Alabama, here we come!

The Guernsey cow I stopped to take a photo of…

A rest stop with a rocket and a sign that says that the people of Alabama will fight to protect who they are.

Our travel through Alabama was from the north all the way to the south, we did it all. Let me tell you, it was an experience. I am glad that we did it, it was an eye opener into a state that has had many a negative historical experience in American history. It is a state that opened a wound that perhaps needed opening, one that we all need to work on to heal.

Of course we are language teachers and we know what it is like to drop into a foreign culture and have to observe and adjust.

To make a long story short, MK and I ended up in an unlikely place, McDonald’s. We were searching for bathrooms and a place to get a small bite to eat. Starbucks was our likely choice as they have bathrooms and we wanted something small to eat and not have to sit down and wait for a long time.

We blew it.

The McDonald’s was less than clean and in a small Alabama town on the edge of Interstate 65. We walked in, wondering if we looked perhaps, as if we were from Mars. There was a guy waiting, looking as if he were pondering his order. I asked him if he was in line and he said, « Yes. » A moment later, I found out that he had misunderstood me, he was waiting for his order. Another man was waiting, looking very impatient. We ordered two small burgers, an order of small fries, and a Diet Coke. We had to wait as we were informed that they were fresh out of fries. I went outside to go to the car to clean out the garbage we hadn’t yet disposed of. I took a few pictures of the countryside. I went back in, thinking all would be ready. Nope!

MK was getting impatient and asked why someone had just received an order with fries as they had ordered after we had. She was told that she had to wait. I spoke to her in Spanish and suggested that we had to realize where we were. The work ethic was, well, lacking as well. Here I am being kind. She agreed with me, but then moments later we were back in the same situation as she went into ‘Huffy Mommy’ mode. Her reaction provided us with many a laugh in the rest of the car ride.

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Off to Florida

Hotel Indigo in Columbus, Indiana.

Thursday was a grandkid day. Midday, after feverishly working with the grandkids and trying to make sure the car was correctly packed, I realized that I couldn’t go on a trip without seeing or talking to the dentist. A periodic pulse of pain was occurring in my mouth, on the site of a molar turned crown. All I could think of was ‘root canal.’

I ended up getting an appointment at 3:15. We had planned on leaving before 4:00 PM. The appointment was thirty minutes away in Evanston. It had to be done. The upshot is that I had a relatively large cavity in tooth with a crown. It was a tricky filling and one that required part of my gold crown to be removed. We left right before 5:00 PM.

We had a long drive and ended up at destination, Columbus, Indiana off of Interstate 65, by 10:30 PM. We had had a relatively uneventful drive and the only confusion was changing from Central to Eastern time (Indiana is a miasma of time zones). Later confusion arose because once in Alabama, yes, Alabama, the time zones changed again. I guess that we Americans are a quite the confusing bunch. We seem to be unable to be truly logical about most anything.

We traveled through the rest of Indiana, then through Kentucky, full of natural beauty, before arriving in Tennessee. I was concerned about traffic in Nashville, but since we were there noonish, we slipped through with nary an issue. Before we knew it, we were in Alabama. Alabama was chosen for our southern route for two reasons: avoidance of Atlanta, a notorious traffic mess at select times during the day, and because Alabama was on my state bucket list (I want to get to every state).

We have always heard that there is a massive cultural difference between the north and the south. We have never, however, been in the deep south. More to follow.

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Jason Aldean and the Only Way I know and Columbus, Indiana

Dancing and carousing to Jason Aldean. Music gladly played via Alexa.



Today the little ones were cranky as they were really hungry and it was one of those days when you just could not make the food fast enough to meet their needs.

They are dancing and playing in the family room as they dance to Alexa’s music. They love to use Alexa to play the music they like.

Today it was toasted brioche bread with butter that seemed to fit the bill. That and ‘squishies,’ as we call them, those little pouches of fruit and often vegetables that the little ones love to eat. As is often the case, they graze all day, not eating all that much at any one sitting, their little tummies not capable of having a whole lot in them at any one time.

The weather is rainy and cool, the robins are omnipresent now, their familiar chirp being heard every time you go outside. The birds are chirping a lot in the morning, the familiar sound that will continue until late fall.

The car is packed and when the little ones are picked up in the late afternoon, we are getting into the packed car and heading south for about a week of some newfound Florida warmth. We decided to drive for several reasons: the high cost of the plane flights and the contrived travel plans they often entail with flying to La Guardia and then somewhere else before landing in Florida. The other reason is that my bucket list of states includes Alabama and I have never set foot there. We intend to spend a night in Montgomery before heading to Cocoa Beach.

Our first night will just be a short trek to get out of the city and to a favorite Indiana town: Columbus. It is off of Interstate 65 souch of Indianapolis and has been featured many times in National Geographic. As a kid I remember marveling at its beauty. Columbus is known for its many wonderful architectural treasures, a small town full of buildings and bridges made by famous people: Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Robert Venturi, Cesar Pelli, and Richard Meier. Because of the buildings designed by these individuals, it is often called ‘Athens of the Prairie.’

Today is going to be a day of constant clean up as we attempt to be ready to fly out of the door as soon as possible to get on the first leg of our trip to Florida.

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Crocuses and lost newspapers

The slightly warmer days that we have been having have caused the daffodils and the crocuses to peek out of their dark domain. It made me think of an issue we have been having with the Tribune as the peeking crocuses are next to the driveway.

The driveway, in a situation with a malbor, can be a bone of contention. That is especially true when one shares a driveway, which we don’t. Unfortunately, they put our driveway directly next to the malbor’s driveway with a small, median strip in between. To be honest, with the new plat of survey, malbor has his former posts from the previous fence on our property in one part of the median strip. Can you imagine how that can rankle you? I would love nothing more than to pull out my sledgehammer and knock them to smithereens!

The driveway has been a bone of contention because the delivery of the Tribune has been problematic. The malbor gets a newspaper several days a week, as reported by malbor’s long-suffering wife, when she sneaks a speak with us (usually Mary Kay). Malbor does not allow her to talk to us. We get the Tribune every day. The problem is that our delivery man has an issue with his aim. Sometimes our paper gets delivered to the malbor. It doesn’t work the other way, we never seem to get his.

Luckily, malbor’s son, who temporarily lives at home, gets out early and if the newspaper is on their driveway, he puts it on our stoop.

We have called the Tribune and have gotten nowhere. Clearly, we have an unusual problem. A normal situation would allow us to procure our newspaper with ease from the neighbor. Unfortunately, we don’t have one.

Numerous phone calls to the Tribune have been pretty unsuccessful. We have asked if we can call the delivery guy but they told us that they will e-mail him.

Clearly, our delivery man does not do e-mail or at least doesn’t respond to them.

Luckily, the Tribune is not my favorite beginning to the day.

Posted in Life in general, Malbor, Malbors, Neighbors, Neighbors from Hell, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

Lucky’s current sleepover

We actually have them eating together. In the past, Stewart had a problem with that.

Stewart was quite happy to see his canine cousin, Lucky who is having a sleepover with us tonight while his human parents have an overnight stay in Milwaukee.

Lucky was at the ‘Barking Lot’ while we were meeting friends at ‘That Little French Guy’ in Highland Park.

We had a great time. We had croque-monsieur and croque-madame sandwiches and salads, as well as other French sandwiches, and then hit on the desserts that are offered: une tarte au chocolat et au caramel (basically a chocolate tart), une tarte au citron (a French lemon meringue tart), un Paris-Brest (called a Paris-Highland Park and made with praline cream), and a flan Parisien (a slice of Parisian custard tart). Needless to say, we all were pleasantly full as we had each had small pieces of the wonderful desserts.

The rest of the afternoon, after we departed from our friends, was spent with our youngest granddaughter. We picked her up from her home and went from there to the grocery store, to pick up some things we needed. Then we picked up Lucky from his dogsitting situation.

We came home and had a tea party, making some lemongrass tea as requested by our granddaughter. We spent the afternoon playing outside and doing things in the house. Candyland was among the things we did.

We had dinner and then we took our charge home.

What a nice Saturday afternoon!

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