Summer 2014, day 61; Vacation, day 15

Well, this is it. When I hit the publish button on this webpage and shut down my computer, vacation will be all but over. We are leaving for Chicago in about 10 hours, flying out of Midway for the first time. This trip has come to an end.

I'm thinking about sitting at my father's house on my computer, typing away. I'm sure I've said this before -- this is a special place for us to visit. Other families find a lake house or a favorite resort they return year after year, so much that it becomes familiar. I never lived in this house, but have spent probably about 20 weeks here over the past 10 years since he's remodeled. It is a sort of home away from home for us, even if we just visit once or twice a year (usually once). The boys feel comfortable here. The shady porch overlooking the wall of trees across the street that obscures the train tracks is Lori's favorite reading place ever and where I like to write. I get here and it feels like we were just visiting when it was already a year -- that's an indicator of how comfortable it feels; sometimes, it doesn't seem like we left.

Of course, Chicago brings me that comfortable feeling, too ... sometimes. I asked Michael today if he would want to live here, and though he said he liked Chicago, he didn't hesitate with a no answer -- he prefers Utah. And I do as well -- the traffic, the winters, the slightly reduced friendliness of people, and a host of other things about Chicago makes me content to just visit. Yes, it would be nice to be closer to family and our friends from the Midwest, and I do occasionally miss a bigger city, but we really did hit the jackpot when we moved to Salt Lake City. There's no reason to give that up now.

The last days of vacation were low key, as they always seem to be every year. The terrible news we got Tuesday really took the wind out of our sails, kind of making us content to take it easy these last couple days. Today, Michael and I drove around a little, up to Glencoe, where I found the church "Sixteen Candles" was filmed at. I was going to have him take a picture of me standing in front of the red rental car, from the vantage point of the church, as Samantha saw Jake in the movie ... but there was nowhere to park. The boys played tennis with my dad for the third day in a row. I got to drive the Charger around a little more. We ate at Lou Malnati's for dinner, then returned home to celebrate Pie and Beer Day (the heathen alternative to Utah's Pioneer Day) and play Ticket to Ride: Europe. And here I am, wrapping up vacation with one last blog post.

This was such a busy, wonderful trip and yet didn't seem like enough time. If we stayed another week, I'd be raring to go with the stuff we didn't do, the friends we didn't see. But I'm also ready to be back home. Lori and I discussed future trips today. We need to see the ocean again. We still want the boys to visit every state before they hit college. And we'd love to visit the Midwest in the fall rather than the humid summer. Chalk up another great vacation -- another one I documented so we don't forget. Let the great summer continue -- about 40 days left; with school starting up again in a little more than four weeks. I have computerized stickies on my laptop with work, home and writing goals that are in sight -- I am eager to tackle those. And finally, it's time for me to fly.


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