I'll try to make this somewhat painless for anyone reading (the numbers are HUGE!).
Let me start with the idea that I assumed I would have lots of time to go on solitary walks while in MN. Weather was beautiful when we first arrived and it would have been ideal. Never happened folks, NEVER. Big mistake.
First coupla days were spent with family. Saw Drummer's aunt and her kids (cousins) on the 3rd. This started our packin'-on-of-the-pounds. Cousin Chuck and siblings provided a feast, including the beef tenderloin that ol' Chuckie barbecued to perfection. Drummer, Chuck and self snagged the rarest slices - mmmmm-mmmm-good!
Tuesday morning we had breakfast with Drummer's friend Scott from high school. His wife had a late night (or early morning, depending on your viewpoint) so we saw her later. Oldest daughter and girlfriends had a t.p.-ing mission, including an early morning visit to the high school to festoon the tree limbs there. Drummer and Scott have a common interest in music, including drumming. The suburb where Scott lives - and where Drummer's bro now also lives - had a drum shop opening recently. Drummer and I eventually got there - I will now know where to find Drummer, when we return to the Cities. He offered to fill out a job app right there and then!
Saw his cousin Carol (couldn't get to the Monday night gig, due to former commitment), hubby Dennis and their two kids on Tuesday. More food - burgers this time, but at least she tried to feed us some healthy stuff, proceeding the red meat by a veggie tray.
Wednesday we actually ate with our hosts - Drummer's Bro and his Wife. Bro is a director at a facility for emotionally challenged kids in a town 60 miles from where he lives. Wife works for a caterer at an upscale women's club, and also was trained as a landscape designer. Her cooking skills are not in doubt, and Bro likes to barbecue. We had some great ribs, and lots of garlic in the side dishes.
I should pause here and comment about the state of the hosts' home. They spent probably over a year having their 1940's or 1950's era home (wife's childhood home) remodelled. They chose to NOT add a 2nd bathroom. They also chose to not insulate the upstairs level - we never saw it, so cannot vouch for its state.
However... we did let them know our arrival date and approximate time, and they were still scrambling to make it accessible (that's the correct word, folks). Apparently Wife is notorious for saving entire publications, when she wants to clip an article or whatever. Evidence abounded for the truth of this - stacks and HEAPS of evidence. But they did clear things enough for us to find their bed (they were gracious and insistent about us staying with them). Bro snagged a bed in the "office" - it did have a desk, after all. Wife borrowed an air mattress from a friend and slept on their living room floor. Well in advance, we offered to find other accomodations, but they insisted that they would be ready -well, sort of ready - well, scrambling-to-make-room ready. That's when we pulled in the driveway.
I have a feeling that lots of stuff got stashed upstairs, and Wife probably doesn't know that Bro occasionally dumps paper stuff into the recycling containers before she gets to it. Probably just as well, although she complained to me that he had thrown out some important paperwork.
But staying with them was so good - actually gave Drummer and Bro a chance to reconnect. It is hard to be the younger brother (Drummer), when the older brother always views you in that way. I think Bro realized that Drummer is an assest to the family, particularly when it comes to working with their father (Alzheimer's) and the unique challenges there. It also provided Wife and me a chance to get to know each other. She is genuinely excited about us moving back to MN and showered us with some real estate publications. Even scoped out a house in their neighborhood (where we will NOT be living) for our possible investigation. I can let my hair down around her - she can match cuss words with me, and we have the same liberal views on politics. What's not to like?
Time to pause and allow me to get my thoughts in order for Part II of this Visit to MN journal.