It was a memorable week. Not only was I ending it in The Black Hills with Connie but there was some kitty drama.
Tuesday was the first run of monthly reports in fiscal year 16 and it wasn’t going well. I’d identified some problems and the tables had to be rebuilt by the programmers twice so by noon, when I’m usually nearly done, I had just started over. When Nora called just after noon, I picked up my pad and pen thinking she was giving me something to do. Nope, it was a cat problem.
Judy, a friend of Cheryl’s who works at a new UNL department at Airpark (outskirts of Lincoln’s airport) had driven from there to East Campus thinking she could hear something but not sure. After the van sat at East Campus all morning she then drove to our building, when she was sure she heard a cat. She opened the hood and a kitten jumped from under her hood and into the engine compartment of the car parked next to her. That’s when I got called in.
I went down to the parking lot and could hear the kitten but the whole front end was sealed up so I couldn’t see anything. The car had a temporary hang tag so after calling Parking to get whose it was then the department to find out who they gave it to, I got on the phone with a new faculty member from Turkey. I had to ask him to come to the lot with his keys. I had already put bits of stinky food under his car to no avail and now the kitten was making lots of noise. We opened the hood but couldn’t see the kitten then he moved his car and the kitten moved towards the back. When nothing worked, we drove to my mechanics and they put it up on a lift, unbolted some enormous car part in the center of the car to get better access and pulled out the cutest long haired calico kitten you ever saw from where it was hiding on top of the gas tank. It looked unscathed from its adventures but I took it to the vet for a checkup to be sure.
My mechanics didn’t charge me anything so I donated $20 towards beer. They were all a hoot – 4 big tattooed mechanics tearing the car apart to find the kitten. Anyway, from there I took the kitten across town to the vet. All this took 2.5 hours out of the middle of my day. Not good but at least the kitten was OK and I was back to deans’ reports. I worked late trying to finish my reports but found another issue so failed. I did weed for an hour when I got home though so skipping swimming wasn’t a total bust. All in all, it was a good day’s work though, in every way. Did I mention that she was gorgeous? I will NOT adopt her. NOOOOO!
I went home Wednesday and mowed since I hadn’t on the weekend and would be gone for the upcoming weekend. What is it about traveling that makes me get so much done? Anyway, after swimming on Thursday I went home to do laundry and pack. I also baked a batch of lemon chocolate chip cookies to take on the road. I left for work Friday with everything ready to go. I drove to Amanda’s at noon and after a bit of a wait, we were on the road. I sat in the backseat with Elsa (Amanda’s 5 year old) and so didn’t get as much knitting done as I’d hoped but Elsa’s a joy and we had fun. I got to the hotel in Hot Sprints at 9:15 after 9 hours on the road. It was great to see Connie and we both slept like rocks.
We were up so early that there was no one at the desk to take our key so we went down the street for a wonderful breakfast (cheddar bacon toast with my bacon and eggs plus a piece of pecan pie bread pudding to go – yum!), went back to drop our key then headed north. I saw that we’d be near Sylvan Lake, which is Nora’s favorite place in The Black Hills, so we stopped there first. The walk around the lake was just over a mile so despite not being dressed for it, we headed off. I wasn’t 50 yards from the beginning when a piece of glass got imbedded in my toe (Birkenstocks are not the best shoes for hiking) but I was able to feel it through the ridiculous amount of blood and pull it out. Once the bleeding stopped, we finished the walk, which was lovely. From there we went to Hill City, where we shopped along the main drag. I found lots of fun stuff – stocking stuffers, a cool pin made from the handle of a vintage knife and even a shirt for work. Rapid City was next up. We got pedicures at the mall, found more clothes at JCPenney then got ribs at Texas Roadhouse, which was our regular thing when we did Omaha runs before Connie moved north. From there we headed home to Spearfish and hung out at Connie's before heading to the local Irish pub for a Guinness on the back patio. A friend of Connie's was playing but we never went inside so barely heard him, which was fine. It was nice and cool outside and was a relaxing end to the day.
Sunday was our day to head up the canyon. It was quite chilly when we woke up, the weather having changed overnight. We had a nice breakfast at home and I knitted on the patio while Connie visiting with a friend who came to pick up Gordy's lawnmower. We left for Rough Lock Falls late morning but between the barely above freezing water and the chilly air, we only stayed 5 minutes but managed to get our feet in the water 3 times for 5 seconds at a time. The water is breathtakingly cold, that's all you can manage. Wading - check. From there we went to Lead to see the visitors' center Connie helped create. It was absolutely wonderful and I could see why Connie was so proud of it. I found a few more stocking stuffers at the gift shop and off we went to Chubbies. Yay! I bought lots of truffles - enough to fill the punch card and get 4 more free. Yum. But that was all that was on our list so we were done and it was only 12:30. So many possiblities!
We grabbed a sandwich in Deadwood then headed to Wal-Mart for supplies. With so much free time, we decided to go home and get busy. We started with hanging Connie's new shelf over the dining room table, which lead to moving some artwork and then progressed to rearranging the living room furniture. When all that was done, we repotted some African violets then harvested veggies from the garden. What a fun and productive afternoon! Then I introduced Connie to Saturday snack supper but on Sunday. We made caprese salad with tomatoes from the garden and had it with shrimp cocktail. And Guinness, of course. It wouldn't be snack supper without it. We settled in for an evening of Sherlock. I packed before bed because we'd be leaving at 8:00 to meet Amanda at 10:00. It was a quick trip but so worth it. No amount of talking or emailing beats face time. I miss that with Connie but at least she's only a state away. A big state but still.