Saturday, July 6, 2013
July 5th is starting to be a soggy one, although I am enjoying the rain and slightly cooler temperatures. We have only gotten on each others’ nerves twice and it is 9:33 a.m. Mountain time. We are about to see the world’s smallest biker bar. No, I’m not making this stuff up. We’ll see if we can sneak a picture....
It is 9:54 and Lucy just asked what we are having for lunch. I told her that we are going to graze with the buffalo because that is what you do at Mount Rushmore. She didn’t believe me. But we were heading to Mt Rushmore, in fact, grazing or not.
Oh, and no world's smallest biker bar. While we saw the signs, the bar itself must be so small that it can't be seen.....
First glimpse of the men:
And on the way into the parking lot, we finally got Alabama.... as Eric put it "Look, it's the famous handicap car from Alabama!" (all personal, distinguishing marking removed from the photo....).
Maddy picking Washington's nose. Gross.
The kids were very unhappy when their mother told them to pose like the four presidents. Very unhappy indeed. Eric had to lovingly tell them to cooperate or.... well, they had just better cooperate. Once I told Cade to hold his finger in front of his nose for a mustache, things got much better. He thought that was pretty stinkin' hilarious. He then thought he should give Maddy a beard and since that was so complicated, Mia took over his mustache. Once they drew a crowd and got entertaining comments from onlookers, it was no longer a chore to perform for mom.
Maddy - stop smiling (although smiling is her favorite)! Lets try that again.
Much to the dismay of my lousy knee and not-so-easily-entertained children, we did the little walk around the place. It was quite lovely and smelled like no stress. Eric said he felt life and stress go further away with each breath he took. Certainly worth some hassle and an $11 entrance fee!
Heading back to the parking lot....
Oh, the kids have started to get annoyed with us about trying to find license plates. They wouldn't let us drive around the Rushmore parking lot to seek them out! What's up with that? If we are ever going to get Washington D.C. or Hawaii, that is the place. Sigh.... today's youth. They have no passion.
Driving through Wyoming you see a lot of antelope. Or, as Cade said, “I think I saw a cantaloupe!” I guess it is possible that there was a cantaloupe....
We stayed in a lovely little hotel in Rawlins, Wyoming where there was no fitness center so I put on my best senior citizen face and did some water aerobics. It was actually quite fabulous considering that I haven't been able to exercise hardly at all in recent years. Mainly due to migraines that come each and every day I tried to work out at high altitude. And more recently because of bad knees... one really bad knee in particular. Since I sound like a senior (I'll give you a quarter if you rub my bunion.... and I'll give Audrey a quarter too.....) and my body seems to be functioning in that category, I may as well exercise like one. The kids enjoyed my workout as they (minus Maddy) jumped over me into the pool each time I passed.
After 45 minutes I thought I had come up with the best work out in the world for my situation until I started walking a bit and discovered that the bottoms of my big toes were completely thrashed. Hm. Do I have to go all the way and get aqua socks?
Dominos pizza (are we in Ecuador?) and root beer (no we are not!) in the room made a dandy dinner and that was that for day three.
Off to California. Day one.... pretty much slept the whole way. Stopped in Watertown, South Dakota. Found a bunch of license plates. And that is kind of it.
Next day: Happy Independence, America (of the United States)! One more year under your over-indulged, bulging belt.
Road trips are difficult on us photojournalist-wanna-be types, especially those of us who have husbands with an agenda. Take South Dakota, for example. We currently are driving through Huron, home of the largest pheasant. He won’t turn around and let me take a picture of the pheasant. And things go by too fast. How am I supposed to write about the wonders of it all. There was also what must be the world’s second or third largest buffalo in front of the Chevy dealership. Earlier on we drove through a town (“Iroquois”?) who were the 2006 winners of the 9B State football championships. I kid you not - and we got to drive through it (but I couldn't convince the man to turn around for a real photo op). This road trip is hopping.
And we just saw a truck driving on the railroad tracks with special wheels.
Less notable was our stop in De Smet - former home of Laura Ingles Wilder. First we went to the Ingles homestead but as it was $10 a person and 2 hours to do the tour and enjoy the activities, we passed (on grass....we pass on grass all the time).
We did, however, indulge in the hometown tour. Just us girls. The boys still passed. $30 later we saw the real original Surveyors House from the Shores of Silver Lake. Poopy copyrights don’t allow us to take pictures in there. What's up with that? In case you are wondering, the house, the “two story mansion”, is no longer on the shores - they moved it in town....right close to the school house that Mary, Laura and Carrie attended (pictured below). That too is the original, but we could take pictures in there.
They also built a replica of Brewsters school - the one that Laura taught at and Almonzo picked her up from every weekend.... that romantic, sacrificial man.
After that we headed out for a
(oh, oh - road kill.... a little bambi, dead on the road. sad.)
tour of the Ingles home with a lot of their actual possessions. Pretty darn cool if I do say so my darn self. No pictures allowed in there either - lame. It was pretty cool itself, though.
Neighboring the house was a regular old house where two young entrepreneurs were selling lemonade. Maddy said "Ah! The future of America" and had to support their industriousness with a purchase of a small beverage - $.25.... $1 for a large. Those girls are no stupid dummies. Probably one of the highest income lemonade stands in this here country.
If you are a Little House on the Prairies fan (I’d call myself a very stronger liker but perhaps even a fan; Mia on the other hand is without question, a fan.) this is a great little stop. I’m sure the homestead was pretty neat-o as well, but there is only so much we can spring for these little tours. Not to mention the angst that certain teenagers (we own one) have about not just getting on the road, darn it.
More on the grand 4th July later....
We stopped, we swam, we dined, we skipped the fireworks (what kind of Americans do that, anyway?). The highlights? Dinner at the Cactus Cafe, across the road from good ol’ Wall Drug, home of the free water. Yes, folks, we are in Wall, South Dakota. Dinner itself was not much to talk about unless of course you want to know about the buffet complete with soggy spaghetti swimming in oil, over-cooked corn on the cob bathing in a heavy butter-water mixture or other equally greasy and heart-attackish type options. The real story is in the two youngest of the Ackermann clann. Cade stepped up to the salad bar and proceeded to only put sliced red onions on his plate. Yummy salad. He did later go back for some pickles and two mini pickled corn cobs. The apple has fallen far from this tree..... Then, during our meal, Lucy asked what time it was. I said that according to my watch it was 7:30 (for example... I really don’t remember what time it was and I don’t want to lead you astray) but here (the “here” being Wall, South Dakota) the time was 6:30. She told me that I should buy a watch that would tell me the time there. We all had a good laugh at her expense before I explained that you could change the time on a watch. Fortunately she was in the mood to also laugh at herself, otherwise we could have had a scene on our hands.
After dinner we spent a lovely evening with some local wildlife.
Not sure what Lu was doing here, but we just went with it.
The only other interesting tidbit was mocking Maddy as she sat in her pretty little bikini at the side of the pool with her feet dipped in, doing her nails. She looked like the perfect California 90210 teen..... all she needed was some lipgloss.*
That was Independence Day 2013. Not exactly a banner day, but a good one none-the-less.
*one of the latest family jokes..... During the last week in Quito, in the midst of chaos with stuff everywhere, Maddy discovered a new tube of lipgloss sitting on the sewing desk. Her version is that she just saw the lipgloss and said matter-of-factly “oh, lipgloss” - like saying “Look here, there is some lip gloss misplaced on the desk”. My version is a little more like (read with a ditsy blond voice and a high-pitched squeal/giggle “Ooooooh! Lip Gloss!! OMG!”. Read “this is the best thing that has ever happened to me!”. since we were the only two present, we’ll go with my version......
Results from the end of day two: Ackermanns: 38; Game Board: 13 (Washington D.C. gets its own plate)
I have been having a hard time thinking through this move. Normally when we head “home” - Manitoba - I am thrilled with everything I see, smell, taste and see. It is all rich and beautiful and magical. Memories flood back to me and I am delighted to be back to my roots. Things have been very different this time around. After 25-ish years, now planning to move back, I am looking at everything completely differently. I am analyzing everything, evaluating and measuring everything up....do I really want to move back here? How is it going to be? After being in love with the prairies for 43 years, now I am not so sure. Steinbach is a great place place to raise kids - I’ve always believed that (and have been told that several times since we arrived), but do I still believe that now? I mean, yes, it absolutely is, but is it the place I want to raise our kids?
Where are we going to live? What house will we have and can’t we just buy one now? - but I don’t want to because that is so permanent. I want to be back in Quito - I don’t want to be done there. What are we going to do, how will we make money? How is everything going to work with Eric’s permanent residency? What is he going to do?
There have been a million different thoughts, questions and emotions coursing through my brain and heart and I can’t seem to sort them out. I’ve been on the verge of tears for days not understanding how I am feeling and wondering why I am feeling anything but gratitude. But I am so grateful to God. Even with all of this chaos we have experienced in the last few weeks and the mayhem in my being, here is what He gave me on the very day I needed it the most.... This is taken from “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young, June 27:
“Rest with me a while. You have journeyed up a steep, rugged path in recent days. The way ahead is shrouded in uncertainty. Look neither behind you nor before you. Instead, focus our attention on Me, Your constant Companion. Trust that I will equip you fully for whatever awaits you on your journey.
I designed time to be a protection for you. You couldn’t bear to see all your life at once. Though I am unlimited by time, it is in the present moment that I meet you. Refresh yourself in My company, breathing deep draughts of My Presence. The highest level of trust is to enjoy Me moment by moment. I am with you watching over you wherever you go.”Psalm 143:8 “Let the morning bring me work of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”
Genesis 28:15 “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
He knows just what I need to be reminded of.