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All aboard who’s going aboard

July 27, 2010

I am still catching up from our house guests. How did five days go by so fast? Here’s what you missed:

• Friday, on the hottest day of the year, we marshaled the troops and headed downtown by train. When we arrived, we headed by water taxi straight for Bacino’s (the pizza place where we ate when you were here, freshhell) for lunch. On our way, we passed by a lot of rubble from what looked like an imploded building. It turned out to be styrofoam set pieces from Transformers 3, which is filming all over town, including on the lot that is right next to our former apartment. Our waiter regaled us with stories of filming the day before, when apparently the crew took over the restaurant. After lunch, we headed toward Millennium Park, our primary destination for the day. But on the way, we stopped in the Cultural Center to cool off. We wandered around the beautiful rooms and examined the galleries. We were sorry to be just a few hours early for the Howard Finster exhibition. We’ll be going back in the not too distant future. And then — the park! It’s a marvel of urban engineering. We walked past the peristyle and headed straight for The Bean where we took a lot of pictures. One of the amusing things about my new camera is its built-in GPS, which labels the location of your photos. Despite the fact that the real name of the sculpture by Anish Kapoor is “Cloudgate,” my GPS took its cue from its more popular nickname and labeled all the photos “The Bean, Chicago, IL.” I was amused. From there, we cut across the lawn of the bandshel and into the Lurie Garden. The kids looked longingly at the water in the mini canal, but we promised them better fountains to come. We walked through the stunningly hot but always beautiful prairie plantings and out through the shrubs, past the bridge to the new wing of the Art Institute and on toward the Crown Fountains. AJ and his cousins plunged in with abandon to the crowd of children while the grownups huddled in the shade watching. After they were thoroughly soaked, we headed back to the train station on foot and had a very subdued ride home. It proved to be another poor night for camping out — more thunderstorms and nearly 7 inches of rain. So we set up the tent in the family room, where the kids were extremely content.

• Saturday, we all trooped to the bookstore form some reading material and then it was time to take them to the airport. We were very sad to see them go. On the way home, we stopped to see my mother-in-law who, although she is still wrestling with the after-effects of her surgery, was in very good spirits.

• Sunday was very quiet, with no one clamoring to play Quelf at breakfast. Lest we spend too much time moping, AJ and I decided to make a trip to our favorite appliance store to pick out my birthday present from my mom and dad, a new dishwasher. I have not had a dishwasher since AJ was a baby and I am completely excited about this. You might think it would be hard to convince a nine-year-old boy to go appliance shopping, but with this place, it’s not hard at all. After we watched the kinetic sculptures in the atrium, threw pennies in the fountain, examined the moray eel and tropical fish in the giant aquarium, made giant bubbles around ourselves in the bubble machine, played Space Invaders and Ms. Pacman and Guitar Hero, ate free chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven and sat in a couple of massage chairs, we finally got around to the dishwashers. First we looked at the super duper fancy ones in the demo kitchens. For $3500, I think the dishwasher should be cooking and serving the food, don’t you? Or at the very least setting and clearing the table. But we picked out a nice one for considerably less that should be arriving on Thursday. Hooray! On our way home, we stopped by one of our favorite parks, which is right across the street. It’s a gorgeous piece of property and largely wooded, so a nice place to hike on a hot summer day. They also have a great nature center inside with lots of live creatures like turtles and fish and frogs to ogle. Today they were doing a Civil War Reenactment (the park, not the frogs), which was fun to see (although in retrospect, watching the frogs do a reenactment would have been even more entertaining). We couldn’t stay long enough to watch the battle, unfortunately, but we got to see General Grant make a speech on horseback, a blacksmith demonstration, and a Yankee drill sergeant teaching rifle drills to a platoon of children. It was a beautiful day today and perfect for wandering around looking at all the things the reenactors were doing in front of their tents, which seemed to mostly involve eating lunch or playing the banjo, with the exception of one guy who was sending a telegraph message in morse code and a guy who looked suspiciously like he was texting someone on a phone hidden under a piece of cloth. Maybe they were talking to each other.

• Monday began another camp-free week, hence the lack of blog posting. It also marked the first day of football season. It’s full on practices five nights a week until school starts. It feels like summer is already over, except for the fact that AJ, thanks to his cousins’ enthusiasm for water, is now begging to go to the pool every day.

• Today involved more cooking, cleaning and kid wrangling. I dragged AJ to the grocery store with me this morning and we picked up some new fish to replace the one that died months ago. He selected three colorful guppies that he named (what else?) Larry, Moe and Curly, although there is some discrepancy as to which is which. Then his friend K came over to play. Just before I promised to take them to the pool, an outdoor faucet got stuck on. It’s happened before. The last time I called a plumber and it cost him 5 minutes of his time and me $150. This time I drove to Home Depot, armed with instructions printed out from the internet, and I came home and fixed it myself for a total of $20 for a crescent wrench, some graphite packing string and a bottle of WD-40. The faucet, which has leaked since we move in, no longer leaks. And also it turns off, which is a pretty useful thing, as it turns out.

• Tomorrow morning I am taking AJ to the Apple store for video camp. Amazingly, it is free. He spends two mornings this week at the store learning about making videos and then Saturday morning we get to go watch the class film festival. We hope he likes it. I’m looking forward to 90 minutes to myself in a coffee shop.

And that’s all the news that’s fit to print.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    July 27, 2010 7:07 pm

    Goodness. Also, love Howard Finster. Something tells me Red would too.

  2. July 27, 2010 7:20 pm

    Come visit before the end of September and you can see it in person!

  3. July 29, 2010 12:09 pm

    Kapoor’s Cloudscape was in Brighton for the festival last year (along with several other pieces as he was curating) – I returned to it again and again. Entrancing.

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