And so I finally added state #25 to my “states visited” list. As you learned yesterday.
You also all learned that I’m the only conservative who took that quiz and OH WELL. I still love y’all and hope you love me back.
Anywho, this trip? It was amazing. It was so needed. I was feeling so down about my friendships and my jobs and my house and pretty much everything except the pugs and Big Daddy. And this trip rejuvenated me.
We made the trip with two other couples. The W’s, Jeff and Heather, drove separately. B’s best man Aaron and his girlfriend Amber also came, and drove with us.
I got pretty over-excited when I saw the arch while driving in.
Like, windows-down excited.
That evening, we went to a wonderful fundraiser. It was in memory of B and Aaron’s fraternity brother Craig who tragically committed suicide. You can read this article from 2004 for more information. The fundraiser was held at a beautiful glass blowing studio / gallery in downtown Saint Louis. The money from the event went to the Craig Doss Memorial Scholarship.
We stayed with B’s friend Pat, who helped run the event. (The W’s didn’t know Craig or go to IU so they stayed with our friends the M’s for the night… more on that later!) The food and drinks at Craig’s fundraiser were amazing. It was great to meet some of B’s fraternity brothers from the area!!!
I wasn’t a great picture taker. NOT ONE of me and B. Luckily I took LOTS of me and Amber though.
And Amber and Aaron.
Oh and then we had a photoshoot in the car. I’ll just show you one.
It took about 10 camera flashes to get the guys in on the fun. I think I had to promise to stop taking pictures before they agreed to this.
The four of us went back to Pat’s for the after party. I got to meet his wonderful girlfriend Laura as well. Pat was in the Peace Corps in Fiji for two years, and that basically says a lot about the wonderful, giving, dedicated, caring person he is. Laura is no different! She was welcoming and so happy to have us in their home.
The after party was great but I didn’t make it but 20 minutes before I put myself to sleep. Way less embarrassing than my usual “I’m just resting my eyes” move that I try on B in bars. He knows those drunk, sleepy eyes.
The next day, us four went with Pat and Laura to meet with Craig’s parents. They have an area called Craig’s Cove where they honor his memory. They also take pictures of Craig’s friends, family, and supporters there, which they have in an album. We got our photo taken and heard lots of great stories about him.
Afterwards, we ventured to the M’s house. Brooke and Brian M used to live in Indianapolis as well. In fact, B went to Brian’s bachelor party the day after we met! They have a beautiful set of three-year-old boy & girl TWINS (clearly, I died) and a gorgeous, happy eight-month-old boy. Their home was something out of a magazine and I would like to hire Brooke to decorate our house. I’m pretty sure she could make it look at least 200 sq feet bigger and, oh, about a million dollars classier. It was really fun hanging out with Brooke and the babies! It made me a wee bit less trepidatious for when we decide to go that route. In a million and a half years. Maybe. Gah they are cute.
The foursome of men went golfing, and we head to Saint Louis Bread Company (aka Panera… it’s just called that there) with us three visiting ladies, Brooke, and the babes. Brooke then took the kiddos back home to nap while we went sightseeing. None of the three of us – Amber, myself, or Heather – had been to STL before! I was really happy to be a tourist for once, it’s been a while.
First stop? THE ARCH! Gilda (my Garmin) had a hard time helping us navigate the construction-riddled streets and we ended up in a, shall we say, crackhead-heavy area. Luckily they were all sleeping off their crack binges so we made it out safely. And then… the arch. Goodness. It was TALL.
They put you in some sort of Mork and Mindy egg capsule thing, packed full of five people. You become friends quickly. It was probably the most harrowing four minutes of my life.
At the top? Tremendous views. But even the floor is really arched!!!! I had a hard time getting myself balanced. The view from one side:
…and from the other:
After we were back safely on land, we drove to the Anheuser-Busch factory. You know, where they make beer.
We stopped first at Gus’ Pretzels across the street. Do not recommend. I received two cold, hard pretzels while Amber and Heather got warm soft ones. Why do you hate me, Gus?
The A-B (as I will call it because Anheuser is hard to spell) factory was pretty amazing. The free tour lasted an hour and ENDED WITH BEER.
We got to see Clydesdale horses… although it was sad because our guide Andrea made up their names. We heard her admit she didn’t know them, then called one Sam.
And an old delivery wagon:
Then there was the aging cellar where each barrel stores enough beer that to consume it all, you’d have to drink a case a day for well over 100 years. That’s like doing a case race daily. We all remember that time B and I won a case race and trust me, you couldn’t pay me to do that again. Let alone daily.
Then there was the AMAZING hop-themed chandelier that I would like in my home immediately. I love hops.
The brick architecture was so amazing. It almost made me forget that the whole campus smelled like a frat house basement that had been hosed down in beer and left to marinate all summer without air conditioning. Twice.
The end took us on trolleys… (yay for sitting down!)
…where we were supposed to see the bottling process, but it turns out it was down for maintenance. We got to watch a video instead… yipppee.
We went back to the M’s house and waited for the guys to get back. Personally, we were pooped. Beyond tired and nap-ready. We hoped the boys would want a night in.
They were exhausted too, but no such luck. I can’t blame them- the four are long-time friends who never get to spend time together. So B and I went back to Pat’s to shower up.
We clean up nice, do we not? I kept saying to B… “We’re MATCHERS!!!!”
I love me some Fiji. Pat is such an amazing friend to me and B!
We went to a place called Llywellyn’s for dinner. I had an amazing wrap and sweet potato fries. Oh and a Ranger IPA. Natch. I also got pictures of all the couples…
A & A or as I like to call them, the soon-to-be soon-to-be F’s. Since we’re all hoping for a proposal. Because they are so wonderful together!
The W’s, almost a month away from their one-year anniversary!
The M’s, who were, I’m sure, not only happy to see us, but happy to have a night off from three kids! (I may or may not have drunkenly begged them to babysit in the past, so I’m just happy I didn’t creep them out enough that I wasn’t allowed within 200 feet of their home.)
And B and Pat, since Laura couldn’t make it, which apparently makes them a couple.
No picture of me and B. I really need to get better at just asking people to take them!
After dinner, we went to a beer bar that had hundreds of beers. I had some german light-and-easy style beer that I forget the name of, and then a Framboise. Because it’s AWESOME. And decidedly girly but still delicious. The men agreed on both counts.
After a few drinks, everyone went to the Casino, except B, myself, Pat, and Laura (who had just joined us.) We weren’t in a gamblin’ mood and wanted to dive bar it up!
Dive bar it up we did. Hard.
So hard, in fact, that if you ask for an opener so you can shotgun a can of beer, you get not just that but a towel. Just in case.
This bar was called Sophie’s Place. How could we NOT take a picture! It’s our fawn pug baby’s name!
After that we headed back to Pat’s with frozen pizzas we had purchased… at the bar. I’m telling you, DIVE BAR is the way to go!
Like the night before, I may or may not have passed out and put myself to bed. Pat later told us that B fell asleep while being directly spoken to out on their porch. So yes, we are totally OLD BALLS.
Sunday morning, Pat and Laura cooked up an INSANE breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon, and hash browns. I actually died a little from delicious happiness. I loved spending time with them and catching up. Plus, they sent us home with jalapenos from their garden.
Amber and Aaron had spent the night at the M’s after the casino, so they popped over later and we begun our trip home.
I was exhausted. And stinky. And a wee bit shaky from all the drinking.
But so happy.
The two couples we went with are such wonderful people. The two couples we visited are welcoming, inspiring, beautiful and kind people. Saint Louis, you were invaded and it was successful!
What should state #26 be?