2014 – Day 28 thru Day 34 – January 28 thru February 3

WOW!  It’s been 13 days since my last post…  that’s almost two weeks, and I have no loopholes for missing my resolution to blog every week.  However, in my defense, I think that I have some good excuses!  I will admit right now though that I probably can’t tell you what we had for dinner over the past two weeks…  AND I’m breaking this 13 days into two posts so that it is not overwhelmingly too long for anyone!

January 28 was a regular working day; I walked/ran 2 miles and then went out to dinner with Hubby.  After dinner, we packed for Denver – our plan was to fly out on Thursday afternoon for Grandpa M’s memorial on Saturday – it didn’t exactly go down that way, but I’ll get to that.

Wednesday, I headed into the office for the day; we had a late afternoon meeting that ended after 5:30 p.m. so I skipped afternoon Awana but made it there for the evening club.  We had a visitor from another church – their club is also very large and they are struggling with paperwork and managing the details; it was fun to share about how we do things.  After club, we headed off to BW3 – it was good to be back there; it’s been a long time!

I worked Thursday morning and then started to get ready to go to the airport.  Hubby called to see if I’d noticed that my flight was cancelled due to weather.  I had not!  When I called the airline, I learned that the earliest they could get us into Denver was Saturday evening.  Grandpa M’s memorial service was scheduled for 10 a.m. so Saturday evening would not work.  We checked the weather and verified that the storms moving through the Midwest were supposed to stay south of South Dakota and that they should be through Nebraska by late Friday night.  We rented a minivan, piled the four girls into it, requested a refund on our outbound flight and hit the road for Denver.  Our plan was to return the van once we got there and to fly home on Monday on our original return flight.

The road from Minneapolis to Sioux Falls
The road from Minneapolis to Sioux Falls

The roads were a little dicey until we cleared Minnesota at Sioux Falls; it then cleared up – roads were clear, wind was minimal…  it was a beautiful night for driving.  We made it into Chamberlain before stopping for the night.  For a variety of reasons, at this point, the girls were referring to this trip as “Road Trip Point Two” – the main one being that I meant to call it “Road Trip 2.0” when I was dazzling them with my iPhone app technology in finding food and a hotel…  and mistakenly switched my “point” and my “two” – let’s just say they were not extremely dazzled!

We did find a great hotel – a Howard Johnson’s with a pool and a room with three queen beds for a great price!  With six of us, we either need a room that size or two rooms…  it was nice to have everyone in the same room.  We spent about an hour at the pool, watched the girls dance on one of the beds, and then called it a night.  I checked the weather one last time and confirmed that the storms would be past where we needed to drive by morning – it looked like we would make it to Denver the next day.

An impromptu sister dance at the hotel
An impromptu sister dance at the hotel

The next morning (Friday), I was up early to check the weather – the storm had blown through and the next one was not due until late Friday night, but… the roads in Nebraska and Northern Colorado were pretty much all closed!  There was no way to get into Denver by road before the next storm moved in and additional snow was expected Saturday morning.  Faced with that news, we made the decision to turn back and go home; I called the airlines to request a refund for our return tickets as we would not be needing them.  I have to say, I was very impressed with the way Southwest Airlines handled the refunds and working with us since the purpose of the trip was to get to the memorial that we would now be missing.  To say turning back was a hard choice would definitely be putting it lightly!

The Corn Palace in Mitchell - it was too cold to actually park and get out
The Corn Palace in Mitchell – it was too cold to actually park and get out

To make the drive home harder, the weather in South Dakota was beautiful!  We stopped off to drive past the Corn Palace in Mitchell and decided to head north at Sioux Falls to visit Nana and Grandpa and pick up Jasmine (our dog, who had been staying with them since before our trip to Disney World!).  It was a long drive, and it was very hard to not be sad every time I thought about missing the memorial service – yes, Hubby and the girls caught me crying several times.

We got into Frazee around dinner time, had pizza, and spent the evening watching YouTube videos and recounting what had now become known as the “Road Trip to Nowhere” – there were a lot of good memories to share.  I headed off to a quiet spot to write some memories about Grandpa M to send to Mema and PawPaw to share during the memorial service the next morning.  Hubby came in to announce that he had found airfare from Minneapolis to Denver for Saturday to Monday for less than the cost of our original tickets, but there were only two seats left.  I wasted no time buying tickets for Hubby and I to fly out there so that I could spend time with my mom over this important weekend.

Saturday morning, we had breakfast at the Main Street Café in Frazee and then loaded the van again and headed back to The Cities.  Grandpa M’s memorial service was webcast live and recorded (I didn’t actually get to watch it until just a couple of days ago), but, because we were driving, I still missed it!

We made it home and headed out right away to return the van – when we turned it in, we had driven almost exactly 1,000 miles in almost exactly 48 hours!  Talk about an adventure to remember…

One of Mema's "pets" - a squirrel eating from the feeder on their back porch
One of Mema’s “pets” – a squirrel eating from the feeder on their back porch

It was with a huge sigh of relief that Hubby and I boarded the plane on Saturday night and an even bigger sigh when we finally arrived in Denver a mere hour and a half later!  We spent Sunday and Monday looking at pictures of Grandpa M, reliving memories, and telling stories about him.  We also got to see Sis (my aunt) and my brother and his wife during our time there.  Hubby and I carved out a few moments to drive around our old neighborhoods and talk about memories in general – it was a great reflective trip, and it meant the world to me to get to be with my mom during this time.  By the time we got home Monday night, the whole weekend already had a very surreal feeling to it…

Jay Pea talked the girls into trying sushi while Hubby and I were out of town!
Jay Pea talked the girls into trying sushi while Hubby and I were out of town!
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