A walk in the rain.

Part 1: The chair.

I cannot say how much I slept Friday night. Relatively, my guess would be somewhere between more than the Wife and less than the Boy. As noted, he was teething and she discovered a pain in her abdomen. Saturday was difficult and laden with uncertainty. During nap time, I did chores. Partly as an excuse to get out of the cottage, but partly, I would like to think, in response to some prescient sense of responsibility which resulted in giving a decent buffer for what happened next.

We were all tired and edgy, especially following the previous night, but also on the heels of the 1,700plus mile roadtrip we had just undertaken. I tried to keep my cool, and thought it best most of the day to stay tight lipped, fearing I would lose my cool any moment… probably lost it a bit more than once.

Anyway, once the Boy was down for the night, I went for a walk… pretty much straight to the bar. Which I guess is a bit sad, but there you have it. I was strung out. The Boy and the Wife were both in a state of disrepair; the former identified and manageable, the latter yet to fully rear its head. I was stable, but frayed. I sat down at the bar itself, ordered a scotch and stared down a chair across the room that was misbehaving.

I kept to myself, sipped the booze, stirred the rocks, and pondered that chair, part of me screaming to go over and set it straight. But in the end, I let it alone and sought to glean some wisdom from it; some sense of release, of surrendering to the flow. Little did I know how that time, however brief, would benefit me. I hope that this will be a lesson that sticks with me.

Part 2: Two dogs and a toddler.

It is difficult to keep up with a toddler on the move, especially one already used to the somewhat free form style of parenting I have “chosen” to enlist. Sure, I set boundaries and limits and try to keep some sense of order, but in general, I try to let the Boy explore and experience. The foundation is based on a saying that I learned from a very wise man in Fairbanks whom I have quoted here before; “Children only want to know that they are safe and that they are loved.” Or something along those lines.

So I work first to keep him safe and then to make sure he knows he is loved. I sometimes struggle a bit at always keeping him well fed. I try to keep him reasonably clean. Sometimes, I pretend to keep us within some manner of routine. Aside from that, unless driven by necessity, I kind of let him go his own way and try to follow his lead. Ideally at least. If I learned it at all, I learned that from my old dog when she was teaching me to skijor. Once I finally learned to just let her lead, we had a lot more fun.

That was a different time though. One dog and me, is a very different recipe than two dogs and toddler and me. Any sense that I might have of being in “control” is fleeting at best. Thankfully, the older dog is reasonably steady and stalwart and can kind of serve as an anchor, though, I am not certain that she appreciates the role.

Part 3: Outside the self.

Of course, this whole business is not all about me. It is easy to get tunnel vision, when trying to hold a squirming toddler in one hand, pick up dog crap with the other, and keep one eye on each dog, going in different directions. Tunnel vision, or maybe an aneurism.

No, there is of course the Wife, who I feared, had inadvertently wandered into an old re-run of House; suffering through a mysterious malady, tended to by a kooky, yet seemingly sensible doctor. Of course she was dealing with a whole different level of discomfort… pain in point of fact. Plus, uncertainty, loneliness, likely a bit of fear. All in a strange hospital in a strange town, likely with an underlying, unrelenting sense of guilt for not being at her new job, being here, being whole.

And then there is the Boy. Who knows what the hell he is thinking. Wrenched from the semblance of a routine that he did have, the “school” he had known and the friends he had there, the only home he has known, and forced to spend days on end strapped backwards into a vehicle barreling towards some unknowable destination, waking up in a different place nearly every night. For a few days there, any time he came across a bag, he would pick it up and sling it over his arm, and start saying bye, waving and blowing kisses, to no one in particular.

So I thought to attempt a routine. Reinstate some sense of order in an effort to manage the chaos. But of course that was silly. Nothing is routine in this current life. Nothing is orderly and trying to force it would only present the square peg/round hole problem. So I try to role with it, try to accommodate the dogs, follow the Boys lead, make sure the Wife knows I am always thinking of her, and when I can, breathe. Last night when it was not quite bed time but the cottage was too small to contain all the crazy, the Boy and I went out for a stroller ride in the rain. Sometimes, you need to just play in the rain.



Dora, the young dog, likes to chase things. Particularly ungulates. Bella, the older dog, does as well, but generally knows better at this point. She is more often content with fetch.

As you are likely aware, deer are in fact ungulates. There are lots of deer here. Thick as bunny rats in the wee field outside of our little “temporary quarters” cottage many times of the day.

An unrelated, but undeniably complicating factor; Dora also damn near refuses to go potty on leash.

Perhaps you can see my dilemma.

As chronicled in the previous several posts, we recently undertook two cross country road trips from Arizona to the Northwoods of Wisconsin. This, under the auspices of relocating… again. I do think this move is for the better. For what that is worth.

Anyway. We arrived Thursday afternoon, and as noted in the most recent update, discovered that Dora, (you remember Dora), had some issues. Thankfully one of the recommended veterinarians in town was able to see her the next day. The top recommended was not “accepting any new patients” as they were currently booked nearly a month out. I was quite satisfied with the vet experience though, and mine is a pretty high bar, having been set by an exceptional vet in Fairbanks years ago, but that is another story.

There are also ticks here, and the ruthless and accompanying Lyme disease. So, I was happy to get that attended to as well and both dogs are on the new vet’s recommended treatment, which is good, because the next day I found a tick on Dora. Of course.

So tonight, having just returned from the hospital (I will get to that part in a bit), I dropped the tail gate to let the dogs out of the truck, making sure that the Boy was not in their immediate trajectory. He says “Doda” and so I look around and poof, vanished. Must have been a deer. In fact, three just wandered into view as I write this. Scratch that, four. Thankfully, she returned not long after, but of course wet and slightly muddy from crashing headlong through the woods and nearby marsh. Probably should do another tick check.

So, trying to get the Boy fed, a bit late, and get the Dogs fed, including Dora’s meds. Having to stop the dogs mid-meal to make sure that the Boy got to do his part; he likes to help feed them, which really is great. Mid-meal, he noted that I did not request his help and started screaming “my, my, my”. Sigh.

Anyway, thankfully he went down easy and I was able to get the dogs all leashed up and take them out for nature. Almost immediately the neighbor’s dog started bark/yapping, which distracted the dogs and wholly precluded my intention, and I feared might wake the Boy. Also, when I left for the hospital (I will get to that part in a bit), we had no neighbors. Yap dog or otherwise. Sigh.


Speaking of the Boy, in the past week or so, his vocabulary has boomed (really want to make a list, including his unique pronunciation), as have his physical abilities… such as climbing. Also, though it likely has been building for days, Friday night he cut three teeth, two being molars, and I am pretty sure a second incisor is still trying. So that was fun. Also, that night, the Wife noted some painful cramping in her abdomen. Interwebs research tentatively ruled out appendicitis over the course of Saturday, but this morning, we were not so sure, as the pain seemed worse, and less crampy.

Enter the hospital.

Boy got me up at 5. The Wife emerged not much later with the unfortunate news. Finished making coffee. Tried to get some food in the Boy. Fed the dogs… with the Boy’s help of course. Loaded stuff and things and dogs and people into the truck and rolled on over to the ER. Thankfully it was pretty sleepy at 6:30 on Mother’s Day and one particular mother was admitted swiftly.

Initial diagnosis uncertain. Tests needed to be run. Fluids needed to be ingested. Scans needed to be analyzed. The Boy and I retreated, with dogs, back to the cottage. Breakfast and more coffee for me, try to run the dogs, try to keep the dogs from running (one in particular) while trying to keep the Boy from damaging himself on the aging playset. Wait for word from the ER.

Load Boy in stroller, go for a run. Learn that the patient is being moved to a hospital room to await further diagnosis. Not appendicitis, but something as yet undetermined wrong with right colon. Return to cottage. Throw ball for dogs to give them a run. Make lunch for the Boy. Wait for word from the Hospital. Load Boy in stroller and go for a walk. Return and put Boy down for a nap.

Participate in speaker phone conversation with the Doctor. Learn that there is more to learn, and that it is advised that the Wife spend at least tonight, and likely most of tomorrow in the hospital on antibiotics for monitoring. Wait for Boy to awake. Play with dogs more. Try to eat some lunch.

Post nap, get some food in the Boy. Load up stuff and things and dogs and people into the truck and roll on over to the Hospital. Walk into the main entrance, which is open, but dark and vacated. Walk through the eerie halls, looking for patient rooms. Boy thinks it is great, though is uncertain about the elevator. I sympathize. Finally find the right room. Boy want to pull all the cords and push all the lights and buttons (both of which are “buts”) and then wants to go “otside”. New friends arrive some time later with a sammich (for me) and a stuffed hodag (for the Boy) and a plant and a card (for the patient, who is on a liquid diet, hence no sammich) and a much appreciated willingness to entertain the Boy.

Visit with the Wife while eating, a bit more slowly than usual for today. Nothing left to do now but wait. Oh, and load up stuff and things and people and return with dogs to the cottage, after kissing the Wife goodnight, hating to leave her in the hospital, uncertain.

And then poof, vanished. Thankfully, all are now settled. “Doda” is messing with her skin problems, which I have not been able to medicate yet today. “Beba” (Bella) is zonked. “That Guy” (what the Boy calls himself) is sound asleep. The deer have multiplied into a small herd.

The first three days.

I have not gotten around to pondering the new outfit for this blog-thing. I have really been enjoying the local public radio station though. They have Saturday morning polka… Pardon the non sequitur(s), my brain is a bit scattered lately.

Winston’s Big Adventure; the Final Days

Day 5: Blue Earth > Albert Lea > Northfield > Red Wing

Day 6: Ellswoth > Turtle Lake > Barron > Ladysmith > Prentice > Rhinelander

We arrived yesterday, mid-afternoon and all nearly fled the confines of the truck. 1700-some miles later and we have once again settled into “temporary quarters” at a little cottage/resort complex on a lake (no surprise around here) just east of town. A word of advice; if you plan to come visit us, don’t drive in via Highway 8. It was a bit tedious and, in my opinion, gives a somewhat false representation of what this area is like. Though, as always, I could be wrong.

But, I am skipping ahead.
I missed the past two nights’ posts, because some days are like that. To catch up, the hotel in Sioux Falls was, as they say, off the hook. We got upgraded to a 2 room suite (sweet) with a Jacuzzi tub and a walk in “surround sound” shower. Said room was also mere moments away from an indoor water park that had a whole kid pool experience. It was a blast. We decided that since the previous two nights’ hotel experiences were dubious at best, and that the day’s drive had been relatively arduous, we would linger a bit.

So, the next morning we rolled out somewhere around 10 or 10:30 and stayed mainly on Interstates… which I generally detest, though, up here in the northern Midwest, they seem comparatively not so bad. I-90 east to I-35 North. We turned off on Highway 19 through Northfield where we encountered a detour. Wandering through the countryside in the rain, just trying to get to Red Wing. Which was not an ideal destination, but deserves a revisit. Crappy Super 8 motel probably is not a fair representation of the town.

Then, yesterday at this point, we crossed the mighty Mississipp, on a bridge/road that we had traversed the last time we were in this part of the country, and headed north. Crossed I-94 without a blink and on towards Turtle Lake, where we turned right and pointed east on Highway 8. Stopped briefly in Barron for a much needed jaunt; fetch and swimming in the river for dogs, playground shenanigans for the Boy. In general though, this was one of those highways that make me feel like I keep getting further away from my destination the further on I go.

Anyway, we enjoyed the rolling countryside, the tidy small farms, the scattered patches of woods, the numerous rivers, and of course our eventual arrival back in Hodag country.

So we are, as noted, once again situated in a wee cottage, awaiting first, the signing for our new home and second, the eventual arrival of our stuff so that we can start the process of trying to settle in all over. The Boy has 2 teeth coming in at the same time, one of them a molar, and has adopted some interesting new irrational behavior. One dog picked up some manner of topical irritant and chose to scratch it raw before we noticed and is now infected and swollen and on antibiotics. The Wife starts her new job for reals in 2 days, and  I too am supposed to start my new job, but we have yet to finalize any sort of daycare, and so I have to manage some kind of leave arrangement in the interim. Also, I have not planned a thing for Mother’s Day.

As I said, mostly intact, but frayed a bit around the edges.

So there you have it. The end of another journey heralds the beginning of another adventure. Also, I realize that the carefully selected name for the not so distant repurposing of this here blog-thing is now wholly irrelevant, and so I will have to mull over some options and reimagine it once more.

But, more on that later.