Well, it's over. That is perhaps the best thing about the trip to Chicago. It's over.... I won't take you through all the details, but let's just recap what went wrong about the trip:
1. Wednesday night at the hotel swimming pool Mazy cuts his chin open on the pool edge. It bleeds for awhile, I can see fatty tissue bulging out. It looks gross and deep. A kind woman at the pool tells me there is no need for stitches. My mother agrees. I am leery but in no rush to find an ER in the middle of downtown Chicago at 10 p.m. So I didn't take him. Yesterday at the in-laws, my niece the soon-to-be nurse and my nephew the paramedic take one look at the cut and say it would have required at least three stitches. And will now leave a big scar. But it's under his chin and not really noticeable. Or so I like to think -- I need to justify my bad parenting somehow.
2. Wednesday on the 6-hour bus ride to Chicago. Mazy and Kael were good, very good, up until the last hour. That's when Kael stuck a dinosaur tail up his nose, giving himself a nose bleed. It was also the start of several nose bleeds a day throughout the vacation. I nicknamed him "Bloody Joe."
3. My mood throughout much of the trip was not good. And I am sorry for that. It was probably not pleasant for my fellow companions. It was with much irony that I dragged a complaining, whining 5-year-old around Chicago telling him he was ruining the vacation, and had flashbacks of all our family vacations when I was growing up and remembering that's exactly what mom and dad said to me. The kid with the bad mood doesn't fall far from the tree I guess.
4. We arrived at the Megabus stop at Union Station an hour and 15 minutes early on Saturday morning. It had rained that morning. The street was wet. There was no shelter. No seats. You're just thrown out of the cab to wait alongside a road with hundreds of other Megabus travelers and their assorted bags and stuff. We waited. And waited. And waited. No Megabus with "Des Moines" on the side arrived. It was supposed to be there at 10. At 10:15 I was getting pretty worried. I ask a bus driver when it was coming, she said, "It'll be here." At 10:25 Mom asked another bus driver when the DM bus was arriving, she said, "It's already been here. You missed it." What. Excuse me, did I hear you correctly? Because I know we did not miss that damn bus. I know there was no bus anywhere that said anything about Des Moines. and that means that either it didn't show or they didn't change the stupid sign on the side of the bus. I was beyond mad. At myself. At the situation. At the world in general. we dragged the poor boys down to Union Station, thinking we'd rent a car to get us back home. After a long cab ride, a grouchy cabbie and stops at four rental car places, it was determined there was NOT ONE damn car available in all of Chicago. Not one. So we went back to our hotel. Asked them to store our luggage and took the boys to a movie, "Cats and Dogs." Another Megabus was going to DSM at 5 p.m. We had to buy more tickets. The first roundtrip tickets for three of us cost $35. One way tickets for 4 of us cost $140. It's not like that's a ton of money but I was just so pissed by the stupid Megabus stop. The drivers never announced where their destination was. They didn't say, "Last call for Des Moines." Nothing. Other people missed the 10 a.m. bus to DSM, so I didn't feel so bad. And I'm writing Megabus and complaining. A lot.
5. Sunday morning we were in the living room. Bo on my lap. snuggling with me and quite obviously happy to have me back home with him. I was hugging him and kissing him on the head. And then he got really excited and threw himself back into me and BROKE MY NOSE!!!! I heard it crack and snap -- I thought it was the frames to my very expensive glasses. But no, it was my freaking nose!! It hurt like hell and still does. He just got me up at the bridge of it, no black eyes or anything. But it was just the final straw for me for the week.
But that's quite pessimistic of me. There were many nice parts of the trip:
1. Meeting my cousin Andy on Wednesday night for pizza and a walk around Millennium Park -- the boys were so cute wading in the big water fountain. The park and art was amazing. It was a beautiful night and it was so fun to hang out with Andy who is a very cool guy.
2. Watching Mazy and Kael experience the Field Museum for the first time -- meeting Sue the T-Rex up close and personal, braving the robotic dinosaur display where the dinosaurs are so lifelike that they track your movements with their eyes and roar and try to attack you! Watching them pick out souvenirs in the gift shop. Watching them run and say, "Whoa! did you see this!"
It was really cool to visit the museum with a 5 and 8-year-old.
3. Remembering that the simple things are what make life so great. Despite the fact that we were in Chicago, in downtown, a block from Michigan Ave., a few miles from some pretty spectacular attractions, all the boys wanted to do was swim in the hotel's little swimming pool. And they had so much fun doing it.
4. Eating sushi and drinking cosmos with Mom at a really cool Japanese restaurant. We sat outside on the sidewalk patio in funky chairs. We ordered a lot of food. We ate it all. We drank. We enjoyed the night. We bullied Kael into trying sushi. But he wouldn't budget. That was my favorite meal of the trip. Thanks, Mom!
5. Seeing the DSM Megabus (also unlabeled and 35 minutes late) pull up to the curb at 5:35 p.m. Saturday evening. I cannot explain the relief and happiness that damn bus gave me. Had we missed it again, I have no idea what we'd have done.
6. Because we missed the bus, we were in the cab Saturday morning and got to see the film crew who is in town filming the movie Transformers 3. It truly looked like a war zone -- burned out ambulances and cars, giant parts of buildings lying on the ground. Destruction and mayhem for about four blocks. It was eerie -- knowing that's what a city could look like, but also very cool to see Hollywood in action. Our cabbie somehow got us on the street where they were filming. An actor was standing on top of a burnt out building part or vehicle -- posing very melodramatically and I looked out my window and all the cameras were rolling. It was cool.
7. Getting into DSM at 11:35 p.m. Saturday night, seeing our red minivan pull up and watching for Bo's little face when he saw me. Oh, he is so sweet.
8. Mazy holding my hand as we walked on the Navy Pier and whispering into my ear, "I'm sorry I've been a pain mama. You're the best mama ever and I love Chicago! Now can we leave here and go swimming?"
Next year for vacation, I'm getting us a nice hotel with a big pool. In Des Moines. No bus needed.