Lauren is back on the airplane heading to Minneapolis after a visit to see me in Austin over the weekend. I say whirlwind because we absolutely did not stop going from the time she arrived to the time she left. Now that she’s gone some parts of the weekend almost seem like a blur; there was just no down time to comprehend anything, it was go-go-go! I had an itinerary of everything I wanted to show her in town and we managed to get through everything. Good thing she has the rest of the day off once she gets back to Minneapolis because she’s going to need the rest! Sorry, no pictures for this post… I’ll have them up on Google+ and Facebook some other time.

Friday after work I picked Lauren up at the airport and took her to some of my local neighborhood hangouts–Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon to see a live country band, The Hideout where we met landlord Mark and his buddy Jimmy from Sioux Falls for a few drinks, and then Weirdo’s where the two of us joined in on some highly competitive beach volleyball games. Lauren was diving around like a madwoman, showing these Texans how to play!

Saturday we woke up and got brunch at NXNW Brewery near the house before heading down to explore South Congress. We did much of the same that I did a week ago, browsing through quirky shops and sampling fare from food trailers and drinks from bars. Later in the afternoon we headed over to the Sheraton Capitol where we checked into our room downtown and hit up the swimming pool and HOT hot tub… hottest hot tub I’ve ever experienced. We had dinner at a Tex-Mex place on Sixth Street called Chupacabra and then walked down to the Congress bridge to see the one million bats fly out to go find food for the night. Apparently these bats eat up to 40,000 pounds of insects per night. After that we popped in at the Elephant Room for some live jazz, and later wandered Sixth Street barhopping.

Sunday we checked out of the hotel and visited the pool at Barton Springs. This is no ordinary pool–it’s several acres big and receives its water from natural springs that keep it around 68 degrees year-round. It’s part of a creek but there’s a pool section that has some man-made features. The floor of the pool is rocks and seaweed and algae. Some parts are really shallow and others are up to 18′ deep. Anyway, it was a very cool experience and very good exercise! Later we ate sushi for lunch and hit up the Alamo Drafthouse to see Horrible Bosses which was pretty funny. At night we tried out some Callaway clubs on the range, and finished our Sunday with some Midwest familiarity at Buffalo Wild Wings. And then we crashed hard after our busy weekend.

The pool at Barton Springs
The pool at Barton Springs

So, Lauren got to see what her future city has to offer and seems quite excited to make the move and join me in a few short weeks! And of course it was extremely nice and refreshing not only to see Lauren, but even just seeing a familiar face in general!

Meanwhile, good news at the office where I was told Friday that I am now going to be hired on full-time, about three months earlier than I originally thought! That means benefits kick in, and I don’t have to worry about the job expiring at the end of the contract period. I have a lot more going on here than at my previous job, which means I’m working a lot harder during the day. It’s really night and day compared to the old work environment, with busy-ness and number of concurrent projects and interacting with other humans in person. Definitely a change for the positive, no offense to the old job.