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no rest for the anxious
July 25, 2018, 8:39 P.M.

no rest for the anxious Well, we got the wedding out of the way. It was a beautiful wedding, those two are such a team that this is just putting the punctuation on the composition. Love them to bits.

I was able to make it through the firestorm of anxiety resulting from the combination of my family issues, my travel anxiety, and my absolute dread of having to go into the heart of Trumpland. I was civil, the relatives were civil, SPOUSE was even civil, and the "kids" were, as always a delight to see. Even my niece, with whom I've had my ups and downs, but ultimately love. There was not much to worry about when it came to the actual children; my oldest nephew's kids were in the wedding, but not at the reception because it was mostly kid-free. (two kids there, but they didn't have anywhere elso they could go because they were visiting from out of state.)

But I never even got a chance to look forward to relief, because SSIL sunk her claws into me and dragged me off to discuss throwing a birthday party for my dad in September. I did, however, get the delicious pleasure of shooting her down when she declared, in her all-knowing, queen shit way, that "as you know", your dad is going to be 80. ME: "Um, are you high? Dad is going to be eighty-TWO in September. Not eighty." Dad's girlfriend was standing there, too, so I even had backup, for when she tried to convince me I must be mistaken. Oh, yes--she tried to tell me I was wrong! ME: "he was born in 1936--can you do math? (DG cracked up at that one) Well, I think I convinced her, but only after she realized she could blame the misinformation on my brother. But the downside is, apparently I will have to go to Iowa again in September, for another family get together.

And my oldest brother and his wife, with whom we get along rather better, are keen to get together with Spouse and myself in the fall, perhaps to celebrate birthdays in October. (The guys are both turning 60 and I'm turning 55, within nine days of each other.) That, I think I could enjoy. I'm thinking maybe Galena, IL. It's a cool place, and about an equal distance for us.

Anyway. The rundown: Thursday, after work, I did up all the laundry I could before bed. I had Friday off, so I finished the wash, cleaned house, shaved, packed, painted my nails, dropped the dog off, and was ready to go when Spouse got home at 3:15. We loaded the car (which wasn't an Ecosport, after all, but a Nissan Rogue, because Enterprise was out of the Fords), locked up, and hit the road. It wasn't a bad drive, but we did pass through a lot of rain in Wisconsin & Illinois. It was clear by the time we got to I-88. There was minimal road construction for this time of year, and we made good time. We only stopped once, at the Iowa border rest stop.

After a brief bit of confusion in Muscatine, due to the street we were going down suddenly being...completely gone, and the basic impossibility of getting around in that town, anyway, we arrived around 8:00 at the hotel Spouse had booked through his company's website.

WOW. It was stunning. This place is brand-new (just opened this past spring), and they basically built a brand new building that looks like an old building that's been there for 100 years or more, and somebody turned it into a gorgeous, state-of-the-art boutique hotel and conference center. It's definitely like nothing that sleepy little river town has seen before, that's for sure. (I talked to my uncle who is a retired HON executive about it, and he said it was a brilliant move, because Muscatince has a thriving industrial base and needs this kind of corporate infrastructure to support it.)

Anyway, we got great service from curb to room. We checked in to our lovely and luxurious room (with a dynamite Mississippi River view!), the bellman took care of our bags, and we freshened up and went over to a little Italian place in the area for a great dinner, then back to the hotel for a swim in their fitness-oriented saltwater indoor pool. It was a little chilly, in keeping wit a fitness pool, so Spouse declined to get in. I did some laps and worked out with the aquatic dumbells they had available (we were the only ones in the pool area), and then we went back to the room. I rinsed off the salt water and threw on my nightie, and we relaxed a while before turning in.
On Saturday morning, we got up and got cleaned up, then we walked over to a local coffee shop with a rooftop terrace overlooking the river, and I had a delightfully rich and delicious cup of dark roast and a blackberry-almond muffin. Spouse had light roast and a piece of baked french toast with real maple syrup that had him in ecstasy. (Seriously. He had me on my phone, looking for recipes for baked french toast!) we enjoyed our delightful (and rather novel, for Iowa) and civilized petit-déjeuner al fresco, and watched the mighty Miss roll slowly by.

After breakfast, we went back to the room and got packed up, checked out, and loaded our gear back into the Rogue for the next leg of the journey--a trip to the cemetery where my mom and brother are buried. Which is always a bit of a challenge to find, and since we were coming from a different direction than usual, it was even more of a challenge.

Even though we double and triple checked our route on a map, and plugged precise coordinates into the Garmin, the GPS tried to take us down a dirt track in the middle of a field. This has happened to me before, when trying to get there, so I told my husband to ignore it, and keep proceeding on the paved road, and let the stupid thing recalculate. Which it did, and after I got to take a detour down a road I used to live on, more than half a century ago (the house is long-gone), we ended up right where we needed to be. I spent some time tidying up graves--pulling weeds, righting the fallen-over decorations, sweeping grass clippings off the stones, and such. I also placed memory pebbles and flowers on the graves of my mom, my brother, my paternal grandparents, some great-aunts-and-uncles, and my great-grandparents (Dad's paternal grandparents). I have loads more dead relatives, but the rest of them are in a different cemetery, and we didn't visit it this trip.

After that, we drove into my hometown and stopped for gas (and for me, to potty and wash my hands after the cemetery), before heading the last 25 miles or so to the town where the wedding was.

It was only about 11:30, so we stopped and had lunch at the A&W (tenderloin sandwich, what else? I have to have either a Maid-Rite or a tenderloin when I'm there!) before going to the hotel. They let us check in early, and I called my dad to let him know we were there, so he and DG came over from their hotel next door, and we sat outside and visited a while. They smoke, so they were loking for somewhere we could visit and they could do that. After they left, I went back to the room and stretched out for a rest, before it was time to get ready for the wedding.

Dad and DG had mentioned how hard it was to find the wedding venue, but after we got cleaned up and dressed up, we headed out. It didn't seem terribly difficult to us--the road it's on is part of the name of the place, so we found that road, drove down it, came to the vineyard, and pulled in! Turns out dad had the GPS set to "most direct route", which meant coming up the back road from behind the place. No wonder they said there was no sign "out front"--they were in the back!

It was a lovely venue, and and the wedding was very nice. I don't know if they would have had any religious stuff mentioned in the service, if it wasn't for the fact that Nephew's (maternal) cousin performed the ceremony, and he's an ordained preacher. It was just a basic, generic, non-denominational xtian marriage service, and mercifully short, and the sun came out right before and was shining down on the assembly quite fiercely. Mercifully for the wedding party, they had a pergola to stand under for some shade.

So. Highlights: 11-month-old ring bearer being towed in a coaster wagon cried all the way down the aisle. 3-year-old flower girl cries out "MOMMY I HAVE TO GO POTTY!", right in the middle of the service. Since the wedding venue is a winery, the unity seremony wasn't a candle, but a succession of toasts by the bride and groom, to their past, present and future together. After the wedding party came back up the aisle, everyone was instructed to stand up and turn around, and wave to the drone that was taking pictures and video.

At the reception, Spouse and I were seated at a front table with the groom's parents, and my dad & DG. I was polite and made sure I went around and said hi to all my relatives, even the awful ones. Had a nice, if kind of sparse, dinner and a quite delicious wedding cake cupcake. I took a bunch of pictures, and appeared in a bunch of pictures. Got a pleasant surprise in the fact that two of my old classmates were there--their kids were in the wedding party and they've known my nephew his whole life. Wish I could have chatted with them more.

Which brings me to to the big mood killer of the evening--the music was so loud that it not only made talking impossible, it actually gave me a bit of a panic attack. All of a sudden, it was all I could do not to run out of there at top speed. Most of older folks booked it out pretty early; we left when I dad and my uncles did, which was, I think, around nine or nine-thirty. Would have been earlier, but one has to say one's goodbyes like a good, well-brought-up Iowa girl. I crashed pretty good once I climbed out of my girdle and got comfy. Managed to give myself a nice blister on my pinky toe from the dress sandals, though.
Spouse had me up early on Sunday. I would have slept in a bit more, but he was making such a racket by 5:30 there was no point in staying abed.

So I got up, washed and dressed, and we went to lobby for the complimentary breakfast. Which was decent, as such things go. Excellent service from the guy who was tending to it. Spouse said the sausage and scrambled eggs was quite good. I just had a bowl of raisin bran, a PB&J sandwich on whole wheat toast, a glass of grape juice, and a really awful cup of coffee (never trust those coffee dispensers where you can pick how strong you want it).

I had warned my dad the night before that I would try to see him in the morning, but he knows Spouse, so he understood there was no guarantee. So once I saw that Spouse was ready to book it home, I texted Dad and told him I wouldn't see him. So, of course, contrarian that he is--after a quick swing through the McD's drive-thru to get me a cup of coffee, he drove over to Dad's hotel and circled around the back, because he knows Dad, too--early bird, and probably outside smoking. Well, he was right! So we had another short visit, and hugs all-around, and we were on our way.

Stopped a few times on our way; to get gas, use the restroom, and at Lake Geneva Country Meats to do some shopping. Still managed to be home, with shopping put away, and the suitcase unpacked, by 1:30 pm. We relaxed in the afternoon, and I made sloppy joes for supper. Since I was off Monday, and didn't even have to pick up the dog until 2:30, I stayed up a bit later, just messing around.
Monday, I did laundry and picked up B and got some other housework done, but mostly took it easy while Spouse was at work. Swam a bit, and such. And back to the grind on Tuesday.

Reading: "Mermaid" (1912), by Grant M. Overton, and "The Invader" (1907), by Margaret L. Woods. The former seemed to have potential(Shipwrecked orphan with great beauty and captivating charm, a bitter, miserly maiden aunt, a mysterious sea captain and his equally mysterious family--so much to work with!), but it was ultimately disappointing. The latter is rather interesting so far--[SPOILERS] the main character is either suffering from multiple personalities, or she's periodically possessed by a deceased relative.

Listening: Sister Hazel, Chris Isaak, INXS, Dan Auerbach.

Inked Up: Not a lot of time to use them or play with them, so no changes: Pilot Vanishing Point med. with J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage (Wild Ivy Green). The Bexley 10th italic with J. Herbin Larmes de Cassis (Blackcurrant Tears). Sheaffer 100, Purple Patterns, fine nib, with Waterman's Tender Purple. Conklin Duragraph fine with Private Reserve Copper Burst.

recede - proceed

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