Trying New Things

August 15, 2012 | My Jottings

Awhile back Michael had an all-day appointment at The Struthers Parkinson’s Center in the Minneapolis area. It had been a few years since he’d gone through the many hour-long appointments they schedule at an all-day assessment. Beginning at 9:00 a.m. and lasting until 3:30 p.m., he had appointments with a Speech Therapist, an Occupational Therapist, a Physical Therapist, a Nurse Practitioner, a Social Worker, and at the end of the day, his neurologist. They all specialize in Parkinson’s, so each professional is always compassionate and a fount of helpful information. The sessions can be intense because they fit all they can into the hour slots, but each time we’ve gone (during different stages of Michael’s PD journey), we’ve come back with something helpful to try.

Since Michael is a good-natured man, he’s willing to go to something like this, which is usually quite tiring and often not very heartening for him. He would rather watch the Minnesota Twins play baseball on TV, or pick up Schnauzer poop in the yard than concentrate on all the things Parkinson’s is doing to him.

So when we drive the few hours to Minneapolis for these appointments, we try to stay in a hotel, go out for a nice meal, see a sight or two. It would be too grueling to get up at 4:00 a.m., drive down, go through the many assessment appointments, and drive home in the dark.

This last trip I was feeling like we should stay in a place outside of our regular hotel box. I surfed around online and found a place in downtown Minneapolis called Le Meridien. It’s an artsy, hip, young and edgy sort of place — the very things we are not. That’s just the reason I booked a room (that and the incredible middle-of-the-week deal they had going), and told Michael we’d be trying something different with this trip.

We had also received two recent recommendations for a place we’d never tried — Punch Pizza. Punch Pizza happened to be down the street from our hotel, so voila! our evening was planned.

When we reached our hotel I scolded myself for not having read the fine print well enough — it cost $28 to park. Ahem. Oh well, we rolled with it and handed Jason our keys to the Highlander and pretended we did not look like Jed Clampett and Granny rolling their suitcase into the lobby. (I used to say Jethro and Elly May when I’d employ this witticism, but clearly Michael does not look like Jethro and not even a person with double cataracts would mistake me for Elly May).

I’m not sure how to describe our room. What would you say? Spartan? Minimalist? Modern? Plain?

The bed was divinely comfortable, which is all that really matters when you are over 55, which I almost am. In fact, I will be over 55 in 20 days, now that I think about it. Other things matter regarding hotel rooms too, like the absence of cockroaches, quietude, and a non-smoking room.

There was a huge television on a swiveling wall mount that was a bonus for a man who wanted to watch the Minnesota Twins that afternoon, who happened to be playing at the new Target Field, which was about one mile from where we lounged in the divinely comfortable bed.

There was also a television on the wall in the bathroom. This is a man thing. I don’t know any women who take so long in the bathroom that they need a television to help them pass the time. Do you? Do you think it’s a man thing? Are men just constipated because they don’t like their vegetables or what?

I thought the sink was photoworthy.

And the shower too.

We are early to bedders, early risers, and early diners. So we headed to Punch Pizza for an early dinner, ordered our personal pizzas and a salad each, walked over to our table to set our napkins and iced teas down when they man behind the counter shouted, “NUMBER 188! ORDER NUMBER 188!” Well, our number was 188 and it hadn’t been three minutes since we’d ordered it. Sara told us the pizza there is baked at over 1000 degrees in a huge, hive-shaped brick oven, but I had no idea it would be so fast. I suppose in our internet age, people want things now. But having our pizzas ready before we could walk across the room? Hmmm.

The pizza was fantastic, my Walnut-Gorgonzola Salad unique and delicious, and Michael was ready for a nap. He knew he had about a hundred people to see the next day at Struthers, so we returned to our hotel.

Iโ€™ve been looking for some art to hang above the new mantel over our new fireplace in our new dining room in our new house. Do you think something like this should be considered? Does this canvas in the hotel lobby vibe Juliejuliejulie or Michaelmichaelmichael to you?

I’m not sure that we’ll stay at the Le Meridien again, but it was a fine experience. I think we might try Punch Pizza again someday, but maybe we’ll sit down in our booth for a while before we order so we can not have a conversation but look into each others’ eyes and smile knowingly, which is what we do a lot across dinner tables these days.

What do you look for in a hotel?

What are some of your favorite places to dine?


  1. Dorothy Sooter says:

    The room looked so clean and crisp. Having the bed being so
    comfortable makes for a great night’s sleep. Michael looks
    good and pray you came home with some positive things to try.
    God Bless.

  2. Just Julie says:

    Thank you dear Dorothy!

  3. Sharon says:

    I get to stay in hotel rooms often. My #1 criteria is the presence of Wifi in the rooms (preferably free), which most places have these days. Although you’d be surprised, I stayed in a swanky place last year that didn’t.

    #2 is the type of hotel. I am too old to stay in a place with stinky rooms and uncomfortable beds. Certain chains are more reliable than others.

    #3 is the other amenities — if I’m staying for more than one night, I really prefer to stop by the store and get my own coffee/milk/cereal, and a fridge is useful.

    #4 is location, although I am usually willing to drive if everything else clicks into place.

    #5 is price. Not that price isn’t important, but I would rather pay a little extra and have the rest of my criteria met than pay $49 and stay somewhere that has sticky carpeting and the stench of cigarettes.

  4. Just Julie says:

    Maybe I’ll hire you as our travel agent! Do the hotels you frequent have cereal bowls or do you take your own?

  5. Ember says:

    I’m with Sharon! Clean, quiet, private, near where I want to be, comfortable and – please, pretty please – more than one pillow on the bed.

  6. Just Julie says:

    ๐Ÿ™‚ xo

  7. Christy says:

    Personally, I would rather sleep in the woods on the ground than in ANY hotel……swanky or not. Each year when my sister comes from Calif. we rent a primitive cabin in the woods overlooking the Tn. river. It is a one room cabin with a huge rock fireplace, a tiny table and two chairs, a futon and a double bed. I drag my air mattress with me everytime so that I can sleep on my own skin cells and sweat (sorry for being so gross and graphic).That way my sister can choose the futon or double bed….and of course she wants my air mattress. I hate hotels, motels, etc. I know Dorothy Sooter understands.However, your room looked amazing and I would definitely be in for that pizza and salad (without the walnuts)
    And…..I always love Michaels smile.

  8. Just Julie says:

    I’ve seen that cabin and would love to stay there! I don’t know that I’d hang my bra out like a flag near the front door though. :O I hope next time you visit, my washing machine has done a good job on sweat and skin cells. ๐Ÿ™‚ Let’s set a date…. xxoo

  9. Christy says:

    If you were with us, flying your bra is required.

  10. Just Julie says:

    Oh well…. ๐Ÿ™

  11. Kay in UK says:

    The bathroom in the pictures is NOTHING compared to your splendid new bathroom, Julie! ๐Ÿ™‚
    As I type, we are staying in the small ex-miner’s cottage that my daughter and son-in-law are renting in South Wales. (In the Welsh Valleys.) It’s tiny, but very clean, warm and welcoming. If I were living here permanently, I would name it ‘The Dolls’ House’. I think you would like it though, you would probably call it quaint!
    P.S. I’m not able to access my emails from here, so I’ll be in touch some time next week when we get home. I’ll be in recovery then from struggling up these Welsh hills!

  12. Just Julie says:

    I would so love to travel where you are and experience your cottage and your company, Kay. I have a letter started to you as well. Take things easy…. Xxoo

  13. Ganeida says:

    Your bathrooms just get scarier.

    I hope the good bra has arrived. Nothing worse [so Star assures me ~ I wouldn’t know having no endowments of that sort] than an ill~fitting bra. Having no room just now for original thought I add my blessing to Pen’s. ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. Just Julie says:

    I have some good fitting bras, Ganeida. They just hurt my neck and shoulders. Not sure what an easy solution is sometimes. And I thank you for your blessing as well. It’s the thought that counts! xxoo

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