Sunday, September 23, 2007

On the Road Again

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It’s been another hectic time in our household followed by some monumental computer trouble, so apologies to those who thought we dropped off the face of the earth! For the days we didn’t have a computer, we used our old laptop to read emails, but we couldn’t type anything since several keys weren’t working. Well, we could, but we would sound like a toothless hag (Im missin te etters) or we had to spend twenty minutes cutting and pasting in letters like a cyber ransom note. But we’re back up and running – thanks to Robbie’s technological genius – on our regular laptop with only a couple missing keys- thanks to Emerson’s prying fingers.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, we made yet another family trip to Chicago for my seminary Career Assessment. Basically, three days of talking about myself to make sure I’m insane enough to want to be a minister, but not so insane that I’ll have a mental breakdown in the middle of a sermon one Sunday, rip off all my clothes, and jump out of the nearest chapel window. I probably still will, but for now they deemed me ok. At least I think they did.

Since this wasn’t exactly a family fun vacation, we decided to be as frugal as possible and stay in what looked like a cheap but nice Super 8 Motel we found on the internet. When we drove up, we discovered a rotting pink stucco building with halls that smelled like old Indian food and rooms that make you keep your shoes on at all times.

After a long day of taking every psychological, personality, and IQ test known to man, I looked forward to a good night’s rest in preparation for another onslaught the next morning. Instead, we were “serenaded” by our upstairs neighbors at random times throughout the night. And it sounded like some BIG love, let me tell you. Yeeeckk.

The third and gratefully last night we were there, I kept waking up to what I thought was the sound of rain. Finally, I got up to use our closet-sized restroom and discovered the ceiling was leaking. Since we were on the bottom level, I imagined some scene out of a horror movie where the person on the floor above is murdered while running a bath and the water is left to flood onto the floor. I was sure in the middle of my shower, the ceiling would collapse and I would be crushed by the tub containing a bloody, bloated body. When I told the front desk about the leak, however, the woman shrugged and said, “I’ll let Bob know when he gets back from another job.” I guess it must happen a lot.

On the bright side, we were in a suburb that consisted of one giant stripmall, so we could walk to the Jewel or Trader Joe's to stock up on food. I’m not sure which was the better “whitetrash moment”….when we went to Walmart to buy Robbie some shirts (the man was so absorbed in a John Grisham movie marathon on AMC that he forgot to pack any shirts! I’ve heard of people forgetting a toothbrush or a pair of socks – but all his shirts?!)….or if the crowning moment was the next night when Emerson had spit up on all of Robbie’s fancy new shirts, forcing us to walk over to the Jewel to buy grocery store t-shirts, dinner, and mini-bottles of Pina Colada (what can I say – it had been a rough day).

Robbie spent the 8 hours a day I was in session hanging out with Emerson. The first day they made the long trek via several trains to the Museum of Science and Industry in Hyde Park. The other two days they mostly hung out in the hotel or drove around downtown. I had been terrified all month about getting him enough food since he’s been nursing at least every two hours lately and gets very whiny and clingy with me. So, of course, the little bugger went all 8 hours every day without touching his bottles and without eating more than a tiny bit of food. Robbie also said he was not fussy, took naps without eating, and was a generally perfect baby. Apparently he knows who’s got the goods and he knows how to work it.

On an interesting side note about Emerson, one evening we stopped off to get a snack at a fast-food restaurant. The man at the counter took one look at Emerson and asked, “Does he have to wear sunglasses outside?” When we said yes, the man continued on, saying, “My uncle has the same thing he has. He’s a doctor who lives in Mexico, but he has that really white skin and has to wear protection to go out in the sun. Everyone knows who he is because of his color and because he walks around carrying an umbrella.” We were fascinated and spent a couple minutes talking to him. I couldn’t stop thinking about what an interesting image that man must be walking down the streets of a Mexican town with his dark glasses and umbrella. I wish I could meet him….

After we got home from this trip, we had a day and a half to do laundry and repack before heading “Up North” – as the Michiganders say. We had purchased a weekend at a cabin on a private lake during our church auction several months ago and hadn’t gotten around to picking the date until recently. After several weeks of hot weather, we of course picked the weekend it temporarily dipped down into the fifties. This put a major damper on our boating and swimming plans, but the lake was beautiful. We spent most of the weekend taking advantage of their amazing DVD collection by watching two seasons of The Office (ahh the great outdoors), took turns taking the kayak for a spin around the lake, and roasted marshmallows under a sky thick with stars.

I think the dogs had the best time of all, though. Kenya spent most of time eating sand for some unknown reason (that made for some interesting times scooping the litter box later on) and Abbey decided to go bobbing for acorns in the lake. When she retrieved all the ones in the shallows, I waded out a few feet and pulled them off the bottom for her. Then she would swim as fast as her tiny legs could move, pluck them out of my outstretched hand, and deposit them in a little pile on the shore. They are demented dogs, but they had fun.

So now life is back to its regular hectic pace here at home. Somehow the month of September is almost gone and we have October to look forward to – the only month during the year that I truly, deeply love living in Michigan. But I’ll save that sappy essay for another day.

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