Last week I was worried about our upcoming visit to Omaha. We were doing a long weekend (Friday-Monday) and it should have been the smoothest trip ever. For starters we had been planning the trip for awhile so everything in terms of where we were staying and letting people know when we’d be there was done two months in advance. That has never happened before. Usually we only figure out when we’re going a few weeks ahead of time and I’m still letting people know less than a week beforehand, “Hey, we’ll be in town, and want to see you!”
Secondly, we were prepared – as in packed, organized and well-rested. None of this ever seems to happen. No matter what amount of preparation is done, usually something comes up that pushes packing to the background. Usually we have to pack at least half our stuff last minute, and stay up until two in the morning to do so. We usually head out by six. Yeah, not fun. But this time we were on it. We did laundry days in advance, and I packed all of our clothes and had a spreadsheet to make sure we didn’t forget anything. The day before we left I cleaned the house and Roy took care of the dog (bath, teeth, nails – she was not happy). We were in bed before midnight and were heading out a little after eight in the morning. But even better, we were good about going to bed early that week so there was no sleep deficit going into the night before the trip (yes, usually we both have that going on too).
The trip itself was also to be our most low-key to date. Usually I try to pack all of my favorite places into the trip, no matter how brief. Local hangouts, coffee houses and places to eat means a lot going on. But this trip we only had to eat at one place, and do one thing with my family. Two musts over four days… we could handle that (and we did). Going to Nebraska is all about seeing me dearest who still live there and while that is always the case, this time our plans, or lack of, reflected that upfront.
One unknown for this trip however, was our dog, Angel. We were bringing Angel along so my grandma, sister and others who wanted to, could see her. I was really excited about this happy surprise (particularly for my grandma and sister) but at the same time was nervous. It’s an eight hour drive. Angel doesn’t mind the car, but we have never done a road trip with her. I didn’t know how she would handle it. Then besides the drive, how would she handle being at my dad’s? I had no doubt she would be fine, but my dad’s dogs… I didn’t know how they would be with her. And if her presence bothered them too much, she would have to stay in the room we were staying in while we weren’t there. So… lots to worry about going in.
Then two nights before we were set to leave, disaster struck… Even though I told everyone eight weeks in advance that we were coming, and then again at four weeks, and again at two weeks – everyone was busy. My BFF worked all four days (the night shift, so it wasn’t like we could just grab dinner with her) and another had a lot of homework for the Ph.D. she is working on. A third was out of town for two weeks, actually leaving the morning we were set to get into town. Besides my dad, stepmom, siblings and grandma those three people were my entire list. I had an internal panic of “Why even go? We’re only going to see people, and apparently everyone is too busy to see us, what’s the point?”
I rallied and we still went, and I’m glad we did. Most of the things I worried about worked themselves out, more or less. Angel did one hundred times better in the car than Roy or I thought she would. (Obviously, we stopped every hour for her to stretch, etc. but she really was a champ.) And it didn’t end with the car. My dad’s dogs were totally fine with Angel, so fine I’m convinced they remember her. One of the dogs was jealous, but it was their older dog who is deaf, blind and has a hard time getting around that I worried about. I didn’t want her presence to stress him out. He definitely doesn’t need that! But he was totally fine with her and they sniffed and licked and that was it.
I had a great time with my family. We ate with them on Friday, did coffee with them on Saturday, spent all day with them on Sunday. It’s probably the most we’ve seen them on a single trip because we weren’t trying to do a million things and because everyone else was busy, weren’t even dividing our time between people.
Of my three good friends, I got to see two of them. Yes it was an imperfect and brief meeting with each one, but I got to see them and that’s all that mattered. One, we met up at a kid’s pizza place/arcade because it was her niece’s birthday party. We had fun and Roy realized he married an Air Hockey pro – one he will never conquer. (Still undefeated! 😀 ) The other one I met when she got off a twelve hour shift Monday morning. She was exhausted and so was I (to get up early enough, I only ended up getting four hours of sleep, but it was our last day. I let Roy sleep in, so he didn’t see her) but we just went back to her place and caught up, hung out and watched a little HGTV. It was perfect. (My third friend was out of town, so no way that was happening period.)
I’ll admit it was nice not having to worry about ticking off boxes of places to eat, see or visit. It allowed us to just go with it and see where the trip took us. Even though the trip was chill (it really was, I’m honestly surprised because I am not a laidback person, but I was on this trip!) we still did some fun and exciting things. Besides kicking butt in air hockey, we went to see Cirque Musica Crescendo after my friend said she couldn’t use her tickets. They were great seats and the show was absolutely amazing. And since there was no dialogue, just beautiful symphony music and incredibly stunts/ feats and visuals I could follow along without issue. (I am profoundly deaf, so dialogue would have just complicated everything.)
We also did the Pumpkin Patch with my family and ended up staying all day. We didn’t get to do the train and the corn maze was a little anti-climatic but we did see a flying dog show (these dogs were incredible, doing flips off their owner’s backs, jumping super high to catch things and completing – and destroying obstacle courses. We also had our own campfire and ate hotdogs and s’mores and then scored some pumpkins. Roy and I don’t do as much as we would like to for Halloween, we never carve pumpkins and have minimal decorations outside (but plenty of candy for kiddos come Halloween night) so this was a big deal. We got FOUR pumpkins! At first Roy was thinking three, but I said if we were doing three, we should do four, one for each member of the family, unless of course he was finally admitting the cat has been voted off the island. Sadly (kidding!) she hasn’t, so we got four. Of course, I was thinking two medium to big pumpkins and two small pumpkins but Roy found three big ones he liked and I found one big one, so we just decided the hell with it. We had our finds after only ten minutes, and I don’t think either of us wanted it to drag on by that point (it was after six in the evening).
Besides these two things highlights included two wonderful visits with my grandma. Our last trip to Omaha, she was under the weather so we didn’t get to see her as much as we wanted to, but this time we saw her twice, each visit for over an hour. And she got to see Angel, which was a big deal. Loved it.
I also got to see my sister in Lincoln. I can’t believe she is in college now, and we had a great visit catching up; I loved hearing all about her college experience so far. And of course she got to see Angel too.
Despite the scheduling conflicts and missed connections, this trip was as wonderful as I hoped it would be. Actually it was probably much better. I’m also thinking it is the trip to emulate in the future. Who cares where we go or where we eat. Just spending a lot of quality time with people you love and being open to what comes your way is lovely, surprisingly so (for me). I mean don’t get me wrong, no way I could be like that every day, but while on a vacation or visit, it’s a great hat to wear!
I miss everyone already and I’m sad we won’t likely be back for awhile, but this trip gave me so many wonderful memories to hang onto until next time. So thank you (Nebraska, my long-suffering husband, Angel, the universe, Omaha and a few things I’m sure I’m forgetting) for that. Until next time…