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A few days after we arrived in Iowa, we drove up to Minneapolis for In-Processing at Andy’s battalion. Since we were only being reimbursed for one hotel each night, the logical choice was to pack up the pets and for me to join him in Minnesota. Thankfully, the drive between Mason City and Minneapolis is only 2 hours and Andy handled all of the driving since he knew I was drived-out. We left his truck parked outside of the Recruiting center (where they would keep an eye on it while we were gone) and made the trip north.
Since this was a work trip, we didn’t have a whole lot of spare time to explore the city. But what we did see made me want to visit it again! This post is not a travel guide post; instead, it’s another diary-like post full of too much detail that isn’t important to anyone but Andy and me and our families 😉
On Sunday evening, after we got the pets settled into our hotel, Andy and I went over to the Mall of America. He had never been before, but I had been once in college. I think it was a bit overwhelming for him to be surrounded by so many people and so many stores! We walked around the Nickelodeon Universe theme park for a bit, went upstairs to the food court (Andy grabbed food from Burger Burger while I ate dinner at Chipotle of course) and then we stopped by Sears so I could use the last of my employee discount points before they expired. I found a handbag I had been eyeing and with my points on top of the already-low prices, I managed to snag it for just $13!
At this point, we were all shopped out. We’re not really shopping people, especially at malls; we much prefer running in and out of the store if we need something that we can’t find online. We stumbled upon Ikea as we were leaving and decided to stop in for a “quick trip.” In said “quick trip”, we learned we are not Ikea people at all. We were looking for the kitchen display (I was seeking ideas on how to organize my essential oils) but got lost in the maze of the showroom. Andy bought a lint roller since he realized he needed to lint roll his uniform for work the next morning, and the line at the registers was insanely long. There were about 25 people in each line and it took 40-ish minutes to go through; also, I can’t figure out why they only had 3 of 25 registers open…. that’s a Walmart thing, not an Ikea thing! Needless to say, that was our first and last trip to Ikea.
On Monday, Andy and I woke up bright and early for in-processing. I went with him to the Federal Building since they said spouses were allowed, but ended up hanging out in the cafeteria with my Kindle all morning. It turns out Andy was the only detail Recruiter there (aka– not a “permanent Recruiter” and only on Recruiting duty for 3 years) so no other spouses attended as they had been through the drill before. So, downstairs to read a few books I went. When Andy joined me for lunch, I grabbed the car keys from him and went out to explore the city on my own!
My first stop was Goodwill. Apparently, Goodwill (and the downtown Salvation Army) get all the Target “rejects”. I scored some really nice things for a great price! I stuck to buying sweaters since my winter clothing collection is limited, although I did find a few things that I was excited about: a double-cross paper shredder, a clothing steamer, and a shelf for my essential oils. All of those were on my “wish list” so I was thrilled to find them at a deep discount! Then, I drove down to the suburbs to shop at LifeWay. I also found this “Soldier’s Prayer” flameless candle for 90% off which will be perfect to put in the “Army” display of our house. (Any other military wives out there always on the constant lookout for potential deployment care packages or Americana displays/decorations?)
By this point, Andy was done with in-processing for the day. We swung by the Base Exchange at the Air Force Reserve base in Minneapolis since we forgot to bring a PT shirt for Andy to wear during height/weight. It was the tiniest BX I’ve ever seen! I honestly thought it was a shopette (aka gas station) at first. Nonetheless, they had what we needed (plus a great sale on my favorite wine!)
After stopping at the hotel for Andy to change and us to check on the pets, we went into downtown Minneapolis. We visited the Witch’s Hat Water Tower and then the Stone Arch Bridge and Mill Ruins Park.
The Witch’s Hat Water Tower was neat, but a little underwhelming since you can only go inside it on the last Friday of May.
The Stone Arch Bridge and Mills Ruins Park were really cool! It’s right next to St. Anthony’s Falls (now a dam operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.) Mills Ruins Park is ruins of the old flour mills that used to operate there and draw their power from the water from the falls.
The next day, Andy had more in-processing. I decided to stay back at the hotel with the pets so I could get ready to check out of our room at noon. With a few hours left before Andy could join us, I drove the pets to the cell phone lot at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and sat there for a few hours reading my Kindle. Once Andy was finished in-processing, we headed back to Iowa.
Such a quick trip, but a fun one nonetheless! I can’t wait to explore this city more in the years to come!
Have you ever been to Minneapolis?