After landing in St. Louis, Dad and I gathered my luggage from the carousel and headed to his house. I was impressed by the area of St. Louis that his house is in. Honestly, it wasn't at all what I was expecting. I guess I had the stereotypical city in mind and then we turned down a tree-lined street with lanterns and Christmas lights. His home sits on a cute corner lot with large trees and within walking distance of a park. He gave me the grand tour and informed me that the back bedroom was mine. It was to be decorated by me and was designated as my place to stay when I visit or should I ever find a need to move there. It was a very nice, and appreciated, gesture. We then stayed up late baking sweet potatoes that we were in charge of for Thanksgiving dinner. We sat up and talked for quite some time. It was really nice to get to just sit and chat with my Dad. We hadn't honestly done that in quite some time. We have our differences, but we are working on them.
The next morning, I arose to the smell of fresh brewed coffee and the sounds of my dad saying, "Bubble, it's time to get up." Bubble. Man I haven't been called that in FOREVER. The story of why I am called Bubble will be for a later date. :) We got around early and began the 2 1/2 hour drive to Quincy, Illinois. We talked the whole way about everything from religion, to college majors, to family. It was a loooong drive though. My ass was asleep by Troy, MO.
Arriving at my Grandparents was different then I remember. Simply because I am a different person than I was when I left. I am older for one, so the little things I once brushed aside mean so much more. As I opened the front door, I was greated by the wonderful smells of a traditional family holiday and the warm hugs from my Grandparents. My Grandpa is what one would call a Marshmallow. He gets all giddy and childlike when he's happy. He pinched my cheeks and gave me a big hug. It's funny how you can't pin point exactly what you miss about a person until they do it. Who would of thought I'd miss him pinching my cheeks. haha! I helped myself to some homemade fudge and a diet coke (I know, what a combo.) and then sat and chatted with my Grandma. Grandpa finished up his noodles and then more family began to trickle in. Christine and Rob, my aunt and uncle, were first. They brought along their pug Coco who instantly stole the show. My animals have NO idea what spoiled really means. ;) Wear Coach collars, they will not, for mommy cannot afford them. My brother was next. He grabbed me in a bear hug and attempted to pick me up off the ground. Dork. But he's my dork and I love him. He gave me a new phone that I am super excited about! I love new gadgets. I'm easily amused. My uncle Mark was the last to arrive. He is by far, one of the funniest people I know, without even trying. He told me that I get prettier every time he sees me. For all of you 'favorite uncle wannabes'...BEAT THAT! Tell me I'm beautiful and you'll be in the running once more. We sat down to a HUGE meal and then half the family fell asleep in the living room floor. Christine and Rob left to visit some more family and the rest of us watched Christmas with the Kranks and then played a good ole fashioned family game of Oh, Hell. I'll have to teach everyone to play that cause it is FUN with a capital F! After the last round, Mark had to leave and meet some friends for the QHS Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament. I didn't go because Dad had to work the next day and we needed to head back to St. Louis by 7. Mike had to leave too, as he had a 3 hour drive ahead of him back to Bloomington. We said our goodbyes and headed out the door into the cold. The drive back was just as long, but once again, filled with good conversation. Dad and I ended up watching Dances with Wolves on television and then called it a night.
Friday was interesting as I had my dad's house all to myself for a looong time. He left for work at 8 and I was there alone until after 5. I wrote a paper for macroeconomics and studied for my impending exam. I also rearranged his living room. Haha! I changed the whole dadgum place to when he walked in the front door he just stood there like WTF? We ordered Imo's Pizza for dinner, which can I just say OMG!! People, we have got to petition to get an Imo's. Best damn pizza in the WORLD. We spent the rest of the evening rearranging some more and hanging pictures, cause girls, this was the ultimate BACHELOR pad. The man has approximately zero decorating skills. He had curtains hung in the living room. Straight from the package. Apparently wrinkles are in this season. ;) JUST KIDDING DAD! The next couple days seemed to kind of run together. We got up Saturday and went shopping, went to lunch, got a cat, hung more curtains. Yup...you caught that. Dad got a cat. Bubba. He is a 4 month old, neutered male, domestic shorthair, grey tabby with personality to spare. OMG this creature is insane. haha! He is so sweet and cuddly, but has more energy packed into his little body than he knows what to do with. And vocal! OMG is he ever vocal. My dad needed a little friend like that. He needed someone to talk to besides him self. So 'Bub' as he has been coined (get it, Bub, Bubble...) has made himself right at home and I think that both guys are very lucky to have each other. Along with the cat, I also talked my dad into getting a Christmas tree. SCROOGE here, hadn't had a tree in quite some time! I told him he HAD to atleast get a freakin' wreath or else everyone on his new block would know he was Ebenezer. We got out all of his old decorations from his mom and also the ones from when he was married to my mom. There were quite a few unique treasures that my brother and I had made. Frightening. :) The halls are now as decked as they can be. It makes me happy to know that he has some cheer to look at now. It's not healthy to go through Christmas without a little of it in your house and heart. Am I right?
Sunday, Dad and I got up and went to church and then came home and made a second "pretend" Thanksgiving dinner. We roasted a turkey and had sweet potatos. I made a coconut creme pie but forgot it was in the fridge and never ate any! UGH! haha! We went to downtown St. Louis and got pictures of the rubble at the old Busch Stadium. That was pretty cool! It was sad too; I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have been in that stadium. I saw the Cards (of course!), the Oakland A's, the Texas Rangers and countless others. I love a good baseball game! It makes me sad that it won't be there anymore, but at least there will be a new one in its place.
The flight home. Man, that is going to take a little longer to tell. I'm going to close this one for now. It is time to start the car and get it warmed up. I HATE THE COLD! But then again, I say that about the HEAT too. :) Happy day to all.