Black Eye in Duluth

It actually looks now as though I’m just wearing a lot of eye shadow on one eye. If I match the other eye, it’s not bad! I like to think of it as my Alex DeLarge look.

I wish I had a really fun story about how I got it, but it was a taxi driver. Specifically, it was a really rude driver who refused to put mybags in his (filthy) cab – I didn’t want them in the trunk with the dirtiest spare tire in history – and putting them in the backseat on the (ripped and torn) upholstery was so far out of his job description that I put them in myself.

And as I shoved one of the bags along the back seat I hit my eye on the door. That’s the story.

So I did it, but because the rudest taxi driver in history wouldn’t help with the bags. Did I mention that the window didn’t roll down, the door had a big HOLE in it above the handle (probably someone kicking to get out of the cab) and it was about 101ºF in the cab?

As he drove off he yelled, “You may THINK you have a pair, but I MINE are bigger!” which I found amusing because he was hugely fat and had man-boobs, so although he may have been alluding to a different part of his anatomy, all I could think was he was bragging about his bra size.

Oh, and he smelled. Eh, I guess there’s one in every town.

So imagine how thrilled I was to see Gerry and the kids arrive at the Waterpark motel! Always great to see my family – and the dog – and the PT Cruiser – all in one piece!

The kids absolutely LOVED the Edgewater – it’s a very kid-centered experience. Gerry and I were less excited about the pool, but seeing the kids so happy is exitement enough!!

Atticus was just happy to watch the seagulls from the balcony. So the kids splashed and played and swam until 9:30, then up the next day to splash and play until we packed up and hit the road.

We were early to check into our rental, so we went to the Depot and rode the North Shore Scenic Railrorad, then the kids explored the museum while Gerry rolled along with his walker (which is also a “sitter” with a built in seat – THANK YOU MARTHA!) and I walked Atticus up to the Wells Fargo to make a deposit.

Duluth reminds me of other Great Lakes cities I’ve visited in Ohio, NY & Michigan. It seems less Minnesota to me – folks seem to be rushing more (maybe because it’s colder here?) and I’ve seen a lot more impatient drivers. It’s always odd to judge a town by the driving when it’s on a highway and has a lot of tourist or seasonal traffic. Or maybe I’m just traumatized by my cab ride…

After the kids were worn out at the Depot (they LOVED it by the way – THANK YOU, CASEY!) we ‘checked into’ our rental and were immediately hit with house envy. This is ONE HUGE house – lots of room, two bathrooms (with showers) on the second floor and a powder room on the ground floor. It’s a house that needs a few more kids, and we feel oddly alone in the house. [Sigh] But we’ll somehow get along in the luxury surroundings…

The end of the yard is a cliff down to Lake Superior, but there’s a rustic stair down to the pebble shore which I’m sure Atticus and the kids will explore today. It makes me think of other Great Lakes houses I’ve stayed at in my life (we used to have friends with a house like this when I was a kid in Ohio) and we’re settled in very nicely.

We even barbequed last night – steak and asparagus and after dinner, S’mores!

Let’s see the Girl Scouts do better than THAT when Hannah goes to camp this summer!

The house doesn’t have internet, which is kind of a blessing, so every day I’ll come down to Dunn Bros for some mommy alone time, and check email.

Today that may take a while – here’s what was waiting for me at my in-box. I usually get between 30-50 emails between checkings. This is a new record for me.

I guess that makes it understandable that we’d have missed the Rhubarb Fest. Damn.
However, there may be a future for me in rewriting long-winded political catch-phrases…

Gerry and I have both been overwhelmed by the kind comments, the financial gifts, but most of all by the LOVE that has been showered on us. It’s hard to express how much this means – how it affects us when someone writes with a similar story, or to give us advice on a good pillow to use or a nice kind of walker. THANK YOU!

I’ve been enough of a busy body in my life to NEVER resent a good wish or thought from someone else. We all know why we want to help – it makes us feel good, it makes us feel worthwhile if we can prevent someone from going through a bit of pain, or feeling something that we had to feel. Gerry and I both greatly appreciate the sentiment and the love that is behind all of the comments.

To say that we’re overwhelmed would be an understatement.

What I would like to say is that Gerry’s more relaxed and has slept better in the past few days due – in no small
part – to a bit of financial worry that’s been eased from his mind. I told him right after the Mayo visit that the kids and I will ALWAYS be fine, we’ll find a way through this so that financially we’ll be okay, and that his focus should be on his health – not on the bank account.

But he hears me on the phone (even though I try to talk on the porch or in the car) and he knows that this whole thing can run someone a little ragged. After all, he cared for me body and soul when I had my OWN medical emergency 4 years ago, and I will never forget him for that.

And then there’s this:

Anonymous wrote in my comments: You can “pay them back” by promptly writing every single person that gives money a personal email to thank them. Knowing you appreciate the time and money they sent and took time to thank them personally makes people feel good.

Dear Anonymous – You’re absolutely right – I feel the same way. That’s why I have been writing everyone back. Today I spent over 3 hours doing just that, and every other day I spend about 1-2 hours doing it. (And answering the responses I get to my emails. And writing nice notes to folks who just write to say they’re thinking of us.)

I’m sorry if I sound defensive (I know I do – it must be the black eye talking – sorry!) I don’t mean to – I just want to clarify!

I just don’t want folks to get the idea that I’m NOT thanking everyone – or that I’m not terribly grateful.

I would not have mentioned this on the blog if it wasn’t a in the comments, but once things are out there, folks might remember the comment and think, “It’s a shame she can’t find time to personally thank folks…”

And I’m very happy to write and thank folks! I wish I could do more. Emotionally and mentally, I get a lot out of writing to all of you, it’s good for me. Thank you again.

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