A Bit of an Arduous Trip

Rest in peace: black Macbook (2006-9) and white iBook (2005-9)

Black and White Apples

Well, Erin, Rosemarie, the girls and I are all back from our Chicago trip, and we’re all glad and quite relieved to be home. Because although we had a lot of fun on our journey, the trip was marred by certain events that will take a couple of weeks to get through.

For this spontaneous trip, we rented a Dodge Caravan, which seats seven — an ideal arrangement when you have three adults and two children on a long trip and lots of luggage. And I have to say that I enjoyed driving this vehicle, even though it guzzled more gas and felt a little ungainly, it drove like a tank — and I mean that as a complement. For the first time, I sat eye-to-eye with the Starbucks cashier and the surge of power that I felt at that moment? Well, no wonder minivans are so popular.

However, negotiating Chicago’s rush hour traffic was a pain. Yes, I know we should have taken transit, but poppa Michael, who visited us on this trip, broke his leg over Christmas and still can’t manage long walks. And all in all I was pleased at how well I handled the traffic — until backing out of a small parking lot after a meal of Italian beef, I happened to back into the rear door of the parked vehicle of the owner who happened to sell us our dinner. He was none too pleased. Fortunately, he calmed down as we exchanged insurance information (and thank goodness for rental insurance coverage) and everything should proceed without further incident, but if Vivian learns some new words, we’ll know who to blame.

Although the incident was stressful and alarming, it didn’t put a pall over the journey as much as what occurred two days later, however. As we were packing up to leave, on the street in front of the Best Western hotel, I searched the Caravan for the computer bag, containing my black Macbook and Erin’s white iBook. I located it between the middle seats and picked it up. I did this because I wanted to check to ensure that the passports were in the back pocket. They were. I announced this to Rosemarie and (I am certain of this) put the bag back between the middle two seats of the Caravan before proceeding with the rest of the loading.

When we got to Kalamazoo, however, a search of entire Caravan produced no computer bag and, more alarmingly, no passports. We called the hotel: no lost bag had been turned in. We racked our brains over where we could have rearranged the luggage and accidentally left the bag behind. No joy. We called the Chicago Police Department: no bags had been turned in. Finally, I called the Chicago Police back and put together an incident report: a lost or stolen bag containing two laptop computers, an iPod mini, and five passports (4 Canadian, 1 American).

It is only through the kindness of Canadian Customs and Immigration that we were all allowed back into the country with what identification we could provide, and now we begin the task of replacing our lost or stolen passports. Now that the hurdle of the border is past, I’m less worried about this. Now the frustration is over our two lost computers. Insurance should cover some of the cost of replacing these, and thanks to the loan of Rosemarie’s computer, I am madly trying to change passwords wherever I can find them (fortunately, there is no sign that any of our accounts have been broken into). The fact remains, however, that as writers, we can’t afford to be without computers for very long, and we have to cope with the fact that we haven’t backed up in the past twenty days, and now have upwards of a month’s worth of work to recoup.

I’m sorry to burden you all with this sob story, but it does feel good to unload. For the most part we enjoyed the trip and we still love Chicago. We saw three museums (the Field, the Shedd Aquraium, and the Museum of Science and Industry) and went up the John Hancock Tower. Vivian and Nora had a wonderful time. If it weren’t for these two incidents, it would have been a perfect trip. But I guess you can’t expect perfection all the time. Oh, well.

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