So this was my second trip back to Wisconsin since I moved to Florida. I’m not going to lie to you all, I had VERY high expectations. Like all of you do who long for that Disney vacation, so did I for mine going home. Well, to my “other” home. Here is the gist of what happened, what I did, and I am going to make it about details to keep it from boring the snot out of you- enjoy!
I drove on Highways 41, 43, 94, 441, 54, 894, 172, 4, and 417. I drove myself at times, and others lovingly drove for me as well. I traveled the streets of Oneida, Lombardi, Northland, Mason, Richmond, Roselawn, Canterbury, Gladys, Morris, Mead, Wisconsin, College, Capitol, Lyndale, Cormier, and April. I visited and drove through the cities of Ephraim, Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Sturgeon Bay, Juddville, Carlsville, De Pere, Green Bay, Appleton, Menasha, Neenah, Grand Chute, Milwaukee, Ashwaubenon, Port Washington, Kenosha, Sheboygan, Gurnee and Vernon Hills. I traveled both in WI and IL and over 6 states flying from FL to WI and back. My favorite city to spend time in was Green Bay because Mom was there and it felt more like home than anything did, and the least was Milwaukee because it had construction EVERYWHERE.
Oh, I shopped. And I mean, I SHOPPED. Once Mom and I get together, it’s a feeding frenzy to get everything I need for home here in FL that I either couldn’t find in FL or that I didn’t have the time to go find yet. We shopped 6 Goodwill Stores, 2 St. Vincent De Pauls, Bethesda, Shopko, Kmart, Walmart, Old Navy, Kohls, Dunhams, Hallmark, Christian Book Store, Childrens Place, JCPenneys, and both Bay Park Square Mall and Fox River Mall. I shopped Gurnee Mills with my gal pals in IL, where I found myself in the Disney Outlet and desperately missing home. My favorite place to shop was the thrift stores with Mom because you never knew what you were going to find. Least favorite was JcPenneys – not fond of their pricing now. Oh and a side note on shopping, I almost cried to see my first WI garage sale. I was so happy to shop the many we found, and I found quite a bit that I wound up having to ship home. Driving from sale to sale with my Mom, our drinks in the car, breakfast in our tummy’s – it was like old times.
I ate, and I ate well. I actually had lost weight before my trip, but I probably evened it up now with how much great food I enjoyed while gone. I ate at El Azteca, Buffalo Wild Wings, Hu Hot, Cinders, Happy Joes, Dung Woo, Olive Garden, Joe’s Crab Shack, Cold Stone, Atlanta Bread, Perkins, Culvers, Steel Bridge Cafe, Arby’s, KFC, McDonalds, Blueberry Hill, Brat Barn at Festival, and Weathervane. My favorites were probably the crab legs at Joes, the strawberry pie at Perkins which is tradition with my Mom, and the skillet breakfast with my Dad. Worst meal was definitely the beef fried rice from Dung Woo- should have known better from the name of the place.
I slept in five beds, four homes, and one hotel. You never really quite understand how much you appreciate your own bed until you leave it for 14 days. I enjoyed all of my stays with friends and family, but you like what you like, and I get hot at night. I am a “fan” sleeper, and so when I didn’t have one at the hotel, it made the night extremely quiet and long. Add snoring by those who can’t help it, and it was probably my worst night there. Lack of sleep makes this chick crabby, so it was a hard stay over all. I did appreciate that my step Dad put mints on my pillow while staying at their house, it was a nice touch.
Rented movies consisted of “Mirror, Mirror, We Bought a Zoo, Friends with Kids, and In Love and War.” Mirror, Mirror was cute, We Bought a Zoo is awesome, Friends with Kids was odd, and In Love and War was cute but kind of slow. I also got to head to the Movies twice, where I saw “Snow White and the Huntsmen” and “Brave.” I liked Snow White, it was a nice twist on the fairy tale. And Brave…seeing it with my Mom meant a lot to me, especially since it is a Mother and Daughter tale. When the Castle came up on the screen to start the film, I started to tear up and I said to Mom “I miss home.” Kel and I watched “Eclipse” and “Breaking Dawn Part 1″ with Rifftrax, which is a riffing program that makes fun of the film as you watch it. They both were pretty awesome!
Then there was the event above all events, I headed back to my home Faire of Bristol and par took in what I can only describe as two wonderful days among my Faire friends. I had my hand kissed several times, and even got several on the cheek! I was handed flowers by a stranger one day, and was welcomed so very graciously by my good friend, Jane the Phoole. Nothing but love for her and Tom, Moonie, Craig of Farrington, OTB, Dirk the Swordsmen, Cameron of Barely Balanced, my German candy maker, Kimara, John, and my Tartanic pals. I can’t tell you how many times I teared up at the level of love and welcoming hugs I received. But the pinnacle of it was when Jane screamed hello to me in front of hundreds of people and said “Bristol has missed you!” Yep, waterworks began. I had a great time, and even got to see Liz Driscoll and hang out with her to show her my crazy Rennie life.
The Miscellaneous of the trip- I loved stepping on the grass in my Mom’s yard. It is so much softer, and I actually really missed the feel of it on my feet. The grass here is more like sticks with sand, nothing I would walk barefoot on. Not my yard anyways. Oh, it was hotter there than here. Yep, every day was pretty much 90 something, hitting over 100 this past Monday. I did get to go to my old church, and they sang “Revelation Song” which is my favorite!
So here is the funny thing about this trip, I actually learned something. I learned that life moves on there, whether I am there or not. The strong relationships and friendships I had while living there are still there, but they aren’t what they used to be. They are moving on with marriages and babies on the way, and that’s the way it should be. I can honestly say that my Mom is now “home” to me, and I am really ok with that. I had a great time with everyone, but sometimes I would feel a bit lost being there. Without Craig and the kids next to me, I almost felt like I shouldn’t be there because I wasn’t with them. I missed them dearly and have spent every minute with them since I have been home. Well, except for writing this.
So there you have it folks. Many fun times had, many lessons learned. I’m happy to be home.