Minnesota March 2019:
Day 4 - White Bear Lake


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Minnesota March 2019: [Day 1 - Madison] [Day 2 - White Bear Lake] [Day 3 - White Bear Lake] [Day 4 - White Bear Lake] [Day 5 - Mississippi River] [Day 6 - Illinois]

Friday, March 22, 2019: It was another sunny day in Minnesota. After weeks of blizzards and bitterly cold temperatures, this weather was a welcome change for the locals.
By the second morning, we had figured out the waffle machine and learned to produce a perfect waffle. Of course, we had orange juice with our meal, because it was free and that's what Aunt Mary would have wanted.
It was Judi's birthday, so we discreetly slipped her card across the table to her.
Debbie and her dad finally had some time to catch up and to make some plans for the day.
While various relatives got ready to depart, we learned that Bonnie and Ralph's car had been hit during the night, so the police came out to take a report while we waited with them.
While we waited, Debbie checked out the games on her dad's phone. If it's good enough for a rocket scientist, it's probably worth trying.
There were just a handful of us left by 10:30: Paul, Judi, Herb, ...
... Emmie, Mark, Bob, ...
... and Ed.
We said goodbye to everyone and took off sightseeing with Bob. This billboard immediately reminded us of Mary. During her last call to Debbie the previous week, she had said that she found a good low-cost option for cremation, which is exactly what we would expect Mary to be doing the last week of her life: making arrangements for a sensible, low-cost exit.
We were headed to 3M, where Bob worked for 30 years.
Some of his working years were spent in Building 235, which looks much like it did back then.
Bob pointed out that 3M has its own physical plant to serve its large campus of buildings.
We were here to visit the 3M Employee Store. As a 3M retiree, Bob is still eligible to shop here, and it is a major treat to be brought along as a guest. Cameras aren't allowed inside so here's what we did: checked in, got nametags, took Claire in her wheelchair on the special open-topped wheelchair elevator, shopped for over a half hour, bought way too much, had lots of fun, and came out over $100 lighter. Bob bought three things, but he was flying home with only a carry-on, so he had to show restraint. We did not.
This beautiful building is the 3M Carlton Science Center.
We passed the Bank with the One at the Top en route to our next destination, ...
... Taste of Scandinavia.
It's a bakery and cafe featuring Scandinavian treats ...
... and decor. Claire was pretty unhappy at this point, but once we got her in her wheelchair and took her toy away, she settled down and was fairly calm the entire meal.
It was nearly 1:00 when we ate lunch.
Debbie got a hot sandwich with Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, lingonberries, and gravy.
Tom and Bob each got a Norwegian chicken lefse wrap, and we shared a side of country potatoes, which Claire ate a few bites of.
After lunch, Debbie perused the bakery displays, ...
... but ended up not getting anything after standing in a long line for several minutes. It's probably for the best.
But oh, she would have stood for hours if a kransekake cake was available for purchase right then.
We headed back to White Bear Lake and the hotel.
While Debbie's dad took a nap, Debbie got out all of her new 3M loot and started to pack it up.
There were many Command Strip products, several boxes of bandages, lots of Post-It Notes of unusual sizes and types (full backing!), Scotch tape in numerous forms, mailing envelopes, crafty stuff, color-changing sunglasses, and even 3M socks! Debbie was in 3M heaven. (Not shown: the 3M gift box we bought for Debbie's cousin Heather after a discussion the night before of how great they are.)
Tom was in his own heaven, packing up all of the stuff Debbie had brought along for the family gathering in even less space in the van than when we started.
This was the second anniversary of Cousin Rachel's boyfriend Cory's death, so Rachel texted Debbie a photo of the bottle of Malört covered with flair that Debbie gave her at the last family reunion. We had no Malört with us so we had to drink a shot for Cory in spirit only.
Bob joined us again for dinner. (Please ignore the bandana in Claire's mouth. She chews on them sometimes. Better that than chewing on her clothes, trust us.)
Of course, we had to get Carbone's again. Being from one of the chain Carbone's instead of the One True Carbone's (the one on Randolph), it was great but not perfection. But a not-quite-perfect Carbone's Special is better than any other pizza in the world.
We hung out in the living room of our suite and watched March Madness on TV while Claire played in the bedroom. We were amused when #16 seed NDSU was tied and even in the lead in their game against #1 seed Duke. The late, great Cory was a fan of NDSU, so it was fun to see, no matter how shortlived.
Mostly, we had a great time watching the games fall exactly as Debbie had called them, ...
... so she remained at the top of her tournament, where she had started out the day before and where she remained, despite Duke going out in flames before the Final Four.
Bob wasn't feeling well, so we loaded him up with some of Claire's Boost Breeze to get some calories and nutrition in him.
Speaking of Claire, she had been very busy hiding her toys behind the chair in the bedroom. If Tom hadn't noticed her doing this, we probably would have left some behind the next day when we checked out.
After Bob turned in, Tom continued monitoring his work crisis and was relieved to see that things were turning around after two days of conference calls and emails.

Day 5 >


Minnesota March 2019: [Day 1 - Madison] [Day 2 - White Bear Lake] [Day 3 - White Bear Lake] [Day 4 - White Bear Lake] [Day 5 - Mississippi River] [Day 6 - Illinois]

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