From MA to IL: Last Activities and Return

Once we got back to the Chicago area, from our sojourn west, it seemed like we were headed back to the Bay State before we knew it. This trip more than any previous one seemed to elapse at a quicker clip on the chronograph. There were only a few days to squeeze in as much family and friends as possible. Ali always has a trip calendar to lock in various activities to their respective time slots to protect them from the encroachment of creeping claims. I tend to be more freewheeling and just try to maximize the time and see as many people as I can. Nevertheless, it always seems as though there is never enough time.

One of the more fun visits one the last part of the trip was visiting my cousin Jen and her family. The two boys are like a couple of little puppies, always into something and needing a close eye to ward off mischief. They are not particularly mischievous, it is more a product of their age, but they do always need an audience. They are great kids, cute as can be, extremely well behaved, and more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Alas, I was not equipped with a couple of miniature cars, as I always have been when I visit, but they didn’t seem to mind. After venturing to the North Side, Ali and I took everyone out for ice cream. Afterwards, we wandered through nature preserve in their neighborhood to run those rugrats around a bit and enjoy the great weather. Those boys are endlessly entertaining.

Photo: Jen's Boys

Photo: Joseph with His Stick Photo: Sean with His Stick

I have to say that my cousin Jen is the premier example of Supermom! She handles their minivan like a professional livery, adding and removing seats in seconds, making sure those boys are secured, and navigating through the city with ease. Aside from that, she is a trained gourmet chef and pretty cute to boot. Even Ali admits she sets a pretty high bar. We were even fortunate enough to see her husband and father of the cuties, Dean, before we had to split. Visiting my cousin Jen and her family is one of the things I miss most not living in the area anymore. Aside from getting to rassle with the boys, every time I visited, she would always feed me something spectacular, whether it took her ten minutes or two hours.

Photo: Jen and Me

Within a day or so it was time to pack the rented SUV and aim her east for the return. Of course before leaving Ali and Keri were booked to run a family event road race, as evidenced by the photo (Keri came up ill, which prevented her participation). As yet, I have managed to generally avoid this perennial family fun, but I am suspecting that it may soon catch up with me. This time I was able to take advantage of the time and visit some other people.

Photo: Mitch, Ali, and Suzy

As always I wish that I would have had a chance to see a more people, or spend more time with those we did get to visit. So many people and places and so little time always conspire to stymie us, separately and combined. Before you know it we are red-eyeing it back to Boston behind the wheel of a large automobile. So to all those we missed this trip, we’ll be back. And if you want to ensure a visit, you can contact Ali and lock-up a time slot on her master calendar. It will work regardless of who you want to see, she thinks she’s the boss of me anyway. Since our return, I have dubbed her “la maistra de la botega” (the boss of the shop – Italian). But she is the certainly the best boss I have ever had.

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