Last fall, the husband and I planned a trip to North Dakota to see the boy and for me, it would be the first time that I would see his apartment and his car. These things are a part of his life and I wanted to see how his life was going. We canceled that trip at the last minute and we were all disappointed but it was for a great reason. We rescheduled for last weekend and I wasn’t going to let anything stop us from going up there, not the fact that I had to be back promptly on Monday for the start of a Culinary School class nor the fact that the husband had a serious stomach flu.
Nothing was stopping us. Since we usually hop a ride to go up there, we spent some time trying to find a flight into Grand Forks that would guarantee us a seat. As it turns out – there were none. We ended up investing in airline tickets at the last minute and flew up there in an overbooked airplane. I’m not sure how an airline can overbook a flight then ask people to take vouchers to get off the flight – it’s a mystery.
We weren’t giving up our seats by the way.
I love the Grand Forks airport. It’s small, cozy, clean and it’s starting to feel like home.
The boy picked us up and drove us by a buffalo farm on the way to his apartment. I was excited! I’ve never seen a buffalo farm before! Please reserve judgement on my enthusiasm.
We purchased a car last year for the boy to drive at school and I heard all about it but had not seen it. It’s a small Camry and I worried about a little car in the snow. I didn’t have to worry – it performs like a champ. Those folks in North Dakota really know how to handle the white stuff.
The other surprise was the boy’s apartment. Four young guys living together is a recipe for a smelly disaster and I told myself before we got there to not be critical. I was pleased with the spaciousness of the apartment – much nicer than any place that I lived while I was in college. It was also really clean. The boy gave me a tour and I was truly happy to see their space.
I don’t know where they got their furniture but from what I gather, it was almost all free, I don’t remember giving the boy any money for it. He said they rummaged for it in the paper and through word of mouth. They’re resourceful I tell ya. We did however, buy them the tv for the common area. It was our contribution to the furnishing.
Remember the canvases I purchased from Hello Canvas? Well, they’re on the wall and they look absolutely fantastic.
They had these plates hanging on their wall with inspirational scriptures. This was a really wonderful surprise!
This is their kitchen and my question is this – why do guys like to decorate with beer bottles? This is the typical college scene. BTW, everyone who lives there is 21 with the exception of the boy. We did not ask any questions.
And now to my photos from my phone. When I walked into the apartment, I found their shoes all on this mat – I felt like I was in Japan again.
And there was this – a white board of chores to be shared between the guys. The dates are behind a couple of days but now I know why they don’t have disagreements on bills or chores. It makes so much sense.
And there’s this on the dishwasher. I just love it.
After we took a tour of the apartment, we went shopping for all of the essentials. There are bananas and grapes behind the ramen. Really.
The other great things about being up there? Meeting some of his new friends! This is Jim who told us he likes to stop by often to hang out. We gave him a Ducks Hockey shirt that Neighbor Doug sent and he was so happy. He kept saying, “Are you sure? Are you sure?” It was really cute. I think he’s a Ducks fan now!
We planned on going to the UND hockey game but there was some kind of mix up with the tickets and I gave mine to the boy so he could go with his dad and his friends. They felt badly that I had to be left behind but you know what? It was alright with me. We got out of bed at 3:15 that morning to fly up there and truth be known, I was tired. I stayed at the apartment and cooked them buffalo chicken mac and cheese and I think they were all pretty happy I stayed behind too!
After the game everyone came back to the apartment and it was a party! I loved it. I got to hug Roommates Kyle and John, meet Kyle’s new girlfriend, hug the other Kyle’s parents and meet the girls who live upstairs.
There was dancing (I think that’s what they were doing.)
And sage advice from the parents.
There was adult supervision – no worries.
The best thing about being there was this. It was the first time I’ve seen Roommate John’s mom, Diane, since his father, Tom, passed away last June. Roommate John and the boy have been friends and roommates since freshman year and we have grown to love his parents. When Tom passed away we worried about how his family and John, in particular, would continue to move on. Roommate John’s brothers joined Diane that weekend and it was wonderful to meet them. They are just like their parents. God makes wonderful, strong people and then he brings them into the boy’s life. They are our family now too! We missed Tom very much that weekend.
Here are the boys.
And the girls.
And here is everyone! I have a “real” posed photo but this one is funnier.
Some of the other things we did last weekend? We chilled . . .
…attended the hockey game – well, everyone but me. When they all came back to the apartment after the game, they found me watching House of Cards and drinking a glass of wine. Here the boy’s other friend Kyle is showing me a video of him doing the goalie race at the game. Kyle was the goalie on his high school hockey team and is a fantastic athlete – and he won the goalie race during intermission. It was apparently a hoot!
…skated outside in the very cold weather. The boys played a game of pick up hockey while I gingerly made my way around the pond on skates. I’ve never skated before (or can’t remember if I did) but I did alright. The only times I fell was when I was just standing and watching. Falling hurts by the way.
…we flew in the simulators. I almost threw up and it wasn’t even real! I swear I have the weakest stomach of anyone I know.
…we went to eat at a little known “secret” diner where all the hockey players go to eat. It was clean, and really small but had good food.
I love this boy – seriously love him.
I was sad to leave. It felt like I was only there two days – oh wait – it really was only two days.
This train held us up from getting to the airport but that was only the beginning of delays on the trip home. Our airplane taxied back to the gate twice for maintenance issues (I’d rather have it fixed than not) and when we finally landed in Baltimore well over 12 hours later, we found the entire city of Baltimore covered in an inch of ice.
Someone left their sodas out in the cold and the cans were stuck to the pavement. This was what the parking lot looked like.
The next day all the schools, government agencies, and even non-profits were closed. I was relieved to have a day to recuperate from the trip. The husband in the meantime had to recuperate from his stomach flu. Yes, he’s a trooper.
I think the boy is doing alright overall. I can’t tell you how much pride I have for all the boys. They’re making their way, studying hard, and having fun doing life. I can’t ask for anything more. I look forward to going back.