My cousin, Midget, the 40-year old man, (birth name Hannah, but I don’t think I’ve ever called her that) was here last week so we did an awful lot of things. I was going to write about it all, but then I realized that this post would go on infinitely, and you really don’t need that. So, instead, I’ll narrate it with loads of pictures. Who likes reading anyway? KIDDING!
I don’t remember why, but we made donuts and raspberry éclairs together. I’ve never made donuts before and they turned out delightfully. They’re actually a bit of work, so I don’t know why they’re so cheap in the shops. Probably because they’re mass-produced garbage that is made on machines with chemicals that were never intended for human consumption. We learned that donuts have holes in them for a reason! It’s hard to get the insides done right when it’s a massive wad of dough. That doesn’t sound very appetizing. I didn’t have a small enough cookie cutter to cut out the middles. I will the next time I do, though.
Another day, we went to Living History Farms, a place I haven’t been in years. It contains a small reproduction of a historical Iowan village, an Indian area, a pioneer lodge, a 1900 farmstead, a welcome center and this thing that has a false lightening storm that has frightened me since I was a child. A good time was had by all.
I was deeply confused by the Jacob’s ladder. It’s much more complex than you think, even though the four-year old kept showing off by doing it again and again and again. I hated her.
I don’t care for human interaction.
We met a lovely cow.
I would have made AN AMAZING CARPENTER. Look at me work. Look at my amazing form. Look at the skill I possess!
Not enough people cross their arms like Morticia Adams. I think that’s a real shame. I carry on the proud tradition.
It was a hot day, the perfect day to dive into the creek.
The creek was no good for diving, but was amazing for posing. CALL ME, GQ!
How do you tell the fans that you need a break? that you can’t tolerate their constant presence? that you need a moment of privacy? that you’ve forgotten who you were before you were consumed by fame?
“How many hands is it, please?”
I was disgusted by this horse for reasons I can’t recall.
“GO AWAY, PEASANTS!” I shouted to the forming crowds, and finally overwhelmed by exhaustion, I collapsed onto this…thing…what is it? I want to say stagecoach, but it’s no stagecoach. Is it a cart? I’m indifferent.
My exhaustion continued in the 1900 home.
At the turn-of-the-century schoolhouse I lamented my school years. I was fat and ugly and awfully boring. I didn’t do anything fun. I didn’t go anywhere. I’m dumbfounded how I had the friends I had and still have. I really blossomed late. Nowadays, I would have been the class clown. I don’t take anything seriously except my hair.
I carried on with the letter…
“My dearest son, since you left the manor to travel the world (as we say to the villagers, but we of course know the truth — the incident with the printer’s son at the lumber mill is still a hot topic here, but so far, you are not implicated. Praise, Jesus!) things have taken a turn for the worst here in the manor. Your mother has descended into madness and has found considerable success as a, well, shall we say, fancy lady? She never did show any of her alleged talents to her now ex-husband! I believe she carries the syphilis from one unassuming traveling salesmen to another. Your brother has deserted us for the army. Your sister has taken vows of silence in an effort to convince me to send her to the nunnery. Imagine that slut in hallowed walls meant for those wed to Christ! The dog is well and sends his love. Come home, son, I beg you. Your devoted FATHER.”
Bitches, this is how you mourn. Let’s bring back formal mourning periods please!
Thus concluded our time at Living History Farms.
Next up was a trip to the North to return Midget, the 40-year-old man, to her homeland of Wisconsin. Along the way, we decided to deviate from the usual route through Minneapolis and Saint Paul and thought it would be lovely to visit the House on the Rock, an attraction that I’d long heard of, but never knew much about. I had read that it was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and that it had a considerable collection of…well…collections. LITTLE DID I KNOW THE PAINS I’D SOON SUFFER!
The moment I arrived at the House on the Rock, I knew that I would hate it. I knew that it would be awful. I knew that it was stupid. Little did I know, though, how much of an understatement all of that was.
The House on the Rock is located in the middle of nowhere in a desolate part of Wisconsin where there is zero cellular service. For a person devoted so unashamedly to technology as myself, this is likened to an eternity in HELL. We went into the welcome center and I hated it. There was a tacky cafe and walls covered in wood and a ticket booth that was hidden away. IT COST $30 TO ENTER THE HOUSE. I was appalled. I didn’t want to go and considered waiting in the car, but Ma and Midget were insistent that it was going to be a good time. “THERE ARE FLOORS OF GLASS!” they cried, “THERE IS A GIANT CARROUSEL!” they shouted. “WHATEVER, FINE, SIPHON OFF MY FUNDS!” I wept and we entered what seemed to be a museum dedicated to the designer of the house.
I hated him on sight. My mother, though, seemed enchanted by it all and started shouting how alike I was to him. I didn’t like these comparisons. The gentleman seemed mad to me. I mean mad in the British fashion, not angry. I’m a great fan of British slang. The fellow, I don’t want to write his name and give him more credit after death, none of it deserved, mind you, was obviously an insane hoarder. Plaques on the wall went on and on about his genius and his collections and I was exhausted by it all.
After this miserable museum dedicated to the lunatic, we journeyed on to the house. At this point, I was still somewhat interested since I’m a great fan of architecture, but the house was disgusting. It was dimly lit, carpet covered every surface, there were no windows, the ceilings were so low that I regularly hit my head upon them, the place reeked of mildew, there were massive pots nonsensically arranged all over the place, etc. MY DISDAIN WAS UNENDING.
I couldn’t believe I had paid thirty dollars to suffer through this misery. Here I am sitting on one of the dozens of bizarrely carpeted sitting areas strewn randomly throughout the “house.” I refuse to believe it was a home because there was only a minuscule kitchen in the gate house and there were no bathrooms or bedrooms.
One of the iconic parts of the “house” is this idiotic bridge thing that stretches out over the forest canopy below. I HATED IT. The view wasn’t that great and it was carpeted and I just HATED IT.
There was no cellular service here either. I HATED IT.
After we finished with the “house,” it was time to see his collections. By this point, I knew I was in for a nightmare and BROTHER WAS I RIGHT!
First was this ridiculous place that I can’t even begin to describe to you. There was a cheesy recreation of a turn-of-the-century town. IT WAS AWFUL. It was like being in a nightmarish version of a Disney park except there was no magic or budget or design charm or anything worth anything.
When you buy your ticket, you’re given these coins that operate different machines throughout the “attraction.” One was for this carnival machine below. It was the only good thing about the place.
It obviously knew what it was doing.
The misery continued and we were soon in some tragic, dimly-lit building that appeared to be a leaking airplane hanger. Leaking might be an understatement — water was literally gushing in from above. It wasn’t raining. This worried me. In the center of it all was a giant recreation whale. IT WAS STUPID. There were ramps surrounding the whale and there were terribly lit cases filled with memorabilia — most of it recreations. TRAGIC.
This misery continued for ages and then all of a sudden were were in a Liberace nightmare. A labyrinth of red velvet walls was interspersed with robotic orchestras that played the most awful music. I COULDN’T BEAR IT. Then all of a sudden there was this massive carousel:
It was actually terrifying. Too massive. Too loud. Too dark. Mannequins were hung from the ceiling with their lamé dresses falling off of them macabrely with wings pinned to their back. It was horrible, reader, and I wanted nothing more to be done. But we still had another enormous exhibit to suffer through. My reaction:
I wanted out of this putrefying hellhole!
The last exhibit was the worst. First you enter this subterranean pit that is like Phantom of the Opera gone wrong. It made zero sense. I don’t understand. I can’t understand. After, we were thrown into a maze of FIVE HUNDRED DOLL HOUSES. Who the eff collects FIVE HUNDRED DOLL HOUSES!??! This fellow was clearly a demented pervert. After this, there was a terrifying circus exhibit. Loud music and I ran…RIGHT INTO A MASSIVE HALLWAY OF GUNS. Every gun ever made was all over the walls. It was horrible.
This led into an exhibit about the British monarchy, which was vaguely interesting until we discovered that everything was a recreation. At this point we were LITERALLY RUNNING out, desperate for freedom, for fresh air, to get away from this miserable pit. I COULDN’T DEAL. NEVER GO TO THE HOUSE ON THE ROCK. BURN THE HOUSE ON THE ROCK. DEMOLISH THE HOUSE ON THE ROCK. BOMB THE HOUSE ON THE ROCK. NUKE IT, READER!
Finally, hours later, we were in our car, tires squealing out of that shit storm. On our way, we saw Taliesin, which soothed my frayed nerves. No wonder good old Frank hated THE HOUSE ON THE ROCK. He’s even more my idol than ever now.
We drove and we drove through the hinterlands, passing through one little village after another — they’re actually called villages in Wisconsin, I love that. I was starving to death. We stopped at a gas station and I bought cheese curds and cranberry wine. Almost all wine is screw top these days, but not this one WAS AN EFFING CORK! When my sister and I couldn’t open a bottle of champagne years ago we smashed it against the side of a truck. Worked well. THE DRIVE WAS A MISERY.
Finally we made it to Eau Claire, a city that meets my approval. What I saw of it, at least. We only went downtown to a charming restaurant called Mona Lisa. Mother was anxious of it all, she doesn’t care for trying new things, but all the reviews I had read were favorable so I knew it was going to be alright and it really was.
ME with the menu. So many options! Ma sat for twenty minutes browsing the menu without actually reading any of it. She’s awful with menus. She wanted some steak thing, but was outraged by the price. I told her to be bold and daring and order what she wanted, which caused her to burst into tears. I was the Oprah of Mona Lisa. I ordered eggplant manicotti. Interesting. The eggplant was thinly sliced, deep fried, then rolled around ricotta cheese and topped with a chunky tomato sauce. Good. The salad on the side was excellent as well. I do enjoy a good vinaigrette. I also had a margarita and a flour-less chocolate cake. ‘Twas good.
Then we continued on our drive and finally made it to the Poskin Resort to see Auntie where we drank a lot and talked to everybody. I adore my Wisconsin family, they’re a hoot and a half.
After the resort, we went to Midge’s house and I played with Bob and Mini Bob, her adorable kittens. Mini Bob did not want to stay with me. Bob liked me much more!
When we finally arrived at our hotel, we were informed that they had been overbooked and they were putting us up in the conference room for nothing. Kindly of them. The conference room was massive. There were drop tiles. I don’t approve, but it’s okay because everywhere else is covered in popcorn texture. POPCORN TEXTURE IS FROM SATAN. Here’s our room:
We spent the next day in Rice Lake. They used to grow rice here, thus the name. I never knew. There is also a Turtle Lake here. There must be an abundance of turtles.
After I awoke from my slumber, we had some pastries from the Barron Bakery. Good cookies.
We went to a Farmers Market that was muy pequeño. We stopped in bunches of shops. It was strange going through a town that actually had a decent shopping area. Most towns in Iowa are ghost towns when it comes to business. They’re just places to live and work. You don’t buy your clothes in town, you don’t go to the bakery in town, you don’t do anything in town. For that, you go to the city. It was nice. There was even a Food Co-op. I love those.
Then we went to one of my favorite places: FLEET & FARM! (or FARM & FLEET? They both exist. They’re the same thing.) Outside I posed in a cage!
It’s like the beginning of a classy porn or a cage dancing routine! WATCH ME BOOTY TOOCH, TYRA, YOU WERE A FOOL NOT TO CAST ME!
I loved the Fleet & Farm/Farm & Fleet. I bought pumpkin seeds!
Then we went shopping for flowers and then back to the resort for drinkies. I had a gin and tonic. I always forget how much I enjoy gin and tonic. GIN, GIN, GIN!
We grilled at Auntie’s house and then had an impromptu sparkler fashion shoot. I did. Nobody else seemed to know it was going down.
We shot off huge fireworks and it was all lovely.
OH! I WENT FOUR-WHEELING. I’ve never driven a four-wheeler before and I’m shocked that I now understand. It’s an awful lot of fun to zoom through the woods and splash though rivers and fear for your life. I didn’t see any bears, though. #Sadsies.
We drove through Minneapolis on the way home. I always like Minneapolis. We also passed through Stillwater, and I was saddened that we didn’t have time to stop. When we arrived in Saint Paul, we had breakfast at Pâtisserie 46, one of the better bakeries that I’ve been to in America. I’ve been to plenty.
I had the chocolate-raspberry tart and espresso. Both good. The croissant was blah. I don’t like croissants outside of Paris. I’m a pastry bitch. The baguette was excellent.
THEN WE WENT TO IKEA! I absolutely adore IKEA. I couldn’t find enough nice things to say about it. Whenever I go, the shop tweets me nonstop. I think they’re fans…or stalkers. Is there a difference? I bought nothing! It was strange. I was just browsing around for what I’ll need to finish the kitchen up. I found them all: a metal shelf, gorgeous refrigerator, sinks, counters, and cupboards. They installed a new white kitchen in the demo room and I’m even more obsessed with it than the last one. I NEVER THOUGHT I COULD LOVE A KITCHEN SO MUCH! I love that place. There’s a stunning ROOM on one of the first corners that I want to turn into my own Parisian apartment. I’ll have one some day and I would love if it were one of those wondrous Haussmannian places on a gorgeous boulevard decorated with a blending of IKEA and casual antiques. It’d be gorgeous.
After IKEA, we went to the Mall of America to buy shoes. I bought a lovely pair of Calvin Klein’s but I told you about them earlier. I wept at Burberry, I went to all the shops, there’s a massive Forever 21 and I finally got to see the men’s department of a Forever 21. IT WAS GREAT. THERE WERE SHOES WITH STUDDED SPIKES AND GOLDEN BACKPACKS. CURSE MY BUDGET
There’s a really modern hotel in the mall now and I’d love to stay there soon. It looks like such fun.
We had dinner at Tucci Benucch and it was lovely, even though the waitress called me a lady and I refused to give her a tip.
The drive was endless and THEN WE HIT A DEER!
The deer seemed to fly right onto the hood and we thumped over it and it flew to the other side of the road and we coasted over where steam billowed dramatically around us. We sat there for hours chatting with the sheriff before the hillbilly tow truck arrived. HE WAS SCARY. We had to sit in his SCARY tow truck for two hours, reader! It shut down once, he almost ran out of gas, and then his keys did something strange.
I fled the truck as soon as we got to Perry and hopped in Jose’s car and hurried home. THANK GOD!