St. Louis: Won't do that again
My sister and I embarked for St. Louis Monday morning for three days of shopping, bad-for-me-meals, and touristy endeavor. Won't be doing that again. What is one degree less in enormity than "unmitigated disaster"? Oh. "Mitigated disaster," that pretty much does it.
Let's call it a "conditional victory" and put an upward spin on it. We spent some hours strolling Crestview Mall and buying nothing. The mall was a disappointment. Just a mall, like every other. I didn't expect a lot, having seen truly impressive malls before, but this one seemed utterly mundane. I had forgotten how very many business sell women's shoes. Part of the problem is that Janet and I have both achieved our geezerhood. We are both self-indulgent to the point where anything we actually want we already have. We have both lost the ability to spend money "just for fun" so a shopping spree was just not in the cards. Well, that's one major point of the trip down the drain.
Exhaustimified from all the mall-walking we arrived at Eastlake Inn. It is a great bed-and-breakfast. The room was excellent, but geezerhood confounded us again. The king-size bed was "not my bed" I guess. It was comfortable by every standard, but I didn't like it and it was hot. We got a roll-away and I tried that, but no improvement. Oh well, it's just a bed after all! We got the room to crash in as we wouldn't be around all that much and we would be dead tired when we were there. That is also why we specified the room with the jacuzzi. Disappointment number two. Here is a "two person" jacuzzi into which neither of us would fit comfortably. Even my sister (much smaller than my six feet) found it barely tolerable. The shower looked great, two shower heads, a large space (obviously intended for a couple that intends to shower together). I thought it likely my dream of a really comfortable shower was about to be realized. Nope. <sigh>Low-flow shower heads that had no pressure at all. Might as well have used a garden hose without a nozzle.</sigh> Well, we didn't go for the room, after all. The Inn (Jackie) had a friendly staffer who cooked us a very good breakfast.
To show what geezers we really are, after checking in, around 4:30, both Janet and I crashed and slept for over three hours. Just the drive and the mall-walking totally wrecked us. We did get up and seek out a restaurant for dinner. One of the highlights of the visit (and one of the reasons it is a "mitigated" disaster) was "Two Nice Guys" trattoria. We had steaks "oscar" (meaning a butter sauce and there was crabmeat involved) and excellent salads. It is so good to go to a restaurant and find any adjective after the word steak that doesn't basically translate to "filled with gristle".
<rant>One of the things I hate about Jefferson City is the cheap-ass bastards that populate this place. Nobody here is willing to pay $10 for a steak. I don't know how many breakfast places have closed, Denny's, Shoney's, IHOP, and at least two others to my knowledge have tried and failed in this town because people think if you spend more than $3.50 for a breakfast dish you're being ripped off. I've heard the rant many times. Penurious pricks! Without exception (in my experience of Jefferson City) every restaurant in town buys from one of two meat suppliers and both of those suppliers are marginally third-rate. The "good" cuts of meat are choice, and almost all steaks to be had in town are "standard". "Select" and "Prime" cuts literally are not to be had. All because the cheap residents with their ignorant and untrained palates won't demand better.</rant>
Day one ended with disappointments in plumbing and day two began with an excellent breakfast. We went from the table to the Wax Museum of St. Louis. This, it turns out, is open only on Wednesday's and Friday's. <sigh>Not one web site I can find mentions these hours. I have found 10-10 weekdays on most of them.</sigh> That disappointment out of the way, we headed out to a major pisser-offer.
The St. Louis Art Museum is a good museum. I was in the process of enjoying a large number of impressionist pieces (I got to see Monet's "Water Lillies") when an officious and pugnacious guard demanded that I not only step back from the art but that I must put away my magnifying glass. It wasn't done politely. "You need to step back! And put away that magnifying glass!" I headed straight to the supervisor and explained my situation. He didn't have a problem. Neither, I might add, did any of the ten or so other guards I had passed up to that point. He spoke to the woman that accosted me, and she revenged herself by following me from gallery to gallery, loudly telling everyone that even approached the tape "back up", and telling my sister "Well, you can see can't you? Back of the tape!" I left. I will be writing a letter to the museum's director Museum Director's E-mail) to relate the whole sordid tale. I'd appreciate it if any of you would write a nasty e-mail of support for me as well.
For the Snail-mailian and telephonish types;
St Louis Art Museum
1 Fine Arts Dr
St Louis, MO 63110
This is particularly upsetting to me as this is likely to be my last museum experience. My eyes are failing. Before long, even with a magnifier, art in person will be pointless for me. I'm not going to be traveling much (as evidenced by this disastrous trip) so another Museum is probably something that's not going to happen.
We went from the museum to the Soulard Farmer's Market. Now I was under the impression that there were some permanent stores there. It would appear that is not the case. It is only farmer's stalls, and it is only on Friday and Saturday. Oops. Sis and I just looked at each other and decided to pack it in.
We hit Union Station, where we found something to buy at last. Meat Loaf coffee mugs. Don't see a lot of them. We had lunch at Houlihan's Old Place (maybe it's just Houlihan's now) where the French Onion Soup is as good as ever.
We packed up things at Eastlake Inn. Jackie wasn't there so we left the key and a note on the dining room table. She called in considerable distress at our departure. We reassured her that nothing was wrong, we just decided to go home early.
On the way out of town we stopped at the Apple Store. I was disappointed to the point of nearly being offended. As nearly as I can see it wasn't as store at all, just some sort of ipod charging station. Large white internally illuminated pedestals were surrounded by yammering gaggles of blue-tooth enhanced, well, I can't call them sales people, because they weren't selling or trying to sell anything. It appears they were they for decor and the occasional snotty remark to the horde of tween-age electronics addicts that infested the store. My age and attire (fat old bald guy in jeans and t-shirt) was, apparently, wrong for the place and I was ignored by the non-salespeople. The ones I could observe closely had that snotty self-important attitude usually found in teens that work in record stores and think the fact that they have a minimum-wage job in the retail end of the music industry makes them somehow better-informed and just generally cooler than you are. I did manage to find a mac pro, the computer I was looking for, on my own. It has a price tag on it. No configuration information, no options, no nothin'. Is it that nobody actually shops for a mac they just decide one day they want one and go buy it? They whole Apple Store experience sucked.
The other "on the way out of town" experience was a good one. I bought a z-coil shoe. That was the original purpose of the trip to St. Louis. This came out very well. The woman who fitted the shoe did a bit of adjustment, let me walk around for fifteen or twenty minutes and made more adjustments. She fitted my sister as well, so we both wound up buying a pair. They are pricey, over $200, but I think if they keep my feet from hurting it will be well worth it. Z-coil is designed for people with diabetic-related foot problems. I think they'll work for me.
So there you have it. I got Meat Loaf coffee mugs, Z-coil shoes, two good meals, and an Arby's Roast Beef sandwich. Only $700, won't do that again.