Sunday, June 8, 2014

Minnesota Wedding Planning, With a Detour

I am only home for a few days so I leave the dogs at Diane's. I miss them but I have a lot to do and it's hard on them going back and forth so much.

On Thursday morning as I get ready for my flight to Minnesota I get a call from my mom's medical alert device. The hematoma on her chest has burst and she is on her way to the hospital. That service is amazing. It has saved her life and my sanity several times now. I called her cousin Nancy and even called my mom since she had her phone nearby and was conscious. At that point everything seemed under control so I continued with my packing and headed to the airport to fly to Minneapolis.

When I get there I discover my flight is delayed for several hours. Apparently the plane was struck by lightening! I'm alarmed by this but when I google it it turns out to be a relatively rare, and not very serious, event. Modern planes are equipped to handle lightening strikes without consequences, but they still need to check out the plane, so we have to wait for a different plane for our flight.

I am on the phone with my mom's cousin Nancy off and on. She keeps me abreast of what is happening, my mom's progress in the emergency room and her admittance to the hospital. As my flight gets ready to board, suddenly everything changes. They have decided my mom must have surgery to drain the hematoma and remove any infection. Because of my mom's other health conditions this is alarming, and potentially very serious. I must get to St. Louis as soon as possible.

Craziness ensues. I cancel flight to Minneapolis. Sun Country Airlines wins my love at least temporarily by issuing me a full refund. I book a flight to St. Louis later that day on Southwest, about the only airline that has nonstop flights from Boston to St. Louis. Yes it's expensive but no matter. Change terminals, go through security again, wait wait wait. This flight is also delayed but finally I'm up in the air and then in St. Louis. I rent a car because it is late and I want to go straight to the hospital.

I walk into a dark and quiet room at almost 10:30pm. My mom is sleeping peacefully. The surgery was successful and she came through it okay. She wakes up sees me. I take her hand and I'm glad I'm there.

Before I go to sleep that night I book a flight on Southwest to Minneapolis for late Friday afternoon. If my mom is continuing to do well I think I can go there so we can do the wedding stuff we have had planned for months. I also make plans to return to St. Louis in a week, when my mom is hopefully in rehab, or home, and needs my presence more.

The next morning I go for a run before heading to the hospital. It is very warm, 70F, and the half marathon pace intervals I need to do are really tough in the hills of my mom's neighborhood. I have to moderate my running plan for the day but that's fine. No need to get an injury, or heat exhaustion. And who knows what the weather will be like for the half marathon in Boston in two weeks. It could be 80F there, so thinking in terms of flexibility is important. My body always lets me know what I should be doing when I run, but I don't always listen!

I spend the morning and the early afternoon at the hospital, talk to doctors and nurses and watch my mother. She is tired, weak and uncomfortable, but she is in good hands. Off I go to Minneapolis.

I am so giddy and relieved to be in Minneapolis with Sarah and Erik! What a silly girl I am sometimes, but I was really looking forward to this weekend. I love hanging out with my daughter, and Erik is a great guy. He already seems like part of the family to me. He fits right in!

We go to dinner at a relatively new restaurant called T3Vino. It's a wine bar with small plates, and my niece Nicole is working there! We don't have a reservation so we have to sit at the bar for quite awhile until they have a table for us but we don't mind. We try some wine, and get some appetizers, talking and laughing the whole time. Once we get a table Nic gets to be our waitress. She looks great, happy, and is working hard, completing the prereq courses for grad school. What a girl, I'm so proud of her!

The next day is busy. We meet the florist at the restaurant where the reception will be. I'm very pleased with her suggestions and so is Sarah. She has some nice ideas and has picked up on suggestions that Sarah made and expanded on them. I don't want to give too much away so I won't go into a lot of detail, but it's going to be very pretty and different!

Then we do the tasting at the restaurant. The coordinator is very enthusiastic, organized and withiit! She asks the right questions and gets what it is we are looking for. They have a new chef and all I can say is wow. This reception will be fit for foodies, as they say. But I think even less adventurous eaters will be able to find something good to eat.

There are so many appetizers, entrees and side dishes to try, and of course I'm not very good at moderation, but we are all stuffed. No need for dinner that night. We stagger back to Sarah and Erik's house, and watch a documentary called Mortify. It's a production group that gets people to read their journal and diary entries from their childhood and teenage years in front of a live audience. Such brave people, to expose themselves like that. The entries were funny and embarrassing and a little heartrending too. There was the girl that made a storyboard with illustrations of her future life with her crush, riding horses, dancing, having sex (as understood by a 14 year old!). There was the guy that wrote over a hundred rock and roll songs, but couldn't play an instrument and was never even in a band. They got some musicians onstage with him to fulfill his teenage band fantasy and play one of his songs. There was the guy that ended every journal entry with what he wore, what he ate, and PEACE! ONE LOVE!

The next day is Mother's Day. When we originally made plans for this weekend we didn't realize that it would be mother's day. All I can say is that it was pretty cool since it has been quite a few years since I actually got to spend this day with one of my children. Daniel sends me beautiful flowers and sends them early so I have plenty of time to enjoy them before I have to leave. Whatever we are doing is a surprise for me, but first up, my last long run before my race in two weeks. This time Sarah tells me to go left when I hit the parkway and it does go on and on and on. It's hillier than I would have liked for the speed intervals I'm doing, but once again I'm flexible. At least it's a very comfortable 51F.

The first part of the surprise is a visit to the Walker Sculpture Garden where the ceremony will be. We are there to pick out what area we want to use. They have rented out the whole space, even the conservatory, in case it rains. But all this means is that we will be the only wedding in the garden that day, not that the garden will be closed to the public. So we choose a relatively private area, surrounded by trees. There are some large sculptures, but they are inobtrusive and not distracting, unlike the giant cherry sculpture in the center of the garden.

There is a beautiful area with lots of flowers but it lacks privacy so we opt to use it for photos instead. With that settled we go on to the second part of the surprise. Instead of lunch or brunch, we go to high tea at a British pub! It's a great idea, lots of fun. The sandwiches, scones, fruit and desserts are all delicious, and once again we are all stuffed. Although it is similar to other British teas I have been to, the serving sizes are American so no dinner is necessary that evening either.

On my last day in Minneapolis we go to Sarah's first dress fitting. We meet the mobile bridal gown service at her house this time, along with the tailor. It so great seeing Sarah's dress again. It is even more beautiful than I remember. The tailor is excellent, knows exactly what needs to be done, and tells us how it will work. Sarah will need three fittings total, one in July, and one in August. I'm thinking I may return for the final fitting, depending on how things go.

I'm so happy that I got to spend this weekend in Minneapolis and help with the wedding process if only a little. I know it's gets stressful for Sarah and Erik and I wish I could do more, but it's hard to be very helpful from so far away. I'm willing to do whatever Sarah wants me to do and she's not afraid to ask either! I'm sure it will all come together in the end and be the day of her dreams.

My mother is improving, slowly. Tomorrow or maybe the next day, she is heading to a skilled nursing facility until the surgical site has healed enough that it is safe to go home. I'm hoping that won't be too long and that I will be there to help her make the transition. As my cousin said to me on the phone right before this plane too off, "one step at a time." Amen.

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