One of the key pieces I've been looking for is an antique/vintage secretary desk. I've seen at least a dozen that weren't quite right or if they were, had too many zeroes in the price. Last week I found the perfect secretary for a great price in Iowa. The town was over 600 miles away - with trailer rental and hotel rooms, the secretary would still be well below the prices I've seen everywhere else. I brought it up with my husband, hoping that he'd talk some sense into me. No luck, he bought the piece of furniture and the family got ready to hit the road. I have to say that Iowa is really a beautiful state. The rolling hills were a welcome reprieve from the unrelenting flatness of Indiana and Illinois. We stopped in Iowa City the first night - kind of weird that the Iowa River runs right through the middle of U of Iowa's campus. Part of the university was under water last year when the Iowa River flooded - it looks like renovation is ongoing in the large and still-new buildings that flank the banks of the river. I'd like to visit Iowa City again if we had more time - it's no Penn State but it was a really nice university town.
We made it to Lamoni, Iowa (where we picked up the -exactly what I wanted- secretary) and stopped at Maid-Rite for lunch. I knew about loose-meat sandwiches from watching Roseanne as a kid, but had never seen one in person. I had a Maid-Rite topped salad. I expected the worst but it was really good, not greasy or weird tasting at all.
The next day, we decided that a detour through South Bend, Indiana would be a nice way to wrap up the trip. That is one depressing town. It was hard not to notice the huge dichotomy between the haves and have-nots in South Bend to the extent that it felt cartoonishly like propaganda against capitalism. Despite the general suckiness of the town, if anyone has to go to Notre Dame for a weekend I would highly recommend the Oaken Bucket. We had a great 'lunner' there on Sunday afternoon with the help of a Sierra-Nevada on draught (totally makes up for the 22 hours spent in the car over three days).
Now that we're home, I have three major painting/refinishing projects on the way. I'll try to remember to take pictures and post my progress. Also: went back to Weight Watchers yesterday - I'll post more about that soon.