When Bloggers Unite
I'm not a morning person, in any way, shape or form. But starting Friday morning and lasting the weekend, time was not to be wasted abed. I was at the airport by 5:30am on Friday, ready to get my weekend in Kansas City started. I was disappointed by a delay that had me taking off from Chicago at the time I was originally supposed to land in KC- I hated losing an hour and a half of an already too short visit to an airport waiting lounge. I stepped off the plane in KC and was unprepared for Brad, due to the size of the airport, to be right there when I came out of the gate area. He had his trusty camera and snapped a shot, but not before I had time to make a face. We hugged and tried to figure out where baggage claim was. He's taller than I remembered him being. We found my bag and headed to his truck and toward Casa de Lucid.
Due to the delayed flight, Sebastian was already asleep when we got there, but we were greeted by a shriek of "Daddy!!" as Zoey flung herself into Brad's arms. He has described that moment before, and it was very cool to see it in person. He told her that he had brought a friend home with him, and turned her attention in my direction. She was a little bit shy, as kids are wont to be, but a bribe wrapped in flowered paper brought her around by giving us something to talk about while Brad made some dinner. He's a good cook y'all. Even though she had eaten earlier, Zoey joined us at the table and was just super cute. Conversation was the theme of the weekend, and this meal was no exception. When we were done eating, Jen and Zoey went upstairs for storytime, and Brad put on the Sharks game. He went upstairs to help get Zoey into bed, and I used that moment of alone time to slip a thin blue package from my laptop bag.
(Brad comes down the stairs and notices the package)
Brad: What's this?
Me: It's for you and Jen. But you have to open it together.
(Jen comes down the stairs and sits in the overstuffed chair)
Brad: (points to the package) That is for us.
Me: But you have to open it together.
Jen: Like one on each end?
Me: Yeah. Like a Wonka bar.
Jen: I would be so excited if it really was a Wonka bar.
Brad: Oh yeah. That'd be so cool.
Me: It's not a Wonka bar.
It was a book of photos that I made on Shutterfly. I'm pretty sure they thought it was better than a Wonka bar.
We settled in to watch the Sharks beat the Canucks 6-4, and it was fun to finally get to watch hockey with Brad rather than just talking about the games the next day. When the game ended Jen went to bed, and Brad and I talked a little bit longer but were not far behind.
I thought the two hour time difference was going to play havoc with my sleep schedule, but my early morning helped me fall asleep long before my normal bedtime. Early to bed helped me wake at about 4:30 in the morning CA time. I knew I could easily fall back asleep if I wanted to, but instead opted to get up and shower, padding my way downstairs at 7 KC time. Brad was surprised to see me awake so early, but I didn't want to waste any time. Jen headed off to run a 5K and Brad and I played with the kids for a while. Coffee helped. Jen came home from her 5K, and plans for the afternoon were discussed. She was going to take the kids and run errands and have lunch with her parents while Brad and I headed downtown.
We saw the Liberty Memorial, and discussed the fact that this was a monument to those who had served in wars fought before we were born. We noted how to us, wars were the history we grew up with, and how odd it was that there would be names from our generation on similar monuments someday. Liberty Memorial was very pretty, and had a great view of downtown. He pointed out buildings of note and on our way back to the truck he pointed out the place where he'd seen Staind in concert and I was envious all over again. He then took me to walk around a place called Country Club Plaza, which has lots of shi-shi stores. We found some that held our interest enough to walk through though- laughing over dried artichokes at Pottery Barn, admiring Italian bedding at Restoration Hardware, and some good clean fun with the toys in the Discovery Channel Store. I spied a store that had handmade handbags, where you could buy premade or design your own custom bag. Brad indulged my desire to go inside, though it wasn't exactly his kind of place. We also ducked into a store that was nothing but Cheifs schwag, so it all balanced out I suppose. We found a place to have a light lunch- neither of us wanted anything big to ruin our dinner of KC BBQ later that night. After we ate he drove me by the highschool he and Jen went to, where Jen taught for a few years, and then by the highschool where she teaches now. Both were far larger than mine, and we talked a bit about our high school days and the differences between schools in the Midwest and schools in CA, construction-wise.
Then we headed back to his house for more playing with the kids until it was time to meet Brad's mom, Kay, for dinner. We went to a local BBQ place and though I was dubious (I normally hate barbeque sauce) I ordered up a plate of ribs and burnt end, and was pleasantly surprised that the sauce was really good, as was the slaw, which I'm also hit or miss with. Kay was everything I thought she'd be... I've read all her comments on Brad's blog and she and I have corresponded a little- she's commented on a couple of posts of mine. She came back to the house when we were done eating and we had a chance to talk some more while we watched the Blues beat the Blackhawks. Kay left when the game was over, and after a little more chatting Jen went to bed. Brad and I tried to watch the Avs game, but it had been a long day and he didn't last much longer either. Despite the early morning, I didn't fall asleep until 2am. Even so, I was up by 7:30.
It was pouring rain when I got up, and Brad and Jen were once again surprised to see me up so early. But I could sleep at home, or on he plane, I didn't want to waste precious time with them sleeping. The rain let up, and Brad and I were able to go for a walk around his neighborhood, talking about the houses and styles we liked or found a little odd. We got back from our walk in time for Jen and Zoey to head off to a birthday party, so I said goodbye to them because Brad had to take me to the airport before they got back. We spent our last couple of hours together talking (surprise surprise) and geeking around on our laptops. Kay arrived to watch Sebastian right about the time I realized that I had pictures of Brad from the weekend, and he had pictures of me, but we hadn't taken any pictures together. Kay caught a couple of good ones, and I finalized my packing. Zoey and Jen got back a bit early from the party due to the weather, so I got to say a second goodbye to them and Brad and I left for the airport.
The thing about Brad and I is that our entire friendship is talk. Living so far apart, our friendship is built on blog entries, shared photos, and hours of IM. I think that there are people in life that you are just meant to be friends with, and Brad is one of those poeple for me. We talk about everyday things- work, music, hockey, love, kids, family... everything. We talked about all those same things this weekend, but it was so good to do so as two faces, two voices, rather than two computer screens. Being able to watch hockey together, going for walks... those are things I take for granted with my friends here. They're things I can't do with my friends inside the computer, and having to leave that behind was really hard for me, to the point that I was actually in tears going through security at the KC airport. I tried not to let him see, but he did. He knows me well enough that he probably expected it. I've never felt that way going home from a trip before.
I can't thank Brad and Jen enough for being such gracious hosts, and for letting me into their lives for a couple of days. Their home is gorgeous, their kids are super cute, and they are spectacular, even if a couple of them were disease-ridden and they sent me home with The Snot.