I’m sure you recall that this time last year Laurie and I decided to go to Kansas City for a weekend and take in the Christmas lights and do some shopping and eat. It was a good time and we decided to make it a holiday tradition.
I’m not sure when “let’s invite the siblings to join us” became part of that tradition, but at some point it happened. To my surprise, they all agreed to it — even brother Randy. Last year we made it a 4-day event, Friday-Monday, but decided to cut it down to 3 this year. We agreed to stay at the same hotel because the rates were decent and it wasn’t all that bad a walk to the plaza. I still complained about it every time.
The first problem you run into when you go from being a 3-person group to a 9-person group is eating. You can’t just walk into a restaurant and say “table for 9” and expect immediate seating. Jack Stack was our first choice. We tried making reservations a few days earlier but were told they had taken all the reservations they were going to take for that weekend.
We figured we’d get around that problem by having an early dinner. Everyone arrived at the hotel around 3 p.m. and we got our rooms without incident. We then began the first of many long treks from the hotel to the Country Club Plaza. We looked around a bit and headed to Jack Stack’s around 4:30. Had to wait for them to put a few tables together but otherwise no delay. Dinner was, as usual, delicious. I once again had the Big Pig sandwich. I am a diner of habit.
After dinner we walked about, looked in some shops, made our way back to the hotel. Everyone crammed into our room for a bit, then we went our separate ways for the night. A good thing about the hotel this year was that it wasn’t filled with little girls taking part in some cheer contest.
The next morning we met for the complementary breakfast and to plan our day. The second problem you run into when you go from being a 3-person group to a 9-person group is you no longer can just do what you want to do. You have to compromise. Or split up. For the most part we chose the latter.
Laurie wants to shop. Teresa is not a shopper. Teresa wants to go to some steamboat museum. Randy, Brenda, Mark and Cindy go with Teresa. I want to go Clint’s Comics. No one wants to go to Clint’s Comics, but Chuck comes along because he doesn’t want to shop or go to the steamboat museum. Laurie takes Andrew with her shopping because he doesn’t have a say in the matter.
Clint’s Comics hadn’t changed much since last year. I gave it a good look-over anyway and walked out with a comic. After dropping it off at the hotel, Chuck and I made the trek back to the plaza where Laurie had just finished her visit to Beauty Brands. So sorry I missed that. Andrew was being a trooper. The rest of the gang finished up at the steamboat museum and headed down to the plaza. I decided Andrew deserved a break so I took him back to the hotel for a couple of hours of pool time while the others continued at the plaza. Laurie, Teresa and Mark went to another museum.
The plan was to meet at the Cheesecake Factory at 4 p.m. I wanted to go back to PF Changs like last year, but, you know, compromise. At 4 p.m. there was a 90 minute wait for a table. One-and-one-half hours. At 4 p.m. Their cheesecake can’t be that good. I blame ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ Penny doesn’t really work there, people.
Mark went to go check out the wait at Changs, which was one hour. He then went to Chuy’s, a Mexican place I was unfamiliar with, and they had no wait. Looks like I was about to become familiar with Chuy’s.
Chuy’s was pretty good. Their chips were tasty. I ordered the burrito because as we all know I am always in search for the second-best burrito on Earth. I have to say, it was a pretty darn good burrito. Not as good as Mexican Villa, of course, but I’d put it in the top five. I’d go back, especially if there’s no wait.
On the walk back to the hotel, Andrew became sick so Laurie and I stayed at the hotel with him and watched “Mary Poppins” while the rest of the gang hopped a cab to Crown Center for more shopping and to see their lights. They returned in time to crowd into our room and catch the finale of “Poppins.”
The next morning we convened for breakfast. It was raining, which was a pain but the rest of the weekend had perfect weather so no point in complaining. If it has to rain, best it rain on the driving home day. Photos were taken and we all went our separate ways.
The drive home was uneventful. Per tradition, we stopped in Columbia for pizza at Shakespeare’s. Laurie declared the weekend a success and was already looking forward to next year. If you’d like to join us, let us know. But we won’t be going to The Cheesecake Factory.