Sunday, January 25, 2009

A return to the frozen tundra

I am back from the from the "Frozen Tundra" - aka, Grand Forks, ND. Holy. Cannasta. It is cold up there. Minneapolis isn't exactly "tropical" but wow, it is so so so much warmer than GF. It's amazing how much you can feel a -10 difference. Unfortunately our trip to GF coincided with another cold front. The temp in GF when we arrived on Friday was about -10F. That doesn't include the wind chill. I am going to guess that it was at least -20F. Maybe even colder! All weekend, I kept asking myself - "seriously, how did I live here for 4 years?" Actually, all of us non-GF residents kept asking ourselves this same question. I guess we have become less tough since graduating!!

We started out the weekend at Whitey's, a bar & restaurant located across the river in East Grand Forks, MN. I wonder how many hours I spent at this place, waitressing. I worked there from February of my Freshman year through graduation, and probably worked around 25-30 hours a week. It was a great college gig. I am really glad that I waitressed at some point during my life - it definitely gives me an appreciation for wait staff! And I can differentiate between things that are the wait staff's fault, and things that are the fault of the cooks in the kitchen.

Whitey's has changed quite a bit since I stopped working there, circa 2003, though. Which I was reminded of on Friday night. I tried to explain to Katie's fiance that the "Prime Rib Sandwich" really isn't a "sandwich" - it's more like a thin slice of prime rib with some toast. Um, yah. Apparently not anymore. They must have gotten enough complaints for the misleading description on the menu. It IS a sandwich now. I explained to our waiter that I was just trying to help Brett make an informed decision and that 6 years ago, my advice was valid, and something I told everyone who ordered that off the menu. I am pretty sure he thought I fell under the "vintage" category when I said I worked there 6 years ago! I'm not the spring pup I used to be, I guess! But props to Whitey's for adjusting their menu based on customer comments/complaints!

Aside from wondering how the heck I handled the cold, I also wondered how I handled working in a smoky bar. Luckily, Minnesota has a state-wide ban on smoking in restaurants/bars. In ND, it is up to the city. East Grand Forks is smoke-free since it's on the MN side. Grand Forks, which is on the ND side, has opted not to go smoke-free. After this weekend, I almost want to write the GF city council and ask them to re-consider this decision. Or possibly issue a ban for the weekend we are up there each January? Because second hand smoke SUCKS.

At the next establishment, I had an opportunity to pose with Matt, the organizer of this event. He is also known as the "Winter Homecoming King." He loves planning this event, and keeps the participants excited throughout the year by sending email updates with details on the weekend. I love UND, but this guy makes my love for UND seem like a crush. I swear he must bleed white, green, and pink (the official colors of UND. What's with the pink? Good question...).

On Saturday some of us girls went and did a little shopping and then met up with the group for lunch at Bonzer's. Bonzer's was another place that was commonly frequented by our group in college. They give you baskets of peanuts and serve beer in huge glasses known as "Scooners." Luckily it is smoke-free during the day so we didn't have to battle the second hand smoke!

After lunch, the girls started getting ready, which really reminded me of my days in Delta Gamma. All of our rooms were connected, so it was easy to pop in and out as we were all getting ready. My friend Amy did my hair and Katie did my make-up. I try to look presentable on a daily basis, but hair and make-up are not my forte. I told Amy that if I ever make it 'big,' the first thing I will do is hire her to come over and do my hair every morning. She is so good at it. This photo shows the results of my 'make-over'.

We headed to the hockey game at the Ralph Englestad Arena, which is an AMAZING venue. I am pretty sure I read somewhere that it rivals many of the NHL venues. I can't really do the venue justice like our WHC organizer Matt could, so suffice it to say that it is worth braving the sub-zero temps to see a game here.

The Sioux were on a seven game winning streak, so we definitely timed our visit at the peak of their play. The game with Denver ended in a tie. I can't say I watched much of the game, though. I spent most of the time getting caught up with the people in our group - there were 19 of in total, and many of these 19 don't live in Minneapolis so it was fun getting caught up. We never did manage a group photo, but here is a picture of some of the girls that were in attendance.

The weekend was a blast. I don't know if it was the presence of cigarette smoke, or my lack of an immune system, but I came down with a cold on Saturday morning, which got progressively worse throughout the weekend. As a result, I was in bed pretty early on Saturday night. We got up early this a.m. and headed back to Minneapolis. All I could think when we got back was, "Home, sweet, home." It was at least 10 degrees warmer. I didn't feel like I was going to get frost bite when I got into my car. It was my no means "balmy" but still feel dang good compared to the temps in GF!

Now I'm nursing a Gatorade and pounding advil & cold medicine in the hopes that I can kick this cold asap. I just don't have time to be sick this week. My 28th birthday is under 2 weeks away and all that I really want is an immune system. So if someone can arrange for that gift to wind up at my door, I'd be forever grateful!! I know a gift of that nature isn't possible, so for now I am re-ordering some Shaklee immune boosting products that will hopefully keep me from getting sick on a weekly basis!


Amber said...

Hey! Thanks for the comment on my blog, I'm excited to try out the new shoes.

I waitressed in high school and my first few years of college too, I know what you mean about it giving you a new appreciation for your wait staff!

I've added your blog to my blogreader so I can check in more often :-)

aimee said...

sounds like you had a lot of fun!! your hair looks super cute, by the way!

hope you're feeling better!