Milwaukee Domes

Milwaukee Gave Me Back My Mojo

In Courage, Divorce, Humor, Travel by Jen10 Comments

I just took an important trip. Since splitting from #2, I feel like I have lost my confidence. It is difficult when you don’t have “your person” anymore to rely on, to feel safe. I’m more anxious with tasks that I relied of #2 for like home repair and car maintenance. Being a single parent is overwhelming much of the time.

My daughter has become a talented photographer. That is her medium at the art high school she attends. This year, three of her photographs were entered in a competition. The regional entries totaled over 3,500. She found out in January that ALL THREE of her pieces were chosen for an award! She was over the moon…I was so proud!

The photo that received the highest honor was going to be part of an exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The Museum’s collections of decorative arts, prints and paintings are among the finest in the county. This…was…HUGE!

We missed the award ceremony, due to a snowstorm. Really?  WTF Jack Frost! Disappointed? Damn right! So, we  planned to travel to Milwaukee to see the show the next weekend. Now Milwaukee is MUCH larger and MORE urban than my current lo-cal and the traffic…anyone remember Frogger? THAT is how I feel driving in HEAVY traffic. It is NOT…MY…JAM!

I was so excited to make this trip with my daughter, but I was STRESSED, ANXIOUS and PARANOID! I considered renting a car since my car has over 100K miles and I worried about the car breaking down. I didn’t. I decided I was more concerned about the possibility of the rental car getting hit, keyed or stolen. Yeah, not real logical…I KNOW.

I scoured hotel websites looking for a great place, which was hard since I have never stayed in Milwaukee before.
Pics and Google Maps can only get ya so far. Fast forward to me discussing hotels with one of my 9-5er coworkers. “You should try Hotwire,” she said. “I have gotten great deals before staying at the Pfister for 85 bucks!” Now the Pfister is a Milwaukee hotel icon! It celebrates it’s 125th anniversary this year. Rooms will run you a few hundred dollars a night.

Hmm. Well 85 bucks for the Pfister vs. La Quinta Inn sounds killer! Maybe I’ll give Hotwire a try. As you may or may not know, for these super deals ya don’t really know where you’ll actually be staying until AFTER ya hit the button and a non-refundable charge hits your credit card. So I threw caution to the wind and searched for a 4 star hotel in Downtown Milwaukee and crossed every part of my body that I could and a GREAT deal came up! With sweaty palms, I hit “book now.” The result…Potowatomi Hotel and Casino. Uh oh. At least there’s free valet…

I knew once I got us into the city, I DID NOT want to drive around in it. “Mom, we’ll just take an Uber or Lyft.” Ok, I’m not totally out of it, I know what Uber and Lyft are, but I have never used them. So, I did what we do now with the disintegration of our society and downloaded the apps to my phone. Then I planned our escape from a moving car if we were taken hostage. Yeah, again not real logical…I KNOW.

Saturday arrives. I silently reminded myself not to outwardly show panic. My daughter struggles with anxiety and I knew if I showed fear it would cause her to panic and that would ruin the trip for her. I tell myself “you.got.this” and recited some “Roar” lyrics into the bathroom mirror (thanks Katy Perry)….it’s go time. So, we dropped our pups off at puppy jail, aka the boarder, I took a deep breath and we hit the highway.

I am blessed. The relationship my daughter and I have is one that not every mom is lucky enough to have. We are very close. Our drive into Milwaukee was filled with lots of conversation. She was a great navigator and after a slight detour, we found our way to the parking ramp adjoining the hotel.

With check in time a few hours away, we parked the car and took our first ever Lyft ride to the Milwaukee Art Museum after the Uber app failed. SOL Uber! After our first ride, I knew this is the only way to see the city! No need to call for a cab, you just key in a destination, hit a button and in what seemed like a nanosecond a car appears to take you wear you want to go.

Our time at the Museum was something I will cherish forever. To see the pride and excitement my daughter felt as she stood next to her work in an exhibition in the same museum with Andy Warhol’s art was wonderful. He is one of her art heroes. She was beaming! We toured the Museum and had a blast! What a beautiful place!

We caught our second Lyft of the trip to head back to the hotel and check in. Our driver, Christopher, was great! In our ten minutes together, we found out that this super cool 20-something left his home in LA to drive alone cross country to pursue his dream job. He’d been in Milwaukee for only a month, but had just found out HE GOT THE JOB!

We got to our room on the 10th floor. The view of the skyline was stunning! We hit the jackpot…pun intended! The room was lovely, so we decided to enjoy the evening there binge-watching Fixer Upper. We even ordered room service…another first!  It was pure bliss!

Day two began with breakfast in bed. The blueberry pancakes were delish! We lounged around a little bit longer to enjoy a few more minutes in our beautiful room. We had one more stop before we headed home…the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory.

This place is amazing! There are three large domes that houses different types of plants. The first one we visited was the tropical dome. You felt like you were dropped into the middle of the rain forest. Although the dome is less than 15,000 square feet it contained over 1,200 species of tropical plants as well as tropical birds. There was even a banana tree! A-mazing!

Dome two was the desert dome. The deserts of five countries is represented. The collection of cacti and succulents is world class. Fuzzy cactus…who knew! Mind blown!

In the last dome there was a special exhibit called Railroad to Wonderland. This was absolutely adorable! Miniature Alice in Wonderland vignettes scattered around beautiful flowers and plants with model trains running throughout. I enjoyed watching the excited children scurrying about with parents running behind them.

We were “lyfted” back to our car and began our trip home. My daughter slept most of the way leaving me to my thoughts. This trip had a lot of firsts. First time driving into the city. First time taking a Lyft. First time visiting a true art museum. First time staying in a four star hotel. First time ordering room service. First time visiting “The Domes.”

It was truly a wonderful time and I did it…I.REALLY.DID.IT. I put aside my stress, anxiety and paranoia and conquered the unknown and that has made all the difference. I feel much more confident in myself and what I can handle on my own without having a husband around. Thank you, Milwaukee. I got my mojo back, baby!

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Comments

  1. Sounds like quite the adventure! But it will definitely be one of those moments y’all look back on fondly. Good job driving in that weather! I’m not nearly as brave!

    1. Author

      Yes, it sure was, but was terrific! The weather was great then. We got out town before the ice storm! Thanks for your comment!

  2. It sounds like you have such a great relationship with you daughter! I hope to have that with mine when she is in high school. And I give you so much credit for doing it on you own – you got this, mama!

    1. Author

      Yes, we have a great relationship and I feel blessed that we are so close. I hope you and your daughter continue your close bond as she gets older. It goes by in a flash! Thank you for the encouragement, Jenna! I appreciate it!

  3. I’m so happy for you that you were able to push through and be there for your daughter. I can see how this is such a meaningful moment. It was very inspiring to read. We should always push ourselves out of our comfort zones and be as self reliant as we can. You’re such a great example to you daughter. Congratulations!!

    1. Author

      Me too! It was very meaningful. She is still beaming! Thank you for your kind comments, Angie. I really appreciate it!

  4. Congratulations! It’s such a big accomplishment, being able to putting aside stress, anxiety, and paranoia — well done! Here is to conquering the world, one small step at a time!!!!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Sahar! I really appreciate your encouraging comments! I think your advice of one small step at a time is something I need to remember!

  5. Aw what a precious story! Congratulations to your daughter, photography is a tough place to stand out, she must be incredibly talented. Congrats on moving past your fears and conquering unknown territory. 🙂

    1. Author

      Hi Ruby! Thank you! Yes, I think she has found her calling, which is a great advantage at her age. Now we are looking at art schools for college. Where has the time gone?

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