Today was the first Mullen Family Fun Day for the month of June.
In fact, with as busy as our schedules have all been recently, this was the first MFFD since sometime back around the first half of May.
It was so nice to be able to sleep in and get some much needed rest this morning. I think I woke up around 9:00, and started getting up and stirring around at about 9:20 AM. I would have loved to have gone upstairs and crawled into bed next to Karen, and spent another hour just cuddling and snoozing off and on; but we had promised the kids we would take a trip to IKEA.
After everyone was dressed, we made a quick stop at McDonald's for some breakfast, and then set off for downtown St. Louis to the IKEA store.
I've driven past it a couple of times; and knew that the store was quite a big place, but the outside of the building is very deceptive to the full scale of the showroom and just how impressive the inside of this place truly is.
Once we were inside, and had made our way up several flights of stairs to the third floor, we began exploring the wonderous maze of rooms on display. Each showing a different style of decorating, and the full scope of how the vast range of products offered by IKEA could be utilized in any situation; ranging from normal sized bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms and laundry rooms, to small living spaces such as a city apartment that is organized to use every last inch of space for living or storage.
Several displays showed how to maximize usage of micro living spaces. Three such displays showed a complete living arrangement for a 900 sq ft, a 500 sq ft, and a 300 sq ft apartment. Any of which I would have been able to have occupied, as long as I was willing to leave behind many of the trappings I have collected over the past 25 years of my life, or was willing to put much of it into a storage unit. Of course, none of these living environments would be conducive to the number of pets I also live with; but I could see someone living there with a small lap dog or a cat.
Equally impressive was the displays of how IKEA furniture could be used to completely remodel a standard college dorm room. The rooms were nice enough to make any kid want to go to college and hang out in the dorm room, to study, play games, or use your laptop/tablet to watch a movie or youtube videos. Everything that you might possibly want or need was right there in the room display.
I think I could have spent and entire day exploring the maze of items at IKEA, but (as I stated above) Karen adn I made the mistake of making the trip part of what was supposed to be a Mullen Family Fun Day. By the time we had located the specific items we had on our list to hunt down, I was thoroughly exhausted and ready to leave. My neck felt like a 50 pound weight had been sitting on it for two hours, and my head pounded. My blood pressure was spiking, and I was absolutley drained of any fun or enthusiasm. The kids had made the entire experience a living nightmare. If it were not ethically or legaly wrong to do so, I would have knocked my son unconscious and put him in a cart. The trip to IKEA that Karen and I have looked forward to as a fun experience had been mutated into a horrible chore.
By the time we had checked out and paid for the dresser we needed for Dini's room, I just wanted to get it into the car, shove the kids into the back seats, and drive home as quickly as possible. Sadly, this was vastly different from the way I had planned the trip to go.
Originally, I had hoped that we would spend many more hours exploring the displays, and then leave at the perfect time to head two blocks down the road to a Chipotle restaurant, located in the saucer shaped building at Grand Blvd and Forest Park. The entire building has been remodeled, and is a landmark in the area. From there, I wanted to take a drive through Forest Park, and possibly make a quick stop at either the Art Museum, or the Zoo, to explore some of the indor exhibits at one of those two locations. The whole day would be a day of exploration and family togetherness.
But, like I said, by this point togetherness was the very last thing on my mind.
We drove back over the river, and back into St. Charles County. Karen wanted to stop by a sporting goods store to check on finding a birthday present for my nephew, Austin. He is really into soccer, and my sister in law suggested that he might like a jersey or something with his favorite team, The Arsenal. As usual, Karen came through. She found a team flag that Austin can hang in his room, and a cool little day bag to put his soccer gear in.
By this time, everyone was finally getting hungry for lunch. I was still disappointed that we weren't eating at Chipotle on Grand Blvd. I really didn't care where we ate. Karen suggested the Chic-Fil-a across the street from the sports store. I love their chicken sandwiches, so across the street we drove. Even though they were packed solid, we knew the lines would go quickly.
My blood pressure must have been shooting through the roof. My neck and shoulders hurt, and Karen said my face was bright red. I was feeling the stress. Personally, I think most of my blood pressure issues are stress related. I know my normal BP is a little high, and that's why the doctor wants to put me on a low dose med to keep me in that pre-hypertension range; but if I could seriously cut most of the Bull Shit and stress out of my life, maybe I wouldn't need it. I know for sure I wouldn't need it if I could just lose another 20 or 30 pounds. I can tell a difference just from the 10 pounds I have already lost while at scout camps the past two weeks.
As I sat there and ate my food, I finally started to calm down. Partly just because Jack's mouth was full, and it was impossible for him to say anything to get on anyone else's nerves while he was eating. as we sat there, many of the people from the earlier lunch rush were starting to file out, and the noise level was no more than at any other fast food joint. I started looking on my phone for local movie show times. Delaney had really wanted to see Finding Dory when it first came out the week before, and I knew the rest of the family would enjoy a good movie to watch while they had a chance to sit back and relax. maybe the day could be salvaged.
I booked us 4 suite seats for the 2:50 PM showing of Finding Dory. As soon as everyone was finished with their sandwich, we filed back out to the Acadia, and headed for the theater. We arrived with plenty of time to use the restrooms, find our seats, and get situated. Karen even bought the kids each and ICEE frozen drink and popcorn. I was still full from lunch, so I opted not to get anything.
The movie was the right idea. I dozed off a few times (Just for a minute or two here and there. Well, maybe it was more like a 15 minute cat nap.) during the first half hour of the movie, but I was still catching most of the movie moments. Once I was relaxed and not feeling stressed, I get into the movie and enjoyed seeing everyone having a good time. It is a cut movie, and I think everyone really enjoyed it.
It had rained while we were watching the movie, and everything was a bit cooler outside as we prepared to head home. Things were a bit cooler inside each of us too. So, things may not have exactly gone as planned, but it turned out to be a pretty good Mullen family Fun Day after all.