Good evening, everyone. Happy Friday. My clock says it’s 11:08 PM. I’m in a double bed room of the American Inn in lovely Hutchinson Minnesota, and I’m thankful that the sound of the air conditioner is drowning out Mile’s uncomfortable whimpering, Rodney’s impromptu story-telling, and Minnie’s loud cardboard box crunching. I’ll be frank about it, readers. These are cramped quarters, and Marissa and I have been brought to the brink of frustration trying to step over all the warm bodies in this tiny hotel room. But at last, things are starting to quiet and I’ve managed to carve out just enough time for a wedding weekend update.
Sip. Aside from the cramped quarters for our massive family, American Inn has been awesome. Rodney ensures that each walk to take the dogs out, refill ice, or throw something in the garbage down the hall becomes an adventure. The other night, the two of us wandered around the entire building, which didn’t take long because it was only two stories. He didn’t know why, but I asked him to stop in the middle of the hallway, turn towards and the camera, and say “Come play with me,” in the fitting style of The Shining.
The people here are so nice. All Minnesotans, especially the good people here in Hutchinson, have been remarkably nice. Eerily nice. Suspiciously nice. If I didn’t know about “Minnesota niceness” from being married to Marissa, I would grow to suspect these people sweeping up Miles’ crumbs with a gentle smile on their face were robots or cyborgs. Minnesota leads the nation - nay, the world - in niceness. It’s just a different league here.
We got into Hutchinson yesterday at 3:50 PM. We were supposed to be at the wedding rehearsal by 4 PM. So instead of first checking in at the hotel, we just went straight to the barn where the ceremony would be held. To celebrate our success in being ten minutes early, I pulled some wicked donuts in the parking lot.
We’d check in later and meet up with the rest of the party for dinner. While Rodney ran in circles around his relatives and Miles tottled around in the big open country club, Marissa and I got to know Justin’s parents. She and Jean discussed art, and her husband Mike and I discussed shlepping art. He also divulged to me his out of control obsession with guitars.
“I only have a few,” explained Mike. I cracked a smile, mentally counting the ten or eleven guitars he rattled off. “That’s more than a few Mike,” I teased.
“It’s more like fifty.” Mike wasn’t kidding. He showed me a video fly-over of his guitar wall. Jazz guitars, hallow bodies, twelve strings, Fender stratocasters. He even told me about a frankin-strat he was building from the ground up.
All the while, Miles just rolled around on the floor. He tugged on my pant legs. He whined for Marissa. This trip has revealed just how much of a COVID baby Miles is. It doesn’t take much to throw him off and put him in an irreversibly bad mood.
Getting back to the hotel, we were still ravenous from a day of driving. Rodney saw a side of his parents that was new to him - the way we devour a Domino’s pizza after checking into a hotel.
Rodney and I went swimming all morning. The hotel pool is right around the corner, and we had the whole place to ourselves. Rodney still doesn’t know how to swim, but we have enough fun just throwing each other around the pool. Rodney, a tiny framed four year old, flies pretty high once he gets the nerve. “But don’t let me touch the ceiling,” he warned. “I could die.” At least he has safety standards - one of us should.
We escaped for a quick lunch at a family diner. Since our roadside breakfast fiasco in Ohio, Marissa and I now have trust issues with country style diners. She ordered a redemption Belgian waffle, and her homeland didn’t disappoint with hospitality.
We met up at the bowling alley in town. We split up into a bumper team and a no-bumper team. The beer flowed. A rock music fueled feast of tater tots and wings ensued.
My bowling luck unexpectedly caught fire. In our second game, I racked up my first turkey and a handful of other strikes and spares. I was slated to score over two hundred. The pressure got to me, and I shanked the last two frames.
It was a long, full day. Marissa and I were so tired, we went catatonic as soon as we shut the hotel door behind us. Tomorrow is the wedding ceremony. We’ll be back at the barn first thing tomorrow, after several cups of coffee of course.
Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great Friday.