We begin with Sunday morning of our vacation again at Dunkin' Donuts, and a very happy RedFaery. I'll have you know I didn't eat just donuts each of these visits - I enjoyed a ham, egg & cheese cresent and hot chocolate as well.
We got on the highway and started towards the downtown area. Somewhere along the way, Grue called to make sure we were underway. My keen navigational sense was working as well is usual, so we wondered off the path somewhere between Lake Shore Drive and the Museum of Science and Industry and meandered around until we found it.
Clan Grue showed up a few minutes later (Grue, his wife HairTech, and their two sons) and we began our journey. No real plan of attack, we just casually moved from one exhibit to another taking it all in. Grue and their eldest got tickets to explore the submarine while the rest of us relaxed in the commissary and taking in a few more stops along the way. All the walking around from the day before caught up with me and RedFaery, so we headed out to eat.
As I'm following Grue to the restaurant, we get separated when he decides to make a u-turn (a random street festival blocked his path), and I opt for a normal turn. As we chatter on the phone with each other trying to meet up again, we magically appear at the restaurant before him! I wasn't aware it was valet parking only, so I quickly take a spot. The valet comes over to inform me it's $8 to take that spot. I wasn't born yesterday, so before I took his word for it I ask him to go to the valet booth with me - only then, when I determined he wasn't just some guy off the street, I paid him. Probably didn't endear me to him, but he'll get over it.
Ever since I've known RedFaery, she's talked about a place in Chicago where the waiters are intentionally rude to the guests and how she'd love to take me there. It just so happens that's where Grue decided to take us. Ed Debevic's is a widely popular burger joint (yes, that's four hamburgers for RedFaery in three days!), and they all wanted to subject me to it's charms. The funny thing was that everyone else kept the waitress busy bantering with her that she never really did have time to banter with me specifically. The worst I got - I was forced to wear a paper hat.
The burger was good (I got the 5-Alarm spicy burger - I give it 3 alarms tops though), and at one point music starts up and the waiters dance on the floor and on the bar. I still have "Get Up Off of That Thing!" by James Brown running thru my head.
Off we drove (at 70 mph!) to Casa Grue. While Red jumped in the car with HairTech to go pay a bill, Grue gave me the grand tour - including showing off the house server for their four computers, the in-house salon, and an amazing array of museum-quality ancient software Grue was especially proud to have accumulated over the years.
We topped off the evening enjoying a movie ("enjoying" being a loose term - "Highlander: The Source" we all agreed wasn't too great of a flick) and some popcorn. Occaisionally I was whisked upstairs to their eldest son's room to watch him play a Star Wars game on his X-box. Somewhere along the way, HairTech gave RedFaery a lower back massage, and Red found another substance she's developed an allergy to recently (almond oil is the likely culprit).
When the kids were sent to bed, we hung out with HairTech and Grue in their kitchen just chatting about the online site we're all members of, children, health issues, jobs and whatever else. Time flew by and it was 1am before we knew it (2am Louisville time), so we toddled off to bed. I think we were both out when our heads hit the pillows.
It was pitch black. We were not eaten by a Grue. He had to get up very early to get to work, so I felt sorry for him in his zombie-like state.
Monday morning we got up and said our goodbyes to the kids, then HairTech led us out to the nearest Dunkin' Donuts (once more, with feeling!) and pointed out the interstate to us. One last hug, a couple of jelly/creme-filled joyous moments later, and we were on the road again.
All of RedFaery's family live in northern Indiana/southern Michigan, so it only made sense to visit them on the way back. We met up with her mother, sister and nephew and stopped by the new home her sister and family just got. Nice little modular with enough room for their son to run around.
We headed to Red Lobster for lunch where I had my normal Endless Salad and Soup, and RedFaery had another hamburger (just kidding - no more hamburgers!). It was a nice relaxing stop, and I enjoyed bantering with Logan now that he's getting better at talking. I think he was just glad to have a guy around so he wasn't forced to go into the women's bathroom with his mom.
Hugs goodbye, and off we go again to visit RedFaery's grandmother. She's 85, very spry and intelligent, and a very positive person, so it's always great to see her. However, my body is already weary from the driving, so I take a catnap in the guest bedroom for 40 minutes while the girls catch up.
When I get up, we head out to grab a pizza. When we're finished eating, Red's aunt and uncle (who live nearby) stopped in and we catch up with them as well. It's a long 4+ hour drive home, so we couldn't stay very long - one more round of hugs and off we go.
We get home about midnight (back on our time again), love on the cats a little, check our e-mail and head to bed. I took the next day off as well, since I knew the drive would wipe me out, plus I had a couple of other tasks I need to tackle.
So there you go - how I spent my summer vacation. It may be another 2 years before we take another one, but I think we made the most out of our time off.