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St. Nick and A Long Solo Work Trip

 

Meadow had been counting down for St Nick for weeks. 

Sparkly play dough.

I too love pre-gaming it mini-Christmas.



Don't forget to check the wooden shoes.

Those are some fancy snacks, St. Nick.

This year Meadow got a Road Trip journal, scotch tape, a bath bomb, peanut butter chocolates, sparkly pipe cleaners, plaid nightgown and an ornament. 

Theo got plaid onesie pajamas, Richard Scarry Christmas book, playdough, an ornament and gummy bears.

Elf cereal for the kiddos. 

 
The playdough was a hit. 

And I was off to Milwaukee for the first of three shoots this week. That was not nearly the furthest destination on my docket.

Meadow has really been into decorating the door into our unit.

Always crafting.

Still play doughing.

Sharing with her cousins what they all got from St Nick.


We had to walk down to Bryant Hardware to drop off a UPS box. It can take awhile with these two.

Back at home Meadow made snow and a shovel for her box house.

I made it to Milwaukee and watched the Packers game and practiced with a new video rig for an upcoming shoot.

First stop, Harris shoot in Pewuakee.

After eating some Kopp's I decided to go on a nostalgic drive around Milwaukee.

They now light up the Hoan Bridge.

Bay View.

The creepy seminary in St. Francis.

I just kept on going past the south side of Milwaukee to my childhood house. The new owners light display would make my dad proud.

And back through Bay View all the way up to the East Side.

This week was going to be tough working overtime and watching these kiddos by myself. I still tried to make sure we'd get outside everyday even though that meant at night.

The next morning after another practice with my new video rig at the Milwaukee Art Museum campus I got lunch at Small Pie. It's a hand pie shop from the folks behind Honeypie, which is about to move and one of my Milwaukee favorites.

I said goodbye to Milwaukee and made my way to my second shoot location in southeast Indiana.

My second AirBNB was near Poland, Indiana. A nice place to spend my time in the Hoosier state.

Oh, yeah, I did take a quick pitstop in Racine (well along I-94) for my breakfast for the rest of the week. Kringle, especially the real stuff, is the best.

To make my week less hectic I ordered meals from Hello Fresh. In some ways it was very convenient, I just wish they wouldn't use so much packaging. 

Before going outside we had to make sure the house was clean first. Theo did pretty well cleaning up his play dough messes. 


After shooting some Crestliner boats all day I found some Christmas spirit, but no snow.

It wasn't anything special, but I had already gotten bbq for the second time on my work trip. This time in Brazil, Indiana.

Meadow has a half day on Wednesdays to give the kids a screen break and get time outside during the daylight. That wasn't happening with my work schedule so she worked on a popcorn garland for the tree.

Meanwhile I was charging way too many batteries in anticipation for my last shoot.

Meadow received a very special letter in the mail from Santa.

And Theo missed his mouth drinking hot chocolate.

Oh, boy.

I was staying near the Cagles Mill Dam, so I thought I'd go take a gander. The AirBNB I was at was right next to the river, which was drawn down, but this was a beautiful spot nonetheless.

When you have eight hours to drive you end up not taking many pictures. My last shoot took me through southern Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and, eventually, Amory, Mississippi.

I had these sweet NauticStar boats to shoot after shooting a video of the factory.

Meadow was unexpectedly off school on Friday. I rearranged my schedule so we could actually get outside during the day. Theo was not happy that I had to eventually get back home for work.

Meanwhile after a long, but fulfilling day of shooting boats, I ordered some fish and shrimp from the Pickle Barrel. It was recommended by one of the factory workers and did not disappoint. Was pleasantly surprised to see most folks masked up in one of my few trips indoors during this trip. 

I stayed in another AirBNB private guest house. Avoiding COVID was priority number one along the trip. Here a few travel tips during COVID:

1. Wear a fucking mask when interacting with other people. They work.
2. AirBNB with no contact check in is ideal. Hotels might be fine, but this is safer.
3. Take your food to go. Call ahead. Drive thru. I love experiencing dining or a good bar on the road as much as you, but it ain't worth it right now.
4. Practice social distancing when people don't oblige to common courtesy.

I did just that all the way from Minneapolis to Mississippi and back and did not get infected despite huge spikes in cases across the locations I was shooting.


I packed up my rental car and headed on the long way back home. Well, actually the shortest route home, but you know what I mean.

After asking all week I let the kids sleep in bed with me. 

I was FaceTiming with the kids along the way, but I was missing them so much.

Actually playing nicely together. 

Giving her Barbie's a bath.

Playing nicely again in Meadow's bed.

On one of our nightly walks Meadow picked up a science book from a little free library. We are attempting to grow some crystals.

Meadow really wanted candy canes so we walked to the uptown Target to get some.

That's a good long walk. I'm impressed.

Success! 

Theo wore his blanket as a cape.

Back to work.

It wasn't ideal having to go on a work trip during Brooke's peak season, but she did a great job. What a wife!

Meadow chatted with her cousins again.

Still working...

No Christmas movies until they clean up.

Scott always says no to Home Alone 3. Since he wasn't here I let the kids watch.

That movie doesn't deserve such a great title.


Meadow loved it. 

My last AirBNB was a rustic cabin near Hannibal, Missouri. I booked it the night before not knowing if I would wrap up work on Friday. It wasn't glamorous, but I got a TV to stream, the bed was comfy and I picked up the best smoked meat of the trip at Wayne BBQ in downtown Hannibal.

This view may be cute, but behind here is a barren RV campground.


I finally saw the first snow of this December worktrip in Iowa and got a dang good burrito in Cedar Falls.

I even took a quick detour to the North Pole.

And just like that, almost 2400 miles later, I was home.

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