Early Saturday morning we left Michigan, drove through the construction in Indiana, and arrived just after lunch in DeKalb, Illinois. Along the way we searched in vain for postcards. Cracker Barrel didn’t even have any. I talked to the clerks and they said the last two years no one has bought them. So beware to those of you who collect postcards: 1) get them now while you still can & 2) protect any from Michigan & Indiana because they are now limited editions!
I also introduced the kids to the tollway oasis concept. We ate lunch at the Lincoln Oasis that straddled all lanes of I-80/I-94 just inside the Illinois state line. Well, I ate lunch. The kids ate massive pretzels. Ian also made a 3 year old friend in the play structure while Megan played with her camera phone. By the time we reached DeKalb on I-88, the kids were entirely sick of having to stop and pay tolls. Megan thinks the California toll bridge concept is much better: stop once and pay through the nose rather than stopping many times to pay some coins. Neither of them appreciated the corn fields we drove through or the neat thunder-head cloud formations on the blue sky’s horizon.
Two of my former graduate school professors at NIU graciously offered to put us up at their house. Fortunately they have two extremely nice teenage children that my kids enjoy playing with. After a long visit, we went over to my advisor’s house for pizza supper. It was great to catch up, relaxing on their screen porch in the cool breeze. We kept the kids busy watching the Olympic trials & Disney channel on their new home theatre system until 10 p.m. Once back at home base, we slept with the windows open and listened to a soft rain sift through the maple & elm leaves. Ahhh, real summer weather.
Today (on a Sunday–it pays to know people with keys), we toured the biology building. The kids played scientist, helping to hatch fly eggs and looking at sand and salt under binocular microscopes. We also met the snakes, frogs, and turtles on the “special” (i.e. extra-locked) 5th floor. I then showed the kids the lab and greenhouse where I did part of my research. “Dr. Carl” also showed the kids dragonfly nymphs. I sent Ian on several secret missions to keep him busy so I could be “home” for a little longer. Megan was more eager to poke around and chat. We’ll make a scientist of her yet!
Quote of the Day
Megan: (after I got too excited about being “home”) Are my friends here? No. So this ISN’T home to me!
Ian: I’m going to write a letter to the Michigan senate that says, “Give me postcards or give me death!”