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And Here I Sit in St. Louis, Again.

September 2, 2013

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I can talk freely about why I arrived in St. Louis.  I can’t talk quite so freely about while I’m STILL in St. Louis.  It’s a complicated situation with a lot of twists and turns, and it’s eventually going to make for a much more entertaining and informative blog post.  I haven’t put anything up here, however, since my LAST trip to St. Louis.  I hate having a nice blog space and not using it.

So, I finally convinced my wife to take a family vacation.  it wasn’t easy, but wife Anna, son Andrew, and I boarded a plane and came out East to St. Louis.  My dear friend Lisa hosted us, and we had a good twelve days of doing far, far too much on a daily basis.

Neither Andrew nor Anna have ever been to Missouri, before.  It was, in fact, Andrew’s first plane trip, and despite some fears and misgivings he managed to really enjoy it.  It was kind of an emotional experience for me, really; I got to involve Andrew in the physics and engineering of the plane the same way my father involved me when I had my first flight.  Andrew got it pretty fast, actually; faster than I did.

The family vacation here was intense.  We visited St. Charles at the height of a craft fair, visited the riverfront and the Gateway Arch, toured Meremac Caverns, spent most of a day in The City Museum and had lunch at Fitz’s Root Beer on the Del Mar Loop.  Anna and Lisa spent hours… actually days… visiting thrift shops and craft stores,  We went past my old house, visited the mall I used to hang out at, and hit most of my favorite places to eat.  Every time a meal happened, we would all smile at one another and intone our mantra; “it isn’t about the food.”

It’s totally about the food.

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I mean, if it wasn’t fried catfish at Hatfield & McCoy’s, it was White Castle burgers (Andrew loved them, Anna hated them), Steak & Shake, or Balducci’s pizza.  There was even an all-you-can-eat family-style fried-chicken dinner at Eckert’s Peach Farm.   Nothing quite compared, however, to the sandwiches at the Crown Candy Kitchen.  You may have heard of this place if you happen to watch much Travel Channel… Adam Richmond visited a couple of times.  Once was the five milkshake challenge (no thank you), but the other was to sample their BLT.  We had the BLTs.  I may never eat another one anywhere else.  You just can’t beat a full pound of deep-fried bacon on white toast with lettuce, tomato, and Miracle Whip.  Adam Richmond, somehow, chose a different sandwich as his most favorite sandwich of all time, and that boggles my mind.

The butterscotch malted was pretty darn good, too.

There was a great deal of very good food had, is my point.  A lot of good food.  Lisa prepared some of her classics at her home, too, and those were all, without exception, amazing.  The peaches that were picked at Eckert’s became cobblers and a pie, there was home-made biscuits and gravy… amazing.  All of it has been incredible.

There will be another post about the downside of all this wonderful eating.

Andrew got a few things that he was hoping to get (although not nearly as much as he claimed he wanted), and Anna got some items she simply could not have gotten anywhere else; mostly crafty items.  Anna was like a blonde Finnish hurricane the whole time she was here, always clearing or cleaning or organizing, all things she enjoys doing a great deal.  It was, all said and done, a great family vacation.

Then, I put my family on the plane and sent them home a few days ago.

There are some things here which need doing; help to be given, things to be organized, business to do.  It’s going to take a little while, this time, which I thought would be something I could handle easily.

I am SO not handling this easily.  There are a lot of things that I’m not dealing with well at all.

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I call my family often; I miss them a lot.  That happens when I’m away, though.  Anna and I have kind of adapted to it.  Andrew and I will have some quality time when I get back, and we’re keeping in touch in the meantime.

I miss my friends; I’m missing quite a few sessions of gaming and my regular weekly time with people dear to me.  I’ll keep touch with them as best I can, but there’s a lot going on here, and I’m super busy.  Folks know that I’m up to my eyeballs in getting stuff taken care of, and that helps.  There’s bound to be some get-togethers and such when I get back.

Where I’m rapidly going into fetal position, however, is the fact that I’m two thousand miles away from my technology.  I’ve put a lot of time and effort into the hardware and software that allows me to conduct business and express myself properly.  It’s the keyboards and trackballs, the monitors and the huge Wacom tablet/screen, the Gigabytes of 3D models and textures… it’s hard to be away from.  I know that sounds superficial and materialistic, and maybe it is, a bit.  I’ve had to really look at myself, and why I miss these things quite so much.

I guess it goes all the way back to my learning disabilities and my frustrations as a kid.  I could never, quite, get the thoughts in my head out of my head.  I couldn’t share them in a meaningful fashion, couldn’t let other people see or understand what I was imagining.  It felt, very much, like I was trapped inside of my own skull, and it drove me six kinds of crazy.,  Well, all right, only two were diagnosed, but it sure felt like six.

From my first Commodore 64 that I had right here, in St. Louis, I’ve come to rely on my technology to bridge the gap between my mind and the rest of the world.  It’s become an increasingly complex array of technology, all of which I really rely on.  It’s personal expression, communication with people I know and care about, entertainment, business, career, and profit.  It’s there when I wake up in the morning and it’s the last thing I’m with before I retire to bed.

You throw my bad back into the picture, and there’s also the ultra-comfortable chair that I use that actually corrects my spinal position and relieves my pain while I’m sitting at my computers.  I’ve had to sleep in that chair more than once when the herniated discs have acted up.

(Sigh)

All of which is to say that I’ve been acting like an ass here, and there’s still quite a bit of time to work though.  My host and dear friend Lisa has loaned me her laptop, and we’ve added a properly ergonomic keyboard to it (hence, this post).  It’s a good stop-gap; a very good one, in fact. I can get some things done.

So, this is a bit of self-exploration, a reporting of where I am and what we’ve been doing, and a public apology to people who may have had to be dealing with me.  Yes, this means Lisa.

Because I’m kind of whiny and useless when I’m away from my tech.

 

 

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