The Vacation Run Down

First, an apology to my readers who checked for a post last night. My parents have one computer and my dad had to use it last night. By the time he was done I was too tired to write a post and was off to bed.

Now, for those of you who are interested in what I’ve been doing in North Dakota on my vacation, here’s what’s happened so far. I’ve not taken very many pictures yet, but do plan to post some photos eventually. I won’t give a time estimate since I’ll probably not live up to the deadline, but they will be forthcoming.

Saturday, June 21: I spent most of the day in planes and airports. You wouldn’t think it would take all day to fly approximately 1,277 miles, but with the layovers I need to take, it does. So I started my day at 5:00am and arrived in Minot, North Dakota about 4:20pm. Since my parents live outside of town in a rural community, they make the most out of trips into town. (M. and I do the same thing now that we have moved outside the city.) Because they were already in town to get me from the airport, we went and had some dinner at a Mexican restaurant and then did some shopping. Finally, we headed home where I was greeted by a very excited dog. Elle – my mom’s newest baby was a rescue dog from Hurricane Katrina. She was one of the animals transported from the New Orleans area to various shelters around the US. There was a list of people who wanted to adopt Elle, but my parents’ rural home with a huge yard won out and Elle is now a spoiled pooch living in my parents’ house.

Sunday, June 22: We all awake early to spend about 4 hours in the car so we can drive to Grand Forks and visit my sister. My sister is an overachiever and very, very busy so it was either drive to see her, or not see her at all. Even though I had spent the entire previous day traveling, I was willing to do this to see her. (Plus, my parents really did the activity planning for this trip and I didn’t have much choice in the matter! But what can you say when they shelled out almost $700 for a plane ticket?)

The purpose of the trip was twofold – give me a chance to visit with my sister and give dad and my brother the opportunity to fix sister’s dryer which was overheating and install some shelving in the garage of her townhouse. We arrived about lunchtime. My brother and one of his friends were at my sister’s already – they had drove down the day before to attend a concert. So we met up with sister, brother, and brother’s friend to discuss the game plan for the day. It was decided we would all go to lunch, but first had to wait for sister’s friend who would come over to help install the garage shelving. Sister felt since he was volunteering to help out, it would be nice to invite him to lunch too. I was on this trip to visit with my family, so I was not exactly thrilled about going to lunch with brother’s friend and sister’s friend, but again, what can you do when you’re not the activity director and the entire trip is being financed by your parents?

Sister’s friend pulls up on a scooter and we all pile into two vehicles to go have some lunch at Boston’s. Not my favorite place to eat, but sister is very picky about where she eats and she chose. (I know it sounds like all I am doing up to this point is complaining, but really it has been a good trip so far! I just like to give commentary on my interior thoughts…)

After lunch it is decided mom and I will go shopping since there are stores in Grand Forks that are not available in Minot. Sister, brother, and dad are all going to stay at the townhouse to do home repairs. Sister’s friend motors off on his scooter right after lunch saying he has something he has to do and is never seen again. Good thing my parents bought him lunch in exchange for help with those shelves… Mom and I putter around department stores for two and a half hours (my shopping limit is probably half an hour to an hour…) and then we return to sister’s townhouse where we find brother and sister playing Bubble Bobble (ah, flashback!) and dad and brother’s friend watching them. Brother has spent the entire time we were gone in sister’s attic finding a dryer clog and dad installed the garage shelving san sister’s friend. So we hang out at sister’s townhouse for awhile visiting and playing with her cats then make the approximately 4 hour drive home, have some pizza, and head to bed.

Monday, June 23: I went to the same hair stylist all through high school. My mom still goes to this stylist, so she made me a surprise appointment for a haircut. But I didn’t know and had my hair cut last Wednesday before traveling. Because my hair was already shorter than I really wanted it, I couldn’t take the haircut and instead got caramel-colored highlights. We then headed back home for some lunch and relaxed around the house.

Late Monday afternoon one of my parents’ neighbors knocked on the door. She said she was coming home from work and saw thick black smoke rising in the air near my grandfather’s home (my parents live in a community on top a hill – grandpa lives below the hill). The neighbor said she couldn’t see what exactly was on fire and traffic was stopped and backed up. She told mom and dad she’d feel a lot better if they went and checked it out (there is a private back road down the hill to grandpa’s place). So mom, dad, the dog, and I hopped in the Explorer and took the back way down.

My grandfather is retired from working at the local airport. He now runs his own business selling products of his own design – windsocks with lights that can swivel 360 degrees, roadway markers, a device that thaws sewer vents in the winter. Grandpa has a large shop and that is where the back road leads to, so we parked near the shop and grandpa came out and was irate. Apparently, grandpa’s wife (not my grandmother who passed away when I was five) was on her way into town. She got to the end of the driveway and was about to turn onto the highway when the van she was driving made a popping, whooshing noise and then went up in flames. Grandpa’s wife got out and was not injured, but it took the fire department half an hour to make it out to the blaze and by the time it the fire was out (and we were all down there staring at it), the van was a complete loss. The interior was completing burnt, the front end was practically unrecognizable and melted into the pavement. The only salvageable part of the vehicle was the rear tires. Not only was grandpa irate about losing a vehicle he had just recently cancelled insurance on, but he had also donated $200 to the fire department of Burlington and they didn’t even come out. It was Minot Rural that responded. I am sure the Burlington Fire Department will be hearing from my grandfather with a request for his $200 back…

After the fire incident, we had a hurried dinner and then went into town to see a movie. My mom listens to a radio show called Wheeler Dealer and gets discount certificates from the program. Several of our activities, including Monday night’s movie, were based around what she had certificates for. We saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall at the discount theater. (Not a movie I had any ambition to see, but our options were limited since it was a discount theater and only had three shows playing – two of which I had already viewed.) Now the movie was not terrible, but if I had known we were going to see Jason Segel in full frontal nudity several times (not just a few times, but several times) I might not have seen this movie with my mom and dad. Not that movie nudity bothers me, even if viewed with the parents, but this was not just quick flashes of the male anatomy, and there really wasn’t any reason for us to see Mr. Segel’s little soldier flopping around… In any case, the movie was not what we expected. We got home late and headed off to bed.

Tuesday, June 24: Tuesday was a day out and about with my mom. We did some light shopping (much better than the marathon shopping expedition in Grand Forks), had lunch at a place call The Pita Pit (yummy!), mom tried to donate blood, and then we got hydro massages (my first professional massage ever).

The shops we checked out were little locally owned businesses selling gift items. I bought some ice tea mix and some cornnut-like things for M. I also bought a little cat figurine to add to my small collection of cat-related items at home. We also visited a used bookstore. I love browsing through old books, even if I don’t purchase anything. Mom bought me a couple books, which is good since I am almost done with the two books I brought with me! I’ve added them to my Book Bag on the right side of the blog…

After lunch we tried to check out a tattoo place. Mom has a coupon for a tattoo. I found out she has always wanted one. I never knew that about my mom and it’s a little shocking. Mom just doesn’t seem like the tattoo kind of person. I briefly thought about getting a tattoo when I heard she was getting one, but I don’t have a life-long desire for a tattoo, plus M. absolutely abhors tattoos, so I decided not to do something that I did not have a strong desire to do. (But, just so M. knows, if I did really, really want a tattoo, I would get one despite his objections.) Mom had decided on a cherry blossom design for her ankle and we were going to go by the place to talk to the artist about the design and find out how long it would take, but the place was locked up tight. No posted hours. Mom called the number and left a message with her phone number and we went off to the blood bank.

Mom was going to give blood because once she is tattooed, she can’t give blood for a year. I dug into my book while waiting for them to test her blood levels. (I can’t give blood, it makes me woozy – I can watch vomiting, gut-tearing, etc., but suck blood out of my arm and I am likely going to faint.) During my wait my cell phone rang. The blood bank is not a noisy place and I did not realize the ringer on my cell phone was turned all the way up – so embarrassment ensued while I dug furiously through my purse to get the phone and get it out of it’s case while everyone in the waiting room looked at me like, “Are you going to answer that noisy thing?!”

I eventually did get the phone popped open and up to my ear. It was a gal from work letting me know my friend received her referral from Russia! I had hoped it would happen while I was home so I could be in the office when she came in, but I am so excited for her! S., if you are reading this, I saw a picture and I could not be happier for you!! Please don’t feel you can’t call me because I’m on vacation. I would love to hear from you!

During this exciting call Mom came out and indicated she couldn’t give blood – iron levels were too low. So we did some quick shopping and then got our massages. I’ve never had a professional massage of any kind, so that was a nice treat. I will have to look for somewhere back home where I can get a hydro massage.

The tattoo expedition was a lost cause yesterday since the place was apparently closed and the artist never returned mom’s call. Oh, and I don’t think I mentioned that dad has not a clue that mom is getting a tattoo or that she even wants one, so that’s going to be some surprise for him when she comes home with an inked ankle. I hope she will be able to get it done while I am here.

Last night was a quiet night at home with my parents. One of my aunts (dad has five sisters and no brothers!) also stopped by to visit. Aunt B. is my favorite of my dad’s sisters and is also my godmother, so it was nice to see her again. The rest of the aunts, I don’t really care to see. My mom is the oldest of ten children, but most of them live about 2 hours south of here in the Bismark area. We didn’t see them a lot growing up, so I don’t really know them.

And that brings me up to this morning. Mom and dad are out walking Elle and I have spent a good portion of my day so far on the internet checking email and writing this post. This afternoon we will be trekking down to Bismark to take a riverboat cruise and see my mom’s parents. I can’t promise another post today, maybe not even tomorrow, but I will be back at some point to give everyone an update.



  1. LilSeed said,

    July 3, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Note: it should NOT sound like I hated visiting my sister while I was in ND. I love my sister and really enjoyed seeing her, her home and her cats! I wish I could have visited with her more.

  2. SaraRae said,

    July 3, 2008 at 1:36 am

    Sorry you had such a horrible time visiting me. If you had come to ND for a full weekend I would have made the trip to Minot. You should have said you don’t like Bostons. Just saying.

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