Saturday, October 04, 2008

A Day in Decorah, Iowa

This weekend marks my second weekend of making the four and a half hour trek across the Midwest to visit my husband, Todd, in Decorah, Iowa. He is a visiting Associate Professor at Luther College which is located in Decorah. Hence, he lives there during the weeks and some weekends. Initially, I was making fun of going to "the middle of nowhere" for the weekend, thinking it was going to be a drag. However, I quickly discovered that it is the perfect getaway after a stressful week at work.

Decorah is a small town, but has lots of character and is progressive in nature. It boasts a great co-op and is actually mentioned in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for its "Seed Savers Exchange," which is a network for sharing heirloom seeds. In addition, it was founded by Norwegians, so it has a Nordic flavor to it from Norwegian flags on the architecturally interesting houses to a Viking mascot at the local high school.

A Saturday in Decorah starts by sleeping in and then staying in bed until Sophie starts barking at the neighbors' dog. We slowly roll out of bed (which is a close to the floor IKEA bed) and make our way into the kitchen for a bowl of Peanut Butter Bumpers (best cereal on earth). We lounge around for a bit, reading Runner's World, checking email, and waiting for Rebecka to wake up.

When everybody is dressed and fueled up, we head down to Luther College to work out at the gym. We work out for as long as we want, because we can. After a nice, long workout, we head back to the house for showers and grooming (Sophie got her grooming last night though and she was not pleased when I had to cut a mat off her tail). At this point, we're all starving, so we get in the car to find lunch.

Today, we ended up at a Chinese place with a fairly good buffet. Of course, buffets generally invite overeating, so I did a little bit of that, but not too badly. Regardless, it hit the spot. A few other "errands" included getting Luther sweaters for Rebecka and Todd (I got an Ecology Man key chain, because I already have a Luther hoodie - and it's the best!) at the Luther bookstore, practicing our songs for church tomorrow in the music building, and making some copies in Todd's building.

Time for custard! One of the best things about the Midwest is the custard. Since there is always a "Flavor of the Day," it never gets boring. We got a brownie variety at the local Culver's and sat down on a bench in downtown Decorah to enjoy. Once we finished, we made the obligatory stop at the co-op to pick up some delicious, locally baked bread (including Swedish Rye) for our evening meal.

We drove back to the house with our purchases and took a little reading/sleeping/internet break. Then it was time to introduce Sophie to Luther College. Todd and I took her for a long walk around campus while Rebecka parked under a tree with her book and a blanket. The weather was perfect. We walked slowly through the beautiful campus and watched with amusement Sophie's attempts to attack the campus squirrels. When we got tired of walking, we found a bench and played closing scene of Notting Hill. Except, instead of a book, I had a Bichon sitting on top of me. It was relaxing. I took deep breaths and enjoyed the calmness it brings. We talked about the future and our dream home (which is less than 2000 sq ft, btw).

Finally, it was time to go retrieve our little girl and head back home. On the way to find Rebecka, a vicious, unleashed dog appeared out of nowhere, barking and charging right toward Sophie. In a heroic gesture to save Sophie from the beast, Todd yanked on her nylon leash and scooped her up in his arms just in time. The evil pooch's owner called him back and we continued on our merry way... until Todd realized blood was dripping from his finger from the friction of the leash against his skin during the Sophie rescue. He went to find a sink with soap and paper towels and I went to find Rebecka. She looked like a mini college student with her new Luther jacket and my bumble bee sunglasses. We walked toward the building into which I had seen Todd disappear and met him halfway. He had a paper towel wrapped around his finger, but knew it wouldn't stop the bleeding (it was a pretty deep gash). So, we drove to the nearest gas station and got their last pack of bandages. Once we got home, Todd was able to get cleaned up and bandaged (on his own... Rebecka and I are both too squeamish to be helpful in these situations) and Sophie got to drink some water and plop down on the couch for a well-deserved nap.

The evening will end with a simple supper followed by hot chocolate and reading/TV watching/conversation until we get tired and roll back into bed for a good night's sleep.

Until Sophie starts barking again...

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