La Porte and Michigan City, 2010

My old friend Krista was getting married, on the farm owned by her fiance's parents. She arranged for a few of us to take over a guesthouse for the weekend, and Cris and I flew from Boston to Chicago and then drove to Indiana.

Friday September 17, 2010

Took the bus to work and left from there with my totebag. As I was about to get on the shuttle bus from the Blue line stop, I noticed the display that showed outbound flights that our flight was delayed an hour. I sent a text message to Cris and learned that he was waiting to get on the Blue line train then. I went through security before I got his return text asking to meet before security, he had to finish up his soup before he could go through. Once he met me at the gate, I got my box of bbq eel on rice and dug into it. Unfortunately, a bone did something to my throat and I felt like something was embedded in there most of the weekend, probably just a cut though. We weathered the delay fairly well, since I had moved away from a loud cell phone talker, and the TV volume made it pretty easy to ignore. Once we got on the plane, I managed to sit in the wrong letter seat, across the aisle from where I was supposed to be. Ooops. Got that sorted out with lots of jumping up and down to try and avoid blocking the aisle.

In Chicago, we flagged down the Enterprise rental shuttle and got a lift to the rental office. I was a bit surprised to hear that I had an intermediate car, but when they checked the compact rates, that would have been $10/day more. Go me for reserving early. The car we were suposed to get had been locked with the keys inside, so we got the one next to it (though Cris worried the woman doing the walk aroudn with me, she didn't realise he was with me as well). I took some time to settle in, Cris hooked up his phone for music, we programmed in the GPS and entered the fray of Chicago traffic. It was a stressful drive for me, lots of slow spots and construction and avoiding teh tolls wasn't wrokign very well. $3 to cross a bridge, then $2.50 more before we got off the tollway, but at least it was pretty direct. We stopped at a McDonald's in the median of one toll section so Cris could get a snack. I got ordered tea (which really confused the counter clerk, she'd just refused the guy in front of me hot chocolate and thought they didn't serve tea either, but her supervisor did some on the spot training. I, left their bag languishing since they gave it to me separately from the hot water, and I used some of the tea that I'd brought with me. Found the Fischer Farm Guest House on Fail Rd and pulled in behind other cars. We dropped our stuff in the room upstairs next to the bathroom (very white, and with paper thin (literally) blinds, I wasn't looking forward to the morning sunlight). The difference between the car dashboard clock, my cell phone and the house clocks made it hard for me to figure out what time it actually was, but I didn't really care - vacation. :) I stayed up for a while talking in the kitchen, sitting around the long breakfast bar table with Axel and Siobhan, and then took a quick shower and hit bed at around 2am (according to the bedside clock). It ended up taking about 2 hours to get from O'Hare to the guest house.

Saturday September 18, 2010

As expected, the sun woke me up at around 8am, and I tried to doze until 9:30 or so before I gave up. Steph made breakfast, eggs to order, and it was yummy. Matt arrived without Mikey and he got the primary coloured room with bunk beds and the crayola ceiling fan. Art and Allison came by, as well as Monica and Shannon. I was all set to lounge around relaxing, but we ended up in a carpool into La Porte with Axel and Siobhan and Matt, first stop Goodwill. I found a polka-dotted dress and a cute small velvet purse for less than $10, and Matt found the suit pants he needed.
We ended up at Mucho Mas! for lunch with Matt, Monica and Shannon while Axel, Siobhan, Steph and Martin wandered around the antique stores on the main drag. My "I'm not very hungry" order of a salad ended up being a huge thing with a base of rice (I skipped the beans) in a taco bowl, but I seemed to get more hungry the more I ate, and I ended up finishing it all but for the taco bowl. Then Cris and I wandered the street fair with Axel and Siobhan and Matt while Shannon, Monica, Steph and Martin headed back to start primping. I got some Iron Buddah tea after a heads up from Siobhan, and admired lots of pretty jewelry (wish they'd had men's stuff at the booth where they had solidified lava pendants and earrings, Forest could have used a late birthday present :) ). They were closing things down as we went through, the bbq tents calling out their wares to us as we passed. At least the rain was letting up now, though. We popped into a three storey antique store, with one dog wandering around and two penned at the back. The front of the store was graced with a suit of samurai armour, and the back with two wood and leather thrones topped by a bearskin rug (locally procured according to the tag).

We headed back to the guest house to get ready for the wedding, time sneaking up on us. Axel and I had a brief soak in the hot tub. A misunderstanding and running late led to almost all of us taking our own cars even after I'd offered to drive for later gin. I drove Cris and Matt through La Porte since the GPS said to, though Matt plotted us out a faster return trip via 20 on his phone. I pulled up and parked next to a row of cars on the grass, just outside the barn fence and we made our way in. I'd changed into boots since I didn't want to drive in high heels, but I ended up keeping them on (with a skirt and polka dot blouse) as the ground and the barn floors were uneven. The barn looked lovely, lots of wild flower bouquets interspersed with mason jars half filled with water and a floating candle. At one point the wind caught one of the taller arrangements up on a beam near the door and it came crashing down. I walked carefully around that spot for the rest of the evening. I'd put my camera batteries on to charge for a bit, but they still gave out as the ceremony was starting and my cell phone camera failed pretty spectacularly at taking pictures of people inside the barn. It did get a neat frame of the candles floating in the darkness though.

The ceremony was held inside to avoid the spitting rain, chairs arranged on three sides of a square on the main floor. The catering tables and the bar were also set up down there along with a few tables for the reception, but we snagged a table up in the loft to give us (aka me) a place to retreat. The twin brother of the groom had built a photo booth in the other loft and fun was had with that. :) The ceremony itself was simple, performed by a Methodist preacher who was Jeff's uncle I think. The three readings were great (a judge's statement on civil unions, the same passage from The Velveteen Rabbit that we'd heard at the wedding the weekend before, and a double reading that started off with "Love is a grave mental illness" - Plato. :) Krista's dress was awesome, it reminded me of Erte's designs, a white base with silver bodice details and black translucent panels of fabric over the white skirt. The food was awesome as well, I ate far too much. I liked how different cuisines were set up at different tables, with Greek, Spanish, Italian and one more I think. I loved the fig and chicken skewers, must try that at home. I toasted with a bit of champagne, but otherwise didn't drink. I got to catch up a bit with Eileen, spoke briefly with Krista (we shared the dance floor more than we talked :) ), and generally hung out with the a.g. crew in attendance. It felt welcoming though, the family members all seemed pretty happy. Lots of neat boots + skirt combos on the women, and sharp suits on the men. :) Monica was official photographer and was wearing the black version of the dress that I'd worn to my brother's wedding, and I loved Shannon's jacket + pants combo, they both looked great. Steph was wearing an awesome green dress and the same heels that I had left in the car trunk. :) I lent her my sweater as the temperature started dropping, I just kept my coat on until I warmed up from dancing.

Again, the confusion over time bit me on the butt. I was getting a bit tired, and my cell phone said it was 11pm, so I started making my goodbyes. Steph and Martin had already left, and so had Siobhan, but Axel wasn't ready to leave yet and he gave me grief about leaving so early (which confused me). I gave Matt and Cris a ride back to the guest house. I sat in a camp chair in the hot tub room talking with Matt, Martin and Steph as they soaked. I decamped when the chlorine fumes got to me, it was steamier and more chemical smelling at head height than at sitting height. I read a bit of a Van Gogh art book I found and then stayed up until around 1:30am talking in the kitchen once they were showered. Siobhan let me drink a few glasses from the bottle of red wine we ended up sharing. I showered and was in bed at around 2am.

Sunday September 19, 2010

I woke up with sun infusing the room at around 8am, but dozed on and off until 10am. Cris was making breakfast, and I was hungry: four slices of toast with the blueberry preserves that Krista made and gave out as wedding favours, potatoes, scrambled eggs, juice, tea. Monica and Shannon came by for a bit, as well as Art and Allison. Axel and Siobhan packed up and hit the road back to Toronto, hitting the farm first. That sounded like a good idea, so we packed up the car and headed back to Tyron Farm to say goodbye to Krista and Jeff. Krista came out of the barn to say bye, and I was able to get a picture with her and Jeff with Siobhan, Axel and Matt too.

From there, Matt and I caravanned up to the shore of Lake Michigan and pulled into the parking lot at Mt. Baldy in Indiana Dunes park. We walked on a trail around the side of the huge dune and made it up to the top after a short walk up the sandy trail. Rain had wetted down the second layer, but the first layer had dried and was super fine. Matt talked with Alison for a while and I called my parents, but we mostly hung out and enjoyed the quiet and the view. We could see a hazy outline of Chicago across the lake, and a nuclear reactor loomed the other way. The slope down to the beach was pretty steep, I saw people scrambling up on hands and knees at one point. I was just a bit tempted to roll down it. :) The main sounds were the waves crashing on the shore and the wind in the seagrass. We found a spot out of the wind and sat on the sand, talking, for a while. Then it was time to head back to civilisation to catch our flights.

After saying bye in the parking lot, I pulled out first and Cris was able to convince the GPS to find us a toll-free route toward O'Hare. I pulled off in downtown Chicago to get gas, the GPS directing us to a cash only place first, and then an auto repair garage w/o pumps until we finally got to a Citgo. Cris grabbed me a bagel from the attached Dunkin' Donuts and we continued on to sit in traffic on the way up to O'Hare. We just had time to have Cris come with me to return the car before his flight (he bought his ticket later than I did and the earlier flight was cheaper), but then we panicked a bit when our cell phones showed it was an hour later. He took off to the long security line while I paused to print out my boarding pass since doing check in on my phone didn't result in the email with my mobile boarding documents. The ticket printing machine showed it was actually 5pm, not 6pm, but Cris was gone. I joined the line, but a security guard waved a bunch of us out and down the hall to a different line and I got through fairly quickly. I treated myself to a strawberry kiwi smoothie and made my way over to terminal C through the light show tunnel again. I went to the gate where Cris's flight was leaving from (it was next to mine), but didn't spot him despite sitting and reading there for a while. As soon as I gave up to get some more food, I spotted him coming back with food. Oops. :) I got a chicken sandwich on brioche and ate at my gate, then they moved us and announced that the flight was going to be a bit late. I think they made up most of it with a very quick boarding process. I had an old guy next to me who tried to get the guy on his other side engaged in a conversation, but that petered out and our row got quiet as he read and fell asleep. A baby with an impressive array of cries could just be heard up at the front of the plane, but my noise cancelling headphones kept me cocooned in a fairly quiet environment. I had the aisle seat, but I still only got up once to use the bathroom and stretch, and I could feel my feet swelling again. As we descended into Boston, I felt an abrupt sympathy with the crying baby up front: I had a spike of pain go from my ear to my shoulder. I think it was a leftover of the sinus infection that wouldn't die, it felt like my lymph nodes were connected with an electrical current. :/ It calmed down and I was eventually able to clear my ear with some creative yawning, and we were down. Our arrival gate was right next to the exit from the security zone, and Cris was waiting for me downstairs when I came out just past 11pm. We had a bit of a wait for the Silver line bus, and then another one for the Red line train and a long one for the 73 bus, getting home at around 12:40am or so. I was hungry and felt filthy, so I sacrificed more sleep for some food and a shower, falling into bed at around 1:30am.

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