This can't possibly be Wisconsin, because I'm HAVING FUN.
So, Mags and I made it to Mil-i-wau-kee just fine. In fact, Mags was a dream and a half. She was well behaved, polite, self-entertaining, and not fussy at all, over the course of nearly seven hours. It was miraculous. I actually read a magazine on the plane while she was still awake! Gasp! We were well prepared with snack and Play-Doh (still no pulse evident in airport security over that one.) Speaking of security, Mags is so used to travelling, that she sat down while waiting in line for security and started taking off her shoes without me having to ask! :)
My mom and her husband Dorney picked us up and took us to my grandmother's house for dinner. Dorney still likes to tralk about inane things, and I thought we might suffocate between the combination of my mom's cologne and the car heater being on 'rotisserie'. Didn't take us long to get to Gma's house. Great grandma looks like she's holding up well, if not a lot more hard of hearing. After warming up to folks, Mags put on her 'cute' show and wowed everyone (although I think she coulda crapped in the middle of the floor and gotten the same reaction, though.)
Our plan for this trip was to spend 3 days with my mom, my cousin, and my aunt, respectively, instead of the entire duration using Mom's place as a leaping point for all other excursions and a healthy dose of guilt. After repeatedly being reminded to check the car lights location and make sure we knew how to use the heater, we`started off to my cousin Goose's house family with Gma's car. Racine, here we come!
Now, Racine is located about halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago. And really, in the entire time I lived in Wisconsin, I only visited one section of it to visit my aunt, and have had a less than impressed impression of it (read: the Sticks. And not in a cute, country sorta way.) Well, Goose and her gaggle live in a really nice area! And there are theaters, and restaurants (Thai! Japanese! Korean!) too. Its super close to L. Michigan, a small zoo, and a kid's park to rival only one I have ever seen before in my life. They live on a great tree -lined street that kid of smacks of Norman Rockwell. They even have a yard! And a garage! I was stuned to realize at one point I found myself thinking that wow, if i HAD to live in Wisconsin again, I think I could actually live here.
Another thing about Racine that really sticks out is that I lived in this state for nearly 20 years and never knew this part existed (partially because I never learned to drive until I was long gone, and also because of my extremely narrow upbringing. But we'll save that for another post.) I told Goose at one point that it really didn't feel like I was even in Wisconsin, because there was nothing that I recognized. Well, that and the fact that I've been having great fun visiting with her, but I didn't say that part out loud. Yeah, family visits are pretty stressful, thanks to my family and their own copyrighted version of freakiness. They're so bizarre, they make Goose and her family feel incredibly normal, which is very impressive considering they are practicing PENTACOSTALS. Yah. Part of that is because Goose is just a mellow bird and always has been, and part of this is because EVERYONE looks normal i comparison, but her husband Little John converted to Pentacostal when he was in his teens, so he kida gets how the rest of the world lives and has managed to interject the safe, happy and fun parts of that into their lives. Oh, and Little John also thinks our family is nuts, too. He and I have discussed on more than one occasion our family visiting there family without telling THE family -- ya dig? I'll tell ya, its tempting. Goose keeps wagging her finger at us, though. Meh.
Goose and LJ also have two boys, a shy, slender 4 year old, and a boisterous bulldozer of a 2 year old. Mags has clicked well with both of them in different ways, and I think they're all having fun with each other. All of them sharing a deep and all-consuming love of Thomas the Train has not hurt. Granted, it's been all of one day so far, but I really do not forsee any real issues. At least not here.
Monday night we're off to Mom's house. This'll be where the mental armor has to come on. I think for the most part it'll go fine (read: I won't be calling Husband 2x a day begging him to never let me come back here again.) The fact that Mom and I are both on meds should help that immensely -- although I'm not supposed to know she's on them...but that'll be covered in the afore mentioned entry to follow too. But it's still tricky.
Historically, staying with them has involved using one of their spare cars, which leads to repeated reminders to use the club as well as locking the doors, and something of a curfew as they insist the car be put I the garage at night but won't let me do it. Then there's their house. They live in an former beer baron mansion/frat house on the north side of town. And by north side, I mean of a darker skin tone, shall we say. Now, if asked to describe my Mom and Dorney, I'd have to say: a) paraniod, b) racist, c) insane, but d) well-intentioned. To say they live in fear would sum it up nicely. They've got an alarm system on their house, which is not too unusual, but they arm it when they're inside the house, too. Getting in and out of their house to go anywhere is an amazing amount of hassle, and rather offputting, to tell you the truth. But because they live in constant fear, they never open any of the shades on the first floor because they think their house is constanly being cased for robbery, which is even more ridiculous when you see the amount of crap these two packrats have in their house! (And not even nice stuff!) So, they're 'safe', but they have to use the lights all the time because their house gets almost no sunlight in it. A very strange place to be locked into, rest assured.
Arg. I could go on, but I'll stop. While some of the things that drive me nuts will still be there, I'm basing a lot of anxiety about this coming portion of the trip on previous visits (not without some cause, mind you.) I want to have a good time on this trip, and I bet there's a way we can do this. I'll let you know how that goes.
Until then, I'm going to continue to enjoy my idyllic time here in Not Wisconsin.