Sunday, January 18, 2015

A visit to Grand Rapids

Oh, boy. While I wish I was writing this post from sunny Phoenix as planned, I am actually still in Michigan.

On Friday morning, I got up at 4:00 to get ready to head to the airport. I was using a buddy pass to fly to Phoenix, and all week leading up to the flights, my brother said the flights looked pretty open. He was very confident I would have no trouble getting on. I had been planning to take a noon flight, but on Thursday, Brian said I should take the earlier 8:30 flight, because the flights were filling up quickly.

Anyway, the weekend was all set--my parents were going to watch the kids while Jerry was at work, I'd stay at Sarah's in Phoenix, and arrive home Monday. Jerry drove me to the airport at 6:15, and I went through security and found the gate. I told the gate agent I was flying stand-by, and she checked the list for me--she said I was last on the list, and the flight was pretty full. She also said if I did get on, I would likely be at the back of the plane (as a nervous flyer, I have severe anxiety about sitting behind the wings; I have to be as close to the front as possible).

I sat down and watched the stand-by screen, hoping that my name would pop up on the "cleared" list. It was looking less likely that I'd get on by the minute, and I was a nervous wreck! Nervous about getting on the plane (sitting in the back) and also about not getting on the plane (and missing out on this trip).

Brian called me and said that the noon flight was even worse. The gate agent told me there was pretty much zero chance of getting on that one. So I could have tried for a late flight (which also didn't look promising), or a flight on Saturday morning, but that wouldn't have given me much time with Sarah. I decided that if I didn't get on the 8:30 flight, I'd just reschedule the trip (and buy a confirmed ticket!).

Long story short, I didn't get on. I was so bummed. Sarah was disappointed, but she understood, and we decided to reschedule.

I started trying to think of somewhere else I could go. I already had a packed suitcase, and Brian could list me on a flight with a moment's notice. But I imagine that nobody would appreciate me just showing up on their doorstep, so I just called Jerry to pick me up ;)

While I waited for him, I had the idea to go with Jerry to Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids is a city in Michigan about 2 1/2 hours from home. There are a lot of breweries there, including Founder's, which is Jerry's favorite craft beer. Jerry's been talking about going there for a long time, and neither of us had ever been there (surprising, considering it's so close).

So we checked with my parents about the kids, and Jerry got a friend to fill in for him at work (thanks Steve!) and as soon as we got home, we packed a small bag and headed out the door. We weren't going for the whole weekend--just for Friday night.

We got a hotel in downtown Grand Rapids, so it was within walking distance of the breweries. First, we walked to Founder's. Jerry was giddy with excitement.

I'm not a beer person, but there are a few beers I like. Unfortunately, I've never tasted a Founder's beer that I liked! Jerry ordered a flight, and I decided to take a sip of each of those, just to give them a whirl. Haha, my face looked like this after each taste!

After a sip of "Big Lushious"
We planned to have lunch there, but I wasn't very hungry, so I just had a few chips and guacamole. Jerry said Founder's felt very touristy, and I agreed, so we walked about a half mile to Grand Rapids Brewery. They had a whole wall of wine, so I ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio, and Jerry tried another flight of beer. Again, I took a tiny sip of each of his, but didn't care for any of them. The menu at Grand Rapids Brewery was VERY interesting. Jerry ordered a Scotch Egg:

It's an egg encased in sausage, and he thought it was amazing. They even had a burger with bacon, peanut butter, and pretzel bits--?! If I had been hungry, I probably would have braved it and gave it a try.

We just stayed there until I finished my glass of wine and Jerry finished his flight, and then we headed out again. We walked back toward the hotel, where there was another brewery--The B.O.B. (it stands for Big Old Building). This place was AWESOME--we ended up spending the rest of the afternoon/evening there. We got there just before 4:00, so it was pretty empty; but when I saw they had wine for $3 for happy hour from 4-6, I was definitely "happy" about that :)

We found some comfy chairs and sat there to talk.

We ordered some buffalo chicken rolls, and they were SO amazing. They were kind of like an egg roll, but with buffalo chicken goodness inside. Anyway, happy hour seemed to fly by. There was a woman and her son who came in and started playing pool at the table that was right in front of us. It was kind of evident that her son has special needs, and Jerry and I thought it was really cool that she and her son were out together playing pool on a Friday night. He went to the bar to pay her tab (doing something nice in honor of Mark!)--and then we all started chatting.

Jerry ended up playing pool with her son while she and I talked. Her son is 27, and had an accident when he was 18 months old that caused him to lose oxygen to his brain, resulting in his intellectual disability. I told her about Mark, and how sad it was to see some of the men at his group home whose families just leave them there. I loved that she was out spending time with her son. She said they were staying the night there because they were going to see the motocross show that evening.

Anyway, they were lovely people, and it was great meeting them! Shortly after they left, a couple of guys came in and started playing pool at that table. Jerry pulled up a picture of Tim Tebow on his phone to show me (I had no clue who Tim Tebow is) and said, "Look at that guy. He's obviously not Tim Tebow, but he looks so much like him!" And sure enough, they were pretty much identical!

I asked him (I learned that his name is Aaron) if anyone ever told him that he looks like Tim Tebow, and he said yes, he's gotten that before. I asked if I could get a picture. Check out the resemblance!

Jerry and I went to a comedy show upstairs at 8:30, and then headed back to the hotel after that. It was SUCH a fun night! We didn't do anything crazy--just mellowed out at the bar--but we met some great people and laughed a lot, which was a blast.

I was bummed about missing out on Phoenix, but maybe it'll work out better this way. Since my ankle is injured right now, I wouldn't be able to hike in Sedona, which is something I wanted to do. If we reschedule, hopefully my ankle will be good to go. So while Grand Rapids wasn't exactly Phoenix, Jerry and I had a great night!

I will be doing a Motivational Monday tomorrow after all, so if you have something to submit, please email it to me as soon as  you can. Hope you all had a great weekend!


  1. sounds awesome! I missed you got your nose pierced.

  2. OH What a great change in plans due to circumstances. Talk about being able to turn lemons into lemonade! Sounds like you had an awesome time and as they say, sometimes things turn out a certain way for a reason. Way to turn what was a disappointment into a great spontaneous "Date night" and day! ;-)

  3. This is exactly my kind of night (minus the beer, I'm not a beer person either). Sorry you didn't get to go to Phoenix but it looks like you had fun!

  4. Katie

    What an awesome way to turn a bummer into a winner ! Sounds like you had a wonderful time : )

    Super proud of Jerry.. I know Mark was smiling from ear to ear !!!

  5. I'm SE of G.R. and I always forget your in the Mitt...even though I've been reading your blog for awhile...Glad you had fun in GR....we like being within 45 min. of the city but not actually living IN it!

  6. I love those spur of the moment trips! Sometimes they end up being the best of all!

  7. I was at Founder's on Sunday! Grand Rapids is a great town!


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