I feel like there are so many details to tell, so many good things to remember, so I'll do my best, but I may miss things here and there...during the long hours on the different plane rides I tried to write it all down, but I'm still not sure I got it all.
Thursday night I went over to Brandon's after work and we combined our belongings into one suitcase and then I checked the flight again and we - in our anticipation - headed over around 6:15 (for an 8:08 flight). Grant and Dallin dropped us off as they headed out to find dinner. I'd been checking the flights all day and they'd looked great but I remain mystified as to where all the random people come from for flights that look so open hours before. I was a little worried as this flight drew closer that I wouldn't get on, but I ended up being fine, sitting in the last row in the back right corner with no window. But a seat is a seat. :)
Our flight wasn't too long, near about three hours or so, but the weather going in was fairly turbulent, so I was really happy when we were finally on the ground. I've never been sick on a flight, but I was starting to feel just a tinge queasy as we descended into St. Louis. Solid ground is nice.
Once in the airport I texted my dad and he sad he was up waiting at a certain door in the departures area. Note on that, my family has almost always picked up in the departures section because it's usually a little easier and on top of that, the hours when we're being picked up are usually the opposite of whenever there are departures so the departures area is usually pretty empty and vacant. And when Brandon and I walked outside, there was hardly a car in sight. In fact, there was only one regular car (which left shortly) and a cop car. We'd been standing there for maybe 30 seconds when I heard the cop say something kind of loudly. I was engrossed in texting my dad to let him know we were out there so I wasn't really paying attention, but Brandon quickly said quietly that he thought that the cop was talking to us. I looked up at the cop and then back to my phone and then the cop confirmed Brandon's suspicions, yelling a bit louder, asking us if we were waiting for someone. We confirmed this and then he proceeded to tell us that we needed to go downstairs to the arrivals and "pick up zone." We tried to explain that our ride was coming up here but he repeatedly just said we needed to go downstairs. Never mind that there weren't any cars up there and that it was almost 1:00 and there weren't likely to be any people dropping off anyone. He wanted to go downstairs. We tried to object a bit more but like a broken record he just repeated again and again that this was the drop off area and that we needed to go down to the pick up area. Frustrated, I started texting my dad to let him know we were heading down to the "pick up area," but as we slowly walked back to the door along came that maroon jeep liberty. So there we were, close to the door and my dad was about ten feet away. What to do?
Well, seeing as the only reasonable thing to do was to head to the car, that's what we did. We were there, my dad was there, it made sense. But who made a bee-line to the passenger side front door window? The cop. He knocked on it and shewed at us as we headed towards him, telling us that we needed to go downstairs, but by this time my dad had rolled his window down and the cop had someone else to argue with. As the cop and my dad argued back and forth, my dad pointing out that there wasn't anyone else up here and that since we were already here it was ridiculous to go down now, the cop just went on like he had, saying this was the drop off zone, and that was the pick up zone. After a short moment I grabbed our suitcase from Brandon and went to the back of the jeep, knocked on the window to have my dad unlock the door and popped the bag in as soon as he did. I walked over to the back seat door and opened it and climbed in, motioning to Brandon to get in as well. All the while the argument continued circularly without any new points being made, although the cop did threateningly say he could give us a ticket. For what? Picking up in the drop off zone. That's what. Once Brandon and I were both in, after a moment more of arguing my dad finally said, "Well you know what, we're good now, so we'll just go. Thanks." And off we went.
Now, honestly, I did feel a little bad for the cop. He has a job that sucks and he was doing his job, trying to enforce the rules, even when the rules were absurd and ridiculous. But it was also frustrating to see him push a bureaucratic rule in the most silly ways. It occurred to me yesterday when I was writing this down that in any other situation where I've been around an active cop, I've always been respectful and generally compliant and patient. I'm not certain what it was about this situation that allowed me to internally completely ignore that general respect, but it definitely wasn't there. It might have been how ridiculous I thought the situation was and it might have been the repetitive manner in which the cop approached the situation, but even now, I'm not really certain how much power he even had to do anything but tell us to move....
Anyway, off we went to our Drury Inn hotel (what an awful name - I get the reference but I can only look at the name and think dreary). It was nearing 1:30 at this point and Mom and Carina had just decided that they were going to head to bed (Mom had just opened the door to head up to their room) when we popped around the corner out of the elevator. Quick hellos were said and then all went to bed.
Bright and early (though not too early) we got up and headed straight down to breakfast with everyone. After breakfast we returned to our rooms and quickly got ready and rushed out the door, piled into the car (six of us in five seats) to race to the temple (as the GPS said it would take longer than anticipated and we didn't want to miss Grant and Melissa coming out of the temple!). About five minutes in Morgan asked if we knew that the gas meter read that we only had 4 miles left to empty. We'd noticed this the night before but we'd totally forgotten. A quick hurried pit stop later and we were back on the road. We got there a few minutes late but happily had more than twenty minutes to wait before Grant and Melissa came out.
|Cousins of the bride!|
Around 5:00 I woke Brandon up and we got back into our fancy clothes (and did I mention that Brandon wore his three piece suit and bright red converse and looked fantastic?) and left for the reception. It was held at a local church building not too far away. We got there, helped with the last bit of set up and then dinner and celebration commenced. My Uncle Glen and Aunt Doris had been making a poster-board card using candy and we made our best attempt to help make another. It had a few lines and then ended with a hodgepodge of candy. Real creative. ;)
The reception itself was nice with the usual trappings wrapped up in a fun Alice in Wonderland theme. Kyle finally made his appearance about an hour into the reception which ended up being very timely as not more than about an hour later we started hearing sirens and everyone with cell phones got eerie simultaneous weather alerts. We took it pretty lightly at first but then headed out into the halls to wait it out and socialize, pausing our dancing.
Though nothing happened, looking back at it now, this was a really smart move. An EF3 tornado passed not more than three miles from where we were at. For some perspective on this, here's the path of the tornado. If you zoom in on the part of the path just below the words for St. Charles (about where the tornado crosses the river), just to the right of that is another road that crosses the river called Page Avenue. Where Page Avenue heads north and meets Old Highway 94 is the approximate location of where the church building was at. Where we were at. Crazy! The weather outside our building was pretty mad (gorgeous though) but I didn't really realize how close it was.
About thirty minutes later we were dancing again. I requested some West Coast Swing dance songs (or rather, songs that are good for dancing West Coast Swing) and Brandon and I were able to get a little in. Picking those songs unfortunately cleared the floor, but we'll have to work on that....somehow. It would be nice to request music that we can dance to without making everyone else feel like they can't dance...and hey, I caught the bouquet! Brandon then made an admirable effort to claim the garter (cause wouldn't that have been cute!) ;) but that didn't quite happen. Grant and Melissa took off and we helped clean up everything and took off. I've been to a fair amount of receptions and it is wonderful to finally be dating a guy that, while I may still have to initially persuade him onto the dance floor, both enjoys dancing and can hold his own. :)
Saturday morning we had a lazy morning, getting up late and going down to breakfast at a meander. Around 11:00 we headed over to Goodwill (really close to the hotel) and wandered around there for a little less than an hour hunting for treasure. Highlights of that stop included "Moon Shoes" (little trampoline shoes) for Morgan (which she ended up leaving with), an Angry Birds - Star Wars - Darth Vader, and a giant catfish pillow (I had Mom pausing to think whether she could pull it off (she has at least one fish pillow at home) but she decided to opt out and after I'd returned it to it's pillow pile a little boy picked it up no more than five minutes later and his dad laughed and laughed at it and I saw them check out with it.).
|Giant Catfish Pillow|
We parked in a garage about "halfway" between the Gateway Arch and the City Museum and walked over to the Gateway Arch first. Beautiful! We took a quick tour of the museum and then rode the little pods to the top of the Arch to enjoy the view. We'd been kind of sitting on the fence about doing that but I think it was definitely worth it. Down again we walked over to the river for a while and looked at the swollen water and flooding for a bit before heading back across the lawn towards the city. Then began the somewhat longer walk to the City Museum but we stopped to cool our heels and fill our bellies at a TGI Friday on the way. Which ended up being more delicious that I usually remember TGI Friday being - particularly as we ordered a bunch of appetizers and turned it into a tapas meal where we got to try a variety of different things.
|The Gateway Arch|
|Love this guy!|
|Up at the top of the Arch!|
|Kyle, Mom, and Dad!|
|Morgan and Katherin!|
|Pose at the bottom!|
|Enjoying the view up!|
|What the all the ramps and spirals look like from the inside.|
|Spiral up to the third floor!|
|Caution going into the wall spaces.|
|Long slide down to the first floor!|
|One of the several towers.|
|Kyle coming through!|
|Round and round!|
We finally found Morgan and Katherine (who Brandon, Kyle, and I hadn't seen most of the time we were there) and went up to the veranda for slushies and cool drinks before heading out into the booming crowded streets of the evening to walk back to the garage. Everything was lit beautifully with twinkle lights and between that and the crowds the energy walking back through the city was very high and exciting. Back at the cars we piled in and Brandon, Kyle, and I drove back to the hotel and fell into bed after some quick showers to rinse off the grime of the day.
|Awesome mural on most the building (only a few real windows there!)|
Sunday morning blossomed not too early and after breakfast we said goodbye to Mom and Dad (headed to Cincinnati), finished packing everything up, and Kyle and Morgan drove Brandon and me to the airport. Only around 11:30 by the time we arrived, we had several hours to wait before I tried to get on the 2:09 flight back to SLC. We wandered around the terminal and found a nice place to relax and play games on our phones for a few hours. That morning I had checked on both the 2:09 flight to SLC and the 6:40 flight to SLC (the one Brandon was going to be on) and both of them had looked pretty good with at least 15 extra seats on each one. However, the weather in the entire Midwest was pretty terrible the entire weekend and somehow all of the seats on the 2:09 flight completely disappeared. So we settled down to wait a few more hours until the 6:40 flight. And as things would have it, the same thing happened with the 6:40 flight. Where it had looked good just a few hours before, the seats started to vanish. But when I went up to the gate agent he said that I was "on the fence" of getting on. So Brandon waited with me until everyone else was on and then at the door just past scanning his ticket. At that point there were two girls who were waiting who were just in front of me to get on. When the gate agent told them that he thought he had two seats, they jumped up and down excitedly until one last passenger showed up to get on, leaving us all with the impression that there was now only one left. Brandon had already walked down to the plane at this point. The agent asked the girls if they wanted to split up and they decided they didn't want to so that last seat was to be mine! I excitedly walked down to the airplane where Brandon was still waiting in line to get to his seat and the flight attendants stowed my bag in a compartment just next to the door to get on. But as we waited there, the agent warned me that he was pretty sure there should be a seat, but wasn't 100% certain he'd counted the passengers on right. And as I walked down to the end of the airplane, scanning the seats, it became painfully clear that he had counted wrong and that there weren't any empty seats. :( That is the worst feeling, getting your hopes and excitement up and then having it fall around your feet. I waved at Brandon and got off to puzzle out how to get back to SLC. And I'll admit that in that moment, I was a little teary eyed. No crying, but on the cusp. It was just a brief emotional rollercoaster that had pushed me back to working the game. But that's what it is to be a standby. Inexpensive but at a risk.
|Playing games on our phones as we waited.|
As luck would have it, when I landed in Atlanta (at 10:30) I got a text from my Dad saying that the Salt Lake Flight had been delayed until 11:00, but that I was listed. Adrenaline pumping, I grabbed my bags and waited as the front half of the airplane got off (they'd made that announcement about letting people rushing to connections off first, but people hardly ever seem to listen to that) and then rushed off, running down to the stairs and all the way between two concourses to the D concourse, up the escalator and to me gate. Glistening with sweat, I looked up at the board and saw that my name had been removed much farther down the priority list as they'd been calling for me and, since I hadn't showed up, had been clearing other people, but there were still two seats and I was number one on the list. I waited at the desk for a minute and then the agent grabbed my ticket, wrote a seat number on it and I was on. Amazing. I don't think I've ever been so happy to get on a flight.
And then I arrived in Salt Lake around 1:00, Brandon picked me and took me back to his place and I drove home and quickly went to bed. Happy to be there and exhausted.
It was a wonderful weekend full of wonderful things. A little crazy at the end, but I'm so glad we got to go. As usual, there are of course more pictures (and videos) over on facebook. :)