Epic Poem - Northwestern U, June/July 2008

Our trip was unusual right from the start
There were only 3 of us to pack into 2 cars.
We'd never taken 2 cars for a family trip
And everyone goes when we give regular life the slip.
But Evan was already started far and away
He'd been up in East Lansing with Grandmic for 2 days.
They were at Grandparents camp, taking classes and having fun
So he was no help with packing and loading to be done.
The first stop of the trip was to MSU to get him
Help Grandmic load her car and have lunch as a whim.
The lunch was good, the company divine
And we sent Grandmic home and headed out in weather fine.
The drive was easy, the roads fairly clear
The traffic got heavier as Chicago drew near.
The expressway in Chicago leads everywhere
Slow miles passed but we finally found it
The one we had searched for, our very own exit.
Not too far past, more quickly than not
Our apartment we found, and we could see what we'd got.
It was larger than expected and incredibly located
We did an easy recond and got ourselves situated
Made up some beds and soon fell into them
The first night was here, Chicago adventure'd begun

Saturday morning quickily arrived to us
Breakfast was had with no fuss.
Now our landlord was tidy for a male college student
But tidy is one thing, to clean he was not bent.
So we started scrubbing a kitchen that was covered in grease
It took 3 days to do, not impossible but not with ease.
A street fair in Evanston was a quick diversion and lunch
Then time to wander over for the conference.
We checked in, read the lit, and found where each should go
A long path of orange balloons to Eric's room did show
Then winding our way back and around and around
Then Evan's classroom was eventually found.
Marci and Mark were together for the first
Then snack break came and we found Evan's group quenching thirst
We said our goodbyes and Mark and Marci split apart.
Then the conference was over, so soon after start
We found Evan first, Marci & Evan went for Eric
Then it started raining hard, where we were we did stick
Soon the rain stopped and we headed back to our place
To regroup and figure out a dinner time place
We headed for pizza just a few blocks down
It was nice, it was good, we really like this town
Then back to the apartment, the second day done
Seems we've barely arrived but we're having much fun

On Sunday morning we awoke with great vigor
To a bright sunny day and then "wham" went a trigger
The power went out with no reason in sight
So we went to run errands and grab a breakfast bite
Went to Home Depot to buy a barbecue grill
Then were about to go to breakfast when Evan felt ill
Back to the apartment and he took a nap
Woke him for a bite before orientation but that was a trap!
He threw up just a little and wanted to go back to bed
We agreed with his logic and that's all that was said.
Mark and Eric headed out to get the camp information
Marci sat in the dark watching Evan's situation.
The packet was in error, Mark ran all over the campus
He had already returned Eric who couldn't handle the rumpus.
Mark was soaked to the skin because it was raining again
Chicago should be named for the raining and not just the wind.
The needed information was eventually received
And the Power returned so we were all very pleased.
We made spaghetti for dinner and gently we dined
Despite the odd hassles things were overall fine.
Evan feeling much better so life was all back in sync
Time for bed on Sunday, the day was over in a blink.

Monday arrived and with it came the reason
Why we'd moved to Evanston for part of summer season
Mark got up early and started the work drive
Mar got to wake up Ev and Eric, no easy jive.
They dressed, ate, and headed for the walk of a few blocks
A very easy walk, no they really aren't jocks
Ev signed in with Kate and Sarah, the counselors at the gate
Then walked to the courtyard so he wouldn't be late.
Eric and Marci went back and gathered all their lists
And went to run errands so that nothing would be missed
Evanston's a beautiful town, and much is in reasonable distance
So most errands are done by foot and bike without much resistance
Got maps and parking passes and food for the fridge
Put more miles on our bodies than we usually did
Then we went back home and rested, our energy to rebuild
It was time to pick up Evan, glad we'd taken time to chill.
7-11 is right across the street where Ev gets dropped and picked up
So at pickup we got slushies in refillable cups
At least a few times a week we can get slushies after school
On a hot summer day it's a great way to keep cool.
The grill was set up, beef ribs were cooked for dinner
We cooked, cleaned, hung out, went to bed, another day a winner.

Tuesday began much a repeat of the day before
But after all the walking and biking Mar was getting a little sore
Still more errands to be run and more Evanston information
Everytime we learned some more it just improved the situation
There were beaches all around within walk and biking distance
We got resident passes with no city resistance
I should add another reason why we walked and biked so much
Finding a parking space in Evanston required a lot of luck
We had to get parking passes to park near our place
And then hope nearby we could actually find a space
A further parking challenge, to Marci not to Mark
For all the street side parking, we had to parallel park!
It seemed no sooner than we had dropped Evan off in the morning
That it was time to pick him up and so without any warning
Eric and Marci showed up with slushie cups and towels and suits
And we headed to the beach, to unwind and look real cute
We played for a while it was a beautiful day
Then we headed back for dinner, what more can I say?
Evan had an evening study session so we walked him back once more
I am enjoying the slower pace, but not all the climbing to the third floor
I should have earlier stated that we are in a building rather old
It wouldn't have made a difference, this trip has been like gold
No elevator, no air conditioning, no dishwasher but it's fine
It's interesting what's become necessary in our current time
For me it would be harder not to have my internet
If I could finish washing dishes I would consider myself blessed
I should also mention Illinois' a lot like Michigan
Many streets are wearing orange cones, yes the season of construction
Between that and 1-way streets, walking and biking is a gift
The sidewalks go both ways and are intact, very nice and that's no ^*)#!
After study session we had a family walk to our abode
Another day, another night, and our smiles just glowed

Wednesday involved following the new routine
We were fairly settled in, if you know what I mean.
Mark and Ev went off to do their regularly scheduled thing
Mar and Eric played and biked and enjoyed the day with zing.
Still making the apartment homelike and doing little errands
Making it comfortably into our space with little odds and ends.
Couldn't get a library card since we were only here 3 weeks
Apparently there are rules that even Marci cannot tweak.
Ev stayed late on campus, playing board games with other campers
The late afternoon rain storm came and put our plans under a damper.
After Ev and Mark were home we went out for a good dinner
Uber Burger was the place - man, what a winner.
We had ice cream and sundaes too to celebrate all was right
Then came home to settle in, it was time for nighty night.

Thursday came and we were all settled in
It was time for Mar and Eric to go visitin'
After Mark and Evan were gone for their day
Eric and Mar grabbed the car and ran off to play.
First stop in the morning was to Sculpture Park
To pose with the statues, oh my, what a lark.
From there to Vernon Hills to go see some friends
The driving was easy, we got there and then
We saw that it was the land of strip malls
Eric was thrilled when we lunched at McDonalds.
We stopped in to visit Zelda and Eli
We hadn't seen them since they'd moved to Illini.
Then time to head back to get Evan for supper
The drive started easy then became bumper to bumper.
The construction closed down and slowed our way home
Nothing we could do, it was too late to clone.
So we called to the camp to let them know we were stuck
And that we would be late picking Evan up.
"No big deal" they said, they could handle it there
They would hang out with Evan 'til we returned to our lair
Mark on the phone helped find an alternate way
And we finally got back to Evan, oh hey hey hurray.
We weren't even last to the pickup lane
But it was tighter than I liked, glad this day wasn't rain.
I lit the barbecue - first time for me for charcoal
And we feasted on Salmon, yup, dinner is a goal
Then Evan to his study session back at the school
And home for dessert, we don't miss meals, no fools
And time to settle in, settle down, go to bed
Thursday is over, "good night" we all said.

Friday came, July 4th holiday,
Mark didn't go to work, he stayed home to play.
But Evan had camp since some kids are residential
So we breakfasted and sent him, no it wasn't sentimental.
Mark and Eric eventually decided that they should wake
Though with quiet in the apartment Marci actually got a break
We played some tennis kind of, as best as we could
Because we don't know rules and scoring, though we probably should.
Eric hit a ball so strong and so hard
It went over the fence, across the street, pretty far.
After lunch Mark and Eric went and took a bike ride
So Marci could work, they went to a park to hide.
Grabbed slushies with Evan before the fireworks were upon us
Living by a beach at Lake Michigan really has its bonus.
Eric the Dog and Furball came with us to see the show
Kept well in hand, they behaved and were welcome to go
We walked to the beach and bought ice cream from the vendor
Looking for the perfect spot to sit for this venture.
Someone at the Sail Club was playing on a drum
3 women were dancing with silks, beautiful fun.
At 9 o'clock a man came and put a bucket on the street light
A cheer from the crowd probably made his night.
The full display didn't start until a while after that
We were so close there was little time between the sound and light blast
The fireworks were beautiful in many colored hues
So close, so big, it almost felt we had an inner view.
Twice they fooled us with what we thought was the finale show
But eventually it did end and it was time to go.
A friendly crowd started walking in various directions
It was a wonderful way to spend our nation's celebration.
Now time for bed and we have ended one entire week in town
Each day a wonder of its own, already we have grown.
So goodnight we go to sleep to ready for tomorrow's adventure
Enjoying every moment of this trip that we will treasure.

Saturday we woke slowly with joy in our hearts
This was the point where vacation would really start
We slowly ate breakfast, got dressed, and got ready
To get on the train and ride to the city
If we knew what we were doing it would have been much more easy
But what's an adventure if it is all too breezy?
So with confusion of signs, finally asking for assistance
The guy at the station got us going into the distance
Purple line 'til it ends at the Howard Station for us
Red line 'til the street where we get on the bus
While on the bus driving to the museum
A wedding party took pictures in the road where we could see 'em
Finally arriving at the door of the Museum for today
The Museum of Science and Industry is where we started to play
So much to see, so much to do, So we started with lunch to think and talk, too
We went to the special glass exhibit, we saw so much
We watched them blow a pitcher and videos and such
We went to Toymaker and had the machine build a gravitron
We went to genetics and saw chicks being born
Eric did fingerprinting but he didn't commit the crime
Evan showed his DNA, though it looked like thready-slime
We saw thermal imaging of each of our bodies, although
Marci barely showed up, little heat did she glow
We learned about the past and viewed images of tomorrow
We flew planes, played games, and even milked cows.
Then it was time for the museum to close so they showed us to the gate
The sun was still shining bright, it wasn't very late.
At 5:30 it seemed early to be heading back for night
So we took the bus to Navy Pier and went to see the sights.
We grabbed dinner and walked around, it is quite a place in fact
At at the Dock Street Stage saw David Kovac do his act
While we were sitting there, eating popcorn and watching magic
Evan got a gift from above, but was cool and didn't panic
A bird gave a present that would have freaked out many
But Evan is a guy that can find such events funny.

As we got ready to leave heard some music that was pretty good
So we strolled to the Beer Garden like music lovers would
World Class Noise was playing, they were music to our ears
It was a really good ending to a the day of so much cheer
So off to catch the free trolley back to the train station for us
If it had been running properly there would have been no fuss.
But the trolley was delayed and kept coming to us packed
There was only room for very few more to add to the stack.
Eventually we were able to get our bodies on the trolley
We were tired but we knew a good story was worth some folley.
The train ride back to evanston was easy and we knew where to go
And soon we were in our beds to sleep until tomorrow.

Sunday morning we got up, ready to be moving
To Shedd Aquarium which is really quite grooving.
Now that we can read the rail schedules and follow the maps
Finding our stations and trolleys has become just a snap.
With no further ado we rode into the city
Enjoying the ride and some sights that were pretty.
Got to the aquarium and started viewing the exhibits
Much about the environment and a lot about the fishes.
The Giant Bullet Ants are the largest on earth
I was surprised at their size, their length, and the girth.
We saw lots of kids wearing orange shirts and in teams
They were from Evan's program, many knew him it seemed.
We had pizza for lunch and saw "Sponge Bob 4D"
We quickly dried off and were ready to proceed.
We watched the big aquarium while the diver was in
She fed the fishes by hand and spoke with a grin
Eric played a giant board game, answering questions about lizards
He knew all the answers, he was a lizard wizard!
It was perfect timing as Eric finished his game
Mark and Evan with popcorn to join us, they came.
We caught the trolley and headed back to the station
A second day away that actually felt like vacation
Once on the train we were entertained by a guy
who played harmonica so well we all wanted to go home and try.
We went to the beach and we had a quick bite
Then we headed for home and called it a night.

Monday arrived and camp finally started for Eric
Now a routine was set and Marci could actually work a lick.
On Tuesday Evan stayed for Euchre, dinner, and study sessions
Eric's been having fun making skyscrapers because that's his lessons.
By Wednesday we've been to the beach another time
Mondays through Fridays will be a little weak for rhymes.
We made smores on our balcony in our little grill
The funny little things that we can find as a thrill.
Marci and Eric went to check on Norris Student Center
They played foozball and air hockey, Eric did DDR beginner.
Thursday Evan stayed to hang out, the rain kept them at the dorm
But at least there all the kids could remain dry and warm.
There may be an easy way to parallel park a van
But Mar never does it, so she doesn't know if she can.
In Evanston there's lots of practice, most parking's on the street
A little forward, a little backward, turn the wheel and then repeat.
With lots of practice then improvement is sure to happen soon
Hopefully before all the parking makes Mar turn into a loon.
Friday Mark works from home so Eric gets a break
He doesn't walk Evan to class, he gets extra time to take.
Then off to his final day of his first 1-week deal
We can't wait to see his skyscrapers at the great reveal.
Then back for lunch, Eric and Mark head to the beach
Marci stays home to work, more articles are in reach.
Evan goes to Norris Center to hang out and play games
Comes back for dinner and for cleanup, for the dance he can't look the same.
Stays for an hour, does some dancing and chilling out
Then he's had enough, borrows a phone and gives a shout.
Mar goes and meets him so he can come back without a fuss
We enjoy some ice cream and read the comics Grandmic sent us.
It is time for bed now, the second week is done.
In the morning begins the weekend where it is all about the fun.

Saturday morning was bright and clear
Our trip to Field Museum was finally here.
We got on our train, knowing just what to do
We switched to the red line, easily done too.
But the station at Howard did not look the same
Construction had begun where we switched our train.
This was a signal the route would be changed
We had expected that it would look mostly the same
But kind Chicagoans took pity on us
And made sure we knew how to catch our bus
So we made it to Field and used our Cranbrook membership
It got us in the door and cheaper tickets to the exhibits.
We started at Mythic Creatures and were amazed and awed
At the wonderful stories, images, and creatures we saw.
The best part, I think, for Eric and Evan
Were the Pokemon included as mythic creatures evolution
It was really neat to see how a dinosaur skeleton rearranged
Could look like a monster, an alien or something else strange.
It explained some of the stories that people had thought were true
Would dinosaurs have been less scary if they'd know about them too?
From there we had lunch, but no pizza could be had
Evan had been doing pizza every lunch so was a little bit sad
But the lunches were good and we were sustained
And ready to see more was our constant refrain.
We hung out with Sue, she is quite the gal
The most famous T-Rex, she had an interesting smile.
We did the underground adventure, walking through dirt but you know,
Eric didn't like the shrinking and was happy to regrow.
At normal size we learned about caring for the earth
It is our home and our life, our heart and our hearth.
We walked through the Evolving Planet and saw the earth change and grow
Saw species go extinct and it troubled us so.
We plan to be better about being kind to our planet
And helping make sure further generations can still have it.
We were too late for the trolley and walked back to the station house
Just a few blocks and a chance to see the streets close
Stopping to take pictures with the Agora statues
We felt small walking through them, just like we're supposed to.
Caught our train back and want an interesting dinner tonight
Went to Cozy Noodles where the food was out of sight!
Bike rode our way home, we were ready to sleep
Tomorrow's a new day. Lights out, not a peep.

Sunday came, our last day for site-seeing
We've been having so much fun, what a great place for being.
So we hop on the train, for the ride once again
Because we are heading to the Adler Planeterium.
When the trolley pulls at our stop the driver says "no room for more"
But as he pulls away we see open space he ignored.
The day is nice and the walk is quite nice for us
And soon we are there at the multi-museum campus.
It seems even bigger up close from the entry
We are excited to learn and to touch and to be.
We get tickets to 2 shows, "night sky" and "fly me to the moon"
Then we walk around the museum to and our show comes up soon.
After the movie Eric went to find the flys at exhibits
While Evan wanted to see all the stuff that was in it.
The Adler is way larger than what we had expected
We split up to walk around for each boys' agenda.
Eric goes upstairs to find the flys and see the planets
Evan stays downstairs for the "Universe in your Hands".
We voted on what should be the rules for a planet definition
Sorry Pluto, some of us agree with the current situation.
We all got to see how light we could feel
When we jumped on the moon and landed on heel
A moon lander game allowed you to try
the landing is hard but it was easy to fly.
The Atwood Sphere is a 1913 planeterium, the oldest where we are
Like sitting in a slow concrete mixer to see the movement of stars.
There are video interviews with astronauts historic and recent
And tributes to those whose journeys didn'tsafely end.
The only regret we have is lack of time to see more
Hoping soon to return, Adler is too awesome to ignore.
We caught the trolley back, an easy train ride home we had
Pizza for dinner and an easy evening for the last week. So quick, too bad.

Monday morning arrived too soon
After a busy weekend we're bleary eyed goons
It's a low key morning, all the guys are in place,
Marci works from the apartment, phone calls she makes.
After Eric then Evan come home from their days
It's time to head to Goodman's for dinner - hooray!
The dinner is great, the company terrific
It's good to see known faces and have time to kick it.
Tuesday comes and the days get hotter all the time
If it wasn't for the beach my melted brain couldn't rhyme.
Wednesday is so hot Eric and I hang out at the mall
Milk Shakes at Johnny Rockets help our temperatures to fall.
Then we pick up Evan and we three head to the beach
Mark joins us there and a good time was reached
A quick rain brings down the heat and made us feel less gooey
To go to Norris and watch an outside showing of "Ratatouille"
Thursday Evan stayed for Euchre, dinner, and study group
Marci and Eric said goodbye to the beach sand and seagull poop.
We started looking over the apartment, considering how to pack
It was amazing to be here, we would all like to come back
We pull out a bottle of the bubbly and toast the adventure
All good things to say, of that we were all sure.
Friday morning makes it all become more real
That it is time to go home, let the memories congeal.
First the last day of classes, Eric has a presentation
And Evan, well he has a final examination.
Eric talked about a game they played daily is class
He had a lot of fun, and that is no silly jazz
The car is being packed, the apartment is being emptied
The time that we've had is becoming memory seed
Ellen showed up as a gift to us, and though we weren't slacking
If she hadn't helped us load, we might still be packing
Though we left at 3 it didn't really show
With traffic not moving, there was nowhere to go.
Finally, at 11pm it was the trip's end
We got in our house and we rolled into bed

The one thing we won't miss is all the road construction
No matter where we drove there was orange cone obstruction
It was great to live in a pedestrian town
With a main street city that we could walk down
The family time was great as we lived at slower paces
Less demands on our time, more smiles on our faces
We'll miss the friendly guys that worked at the 7-11
When it was hot outside those daily slushies made us thank heaven
Lighting up the lawn in early eve did the many fireflies
It was so beautiful it gave us a visual walking high
It was a great experience, we all learned so much
If they want to do it next year, we will be an easy touch.
We met wonderful people and did fabulous stuff
We remembered that what we had was more than enough
It's the experiences we have, the lessons we learn
That are much more important than things we might yearn.
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"All poetry on these pages Copyright 2004-2008 by Marci Grossman"