2017-10-16 Home Sweet Home

I arrived home about 10:30PM, got most things put away, and have just now settled into bed. The kids stayed at Brian’s an extra night because of our delay so it is just me and the kitten here. She greeted me at the door and has been following me around ever since.

I’m glad to be home and looking forward to a good night sleep in my own bed. I know I have a whole host of things that need following up on tomorrow, but right now I am just exhausted and can’t even think about what I’m supposed to be doing this week. That drive across Nebraska – Ewwww. I will say Colorado is no better. It only starts to get interesting when you get close to Denver and Boulder.

I think I am done with road trips for a while and also vacations in general (after we return from Hawaii of course). I am going to coast through the rest of this year and the holidays and really not plan anything new. It’s likely I will have a job come January and probably will not have much vacation time anyway, so that will work out perfectly.

Anyway, I’m going to call it quits on this day now. Kitten and I are ready for lights out.

When, what, who?
~Miss SugarCookie

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2017-10-16 Sometimes the Fates Decide

Late on Saturday my mom decided she wanted to drive home on Sunday instead of Monday so once Sunday breakfast was over we loaded up all of our stuff into the Jeep to get on the road out of town. However, the fates had different plans for us and decided we should stick around until Monday like we had originally planned.

We left my brothers house and did what people do when they are getting on the highway in that we stopped for gas. I insisted we make a second stop so I could get a latte. When we got back in the vehicle and turned it on, it started to idle heavily and when she tried to drive it, it went a couple of blocks in the parking lot and then just refused to go when she pushed on the gas. Then the check engine light started to flash.

So we had a very un-fun afternoon on the phone with emergency roadside assistance, getting tows, and discovering that she put diesel fuel in her tank by accident. So we had to get a second tow to a nearby Jeep dealership where the vehicle would stay until someone could take a look at it when they opened on Monday morning.

We went back to my brothers house and unloaded all of our stuff. I guess we were meant to stay in Colorado and should not have tried to change the plan. It was a beautiful afternoon and I walked from the first car place back to my brother’s house. After the dust on all that excitement settled, Lance came to take me to his place in downtown Denver where we walked some more on 6th street looking for a place to eat. We settled on Blue Sushi, which is one of my favorites.

After that he and I went back to his place and talked more and watched TV. I took an Uber back home to my brothers as Lance and I had both been drinking all evening. I came home to a mostly quiet house and proceeded to settle back into my spot on the couch in the basement. I’m really looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, hopefully tonight.

The service department at the Jeep dealership has confirmed there was minimal damage to the vehicle (very lucky) and they should be able to flush it out and get us back on the road by about 2PM today. At this point my mom and I are both super anxious to get home even though we were not originally going to be leaving until today anyway.

It’s another beautiful day out right now (sunny and 60 degrees) and I’m going to take a walk and enjoy that to pass the time while I wait. I wish I had my bike here. Next time, I will totally bring that so I can ride the trails.

Happy Monday,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-10-14 A Full Day of Coloradoing

Today I was up early (before the sun) and had first breakfast in the solitude of my brother’s kitchen. Then when everyone else got up, he cooked us breakfast so I ate again. We waited a little bit after that before heading out for our hike because there was a pretty good fog covering the area. When it finally cleared (and mom was ready to go) we headed out in the direction of Boulder.

We went for a hike at a place called Halls Ranch. We took a moderate trail with some elevation that had lots of boulders and rocks on the path. We were nearly the only ones on foot as most people were traversing the trail on mountain bikes. It was very impressive to watch some of these people navigate over the really rugged terrain. I bet Simon would have really dug it. The hike was about 5 miles round trip, but at the top/end of the trail, we were not really as high as you could go so my bro decided we could leave the trail and go the rest of the way up to check out the view from the top. Our mom stayed below on a bench.

It was not that tough for me to follow him up, but my socks and shoes got covered in these little spikey sticker things. They tortured me the entire hike back down. The view from the top wasn’t really that great. Half way back down the trail and I very much lost enthusiasm and was just ready to be done. Alas, what goes up, must come down.

After the hike we drove back into Boulder for lunch. We had empanadas and I believe that was the name of the place. My brother’s office is in Boulder so he’s there all the time and knows all the places to have lunch. It was good.

When we got back to his house I was wiped out and ready for a nap. I am not sure how long I slept but when I woke, the sun was already going down. I drove my mom to a place she wanted to go shopping and I wandered around the store for a bit. I still only got 16K steps today which isn’t even as much as I have been getting on a regular day back home. I miss my routine and my gym and my Jazzercise.

Both my brother’s kids are in high school and they had their homecoming dance tonight. So the parents dropped the kids off at school and then the four of us went out for dinner. I’m super tired again now and feel like I have ate a ton of food and not gotten enough activity to make up for it.

My mom has decided we would just drive home tomorrow so a good night sleep is in order for us to be in the car all day again. I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tomorrow for sure.

Tired Typing,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-10-14 Waking Up in Colorado

Yesterday my mom and I made the drive along I-80 across Nebraska and into Colorado. We’re visiting my brother and his family in Broomfield which is a thing I like to do about once a year. I love certain parts of Colorado and could really see myself living here someday. My brother has lived here for over 16 years.

We arrived around 5PM but I haven’t actually had a conversation with him yet because Lance came and picked me up and took me out to his friends for a nice evening at their place. It was a lovely evening with good food and wine and conversation. I think it was just past midnight when I got back “home” and the only person still up was my brother’s wife who I chatted with for a quick minute before crashing on the couch in the basement.

I woke up around 6AM (which is 7 Omaha time), and so I didn’t have much of a sleep but I’m ready to get after the day. I’ve already been upstairs and had breakfast and now am back down in the basement waiting for others to stir. We are going on a hike today which is pretty routine for our visits here. It typically means a pretty drive through some mountainous areas to get to some trail we have not been on before.

My brother is an avid hiker and goes a lot, but we stick to the “easy” stuff. Our mom calls them “grandma” hikes. She declared yesterday that she wanted to do something a little more challenging this time. We’ll see where that lands us.

I’m hearing other human beings up and moving around above my head now so I should go say hi.

Happy Saturday,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-08-21 What I Would Do for Totality.. Apparently

Be up over 36 hours straight.
Suffer through a migraine.
Suffer through a terrible hotel stay.
Have the worst “free” hotel breakfast ever.
Hours of waiting (this part wasn’t so bad before the eclipse because we were with friends).
Stupid paper glasses (ok, now I’m just being a whiny bitch).
Lack of proper nutrition (my fault for not being more prepared).
Cramps and bleeding (sorry, now I’m going all TMI).
AND.. A one and a half hour drive home that took THREE hours.

But we were there, at the fairgrounds by Beatrice Nebraska right on the line of totality for 2 minutes of a total eclipse of the sun. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty freaking awesome. I was cheering and jumping up and down. It was also cool to watch the moon as it passed in front of the sun for an hour before, with the glasses of course.

We had off and on thick clouds so it was never a guarantee we were going to get to see anything. Just seeing the partial was really cool. When we all got to take the glasses off and the sky was mostly dark except for a 360 degree of “sunset” on the horizon, that was amazing. We even saw stars in the sky. What a sight. Despite all my hardships, I am glad that I went.

Despite all my anxiety and indecision leading up to it, I am glad I went. I’m glad I got to take the kids and that they got to experience this once, maybe twice in a lifetime event.

And now, I’m glad that it is over and I am back home in my own room in my own bed. It’s only 7PM, but I daresay I will not be able to stay up very much longer.

Totality Wiped Out,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-08-21 The Very Worst Thing Ever

As predicted after we hit about 2PM yesterday things just went as they went and it was all fine, mostly. Z convinced me to book a hotel in Lincoln at the last minute so we could be closer to our Eclipse destination and NOT have to stay in a tent. They (both kids) threatened mutiny if I made them sleep in a tent again after their long Yellowstone vacation with their dad where they tented most nights. I’m actually OK with it too because sleeping on the ground is not appealing to me anymore. I’m not sure if it ever was. As it turns out, the hotel option turned out to be the very worst thing ever for me, but I will get to that.

Actually booking the hotel alleviated several of my concerns and came with a few added bonuses. First and foremost, actually committing to something helped all by itself for some reason. Like just pulling the trigger on it made a little of my anxiety about the uncertainty of the day melt away. Like I stated, we will be closer to our destination and avoid some traffic traveling there late in the day. In the AM, the kids will get to swim and they have free breakfast so those are both marks in the “win” column.

Our guests arrived shortly after 3, I think, and then we did the complimentary tour of our castle. The kids played a little while we unloaded the bikes from the car and then there was about 45 minutes of fidgeting with tires and seats and brakes and such to get people ready to go. I was worried about the ride because of C. He does not ride his bike and he hates it. Every time he rides, he’s unsteady and crashes. He just has never gotten enough practice to really gain skill and confidence and then is quick to quit when he takes a fall.

My concerns were warranted. About 3/4 the way to the trail he faltered navigating some planters on the downtown Papillion sidewalk and completely kinked his back break line and got a nasty cut down his leg. After that he wanted to quit, but the rest of the crew was already ahead and the trail. We walked the bike that distance and then our new friends helped fix the bike at least enough to continue on. We did just a short distance on the trail, 84th street to 72nd, and then turned back because we needed to be back to the house by 6:15 to greet someone picking up his car for use these next couple of days. It took C and I a bit to get back, and they were all onto something else by the time we arrived home. My conclusion there was that C needs a bigger bike that fits him better and more time riding to really get the hang of it. After today, it will probably take some serious incentives to pull off though.

After that, I cooked dinner and the kids played some more and everything went off pretty much as expected. I never really got rid of all my angst. I was very guarded the entire time and felt very much like I was trying really hard to be engaged in the conversation while appearing to effortlessly put on this fabulous meal AND be a good parent. I’m noticing a pattern of behavior with my interactions with this person and I’m still trying to figure that out, but it’s probably deserving of a blog all of its own.

The time ticked away and past 8PM I started to think we need to be getting them back home (because now they were without a car), which was a good 40 to 45 minute round trip through the heart of the city. When I arrived back home it was just about 10PM and the kids were pretty much ready to jump in the car to drive to Lincoln. The drive from Omaha was quick and there was thankfully not a lot of traffic, which was of course part of the bonus of staying in a hotel there. What I did not count on, however, was arriving at the hotel only to be greeted by the very worst thing ever (for me), as soon as we walked into our room.

As I opened the door to room 116 of this very average Quality Inn my olfactory sense was immediately hit with a burst of sickly floral perfume. It was if someone over-did some terrible air freshener to cover up what was undoubtable another horrible smell. As soon as took a few breaths, my headache was triggered. I get migraines from the smell of certain things like cigarette smoke or the scent of baby powder or perfume. For this reason, I avoid walking through that section of any department store and never go into a bath and body works. Having had this my whole entire adult life, I know what scents are OK and what scents cause an issue and it is typically the more floral ones that trigger my headache.

I was tired and the kids were tired, so I thought I would just try and get right to sleep and sleep typically is the magic trick that makes the migraine disappear. At home, I have meds that make me sleepy and alleviate my nausea but I didn’t even think to bring any of that because we would not even be gone a whole day. Plus, I’ve only had one migraine in the last year, so the chances of that seemed very unlikely. But I wasn’t counting on what was behind door number 116.

I could not sleep. I laid in the bed breathing in that terrible smell and tried to make my mind calm and not focus on the pain. I was sick to my stomach and the song “Sucker for Pain” from the movie Suicide squad was on repeat in my brain. It was terrible. I knew I couldn’t ask for a different room because we arrived so late and the hotel was completely booked. In fact the lady on the phone earlier in the day said we got the very last room.

At 3AM I got up to ask the front desk if they had pain meds. They didn’t (that does not sound like a Quality hotel to me). The nice lady at the front desk told me there was a gas station just down the block so I grabbed my keys and went to get some Tylenol. Typically I would take Excedrin, but they didn’t have any. I had caffeine in my car so the acetaminophen plus caffeine would have to do.

When I got back to the room, I vomited. Then I took the meds on an empty stomach and went back to bed. I laid there for another few hours and slowly got to the point where my head was feeling a little better, but sleep never came. I was breathing through my mouth the entire time and at one point rolled over and had a deep breath through my nose, and it was like it triggered my headache all over again. Damn.

At 5:30 I looked at the clock and my brain started doing math on how long I would have to wait to take more tylenol. Two hours. Damn.

At 6:00 I gave up trying to sleep and opened my phone. The light on the screen didn’t make me wince (which typically happens with a migraine), so I knew at that point the worst was over and all that was left was to deal with a lingering headache, and the fact that I had no sleep and still need to get the crew to Beatrice by 11AM.

At 6:30 I got my laptop out and started to write. That pretty much takes me to right up to the present moment. It is 7:30 and I just took my second round of Tylenol with a cup of coffee. It’s going to be a long day today. It’s already been a long day and now I’m getting ready to start round 2. Hopefully, the Migraine and sleepless night really are the worst thing that will happen. I’m sure there are much worse things that could happen which is me just trying to look on the bright side of things.

Speaking of bright sides. The sky is sunny and mostly clear now and I am hoping it will stay that way for the eclipse today at 1PM.

Happy Total Eclipse Day,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-08-12 Looking Forward

It’s good to have a plan. It’s good to have things to look forward to. An event or a meet up or a vacation in the future that you can think about and be excited about. I’m a planner by nature and I love having things to look forward to. That’s probably why I am always planning to meet people for lunches or daydreaming and scheming about my next road trip or vacation. From the moment Hawaii was a done deal, it has been a topic of discussion with people and a wonderful thing to be excited about. That happens in November and I bought those tickets last spring, so I will have enjoyed looking forward to that for like 6 months.

One thing that was great about my job was that it paid enough to support my travel habit. There are so many places I want to see and so many things that I want to do that as soon as I get back from one, I’m almost immediately thinking about what is next. The downside to the job thing is, well, only three weeks of paid vacation a year. Bummer. I’m also a fan of the long weekend, you know take a Friday and maybe even Monday too and take off for a road trip. I think my PTO balance at work was often hovering around zero. Whatever job I elect to have next, I would like more time off. Four weeks is not unheard of but five would be the bomb. That’s probably stretching it some.

I originally planned to take three months off of work. Well, three months where I was just going to get some serious R and R and not think about work at all and then potentially another three months looking for the “right” job. For the most part being off work has been great, but now that I am almost halfway through my first three and about a month past my big Pacific Northwest adventure, I am really starting to want to plan some more things with the time I have left.

I’m supposed to do a quick trip with my friend Denise to Beatrice to witness the Solar Eclipse on the 21st, but that will likely be a one day trip. The one day trip I took to that crappy water park in Grand Island was more of a spur of the moment thing and not super awesome. I need something more substantial. Yesterday I had texts with both my friend Rebecca in Austin and my Mom about potential trips.

It looks like we (my mom, the kids, and I) will be going to visit my brother in Colorado in October over the four day Columbus day weekend. That’s so far away still. I may be going to Austin mid September too. That will probably be decided here in the next couple of days. Rebecca also wants to plan a girls trip sometime in October or November so that will likely be awesome too. Then we are leading right into that first week of November when I will be on the island of Maui. So that’s all very excellent.

I’ve also been thinking I would like to get back to the Badlands this year. I love that place so much. That is one of the benefits of being in a relationship .. you have someone to experience things with. I don’t much mind traveling solo, but when you get to where you are going, eating all your meals and seeing cool things by yourself is just not the same. You see the most amazing sunrise and you look to your left and your right and don’t have anyone to say “wow, how cool is that” to. That’s a bummer. Still, it would be nice to get back there before my time runs out.

For the next few weeks I need to focus on getting the kids back to school and potentially doing a little soul searching about my future. That’s another kind of “looking forward” that I’ve intended for this time in my life. I should capitalize on that opportunity while I’m at home and waking up each and every wonderful day with the luxury of doing whatever it is I feel like.

I guess it’s time to do that now. I wonder what this day will bring.

Always Looking,
~Miss SugarCookie