The chronicles and ramblings of a stay-at-home father raising his three beautiful girls, Anya Rose, Caitlin Rose and Reegan Rose.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Another whirlwind week for the Schmidt clan.  Last week the family made our third trip back home to Minnesota.  Alicia had to fly out early to attend a work meeting on August 29th and the girls and I joined the party on Saturday morning, September 1st.  For Labor Day weekend, we headed up to the farm to spend some quality time with the in-laws.

Heading up to the farm is always an adventure.  On Tuesday morning, Anya and I joined Grandpa Jerry to take a cow to the butcher.  The meat freezer was getting low and that meant it was time for a poor milker to turn into hamburger.  We loaded up the cow and drove into Melrose to the drop her off.  I was expecting a big commercial operation where all the gore of the process took place behind closed doors.  When we heard the sound of a gunshot from inside the steel door, I began getting nervous that whatever was going on wasn't something my 5 year old would enjoy.  The butcher opened the door and greeted us with a 12 inch knife in his blood soaked hand.  

With big eyes, Anya leaned over to me and asked, "Dad, do you think we should tell him he has blood on his shirt?" I told her that he probably realized that since he had about a half gallon of the thick red liquid dripping down his arm onto the ground.  While Grandpa made farm talk with the foreman, the other guy in the room started propping up the freshly killed steer onto a hydraulic lift.  Once the beast was a couple feet off the ground, he slit the animals throat and emptied at its blood into a 5 gallon bucket.  Turning to Anya, I was expecting the worst.  My stomach was a bit queasy and I could only imagine the nightmares this scene could give to a 5 year old.  To my surprise, Anya was smiling.  With a smile of excitement on her face, she turned to me and laughingly said, "Did you see that!!!"  The oohs and ahhhs continued as they finished removing the cattle's innards into a 55-gallon barrel.  As one butcher removed the cow's hide, Grandpa unloaded our cow into the shoot.  Grandpa said his good-byes and Anya pleaded with us to stay and watch one more.  That child is going to grow up to be a serial killer or a surgeon.  I'm encouraging her to pursue the latter.

It was great seeing all the in-laws at the farm.  We were able to see all of Alicia's brothers and sisters in our short stay and were reminded of what an awesome family she has. Leaving the farm was bittersweet as we still had 4 days down with Papa and Nana and all my siblings were in town for my baby sister's wedding.  

Four families converged at my parents new home in Minnetonka, MN.  My sister Kari and her baby, Ellie, Katie and Dan and their kids Jack and Gracie, and Kelley and Nick with their youngest Micah, crammed into the 3 bedroom house for three days of celebration.  Having just moved in 8 days prior to the festivities, my parents were at a stress level hovering somewhere between a panic attack and a complete nervous breakdown (adding 7 kids under the age of 6 always helps the situation). 

Most of the the girls frantically put together the finishing touches on Kari's wedding while the rest of us tried to keep the kids in line.  It was awesome seeing everyone together.  With my family spread across the US, it doesn't often work out that we get so much time together.  

On Friday night we went to Lord Fletchers for the Groom's Dinner.  Jeff's parents put together a lovely evening of delicious food, plentiful spirits, and late-night drunken volleyball.  Somewhere between the sand volleyball court and the hotel I ended up at, my phone somehow fell out of my pocket.  My brand new $300 smart phone.  Where the hell was it?  I was pissed.  The morning of the wedding I woke up hungover and phone-less.  In desperation I called my number.  Nothing.  A few hours later I tried again.  Nothing.  Finally around 4:00pm, a hour before the ceremony, I called one last time.  "Hello?" A middle eastern man answered.  The cabbie from the night before found my phone in his back seat.  Not only was I lucky enough to find it, the guy offered to deliver it to Bay View.  There are still good people in the world!

With my luck finally turning around, I was able to enjoy Kari and Jeff's amazing celebration.  We took a 4 hour boat ride around Lake Minnetonka with all our family and friends.  We partied until just after midnight and decided to call it a night.  We hailed a cab and went back to my parents house for our last night in town. We paid for the cab and reminisced about the wonderful evening we had just had when I reached into my pocket to discover my elusive phone once again missing.  Knowing that I must have left it in the cab, I turned around and sprinted after the taxi.  Even my sub 10-second, 100 meter-dash-speed couldn't catch up to the lead-footed driver.  Two nights, two lost phones in taxis.  While my family laughed at the absurdity of my situation, I could do nothing but go to bed (well, actually Alicia and I did do something, but it had nothing to do with finding my phone ;).  

The next morning we woke up bright and early to catch our 11:00am flight back home to Washington.  Saddened by the loss of my newly found cell phone and having to leave the people I love, it made for a long flight home.  We loved seeing everybody and can't wait for our next trip back home.

And in case you were wondering, lightning did strike twice.  The cab driver got in touch with Alicia and dropped off the phone with my parents.  It is currently back in my possession and has no intention of ever riding in a cab again.  Ever.

Tip of the Day - Never underestimate the kindness of strangers.