America 2019: Day Eighteen (Tuesday 4 June)

Nashville country nights, Detroit rock city lights
Arizona, California
Texas desert, Green Bay blizzard
Indiana, Louisiana
I’ve rolled a lot of miles just to feel your smile
Girl I wanna touch you while I kiss your lipstick
‘Round the bend, down the road
I’m in, out of the cold
Itching to get my fix and kiss your lipstick

                                                                                                                                     – Kip Moore

Tuesday 4 June

The days are winding down here in the Midwest. Three left after today before we begin the long journey home. At least we’ll be going home happy, and there’s still a few fun things to do and people to hang with before then. About the only thing I haven’t been doing is reading much, which is kind of frustrating because I’m in the middle of a really good book – Amazonia by James Rollins – and I’m itching to see what happens next. Thankfully, I have the whole flight to Los Angeles and then to Sydney to remedy that.

Up early again today, and out on the Prairie Path. Whoever decided that turning an unprofitable railway track into a walking path is a genius. It’s a great place to get some exercise, free of traffic, and there’s always plenty of wildlife around. I’ve seen rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks over the last few days.

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Pretty nice morning for a walk, but an hour after I got home, the heavens opened and it absolutely poured. It was still belting down at ten o’clock when we were supposed to leave to go downtown with no end in sight – according to the weather apps – so we had to make a change to our schedule. Instead of driving to Navy Pier, we went north across the border into Kenosha, Wisconsin to visit the Jelly Belly Factory, which sells all sorts of flavours of jelly bean, including some weird ones. Kat made a killing there!

By the time we headed south again, the rain had mostly stopped and the sun had come out and I got word from Matt by text that we’re definitely on for Outback on Friday night, having confirmed that none of the kids had softball or baseball games that night. Looks like we’re going to have a pretty good crowd for that outing.

We decided to eat Giordano’s pizza for lunch at a location near the factory, and literally a minute after they’d put our orders in for cooking, Scott texted me to say – surprise, surprise! – we were going to have pizza for dinner. Luckily I was having spaghetti for lunch, but Nathan and Kat had double helpings of deep dish pizza.

Speaking of the Weller’s, we had a great night with them as we always do. Headed around there about 5pm after a walk at Herrick Lake Preserve and the plan was to have a drink then go to their eldest son Cam’s baseball game at 6pm then come back and eat. We were all set to head out when Scott got a text that the game had been cancelled due to the waterlogged field. Which didn’t entirely surprise me, given how much it had rained, but the weather was so nice this evening that it seemed strange to not be playing.

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Anyway, Scott’s parents, Jerry (Babu) and Donna (Tutu) came over and we sat outside as the sun went down, taking silly photos, eating Lou Malnati’s pizza, both deep dish and regular crust, and salad, drinking beer and making each other laugh. Big shout-out to the pizza delivery guy who we roped into taking the big group photo. He was cool, and got far more than he bargained for.

After dinner and dessert, we ended the evening with a game of Uno before the kids went to bed. Nathan ended up winning the lone hand we played, his final card a Wild. That’s as good as that game gets, when it doesn’t matter what the person before you puts down, as long as it isn’t a draw-two or draw-four, of course.

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As per usual, I left the Weller’s with a sore face from laughing so hard. We are meeting up with Scott again for lunch tomorrow at Twin Peaks – which is tradition now – and I’m looking forward to seeing hopefully the whole clan again on Friday night at Outback.

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