How is it almost February? It seems like we just got back from our Thanksgiving vacation in Tahoe and I look at the calendar and see that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner (yes, sister, I know: Birthday Alert!). With that being said, I’ll apologize beforehand; this will probably be a lengthy post, but there will be pictures! Now, where to start…
The Monday after Thanksgiving, our normal daily routine went out the door. J.O and his crew had to travel for a job to Merced, CA, a city that is roughly 2.5 hours South East of where we are now. The job was scheduled to last roughly 10 days and they were put up in a hotel. Because they were working night outages and the hotel was not dog friendly, Long Dog and I decided to stay up in Pacifica and go about our normal life. Although it was a change of pace having J.O gone, I was able to get all of our Christmas tasks completed, pack for our Christmas trip back to Minnesota and go check a few things off my bucket list like the Walt Disney Family Museum. You can read more about that HERE.
The third week that J.O was gone was the typical changing schedule that always seems to happen near the end of a job. One day they think they’ll be done on Friday, the next it’s going to be Wednesday, and then it’s back to Friday but this time before noon, later that day it’ll change to Saturday and so forth. Luckily, for us, we were driving back to Minnesota, so we didn’t have to worry about changing airplane tickets (some linemen on the crew were not so fortunate and changed their ticket dates a few times to get home for the holiday as soon as possible). J.O got home from Merced on Wednesday night (the week before Christmas) and he slept all day Thursday, then went in to work for an outage Thursday night. That night, before he left, we decided to leave for Minnesota in the morning when he got off of work. We originally weren’t planning on leaving until earliest Saturday morning. So, while J.O was at work that night, I feverishly got us packed, loaded the truck, cooked food and snacks for the trip, cleaned the camper (I can’t leave a dirty house when going on vacation), fueled up the truck and tried to find a place that sold windshield washer fluid that could withstand below 32 degree temps (very hard to find in SF!). At 3:30am J.O called me and said, “I’m done! Let’s hit the road!” So, I picked him up and we headed East for the frozen tundra.
The road trip was fine; very typical and long. I guess with it being our 6th time doing it in the past 2 years, the novelty had worn off! No bumps in the road, so to speak. The one thing that didn’t wear off though, was the element of surprise on arriving early! We had originally thought we’d be getting into town sometime on Christmas Eve, so arriving 2 days early was unexpected. We ended up arriving in our home town around 4:30am on December 22nd. We surprised all of our parents and then decided to sleep the rest of the day. Zzzzzzz
Our week in Minnesota started off great! But, it was cold…bitterly cold. -20 cold. One morning, we forgot to go start the truck and the engine froze. It took J.O 5 hours to get it started again. Because our block heater was obviously not working, we decided to just keep the truck running for 24 hrs a day after that.
We were able to see lots of friends and family right off the bat, which was great because we were only there for a week before we were to head off to Colorado to ski over New Years. Christmas Eve was spent at J.O’s mom’s house with family. A feast was served and Santa Clause made his yearly appearance. Even J.O got to sit on his lap Our niece and nephew are at that really fun age where Christmas time is full of excitement and smiles.
Christmas Day was a different story. It started off in the traditional sense for J.O and myself. We woke up early and toasted each other with a mimosa for the day ahead. I got started on making some chubby sweet bread for breakfast and my pies and salmon spread for later on that day. It had snowed the night before, so J.O went out to shovel the driveway and path. When he came in he said he was not feeling well and had to lay down. I’ll spare you the details, but the poor guy had been struck with the stomach flu and was in bed ALL day. No gift opening and no Christmas dinner for him. My parents have a huge Christmas party and there were around 40 people expected to come, friends and family alike. J.O ended up driving out to his moms for the day, which eased my mind; after all, there’s nothing like being with your mom when your sick, no matter how old you are. Although, I don’t’ think I’ve seen him so sad and upset about being sick before. He was not happy about having to miss out on seeing so many people and basically missing out on Christmas. I was able to carry on with the holiday a usual and it was so wonderful to celebrate with so many family members that I hadn’t seen in ages, but of course it wasn’t the same without my love at my side.
The rest of the week was one more day of recovery for J.O and then we were able to go skiing at Afton Alps with family that Friday. Although J.O wasn’t feeling 100%, he was happy to get out and make the most of our short time there.
We then set out to ski the next day, Saturday with more family at Trollhaugen in Dresser, WI. On our way out, our transmission in the truck started to slip. This was something that we had honestly been waiting for it to happen for awhile and thought it would have happened on our trip out from California. When we had the transmission replaced two years ago, they simply rebuilt it and it’s never been working as it should. Unfortunately, Ford won’t just put in a new one, the other one has to fail you first. Needless to say, it’s been a waiting game. With it being under warranty, we had to get it into a Ford dealership and hopefully fast so that we could still get out to Colorado the following week for our personal vacation.
J.O got on the phone right away and started calling every Ford dealership within a 100 mile radius to see who could get us in (and who had a reliable diesel mechanic). Due to the New Year holiday the following week, no one could get us in until Monday, January 6. AGHHHHH!!! That was the day that J.O had to be back to work in California….not cool. Luckily, the 9th Ford dealership we called in Baldwin, WI was able to get us in on Monday, December 30th. Yay! If anything, we could maybe still get to Colorado for a day of skiing on our drive back.
The nice thing about being in town longer, was that we were able to make up time lost on seeing people when J.O was sick. We also were able to get Long Dog into his normal vet for a check up on a tooth that was bothering him. More on that to come. New Years Eve was spent with family and friends and mostly inside because it was so blasted cold.
By the 2nd of January, we still hadn’t heard back from Ford and had thrown our Colorado vacation out the window. J.O had to get back to work, so there was only one option; he would fly out to San Francisco for the work week while I stay in Minnesota until the truck is finished. Then, he would fly back to Minnesota and drive the truck out with me and the long dog. So, I sent him away on a jet plane Sunday, January 5th to warmer weather…sigh.
My week alone in Minnesota was nice. I was able to spend more quality time with my mom, sister, grandma, cousins and a few girl friends. But, once again, it was cold. STUPID COLD….-50 with wind chill cold. We were colder than the barren straight in Alaska. Schools were closed and you could bubbles would freeze mid air when blown outside. Long Dog refused to go outside expect to shove his face in the snow to aid his owie tooth.
I actually ended up taking him into the vet again and they ended up putting him into surgery. Turns out it wasn’t a tooth, but an infraction behind his eye socket. The amount of goo that came out of him was disgusting. Poor little guy. He’s now doing much better.
On Wednesday J.O called me and said that they are booked solid at work and are short handed, so there is no way he can fly back. I’d have to find someone to do the drive with me. Luckily, my sister was able to get the time off of work and we planned on leaving for sunny California the following Tuesday. What a fun adventure to go on together! It was a huge change to the original plans (again) but one that I was very excited for.
By Thursday night I was able to pick the truck up from the shop. Everything was repaired and it was running like new. Bummer part was that I had to bring it back in on Friday because I woke up to find about 2 cups of transmission fluid had leaked out. Someone at the shop forgot to put on an gasket. Honestly? Thank goodness it was a quick fix, but I’ll admit, I almost had a mental break down. It was for a moment feeling like I was never going to get to head back to California!
Over the weekend, I was able to say goodbye to friends and family and get ready to make the trip back home. It was a very full and at the same time, a very relaxing weekend.
Monday, I brought the truck in to one more place, just to make sure everything was good to go for our sisters road trip. We were leaving the next morning and I wanted to make sure we could actually leave. I was so ready to get home to my love, our home and the warmer weather.
Tuesday, as my luck would had it, I woke up to a fresh 6″ of snow and blizzard like conditions. Awesome..
I looked at the radar and checked out Iowa’s road conditions. Since we’d be taking the longer, Southern route, I knew that if I could make it through Iowa, I’d be good to go. Everything seemed to be ok, so we gave big hugs and kisses and set off. Slow and steady, we won the race. Although we passed many cars and semi’s in the ditch, we never faltered once. I’ll admit, I was pretty proud of my driving skills!
The following four days on the road with my sister were fantastic; a lifetime of memories were made and I don’t think conversation stopped once! We never had the radio on and we giggled a lot; giggles only sisters can share. Because we took the same route that J.O and I had taken last summer (I35S to I40W) I had a good idea of where we should stop every day and we stayed right on route, on schedule and even had extra time for long lunches, early dinners and a little sightseeing along the way. My favorite time though was when we finally got West of Bakersfield and I was able to really show my sister the California I know. She had never been through Big Sur, so we took Hwy 1 all the way up to Pacifica. As always, it was beautiful.
When we arrived home, J.O had about 30 min to spare before he headed off to work for the night. Even if it was for a small amount of time, I was so very happy to see him. <3
The next day was spent showing my sister around. I had so much fun doing this! We haven’t had any family out to Pacifica yet, so it was fun to share our new town with someone special; to have them see and experience many places and things that we speak so much about. We spent the morning walking the market at the Ferry Building and then walking down to Fisherman’s Wharf.
We met up with J.O for our favorite Peruvian lunch in Pacifica and then walked a beach in Half Moon Bay. I brought her to a few local spots for a beer or two and then we spend the remainder of the night watching movies. I brought her to the airport at 4:45am to catch her flight. As always, goodbyes are never fun, but I was so thankful that we were able to have such a special week together.
This past week has been getting back to normal living. It’s been over 2 months since we’ve had our normal routine, and it feels SO GOOD to be back on it! J.O worked 70 hours in four days last week and to our surprise ended up getting the weekend off! We decided to take advantage of it and race up to Tahoe. We had such a wonderful and relaxing weekend together. It was just what we needed.
So, with all that being said, I think I’m all caught up! Hopefully you can understand why I haven’t written in awhile.