We’ve returned to Austin after eight days in the Twin Cities! The timing was due to the baby, mostly, as we don’t want to be traveling too close to the due date, and also because timing worked out for both our jobs. Never mind that I said “never again!” a year ago after traveling north on approximately the same dates and ran into a historic blizzard.

It has been three years since we departed the Twin Cities for hotter pastures, and I think I’ve completely lost touch with how depressing six months of winter can be and how depressing having a dead-end job with no prospects can be. Because going back to Minneapolis to visit this past week, chilly rainy weather and all, I kept trying to remember why I was so excited to get out of there! Every day was a blast! Of course it’s easy to look at things that way when you are on vacation blowing through hard-earned money and don’t have to deal with driving in snow or going to a job, and can instead just focus on the fun things.

Anyway, let’s see if I have the brain capacity to recap the trip.

Friday, April 24 – I dropped Baxter off at his sitter’s house, picked up Lauren at work, and we eeked our way through rush hour traffic to the airport, arriving in plenty of time for our one-way flight to MSP. We got in late and picked up our rental car, which was upgraded for free to a Mazda CX-5, a car we are strongly considering leasing. We arrived to the Rosoks’ house and were in bed fairly early.

Saturday, April 25 – Tim and I took Annika to the park in the morning, and in the afternoon we arrived at the home of Walsh and Sarah who had happily agreed to host a “Welcome Back, Glanzers!” themed backyard BBQ. Many of our closest friends and Lauren’s family showed up to celebrate the occasion, and the party went on well into the night, ending with a group of us cheering on the Wild in the playoffs. When the party disbanded, Tim and I stopped off at the Tailgate to watch the third period. I attempted to liven the mood of the bar with some ill-timed Alan Parsons Project karaoke that coincided with the Avalanche winning in overtime.

Sunday, April 26 – On the morning of Lauren’s baby shower, Mom, Jordan and her kids, and Alex and his family were in town, and if I wanted to see them for even a few hours, we had to go out to breakfast. Through a driving thunderstorm, we caravanned to People’s Organic Coffee in Edina where the twelve of us ate a tasty brunch. In the afternoon, the girls all went over to Grandma Joyce’s for Lauren’s baby shower, while Steve hosted all the men for a baby “thunderstorm” party.

Monday, April 27 – With our plans to wander our old Uptown neighborhood thwarted by another day of rain, Lauren and I still managed to grab a coffee and bagel at Common Roots in the morning. We then shopped at the wildly overpriced Target Field pro shop, took a spin around a hole in the ground where the Metrodome used to be, and grabbed a burger at the famous Matt’s Bar. In the evening, we were treated to dinner at George & The Dragon by the Andersons. At night, Lauren, Walsh, Tim and I watched a thrilling Wild victory at Northbound Smokehouse.

Tuesday, April 28 – Lauren and I headed back to Uptown to visit a Caribou for coffee since you can’t easily find them down south (there’s one location in Texas, somewhere near Houston). We ate lunch at an old favorite, Jasmine 26. We then wandered the Mall of America for some team apparel before heading over to visit our good friends, the Burke-Assmann family in Eden Prairie. At night, Steve and Anne had us over for Famous Dave’s BBQ. I was excited to try out Famous Dave’s again to see how it holds up to our Texas BBQ, and the results were fairly surprising. The style of brisket is far-and-away better in Texas, but the ribs were amongst the best I’ve had!

Wednesday, April 29 – Lauren and I ate lunch at Punch Pizza, a local chain where they heat the oven up to 800 degrees and cook a pizza in 90 seconds flat. In the afternoon we met up with Walsh and Sarah to take in the Twins-Dodgers game. Thanks to more cold, rainy weather, we were able to snag Legends Club tickets for under $30. We split time between our outdoor seats and the indoor club area as the Dodgers won, 6-4. We caught the end of the Wild game on TV at Walsh’s as they upset the Avalanche and won the series.

Thursday, April 30 – It was a big day for baseball. I mean a GIGANTIC day for baseball. After brunch at Hell’s Kitchen, Walsh and Sarah joined us for Game 1 of the Twins-Dodgers double-header, which the Dodgers won easily, 9-4. The girls headed home, but Walsh and I decided to tough it out for the second game of the double-dip, along with old chums Patrick and Nick. Not only was it the second full baseball game of the day, but time-wise the game was the longest Twins game since 2002, lasting over 5 1/2 hours. If you go back and watch the last few innings on MLB.TV and turn the Audio/Video Options to Natural Ballpark Sound, you’ll hear a few obnoxious idiot fans screaming at the Dodgers. That would be us.

Friday, May 1 – It was a family day as Lauren and I met up with Grandma Joyce and Aunt Alice for lunch at Parma in Bloomington. After a jaunt to the yarn store in St. Paul for a souvenir, we met up with Tim and Kate for happy hour and dinner at Blackbird in Minneapolis, followed by yet another Wild hockey viewing at the Tailgate.

Saturday, May 2 – The trip was fast coming to a close. Kate cooked breakfast as we packed, and after one last trip to the park with Annika, we were on our way to the airport.

So yeah, it was great to get back! Super duper, as Joyce would put it. It rained almost the entire time non-stop, but it was actually rather refreshing as we just don’t ever see prolonged dreary weather like that in Texas. Plus, the rainy weather turned out brilliantly in our favor in terms of getting amazing ticket prices for all three Twins games. After all that eating out and all the beer I drank during the Twins games and cheering on the Wild, I came home and was not at all surprised to have gained 5-6 pounds during the week.

Of course I still like our life here in Austin, but weeks like this make it a little sad to think what a huge percentage of our PTO it takes and how much money we have to save up to see friends and family for a few days a year. And after our big trip, we still were only able to see things on the Minnesota side and didn’t even make it out of the metro over to Carpenter for so much as a day! So, that’s something that is always on my mind for a few days after we return from trips back. But that’s a blog for a different day.

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