I put in an hour on the treadmill with my usual program (3.5 mph, yadda yadda yadda), burning over 450 calories. By the time my regiment was complete I was incredibly exhausted. I think this was because there was no bottled water in the apartment and so I had nothing to replenish myself with during my exercise. When I'm walking on the 12 minute uphill stretches I sweat an amazing amount so I have no doubt that dehydration was playing a part in how tired I felt. When my walk was done I practically fell off the treadmill and onto the couch, taking a quick rest before I went into the bathroom for a shower. Since I was sweaty, hot and exhausted it was a perfect opportunity for something to go wrong, and so Murphy's law struck: Ra chose this time to be sick, throwing up everything he had eaten an hour previous right next to the tread mill. I took a minute to clean up the most solid portions of the mess and then staggered into the bathroom for a shower that I felt was well-deserved. After I was cleaned up and somewhat more presentable I finished scrubbing the carpet clean with the magical peppermint soap that I've mentioned before, then made a few quick calls. I also checked in on IRC to make sure that masem, jdm314 and varro were all on the same page for our get-together this evening. I sent directions off so that Justin knew how to reach Dave & Busters I got offline and finished getting dressed for the day ahead. While enveri was at work roho and I went out to do some quick shopping. We stopped at Walmart to see if we could locate a decent water cooler and didn't meet with much success. I did come out of the store with a copy of Quigley Down Under and Broken Arrow on DVD, further expanding my collection. We left Walmart without a watercooler, but Roho and I took a walk across the parking lot to Sam's Club to do our usual weekend shopping since we were in the vicinity. I picked up two skids of water, a skid of Diet Dr. Pepper, some sharp cheddar cheese and Yet More DVDs. I couldn't resist getting a copy of the newest release of Terminator 2. Hey, it was a 2-disc limited collector's set, with a neat metal case and some extra footage. I also grabbed a copy of The Animatrix and the complete Mr. Bean collection. What can I say, I have a weakness for Rowan Atkinson! It also was a nice chance to put some more variety into my collection of DVDs.
We got home and unloaded the car sometime around 3:15, and at 3:45 or so I unpacked the Animatrix and dropped it in to watch while waiting for Kestral to get home. Roho joined me on the couch and we sifted through the films, getting up to the sixth or the seventh one in the series before Kes arrived. When Kes got home she took a minute to finish a chore, then we all got into the Saab for the drive down to Addison. I had set 5 PM as the meeting time at D&Bs so we could beat the major evening rush and have a relaxing dinner and the three of us got there about fifteen minutes early, with Masem arriving almost precisely at five o'clock. Varro, Justin and Beth were a bit later, and when they arrived we'd been seated in the restaurant and were chatting away. Once everyone was seated drinks were ordered and introductions were made. Masem, Roho and Kestral had already split an appetizer so we let the other three order a round for themselves, then we ordered dinner. I had the peppercorn rib eye steak, which was excellent. 12 oz, very tender, cooked medium rare without being too medium or too rare... it was just the way I like it. I had a Miller Lite to go with my steak, and then while everyone was ordering desserts decided to partake in something from the dink list that sounded quite tasty. I tried the "Girl Scout Cookie," which they described as creme de menthe, creme de cacao, Rumple Minze and half'n'half. The drink menu wasn't kidding when they said it tasted like a Girl Scout "Thin Mint" cookie, because it really did! I had two of those, then went back to drinking Diet Coke with lemon to try and keep the bill down. As it was when all was said and done the bill for the evening was nothing to sneeze at -- somewhere around $200 for the seven of us. My share of the bill amounted to about $44 because of the steak, two shots and the beer. Don't get me wrong... while that is a bit expensive it's nothing to complain about at all. There were many nights when it was just aureth, Roho and I drinking together and we'd walk out with a bill double that figure. I like to think it was money well spent because the food, the service and the drinks were all excellent.
After dinner was finished and the bill settled the seven of us went in back to the D&B "Million Dollar Midway." Varro, Masem and Beth had to pick up Powercards since they'd never been to the restaurant before. Roho and I had our cards on us since we were hardcore addicts back in the days of our more extravagant drinking. Tallears and I played "Time Crisis 3" since we'd never taken on that game before. It worked out quite well, because from past experience we knew that we work well as a team on shoot-em-up style games. The game was incredibly long, with three stages and a number of difficult areas per stage. I finally ran out of credits and let Masem step in to take my place. Roho and Masem finished up the game, placing 6th overall on the score. When the game was over Kestral mentioned she was feeling tired and asked to go home so we went searching for Varro, Justin and Beth. We talked for a few more minutes, shook hands, bid them a pleasant evening and left at almost exactly 9 PM.
My thoughts on the evening overall: It was really awesome to get to meet Varro, Justin and Beth. I hope that I will get the chance to hang out with them more frequently in the future. I know Varro's not native to the area (he was in town for a convention) but Justin and Beth live in downtown Chicago and thus aren't that far away. Everyone struck me as very good company and while I regret only getting the chance to spend three or so hours with them I think it was an excellent way to get acquainted. I hope that everyone involved enjoyed the time as well.
The drive home was pretty quick, and as soon as we got in I grabbed another diet Coke to sip on while I nibbled an Advantage bar (Chocolate Peanut Butter, and only 2g of carbs) for my dessert. I felt that since I couldn't partake in anything at the restaurant I could at least endulge in a treat like this. It was a bit tough to see all my old favorites at the restaurant (like the fries, the smashed potatos and the chicken finger strips!) and not be able to partake in them. Discipline is an important part of the diet, however, and I think I did pretty well for myself tonight even with the splurge of the Advantage bar at the end.
Tomorrow I will try to get some laundry done as I am now officially out of clean dress socks and have only one clean polo shirt left to my name that's acceptable as attire for the office. I haven't spoken with Roho and Kes yet but I imagine that we will be partaking in BD's for lunch as a way of making up for our lack of attendance there tonight.
I have really enjoyed my weekend so far. With luck tomorrow's weather will be like it was today, which is to say sunny and warm. Judging from what my mother told me on the phone today that won't be very likely -- it rained in Minnesota last night and this morning, so we'll probably catch it here in Illinois very shortly. What an odd summer we're having!
I'm never gonna walk away