Home » randomness » Chicago via a corn field…and other (mis)adventures of five lovely ladies

Chicago via a corn field…and other (mis)adventures of five lovely ladies

Several months ago, Gretchen and I planned a girls/guys weekend for the MLK holiday, and packaged it oh-so-nicely for the kids’ “big” Christmas present.

If you’re new to The Couch, here’s a brief history of our families’ friendship: Met in Iowa during residency. Each of us has three kids, and they were all born in sets within months of each other (Meghan & Alex – two months apart; Griffin & Christian – six months apart; Nathan & Adrianne – two months apart, post-training). Survived the training years together and made co-parenting an art form. They now live in Cleveland and we live in Texas, and that sucks, but we take a family vacation together every summer, and we try to get together at least one other time during the year.

So the Christmas present. We decided that Meghan and I would fly to Cleveland for a girls’ weekend, and BJ & Christian would fly to Texas during the same weekend for a guys’ weekend. The girls’ present included a road trip to Chicago and the American Girl store, and the guys would go to a hockey game and Medieval Times.

Can someone say estrogen? And testosterone?

Fun was had by all. Memories were made. And normally, I am not a big fan of the passive verb tense.

While fun and exciting and all that, this trip was not exactly what we had envisioned when we planned it, mostly because the week before, Gretch & BJ made an offer on a house on a whim and put their own gorgeous home on the market the day after Meghan and I arrived.

Little bit o’stress. Not a lot of sleep for the Gretchmeister.

Blame it on exhaustion or a freaky wild GPS named Pepper, somehow we ended up driving to Chicago via two-lane gravel roads that cut through the middle of a corn field. I’m not even sure what state we were in at that point. We attempted some lame comparisons between our lives and God and the GPS – you know, as in sometimes the GPS takes us through some unexpected routes, and you can only see half a mile in front of you on the GPS screen, but the GPS will get us to where we need to be…eventually…so we just have to trust the GPS and drive and enjoy the views of harvested corn fields and big black cows.

Even cows seem profound when you’re working on a total of 9 hours of sleep over the past three days. And driving to Chicago through a corn field.

Around the time we crossed into Michigan (Michigan?!?), we pushed a few of Pepper’s buttons and found out that there is a setting on a GPS that says “avoid toll roads.”

Which is a big problem when the most direct route from Cleveland to Chicago is one long toll road.

Recalculating! Recalculating!

Then we rolled through Gary, Indiana. I was singing the song from The Music Man (you know the one: “GAry, Indiana, Gary, INdiana, GAry, Indiana…”) when Gretchen informed me that Gary, Indiana, is NOT a place you want to stop, especially at night. Which it was.

Right about that time, her gas light came on.

I kid you not.

Somehow we managed to find a truck stop with lots of outdoor lighting, fill up with gas, and get back on the highway. (At least it wasn’t a gravel road, right?)

A five hour drive turned into a seven hour drive, but we managed to dodge rush hour traffic in downtown Chicago, at least. By the time we had circled the block seventeen times and found out where to park, we had enough adventure for one day, thankyouverymuch, and ordered our requisite Chicago-style pizza via room service.

I was a little bit tired, but Gretchen was about to fall over – and it didn’t take a brain surgeon or an ophthalmologist to figure out that what we both needed was a really good night’s sleep. Only one obstacle lay in our path of slumbering bliss.

Meet Adrianne.

The world’s sweetest, cutest, most adorable five year old. Who also happens to be an early riser and quite a giggle box. A very loud giggle box.

It was time to pull out the big guns. It was time for bribery.

Oohhhh, yeah.

I told the Big Girls (who were sleeping on a pull-out couch bed in our room at the Embassy Suites) that if they allowed Adrianne to come into their bed when she woke up, and if they turned on a show for her and kept her quiet until at least 9 a.m., I would buy them something at the American Girl store the next day.

I told Adrianne if she could go into the Big Girls’ bed in the morning and not wake up her mommy and be very, very quiet, I would buy her a special treat at the American Girl store the next day.

Shameful, I know. But, goodgolly, it worked. Don’t mess with a woman and her beauty sleep. Especially when that woman is me.

Sure enough, Adrianne quietly sneaked into the living area at 6:45 the next morning, softly closed the door, and was as quiet as a hinge with a fresh coat of WD-40 until Gretchen and I rolled out of bed at 9:45.

A blessed 10 hours of sleep later. Ten hours. Ten. Everything is better with ten hours of sleep. Glory hallelujah.So. Off to the American Girl store. If you have a daughter of any age and you have the opportunity, you must take her there. It is like the Disney World of all things girl. So much like Disney World. As in, “I am so happy to be here, this is such a magical place, I don’t mind dropping thirty bucks for a doll dress, and let’s head over here and drop another fourteen dollars to get the doll’s ears pierced because it’s so darn cute and we’re so happy to be here.”

It really was sweet, though.

We walked around the store for a full two hours, browsing and ear piercing and deciding and weighing all the options. (Thank you Jesus and grandparents for gift certificates!) Meghan’s Molly needed a new party dress for our lunch reservation (that we made four months ago. See? Disney World.), but Molly’s party dress was sold out, so we headed to the left about 20 years and found Kit’s party dress, which, thankfully, was a suitable alternative.

You gotta love being a girl.

The lunch was our favorite part of the entire weekend. It was beyond cute. It was ultimate cuteness. It almost made your teeth hurt because it was so cute.

Our drive back to Cleveland on Saturday night was much less eventful than our drive the day before, and we reset the GPS to take the toll roads for the entire drive, and we were much more rested.

(Ten hours of sleep will do that, y’know.)

We played and talked and ate for the rest of the weekend – so it was pretty low-key. Well, except when I checked my email Sunday afternoon and found out that Meghan’s transfer application to another intermediate school had been approved.

Which was very good news. Which is another story for another day.

But I was a little – um – anxious for the rest of the weekend and reverted to the insomnia. Blasted insomnia.

In the meantime, back in Texas…

I’m so thankful I have boobies.


2 thoughts on “Chicago via a corn field…and other (mis)adventures of five lovely ladies

  1. sounds like you all had a blast! I have a very good friend who has been with me through med school, residency and now she's done *her husband is family practice* and mine only has 1.5 more years *end of residency and a 1 year fellowship in pain management*. We cannot wait to have both of our husbands done so that we can do stuff just like this. our boys are really close in age as well. We both have 2 boys. 😉 So much fun!!

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