It's so cliche to say this, but OH MY GOD HOW IS IT AUGUST ALREADY? Seriously - I feel like this summer and this year is just rushing by so quickly I can't wrap my head around it. I had a lull in the amount of work travel I was doing, but it is already starting to increase and I'll be on the road at least twice a month through October. Between now and the end of October I will be in:
- Chicago, IL
- Orlando, FL
- Fort Worth & Texarkana, TX
- Las Vegas, NV (this one is vacation)
- St. Louis, MO
- Las Vegas, NV (this one is work)
- Santa Cruz, CA (this one is vacation)
Frequent Flyer miles? Yes. Opportunity to enjoy them? Not so much.
ANYWAY: I wanted to write about my trip to visit my dad in Iowa this past week. I had a work trip to St. Louis already planned when I found out from one of my aunts that my dad was having hernia repair surgery on the 31st. Since I was only going to be eight hours away by car, there was really no decision to make - I rented a car, cut my trip to St. Louis short (thank god for understanding and kind bosses), and drove to Algona to be with my dad. I worked a full day in the office on Tuesday and didn't get on the road until about 6pm (St. Louis has the slowest cab drivers ever, I swear) but the drive was really pretty and quite dramatic at times.
Somewhere between St. Louis and Waterloo, Iowa.
I didn't do the drive all in one sitting. when making my plans for the trip I booked a hotel for the night in Waterloo, Iowa, which is about 2.5 hours from Algona where my dad lives. I'll admit I was really, really nervous about chosing a hotel in Waterloo (really - anywhere in Iowa, if I'm being honest) but I saw a place online called the Isle of Capri and the hotel/casino both looked really nice. Also? I chose this place because I was pretty sure I'd still be able to get a beer once I got settled.
Pretty nice, right? I'll admit it was much better than I was willing to hope for. The room was clean, and large, and comfortable, and the hotel was quiet and all for under $100. I will definitely stay here again when I'm going to visit my dad.
The next morning I got up early and drove to Algona. I made it to the hospital in time to see my dad before he went in for surgery and to say hello to one of my aunts and one of my uncles. My dad was cracking jokes as he was taken into surgery and then my family and I settled into the waiting room to well...wait.
The good news is that the surgery went okay and they're hopeful that they won't have to do the surgery again. The bad news is that he's got both COPD and diabetes on top of everything else he's dealing with which makes even routine procedures worrisome. It was great to see my family and to spend time with my dad. It's been too long and now that I've done the drive from St. Louis I know that it's really doable.
My family doesn't really know me as an adult, and for the most part, that's been my doing. They know me as a kid, or as a teenager based on stories my dad would tell (and YEESH, I would prefer not to think about that) but they don't know me as a 38 year old crazy dog lady (okay, that MIGHT be an oversimplificaiton). I need to change that - I need to make the effort to be there in person more often, to pick up the phone, to send a message via FB or email - to bring my family into my life so that we CAN be family. This is something I've been thinking a lot about and want to write about in more detail, but I just don't have all my thoughts together on the topic yet.
I flew home from Minneapolis on Thursday and I will spare you the details of what a hotel snob I am and how I've sworn that I'll never stay at a Holiday Inn again, even if it is conveniently located near the Mall of America. (By the way, I will NOT stay at a Holiday Inn ever again, even IF it is conveniently located near the airport and the Mall of America.)
I have had a particularly relaxing weekend filled with the Sopranos, UFC 163, Justified, spinning, knitting, hanging out with Mike and the pups, and now FOOTBALL. This is the weekend I have needed after an emotional, stressful (I arrived 11 hours late to St. Louis on Monday - getting to your hotel at 2:30am when you thought you'd get there at 3:30pm makes me CRANKY), and exhausting week.
One last thing, though: New Hair!
It's blonder than I was anticipating, but I'm digging the length and being able to wear it curly while I was in the Midwest last week was a huge help, because HUMIDITY, I AM NOT USED TO YOU ANYMORE.