You Need a Vacation: Night 1

I think I cried 20 times during the first two weeks of March.

Primarily because of stress.

Because I don’t believe that complaining about your problems will SOLVE your problems, I won’t bore you with the details.

Considering my previous few weeks, I can’t tell you how happy I was when my husband emailed me and wrote, “You need a vacation. What do you think about St. Louis?”

My first thought was…is there beach in St. Louis?

I’m biased toward beach vacations.

Toes in the sand.

Drinks in your hand.

Ocean breeze sweeping over your body.

And if I’m buzzed enough, I might even jump into the ocean to cool down.

However, for a short weekend getaway, St. Louis sounded perfect!

We left Friday morning.

I spent most of the drive playing Draw Something, Scramble with Friends and reading “Bossypants” by Tina Fey (amazing book that you MUST read).

Putting on my “gangsta” face for Nelly.

We got to St. Louis around 3 p.m. and our trip to the top of The Arch wasn’t until 4:30.

So we enjoyed something we don’t get at home- CABLE TV!

Typical us: I am snapping a picture of myself and Justin is researching things to do in the area.

Then we used our free drink coupon (thank you Hilton Honors Gold Status)- insert Mango Tango to calm my nerves here:

My beach vacation in a drink.

The walk over to The Arch took us less than 10 minutes. We got there early, so we decided to be super touristy and take pictures:

Um, you want me to go to the top of that thing?
Pre-Arch jitters.

I’ve heard the pods to the top were small.  But when the doors opened, I was shocked. It looked like something that I would ride to the moon in. But I didn’t understand how five people were supposed to fit inside comfortably. Or fit in general.

“I don’t know about all this…” I said.

Justin started laughing.

They made us watch a video about why, how and when The Arch was built. I don’t remember much about the video and the history behind The Arch, because I kept thinking about the little ass pod I was about to squeeze into…

Justin knew I was stressing out.

He knew I wanted to turn around and leave.

But instead of letting fear control me, I walked forward into the tiny eggshell with complete strangers.

Despite the warning to duck my head, I banged my forehead getting into the pod.

Everyone laughed. And by everyone- I mean, it was Justin, an 8th grade boy, his dad, his mom and myself.

The ride to the top is supposed to take 4 minutes.

And 4 minutes is a long time to be trapped in a pod traveling 600 feet in the air.

When we made it to the top, everyone was blocking the isle.

Taking pictures.

Laughing.

Looking out the window.

Me? I was paralyzed. I didn’t want to move. I was afraid I would feel the structure swaying in the wind if I stayed up there too long. And then I would pass out. Always the center of attention, I could hear Justin joking later…

 With one look down to the bottom, I was ready to be back on the ground.

We were probably up there for 1 minute and 30 seconds before I was lining up for the pod to take us down again. A shorter ride this time – only 3 minutes. New strangers this time. But the 17-year-old boy thought I was hilarious and reminded me of Schmidt from The New Girl. The Dad was just as stressed out as I was, so we bonded about that…I was OK with that pod ride down.

Next up, we had dinner at Broadway Oyster Bar, which my cousin recommended.THANK YOU, Katie!

I can’t even tell you how delicious the oysters were:

Raw oysters!!

The best oysters I’ve ever had!!

We also shared soup and a crawfish sandwich at Broadway. 

After dinner and drinks, we went to a bar the top of The Hilton called 360.

Our bartender (at our Hilton) recommended this place for a drink and the view.

When we walked into the hotel lobby, I felt like I was going to a club in Orange County. Fake boobs, bleach blonde hair, high heels, bright lipstick, fancy jewelry and pretty dresses all over the bar.

I was wearing sneakers with my dress and leggings.

While this isn’t stylish, the restaurant was about a mile from our hotel and I opted for comfort.

I felt so out of place.

For a moment, I felt like I was in middle school again.The awkward kid in the corner…

I felt insecure.

I didn’t feel like me.

And I hated that I got so worked up…

“I feel out of place,” I told Justin.

“Who cares- you’ll never see these people again, will you?” Justin said back.

“Well, no- but,” I said and then realized he was right. It didn’t make me feel any more confident, but he was right.

We walked around a bit and found no open seats. No space at the bar. I could tell Justin was getting annoyed.

“I want to get out of here,” I whispered to Justin.

“Good,” he said. “Let’s go.”

We got into the elevator with the an older guy and his friends. He had a thick Southern accent and was wearing his cowboy hat with sneakers.

Just like The Honey Badger, he didn’t give a damn.

And I loved him for his outrageous personality and big voice. 

“It looks like a sauna in here,” he said rubbing the wooden padding in the elevator. “Everyone take off your clothes!”

Everyone laughed, but I think was serious.  Either way, I kept my clothes on and smiled because his humor was exactly what I needed to bring me back to reality.

The next stop was a Cigar Bar. Justin ordered Jameson on the rocks. I had a few sips, which made me feel like a bad ass, and then we were off to call it a night. I told myself not to drink too much because I wanted to run in the morning. Plus, being hungover at the zoo did not sound fun.

The alien walk.

But instead of going back to our hotel room, we ended up at Hooters for more drinks and most importantly, more oysters!

“Take a picture of me and my beer.” – Me
“You’re a picture whore.” – Justin

Not as good as Broadway Oyster Bar, but still delicious!!

We had a blast on Day 1. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I needed to get away…how much I needed to relax. Our first day / night was absolutely perfect, well minus the small pods – I will be OK never doing that again…

I’ll share more about our trip tomorrow.

Much love,
Ashley

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