes?” I asked. “Don’t your parents buy your shoes? Are you sure you want to spend your birthday money on shoes?” I remember Scotty, even as an adult, adamantly being against getting clothes or shoes as gifts. But then, it shows in Scotty’s ragged wardrobe and shoes full of holes that clothes and shoes have never been a priority for him. It’s good to see that Diego is pickier about his appearance.

Diego picks out some cool new checkered shoes.

The next portion of our adventure is the most unique.. something neither of us had done before: A Virtual Reality Roller Coaster!

I actually had only experienced Virtual Reality one other time — with Scotty at an Escape Room convention. It really is extremely cool how realistic everything looks after you put on the special headset.

About to experience a VR Roller Coaster

Once we put on the headset, you could pick from a variety of experiences, and Diego, being the birthday boy, picked an Alien Roller Coaster. It was amazing! It really felt like we were going up and down and from side-to-side while all these aliens were jumping out.

I highly recommend experiencing Virtual Reality, but beware of this: Motion Sickness! I’m prone to motion sickness anyway and rarely go on amusement park rides – especially those that spin. I didn’t think I could be so affected by a simple 10-minute VR ride, but I was sick for about 4 hours after the ride. I still am amazed by the VR technology, but just like real-life amusement rides, I’m going to stay away from those that can cause motion sickness.

Diego and I tried a little pickle ball after the mall, and getting out in the fresh air helped a little, but we soon called it an afternoon, with the promise of playing more some other time.

I’d been worried that 13 would be the start of the “It’s not cool to hang out with Grandma”years. But Diego kept telling me that he was having so much fun and he seemed to truly enjoy the afternoon. And for me, celebrating Diego’s birthday – just the two of us – is a tradition that I treasure!

Happy Birthday, Diego!
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