We actually left on time-ish. For us. Okay, we were a half hour behind schedule, but it was no big deal. Unless, of course, you ask Nathan to whom everything is a big deal.
Mathman drove for a while and I snapped photos, handed out gum to help pop ears as we drove through the mountains and refereed when the kids fussed about who had more space. Kitty Noir, aka PorkChop, mewed from his cat carrier. He was confused. I'd tried doping him with the tranquilizers from the vet, but didn't give him a large enough dose so he was sleepy and confused.
Finally, Sophie took the cat out of the carrier and he settled right down.
We drove through North Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Like Erma Bombeck, I entered most states butt first as I hung over the backseat sorting out one thing or another. Kitty Noir aka Porkchop curled up on top of the cat carrier and slept.
Nathan's new fun habit is to boo things that displease him. During the drive north, he booed traffic, his parents, a man in a car next to us who accidentally swerved into our lane, his sister, the Congress, MSNBC, Bob Hope and Tchaikovsky.
We looked at the pretty scenery. And talked about everything and nothing at all.
Nickajack Lake in Tennessee
We reached Indiana, the longest, most boring state through which to drive north to south and vice versa. So I took a photo at the rest stop where we stopped to relieve ourselves and paw through the brochures. I love seeing how my homestate markets itself.
We'd originally planned to stop at the halfway point which would have been just north of Louisville, but MathMan's sister said she didn't mind if we disrupted her sleep by arriving in the wee hours so we pushed on through.
Between Indianapolis and Chicago, we noticed red lights dotting the landscape. They blinked in sync. What is that?
Windmills. A wind farm in Indiana. Alternative energy in the same state that has privatized its toll road? That privatization sucks, by the way. They cut their costs by replacing the human beings with ATM machines. I've never sat in such long lines at a toll booth. And the road quality? Horrible. Mitch Daniels Fail. Illinois hasn't gone that way and by comparison, their tollroads are a delight.
We arrived in Des Plaines and tumbled from the car, but not before we drove around the block and gawked at our old house in the dark. It looked okay, new siding, new fence, but the huge tree in the back yard was gone and so were the Chinese Elms that I'd planted as sticks. When we left in 2003, they were well over ten feet tall. I had Nathan boo the new owners.
We woke up and went for breakfast at a traditional coffee shop. No Starbucks when there's a Sugarbowl, thank you.
We drove around the old haunts until it was time to take Pork Chop to his new home. The photo below is from the drive north. I didn't want you to think we forced the kitten to drive around Chicago and its environs.
MathMan and Nate took the train downtown where they walked from Madison and State up to the Water Tower and back. Sophie and I took kitty to his new home. One word. Love. We love Lyra and her family and PorkChop is going to be so loved. He even has his own perch, lucky kitty. Lyra tells the story best.
Nathan didn't boo a single thing while we were there.
Mathman, Nate and I went out for our traditional bagels at Bagel Country in Skokie. I had toasted with cream cheese, MathMan had untoasted with lox and the full plate, Nate had PBandJ. We ate like it was 1999 all over again. Nate noted that he could never be an Orthodox Jew, it's too restrictive. Yeah, I get that. But wouldn't you like to be part of a community like this sometimes? I wanted to know. He scanned the room as he chewed his PBandJ bagel and nodded. Sometimes.
This face was anxious to get to the beach. It would be her first time that she remembered going.
But first we had to have Super Dawg. Hiya!
bloggers. It was so nice to sit and visit with him. Joe is as awesome as I expected, even more.
We made it to the beach. It was a gorgeous day for it.
MathMan and Nate took another train to go see the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. We picked them up after the game and went to Joe the Cop's police station for a tour. It was so cool.
I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say, but we had a very thorough tour of the facilities, including the firing range where they have these targets featuring Chuck Norris and Gary Coleman. I mean, right?
We also saw the room with the confiscated firearms including the first one Joe had to take from a suspect. We got to hold a rifle from WWII. Dang. Those soldiers were toting some heavy kit.
Joe asked for volunteers to spend a few minutes in a cell. Nate and I said sure. That's an experience I wouldn't want to live through involuntarily. There was a bed attached t the wall, a sink and a toilet. There was a slot in the door where you get your food. The sound of the door clanging shut is what really gets to you. I have video of the door closing behind us and I'll post it if I can figure out how to download it from my phone. All that time spent in jail slowed down my technological learning, you know?
Come to think of it, if they left the lights on, that cell would be the perfect place to finish my novel.
Yes, Nathan booed when the door went clunk. Of course.
Joe knows his business. If I'm ever arrested, I hope it's in (redacted), Illinois. I mean, my brother could arrest me, too, but then my parents would hear about it and it would turn into a big thing and everyone would get involved and there'd be yelling and tears and oh I'd never live that shit down. So (redacted) it is.
We arrived at MathMan's sisters to a Lane Tech Band party in full swing. I met people I've only heard of for years. Good people, all tied together because of the influence of my late father-in-law who I never got a chance to meet. Looking around at all those people who still love making music, I can tell you, he left his mark on the world.
Mathman dragged me from my hiding place and made me get in the car. I pouted as I drove south on I294. Nathan booed us all for good measure. We made great time, considering the construction traffic jam somewhere on I65. At my behest, Nate booed the construction workers. Then we took it back because I can tell you, after crossing many, many bridges, this country needs to put some money into infrastructure improvements.
The wind farm in the daylight. It's wild. You can learn about it here. We actually saw some of the rotors on trailers being hauled by large trucks. Enormous. No booing. We cheered the ingenuity of it all.
On the way back, we did get to visit amyg. It is such a kick to meet in person the people who make up this wonderful community. Amy is as gorgeous and full of life in person as she is online. Before we met, I phoned her to let her know that we were a pretty surly bunch. I was driving, Mathman was shotgun and referee and the kids just wanted to be home already. Amy was undeterred. She brought along her two little ones and joined us for some Big Boy outside of Louisville. We had a great time, as always, too short. Amy's kids are precious and my own even behaved. Nathan didn't boo anyone.
Cliched as it is, it's good to be "home." Now to get busy finding a way to get back to where I really want to be...