part II – the windy city
we did laundry, re-organized the van, had the scheduled maintenance done on the van–and slept in our own beds for two nights…and less than 48 hours after our trek to utah and back…we (mom, dad, son, daughter) continued the epic road trip of our lives…this time, we headed east, towards chicago…to see my sister there (for more details on my sister–see the post titled, “my sister, chris”)…
we knew we could make it…heck we just drove several thousand miles together…we made it through that trip, successfully, in large part to ‘how the kids did’ (and with the mercy of the Lord, of course)…yes, it was intense, and yes, our son had an ear infection…but, they managed surprisingly well…way better than i thought…i think ‘they did well’ because “my wife planned well” and had (in addition to episodes of “paw patrol” and “jake”) a lot of ‘low-tech’ activities for them…reading books, coloring/activity sheets and books, white boards, cars and action figures, etc. – and we had two “blessed bags of saving grace” from my wife’s coworker and friend, kate…thank you, kate…your stuff + my wife’s stuff made it fun for the kids!
anyways, this is my first person account of the second phase of fury road:
1. 1130am – we leave the twin cities (we had planned to leave at 9am).
2. 630pm – we arrive in chicago (one of the all-time great american cities) – making extremely good time (the drive seems like a snap after the previous adventure).
3. my sister, chris, makes pizzas. we eat, talk, and relax.
4. we “hit the hay” – and set up camp in her two room apartment.
5. meltdown #1 happens – jack “goes ape” during breakfast at the lucky platter (we see the first signs of life on the road).
6. we recover.
7. we drive down to millennium park and hangout, play and eat italian ice; it turns out to be a fun day, especially for the kids…and it is great to have some time to catch up with chris and hear how her life is going and for her to hear the same from us…we’ve never had the kids with us in chicago before…it is great to see!
8. nap time.
9. meltdown #2 happens – jack and grace “go ape” after nap time (we see the next signs of life on the road).
10. the travels are catching up with the kids. they are on the ropes. minutes from a knockout. it looks bleak.
11. my wife uses her magic powers to “rally the kids”.
12. we recover.
13. we go to dave’s italian kitchen for my sister’s birthday dinner – great food; we come home, open presents and “face-time” with my parents–who are on face time for the first time, which makes the entire call all the more entertaining.
14-18. the day is good. we have brunch, take naps, and ride the “l-train”. jack and grace can hardly contain themselves (it’s as if thomas himself shows up). the train pulls to a stop in front of them and we jump aboard…we ride the train for a “whole 15 minutes” (and it is worth it…just to see the looks on their faces).
19. 830am, the next morning, my wife and i exchange a “knowing look”–translation: yeah, we’re ready to be home.
20. 835am, i give jack his antibiotics and have a flashback to the utah trip (and feel a flash of anger)…medical school is not worth it...then, i try to coach myself back…thinking…let it go, let it go…
21. 836am, i can’t let it go.
22. 837am, i think to myself, i should’ve asked for some “meds”, too.
23. 838am, an ed sheeran song starts playing in my head–loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes…
24. 839am, repeat #22
25. 840am, i “dial it back in” and make 100 trips up and down 50 flights of stairs. to pack the van, i haul an amount of luggage/gear that would normally accompany a professional baseball team.
26. 9am, after a brief stop at dunkin’ donuts, we head home.
27. noon, we stop near madison, have lunch at panera with my wife’s friends.
28. on the drive back, i daydream about a novel new show for TV–amazing race–family style.
29. the idea causes me to have a minor panic attack on the road.
30. i recover.
31. i keep the idea to myself until now.
32. 530pm, home sweet home.
33. happy birthday, chris!
34. jack and grace are presented with their “road warrior” badges – way to go, kids–you’ve earned ’em!
i can’t believe that we just did all that…honestly…we made it…and, at the end of the day…upon reflection…it was insane, but it was also good–we also know that we are fortunate to have the time to do that together, as a family…to be able to be there (in person) and celebrate the people we love–first, with jamie and steve in utah…and then, with chris in chicago…it’s a gift…