August 15, 2006
I spent this past weekend in Chicagoland, checking up on Mom. She’s now able to be off the oxygen for several hours at a time, provided she doesn’t exert herself too much during those times, so that’s progress. Mr. Karen came with me this trip but unfortunately came down with a cold just before we left Michigan. That meant he had to be careful around Mom lest she get his germs (though she was fine when my niece got strep throat a few weeks back). He went off and spent some time on Saturday with our friend Eli while I went through Mom’s bills and paperwork. I was frustrated but not surprised to find that the register I used to record the checks I wrote when I was there in July had only one item added to it in my absence–and that didn’t have a date or a check number–yet a half dozen checks had been used. This isn’t a matter of her not being able to keep up because she’s sick, either; she’s always had a relaxed approach to this sort of thing–maybe my accounting degree could be seen as an act of rebellion. After the bills and paperwork, I helped my mom sort out some things from her bedroom, since she wants to declutter. I’d go grab a box worth of stuff at time and bring it to her in the living room for her to go through. There’s still a long way to go but at least we made a little dent in the project.
On the way back to Michigan on Sunday, we stopped at the parking lot of the United Center to see Corteo, the latest traveling show from Cirque du Soleil. I wondered if I’d gotten burned out on Cirque shows, given that I’d found both Varekai and Zumanity a bit disappointing. I’m glad I didn’t let that worry keep me from seeing this show–it was great, with inventive apparatuses and an interesting stage setup. I thought it was sexier than Zumanity, which is supposed to be the hot Cirque show, and I even liked the clowning segments, which are usually my least favorite part.
This was the inaugural trip for my I-Pass. It didn’t make me chortle with delight much on the way there, since it was late enough at night that the toll plazas weren’t backed up (the exit to I-80 sure was, though, which meant we sat in stop and go traffic at 11 o’clock at night before we even got to the first toll; I felt really sorry for all those people who were trying to get onto I-80 because it looked like they were in for a long night). On the way home, though, the I-Pass saved us a couple big chunks of time, once when we zipped through the open road tolling lanes instead of having to squeeze over into a single lane feeding the cash plaza, and once on the Skyway, where the I-Pass lanes were free and clear and the cash lanes were backed up. (I’m sure we also saved time by taking Lake Shore Drive to the Skyway rather than the completely hosed Dan Ryan.)
Somewhere on the drive home, my body started to succumb to the cold germs–guess I didn’t take enough Airborne–and I ended up staying home from work yesterday to rest up. I got up at the normal time and checked my work e-mail, then I laid back down in bed. I thought I’d have a hard time getting back to sleep because it was trash day, which means the garbage truck and the recycling truck and the compost truck spend all morning driving up and down the street, squealing to a stop every ten or twenty feet and making all sorts of noise. Next thing I knew it was three and a half hours later. Hmm, guess I really needed that rest. I talked to my mom this afternoon and fortunately she hasn’t gotten this cold, too. In fact, she went out to the doctor’s and didn’t even use her oxygen (she had it with her just in case but didn’t need it, despite the exertion of being out and about).