We had a lovely break, not necessarily restful in a physical sense, but definitely in a mental one. We worked at the clinic the first two weeks and figured on my going up to SK alone on New Years Day since heather still hadn’t received her travel document allowing movement between the US and Canada. I decided at the last minute to delay my trip till after our appointment for heather’s permanent residence status on the fifth of January in the hopes that the paperwork would even yet come. It was kind of amazing how things worked out… if one more thing could have gone wrong on the way to Bloomington MN… First Andrew spent the better part of the morning getting my left tail light to work properly… seems there was a frayed wire or something. Then while getting ready to go we realized that we’d misplaced a check for $300! We searched through the truck and my parent’s house… to no avail. Then we drove 45 minutes out of our way to go back to the farm where we had been staying to see if we’d left it there by accident… still nothing. On the way out I almost got the truck stuck in the 4-5 foot deep drift that was blocking the drive way… yes. (as a side note, the people who had given us the money said that they’d just cancel the check and send us another one… oh well :^) ). Finally we were on our way, we stopped in Park River to refuel… and I realized the other tail light had quit. By now it was almost 4pm and it was just getting dark… and I certainly didn’t have any desire to have any close encounters with the highway patrol that evening. So I went into the gas station to see about borrowing a screwdriver appropriate for the job (it’s some sort of star bit nonsense- purely used to infuriate owners, I’m sure of it). No such luck… but he would sell me a screw driver with four different sizes of bit… bless his heart. $16.95 and two frozen hands later (it was about 25 below with lots of wind), I had the cover off and found that the bulb was burnt out. So back into the store I trudged… purchased the correct bulb… back out to the truck… and finally we were on our way at about quarter to five. We finally got to Bloomington (part of metro Saint Paul) and located our hotel, and decided to find something to eat. So out we went driving… there was nothing around the general vicinity, so we searched for the better part of a half hour, finally finding an old rather trashy looking perkins. In we went… it was about 11:30- they closed at midnight… and were greeted by a strange woman in a tight red sweater with an 80’s style huge collar and something resembling a black slip… "Ha… lost my bet tonight I guess" she said… as we stood with mouths agape staring with eyes blood shot from hours of scrutinizing the windshield... It was the evening manager... and it was just her and the cook on duty. It seems that they had made a wager that they would have no more than one table per hour… I guess we were her second. If that weren’t strange enough, after we had been seated she sat right down across from us and began to talk… and talk… and talk… and talk…. "can you believe this ****** snow?!!!... I live in blablabla and have to drive almost 45 minutes every single day".... "I was never involved in politics until I moved here and they let a level three sex offender out on the streets.... Can you IMAGINE????... and this new city wide smoking ban... tsk tsk tsk…. I can’t believe it... I smoke… hey, it’s my only bad habit- I don’t drink (heavily), I raise good kids… my grandfather smoked till the day he died at 95…...we’ve lost sooo much business here… why… where do you think the AA group used to meet? I’ll tell you... HERE.... Now they can’t smoke anywhere except in bars... do you think they should be in Bars? Of course not... "and on and on she talked... we had to interrupt her to place our order... and she was still talking as we left...
The next morning we headed on over to our appointment and after passing inspection and the metal detector were sent up to a little office where an Asian woman peeked warily out at us from behind a big sliding reinforced window... we slipped her our letter that had summoned us and shaclick… the door unlocked and we were ushered into a large windowless room with a number of... non Americans. The only link to the outside in the place was a large TV blaring president bush giving a speech on CNN. Feeling slightly nervous we sound some open seats and began to wait... till a young woman came out and whispered hoarsly... Heather Stegman? We went with her and I was trying to be pleasant... whispering as well, thinking that we were to maintain some sort of revered silence... till she apologized for her voice and said that she’d had laryngitis for several days and was the only one in the office not home on sick leave. Anyway… she pulled out our application and suddenly looked up... "are you really from Cavalier?"...I gulped... "um yes..." I replied. She started laughing... apparently she had grown up near Saint Thomas, a town only about twenty miles away from where I grew up… and she had worked under my friend Pat (who is the supervisor at the Pembina crossing and told us how to do this whole immigration thing) and knew him well... and the long and the short of it is that she basically just reviewed the information in the application for accuracy and said (or whispered)..."I can approve this right now"... and she did, and gave heather a temporary proof of permanent residence so that we could cross the border. We left from Bloomington- and after stopping at my parents place to pick up Tia, we were off to SK. We arrived there about 5:00 in the morning :^S. We spent two days with our family up there, I had some work to do on the cows, and heather got in lots of visiting time with her mum, so it all worked out wonderfully.
Soooo... we're back at the books... busy as ever, and just generally loving life. We'll see if I can get this thing updated more often... heh heh heh.
~Ben and Heather