Once again, I haven’t been present on here for a few weeks. I have, however, been present in all sorts of other places.
The last I wrote I had returned from 2 trips to Canada combining reunions and family celebrations. The travelling didn’t end there!
Soon after Canada trip #2, we were off to the airport to fly to Jackson, Wyoming for a medical conference for Alistair. Delta airlines had other plans, though, and our flight out was cancelled. I did a quick search, made a phone call or two and said, “Hey, Hon, its only about 6 hours, why don’t we just drive there?”
So we did!
We spent a few fun, sunny days in Wyoming that included a beautiful day in Grand Teton National Park.
We don’t consider ourselves “National Parkers” but if we had the time, we probably would be. We’re both nature lovers who enjoy learning about different areas and we both have a healthy respect for wildlife and wild lands. Its why we live at the base of a mountain in the middle of nowhere, Montana.
Wyoming and this park have its own splendor, for sure. There are towering peaks with sleek waterfalls cascading down them. There is that old homesteader’s cabin adjacent to a field full of horses. And there is the Snake River winding its way throughout the park.
We had a great lunch at the Jenny Lake Lodge which reminded us both of our more local Holland Lake Lodge in Montana that our friend, Christian owns. Both are older, historic settings off the beaten path and you kind of have to know they’re both there. And both are in the midst of beautiful scenery although I have to give a few bonus points to Christian’s lodge because of the impressive lake it sits on.
Jenny Lake Lodge isn’t right on the lake but the pull-outs for photo shoots isn’t very far away.
We enjoyed our time in the park as well as our time in Jackson with its hip restaurants and busy tourist scene. The tourists there were younger than the ones in Whistler the month prior and they tended to have move kids. The bike scene was huge and there was a lot of Kombucha being sold (did I spell that correctly?)
(And what’s with that anyways?)
We didn’t play golf at any area courses (gasp!) but then we had expected to fly there so we didn’t bring our clubs.
We did haul them with us the next week when we hit the road in 2 trucks to drive back to Bismarck. I try to get back there a few times a year for a variety of things, not to mention spending more time with Alistair.
Even though we drove in separate rigs we still talk a lot during the 10-plus-hour drive using walkie-talkies.
“Oversized semi coming at you, Hon.”
“What the Hell would you use tires that size for?”
“You can pass that Subaru over the next hill.”
Likely due to the wet, late spring this year, the sweet clover was just incredible. In the 13 years Alistair has done this drive along hwy 200 every 2 weeks, he has never seen this kind of takeover.
Or smelled it! It is, indeed, sweet and quite lovely. It also attracted a bazillion little butterflies which, sadly, aren’t very adept at avoiding windshields hurtling at them at 75 miles per hour.
I got to visit my stylist, Tiffany #1 while back in North Dakota along with my dentist and our other home golf course, Painted Woods.
The course came out of its winter hibernation better than our Seeley Lake home course and was in terrific condition. While a lot more people seem to be playing the course this season we still generally have all 18 holes to ourselves to lose balls, laugh our heads off, encourage each other to “take another shot, Hon,” make pars, make quadruple bogeys, three-putt and hunt for balls.
We also visited Morgan, Mike, the Hansens and the Hoggarths at Morgie’s wedding, which was one of the main reasons I went back to ND with Alistair. It was a lovely wedding at a unique new event place and Morgan looked as happy as she was gorgeous.
And I got to visit our horses!
Our numbers are down from the years but we still have 9 of the gang running around on their lush 40 acres. Katie, the lone remaining Thoroughbred broodmare is getting up there but she is looking pretty good. She and Zeus hang out and the 2 of them are mostly in charge but they all get along well and are a gorgeous bunch to hang out with.
And Frankie is still a kind goofball who is always one of the first to come up to me. Jessie, the sweet grey, lone Arabian on the farm is usually second.
I enjoy the smell of the horses and of the farm in general when I’m back there. I like being in our house where the memories of the kids going to high school or hanging out with their friends during the summers spent with us are ever-present. I like thinking about young Casey and young Loki playing together and picturing a worried UB perched on Daddy’s lap with Loki’s torn cornea thanks to the new cat, Jockey and Alistair’s busted pelvis and how we had 9 cats lining up for soft food every night. Oscar always ate first. Mulder second.
I love soaking in our hot tub there with a martini for him and a Caesar for me. I get a kick out of our side-by-side recliners we enjoy watching old Frasier episodes or whatever we’re into on Netlflix together at night.
I also enjoying having a coffee or a glass of wine with Deb or Wendy or Linda and Leanna but it just didn’t pan out this trip.
And I had to get back to Montana so I could drive another couple of hours up to Kalispell so I could show homes to folks from California I’ve been working with for a year. We power-showed several homes around the area and I’m so happy to say we have one under contract. Now, nothing is ever closed until its closed so you don’t do the happy dance until that moment but I am happy we found a place for them to dream about moving into.
I only spent one night there but it was still one more night I didn’t get to help Cleo up onto the bed or wake up spooning with Sport. I’m glad I was able to be there, though, and hopefully will see this transaction to the end in September.
But we weren’t done with the road trips.
Back in June my military brother booked a family flight out to Grand Forks, BC for his leave. We hadn’t seen my brother & his family since our first year in Montana when his youngest was barely walking and his oldest is going into second-year university so it was pretty important for us to get up there.
Its hard juggling our schedules with Alistair’s 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off set-up and both of us living in different states. We generally plan things a year in advance if we can (no joke!) due to these schedules as well as the pet/house-sitting that has to be planned. Our regular angel, Jessie1 wasn’t able to make it work when Alistair would be here and Danny and fam would be in BC but Jessie2 was able to step in a the last minute.
Complicating things just a tad was the fact one of Alistair’s partners dropped dead when I was back in Bismarck.
63 years old. No known health issues. He had just started working with Alistair and the 2 other doctors 8 months ago so we didn’t really know him super well but our sons played hockey together and his wife has been a fun supporter of my books.
So it was touch-and-go if both of the Fyfes were joining all of the Koftinoffs but we made it happen and everyone is so glad that we did. (You can clearly see why I never hyphenated my name when we got married….)
Danny’s oldest 2 boys remembered us (and the time Casey terrorized them by slamming Cody into the ground in his enthusiasm to meet them before chasing Ryan across the lawn and into the creek he didn’t know was there….)
(That whole thing could have been avoided if Danny had paid attention to my words, “Don’t open the door to the dog kennel until I get home.”)
I couldn’t tell you the last time the 3 siblings were in a photo together. No, really, I couldn’t. Probably when Dan and I were in high school and Diana was in elementary school.
The nieces and nephews all seemed to get along really well and it was fun taking Michelle and Alistair around Grand Forks together.
And then Alistair had to get back to Bismarck early because the 3 doctors are rotating around to keep the clinic open while they wait for a 4th doctor to join them this fall. It means our times apart will be longer and our time together will be shorter.
You might think after spending so much time together in the truck or in hotel rooms or on those side-by-side recliners or in our golf cart that we would be weary of one another but that isn’t the case.
We still have so many things to talk about during the day when we text or email or every night when we talk.
And it doesn’t get any easier when I watch him drive down the driveway or when I had to kiss him goodbye before I left Bismarck.
Even after 13 years of living in separate states.
I am busy when he isn’t with me in Montana- there are the ferrets to play with, the inside and outside kitties to take care of and cuddle, Cleo to help navigate the world as her canine cognitive dysfunction becomes very real, floor days to take at work, that transaction in Kalispell to stay on top of, the big house to maintain and my golf clubs to swing.
It has been all I could do to get a blog written but I made the time today.
I’m glad we have had the busy adventures we’ve had this summer so far but I’m also thankful to stay home for awhile now. Alistair won’t be back for almost 2 more weeks but that’s just how it has to be right now.
I got to revisit memories and people and laugh with my family and remind myself that while everything changes… everything… much of it stays the same.
And there is that one sudden reminder from when I was back in Bismarck that you just never know when its your time.
So drive to Wyoming when your flight isn’t taking off.
Grab a hotel room in Kalispell to help people fulfil their dreams.
Laugh at the Frasier lines you’ve watched so many times you say them faster than Niles or Daphne; give Frankie, Maggie, Jake or Jessie a scritch when they come to the fence to say hi; whip out a flex pose in front of the Grand Tetons; sit a little bit longer in the hot tub together; drive to Canada to make sure the family can all be together; go to a good friend’s wedding and share their special moments; laugh with the ferrets and play with them; take a moment with the barn kitties to sit in the sun if you can spare it and, damnit, drink the wine, smell the roses and sip the coffee.
I’m not trying to wax philosophical. I’m just suggesting you embrace time while you’re experiencing it.
As ridiculously busy as our summer has been and as much time as I’ve driven in my truck, I’m totally enjoying the ride.