Monday, May 12, 2008

St. Louis trip

The trip to St. Louis was interesting. I can't remember if I've mentioned this in other posts, but my family is kind of odd in that everyone gets along. We really are an example of how divorces can be amicable. When my mother had asked me to come to St. Louis, I kind of felt like my father would be left out. He was coming all the way from SC to see me in the race, and then to have to turn around a day later. I don't know, it just didn't seem fair to me. So this was one reason why I invited him on the trip. Plus, I knew he would have a good time.

Even though my father and my mom's husband "bonded" on this trip, they still acted like an old married couple while driving, bickering about which direction was best to take. My father is old school and believes a road map is best, while my mom's husband is into technology and is all about GPS receivers. Well, the directions the GPS gave and the one my father gave to St. Louis were different and mileage was not similar. We wound up taking the GPS directions despite it being longer which my mom's husband had said was shorter. Later on, the GPS directions would be wrong since it didn't take into account all the construction.

We reached St. Louis last Sunday evening. We checked into the hotel which was really nice. It was like a little apartment with a loft above and supplied with everything you needed. My dad and I stayed on the bottom floor while my mom and her husband stayed in the loft. We weren't there for long since we met my mom's husband's oldest son (D.), wife (A.), and his 4 year old daughter for dinner at an Italian restaurant. Everyone was thrilled to meet me finally. There had been a running joke that I really didn't exist since it had been something like 5 or so years since D. and A. had been married, and they'd never met me. Both were very nice people and we all chatted about various things. I took a liking to A. who seemed incredibly personable. D. was very scientific and it was obvious that he liked to talk about himself a lot. Not that it was bad, he had a lot of interesting stuff to say.

By the end of the night, we were pretty beat. I did not sleep well that night, waking up numerous times. The next day we planned a trip to the
Botanical Garden. It was absolutely beautiful there. I loved all the gardens and the Koi fish! I was a lot of fun feeding them and taking photos of their gaping mouths!
Here's a snapshot of some pretty tulips.

If you want to see the rest of the photos from this place, you can go to my photo album here

That afternoon, we did a little shopping at the REI store since there was a sale. We also had to stop at a pharmacy for ear plugs for my mom's husband since my dad was snoring kind of loudly. His snoring and sleep apnea are significantly better (he had his uvula removed last year), but he still has some trouble.

That evening, we met D. and A. at their house for a homemade dinner. My dad insisted we bring something there, so we stopped at Whole Foods and bought a Black Forest Cake. The meal was nice. A., my dad, and I talked a lot. A. said how she wished that me and my step-sister, M. could come to St. Louis sometime during the summer. Although the idea is nice, I still had reservations about it. The rest of the night, we all shared more stories and then headed back to the hotel.

On Tuesday morning, I decided to see how I'd feel doing the bike and the elliptical at the fitness room in the hotel. Surprisingly, it was not that bad. My soreness was going away, slowly but surely. That day, we planned on going to the
zoo. I had been to this zoo over 10 years ago but hadn't been since. It really is quite a nice zoo, and the animals there did seem happy. A. and her daughter met us at the zoo. I'm not quite sure but the topic of me and going to medical school came up. It's not the first time during this trip that it did, it was just the first that was directly asked at me.

Anyway, here's a picture of one of the elephants:

If you want to see more photos from the zoo, you can click here.

In the evening, we went out to a nice restaurant where we met A.'s mother and father. Both were very friendly and asked me lots of questions about the race and my job with the dogs. After 3 or so hours, we left the restaurant and made our way back to the hotel. It took us quite awhile since GPS was wrong this time with all the construction going on. One of the main interstate roads was completely closed coming in all directions. We eventually stopped at a place where we saw a lot of police cars. My mom was so worried they were on a drug or robbery bust. They ended up being friendly and helped direct us back to the hotel. Apparently, we were not the first people to get lost and have used a GPS which kept saying the wrong thing!

The next day, we left and headed back to my place. We stopped for an early dinner, and then we all parted ways. My dad stayed with me and left the next morning. My mom and her husband stayed in a nearby hotel and also left the next day.

Overall, I think everyone had a nice time. It was good to get a chance to spend time with my parents, meet D. and A and see St. Louis again. I had remembered liking the city a lot when I went college shopping and visited Washington University.

Now, I'm back and have to get into my regular routine of things. It has rained practically everyday since I've been back, so the weather has not too great for anything. I did get a chance to mow on the one day it did not rain--Saturday. I'm hoping to get a lot of stuff done this week.

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