And so, five days and approximately 1,800 miles later, we’re home again. A quick recap:
On Thursday, we left for my parents’ place in Anderson, South Carolina. We only drove about two-thirds of the way there, stopping for the night in Knoxville, Tennessee (sorry we didn’t call, partran, but we got in pretty late). We got up early the next morning and drove the last five hours down to my parents’. We tried to stop in Canton, North Carolina, to return the NC license plates for the Alero and Dan’s old plates for his Element, but first we found that the DMV office had moved, and then that it was closed for the day. We shrugged and continued on, getting in at around 12:30 PM. My sister, her husband, and my two nephews were already there, having driven in from St. Louis the day before.
It was a great weekend, and it was really good to spend time with my family. takaza seemed to have a good time as well, and got along well with Chris (age 10) and Tim (age 8). Ruth and I did most of the cooking during the weekend, which I’m sure was a welcome break for my mom, and Dan and Marvin (my brother-in-law) did yeoman work with cleanup detail. Dad was looking fantastic for someone who had had back surgery just a few weeks prior. I was glad to see him up and standing for hours at a time, when before the surgery he was able to remain upright for less than a minute.
We did the traditional gift-giving on Christmas morning. Chris and Tim, of course, got a pile of loot; they seemed to enjoy the Legos and video games they received, and judging from the background noise from last night’s phone call, Dan’s choice for Apples to Apples Junior for the family was a huge hit. Ruth and Marvin will get a lot of use out of the accessories we got for their new digital camera, and Mom and Dad seemed to like our gift to them: a Tivo. I think they’re still figuring out how to work it and why it’s such a wonderful thing, but I suspect they’ll come around with time. We had some fun trying to set it up since they had no telephone jack in the room we put it and even if they did, all they have is Vonage, which does not play well with Tivo. We wound up having to take the Tivo back to our hotel room for it to dial in and get all of the program updates. Fortunately, we had prepared for the possibility and we had picked up a wireless router and adapter for the Tivo; once we had all the program updates it was a breeze to get it hooked into the network. They should be good to go!
For Dan, I got a gift that I know he will enjoy: A night out on the town, with gift certificates for dinner at Heaven on Seven and two tickets for Blue Man Group (I’ll point out those are to be used for him and anyone of his choosing – it’s tacky to buy someone gifts that you’ll use yourself 🙂 I won’t list all the gifts I received except to say that they were all wonderful, and all very much appreciated. (OK, I will mention that I’m going to really enjoy the Thermapen that Dan got me, though!)
Christmas was over all too soon and yesterday we hit the road at 5:45 AM Central Time. We made great time; the only bad weather we ran into was some light rain/snow flurries and high winds through the NC mountains. Surprisingly, the traffic into Chicago wasn’t horrible and we pulled into the garage right around 6:00 PM – darned good time!
Today, Dan is off from work, but I’m here like a good worker drone. Naturally, about half of the office is out until next week, but that makes things a bit more bearable. Linnaeus, who is already babysitting a surprisingly well-behaved large, white bird (I thought it was a cockatiel, but looking at pictures of them now I’m not so sure), surprised me this morning with another friend that he’s keeping an eye on: Nita (she’s in the center of that pic). She’s a real cutie, but alas, only visiting for one day. But hey, any dog time is always good.
I slept poorly, so I suspect today is going to drag. Nevertheless, it should be pretty mellow – I’ve got some projects I’m working on, and it’s nice to have some peace and quiet in which to do it. Looking ahead, Dan and I are going to see the Blackhawks tomorrow night, and then there’s the LAFF New Year’s Party this weekend. I’ll be in touch with those of you who have volunteered to help out at the door – with luck, we can keep it down to 30 minutes apiece, leaving folks time to go and have fun with other stuff. But now, back to work!