Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The One Where I Get Booed


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.

We had dinner with MathMan's brother and his family. It was nice and lowkey. While talking to my sister-in-law, I was struck once again with how nice it is to be able to hang out with someone you've known a long time and it's like no time has passed at all.

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!

Joe the Cop aka Bubs joined us at Super Dawg. We've known Joe for about four or five years now as 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...


  1. This made me miss family trips...

  2. Sigh, I love road trips. We took a lot when the kids were younger. I think we're due another one soon. This was so sweet...

  3. 1. What a great roadtrip.
    2. Boo. I adore Nathan.
    3. You met AmyG -- love your new haircut and color, Amy!
    4. You met AmyG at Big Boy. Love it!
    5. Indiana only rivals Illinois for N/S driving boredom.
    6. But Illinois is worth it because you arrive in Chicago!
    7. Your family is beautiful, Lisa.
    8. Kitty Noir slept "on top of" her carrier. Of course she did.
    9. Porkchop is the best name ever.
    10. When are you driving to California?

  4. I hadn't realized you were homesick for Chicago. Any chance of moving back there?

  5. Susan - This was more fun than we had in the past. The kids are finally at a good age for traveling.

    Barbara - Thanks. I hope you get to go on one soon.

    Teri - Thanks! I may just drive your way if I remain jobless. That would give me something to do and I'd finally get to meet you!

    Susan - I'm very homesick. I'm looking for a job there every day. Every single day.

  6. I hate to admit it. When you messaged me about getting in touch with you - I froze. Knew you had a lot to do. Knew you might just be too busy. The shy me took over and now I regret it.

    I am glad, however, you got to do everything from see that windfarm in Indiana (saw it on way to Disney World in March, it's enormous), enjoy Nathan's booing (negative cheerleader!) to have some honest-to-Chicago hot dogs and bagels.

    Maybe next time around. I'm buying the bagels, though.

  7. What an awesome trip. That beach looks so nice. Love how everyone posed for their pics... well, except for that driver at the top of your post. ;-)

  8. Admit it. The cat was just an excuse. You probably had a dozen offers right in Bartow county, but needed a mental health break from Georgia.

  9. Did you see me waving to you on your way by? The tear in my eye? I can't imagine NOT having the Chicago Metro region at my disposal 24/7 so I understand your wanting to get back here.

    Even with the beastly heat and rampant stupidity, I haven't found its equal. Anywhere!

    Come back! You can't find a job here there. You need boots on the ground.

    I'm willing to host! You'd have easy blue, pink, red line and Metra accessibility and zero obligation. We'll shift around to accommodate. Super Dawg is a bit of a hike, but I assure you there's plenty of "Chicago" food within minutes...

    It sounds like a wonderful (boo) road trip that will provide years of sweet memories. Illinois needs a retention program for people like you. I'll talk to some people...

    Have you checked into working for Radio Flyer?

  10. Road Trip! I bet MathMan is talking about moving back to Chicago now. I can't believe how much Sophie looks like Chloe now, except in the picture where she looks just like Nathan. I'm glad you guys had fun!

  11. I'm gonna miss the ocean. I need to go to the beach while I still can.

  12. The pictures are wonderful and so is the story. I wish you could go back but I do well understand the problem of a two income family with a one income job.

  13. It was cool to get this detailed glimpse of your trip.

    I love Chicago - and I've only been there about three days altogether. I get the attraction - including the extended family and old friends thing.

  14. How did those kids get so grown-up so fast?

  15. I'm so glad the rest of your trip was such a mental health break for you. It was such a treat for me, and just so you know, Mister Chopsalot (J's newest name for him) has hardly had his paws hit the ground before he has been picked up again.

    What beach is that?

  16. Best trip ever! Even with all the boos. (Though I have to say, by the end, I was kind of rooting for Nathan and his booing. He really committed, at least.)

    I also love that you met not one but two blogger friends on this trip. I have yet to meet a blogger friend in real life -- it will happen one day, I'm sure -- but this reminds me of my childhood pen pals. When I was about 11, one of them was passing through my hometown, so she and I and both our families met at Friendly's for ice cream. I still remember the slightly eerie feeling of worlds colliding. In a good way, of course. And omg, just remembered her name was Lisa!

  17. What, no "Are we there yet??" Isn't that a given on family road trips?? Whenever the kids would ask that and the follow-up, "How much longer??" I'd usually say, "Three days!!"

    Sounds like you had a fun trip!!

  18. Booing Tchaikovsky? Whatchutalkinbout?

  19. You got to meet 2 bloggers on the same trip. Yay!!!

    What a great road trip.

    Hope Chicago works out.

  20. Um, excuse me? You traveled from Atlanta to Indiana and didn't stop in Ohio? Not sure this is forgivable.


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