Last year Sister2 and Sister-In-Law convinced their spouses to come to St. Charles for the Fete des Petites Cotes. Apparently they had so much fun, or the allure of Kettle Korn was so overwhelming, that they decided to come back and convinced Sister1 and her spouse to join them.
If you’ve done the math, that’s 6 visitors in a house with 3 bedrooms, two of which are spoken for. We decided to let Randy & Brenda have one room, Mark & Teresa the other, with Cindy & Chuck on an air mattress in the basement. Lar and I would sleep on air mattresses in Andrew’s room. He wouldn’t mind the company. I’m not a fan of air mattresses but we got rid of the beds that fold back into couches because they became unfashionable, I guess. Of course, we used to have a water bed and then it became unfashionable. I just want something soft to sleep on.
Figuring out sleeping arrangements was the easy part. Now comes the cleaning. It’s bad enough living with an obsessive-compulsive clean freak under normal circumstances — having company just cranks all the OCD up to 11. “This house is filthy! Your family are going to be disgusted!” Do you know how hard it is to relax on the couch with a Coke, a bag of chips, and the Kindle Fire while watching TV with that going on? “Why are you eating on the couch! What are you, an animal?!”
The family pulled up in a rented 6-passenger van late Friday afternoon. I put on the Olympics hoping that will entertain them, and in short order I fire up the grill. We have the food ready by the time Lar gets home. The Stupid St. Louis Weathermen say there’s an 80 percent chance for rain tomorrow, so we decide to go down to the fest after supper just to be safe.
Naturally, everyone in St. Louis had the same idea. The RRoy St. Louis Freebie Festival Imperative was in full effect (Question 24 in the FAQ).Lar wanted to park in the city garage, which I was sure would be full at 7 p.m., but no one listens to me, and since you can’t fit 9 people in a 6 passenger van, we had to take 2 cars, which meant the odds of finding not 1 but 2 parking spaces in the city garage at 7 p.m. on opening night of the Little Hills Festival was… well, no one listens to me…
Chuck manages to find a spot for the van, I am not so lucky. I kick the passsengers out of my car and tear out of the city garage. I head over to the Foundry Art Centre where I see a couple and a baby carriage heading to their car. I pull up behind them. “No hurry. I am in no rush to catch up to my family.”
I eventually find them on Riverside Drive. It turns out the event organizers, after listening to the Stupid St. Louis Weathermen, decided not to set up tents in the park since all that rain that was coming in would turn the event into a wet, muddy mess — like last year.
Did I mention that every idiot in St. Louis had converged on the festival? I had never seen it so crowded on a Friday night. We walked until it was too dark to see, then kept walking. Eventually we went home and I had a nice, refreshing sleep on an air mattress.
The next day everyone was up and ready to go by 9:30 a.m. so off we went. Much better parking situation at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The forecast by the Stupid St. Louis Weathermen had miraculously changed from 80 percent chance of rain to 10 percent. Oh, Stupid St. Louis Weathermen — don’t ever change.
So now begins the long, long, slow, slow, stop-and-go trek that is the Festival of the Little Hills. One of our first stops is one of my favorites — Frozen Wine Slushies. There are 3 reasons to go to the FLH: Kettle Korn, The Wisconsin Sausage and Cheese booth, and Frozen Wine Slushies. In fact, I’m enjoying a Frozen Wine Slushy as I write this. Pardon the misspellings and bad grammaer.
Navigating an event like this with 9 people is quite the challenge. Never is everyone on the same page. Some people get ahead, some lag behind, some like to look at stuff, some want to keep moving, some want to go into the shops, I just want to sit down. The merchandise is pretty much the same as every year. Brenda decided Randy could make most of the stuff himself so she just took pictures of stuff for later reference. Cindy got a bunch of Christmas ornaments and junk. Mark had some Gatorade. We got Kettle Korn, Sausages and Cheese, and Wine Slushy Mix.
Two hours later we had reached the end of the street. It was lunch time so we crossed the street to the Magpie Cafe. Had three delicious glasses of Coke (free refills!) and a tasty turkey sandwich with gouda cheese and apples. It was good to sit.
After lunch we headed back up another street full of vendors. Chuck, Andrew and I made a break for it. Stopped at Doozles for an Ice Cream Cake (it was Cindy’s birthday) and then home. The others rejoined us after an hour or so. I figured they would stay later but I guess there’s a limit to even how long Laurie, Brenda and Cindy can shop.
Watched “Batman v Superman” (Randy foolishly thought Superman would beat Batman), then had supper. After that we made our way to New Town for a free concert by Trixie Delight. It was a challenging fitting 9 lawn chairs in the trunk — not to mention finding 9 chairs suitable for lawn sitting. The band was good but most of the gang seemed more interested in walking around New Town. I thought we’d done enough walking for the day so Randy, the boy and I stayed put.
Got home around 10 p.m. and ate half the ice cream cake. Then off for another restful evening on the air mattress. It’s not the getting in that’s the problem, it’s the getting out.
Sunday morning L gets up early to get donuts. They had no donut holes. What kinda bakery doesn’t have donut holes? Stupid formerly IGA grocery store.
We watch “CBS Sunday Morning” and then “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” By that time it’s dinner time so everyone fills up on lasagna and salad and then they finish off the cake. After dinner our guests pack up and pile into the van and off they go. “I’ve got to go clean the house!” she says as the van clears the street.
I go in and take a nap.
In my bed.
Not made of air.