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Lake Michigan Adjacent Road Trip

July 15, 2015

As I sit down to write this, I’m just starting my third week of retirement. So far, my favorite part is people telling me I look too young to be retired. My least favorite is how the vast stretches of time I thought would be freed up by not having to spend ten to twelve hours a day commuting and working have not materialized. These past two weeks have pretty much been racing around to get stuff done before vacation, going on vacation, and racing around to get stuff done after we got back. It’s just the stuff we’re racing around getting done is not work stuff but house stuff. I am hoping that once we get past the family reunion this coming weekend, I will be able to carve out more time for things like writing journal entries and nail blog posts and pursuing my other hobbies. But there’s still the matter of selling this house, so I’m not as hopeful about that as I would otherwise be. We’ll just have to see how it goes. Right now, I want to talk about the trip Mr. K and I took to celebrate my retirement.

We left the Monday after the 4th of July holiday weekend, because for us every day is a sort of holiday so why join the crowd. Our goal for this first day was to get to Chicago in time to check in to our hotel and walk over to the bar where my most recent favorite band was playing. One errand and three construction related delays later, we barely made it, but make it we did, seeing King Washington in all their harmony-riffic glory. Due to the delays on our drive, we hadn’t had time for a proper dinner, so stopped at a 24-hour diner on our way back to the hotel, which was fun, but also meant we got caught in the rain on the rest of the walk back, and us with neither umbrella nor raincoats because who wants to drag those to the bar.

King Washington at Schuba's

The storm that came through the night before meant the friendly confines of Wrigley Field were a bit chilly on Tuesday when we went to see the Cubs play a 12:20 start day game, but we bundled up and had a good time. I think the last time I saw a game there was when I worked for the job before the job before Purple Systems, so it’s been a couple decades.

Guinea pig at the Cubs game

On our way eat after the game, two guys approached us on the street, one gesturing sort of oddly toward my midsection with his hands and the other lurking silently next to him. It turned out that the gesturing guy had spotted my point & shoot camera case on my purse strap and wanted to know if I had an SD card in there that he could borrow long enough to take a few photos with the DSLR he was considering buying from lurking guy, who hadn’t brought an SD card for it. All the while trying to figure out what possible scam they could be running, I popped out my card, he took his test photos, and I popped my card back in. Quite a strange encounter, that. Mr. K and I finished our day at a free outdoor concert in the suburbs (complete with planes landing at O’Hare zooming overhead at frequent intervals) followed by late night bar food with some fellow Kansas fans.

Sunset in Elk Grove Village

Wednesday was our freeform exploring the city day, which did not start bright and early due to our late night after the concert. We had a small snack at an asian bun place in the same building as the hotel then found ourselves not too much later having a full lunch at a crepe place that was super charming and had delicious food. The main event of the day was a walk over to the Chicago History Museum, which I thought might be the place that so captivated me as a junior high student on a field trip just with a name change. Of course, it was not. Junior high was a long time ago for me, after all, and even if this was the same institution (which I’m not sure of) institutions change. There were some artifacts from the great fire like the ones I remembered, but in a section I felt was way too tiny. There was lots of exhibit space given over to photos of things that didn’t seem to have much to do with Chicago. I did very much enjoy looking at the architecture on the walk over and back, marveling at all the details on the old buildings. We’d enjoyed our lunch so much that we decided to pop into the same place for dessert crepes, even though we were going to be heading out shortly to meet up with a friend for Chicago style pizza. Gotta eat while the eating’s good.

Egyptian makes sense, sure

Thursday we visited with my mom (and her wary feral kittens) out in the suburbs before heading even farther out to visit with Mr. Karen’s mom. Compared to all the walking we’d been doing during the Chicago portion of our trip, this was very sedentary day but with just as much food eaten, so that wasn’t great, but it was vacation so understandable.

Wary feral kittens

Friday we drove up to Milwaukee, getting there with enough time to drive by my maternal grandma’s house (which I still remembered the address of, unlike my paternal grandmother, whom I didn’t visit nearly as often goriwng up) and also take a short walk along the lake and through a festival before having dinner and seeing another favorite band, District 97, play as part of a four band lineup at a local bar. This show was not nearly as organized as the one Monday night, so it was quite late by the time the third band finished, so we didn’t stay for the fourth.

My Cultural Heritage

On Saturday we slept in and drove home. Since then we’ve been working hard getting ready for the reunion. I should probably be in the basement right now, actually.

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