For the past 4 years (longer for J.O) every time we have come back to visit friends and family in Minnesota, I will admit that I am overcome with a mix of emotions. I’m excited to see everyone and be back in our home towns where everything is familiar, but I’m also always filled with anxiety. I become stressed out thinking of all the loved ones we want to see, when we can fit them in to our schedule, coordinating all these get togethers so that we can see everyone, not hurt anyone’s feelings by turning down an offer to get together and make it so that J.O and I still have some free time on our vacation. Even with our “we try not to make plans: we’ll play it by ear” policy, I tend to feel overwhelmed. But, not this time!
For just over the past week, J.O and I have been back in Minnesota and I haven’t been feeling overwhelmed at all! We have been able to see friends and family everyday and have have many mornings or afternoons where we have no plans at all and are able to simply relax on our mini vacation. Why the change? I’m attributing it to the fact that for the first time in over 4 years, we’re here for longer than a two week time period.
The first two days we were back we were showered with loves and hugs from our families. We were able to celebrate Mother’s Day with our moms in person (can’t remember the last time that happened!) snuggle with our nieces and nephews while awing at how much they had grown in the past year, razz our siblings, enjoy time with our dads, tell stories, laugh, eat and have a great time. We even had a sleep over with our nephew, who refused to leave J.O’s side, Saturday night. The weather then enhanced our feeling more on Sunday as the sun came out and shinned on us, warming us up even more than our hearts already had.
The rest of the week we casually met up with friends, enjoyed long lunches, I attended a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class with my sister at her gym, J.O went golfing, had to change our both alternators in our truck, spent time at our brother’s lake home, lounged on my parent’s dock and relaxed some more. We dined at some of our favorite old eateries and even tried out a few new ones. Mid week, J.O went and signed book #2 (Due to Minnesota no being our home local, he signs the travelers Journeyman Lineman book) at the 160 hall. Whether or not he would accept the first call for a job or not, we weren’t sure, but with only 6 men ahead of him, we knew we’d be getting a call soon.
Our weekend was super busy. We drove up to Duluth, MN on Friday to celebrate one of our best friends graduation from the University of Minnesota Duluth. J.O and him have been best buds since they were in elementary school and had not seen each other since December of 2011. Watching them reconnect was priceless. We stayed for his graduation ceremony the following morning before making the drive back down the cities. After a quick nap, we cleaned up and made our way to a wedding reception for another great, life long friend. It was a beautiful reception and of course it was fun to see other friends; some of which we had not seen in over 4 years! We capped off the weekend with J.O playing a round of golf and small birthday celebration for our niece. She was turning 12 and that night, we marveled at home much she has grown, matured and how she is no longer a little girl, but is turning into a beautiful young woman.
On Monday, J.O and I set out to do errands and grab some lunch, when he received the call from 160 we had been waiting for. There were two job calls out, one up in Alexandria building high line (which we knew he would get a call for): 6 days a week, 10 hr shifts, and then one for right in St. Paul building the new light rail system: 5 days a week, 12 hour shifts. Yes! The St Paul job sounded great. Close to friends and family and only 5 days a week equals exactly what we both were hoping for this summer. We both thought that it would take a few calls to get the job he would want and here he gets it on the first call! As with any job, we never plan on it being “the one” that works for us until J.O has worked on it for a few weeks, but we’re hoping that he likes it. That night we hung out with our cousins and met their beautiful baby girl, it was the perfect way to celebrate getting a job for the summer close to friends and family.
Today is J.O’s first day on the job and although he is only filling out paperwork and such, it’s always exciting, as I consider this to be the first day of our new adventure! If after this week he is still liking the job, we plan on moving our 5th Wheel to a KOA campground that is close by. We’re well aware that we won’t be able to get into any campgrounds this week as memorial day is this coming weekend. So, until then, we’ll continue to enjoy living in a full sized house at my parents. I’m excited to see what it’ll be like to live our normal everyday life with J.O working while also being so close to friends and family for the summer. It’s like two worlds are finally coming together and I can’t wait to see what comes of it!