Wisconsin is for lovers. Lovers of cheese, scotch and fireworks mainly, but lovers of all kinds are welcome. Your money spends the same regardless, and our taxes are quite reasonable.
On Thursday morning, me and the Missus packed our bags and traveled 50 miles west of the Twin Cities to Annandale, Minnesota. The five hour drive is a wonderful trip through the scenic and lush countryside of western and northwestern Wisconsin. If you’ve never had the opportunity to do so, I suggest you devote a weekend to it sometime before you die. Unless, of course, you plan on dying soon. Then, you may want to consider spending your final precious hours in other ways. I recommend bowling or having your pet spayed.
If you remember from back in the day, me and the Missus got married at the very same Bed & Breakfast we were headed back to. It was the first time since the wedding that we got to spend some time there, and it was really quite overdue. We had reservations for Thursday and Friday nights, along with a 1-hour psychic reading on Thursday evening. Not to mention, this all came with the promise of some of the best food I have ever eaten. The woman who runs the place is a gourmet chef (along with being a psychic, seamstress, ghost hunter and caretaker), and she has yet to make something for me that wasn’t amazing. I always forget to take pictures of my food, as I’m usually too busy sneaking large handfuls of it into the Missus’ purse.
We showed up and unloaded in ‘The Renaissance Room,’ which according to the summary on the page, contains:
A queen-sized bed, electric fireplace, an old-fashioned claw-footed soaking tub with shower and a pull-chain commode. This room can be busy with ghostly activity, however, if you choose not to have visitors, tell them and they respect that.
Our psychic reading wasn’t until 8pm, so we headed out into downtown Annandale for some dinner. We found a nice place on the river that made a mean Alfredo and a strong daiquiri, so we were pretty much set for the night. We got back to the B&B just in time to watch American Idol, and eventually settled down for our reading.
This was the second time we got a reading here (the first was a year before we were married), and this one was decidedly more positive. This makes sense, because around the time of the first reading, we were in a rather negative place. Weather or not psychics exist or are the real deal doesn’t mean that much to me, because this person in particular is incredibly logical and intuitive, and you’d probably learn something about yourself no matter what. For example, turns out I like socks a whole lot. Who knew?
Consider the following, however.
Me and the Missus have been talking almost every day about buying a house. Essentially, we’ve been going on about the logistics, finances and reality of owning a home by this summer. This has been the main topic of conversation between the two of us as of late, although we made no mention of it in the B&B. Our desire to move out of our apartment grows more urgent with every sleepless night spent listening to the neighbors canoodling like junkyard rabbits.
Before the reading, Sharon (the reader) will ask you to write down three questions each that you would like answered at some point during the reading. Me and the Missus wrote these questions down during dinner on the lake, stuck them in our pockets and didn’t even mention them to each other beforehand. My number one question was if she could foresee us moving in the near future.
So, fast-forward to the reading. Me and the Missus gather into her office, and before we even sat down, she looked at me and said, “Thinking about buying a house, aren’t you?“
Instead of instantly walking out like I wanted to, I slowly nodded and became damp in the pant area.
“It’s coming up real quick for you, probably this summer.”
Now, speaking logically and skeptically, it would make sense for her to think that we were looking to buy a home, considering that we have been married for almost two years and whatnot. However, it’s still quite the impressive feat. Take from that what you will. As I said, the readings went quite well. What did we talk about? Not telling. Afterwards, we played a game of Scrabble (I owned the Missus) and went to bed.
A quick word on ghosts. This place is haunted. Really, truly haunted. The B&B has been featured in many books and TV shows concerning haunted places, which is why we found out about it in the first place. Most of the guests of our wedding claimed that one thing or another had happened to them during their stay. Some of these things I experienced firsthand, otherwise I wouldn’t have believed them at all. The B&B is a renovated railway motel, and it’s simply crawling with energy and overwhelming creepiness. Just off of the tracks, the trains blare through the town about every hour throughout the night, springing you out of bed and casting shadows across the walls. That all being said, it’s pretty much the neatest place I could recommend to you, and the beds are nice and comfortable to stay up all night in, scared to death of closing your eyes for fear of being eaten.
The trick with the ghosts is that you have to invite them into your room if you want havoc to ensue. If you prefer not to poop the bed, it’s best to let them know that you want them to stay out. Even though I’m a skeptic until I’m proven otherwise, I made it a point to properly exorcise my room before going to sleep. Neither of us experienced anything odd during this most recent stay, which was great, but kind of a bummer at the same time. Nonetheless, I brought a few spare pairs of pants and boxers just to stay on the safe side.
This is Sadie, one of the two cats that live at the B&B. You’ll notice that she’s on our bed, where she stayed for the duration of our stay. She rules like that. She’s also a good 25 pounds.
At 9am sharp, we were showered and sharply-dressed, because you do not want to miss breakfast here. As we happened to be the only ones in the building on Friday morning, we had the entire dining area to ourselves for the most important meal of the day. On the menu was French toast with assorted fruits, lemon muffins and hand-dipped chocolate strawberries. It completely and totally kicked my ass. It’s one of those meals where you almost don’t want to eat anything for fear of messing up the expertly-designed creation. Then, once you start eating, you cannot stop until everything has been digested. It’s a love/hate relationship; much like the one I have with Ryan Seacrest.
With our stomachs bursting with food and drink, we headed east to the Mall of America in Bloomington. We had money to spend and an entire day to spend it. I also had my Mom’s Express charge card burning a hole in my pocket. She gave it to me as a small gift for the vacation, and I honestly felt like a dirty trust fund baby charging things to it, but she rules for letting me do so. Besides, I bought some sexy clothes, so everyone wins. Thanks.
Here then, is the day in pictures. I appear in most of them, and for that, I apologize.
The Apple Store didn’t have anything I could bring myself to buy; even a holder for my Shuffle was $35. It did, however, rekindle my interest in purchasing a laptop for writing on the fly. Maybe I’ll get one for Christmas. Hell, if they would have sold laptops at Express, I could have just charged it to my Mom.
At Macy’s, I found a wool Calvin Klein sweater marked down from $80 to $30. I couldn’t afford not to buy it! As a side note, they don’t have sales tax on clothing, so $30 means $30, and that’s good news. I’d gladly pay sales tax in their state, though, if it meant that the endless construction would end. Wisconsin taxes are through the damn roof, but at least our roads are nice. The next time you get stuck in a traffic jam in Wisconsin, let me know and I’ll send you a CDP t-shirt and a billion dollars, cuz’ it ain’t happening.
Why are all the mannequins at stores headless nowadays? Is this how the retailers see consumers now? Nameless, faceless torsos? Beats me, but I bought one of everything.
Honestly now, what does this even represent? A stock boy not doing his job, that’s what. In truth, I bought nothing at the Gap, because their pants suck and they never have anything nice in a small but t-shirts that I already own. They need an original idea, or at least do better at the one they’ve been milking all this time. I can’t believe how gay I sound right now.
The Missus disappeared in Sephora for a while, dragging her forearm across the shelves and catching everything that fell into her shopping bag. While she was satisfying her cosmetic needs, I was filling up on truffles at the Lindt store and trying not to look suspicious.
40 truffles for $10? Are you kidding me? I’ll take the entire south wall, and giftwrap it, please.
A Truffe store to me is much like what a porn store is to most other men. I walk around, looking shady and amazed at the new products and arrivals. “Wow, they’ve got them in Peanut Butter now? Can they do that?”
Not finished with my Japanese candy fix just yet, I had to stop at Suncoast to grab some Pocky for the road.
When you’re eating the best candy in Japan, you’re eating the best candy in the world. Pick up some Pocky today. I was not paid to say that, but it would have been a lot cooler if I was. I ate a box of them just writing this last paragraph.
As if I wasn’t splurging enough today, I decided to do something very kind for myself and pick up a new watch. The one I’ve been wearing for the past year and a half has treated me well, but my left wrist was in the mood for a change in style. Besides, I bought my right wrist a DVD player for Christmas, and I didn’t want them thinking I played favorites. The Fossil store had just what I wanted. Check it ‘oot:
Diamonds and steel, baby. It’s as close to being a pimp as I can get without the Missus making fun of me. I quietly put the giant belt buckle, ‘crunk ice tray’ and ‘Thug Life’ medallion back on the shelf, and stopped pressing my luck.
Finally, I reached Express and put the charge card to good use, picking out a nice outfit for those special occasions with my Mistress that the Missus doesn’t know about, but eventually will run into at a socially crippling time, like a funeral or hospital visit.
Such a funny sentence.
I got a new pair of ‘producer pants,’ a new tie, belt and dress shirt. What do you think?
That’s right, you just became slightly more sexually attracted to me than you were when you saw me in the Gap store photo. I dig it, and I won’t hold it against you in the future. Also, it may not show up well on the photo, but what I’m wearing isn’t just all black and monochrome. You’d have to ask the Missus for material and design details, but she assures me that it looks good, so into the bag it went.
The total for the outfit? $220. Thanks, Mom. I won’t even bother coming home for Christmas.
Before we left the mall, we stopped at Tucci Benucch for the finest Italian cuisine you could get within 15 feet of Camp Snoopy. It was quite good, but I was actually still stuffed from breakfast, so most of my Spinach-Garlic Gnocchi ended up in the trash. Not cool, but still very tasty and memorable. Where else can you get a complimentary appetizer from the chef while watching someone cut up the Dance Dance Revolution machine?
We got back to the B&B, and I instantly called my Mom to apologize before she checked her statement online. We then played another game of Scrabble (the Missus destroyed me) and went to bed. It’s amazing how good you can sleep when there aren’t neighbors invading your every waking second. I was already thinking about how much I didn’t want to go back home to them.
Once again, we were awake and ready to go by 9am, as breakfast wouldn’t wait for mere mortals like us. On the menu today was a quiche with assorted fruits in a yogurt sauce, complete with cajun spices and hand-dipped chocolate strawberries. Darn, that’s all?
Shortly after breakfast, we loaded up the car, thanked Sharon profusely and headed back home to Wisconsin. We wanted to get back home before night, so we would have time to put everything away and clean the house up in preparation of a Sunday spent doing nothing.
Was that a run-on? I never know.
The five hour drive back home was peaceful and quiet. We chatted about the good time we had, listened to a few albums and made a point to stop in every backwoods rest stop on the Interstate for some reason. I set the cruise at 80, and we were home in record time.
It’s good to be back. What did you do while I was away? Sound off in the comments section.