Month Up North Recap

This year we decided to do something we’ve long talked about—relocate to the Upper Midwest! For a month, anyway. This would achieve several things. 1) It helps figure out what to do with the kids all summer, now that John is summer camp age. It was really more of a John thing, but it won’t be long before it’s an Edie thing too. 2) It helps us get some relief from the incessant heat. 2022 is likely going to demolish all records for hottest year on record. Every day we were gone, the temp was over 100º and we got a total of 0.00″ rain. 3) If it were solely up to me I’d have moved us back there years ago anyway, so this is a good chance to partially live out that dream!

We decided I’d drive the van up, and Lauren and the kids would fly up. That would make it much more bearable for everyone. Kids sitting in a van for thousands of miles is not fun. So, on June 30, I took off. On July 3, the crew flew into Sioux Falls, giving me a few days of downtime. We did the whole trip to SD and MN, and on July 24, Lauren and the kids flew back home from Minneapolis to Austin, while I embarked on the long road home in the van, returning safely at midnight on Wednesday, July 27. The trip spanned 28 days, by far the longest trip of any sort of my life.

Don’t confuse this with a vacation though. Lauren and I were both working remotely for almost the entirety of the trip. I took a few days off on the front end, and two half-days on the drive home. Otherwise, I worked normal hours. I could easily have taken off more time, but I had already taken so much time off right before this trip with Alex and family visiting Austin and my trip to DC with John. Before that was the company trip to Tulsa, where although it was work related, we weren’t really working like normal. So virtually every day between June 12 and July 27, I was gone somewhere or hosting someone, and didn’t have a “normal” day.

Here’s sort of a quick recap of how we spent each day.

June 30 – I departed Austin at 8:30 and went to Dallas, where I met up with 3 Dallas-based coworkers for lunch! I then drove to Tulsa to say hi to another coworker. From there, I just winged it. I had hoped maybe to get to KC, but it had been a long day already, so I pulled off at the random town of Chanute, Kansas.

Lunch in Dallas with co-workers Shane, Alison and Holly

July 1 – I left Chanute at 5am and started north, hoping to arrive in Minneapolis by early afternoon. I had plans to hang out with old buddy Patrick and go to the Twins-Orioles game. We hit up the bars pretty hard that day.

Taking in Twins-Orioles with Patrick. 3-2 walkoff win.

July 2 – I was up early and headed west for South Dakota, taking it easy with heavy rain the whole drive. I arrived at the Glanzer farm, where many had already gathered. That night I attended the Willow Lake High School alumni banquet and street dance.

Good to get reacquainted with some old WLHS grads at the alumni banquet and dance.

July 3 – On Sunday morning I drove 120 miles to Sioux Falls to meet up with a couple college friends, and pick up Lauren and the kids from the airport. After lunch at BWW, a visit through my old college town of Madison, and a stop for fireworks in DeSmet, we arrived on the farm just in time for a family photo session. Oh, I also became ordained online and wed Jordan and Abul in a super quick ceremony in the kitchen. It was so quiet that other people in the room didn’t even realize it had happened.

July 4 – For the 4th of July, there was lots of merriment on the farm, plus a special trip into Carpenter to help Jordan film something. Grandma’s big dinner spread plus a family kickball game rounded out the day, before we blasted off $90 worth of fireworks at night.

Fireworks aplenty on the farm

July 5 – I took my final day off work of the journey and we went to Huron in the morning to get the kids passports! It’s literally easier to travel to another state than to try finding an Austin appointment. We then met Alex and the girls in Aberdeen for a trip to Storybook Land, but heavy rains and lightning wiped out the fun. We wound up at an indoor arcade/playland of sorts instead.

We got just a few precious minutes in at Storybook Land before massive rains hit.

July 6 – Lauren and I returned to work, setting up shop on the farm. My basement bar setup was a fine place to host meetings throughout the visit. The kids mostly played with cousins and stayed out of trouble during the day. At night the family played a wild game of Blank Slate and then a brief round of Cards Against Humanity before it was deemed too inappropriate for Hadley.

July 7 – The quietest day of the Carpenter portion of the trip, it was mostly just a work and rest day.

July 8 – On Friday I broke up the work day with a countryside Can-Am ride with John. At night Lauren, Alex, Ann and I went to Huron and dominated Sportsman’s Bar karaoke. I sang around 15 songs while gulping down Crown & Cokes all night.

Yep, they’re actually driving. That’s farm life for ya.

July 9 – It was already time to pack up and head east! After one final big Grandma Marcie meal, we loaded into the van and headed to Minnesota. It was slow going as Edie vomited on herself in Kranzburg. We spent the night with the Rosoks.

July 10 – We were able to move into our Airbnb on Nicollet Ave in Minneapolis. We did a big grocery trip for our two-week stay. At night, Kate came over and watched the kids, and gave Lauren and me a difficult-to-get dinner reservation she had for Owamni, an award-winning Sioux restaurant.

Our Airbnb was rather green.

July 11 – Ah, time to really sink in in Minneapolis and start enjoying ourselves, right? Wrong! Lauren had to fly to Houston for work first thing in the morning. Babysitter Winnie was over to take care of the kids while I worked from the Airbnb bedroom. I explored the Minnehaha Parkway walking trail over lunch, and made an afternoon visit to good old Caribou Coffee. At night the kids and I joined Kate for dinner at her friend’s house.

July 12 – Winnie babysat the kids, and in the evening I took them to the Twins-Brewers game, meeting Walsh and Cassi. Three separate heavy rains delayed the game repeatedly, scaring John. We waited out the worst of the storms in a nook in the Town Ball Tavern in right field. By the time we left at 9:45, it was only in the 5th inning. And then we had trouble figuring out how to get back to our parking garage because the GPS on my phone went haywire after Edie spilled melted Dip’n Dots on it.

When will I learn not to take both kids to a weeknight Twins game alone?! Apparently never.

July 13 – Winnie babysat the kids again while I got in a full workday. I spent my lunch break walking all the way from Uptown to Target Field, about 4.5 miles round trip. The kids predictably were tired that day, after the late night adventures from Tuesday. Edie fell asleep on the couch at 4:00 and slept 16 consecutive hours! John and I enjoyed a peaceful night in.

July 14 – It was another day of babysitting and work. I ventured out and had lunch at the Lowbrow down the street. In the evening, we grilled out at the Rosoks and Lauren finally returned from Houston.

July 15 – On Lauren’s first real day working from Minneapolis, we walked down for lunch at Sunstreet Bakery. That night the extended Poulter family gathered at Steve and Anne’s for grilling. John had lots of fun playing pool with great uncle Dave.

July 16 – The family went to a downtown Minneapolis farmers market and then met the Poulter crew at the Lake Harriet park. The Glanzers went to Surly for lunch, and at night was great aunt Alice’s 70th birthday celebration on a yacht on Lake Minnetonka!

Birthday on a boat.

July 17 – Sunday we had breakfast at the Rosoks, and then eight of us took in the Twins-White Sox game. It was the worst Twins game perhaps ever, an 11-0 defeat with the Twins managing just one hit. Edie melted down over an ice cream fiasco, sending us to the exits early.

I’d say that was the worst public tantrum of Edie’s life up to that point.

July 18 – It was back to babysitting for the kids. After work, we met Jamie and Christian for dinner at Pizza Lola.

July 19 – I took a very long walk along the Minnehaha Creek walkway over lunch. Otherwise, it was a pretty tame day. That night, I met Walsh and Nick for beers and the MLB All-Star Game at the Tailgate bar.

July 20 – Lauren took the rest of the week off, relieving the babysitter of her duties. At night, Edie again passed out super early, while John and I visited Megan Bell and family.

July 21 – Lauren and the kids hit up a beach during the day. At night, we all went to Valleyfair for three short hours and the kids had a blast, though all John could think about was how I wronged him by not getting him a refill of his Icee.

Ahh… back to good old Valleyfair for the first time since at least 2008.

July 22 – John got another wish granted and we all went to Perkins for breakfast early in the morning. It lived up to his wild expectations. I worked even more remotely from the Tap Society, a serve-yourself bar.

I can’t get over their faces as the food arrived at Perkins.

July 23 – The Rosoks came over to our Airbnb for breakfast and then we all took a walk on the creek. In the afternoon I took the kids to the MOA—huge mistake. It was the busiest I’ve ever seen it, and I’ve tried to shop there the weekend before Christmas in the past. But I did run into old friend Kayla. At night we had a farewell dinner with the Rosoks at Black Forest Inn.

I would never advise going to the MOA on a weekend again. What an absolute shitshow.

July 24 – I took Lauren and the kids to the airport, packed up my belongings, and checked out of the Airbnb. I spent some time gambling at Mystic Lake Casino, had a beer at Giesenbrau Brewery in New Prague, and ventured down to Des Moines to meet up with Luke and Kristin for the night.

July 25 – Luke cooked up a hearty breakfast, I got in a half-day of work, then drove to Kansas City to Charlie Ahern’s house. He, Shannon and I went to the Royals-Angels game and hit up some local bars.

July 26 – I worked a half day from Charlie’s house, then hit the road. I had planned on stopping in Wichita to catch a Twins minor league game, but the temp upon arrival was 111º, and I had no interest in sitting in that kind of weather for baseball, so I said screw it and drove another 500 miles back to Austin, returning shortly after midnight.

Recap

Well, that was fun. It was such a long time to be gone, but considering Austin was in the midst of the hottest stretch in recorded history (hottest May, June, and July on record) I relished being in moderately cooler weather. That will be the idea in the future, as long as we live in Austin, to stay a month up north. Maybe next time it will be a true month, and Lauren can be there for the whole thing. Shout-out to neighbor Angel for house- and dog-sitting while we were gone!

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