Woke up WAY too early. Changed the sheets for Dan and Cathi while Rachel did her outside stuff. She's worried Dan won't take care of things sufficiently. I have faith.
Went to our neighbor Marv's place so he could take us to the airport. I discovered he hasn't been on the freeway in years, and i had to direct him to and through the airport. Not a big deal... PHX can be tricky.
While going through security we hit a snag as Rachel tried smuggling a machete onto the plane (or so TSA would have you believe). She had to go back and check her bag, which she worried would cause us to miss our flight. The TSA guy said otherwise, however, so i didn't worry too much at the time. half an hour later they call for our group to line up and Rachel's still absent... NOW i'm worried. I can't board because i'm carrying 3 bags (my 2 + Rachel's 2nd), so I wait. Luckily she showed up just in the nick of time and we boarded without a hitch. Apparently she ran half way across the airport barefooted to make it to our terminal. What a trooper!
During the flight I spent most of my time looking out of the window at the miniature world below, which I always find interesting.I tried napping, but couldn't because i was cold. I didn't ask for a blanket because Rachel assured me they all had smallpox on them. She was getting annoyed because a rather inconsiderate young man in front of us had some sinus problem and kept snorting his nose rather loudly. Eventually he fell asleep, and so did she.
Coming into St. Louis I saw the Mississippi River and that big arch, or gateway, or whatever it is... both pretty cool. We were greeted warmly in the airport by Rachel's grandparents, Pat (grandmother) and Joy (grandfather). Then we headed down to baggage claim and crossed our fingers that her bag (and machete) had made it onto the plane. Luckily for us, it did.
Pat and Joy took us to a nice Vietnamese place for lunch called Mai Lee, or some-such. The food was excellent, but our waiter left much to be desired. Among other things, he served us 1 at a time with about 5 minutes in between. That is except mine, which apparently needed special attention and was especially tardy. But, like i said, it was very tasty.
We then went to the St. Louis Zoo, which was quite nice. I was surprised to learn that it is free to the public. We couldn't stay long because Pat and Joy were getting tired and had a pressing appointment at Honey Baked Ham, so we only saw a few of the exhibits. We saw bears, big cats, the reptile house, the bird house, and penguins.
The penguin house was FREEZING and stank of fish, which i guess stands to reason... they eat and poop it constantly and it's an inclosed space with limited outside ventilation.
I'd never seen a grizzly bear that big before. It's hard to tell in the photo, but it was HUGE. The bird house was really well put together, and was probably my favorite part of the zoo (that we saw).
(i like how the reflection of my feet censor the chimp's genitals)
I forgot about the apes! we saw chimps and orangutans. Both were amusing, but the orangutans stole the show when we got to see one drink the other's urine straight from the tap. Now that's thirsty! We also saw some Amish people! they weren't on display... just hanging out. I didn't take any pictures as i'm pretty sure it steals their souls.
The reptile house was nice, but unremarkable. Others would have you believe I was moved by it, but I'll get more into that later. While Pat and I were waiting for Rachel and Joy to bring the car around, I looked at a display on spiders in the zoo's auditorium. It had some of the local representatives of the spider population cast in resin cubes, a-la Mayme Kratz. One of which was a brown recluse, which I'd never seen before but have heard lots of horror stories about.
Off to the grocery store! Not too much to report here. Trader Joe's. Whole Foods. And Honey Baked Ham! Pat argued about the price of ham bones and we bought a turkey loaf. Now i know why we had to hurry over here.
The trip to Poplar Bluff was long and i was tired. I napped briefly despite Rachel's repetitive warnings of "you'll regret it". We saw lots of lush, green country, as well as lots of family graveyards. I guess that's a big thing around these parts. There were also lots of run-down old barns, houses, and trailers. I wish i had my good photo gear instead of just our little point-n-shoot. I'll have to bone up on it so i can get some nice shots. Luckily i anticipated this and brought the manual.
When we finally got to Rachel's grandparent's place I was amazed to see the house Joy built with his own 2 hands. This place is incredible. While on the grand tour Rachel was showing me the basement where i was startled by a spider on one of the shelves. It was so still i at first mistook it for a toy or figurine, but it wasn't! Not only was it real, but it was a brown recluse just like i saw at the zoo! After rachel and I tried smashing it with various pieces of antique glassware (unsuccessfully), we decided maybe that wasn't such a good idea. It got away anyhow... -1 leg, though!
Outside the night was flickering with fireflies. wow! what a crazy little bug. I'd never seen them before. we caught a couple but immediately released them. I had a healthy coat of bug repellant on, so i'm sure it was an unpleasant experience for them. They really are beautiful to watch... Like the bushes and grass are shooting off sparks.
Finally bedtime. I did my shoulder exercises and hit the hay. That night i had a nightmare about snakes that shot me out of bed flailing wildly, which is odd because i'm not particularly afraid of snakes (except the poisonous ones). There was a painting hanging precariously over our bed in place of a headboard and i jostled it pretty good, which angered Rachel (and because i woke her). That angered me because the painting was fine, and as she used to suffer from "night terrors" I expect a little more understanding out of her when this sort of thing happens. I can't control it.
Tick count: 1
Vocab: bought'n - past tense of "to buy"