May 29 - Madison, Wi and the Wis Dells

Trip Start Mar 02, 2008
Trip End Dec 03, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Wisconsin
Thursday, May 29, 2008

Madison, WI is one of the highlights of entire trip but not for any of the usual reasons.  Madison was the murphy's law of the trip and it was there that I gained "horror stories" to tell.

For starters, this stop is the only one of my trip that I arranged with the man instead of the wife.  That might be my first lesson.  But this man is someone who I had worked on numerous projects with and had been previously invited.   When I looked at the map and realized that it was too far to drive from Chicago to Minneapolis, I brainstormed who I might know in the area.   Seeing Madison in route, I shot off an email, asking for the knee-jerk reaction of me inviting myself to stop.   Several emails exchanged and it was confirmed that I would visit and stay for a few days and that sailing would be on our weekend agenda.  Sounds great!

Driving into Madison, my gut told me that something wasn't quite right.   It could be that this man reminds me of an absent minded professor, so lovable and sincere but not really paying attention to the details.    I made a quick call and told him that my arrival would be delayed for a few hours if that was alright with him.   Now, with time to kill, I went off to the movie theatre.

The exterior of the home was lovely, like a little white clapboard cottage.  I knocked and was greeted with a warm hug and told to come on upstairs where he was finishing getting the guest room ready for me.

I immediately knew that I was in trouble.   The house was in total disarray, there were multiple animals (which I'm allergic too and forgot to ask) and their hairballs collected across the top of the wooden floor.   We went up the stairs with my suitcase and he knocked on his daughters door who responded with "leave me alone!"  Introductions would have to wait.  

My guest room turned out to be a spare bedroom that was turned into a storage unit.   The dear man was busy stuffing things into the closet to make a space large enough for a pallet on the floor for me to sleep.   My mind is running wild, how am I going to get out of this and not hurt his feelings.  Truly, he is a sincerely nice man.   He said he would get a mat from downstairs and I politely declined explaining that I brought a mat with me and dismissed myself to go to the car to collect it.

Here I am pillow and mat in hand coming up the side walk when I see his wife.  I grin broadly and say hello!  She glares at me and demands to know where I'm going.  My smile continues as I explain, why, I'm going to your house, did your husband not tell you?  At this point, she goes inside and slams the door in my face!   I am cracking up at this point, the universe heard that I needed an out and gave it to me, except that my luggage was inside the slammed door.

I waited outside while I called Kris in Minn and asked how she'd feel about me arriving earlier than expected.   She panicked for just a moment thinking I might already be in town until I explained that it would be at least a day away, I could get a hotel for the night and even the next if necessary.   She also knew my host well and understood what a sweet but absent minded man he was and agreed that I shouldn't hurt his feelings.  As Kris and I chatted and laughed, my host returned outside.   He apologized for the earlier scene and said that all was well for me to come inside.   I told him that Kris and I were chatting because I'd forgotten to ask him about animals and that my allergies were so bad that I wasn't going to be able to stay longer than just the night.  

In we came with the mat, mother and daughter sat on the sofa and did not respond as I greeted them again with a cheery hello.   Dropping my things in the room, my host thought the best plan would be for he and I to go out and eat and see the city.  I heartily agreed.   He apologized for his wife's behavior and told me that she was drunk. 

So, we drove around the town in the pre-twilight hours and landed at a Mexican place for dinner.  Yes, I believe I would have that margarita.  Dinner was nice and there was more humor over the check but he insisted on buying my meal.   We arrived back at the house sometime between 8 and 9 pm.   Again, the ladies ignored me from their post and continued watching the biggest flat screen tv that I'd ever seen.   

I went directly to my room where I slept in my clothes and put my suitcase against my door in case an angry Tibet wife wanted to kill me in my sleep.  Twelve hours, later, I emerged hoping that everyone had left the house, it seemed quiet.  Alas, no, I had made it to the landing of the stairs with my suitcase when the Mrs stopped me and demanded that I leave my things there and come down to speak with her NOW.

Obediently, I follow her and sit as she stands over me and explains to me that her house is full of problems and that me, another woman, brought in was like an arrow to her heart.   She did apologize for the night before and told me that it was her husband and not me that I was mad at.   She insisted that I stay for the planned visit and said that she understood.   I thanked her and explained about my allergies to the animals.  It was the first time in my life that I was truly grateful for awaking with huge allergy swollen eyes, and on a double dose of allergy pills.   I told the truth, that I had no bad feelings for her and hoped that she and her husband would be able to talk and resolve their issues.  I meant no harm.

I stayed long enough to eat my grapefruit at the table littered with papers and dirty dishes and was able to escape by 11am.    My friend gave me a gift of a Tibetian prayer scarf and a wall hanging and signed my book with an Eckert Tolle quote.

Outside, he gave me a suggestion to drive through the Wisconsin Dells.  This was perfect advise.   The trip inspired my May newsletter and gave me some serenity to regroup as I moved on. 

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shockleytravels on

Love your trip and love your pictures

It is so much fun to read and watch what you post. I just love this travel blog site....

Can't wait for you to get here in late August!

Love you and Safe Travels!


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