Monday, September 26, 2022

Monday, September 26, 2022, MN, WI

Last week on Tuesday morning, I headed out for Wisconsin with my first stop in Packwaukee to spend a couple of nights with Pat and Roger.  I always say “when in Rome, do as the Roman’s do” so we were up and out for our walks before 7:00 am each morning.  In the past, this was my routine but not lately and I really felt an appreciation for the quiet, crisp morning once I got out there and got moving.  This morning, I am back to my old habits of hanging out, having coffee, and then going out for a walk.  Joey hasn’t even gotten off the bed yet and I’ve already had two cups of coffee.

I can’t say that the trip there was uneventful because when I stopped the first time and decided to top off my gas tank (gas in WI is about $.20 less than MN), I opened the door and Joey had thrown up on the driver’s seat.  Of course, his seat was protected with a pee pad but he had to do it on the unprotected seat. Grrrrrrr! I cleaned it up and headed down the road, but that is all I could smell and it was so loud with the windows open, I stopped on LaCrosse and found a pet store and bought some Nature’s Miracle to clean it better and then at Pat’s house, I cleaned it some more. All is good now and he made it the entire trip back home without getting sick.

It was so nice to hang out with Pat and Roger again.  On Wednesday, we went to Princeton and walked around the Main Street, stopping at the Amish store and a few other shops and then to a beautiful apple orchard.  The Dahlias in their gardens were absolutely gorgeous and we learned from the owner that the growing process is quite extensive - digging up in the fall, sorting by color, drying out, cleaning the bulbs, then planting again in the spring, and regular deadheading - and she felt it was all worth the effort and we certainly appreciated the beauty.

That night, we went to the Long Branch Saloon in Germania for dinner - you would really need to know the area to find this place, as it was off the beaten path but jam packed with folks who came for the chicken dinner special.  It was special - starting with $3.00 old fashions and then crisp and moist chicken served with yummy mashed potatoes and gravy and a side of veggies.  The place really g@ve you a feel for rural small town Wisconsin.

On Thursday morning, I headed to Stoughton for the next few days.  I stayed at Dawn’s house, but stopped to see Pat and Tracey first.  It has been way too long (since June) and it was so nice to feel their hugs and just to hang out.  I stayed until about 7:30, then went to Dawns and spent the evening with her.  We went to see her Mom on Wednesday morning. Wanda is in her end of life stage, in her home but under 24/7 care by Hospice nurses and her children. She was very tired after a bath and bed change, she knew who I was but wasn’t talking at all.  All I could do was tell her I loved her and hold her hand for a bit.  It is so sad, but she is ready to go.  I spent the rest of the day with Pat.

On Saturday morning, Pat and I prepared the meat for the slow cooker for our Birrea Bowl dinner that night and then I went back to Dawn’s to get ready to go to my cousin Jo’s Celebration of Life in Janesville. Dawn, Jonnie, Mary, and I all drove together to O’Riley & Connor’s Irish Pub (one of Jo’s favorite places).  Many had her favorite cocktail, a Lemondrop Martini, and toasted to her and whatever connection we had. It was attended by all of her family and lots of friends and that is exactly what she was all about her entire life.  It was upbeat but also very emotional and I am going to miss our periodic chats and getting together whenever we could.  She and her dog Buster are in the urn together and will be buried near her parents in Janesville.

I joined Pat and Tracey for dinner when we got back home.  I went to bed thinking that five days was plenty and since I had planned to only be with Pat for part of the day (he heads back to work part-time on Monday since his surgery in June), I decided to head back home on Sunday. That is exactly what I did the last time I was there. Five days of activity was plenty and I was ready for the long drive to be back home.