Sunday, August 15, 2004

Chicago Trip (Friday)

We made it to Chicago and back, just fine. Grandma's 90th birthday party was a huge success, and it was a lot of fun to see all the family gathered together. There were some cousins/relatives who came to the party that I haven't never even met (my parents had only met them once).

We left for Chicago on Friday at about 12:10pm, after a minor debacle when Linzy's cell phone charger was making the turn signal blink super-extra fast. We discovered the crazy turn-signal behavior on the first turn, so immediately turned around to figure out what was going on. After a bit of checking light bulb status, the fuse situation, the towing hitch plug-in (which was not being used, of course), we eventually discovered that the ultra-blinker syndrome only happened when the car was actually started, not when it was just 'On'. At that point, Linzy disconnected the phone because she was afraid of having it connected while the car was being started and stopped a bunch of times. The problem immediately went away, so all was good. Oddly, connecting the phone to a different outlet made the problem go away. Pretty strange.

Anyways, the next minor panic came when we were driving down the hill towards Lacrosse, WI. Linzy was planning on taking some pictures of the descent, as it overlooks the Mississippi and is pretty picturesque. Except the camera was making horrible grinding noises and wouldn't let the lens pop-out of the case. It was at that point I recalled that I had dropped the camera a few days earlier when carrying it into my parents house to transfer some pictures to my Dad's computer. After dropping it, I hadn't really checked it out, other then to inspect the case and, after seeing only a few minor scratches, went 'Oh, looks OK to me'. Whoops.

We stopped in Lacrosse to switch drivers so I could look at it. The backup plan being that we would have to stop in Madison at Best Buy and make an unplanned purchase of a new digital camera, or at least a disposable one of some sort. Instead, it turned out that the impact of the drop had bent the exterior casing a bit, so it was impeding the lens mechanism's extension from the case. A bit of not-so-gentle prying with a tweezers popped the lens back in front of the case ring and the camera started working just fine again. I'll add Digital Camera Repairman to my resume as soon as I post this.

There wasn't much other excitement until we stopped for dinner in Brookfield, WI, a suburb of Milwaukee (I think). We drove around a bit trying to decide on a restaurant to eat at, also planning on stopping at the Target to pick up a gift for my newest cousin (once removed), Katherine Rose. She is 7 months old and the daughter of my cousins Jon and Nicole, who we were staying with. As luck would have it, we decided on Marty's Pizza which happened to be right across the street from Target. We figured 'Why not try somewhere we couldn't eat at, at home' (as opposed to the Perkins). Marty's Pizza was awesome. We were really pleasantly surprised. They had square, thin-crust pizza, that was very good. The crust was crispy (like woodfired brick oven pizza), and the sausage was from a local Wisconsin place so very good. It was a good dinner.

Shortly after we left Marty's, we hit some traffic heading into downtown Milwaukee for the Wisconsin State Fair. Among the traffic was a big delivery truck that had Bimbo written on it in huge letters. As we got closer, we could see more of the truck, and it had a sort-of imitation Pillsbury Doughboy character, a teddy bear in a baker's cap. Finally when we pulled along side the truck, you could see in small print in the lower righthand corner Bimbo Bakeries, USA. A very strange artwork scheme. I was kind of afraid to try searching for 'Bimbo Bakery', I didn't really want to find a bunch of links to barely-legal naked ladies in baker's caps.

The rest of the drive breezed by, and we made it out to Gurnee, IL in a pretty reasonable amount of time. The whole trip on Friday took about 8 hours, counting a couple stops for gas and snacks, and at least an hour stop for dinner and Target. That was much sorter then I was expecting, but since Gurnee is very much on the North side of Chicago I guess it shouldn't have been a big surprise.

That night, Katherine Rose (Katie) was already sleeping, so we didn't get to see her. We did, however, get to meet 'Josie', Jon and Nicole's Greater Swiss Mountain dog. Think small pony. Josie is around 120 pounds, and about 2 feet tall at the shoulder, and maybe 3 or 4 feet tall at the top of her head. And she's..uh..energetic (she's less then 1.5 years old). Actually, she reminded me a lot of Pippen in terms of her wild enthusiastic greeting. Except of course, that she is 15 times the size of Pippen. So when Josie jumps at you, you better have good footing.

We spent the rest of Friday night talking with Jon and Nicole, and watching the Olympic opening ceremonies in the background (what was with the woman and her glowing pregnant stomach? That was pretty weird, especially without any sound).

That pretty much covers Friday, Saturday and Sunday are posted here.


Brenden Johnson said...
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Steve Eck said...

Haha, they will look at it as if I passed an Oracle exam. Since there was no bonus for passing the various Oracle Certified Professional exams, either.