Escaping the Heat, Days 59-60

September 5-6, 2022

Recovery – Not

I do love to go home with clean clothes.

The oppressive heat of central Arizona summer prevents the holiday festivities held across the nation. Schaumburg’s Labor Day weekend Septemberfest was a highlight when we lived near Chicago, entertaining us with a local parade, food, crafts, and outstanding music. Now when Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day come around, we long for the Midwest community festivals with cooler temps and the camaraderie of neighbors. We don’t miss the humidity, though.

There were no signs of celebrations in Moline on this Labor Day. But we didn’t look far, having plans to meet up with my high school friends Sue and Judy. The selected coffee shop was not open. What is it with this town? Sue suggested Melis Pancake House, convenient to the hotel and making a quick getaway afterward. Although I hadn’t seen Judy for years, and Sue even longer, we picked up where we left off, minus the baggage of adolescence. A substantial breakfast, photos, and the happy discovery that no one had towed our illegally-parked cars, we bade farewell before Mike and I headed back to Chicago, passing on Whitey’s Ice Cream.

If not for the babies, we might have headed home from that point. However, we had left a carload of personal items at SD’s and needed to retrieve them. In my mind, we would have a day and a half to relax and bank baby snuggles before the cross-country drive home.

Silly girl. It was difficult to relax completely at SD’s house, what with preparing to leave and fitting in visits with C-boy and fam. Plus there was Piper the dog, requiring just short of dragging to get out to the yard to defecate. Throughout the afternoon, we washed clothes, organized goods, and packed. Then. . .

Around 2:00 a.m. Mike’s phone woke us. P-DiL needed to get to the hospital to address a medical issue. Could we watch the kids? The symptoms were worrisome and more so as they worsened. The bathroom mess alarmed me, but I cleaned it up to ease their return home. Short version: All turned out well. Meanwhile, I got lots of Charlie cuddling time and a morning with LLJ. And exhaustion.

SD’s cleaning lady was coming Tuesday and preferred that everyone be out of the house. Bleary-eyed, Mike and I dragged ourselves to Lincoln Square to enjoy the perfect weather, watch the locals, and write from an unoccupied coffee shop patio. We ventured into a few shops until Jerry’s Sandwiches beckoned me over for a glass of wine. I couldn’t say no. Having promised dinner for the kids, we strolled through Gene’s Sausage Shop, a taste of Europe with its abrupt-mannered staff shouting out requests in foreign languages, to pick up some easy-to-prepare meals.

The meals weren’t so easy. In exhaustion, I assumed the food required simple reheating. It didn’t. Somehow, we made it edible.

What else did we eat those days? There was breakfast with the family at m. henry and lots of hugs before we were ready to hit the road. We were looking forward to three or four days of relaxation and recovery as we took our time crossing unscenic Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. We have been on that road and should know better. But the monotony of the drive would be only part of the difficulty.

Author: Mary Cornelius

I am an aging woman who writes three blogs.