Thursday, September 06, 2007


So after a few weeks of planning, the TWORIVERSWALRUS family set out for St. Louis. Why? Because we were invited to spend the weekend with Erin Hynek. How could we pass that up? So on August 31st, we left my work about 5:00 and headed south for a mere 418-mile trek. Onboard were myself, my lovely wife and our two girls - ages four and two. There was also some junk food.

Erin doesn't live in St. Louis. She lives outside of the city. Could it have been on the northeast side - closer to Wisconsin? Oh no. She had to settle down about 40 minutes northwest of the city - out in the boonies - very dark. On the surface it doesn't seem to make that much fo a difference. But when you've been driving for 5.5 hours, it'd be nice to be done, rather than go those extra 40 minutes. Oh well.

So we arrived at about 11:40 and settled in, carrying our girls up to bed. Erin had to get to bed right away, as she was doing a triathlon the next morning, and had to be up at some ungodly time like 5:30. My wife and I had done our triathlons the week before. So we slept in.

Expected back around 10:30, I think Erin actually rolled in around noon. We ended up officially meeting her two girls shortly thereafter. And let me say, her kids are two of the most well-behaved, well adjusted little girls I've ever been around. Kudos to Erin on her mothering skills.

We went to the mall. We went shopping. We ate toasted ravioli - and potato chips, a restaurant buffet, cookies, and various other tasty, unhealthy stuff. Ah... vacation! I played Pictionary with Erin's girls, batted balloons around, went swimming, and had an all-around good time.

On Sunday we went to Grant's Farm - free, save for the parking. It's sort of zoo, with horses, deer, bison, kangaroos and more. They even had elephants. Not one to pass up a unique photo opportunity, I got a picture of Erin and I (and one of her daughters) in front of an elephant. This marks my first classmate photo with a giant beast in it. I'm sure there will be more.

On Monday morning, Erin's youngest tried to do something with my oldest's hair.

Her big sister then tried to undo the tangles.

When that didn't work, Erin had to come in and fix it. I believe it required scissors.

After the hair episode, we took them out to IHOP for a final breakfast. It took about an hour before we actually saw our food. But when it finally did arrive, it was tasty and plentiful. When we were done, we posed for the obligatory group shot. I'm in the back - the only male in the photo.

All-in-all, it was a fabulous weekend. Apparently Erin's girls were a bit teary-eyed after we left. How sweet. When I told my daughter that, she said, "I was sad to go too." After 18 years, here I was, a guest in the home of a former classmate that I'd never even hung around with back in school. Life is surreal sometimes, isn't it? Erin was an excellent host and made us all feel very welcome. Perhaps we can do it again over another three-day weekend. I sure hope so.