Apparently I don't know how to count because my latest state doesn't add up to thirty nine as this blog would have you believe.
Minnesota was actually my thirty fifth state (still trying to figure out where I miscounted). This was a combination business/pleasure trip as I was flying into Minneapolis to search for housing but also to drive to Duluth to visit family. This was my first time flying since the doctor cleared me for air travel back in the end of March. Yes, you read that correctly, my ear issues went on for a good six months. In all honesty, the discomfort never fully disappeared, but rather I grew accustomed to the feeling.
As we took off form LAS my left ear started out okay but quickly clogged and I eventually stopped trying to clear it in hopes that the eardrum would perforate. Even after all these months I'm still convinced that's the solution to all of life's problems, or at least my eardrum's life's problems. I didn't heed the doctor's advice about using earplugs during travel (something to do with decreasing the amount of space your eardrum has to fluctuate...?) so thankfully, with some effort, I was able to clear the left side upon landing. Ouch.
Once seated on my connecting flight in PHX I opted for the earplugs. Call me a scientist. I like to experiment. I decided I'd made the right decision before we even started to taxi. I'd been welcomed into my own personal hell, what with the three (yes, three) screaming sticky things on board.
Side note: Why is it that children are always sticky? A question frequently asked in my circle of childless friends. Hell, I'll wipe Sweetpea's ass if the occasion arises. I'll even catch her puke in my hand to avoid a mini Chernobyl on the carpet, but hand me the untamed messiness that you call a bundle of joy and my instinct is to hold it at arms length. I digress.
So, did the earplugs (and cup-o-chardonnay) help? I can handle the ascent really well but the descent is when I start having problems. Even since I've made it back to LV I've been having trouble.
Speaking of chardonnay, the stewardess--excuse me, flight attendant (apparently they don't like "stewardess" anymore because it's sexist.....this is me rolling my eyes)--didn't card me. Generally, I'm not surprised but when the booze cart rolled around, I just so happend to be playing Professor Layton's Diabolical Box on my Nintendo DS. Yes. I'm nearing 30 years old and I play with a (light pink) NES DS. Are you finished? May we carry on? So, anywhooo, if I was a server of alcohol and someone playing a video game in public asked for booze, I'd ask for ID. Then again most video gamers probably don't order chardonnay.
As I returned to the land of leading left arrows I was struck by the heat. Well, not so much the heat, but the humidity. When I left LV it was 110˚F and I was wearing jeggings, blouse, and a blazer and felt perfectly comfortable. When I stepped out of the airport in MSP it was only 84˚ but I was instantly ripping my blazer off because I'd broken into a sweat. What have I gotten myself into?!
Saying that house hunting was successful is an understatement because I fell in love with the first place I viewed. To entice me, the property manager threw in the monthly fee for the heated underground garage and monthly pet rent for Sweetpea for FREE! The garage is prime real estate in itself and was the number one amenity on my list. Can you image this chick digging her car out of the snow or scraping ice off of the windshield? I laugh every time I picture it. Of course I'm not a moron, I'm sure I'm bound to leave an establishment of some sort, at some point, only to find that it's snowed eight feet, in which case I'll find the nearest man. Did you actually think I was going to say, "in which case I'd happily dig out my car ?" Nay. Flat tires and snow buried cars are perfectly acceptable occasions to use your, er...Golden Ticket to its full advantage. Hate the game.
After securing accommodations, I explored downtown and uptown and discovered that roof top patios are all the rage....in the summer. This is when it dawned on me that I'll miss the southwest! We hang out on patios year round! With heaters, but still, somehow I doubt you'll catch anyone on a patio in Minnesota in February, heater or not!
Something that I couldn't wrap my head around was the fact that a MN magazine in my hotel room stated that, "Bicycle Magazine rated Minneapolis the #1 city in the US for biking in 2011." Huh? First of all, it's only possible to bike four (maaaaaybe five if you're pushing it) months out of the year. Secondly, as I drove around the city I don't recall ever seeing bike lanes. Instead, one evening, a bicyclist sped past me ON. THE. SIDEWALK!! I'm fairly certain there's a law in Tucson where the walking pedestrians are permitted to push the cyclist over in the event that the cyclist is on the sidewalk.
On Friday (22 June) I drove the rollerskate of a rental car that I had 2.5 hours north to Duluth to visit family and I have to admit, it'll be nice to move to a new area and have relatives close by. It's been a long time (eleven years) since I've lived within 1000+ miles of anyone with similar heme cells. The drive up was scarier than jumping out of a plane! Minnesoteans can not drive to save their lives! Left lane hogging and driving under the speed limit is illegal in all fifty states and most of Europe. I think MN missed the memo. Admittedly I have a heavy foot but let me remind you, I was in a rollerskate for Pete's sake--I actually wrote "Rollerskate" under "make" and "model" when I registered the vehicle with my hotel--and I never once was passed. I, however, did a lot of passing. In the right lane.
A month before my visit I'd informed my cousins that I called dibs on their kids the night of the 22nd. Some of you may know that I have a Pixar fetish and see all of the movies on their opening night. I've done it since Toy Story and I can't be stopped. I will go see a film by myself if I have to! Luckily it's not happened yet! So, I have three kiddos in my car (note: these are not similar to the sticky beings that we'd previously discussed) and we're leaving the restaurant where we'd just eaten. Derek (my cousin), whom I'm following, pulls over so I pull up next to him and ask Ahni to roll down the window so I can talk to her dad. She turns toward the window and simultaneously lifts her hand to press the button.
Are you catching on yet? I'm in a no-frills rental remember?
Ahni freezes in place. Cocks her head in confusion. Looks at me with the most befuddled look on her face that I've ever seen and asks, "how do you open the window?!" Between bursting out in laughter and making the international "roll down window motion" the window was lowered and the other adults joined in on the hilarity! We had tears coming from our eyes.
The following day was Pela's seventh birthday and I was promptly woken up with a pillow to the head at 7:30am. He opened a few presents before we headed to the Fond du Lac reservation for a moccasin making class. I can't lie. I miss traditional gatherings. I later started the drive back to The Cities to catch my flight. Overall, I really think I'm going to enjoy the area. Then again ask me the same question once winter rolls around!
Pela loves puppets
Derek's a great puppeteer
Beading for the first time
The amazing cake we all helped construct
SOOO looking forward to spending more time with these awesome kids