Christie's cousin graduated from law school last Friday, and it became a defacto family reunion. I went with Christie because I missed the last one and wanted faces to put to the stories. That part was a rousing success, as was the creation of a few new stories, I expect. I've been gone almost a week, so I'm busy as hell, but there are three things I need to note quickly:
1. Christie's family is awesome in both the colloquial and classic senses of the word. Those people are interested in everything and filled with good stories, witty cracks, and insightful questions. If I have to grow up, that's what I want to be like.
2. Christie's Uncle Jeff let us borrow his Garmin StreetPilot C310 a few times to navigate the streets of Madison (her name is Tonya, by the way), and I want one, and I don't even get lost easily. Christie, I think, needs one. Usually, when I go to a new place, I get lost once or twice, then I have my bearings and know my way around. Thanks to Tonya, I got my bearings a bit slower, but never once got lost. Considering how often Christie calls me for help in finding her way around, I'm not sure we can afford not to have one, really.
3. Ikea is the best store ever. We hit the Bolingbrook location on the way up and filled the back of the car with doodads and such. Everybody talks about the flatpack furniture, but for us it was all about the light fixtures. We've got some seriously crufty fixtures in our house, and we'll be replacing them all in the coming weeks with ones from Ikea, all of which were half the price or less of what we'd find at Lowe's, Home Depot, or online, and 3 times as cool. But we also dropped a few Hamiltons on little organizational doodads like cardboard magazine holders (5 for $3) and a miniature chest of drawers for Christie's craft room. We're thinking of going back with a bigger vehicle, this time for furniture!
Mary, there's one in Canton, and you ought to stop there while you're in Michigan, if you've got time.
Update: In reviewing this post, I realize that I forgot to mention how child-friendly Ikea stores are. We were shopping with Mara, and Ikea has clearly designed their stores to make what could be a chore into a joy.