More Trips (Washington State & Wisconsin)

It’s been a busy month. We enjoyed General Conference at home. Katherine (a new convert) and the Sister missionaries came over to watch the Sunday morning session with us.

Susan flew to Las Vegas on Tuesday, Oct 5th, spent the night with her friends Wendy & Tom, then flew on to Washington State the next day. She got to spend some quality time with her sisters, Shelby and Shevaun at Shelby’s home. On Friday, Kacy (son 1) picked her up and took her to his home and Derek (son 3) met them there where they had dinner and then he took her to his home in Centralia.

I missed the Washington trip, partly due to cost, partly because I didn’t want to get in the way of Susan’s opportunity to spend quality time with her sisters and sons, and partly because someone needed to take care of Elmo.

I did take advantage of this time to visit Emily on the Monday that Susan was gone. We tried to eat at Chick-fil-A in Canton, but there was no seating so we got carry-out and went back to her duplex. It was the first time I’ve seen the inside. She had some exciting news – she’s changing jobs! It’s a work-from-home opportunity with what appears to be an excellent company – Followup Boss. This jobs gives her a lot more flexibility including the possibility of traveling more or even moving to another area without having to change jobs. I’m very happy for her.

After that, it was mostly work for Susan as she helped Derek clean and straighten up his house which has been in a state of disarray since he moved in with his family in January. Unfortunately, his wife and son moved out in August to stay indefinitely with friends in New York so Susan wanted to help him out in any way she could. Susan’s been struggling a lot with pain in her back and a frozen shoulder so we were concerned that she wouldn’t be able to do much for Derek, but her pain levels remained surprisingly low and she was able to accomplish some major cleaning and reorganizing.

She was able to visit Kacy and Meg a couple more times, as well as Anita & Mark, another of her best friends and her husband).

She flew back on Saturday, the 16th, arriving in Cleveland very early Sunday morning. This meant she got no sleep that night (and I got very little). On the way to the airport, the right rear tire of our car picked up something on the freeway shortly before arriving at the airport and immediately went flat (although I couldn’t be 100% certain of that until I got out and looked). It was dark and raining and I didn’t feel it was worth it to stop on the freeway. I was only a mile or two from the airport so I continued on and parked the car before taking a look at the tire. Susan arrived at the same time and texted me. I told her about the flat and she said to go ahead and change the tire before looking her. Fortunately that was a fairly quick job. We arrived back home too late to make it to church, and Susan was too tired anyway, but we were able to watch the meetings on Zoom. The next day, I took the car to a tire shop. The old tire was ruined from driving while flat, but fortunately they had a good used replacement tire.

Susan had a number of doctor appointments during that week which culminated on an emergency room visit on Friday, the 22nd. We had planned a liver biopsy for that day, but the day before she had an MRI done on the liver with nothing found. So we went to the hospital very early Friday morning not knowing if she really needed the biopsy or not. They started preparing her for the procedure while waiting the doctor to arrive and confirm whether she needed the biopsy or not. After starting a saline IV, she started having trouble breathing and was complaining of chest pain. The nurses decided to admit her to emergency and they began running tests. She soon began feeling better, however, and the original doctor came in to tell us she didn’t need the biopsy after all. The remainder of the day was spent waiting for tests and they finally released her late afternoon saying they couldn’t find anything wrong with her.

The next morning (Sat.), we set off for Oshkosh, Wisconsin, about a 9 hour drive. We had Elmo with us. Probably the highlight of the trip was going through Chicago where we got a good view of the skyline – the Sears Tower, etc. Traffic was a little crazy and it’s not a route I’d want to travel frequently, but it was memorable. We arrived around 8 pm at an Airbnb. It was a beautifully-maintained older home where we had our own bedroom. The rest of the house was shared, but we never saw another person during our 2-night stay. The owner communicated with us by text message, and supposedly lived in the house, but we never saw him.

On Sunday we drove 30 minutes north to Appleton, WI where Anita and her family were staying at another Airbnb. Her son-in-law, Jesse, had long wanted to attend a Green Bay Packers football game so he, his wife (Kate), newborn son (Owen), and Mark & Anita all travelled to Wisconsin for that purpose. We arrived while Jesse and Kate were at the game in Green Bay, which was another 30 minutes or so north. Elmo stayed in the car because the host didn’t allow pets in the home. We had brought some food so Susan prepared some chicken sliders and we ate them in the living room. Mark had dropped Jesse and Kate off at the stadium in the morning and so now it was time to pick them up. I rode with Mark to the stadium to do that. The trip there was quick, but very slow on the way back due to the crowd. Upon returning, I walked Elmo the 2nd time. Then we spent a few more minutes visiting and decided it was time to leave. I’m sorry I didn’t get a photo of Mark and Anita at least. It had been a very short visit, especially considering the amount of time required to get there, but it’s always good to renew friendships.

We returned to Oshkosh, spending one more night, then took off the next morning. It was raining for much of this leg of our trip. This time, we didn’t try to make it all the way back home, but instead stopped at another Airbnb in Goshen, Indiana. This one turned out to probably be our favorite Airbnb of all time. It was also an old home that had been beautifully restored and furnished, but this time we were on the edge of a lake. Again, it was a shared situation, and we had free reign of the entire home, but, again, no one else was there. This time, however, our bedroom was much larger and it adjoined a huge bathroom with a jacuzzi. Our suite was on the second floor. The first floor was amazingly well decorated and had a beautiful view of the lake. Susan absolutely fell in love with the place and wishes we could do what the owners were doing – live in a portion of the home (they were actually in the basement), and rent the rest (and, of course, have use of it when we needed it for family gatherings, etc.).

We had dinner at a local restaurant and returned to try the jacuzzi and watch a movie before going to bed. The next morning Susan spent some time on the first floor just enjoying the view and beautiful interior of the home. The sun was out, unlike the day before, and it was absolutely beautiful. We couln’t stay, unfortunately. After checking out, we visited downtown Goshen and went into a few stores. It’s a small and very quaint town and we could see ourselves living in such a place. Then it was on to nearby Middlebury, an Amish community, where we had lunch at the Das Dutchman Essenhaus, Indiana’s largest restaurant. This is quite an enterprise and reminded me of the Hartville Kitchen. Both had humble beginnings in the early 1970’s, both were started by people named Miller, both have greatly expanded over the years. In addition to the restaurant, the Essenhaus complex includes two inns, several shops, miniature golf, and a theater. Plus they operate Essenhaus Foods which manufactures a variety of grocery items including noodles which are sold in stores across the U. S.

The Airbnb we stayed at in Oshkosh Wisconsin
The dining room of the house in Oshkosh
Leaving Oshkosh (the house and our second floor room in the background)
Our Airbnb in Goshen Indiana
Huge master bathroom
View from our bedroom window
Bedroom at the Villa Goshen (Elmo in the corner)
Susan enjoying the living room before departure.

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