I really liked Minneapolis/St. Paul. The three weeks would have been really stellar had I had access to a car the whole time, but even so, I was able to see enough that I really cultivated quite a little crush on the Twin Cities.
I loved my apartment with its lovely little balcony, though unfortunately I never made it to the pool the whole three weeks we stayed there. And I LOVED the little Black Dog coffee shop, where I hung out at EVERY DAY. And the Farmer’s Market was great, and Grand Avenue was great, and the Yarnery was GRRRR-EAAAT! What a sweet town.
My second Monday in St. Paul (and my second day off), I hopped in a rental car and sped off to Sobieski, Wisconsin, where my sweetie Ryan lives. He had been on vacation for the week so that he could do some more work on his house. Ryan joined the Spam tour about two weeks before I did, and had just purchased a house and six acres of land when he left for the tour. The house is great, but needs a lot of work. Ryan is trying to do what he can here and there, but its pretty hard to renovate a house when you tour 365 days of the year.
Anyway, I drove over to his neck of the woods, about a four hour drive from St. Paul, and was able to spend Monday there. I got the grand tour of the property and helped clean up a bit in anticipation of Ryan’s family seeing the place that night. He had been working all week on cleaning and priming the walls, and Neil, his good friend, did an amazing job retiling the bathroom floor.
The house is great. It has so much potential. I can really envision how fantastic it will be when it is done. The ground level has two bedrooms, a big living room and kitchen, and a den, as well as a two-car garage. The living room has an amazing stone fireplace. Off the kitchen/breakfast area is a really big deck which faces the back of the property. Downstairs, there is another bedroom, bathroom, living area and wet bar. It could easily be turned into a studio apartment, or used as a family room and guest room. There are a couple of other buildings on the property – there is another two-car garage with a room above it that could be a really cool office/studio. The people that lived on the property before Ryan must have had animals, because there are also chicken coops on the land, along with some random things, like a row boat and half a school bus. All very weird and intriguing.
Like I said,though, when all the work is done, it will be amazing. It is in such a peaceful area – you can only see one neighboring property from the house. And the stars are so bright there at night – its incredible.
So after cleaning up a bit, Ryan and I went to dinner with his family and then brought them back to the house for a tour. It was nice to meet his dad and sister and see where he comes from.
We lounged on the deck that night and then left the next morning to head back to St. Paul.
The last week in St. Paul was fairly low-key, with some notable exceptions. Ryan and I went to Minneapolis on Tuesday night to see Hank III play. It was really fun, until he started in on his hard speed metal stuff. I only lasted about fifteen minutes after that and then we left. I love the country music, and I can appreciate the energy of speed metal, but in the end it all sounds the same to me and ultimately I just get bored.
On Wednesday, Ryan and I went and checked out the interior of the Cathedral of St. Paul. It is pretty amazing inside. Why don’t they build buildings like this anymore? We then walked along Summit Avenue and looked at all the big houses, and finished off the afternoon with a couple of ciders at The Happy Gnome. We walked back through the Cathedral Hill neighborhood, which is super cute.
I tried in vain to buy a bike this week. Ryan and I walked over to Sears to see what we could find, and they carry no bikes in the store! Weird. So, I made a car reservation for this Wednesday and printed out a list of bike shops in Kansas City, so hopefully I will find something. I am determined to have a bike for Portland.
We had a crazy wicked storm here on Friday night. I woke up to my cat jumping from all the lightning. Then the patio furniture started flying around on the balcony so I had to go out and grab it and pull it inside, which woke up Ken. I have never seen so much lightning in my life – it looked like bombs were going off continuously. And it was so grey and murky outside with a crazy wild swirling wind. I actually got online at three in the morning because I thought it might be a tornado. It wasn’t though, only a crazy thunder storm. A lot of people lost power, though. I spend the night huddled under the comforter with Tallulah trying to keep her calm. The next morning was sunny and beautiful, as though nothing had happened.
Sunday matinee was completely sold out by Hormel, the makers of Spam, who are based about two hours from St. Paul. They actually made for a lousy audience, very quiet. I’m not sure they were at all familiar with Monty Python, or with theater in general. The pre-party in the park across from the theater was cool, though. The Spam-mobile was there and there was Spam being grilled up on barbecues and Spam beach balls being given away – it was Spamtastic, I tell you.
So we left St. Paul for Kansas City today and it has been my worst travel day ever. I schlepped my luggage up to the Hilton at 7am to catch the company bus to the airport for a 10am flight to Chicago with a connection at 12:10pm to Kansas City. The first plane was over an hour late so we missed our connection, then had to fly standby on a flight to Kansas City at 3:30p. When we finally got to Kansas City my luggage was nowhere to be found. I reached the hotel at 6pm and ran over to CVS to improvise on a litter box situation for Tallulah, who hadn’t peed in about 12 hours. Luckily I made it into CVS before they closed and was able to buy a box and some litter.
Its 8:45pm now and my luggage still hasn’t arrived. Grrrr.
The really crappy part is that Kansas City is only about 425 miles from St. Paul. If we had gotten on a bus at 7am and driven to Kansas City, we would have been here by 2pm. Instead we were stuck at O’Hare, not sure if we were going to make it to KC or not. Not much fun at all.
Oh well, at least my bed here is comfy and the air conditioning works – very important since the heat index today in KC was 113 degrees!
Keep your fingers crossed that my luggage arrives tonight. I will not be happy in these clothes tomorrow!