September 14, 2008

11:57 AM
Back on another ridiculously packed flight compliments of NWA. These seats are made for a person half my size/girth. Again, the middle seat is clogged up by an older gentleman who has some girth of his own. The simple task of typing is extremely difficult. My elbows are pinned up against my body and I can't wait to get off this flight.

The aisles are so narrow. No doubt an attempt to cram as many seats on this flying machine. Ahhhh.. I like to complain. But, I'm heading back home after a 2 day trip to Minneapolis. My wife and daughter will be in my arms soon. I've somehow managed a sore throat, but can't figure out how or why or who or what? I just know my throat is killing me.

Back to Friday, I was picked up at the airport by a friend named Trent who I had met a few years back playing music. Trent is a towering 6'5", but skinny as a rail. I managed to sleep at his house from 7 AM til 11:30 AM. A much needed dose of sleep. I power walked through the neighborhood and did my traditional evaluation of wondering what it would be like to live here. The weather was pretty nice, so it's hard to gauge. I've been to MPLS in the dead of winter and can only say NO THANKS to the cold.

The wedding rehearsal was short and sweet. And the marquee event for me was next. YES, the rehearsal dinner. YUMMMMM... We ate at this Italiann restaurant which of course I forget the name of, but good eats for sure. Several courses that included crab cakes, bruschetta, caser salad, and then a choice of steak, pork, or scallops. I picked the scallops. 4 scallops lined my plate, topped with an olive paste. I eyeballed the neighboring eaters and so badly wanted to eat their leftovers. A woman across from me left two perfectly good scallops untouched. It hurt so bad when the waiter took her plate away. BYE BYE scallops. I didn't want to be rude asking for to eat their leftovers, but if I knew them just a little bit, I would have done it in a second. Oh well.

The bride and groom hooked me up with a nice downtown hotel called the GRAND HOTEL. I checked in at 9:30 PM and excitedly went up to my room. Nothing super fancy, but really nice, clean, and cozy. I took a shower and used one of the robes provided to curl up on my bed and watch aimless tv. I drank tap water in lieu of the EVIAN bottle that sat on the desk with a sign that stated, please enjoy this water for $9. NINE DOLLARS!! Are you kidding me. It was just simple still water in a glass bottle. What could that cost? $.50? Yikes. I fell asleep a bit past midnight and woke up at 9 AM. Wow.. Almost 9 hours of sleep!! pretty darn great.

I knew there was a fitness center, so I finally got out of bed for a quick workout. Most hotel fitness centers consist of a small room and in some cases just a hotel room that houses a treadmill, stationary bike, a stair climber, and some sort of weight machine that is at least 20 years old. So when I arrived on floor 3 of the fitness center, to my amazement I see an entire floor dedicated to cardio and weights. Lined with exactly 25 big screen plasma tv's with radio dial numbers so you can listen on your own headset. I was a bit overwhelmed as I walked around to explore the different amenities. I wondered if there was a locker room?

As I exited a door, a full sized basketball court sat undisturbed down two flights of stairs. I shot around for 30 minutes and decided explore some more. I walked down another flight of stairs to find various studios that were for yoga/pilates type classes, and then a huge indoor pool. At the other end of the pool was the men's locker room. The biggest locker room I had ever seen in my life. At least 1,000 lockers. No exageration. Steam room, sauna, and a lounge with another large screen tv. I circled around another corner and found a narrow hallway with two raquetball courts. And a big cooler full of bottled water? Was this free? I took one, so I guess so. What was to be a short workout turned into 3 hours of exploration and adoration for this treasure that I found. Why was I so excited? It's hard to explain, but I really like health clubs and especially fancy ones.

With not much time before I needed to be at the wedding, I was in need of some fast food. I friggin went to ARBY'S. Unbelieveable I know, but I needed something quick. Back to the hotel, I changed into my suit and got picked up by Trent. The wedding was still two hours away, but we had to be there early. I can understand that. The officiant shouldn't be showing up ten minutes before the wedding starts.

And it was showtime. I gave a quick ceremony. I think it was less than 10 minutes. But lots of compliments, so I felt pretty good about the way things went. My suit was a bit snug on me. I last wore it in November. Only 10 months ago. So that means I've added a little bulk to the waist line. Hoooray. This time for dinner, I wasn't shy about eating leftovers as the guy next to me was also a big eater. We even had a little contest going. The food was really good. My pants were so tight though. I was spilling out of them. I even got out on the dance floor in hopes of quicker digestion. And that was it.

My hotel was exactly 23 blocks away, so I opted to walk there. It took me 50 minutes and I got back at around 11 PM. I had a hard time sleeping. Perhaps I was down by 4 AM? I can't recall. Not sure why, but poor sleep last night. Perhaps that's why my throat is killing me?
Anyways, I'm tired of writing. I brought my camera, but took 0 pictures. YAY for me.
Mike Park