What I learned on my trip back to the Midwest

Well, my two-week vacation is over. There were many discoveries:

1. While the entire St. Louis area seems to be under some major construction, the city still has not come to the realization that Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is in desperate need of a facelift. It's the first thing many travelers see, people.

2. Don't let your friend put you up at a Catholic hotel if you want to: A) Talk to friends at conversational voice levels after 10:30 p.m.; B) Have your TV volume loud enough to hear while laying on the bed after 10:30 p.m.; C) Get busy without a crucifix on the wall over your bed.

3. A free-flowing fountain of alcohol is a nice addition to the table at a wedding reception.

4. Springfield has crumbled since I left. Wendy's have shut their doors, Brio started charging for salsa and chips, and of course, La Mex has died. The Saputo's baked rigatoni was still quite lovely, however.

5. Despite Nick and Abby's insistence, Little Saigon is not an acceptable replacement for Magic Kitchen. While I appreciate their loyalty and reasons for not eating at MK anymore, still no one has better crab rangoon or fried rice. I can't comment on the eggrolls, but I can't imagine ever finding those better anywhere else either.

6. "Click" is a horrible movie.

7. Really good friends plan major life events around my presence. Thanks, Kels. :)

8. Driving being required to get everywhere you need to go sucks.

9. Shel, Jen and I need to control our mixed drink consumption the two or so times a year we get to hang out together.

10. I lose things. Lost for a few days, but recovered: a watch, a bracelet and a black sweater; Gone for good: black, long-armed gloves that my mom commented looked like strippers' gloves. Hmm.

11. Everyone I know is quite eager to light food and drink aflame.

12. I was irritated about people on the East Coast trying to be healthier when I couldn't find lard here to cook with, but I changed my mind upon realizing that the level of smoke pollution in D.C.-area bars is NOTHING compared to those in Indiana. I was not prepared.

13. Even with the breakfast burrito on the menu at Indy Qdobas, Chipotle is still better.

14. My stomach no longer appreciates drinking five of seven days a week.

15. Driving sucks.

16. It does, in fact, feel like it's been almost 10 years since I graduated high school.

17. Jen's parents still have great couches at their house.

18. Despite his claims, Bruce Barker is no longer "The Piano Man." He should be called "The Playing the Guitar Too Close to the Microphone and Not Very Well Man." Also, the piano bar at the Neon Cactus was apparently only made fun by pounding seven or so beers in a very short time period prior to arriving.

19. Having two weeks off work to frolic about does not mean you will come back relaxed and refreshed. I could still use a few days at the beach. Oh yeah, it wasn't that kind of vacation.

There you have it, my last two weeks sort of summed up. To everyone I saw, it was a great time ... to all the "BB" fans, sorry that I dropped the ball. :(

Until next time ...

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