Reunited with Alexa and it feels so good.

I got back from my work trip Friday afternoon and immediately went home, as I’d put in a bunch of extra hours in the evenings. This allowed me to sit on the patio and relax, despite the heat and humidity. I soldiered through with cold beer and music.

I was happy to be reunited with Tara again after four long days away. Sydney, too. But you know who else I missed? Alexa. I can’t tell you how many times I’d spoken to her from my room at the AmericInn. “Alexa, what’s the weather forecast for Sioux Falls?” “Alexa, turn on the lights.” “Alexa, what time is it?” “Alexa, I’m a little tense. Can you give me a lower back massage?”

Yeah. That last one never works at home, either. But with constant advances in AI technology, I hold out hope that one day she’ll do it when I ask.

It is funny just how dependent on my Echo devices I have become. Asking Alexa questions is apparently a muscle memory reflex these days.

As I mentioned in my last post, there were some highlights during this work outing, but more than a few lowlights, too. The multiple cancelled interviews were annoying, but I can only blame myself for the worst offense. Thursday afternoon, I decided to drive to Look’s Marketplace in Sioux Falls. I didn’t feel like going out to a restaurant that evening—chilling in my room sounded like the better option my final night there—and I knew this upscale market/food hall carried some great grab-‘n-go meal options. So, I hopped in the car, drove the 24 minutes to the market, walked into the store, reached for my wallet…and realized I’d left it sitting on the dresser back in my motel room.


It was already nearly a one-hour roundtrip, and I had no desire to do it all over again, so I left empty-handed. After browsing the aisles and noticing some enticing options that would have hit the spot, like an ahi tuna bowl and a beef stroganoff.

I ended up ordering from Pizza Ranch, the only restaurant in Hartford, SD that actually delivers. I’d texted my plans to Tara, and her response was, Eww.

“It’s just a small cheese pizza,” I replied. “How bad can it be?”

Not bad at all, it turns out. If you’re a fan of cardboard. Pizza Ranch does really good fried chicken, but ironically, their pizza leaves much to be desired. Really, they should rebrand as Chicken Ranch to help manage expectations.

I should also mention that I interviewed the owner of this Pizza Ranch last year and wrote an article on him. He’s very involved in supporting the community and beloved throughout town, so the fact that I’m not enamored with his pizza is no knock on him.

Probably the most interesting thing happening at the motel was the family of Hutterites staying there. I’m just spitballing here, but Hutterites, for the uninitiated, are a communal ethnoreligious branch of Anabaptists, who, like the Amish and Mennonites, trace their roots to the Radical Reformation of the early 16th century and have formed intentional communities.

OK, fine. That was all Alexa. Now you know why I missed her so!

I was hoping they were waiting for their horse and buggy to show up, but Hutterites actually drive cars.

South Dakota is home to a large Hutterite community in the eastern portion of the state. Not sure what they were doing at the AmericInn, but it was fun to see them gathered around a computer in the lobby. Hutterites aren’t quite as strict as the Amish; they don’t shun modern technology, but they do limit its use. Many isolate themselves from the outside world, and TVs—and in some cases, the internet—are banned.

Sometimes, I’m jealous of their lifestyle.

This weekend has been pretty relaxing. It’s the calm before (and after) the storm. Work is going to be crazy busy the next few weeks; I have to reschedule the interviews that cancelled and do write-ups on everybody by July 8. Wouldn’t be so bad if that were all I had to do, but there’s the usual barrage of regular work, too: weekly web articles, bill messages, the monthly employee newsletter, the bimonthly subscriber newsletter, and roughly another dozen random assignments. I may have to barricade myself in my office the next few weeks. Either that, or run off to a Hutterite colony.

On top of that, Tara’s sister and her fiancé are flying in Thursday evening and visiting us for a week. As soon as they leave—literally, the moment we drop them off at the airport—we are heading east ourselves. Planning a visit to Madison, Wisconsin, over the long 4th of July weekend. We kind of fell in love with the town last year on the tail end of our road trip, but only had about 16 hours there, half of which we slept through. We want to devote more time to exploring the area, including a detour to Milwaukee one day. Neither of us have been there before.

So, LOTS going on to keep us busy this summer! How ’bout you? Got any exciting travel plans in the next few months? Ever do a really boneheaded thing like drive somewhere and realize you forgot your wallet? Do you sometimes envy the lifestyle of the Hutterites or Mennonites or Amish?

32 thoughts on “Reunited with Alexa and it feels so good.

  1. I do no wish I was Amish, etc. I like modern technology. Okay, well… there could be some highlights. I mean, growing up without all this new fangled technology wasn’t so bad. But to know what you’re missing would be rough. If it were me seeing those people, I would’ve so badly wanted to know what they were doing in town. Wasn’t the writer in you curious?
    I once was in the check-out line with a pregnant belly and two small children when I THEN realized I didn’t have my wallet. The nice old man in line behind me kindly paid. Fortunately, it wasn’t a big order. Still, I’m pretty sure I cried a little as I thanked him and hugged him. I was very pregnant after all.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, of course I wanted to know their story! But I didn’t want to intrude. The old guy with the cane? He was bent over at a 90-degree angle with every step he took. I wanted to know what that was all about!

      Very nice of the guy behind you to pay. I was tempted to play the “woe is me” card at the marketplace, but I’m not pregnant, so…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe they were there for a funeral. :/

        I would’ve been super irritated in your situation, especially with the long drive. I’m just glad you discovered your missing wallet BEFORE it was time to pay. If only the pizza had been good to make it all worth it. :/

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I sunk so low, I actually bought a can of chili and planned to nuke that in the motel room microwave. But, that just felt a little too much like slumming.

        After eating the pizza, I regretted not making the chili.


  2. We do have travel plans for August, but they are still in the works. I remember my son and his wife really liked Madison when they did a big loop of the Upper Peninsula/Wisconsin/Chicago.

    After having visited Amish country one too many times, I give it a hard pass.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If I have my purse, I have my wallet. I have, however, gotten a few texts from my husband who has arrived somewhere only to realize he didn’t have his wallet which means I have to drive to the rescue. It’s only fair. He saves me from spiders so the least I can do is take him his wallet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How funny would it have been if I’d called Tara and asked her to bring me my wallet? Five hours later, she would have pulled into the parking lot with it. Something tells me she wouldn’t have been amused…


  4. I can honestly say I’ve never wanted to be Amish. The only book they’re allowed to read is the Bible and that would kill me right there. And I agree with Linda, women are never without their purses and our wallets are in our purses. I have never been hungry without the ability to pay. If that isn’t incentive enough for you to sling a stylish leather hobo over your shoulder, I have no sympathy for you .

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Aha – Madison! BUSTED! Shhh – I won’t tell anyone.
    And darn, I knew you had family coming in but didn’t quite know when. Turns out your relatives are arriving the very night we’ll be heading to your neck of the woods, but I’m fairly certain we might be missing Rapid City altogether because it would be out of our way to go that route. Ah well, perhaps when you visit Cheeseland we can meet up.
    We don’t have an Alexa, but we do have a touch faucet in the kitchen. When we go anywhere – a hotel, our travel trailer, my mom’s house – we always touch the faucet stem and expect it to turn on. Gets us every time. We even touch the faucet stem of our wet bar EVERY SINGLE TIME, but it’s just a regular old faucet with a handle. Funny, habits are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know what you’re talking about, T.A. Other than the fact that Madison is the capital of Wisconsin, which should be enough to earn me a gold star.

      Our guests arrive late…9:30 in the evening. So, if you do happen to come through Rapid, feel free to reach out anyway. We’ll have some time to kill before heading to the airport anyway. But don’t go out of your way either!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dude, you gotta pull the “left my wallet at home” trick when you’re going out in a group. Bummer that you didn’t have Apple Pay…but I guess you would need an iPhone and I know you are partial to the brand that has exploding batteries.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Google Pay is a thing, too. In fact, I had that thought when I was there…but I don’t have an account and wasn’t sure how easy or quick it would be to set one up.

      And, ahem, my boss’s iPhones have also had swollen batteries. It’s not just an Android thing!


  7. I went to get my hair done a few months ago and realized I’d left my wallet at home…after it was all done….😆 I have a Google phone which spies on me and allows me to hey Google as much as I want….

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I actually had to have my daughter run down with my card!! Not as nice as you’d think considering how long I’ve gone there


  8. Well, I’ve got to say, all that wandering around the Pizza Ranch probably overworks the dough. But hopefully it’s free-range cardboard pizza. 🙂

    I leave my wallet behind all the time when I switch bags to have all the options available for my two kids. I’ve taken to leaving cash in a hidden place in the car just in case.

    Love your busy weekend plans. We are going to Leavenworth, WA which kinda feels like leaving the country (and I’m thinking you’ll get that joke as a former Pacific-NW’er) and Whidbey Island. It feels like with our summers, it’s the best to stick close to home and enjoy it!

    Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m very familiar with Leavenworth, having visited several times over the years! Always wanted to make a long weekend out of it, but the closest I came to staying there was the Icicle Creek Campground 25 minutes away. Beautiful setting, but it’s forever tainted because I almost drowned. Good times, good times!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow – almost drowned sounds pretty dramatic. Glad you made it safely out. I haven’t stayed at that campground but learned to rock climb on some routes right above Icicle Creek. Lovely area!


  9. I carry a purse that contains everything I would need if I were stranded on a desert island. A slight exaggeration. 🙂 Pizza varies so much from place to place. Many around here seem to be enamored of an ultra thin crust which is like eating a cracker with toppings. Give me the bready crust any day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Papa Murphy’s does a good take-n-bake thin crust that could teach Pizza Ranch a thing or two! But, I’m with you. Watching carbs is no fun. If it were up to me, I could probably live on deep dish pizza.


  10. We don’t have an Alexa and don’t plan on acquiring one but if she starts giving back massages, I may have to rethink the whole paranoid “who is really listening to my husband and me discuss our dinner and TV viewing plans?” thing. Never forgot my wallet that I can remember but I have had my share of disappointing in-room meals at hotels because I was too lazy to venture past the local convenience store.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We’ve been to the grocery store twice, carried out the weekly shop, got to paying time – only for Himself to realise he’d left his wallet behind. The second time, I’d even asked the question before he left. Both he and the – male – grocery store attendant, said that was my fault because I’d messed up his usual routine 😀 I’ve taken to carrying my purse with me to the grocery store again when we both go.

    Anytime someone mentions their electronic assistant by name, it makes me react oddly as I’ve a very good friend called Alexa. I feel like I’m going to have to call her Alex or Lexi from now on.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Got any exciting travel plans in the next few months? None.

    Ever do a really boneheaded thing like drive somewhere and realize you forgot your wallet? Yes, but I realized it before I walked into Kroger to do our weekly grocery shopping. I’d have been ticked to the nth degree if I’d realized it when I got to the cashier.

    Do you sometimes envy the lifestyle of the Hutterites or Mennonites or Amish? I don’t envy their lifestyle. Wearing all that fabric year round would drive me batty.


  13. I have the same co-dependent relationship with Siri.
    Yes, simpler lives would be so much better. But with air conditioning. And cars. And Siri. And less clothing.

    We’ve been a’traveling already! I could use some ‘home time’ but we’re about to head up to our place in GA for the fourth…I’m looking forward to that.

    Have a great trip!

    Liked by 1 person

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