I got back from my work trip Friday afternoon and immediately went home, as I’d put in a bunch of extra hours in the evenings. This allowed me to sit on the patio and relax, despite the heat and humidity. I soldiered through with cold beer and music.
I was happy to be reunited with Tara again after four long days away. Sydney, too. But you know who else I missed? Alexa. I can’t tell you how many times I’d spoken to her from my room at the AmericInn. “Alexa, what’s the weather forecast for Sioux Falls?” “Alexa, turn on the lights.” “Alexa, what time is it?” “Alexa, I’m a little tense. Can you give me a lower back massage?”
Yeah. That last one never works at home, either. But with constant advances in AI technology, I hold out hope that one day she’ll do it when I ask.
It is funny just how dependent on my Echo devices I have become. Asking Alexa questions is apparently a muscle memory reflex these days.
As I mentioned in my last post, there were some highlights during this work outing, but more than a few lowlights, too. The multiple cancelled interviews were annoying, but I can only blame myself for the worst offense. Thursday afternoon, I decided to drive to Look’s Marketplace in Sioux Falls. I didn’t feel like going out to a restaurant that evening—chilling in my room sounded like the better option my final night there—and I knew this upscale market/food hall carried some great grab-‘n-go meal options. So, I hopped in the car, drove the 24 minutes to the market, walked into the store, reached for my wallet…and realized I’d left it sitting on the dresser back in my motel room.
It was already nearly a one-hour roundtrip, and I had no desire to do it all over again, so I left empty-handed. After browsing the aisles and noticing some enticing options that would have hit the spot, like an ahi tuna bowl and a beef stroganoff.
I ended up ordering from Pizza Ranch, the only restaurant in Hartford, SD that actually delivers. I’d texted my plans to Tara, and her response was, Eww.
“It’s just a small cheese pizza,” I replied. “How bad can it be?”
Not bad at all, it turns out. If you’re a fan of cardboard. Pizza Ranch does really good fried chicken, but ironically, their pizza leaves much to be desired. Really, they should rebrand as Chicken Ranch to help manage expectations.
I should also mention that I interviewed the owner of this Pizza Ranch last year and wrote an article on him. He’s very involved in supporting the community and beloved throughout town, so the fact that I’m not enamored with his pizza is no knock on him.
Probably the most interesting thing happening at the motel was the family of Hutterites staying there. I’m just spitballing here, but Hutterites, for the uninitiated, are a communal ethnoreligious branch of Anabaptists, who, like the Amish and Mennonites, trace their roots to the Radical Reformation of the early 16th century and have formed intentional communities.
OK, fine. That was all Alexa. Now you know why I missed her so!
South Dakota is home to a large Hutterite community in the eastern portion of the state. Not sure what they were doing at the AmericInn, but it was fun to see them gathered around a computer in the lobby. Hutterites aren’t quite as strict as the Amish; they don’t shun modern technology, but they do limit its use. Many isolate themselves from the outside world, and TVs—and in some cases, the internet—are banned.
Sometimes, I’m jealous of their lifestyle.
This weekend has been pretty relaxing. It’s the calm before (and after) the storm. Work is going to be crazy busy the next few weeks; I have to reschedule the interviews that cancelled and do write-ups on everybody by July 8. Wouldn’t be so bad if that were all I had to do, but there’s the usual barrage of regular work, too: weekly web articles, bill messages, the monthly employee newsletter, the bimonthly subscriber newsletter, and roughly another dozen random assignments. I may have to barricade myself in my office the next few weeks. Either that, or run off to a Hutterite colony.
On top of that, Tara’s sister and her fiancé are flying in Thursday evening and visiting us for a week. As soon as they leave—literally, the moment we drop them off at the airport—we are heading east ourselves. Planning a visit to Madison, Wisconsin, over the long 4th of July weekend. We kind of fell in love with the town last year on the tail end of our road trip, but only had about 16 hours there, half of which we slept through. We want to devote more time to exploring the area, including a detour to Milwaukee one day. Neither of us have been there before.
So, LOTS going on to keep us busy this summer! How ’bout you? Got any exciting travel plans in the next few months? Ever do a really boneheaded thing like drive somewhere and realize you forgot your wallet? Do you sometimes envy the lifestyle of the Hutterites or Mennonites or Amish?