Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Oh, September

Ten days into September, the novelty of school and routine has worn off already. The kids seemed to adjust well to the first few days of school and we were all making it work, but on Sunday evening within minutes of stepping in the door after being gone all afternoon, I was blindsided with a string of questions and requests such as (but not limited to):
  • We need to go buy a music book tonight because I HAVE to have it for band class tomorrow.
  • I need $20 for a yearbook.
  • I need $40 for something else.
  • I need $200 for my bari sax rental.
  • When are we going to look through my book order?
  • My flip flop broke and I have no shoes to wear to school tomorrow.
  • You have to fill out this form (and 50 others).
  • Can you sign my agenda?
  • And my favourite: My head feels itchy. Can you check for lice?
Instead of running out the door to catch a plane that would take me to a new life, I took a hundred deep breaths and plowed ahead. I resolved everything that didn’t involve shopping (the stores were closed). A very thorough lice check was done and no lice/nits were found. There was a lice epidemic at Neve’s school in spring; she was one of the very few kids – and the only one among her close friends - who never got it. It was during the time when Joan was dying and things were crazy at work and I was not in a good place. I honestly think God protected Neve’s little head because I’m pretty sure I would have shaved her head bald and lit our house on fire.

Anyway, I miss summer. I hate routine. I hate the cooler weather. I hate leaves on the ground. I hate talk of chunky knits and butternut squash and fall mums. The Thanksgiving edition of Canadian Living arrived the other day and I threw it straight in the garbage (okay, I didn’t really but I wanted to). I want hot sunshine and sangria and sprinklers and unstructured days. I feel like I didn’t have nearly enough beach days and since we aren’t going on a winter holiday this year, it will be a long time until I’ll have another one. Looks like my “September is still summer” campaign has fizzled out. Maybe I’ll have another burst of positivity and enthusiasm, especially if the weather smartens up.

Here's a little catch-up item from the September long weekend. We wanted to go on a little weekend getaway - somewhere not too far but not too close, somewhere near a lake but not camping, somewhere we could do a bit of back-to-school shopping, but not Grand Forks or Fargo. The place that fit all of those requirements was ... Bemidji, Minnesota. Who knew? The only time I'd ever been to Bemidji was when we drove through it on our way home from PEI two years ago. I remember it was about 37 C and I rolled down the window to take a picture of Paul Bunyan and Babe and afterward, the window wouldn't go back up. After a few minutes of great concern, it magically decided to work again. (It stopped working again last winter and Jim permanently disabled it so we haven't been able to open the passenger side window for about six months. That's just one of the many issues our van has, but we try not to speak ill of it in hopes that it will last longer.)

So, we left early Saturday morning and stopped in Grand Forks to get the shopping requirements out of the way. Then we continued on, stopping at an A & W drive-in on the way. We stopped at one in Wisconsin on our PEI trip as well, so it's now apparently a thing we do. The server didn't seemed thrilled at having to come outside to serve us and our milkshake order took way longer than it should have. But the children were happy and that's what matters (so they tell me).

2012 in Wisconsin

2014 in Minnesota
A little more rust makes the van look more mature and wiser (like wrinkles and grey hair)



We stayed at the Hampton, which was really nice. The room was big and modern and spotless and we were right on the lake. There was a water trampoline and canoes and paddleboats you could use. Unfortunately the weather wasn't hot, so Dale and the kids only went into the lake once. But we sat outside lots, explored the grounds and ate both dinners on the patio overlooking the lake. We also spent lots of time at the pool/hot tub/sauna, even though Neve is the only person that's really excited about swimming these days. It's kind of sad when those kids grow up and don't find it as exhilarating as they used to, but it's also more relaxing. I read a lot. Lots of TV watching also took place, mainly Cutthroat Kitchen. After checking out on Monday, we went to Itasca State Park, where the Mississippi River begins. The park has a lot of history and was actually pretty interesting (the children might disagree). And then we headed home, meandering through lots of small towns which was pretty cool but took long and the children were making me crazy. We are pretty good at long road trips, but we sometimes struggle with the smaller ones because we're not as mentally prepared. But besides that, the mini-trip was a big success. I love exploring places that are (relatively) close to home but feel like they're much further away. As I said earlier, we have no trips planned in the foreseeable future so I'm sad it’s over. But I smile because it happened because that's what Dr. Seuss says we should do.

Just to prove I was on the trip

Horsing around on the dock

Taken from the patio of the hotel

This was at Itasca State Park. I thought the people in costume had something to do with the Mississippi steamboat tour (seen in the background), but they weren't. Everyone was staring at them, waiting for them to start their performance, but in the end it appears they were just regular tourists dressed up for fun.

The Mississippi is just a small stream here - pretty cool.


Anonymous said...

You're also in the Paul Bunyon and Babe picture which is better proof that you were on the holiday since that couch picture could have been taken anywhere. :P

I'm impressed with how well kids can actually do road trips. All the media tells us is it's long and hard and you need a rubbermaid container of things to do to occupy them. Bzzzzzzzt. (that's my annoying game show buzzer sound). Wrong. Kids can entertain themselves pretty well on their own. We drove to a family wedding in Regina last weekend -- about 7 hours there on Saturday and then about 7 hours home on Sunday. The kids chatted and made up stories, listened to the music of our choice, listened to Narnia audiobooks and The Hobbit audio book, did some fighting over personal space, and had a few moments of whining "How much longer until we get there?" But really, outside of that, no hand held devices needed, no portable dvd machines, and only one quick pit stop each way to pee and get some drinks. Woot.

You're road-tripping always inspires me. :)


Daniel said...

I LOVE the 'then and now' photos! Did they get the same milkshakes?

Always fun to travel along with your road trips! Maybe next summer we can drive back here after my visit - it was fun with my other sister!

Anonymous said...

Man, I cannot WAIT to see you!!! xo Sio

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