To the jenth power ...

I read the books. I watched the show. I unflinchingly wore a sunbonnet to second grade. What started as a childhood obsession has developed into .. well, an adult obsession. I'm going to visit some of the sites depicted in the Little House series of books. Go west, (not-so-) young woman, indeed.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Hey! Get a room, already. Sheesh.

Hotel room in Walnut Grove vicinity? Booked
Hotel for two nights in DeSmet? Booked
Reservation to camp in a "Covered Wagon" on the Ingalls Homestead? Pending.
A cheesy mix of Prairie and Queen? Priceless.

(Bohemian Rhapsody)

Is this the real life?
Is it just fantasy?
Full steam ahead
For my trip out to the prairie
Traveling west
Doing my best to see -
I'm just a spinster
A spinster who's read the books:
Little House, Little Town
(Got the whole series down)
Now I want to see it,
Now it's time for a look-see

First off, I tried DeSmet
What an easy-peasy day -
Lots of places I could stay
But trouble came with Walnut Grove
Any hotels were a little drive away
Tracy (oooooh - Tracy, Minnesota)
Seven miles to the west
It seemed to be the best that I could do
So I called, and I booked
For Tracy, Minnesota

My last move?
The Homestead spot
I've called there several times, but the phone just rings a lot
Dammit! I'm kind of getting scared
That they might have filled their July 13th slot
Homestead? (oooooh - please answer the phone, guys)
A "covered wagon" stay
Might be the most important part of all ....

(guitar solo)

I booked a little internet hotel room
In DeSmet! In DeSmet!
On the South Dakota prairie
Booked it quick as lightning,
The way I got my flight - online!

Minnesota, Minnesota,
Minnesota, Minnesota,
Minnesota ...Walnut Gro-oh-oh-ove
It's just a small town, tiny, I assume -
It's just a small town, without a hotel room!
Got out a map, then I Googled, and - boom!

Found a place to rest my head, now for the Homestead -
It just rings - No! They won't answer the phone! (Get the phone!)
Goddammit, No! They won't answer the phone! (Get the phone!)
Goddammit, No! They won't answer the phone! (Get the phone!)
No, no, no, no, no, no, no -
They won't answer, they won't answer, they won't answer the damn phone
It's evident there's no Little Answering Machine!
On the!

So you think you can be a "covered wagon" tease?
So you think you can answer the phone as you please?
Oh, Homestead - can't do this to me, Homestead
Just gotta' reserve, I just wanna' reserve that camp site

My plans are almost wrapped up -
Anyone can see ....
Despite this blog commotion
The wheels are all in motion -
Counting down the days, now ......

Days until trip: 163
Money saved: $350.00

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Jenny's Got A Gun (Or the Cash Value Thereof)

Well, I did it! I booked my flight and reserved my rental car. I'm really going!

You may ask how I was able to accomplish this in one fell swoop (or even one swell foop), especially considering the recent holidays and my shamefully small savings account. Well, it's all possible because of two things: the tonsils that ate Cincinnati and ... well, a gun.

I'd bought some of those raffle tickets where you win if one of your ticket numbers matches the Pennsylvania Lottery numbers within a given month. Frankly, such things are tantamount to donations for me, since I never, ever win anything. Anyway, I only bothered to check the numbers in the first week of January. And it certainly wasn't a fevered, excited checking. It was more like a ho-hum-I've-already-checked-my-usual-sites-and-nothing's-shaking kind of internet check. Imagine my surprise when the nightly drawing number for December 17 matched my ticket! My prize? A rifle, and quite a nice one from what I gather. I did, however, have the option to receive my award in the form of cash.

Oddly enough, the cash value of the rifle was within ten dollars of the cost of a round-trip plane ticket from Avoca, Pennsylvania to Minneapolis.

So, of course, I opted for the gun.

Okay. I kid. I chose the cash prize, deposited it pronto into my checking account, obsessively checked the account until it cleared, and reserved my flight the moment that it did.

And the tonsils? What a pleasure they were. I apparently contracted Dengue fever (or a reasonable facsimile) in the middle of December. By December 19th or so, I was running a high fever, had glands so swollen that my hearing was shot, and my immediate environs had begun to look, to me at least, like the nifty psychedelic backdrop from a Grateful Dead show. Good times. I took a day off to rest up, but the illness only seemed to get progressively worse.

Somehow, in a fever-induced haze, I decided that the only sensible thing to do was get out there and get my Christmas shopping done. I figured that I'd either be comatose or dead by the big day, so I might as well leave my loved ones with some carefully-chosen trinkets to remember me by. Unfortunately, The Clapper was hard to come by this year, so everybody got lesser mementos. But get that shopping done, I did.

The upside of my infirmity was that I had finished my elven duties before I got my Christmas bonus at work. To be honest, I'd forgotten all about the bounty of Christmas bonuses, so ill was I. The result was that I was able to stash the money in my checking account, to spend as selfishly as I pleased.

Some of that money went to buy a to-die-for pair of heeled suede boots. And some of it paid for my car rental.

So, friends, the wheels are in motion. I'm really, really doing this! I mean, I knew I was, but now it's actually happening. I think I may spend this week (and the remainder of my bonus plus other residual cash in my checking account) on hotel reservations. As crazy as it sounds, I think I may have this trip bought and paid for by Valentine's Day. Then I'll concentrate on stashing spending money in my checking account.

A gun and a set of swollen glands. Huh. Who knew?

Days until trip: 171
Amount Saved: $335.00