Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Whirlwind weekend of activity & emotions September 18, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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HAVE YOU EVER FELT just so exhausted, physically and emotionally, that you wish you could lie down and sleep for years?

After three weekends of traveling to southwestern Minnesota for family and other events and to clean my mom’s house, I am exhausted.

This past weekend my husband and I put 475 miles on our van crisscrossing the state and also the roads of Redwood County.

The beautiful handcrafted LFL donated to my hometown of Vesta.

The beautiful handcrafted Little Free Library donated to my hometown of Vesta in 2012 and installed outside the Vesta Cafe. There are also shelves of donated books inside the cafe for locals to read in this community without a  city library. I donated two boxes of my mom’s books.  Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Saturday morning saw us exiting Faribault by 6:45 a.m. for the nearly 2 ½-hour drive to my hometown of Vesta. By the time we arrived around 9:15 a.m. to drop off books for the Little Free Library at the Vesta Cafe, I was already yawning. And we hadn’t even started cleaning at Mom’s house, a process which would take five hours on this Saturday. But I’d already been awake since 5 a.m.

One of numerous banners displayed in the farming community of Belview.

One of numerous banners displayed in the farming community of Belview. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

By 2 p.m., we were headed 12 miles north and east to Belview to see Mom in the nursing home. Randy cat napped on her bed while I perched on the seat of Mom’s walker and visited with her.

Our weekend travels took us deep into southern Minnesota farm country.

Our weekend travels took us deep into southern Minnesota farm country.

Then we aimed south for the 45-minute drive to my brother and sister-in-law’s rural Lamberton home. Randy suggested I nap, and I tried. But even the hypnotic rhythm of travel and the warm sunshine streaming through the van windows were not quite enough to lull me asleep. It was the emotional upheaval of the day that kept me awake.

Me, left, with two of my best friends from high school, Margie and Sharon.

Me, left, with two of my best friends from high school, Margie and Sharon, at our 40th Wabasso High School class reunion.

A quick shower and change at my brother’s house and we were back on the road driving toward Wabasso for my 40th high school class reunion. We partied until nearly midnight and I managed only a fitful night of sleep before rolling out of bed at 7:30 a.m.

Nearing the other end of the 35W bridge.

We crossed the Interstate 35W bridge on our way home. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

We were on the road by 9:30 a.m. driving north and east toward rural Wyoming, Minnesota, for a sister-in-law’s 50th birthday party. About two-thirds of the way into the 3 ½-hour drive, I started whining like a kid, “Are we there yet? I just want to get there. I hope there’s some food left. I’m hungry.” The crankiness kicked in about the same time we rolled into heavy metro area traffic.

My husband, bless him, understood. He understood that stress and lack of sleep had morphed me into an overtired and crabby wife.

We arrived at the birthday girl’s home to find plenty of delicious food awaiting us. I pasted a smile on my face. After a few hours of visiting and relaxing in the sunshine of a perfect autumn afternoon, we took down the tent we lent to the party host, loaded it into our van and headed south to our next destination—the home of our eldest daughter and son-in-law.

My eldest daughter, Amber, and her husband, Marc, pose in front of the home they recently purchased in a Twin Cities suburb. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

My eldest daughter, Amber, and her husband, Marc, in front of the home they recently purchased in a Twin Cities suburb. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

About a half hour later we arrived, unloaded the stuff we’d hauled from my mom’s house, and soon settled into a comfortable spot on the sofa, me with a much-welcomed soothing glass of wine. For a few hours we savored our time with Amber and Marc and our son-in-law’s parents visiting from California.

Full stomach, a little wine…and that sleepy feeling drifted over me again, before we were out the door on the final stretch home. One hour to Faribault. Darkness descending. Headlights beaming too bright in my tired eyes. Rain falling. Wipers swiping. Home at 8:15 p.m. Finally.

Then, unpacking.

What a whirlwind weekend, crammed with too much of everything. Too much time in the van. Too many activities. Too much emotion. Too little sleep.

And we didn’t even make two other events—a book release party in northern Minnesota where I was to read my winning poem and a barn dance fundraiser.

I am beyond exhausted. Drained. Physically and emotionally.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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18 Responses to “Whirlwind weekend of activity & emotions”

  1. quattrohands Says:

    Welcome home; hopefully you will be grounded this weekend.
    Love the Little Free Library!

    • Although we have another busy weekend, all events are local, thus no long distance travel.

      The Little Free Library in my hometown has worked out incredibly well, especially when the folks who run the cafe placed additional shelving inside the restaurant for lots more books.

  2. rachaelhanel Says:

    Weekends like that are fun, but true, they are totally draining. I used to look forward to social activities, but now I know what they will entail! It sounds like your whirlwind weekend was worth it, though.

  3. Dan Traun Says:

    I can identify with the exhaustion notion. Cyndie and I recently traveled to the Badlands and the Black Hills for a week. We were wise and allowed a couple of days to recover before returning to work 🙂

  4. Beth Ann Says:

    I know that bone weariness that you write about. I think we all do. There are times when the emotional toll of events and the physical toll collide and leave us exhausted. I am glad that there were fun activities included in with the difficult ones and hopefully by now you have caught up on your rest a little bit with a few early bedtime moments!

  5. I know the feeling. Hope you get some much needed rest.

  6. Jackie Says:

    Wow, I’m tired just reading about all your activities, and then to think you could have done two more, whew. Was the book release in Park Rapids by chance. I think I remember you talking about how you’ve not been able to make this event in the past.

  7. Love the Little Free Library. There is one just down the street from where our grandson lives (he’s a toddler so he can’t reach it yet). And we are in California, not Minnesota.

    • Little Free Libraries are great, especially for communities like my hometown, which does not have a public library and the closest one is 20 miles distant.

      My son-in-law is from California, but relocated to Minnesota after he fell in love with my eldest daughter. They celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary on Monday.

  8. I’m right there with you, girl. Almost ten hours of driving on Saturday. At least many of your activities are happy ones.


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