Groundhog Day


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At some point, coming or going, where a trip to Iowa is concerned, Minneapolis looms large and essentially unavoidable. A metropolitan area that all but defines the term “urban sprawl”, we found ourselves once again attempting to circumnavigate it with as much expediency as possible on our return trip to Canada last week.

Coming up I-35 and entering the interstate labyrinth from the southern edge, it can easily take well over an hour to break free. Compounding this was Rob’s quest for another two bar stools for our new kitchen breakfast nook. The pricing on everything under the sun hovering just below insanely cheap in the States, we’d found two chairs at the Pier 1 in Dubuque and determined that another two could be secured in another store in Michelle Bachmann territory.

Dee is an extraordinarily intrepid traveler for her age. Broken to the backseat during her 5th year and first in Canada by the vast expanse that is Alberta specifically but Canada generally, she can ride six to seven hours with nary an “are we there yet?” But a week of intense spoiling by her grandmother softened her a bit and the endless city of Minneapolis quickly mushroomed into a Groundhog’s Day experience.

“Where are we?” she asked.

“Minneapolis,” Rob said.

30 minutes later her attention wandered back to the seemingly unchanged landscape.

“Where are we now?”

“Minneapolis,” I told her.

And 30 minutes after that?

“Are we still in Minneapolis?”

“Yes, we are,” Rob said.

“Well, I don’t know why they call it Minneapolis,” she announced a little while later. “There is nothing ‘mini’ about it.”

“Minne is a native word,” Rob said.

“It probably doesn’t mean small,” I added.

“Probably not,” Dee agreed.

The daughter expressed her fervent wish that the groundhog would not see his shadow today.

That’s right, isn’t it. No shadow. Hello Spring. Shadow. Down the groundhog hole for a snuggle in as the Old Man rages on.

I can never keep it straight. Technically, it amounts to about the same length of time, so the fuss eludes me, but if a shadow free peek see brings this miserable winter to a swift end – I am in favor.

Our second thaw commenced overnight as the temps began climbing back to freezing. The last thaw turned the January snowstorms to mush which froze solid when the arctic blast regained its supremacy, creating jagged grooves and ruts on the unplowed streets that even my truck dislikes negotiating.

This new thaw might give the plows an opportunity to complete their shearing of the remaining roads and haul away the few mountains left at the side of streets and in the parking lots.

Normally, it’s the continuing snowfall in April that gets me, but this year, winter overkill has come early.

Life though has taken on a Groundhog’s Day– like aura in a Bill Murray sort of way.

Okay, not that sinister, but my weeks are interchangeable.

And Rob feels it too.

And a holiday? Not on the horizon. Though I watch with a mixture of envy as those I know fly off and return from warmer climates, I am not sure that an “away” vacation is what I need.

A break from routine, certainly. Lazy days where nothing is scheduled and the clock can be blissfully ignored for a while could do, I feel, wonders.

I’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime, enjoy the day whether Phil sees his shadow or not. Winter stays until he tires or Spring bulks up enough to kick him along his way. It’s out of our hands, regardless.