Friday, June 10th... my birthday! I woke up that morning, got up out of bed... and OH MY GOD! My whole body was aching! I was only one year older, so why was my body acting like it had aged 20 years? From my feet to my neck, every thing was sore... have I really been running around THAT much?
I got up, ate breakfast, and showered. When I emerged out of the shower my brother in law and sister in law were in the room. They had brought me birthday cards from them, my mother in law, and even purchased one from my kids! It made me smile, and for a moment I forgot my aging body.
By the time my husband got finished showering and we were dressed and I was all beautified (hair, makeup, etc) it was about time for lunch. They told me of this place called El Tequila that served authentic Mexican food. I am always leery of white people talking about "authentic" Mexican food... especially in Minnesota, so I asked "How authentic?"
"Laura, we went there one time over lunch and we heard the cooks in the kitchen blasting their music and singing along to the Mexican music. It sounded like they were having a blast!"
"OK, that is what they normally do... that is authentic... I am going!"
We got there, and I quickly realized I could speak in Spanish, order my favorite meal (carne asada), and even order my favorite beverage (horchata)!
Horchata is a Christmas party in your mouth. Carne asada is just pure deliciousness.....
I was in heaven! Happy birthday to me! I hope I enjoyed it because that was all the birthday I got. After lunch it was time to run again.
My husband and I had to run to Camp Ripley to find the ribbons, a new beret for him, and some special kind of Gatorade for my brother in law (it was a "they only sell it there" thing and since he cannot buy anything at Camp Ripley...). We then drove on to some other town to look for an army surplus store for something else, but never found the store.
On the way back to Brainerd I was in shock, astonished, scared, happy.... I looked up to see a black bear cross the road! I had never seen a bear before, aside from on television, and holy shit! There was one right in front of me! I grabbed my husband shook him and shouted: "Is that a bear? That is a bear isn't it? OMG!! It's a bear!! I SAW A BEAR!!!!" As soon as it was across the road and out of my vision I realized I never even THOUGHT to reach for my camera which was right at my feet... but the bear looked kinda like this:
So, was in awe, and very disappointed that I did not even register the thought in my head to grab my camera. My husband asked me if I wanted him to stop. I told him "Why? The bear is gone now!". Should I have taken a picture of the highway and said "This is where I saw a bear!"? No... not the same...
We got back to the hotel, dropped off everything we purchased at Camp Ripley, and started to look for everything else we needed for his father's ribbon rack. The issue was we were no where near an Air Force base. This is where my good online friend, and fellow army spouse, Mare comes in to save the day. Her husband was home on R&R from Afghanistan and she took time out of her special limited time with him to go through his old Air Force stuff and try to find what we needed. Whatever she did not have she offered to purchase and send our way overnight. I am telling you, this woman is the most awesome woman on the planet!
My husband started to put together the rack of ribbons, and I realized that we still had not got the uniforms dry cleaned, the dog was not buried, and we had not started cleaning up my mother in law's house! It was almost dinner time, so everything would have to wait for the next day... we had time, right? Her father and brother had just left Texas late that morning, so we had until tomorrow evening to get everything done, right? Wrong.
My husband and I got up late the next morning, after being up till 2 am trying to get stuff sewn on the uniforms and other details finished last minute, well my sister in law was... my husband was standing over her shoulder "supervising", and my brother and law and I were cracking inappropriate jokes in another room to keep ourselves entertained. I called dry cleaners to see who could offer same day service as well as sewing for the uniforms and found one person that said "I can get it back to you this afternoon if you bring it in NOW!" So I called my brother in law since he had both uniforms in his possession and he got them dropped off. My husband and I stepped outside to smoke a cigarette when my brother in law called us back to tell us that the father and brother of my mother in law had just arrived. HOLY SHIT! The house was not clean, and the DOG WAS STILL IN THE FREEZER!
My brother in law came to pick up my husband to do a few errands real quick and my sister in law and I hightailed it over to my mother in law's house as fast as we could... I still wanted my manicure and pedicure...