T.G.I.F.- I Hope This One is as Good as Last Week
Second, while my wife's regailing of tales from Mexico might be far more interesting, I had quite an enjoyable time this past weekend.
After I got off work Friday afternoon, I drove straight from the station to St. Louis, keeping myself awake by talking to friends/family on the phone, and conducting the music of the great cinema composer Hans Zimmer.
I got to the Mason lodge about 7:30-ish, where I was delighted to learn that my family was just serving dinner (if they waited long for me, I apologize). For Beckie's birthday, we had BBQ chicken pizza (as good as the stuff at Flatbranch, if not better), an awesome savory salad and Kool-Aid. That is one of my favorite meals as a kid- homemade pizza and Kool-Aid (actually, Flavor-Aid, Aldi's knockoff). After dinner, Beckie's "birthday cake" was actually big homemade chocolate chip cookies with frosting. Dad might be the best baker in the Show-Me State.
As we let the food settle, we entered the gripping death arena of Monopoly, Lord of the Rings Edition. The action was cutthroat, daring, and gritty, but in the end, it was "I'm going to really do nothing but knit" Mom who ended up victor. How that happened, none of us are entirely sure.
After losing, we all retired for the evening, Mom and Dad at the lodge and the rest crashing at Beckie's. Despite my retarded knee (which had been hurting all week and continues to hurt), I slept really well.
There were all kinds of fun sights, like the penguins and giraffes and two river otters playing a rough game of "Got Your Neck." The temperatures were cool (40 degrees or so), perfect for a lot of the animals to be out and about.
Breakfast was bagels, coffee cake, and soda from Einstein Bros. We went to the lodge to deliver a bagel to Emily, who had to drive to Columbia to take pictures at a party, then left Noah in Mom and Dad's capable hands and went to the zoo.
The best part, for me, has been and always will be the cheetahs. They are my favorite animal, probably a fact not widely known among my peers, relatives and associates. I loved reading about them, about how fast they run, and looking at pictures in kid magazines like Zoobook and National Geographic's World. I even went so far as to tell Sarah that if I were an Animagus in Harry Potter land, I'd turn into a cheetah. The problem is that whenever we'd go to the zoo, they'd either be inside for research or health checks, or elsewhere because of "habitat construction." Even on the train ride around the zoo, when the recording said "There's the cheetah habitat on the left," it was lying. I hate that recording.
But we got to see the cheetahs on Saturday, and that made my morning.
After the zoo, we went back to the lodge to relieve Mom and Dad so they could go to the temple. We looked after Noah, feeding and burping him. I had the distinct honor of being the first family member, maybe even person, upon whom Noah spit up. But rather than be upset, Noah and I both had a grin on our faces. I thought it was the funniest thing, if not a little smelly. But who could get mad at this little guy?About noon, Joe woke up, and Beckie had to take Sarah and Kirsti to meet Mom and Dad before going to work. For the bigger part of the afternoon, in between feeding Noah and putting him down to sleep, Joe and I indulged our inner nerds by entering the World of Warcraft. Joe showed me some of the higher level/later game content that I never got to (and might never get too) see, like kicking the crap out of the Orc Warlord Kargath Bladefist. Imagine meeting this guy in a dark alley...I mean, c'mon, he's got freaking blades for fists!!!
Joe also let me play some of his lower level characters, which was like heroin...make that returning to heroin. Not that I know what that's like, I've only heard what it's like.
So then Emily comes home and we immediately delve into the world of Catan with some of her friends from church. If you've never played Settlers of Catan (or its Mormon equivalent "Zarahemla), you are missing out. I didn't win either game, but had a blast nonetheless.
The fun was punctuated with awesome cupcakes from the Cupcakery, to me only a place of legend until that weekend. They are amazing, and will likely become a staple of future St. Louis visits.
So, Sunday. Got to church late because of a certain 4-month-old...we won't say any names, we'll just call him "Boa." "Boa" behaved himself during church rather well. I think I cried and whined more than he did.
After church, we downed some yummy Asian food and took naps (except for Em, who had to sift through hundreds of pics from the day before). After nap time, the rest of the evening was a mish-mash of taking calls from parents of the kids on Tamara's Mexico trip, telling me the flight out of Mexico City had been delayed, that they would miss the connector in Dallas, and that they had finally made arrangements to stay overnight in Dallas. I got to talk sporatically with my wife, who sounded stressed but remarkably positive.
In between phone calls, I tore my hair out watching Kansas almost lose to Davidson, then finally realizing, "Hey, we're better than these guys (except Stephen Curry, Davidson's amazing guard).About 9:00, I decided it was time to leave for work. Said good-bye to a sleepy Emily and Joe and drove the 2 hours to the station, thus ending my weekend journey where it began.
I just realized the poetry of it all. Eat my shirt, Robert Frost.