Mary Beth Writes

This is almost a quote from Kurt Vonnegut. “Unexpected travel is a dancing lesson from God.” (Vonnegut said “Peculiar travel suggestions are…” or some such; I need to reread Cat’s Cradle.)

Our daughter called on Tuesday afternoon -- and the answer was: “Sure, we can take care of the sick baby while you guys go to work.” She was sick with Hand, Foot, Mouth disease which runs rampant in daycare sites. Most of her little friends had it, too. . https://www.cdc.gov/hand-foot-mouth/index.html  It was going to be at least three days at home; our daughter and son-in-law had a bunch of excellent reasons why this was going to be very hard for them to do.

So we drove to Chicago Tuesday night and spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with our 1-year old grandkid.

Here is a surprise in case you were thinking about visiting Chicago. The Hotel Versy is a renovated 100-year old hotel right at Clark and Diversy; the heart of Chicago’s trendy, upscale Lakeview neighborhood. http://www.hotelversey.com/#gref 

Hotel Versey is attractive, super-clean and functional, with Chicago themed décor. Right now the price is $65-70/night! This cost will skyrocket as the weather gets nicer and Cubs games happen (its walking or a short bus ride distance from Wrigley). A price like this rearranges one’s thinking about visiting a city in January!

Our kids put us up there because their condo is too small for overnight guests. We would get to their apartment at 7AM (which is why you can see the moon in this photo). Our son-in-law was already gone to work and our daughter would be leaving within the hour.

Chicago at 6:5AM

Taking care of one almost-toddler (she will be walking within the month)? Yikes! Awesome, exhausting, hard on the muscles (I don’t generally get down on the floor and then back up 27 times a day). We love her so much. She is funny for a person that small and new. If she didn’t have our attention, she knew she could get it by putting a toy on her head. I don’t know where she gets her humor….

She was pretty sick Wednesday and Thursday. She drank and ate enough, but she was punky and uncomfortable. By Friday she was much better. She had blisters around her mouth and a few in other inconvenient places, but they were drying up.

Isn’t it interesting how you can see, feel, and intuit healing in people you know and love – even when they can’t talk?  Her face was more relaxed, there were more toys on her head and fat toddler book dumped into our laps as she edged close to be picked up and read to.

Of course, because life is just this complicated, by Thursday evening our daughter realized she had a fever and was sick! We watched the baby Friday as she went to a doctor. Luckily, as is common for most healthy adults, her HFM disease was not as blistery and awful as the baby’s. By Friday afternoon she felt human again, too, so we came home.

Len and I don’t know if we have antibodies. Time will tell, so we are staying Far from the Madding Crowd until mid-week.  

Dancing Lessons from God.

What a week.

Comments

Poor kid! Germs are the worst! Glad you're able to help out in that way. Yes, it's exhausting, but rewarding as well. I hope to see you soon! C

Maybe you will spot us Wednesday night - if we are not spotted.

HFM?? Those of us who are childless (and of course grandchildless) miss out on many things -- this is one I am happy to miss.!

Grandparents are a blessing from God! I bet Lilly and Pete think so, too.

I love Chicago. So far this year, we have spent about as much time there as in Wisconsin. It was also good to know that we can still find a parking spot on the street (at least one day!). But having a granddaughter to visit was the best ever.

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Let's go to Canada. It will be beautiful and convenient and nothing will get too crazy.

Hi! Len and I returned home at 1:30AM from our 15-day road trip through eastern Canada and Maine and more.  

In case you ever wondered, you CAN go to the “Glazed and Confused” donut shop in Syracuse, NY at 9 in the morning, peruse the  Erie Canal museum https://eriecanalmuseum.org/ and then drive back in Waukesha - all in one 16-hour day. We are generally closer to interesting places than we know.

But I get ahead of myself.

An afternoon in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Sault is a French word that mean topsy-turvy as in the rapids on the St. Mary river that tumbles between the US and Canada. Or summersaults. Isn’t that cute?

We walked a lot that first day. We thought the Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site; which is two old houses that we wanted to see, were just around the corner from where we parked. Nope; more like two miles there and two miles back.  But it was a brisk day and after our hot, humid Wisconsin summer it was delicious to wear a jacket and not sweat.

Mountain Top Toddler

We drove to Chicago to help care for our 2-year old granddaughter. There is a lot going on in their family as is true of any family with a toddler, a new infant, and two working parents. Such as; my daughter went back to work the same week their daycare center closed for a 10-day break. A perfect storm of domestic hoopla. 

We only watched her from 7:30AM until 4PM on Monday and Tuesday. When our son-in-law came home from work, he took over. Other relatives are watching her the next few days. 

Here are three things I noticed about taking care of a toddler.

"Death Comes for the Archbishop" and How to drive to the Y without a map.

I read Willa Cather’s “Death Comes for the Archbishop” when I was in high school. I heard it was an important book which made me curious (still does), so I borrowed it from the library and read the whole thing.

It was mud. I didn’t care about the characters; two middle-aged priests who go to the American southwest to build and strengthen the Catholic church. Snooze. Nothing cohesive happens. They do a bunch of walking around in the desert followed by episodes of trying to be helpful a few days here, a few years there. Yawn.

When Weaving is NOT a Metaphor

I wrote this 12 years ago.  It's long and even I get confused as to what I wrote when one gets about half way through this  - and I was there!   But some of you will be interested to read how those "ethnic weavings" from Guatemala begin.  Next time you buy something hand woven, for less than $20, you will understand that price is not right.

.....

Retirement Smackdown

I just made a list of fourteen friends who have retired in the past five years. Of the fourteen, SEVEN retired early and abruptly when their employer’s business practices, for various reasons, changed or failed.

There is a myth out there that retirement is a fixed event with a date one knows years in advance. Then at the desired retirement age there will be a company party where one gets a memento from their employer - and after that they live aimlessly, trying to find purpose.  

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