How are you all? I really missed you! It seems so long since we have been in touch! I hope all is well as can possibly be with you. PLease keep me informed!!!!
We were unable to stay in my home town of Hinckley as Matina McBride was performing at the gambling casino auditorium, so ever motel within a hundred miles was booked up. We did stop in Hinckley, so I could go by my Dad's business, my grandparents house, my old school, and all of that. Oh, also the cemetery. But it wasn't the same. We didn't get to eat at World famous Tobies Restaurant, and that was disappointing. I had this feeling then, this trip was not off to a good start.
We stayed in Duluth (another 100 miles away). Duluth is up really north. We went to the mall in Duluth which is lovely. So much bigger than our little Mason City mall! I got tons of stuff. It was cold that day, so I bought warm things. Well, of course, the rest of the week it was in the 90's so I couldn't wear it, but I will wear it in the fall. Everything summer wise was on clearance, but it was pretty picked over, so I didn't see much I wanted to buy (that I could afford) LOL. It was fun to look, though. I bought 4 hard cover books and somehow Dave lost my sack of books in that mall. He was carrying all my heavy stuff. Dave never loses anything, but this killed me! I planned on reading all week. It's about 70,000 population (that's a guess). Too big for me, but it's beautiful. It borders on Lake Superior and there are lots of sites to see. We didn't go to see them as we have spent time at the North shore before, but Duluth is growing and considered one of the top places to live in the USA. It's a growing town and gorgeous! It's a little big for us small town critters, but would be great for a family! Many things to do and see. We got a nail in the tire of Dave's brand new car there. Right before 5 PM. We just made it to a "Tires Are Us" before it closed! We stayed at a Day's Inn (budget motel, you know?) in Duluth and it cost $185! Unbelievable!
The next day we got to Rutgers resort near Barnard. It is a fantastic lodge and has cabins, condos, and rooms, and lodge dwellings. The food was 5 star for sure. We had to dress moderately for dinner (no shorts, etc). It was pretty fancy. Our breakfasts and dinners were included in our room rate. We didn't have lunch (didn't need it!) The meals were very fancy! That was the best part of being there! We had waiters from Russia, Sweden (exchange college students) and all over I can't remember where. Plus lots of local kids from miles around. Never had we had service like we did there. It was very classy. It has been there (the lodge for over 100 years!) There were lots of old pictures and it was fun to wonder the halls and look at all of them!
Our cabin was a disappointment to put it mildly. The room the king bed was in did NOT have air conditioning in or a TV. I have to have both of those things. I thought I had checked it out but they didn't have those things. It did have 2 bathrooms, but they weren't what I'd call fancy. Adequate is more like it. The lighting wasn't makeup friendly either. But then, I AM very fussy, I admit it. For what it cost to stay there, I really felt we deserved ALL those frills AND MORE! In the living room, there was one rocking chair and 2 day beds (really twin beds with padded backs on them.) You couldn't sit down and have your back supported at ALL, it killed my back. I slept in that room as the TV was there and I fall asleep watching TV, but also because the room the king bed was in the air conditioning didn't begin to get to and it was super hot back there. Dave slept back there. The "daybeds" (in the living room) I slept in weren't good for sleeping either. I had one long week trying to get 3 or 4 hr. of sleep. I watched a lot of cable TV and read. But it was not worth the money. I couldn't get comfortable in that place lying down or sitting. I was GLAD when the week was over. I know I shouldn't say this, but that's the truth. Dave enjoyed his golfing but we had no beach (although our cabin was on the lake), no dock, and no boat with our cabin or even available to rent. You could go for a pontoon ride for a hefty fee, or rent a speed boat (very costly) but we didn'twant anything FAST, we wanted slow and relaxing things. One day we did ride the bicycle boat things. That was fun. The pillows were thinly filled down. HORRIBLE. We were more than ready to leave on Saturday, but will always remember and cherish the meals, the evenings we spent dining there especially. Very exotic dishes but they also had buffet every breakfast and dinner as well.
Dave played golf and enjoyed it. I went on the beach, but little kids throw sand on the beach and run and scream and well, kids today don't act like kids use to act. So I moved to the outdoor pool. That was fine for sunning, but not swimming. Kids and families were in there. Not many people or children know how to swim properly. It amazed me! I could swim by the time I was 2 or 3. I got tired of sitting alone hearing kids scream and fight and I then went to the indoor pool, which was pretty good choice. It was decent sized and most people want to be outside so often I would have that pool to myself. I enjoyed that a lot! I enjoyed the hot tub a lot, too! Dave tuned 64 on July 23, when we were at Rutgers. He had already bought his present a little unique pricey guitar that is much quieter than regular ones. He got it to take on his overnight business trips to play in motel rooms and not disturb anyone. This makes his 5th guitar, I think. I just got him a card, but I sure felt bad about not buying a present, too. It just didn't seem "right." You know? He had told me under no circumstances to buy a gift as he had spent plenty on this gift so I didn't, but it wasn't much fun to just buy him a card. Secretly, I think he missed not having a present to open, but he'll never admit it! LOL I did have balloons around his dinner chair that night and the staff sang to him and he got a little birthday cake. I was trying to make it special and think I did, but I also think I embarrassed him a little. He's a shy guy in many ways!
From there we went to Fargo to see my Aunt Clara. She is 88. She has changed. She is still (thank God) remarkably healthy and super active, especially for a woman that age. But we noticed a big change in her personality. She argued (tried to) politics with me. She didn't have to do this with Dave as they were for the same people mostly. She was down right RUDE to me. She called me STUPID for sticking up for some liberal causes, even though basically, I too, am a Republican, I am not that conservative. I also believe that we have freedom of choice and the main thing is for people to care, to vote no matter which way they vote. She just jumped on me (Mentally) over that. She jumped on my telling her I washed and ironed and cleaned a lot. She jumped on me for just about everything I do. She jumped on my for having my book collection (library of my own). She rudely said I was wasteful. I am proud of all my books. They are my babies. It's not like I over buy that many things. She said my computer time was a waste of my life. I tried to tell her I have good friends here, but she wasn't buying that. She said I was completely just wasting my time. She NEVER use to be like this!
This was very hard on me. I have always been her favorite niece but everything that came out of my mouth was WRONG and she told me "You need to get a LIFE." I tried to explain about my back and neck and my chronic pain problems (I shouldn't have had to as she should know & anyway, in pictures my bent neck shows easily.) I don't know if she didn't believe me, or just didn't understand. I can't be as active as I was 15 years ago. She doesn't realize how unusual it is for someone 88 to be in the shape she is in!!! She has had 2 knees replaced and has hearing aides, but other than that is in good health and takes no medications! I can't be as active as I use to be! Or even walk like I use to, and she made me feel quite worthless especially after I didn't agree with her views on different things. She has never had any other kind of surgery other than her knees and cataracts!
She cooked delicious meals for us!! I know she was trying. I truly did appreciate all the effort she put in to making our stay comfortable! I always offered to help, but she wouldn't let me, not even with the clean up. I wasn't too upset over that as I am fussy about my kitchen myself. She sent home another HUGE package of outfits for Jonathan, toys, too. Isn't that special? She already sent Patti and Tim a box of stuff for him and a blanket she crocheted. Then she sent a sack of toys for him! I am afraid he might already be too big for the 3 mo. size, but what could I say, she didn't have receipts. We are going to give this to Tim and Patti. I don't think she realizes we may live in the same state, but I don't get to see Jack except about once a month if that. Dave gets to every other week as he travels there on business for his job.
I don't think she realizes how much she hurt me. There were times, I just broke down and stopped talking because I could see she was only going to "disagree" with me. I fought tears the whole time we were there. Last year all was wonderful and I was lovable; this year I am a lost cause I guess. I KNOW it's not ME. I KNOW it's her age. But I have NO IDEA of how picking on me made her feel good. She ran me down verbally as much as she could. Dave even saw this, but didn't want to create a scene with my elderly Aunt. She IS a good person, and she has worked for good causes all of her life. She is a giving and a generous person. But as far as she and I are concerned, I am a lost cause today. She would do this even MORE if Dave went outside. I was raised to respect my elders, so I mostly didn't say anything. Dave could see she was very set in her ways, but he didn't see or hear the worst of her verbal attacks on me. She was NOT rude or argumentative with him. We went to the Fargo (North Dakota) mall on Sunday. I got a NEW PILLOW. LOL I got such a huge hard pillow, I can't sleep on it. I will use it to watch TV with, or to put against my back. I wanted to make sure it was FIRM after those flimsy ones at the lake, and it's TOO FIRM. LOL Geez, I couldn't win! So, I am going to go buy a MEMORY PILLOW! I bought some king sized sheets and other things on sale in Fargo. Their mall is so much bigger than ours that the selection was much better than what we have here. I almost bought a new king quilt and shams, because they were BEAUTIFUL and on sale; but what I have isn't really worn out yet and besides, by now we had NO extra room in our car!! Sunday night we went out to dinner at Red Lobster. We don't have one here anymore (it closed) so that was fun. It also got us out of Clara's apartment. We lost Dave in the Mall. Funny, but sad. She got MAD then (at him) (but it didn't last!). I thought it was funny. She was getting upset, and saying how would we get home (Dave had driven, etc). I had my cell phone & knew we could call a taxi if mall security didn't produce Dave. But then Dave found us in the bookstore in the Mall. Dave had promised to buy me all the books he had lost in the Duluth Mall, so he did, but he wasn't thrilled about that. He got over it quickly though!
Oh, also, she only watches Fox News or Twin's baseball games or in the winter; Viking football games. She watches NO other shows on TV. She told me I could change the channel but when I would do it, she'd grab the remote and tell me "Oh, Merry we don't want to watch that!" And she'd switch it back to sports or news ALL DAY & ALL NIGHT LONG.
When we left she told me not to send her a gift. Last year I sent her an angel candle and also a little angel candle holder with a lid that said, TO MY FAVORITE AUNT. I looked all over to find JUST the right present. She told me this time she needs nothing and doesn't want a gift. I was hurt only because she kept at it. I guess I will just send her a nice thank you card and a note. She thanked us 20 times I bet, for coming so I know it meant something, that we stopped and stayed there. At least that Dave did. But I am not on her favorite list anymore even though she is MY aunt.
We both missed our dogs. Oh, did we miss our dogs! They were thrilled to get out of the kennel. Dave took Kaycee's kennel & her out first and the assistant was holding Ted on his leash, but she couldn't keep him under control. A 24 pound dog, but he is strong as steel. He was NOT taking chances on getting left behind at that kennel!! He pulled the assistant out the door to go with Kaycee and Dave!! That was funny. Poor Dave got a sore throat and swollen glands on vacation. He sure didn't show it. He slowed down a little but he didn't complain at all. He is an unusual, special person. I would have been complaining at least a bit. He went to the doctor Tuesday. The doctor gave him an RX but said don't fill it for a couple days as you may not need it, this was a virus and I guess Dave has it pretty much beaten us his own. I never seem to have resistance to beat them!
Monday we went to Iowa Falls (because we have no one decent to go to here) for my shrink apt. in Iowa Falls. It is only one hour away. He is "filling in" there. He has been filling in for 2 yr. He came for 2 weeks and is still there. I got my psych meds. I get my pain meds and my blood pressure med. from my family doctor. We still have no new shrink in Mason City. My next apt in Iowa Falls is OCT. 23. I pray Dr. Weldon stays in Iowa Falls that long. He hopes to go home sometime in October...he is from Panama. He is such a kind man. He actually talks to me for about 1/2 hr. Here the lousy shrink talked 3-5 minutes tops!
Okay, I have gone on so long. I did not know how to tell you all about this in any concise way. I am sorry if I bored you, or if I sounded like I feel sorry for myself. I DON'T!! It just wasn't the best vacation we ever took by FAR!
Write me guys, any and all of you have a chance.