Monday, August 17, 2015

LeAnne in the Land of Lincoln

I just got back from quite an adventure helping LeAnne move to Chicago from Salt Lake.  The plan was to leave her house at 4:00 am last Thursday, but I woke up at 4:10 to LeAnne emptying out the fridge in the dark.  I was immediately reminded of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  “He cleaned out the icebox as quick as a flash.  Why, that Grinch even took their last can of Who-hash!”  She had packed everything in the car, but had forgotten to take her stuff out of the refrigerator.  So a little later than planned, at 4:45 am we hit the road.  Two hours later a rock from the road hit us and cracked the passenger window. 

Fun Laura was moving from Denver to Minnesota the same day.  Since we were both going to be on I-80 we contemplated meeting up for lunch in Ogallala, Nebraska, but Laura was going to be four hours ahead of us so it just didn’t make much sense.  I was bummed that I wouldn’t get to see her despite our proximity, but fun Laura was true to her name.  I got a text from her with some very detailed instructions on what to do when we got to Ogallala to find a present she had hidden for us.  The present ended being some origami, fun Laura's old business card, and some cards with facts about Harry Truman all sealed in an Ikea bag.

LeAnne looking in the tree we were directed to
A present from fun Laura
Look at all this sweet loot we got from fun Laura!
This is what most of the drive looked like.  I actually thought it
was really pretty, but I like corny things.
Fun Laura hid our gift in a tree in the parking lot of a small petrified wood museum.  I'm not particularly interested in petrified wood, but we were already there so we decided to stop inside for minute.  However, I wasn't prepared for the extremely nice old people there who were so excited to have visitors.  Without asking we got a tour of the museum and learned all kinds of random facts that I wasn't interested in.  I smiled as big as I could and tried to sound interested, but mostly I just wanted to be back on the road.  When we tried to leave the old lady asked, "Did you see the butterflies?  You can't miss those!"  We hadn't so we went back and looked at them.  There were also a bunch of music boxes made from pieces of petrified wood.  They were cool and all, but I had to pretend they were the neatest thing I'd ever seen because the old man who made them was standing next to us telling us all about them.  As soon as it didn't feel rude we got out of there because it's cool to look at a rock that used to be wood, but it's also cool to not be in Ogallala all day.

Having fun at the museum
We were so thrilled to be looking at music boxes
After 17 hours of travel we stopped at Craig and Heidi's house in Iowa City.  I hadn't seen them in two years and I was so stoked to see them again.  Unlike me, the two of them don't appear to age at all.  In 2006 Craig took LeAnne on a date when they were both students at BYU.  Craig called her to ask her out on a second date and she never called him back.  LeAnne has no memory of these events, but she was one of those good looking girls that got asked out all the time.  Their reunion nine years later wasn't at all awkward (at least from my perspective).

After eating a delicious dinner of tostadas, Craig went to the car with LeAnne and me to get our bags.  When LeAnne closed the door she accidentally shut it on her finger.  She yelped a bit and then started prancing around the parking lot in pain.  Both Craig and I react to things like this by making jokes which I'm sure LeAnne didn't appreciate.  She immediately started fretting about how she wouldn't be able to play the harp anymore which was the whole reason she was moving to Chicago.  We looked at her finger and it was covered in blood so her fretting was pretty warranted.  We walked her to the door and she said she thought she might faint.  Craig took her arm and she was a little wobbly and stumbled into a bush.  When we got to the door I said, "Oh, there she goes!" and she fainted.  I was holding my bag in one hand so I only had one arm immediately free to grab her.  I dropped my bag and mostly caught her, but she still landed on her knees and scraped them a bit.

After she regained consciousness we helped her inside and put her on the couch where she passed out two more times.  I continued to respond to the unexpected emergency by making lame jokes like, "Man, I'm so tired I think I'll pass out as soon as my head hits the pillow."  LeAnne was kind enough to laugh at my lame pun.  Craig, however, was much more useful and used a rope and a pillow to fashion a pulley so LeAnne could keep her finger comfortably elevated without having to hold her arm up.
No emergency should go undocumented
 The next morning LeAnne felt much better and after a pancake breakfast with homemade syrup we hit the road again.  As we were driving through Illinois we saw a sign that advertised tours of Ronald Reagan's childhood home.  LeAnne said we should go, but I was not at all interested and poo pooed the idea.  As we got closer we saw another sign and LeAnne mentioned it again so we decided to stop.  The tour costs $5 so we decided not to do it.  I mean, c'mon, how interesting could the tour be?  "Here is the bed that Ronald Reagan slept in as a boy.  And here is a toy he might have used.  Notice anything missing from this living room?  That's right!  There's no TV because the television wasn't invented yet."  We did, however, get a picture with a cardboard cutout of Reagan.  Not because either of us is super Republican, but because we had to do something at this random stop.

We stopped for the Gipper
A few hours later we got to Chicago, unpacked, went sightseeing, and ate some delicious pizza.  LeAnne lives in a great neighbor with cool girls, in a house that is oozing with character.  She super-pumped to be living in Chicago and so far her finger is still attached so she can still play the harp.  I think she's really going to enjoy living in the Land of Lincoln.

Note: I spent a few hours at the Art Institute in Chicago.  There are tons of cool pieces of art there, but this one was my favorite.  I spent some time wondering what the person on the other end was saying.
"Stop calling!  Just text me!"