New city, new perspective
As I write this I'm sitting in our temporary apartment in Minneapolis. We're on the 10th floor of an assisted living building, renting out a "guest" or short term stay apartment. They work with the hospital to help provide people like us with short term flexible housing. What does that mean? Well, finding housing from Denver in Minneapolis was very difficult. After a few days of hitting the internet "pavement" I finally found housing that would check off our immediate requirements; furnished, not an arm and a leg, flexible move in and move out dates and close to the hospital. So, that is how Rima and I ended up in our temporary living situation. It's not ideal but its good for now. We needed a place to stay asap, before Rima ended up back in the hospital in Denver and would need to be flown to MNU via small plane. We did not want to deal with the insurance nightmare that would be, which it always seems to be with Rima, not her fault, just back luck with her insurance.
So, before sitting in the 10th floor of an old folks home, we had quite the build up to this interesting living situation. The last two weeks have been something of a blur. Trying to see people in Denver and Boulder before we made the move. Visiting a few of our favorite places, including Rocky Mountain National Park. Oh, and let's not forget the packing. Rima and I had to go through all our winter and fall shit. We don't actually know how long we'll be staying in Minneapolis so we had to pack as much as we thought we might need. My guess is that we will be here between 5-6 month....no more, we hope! Nothing against this wonderful city or its nice residents but we already miss Colorado...
One of the places Rima and I saw before we took the road trip was the Butterfly Pavilion a little north of Denver. I got some free passes from a friend, thank you! We went for an afternoon butterfly site seeing trip and boy did Rima enjoy it. Thankfully they had wheelchairs, I don't think Rima would have been able to enjoy it as much as she had without the extra push. The last couple weeks have been hard for her. Walking around has been a challenge. We've never had to consider parking, wheelchairs, and stairs so much before. I really admire the people who have done this for quite a while. Coming from the side of not even knowing places have or need wheelchairs just incase, to calling ahead and checking is quite the eye opener. A new perspective on normalcy.
Anyways, the butterfly pavilion was super cool, except the bug part. Rima Loved the bug part, she made me push her round to all their creepy crawly tanks and look at them. I was tempted to leave her there and walk away...just kidding! The area for the butterflies is beautiful. They are kept in a rainforest tropical plant greenhouse. Hundreds and hundreds of them flying around above your head and landing on tropical leaves looking for sweet nectar to eat. Rima was super disappointed that none landed on her... shocking I know.
The Sunday before we left Rima my brother and I went on an adventure to Rocky Mountain Nation Park. It was a beautiful day! We picked up one of Rima's close friends Kate in Boulder beforehand. The leaves were already starting to change to yellow and the mountains were spotted with hues of yellow greens. We had a little picnic at the base of the mountains and then drove up to Rainbow lookout for some snaps. That night we had dinner at our dear family friends home in Boulder, Connie and Mark, two amazing human beings. One last Family dinner before we hit the road.
The last couple days before we left was a haze of me running up and down the stairs, packing, laundry, reorganizing, yelling at Rima to stay on track and phone calls. Rima had to get a bunch of insurance and prescription things in order before we left. On Thursday she had her last appointment at National Jewish, all her doctors and nurses we excited/nervous for us. The anticipation was at an all time high. Tomorrow (Friday) was D day. No turning back now kiddos. For a hot second Rima and I though that we were going to push the departure date a day back because of rain in the South Dakota area, specifically Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park. But, it looked like it was clearing up via the weather channel app so we decided to stay on track. Thursday late afternoon consisted of me packing up the whole car and soft-top by myself, while also trying to keep Rima on schedule. Not an easy task, that girl was driving me up a tree. Luckily I've moved many, many, many times and a majority of them I have not had help so this was nothing new. I'm an amazing packer and could beat you at Tetris!
By the time I was done loading the car and ordering Rima around and helping her it was about midnight. We were leaving at 6am on the dot. Sleep was not easy. The next morning we miraculously were in the car by 5:59am...good job Rima, that was a first! We were taking the longer route to Minneapolis, getting in some sites along the way. That day we would drive 6 hours up to Mount Rushmore and then about and hour east of that to Badlands National Park. Two states we've never been to and always wanted to visit would be checked off the list in one day! Wyoming is beautiful, we only got to see the most southern eastern part but holy moly it beats Nebraska all day, everyday!
South Dakota, didn't disappoint either. The Black Hills are incredible, parts of them even looked like we were back in the Rockies. We arrived at Mount Rushmore around 12pm. Parked the car and I got Rima a wheelchair. Lots of older folks at this park, not surprising. We expected the presidents heads to be a bit larger, but it was still pretty neat to see. Rima got some quality snap chats in too! After we headed to Badlands National Park, which is about and hour to an hour and half east. That park BLEW OUR MINDS. First of all, we can't be the only two who have never heard of this place. I don't know why, maybe people want to keep it a secret? If so then, don't go it was horrible...(GO, GO, GO)! We drove through about three-quarters of the park aka the moon. Parts of it were so alien like you could have sworn you were on a different planet. We'll be going back!
That night we were staying in an Airbnb in Vivian South Dakota, in the middle of the nowhere. The place was pretty neat, very large and log cabin like. Rima and I were exhausted by the time we got settled in. I had to kill two, very LARGE spiders...not cool bro, not cool! I'm not ashamed of it, but we slept with tissues in our ears that night. I don't need little baby spiders hitching a free ride to Minneapolis. The next morning we got ready and hit the road again. We drove 12 hours on Friday and Saturday was looking like a 7 hour drive, not to shabby! The rest of the drive was not as scenic as Friday's but beggars can't be choosers.
We got into Minneapolis around 4:30pm. I got the keys to our apartment and then unloaded the car. Thank god for the wagon our brother got Rima, without that thing I would have probably have to make 25 trips up to the apartment. With the wagon only 6 trips and I did it in 45 minutes! Try doing that by yourself, after driving for two days, sleep deprived all while walking behind old slow people and the most lethargic elevator this side of the Mississippi! Our apartment is small but it will do for the moment. I'm going to be looking for a larger place over the next month or so. That night I unpacked our things in the apartment and tried to make it look as much like a home as possible. Rima's neck probably hurts from watching me run around the apartment organizing and unpacking. The next day on Sunday we had a lot of errands to run, Costco, Trader Joes, Target and Ikea. The wagon was a life saver yet again, hauling all our bags from the car.
Monday was a bit on the slower side, which was needed. Sleeping in, slow start to getting out the door, I'll take that for sure. We went back to Target to get things we had forgotten on our first round, our brains were pretty wiped on Sunday. After we went to Calhoun Lake, which is a beautiful lake and has gorgeous surrounding homes and neighborhoods. We hung out by the water for a little and then did what we do best, stalk and stare at properties and real estate. Rima and I have favorite places to do this in Denver so naturally we needed to find comparable neighborhoods here in Minneapolis, and we did just that! Holy hell, some of these houses walked straight out of Malibu! We will be returning to that area, very, very soon! The rest of the day we binged on Shameless. Sorry, not sorry we needed to. Tuesday is Rima's first doctor appointment at MNU, we will be meeting with some people from the transplant team and getting some test done for Rima to be listed. She will either be listed Tuesday or Wednesday if all goes to plan. We're scared, nervous, excited, ready, and over it all at the same time. Wish us luck!