7/27/08

Indiana Recap

The girls and I returned home from Indiana on Thursday, after having spent a lovely week with my parents. We left on Sunday morning and breezed through Chicago. We didn't have to stop once, not even for a bathroom break. Weird.

We mostly hung out, the girls enjoying a dip in a small blowup pool and me pretending to work. I really should just give up and assume that I can't do much of anything useful while visiting family. It's just too nice to sit and chat, catching up on all the stuff we miss during phone conversations.

On Tuesday, I drove to Bowling Green to visit with my mentor from my undergrad days, Dr. Thomas Klein. I haven't seen him since May of 2006, and he's been busy ever since with a Semester at Sea program and in establishing an interfaith dialogue council in the Toledo area. Our visit wasn't nearly as structured or lengthy as last time, but it gave us a chance to catch up on all we've been doing.

Turns out that Cosmo's has been replaced by a Mexican restaurant, which is where we ate lunch. Time and tide, etc. But Grounds for Thought remains open, so after Dr. Klein went home, I headed that way and worked for a few hours. The entire shop has been expanded to take over a neighboring one, allowing more room for bookshelves. Quite the digs, now, but it never was my favorite. I rode by our old apartment and my dorm rooms, none of which had changed, and went by the student union to buy a new sweatshirt and mug, which is becoming a ritual of sorts for my campus visits.

But this trip didn't hold the same nostalgia for me that the last one did. I've been back recently, so no big changes, and I've since achieved many of the goals that my visit two years ago had prompted. I was bored with my life back then, raising the children and establishing a firm family foundation to facilitate Keven's pursuit of his MBA. My life is good now, and the person I was two years ago--or 10-14 years ago--holds no special appeal. She was a work in progress, as I am now, which makes me infinitely glad I'm not the sort of person who longs for a bygone time. Not yet, anyway.

Then on Wednesday, my mom, the girls and I got up early and met my sister-in-law and her kids--nine-year-old Lily and ten-month-old Jackson--for a day at the Elkhart County Fair, which is apparently a second largest county fair in the country. Wednesday was Kiddie Day, where $12 wristbands were good for all children's rides from 9 am to 1 pm. Through a clever division of labor, expert execution, and lots of patience, we managed to get the girls on 22 rides in just about three hours, including a mini roller coaster, a four-story slide, and too many spin-you-round-in-circles-to-see-you-throw-up ones to name.

After a lunch of barbecue, I took the girls up on the gigantic Ferris wheel. Juliette looked out over the adult midway and said, "Can we do that next?" Once they get going, they have no fear. But by that time, the afternoon sun had baked me to a crisp, and everyone was getting cranky. So we headed back home. All in all a really good day, but I think we over did it because the crankiness persisted.

And oh, the drive home on Thursday was not nearly so successful. Traffic, construction, and lunch delayed our progress, dragging the trip out to 5 1/2 hours. Gah. Chicago!!

I work for the county out on 95.
All day I hold a red flag and watch the traffic pass me by.
In my head I keep a picture of a pretty little miss.
Someday, mister, I'm gonna lead a better life than this.
"Working on the Highway" by Bruce Springsteen

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