Round Two of Changing Everything

So most people know that when I got my job in Chicago I moved here, got married, moved Mark here and went back to work the next day all in under a month. This time we found a new apartment, moved across town, had family bring all kinds of things from Ohio, became church members, and flew to Cancun in under a week. We need to stop doing this!

My department at work has two yearly meetings where everyone comes to the Chicago office for a week each time. That happened the week before we moved, so boxing things up didn’t really happen. Mark tried to box & move some things but ended up hurting his back somehow early in the week and didn’t get as much accomplished as we planned. Both sets  of parents came from Ohio on Saturday to help move & brought the couch over. Our pastor came to help along with two other friends before they all went home to clean up and go to the pastor’s wife’s 40th birthday party. Our lovely Cru friend brought over a delicious dinner and we all went to bed early.

Sunday we headed to church, Costco, and then home to keep unpacking and see off our parents. Monday I went to work and we went to bed early. We packed up two backpacks and a carry on and set the alarm clock for Tuesday for 4 am. Being up-to-date on the latest airline suggestions, we got there 3 hours ahead, and made it through security in 10 minutes, leaving us with nothing to do at 5:36 am. We finally boarded around 8:00 and were promptly told we’d be sitting at the gate for around 45 minutes while they documented the “parking lot ding” on the airplane that “was nothing to worry about”. Knowing that Tropical Storm Franklin had just hit the day before, I was in no hurry to be in an airplane over the remnants of 64 mph wind, but we made up time somewhere and landed about 20 minutes later than planned.

The vacation package included a shuttle, but the arrival area was packed & chaotic. We did find the shuttle, but then stood outside in line for about 30 minutes. We were the 3rd group to be dropped off, and the hotel staff met us outside with fresh orange juice and took us to the check in. By then, it was 3 pm and we were hungry. American Airlines doesn’t serve lunch on 3 hour flights unless you purchase a lunch. We checked in, walked up the main staircase and down the hall to our room. I was a bit concerned by the reviews I read before going, but everything was better than expected! (With the exception of the bed feeling like they put a mattress pad on a wood block). After setting things down we headed for lunch, which was served indoors on account of the storm the day before.


After lunch, we walked around outside and looked at the beach and the two hotel pools. They had hammocks, little covered areas, and regular umbrellas. We went back to the room for a nap before going to dinner & back to bed. (Really exciting, I know, but I woke up at 3 am.)

Wednesday, we had breakfast in the lobby, and took a walk to the Flamingo Mall don the road. It was in the last stages of closing before being turned into a convention center in December, so the store owners were happy to see people. We wandered through, walked a ways down the road and looked at the lagoon and resorts, then headed back to the pool at the hotel. Mark decided the ocean was more fun and spent a few hours getting bashed around by the huge waves. He made a friend, and I got us reservations for the fancy restaurant for that night. We mainly stayed at the pool/ocean until 5-ish when we went back and Mark napped while I got cleaned up for dinner. We both got burnt even with sunscreen, but Mark was extremely crispy and was doused in lotion about every 2 hours for the rest of the trip.



Dinner was very nice. Not much to choose from for a vegetarian, but the cook sent out additional appetizers of the day that were really good and my pesto pasta was good. Mark was surprised at the length of dinner; it took 2 hours.

Thursday we doubled up on the sunscreen, met friends at the pool, tried water aerobics with a very adamant instructor, and still got burnt. We found out that there are fenced areas for sea turtle nest protection and that the turtles come in around 10-12 pm to lay their eggs. I had every intention of staying up, but passed out around 9:30 and Mark couldn’t wake me up. I thought they released the baby turtles at 8 am, but when we showed up Friday morning we found out it was 8 pm. But we got to see them digging up the egg shells, baby turtles, and counting them all.

After the turtles, we walked back to the Flamingo Mall. I got two sets of earrings, but when Mark went to buy his souvenir, the machine declined both of our cards. The shop owner scrambled up $10 USD in change for us after telling me he had no US dollars, and as soon as we got back to the resort, both our phones went off with fraud alerts from the bank. He tried charging us $30 USD each time, which the bank flagged. Good for us that the bank caught it, but that meant all of our auto payments, like our transit passes, wouldn’t load. After the flight back, we had just enough coins to get Mark back to the apartment. I didn’t realize that my pass also wasn’t working and ended up with a negative balance. Apparently you can have about $10 in negative charges before your pass won’t work.

Mark got both our cards working yesterday after we unpacked some, grocery shopped, and then we met my cousins at a pub in Lincoln Square for dinner. It was nice, and it’s a good place for food, but something was going on at 6 pm yesterday because it was packed with rowdy people! I made a week’s worth of lunches and tried to straighten out our closet before going to bed.

It will be interesting to see how tomorrow goes at work. I haven’t ever been gone this long before, and even with my team covering I feel like I’ll have several hundred emails! Now I’ll have to start saving up vacation days for the next adventure!


A Month’s Worth of Life in a Page

It’s been a full month since I wrote last!  Mark got sad, then I got sad. I got sick, then Mark got sick. Two car trips in a row, and a full week of meetings for me. Mark turned 23.

Mark was doing pretty well until we hit the snag with his transcripts.  Then he was afraid he’d never get back to school, never graduate, and never get a ‘real job’ helping people.  I watch him help people everyday, but it’s not the same.  The more sad he got, the less he got done and the worse he felt. It’s not a fun cycle. Then I got sad that I couldn’t fix things and that nothing I was doing was helping. I baked a festive orange birthday cake the week before his birthday, but then I came down with a stuffy nose/cold. Two days later and Mark’s running a 102 temp and taking days off work. Fortunately, one of my church ladies is a nurse practitioner who could write him a doctor’s note.  On another note, we lost the thermometer. Mark took his temp wile I was at work, thought he put the thermometer back where it goes, and we haven’t seen it since. I’ve looked, cleaned the cabinet, checked anywhere I can think of, but it’s gone.

Dad to the rescue! I emailed him about the whole transcript fiasco and he solved it in one afternoon. Dad’s fix everything. (Now I just need mom to visit so she can find our missing thermometer, since moms find things.)

Last weekend we went home and had Mark’s birthday with his family. Both sets of grandparents were there for his little sister’s confirmation.  He had to work Saturday morning, so we drove over after and my parents met us for dinner at his house. We got to test out the RV on Saturday since both sets of grandparents were in the spare beds.  And Sunday we all got up and watched Christine get confirmed. We got to church around 10am and left at 1pm! We then took Christine to the store to grab last minute things for her party and went back to the house. Quite a few people came including the pastor’s family. The best part was the end when the pianist showed up and started a sing-along around the piano to Sound of Music songs. How many small children do you think know any of the words to the yodeling song? (Hint: Not many.)

The following week, all of the field staff for my department came to Chicago for meetings. That added an extra 10 or so people for a week. We had lunch ordered every day, learned more about college relations, did some research on other programs, and made a lot of noise! I managed to stay on top of my regular calls & emails, but it was a tough week doing a full days work in a few scattered hours each day between meetings.   Thursday we had a team dinner at Portillo’s and then a few of us went to Streeter’s after.  Dinner took about 3 hours, so it was 8:30-9 by the time the last of us left. My newest coworker and I got a bit mixed up with my GPS (It doesn’t tell you which direction to start) and ended up with more time to talk about Cru, Tolkien, Lewis, and the Inklings. When we finally got to Streeter’s, there were still about 8-9 of us there. Some were playing beer-pong and I was nominated to play next. I think playing sober gives an advantage, but I’ll accept my two back-to-back wins anyway!

I was matched with a former IES employee who has now spent 7 years at a university through the International Educators of Illinois mentor program. We both missed the orientation, but can’t wait to meet each other. Hopefully I can learn what I need to for a university job.

I met Mark when he got off work and we made it home on the train. Apparently wearing the same heels for two straight days in a row plus going out doesn’t go over well on my poor feet. Friday was the last day of my meetings and I was going a bit crazy from all the people time. After work, Mark picked me up in the pouring rain where we proceeded to make it our of Chicago after two hours. Six hours later, we made it to the camp in Michigan where his family used to go for summer camp. How did it rain in literally every other zip code but camp? I’d really like to know.

We came back on Sunday afternoon and made it through Chicago traffic with no problems and minimal rain.  Monday we slept in, attempted a trip to Costco, but discovered that they aren’t open on Memorial day. I went to check that several times before we left, but I kept getting side tracked. So instead we went to Home Depot, parked, and got pizza and donuts. Today after work, we officially became Costco members!  My parents got Mark a membership for his birthday, so we signed up and finally had a hassle-free trip through the check-out. Even if you’re an authorized family member, they don’t like you using a card from another state.

Thanks to Reddit, I found a swimsuit on sale that will actually fit me for our late honeymoon/early anniversary trip to Cancun! In August, we’re taking 4 days to go lay on the beach, relax, snorkel and have fun.  I can’t wait, but first I had to renew my passport because when my name changed, I figured I’d get around to it eventually. Well, eventually got a bit sooner, so I’ve now sent in my app and am waiting on the new passport. Fortunately, my coworkers assured me that I’ll get the old one back, but with a hole through it. I have too many fun stamps in there to give it up for good!

Friday, I’m taking off after lunch to go see Sarah at the airport! She’s coming home after months of fun in Wales and Europe. I know she doesn’t want to leave her friends, the beach, and the lovely CU and church family she’s made, but we miss her and mom could use a break from worrying about her in the middle of all these world events going on. Our exchange sister is in the Philippines in the general area that was attacked and put under martial law, but she says everything is normal in her town, just a bit more security than usual. I’m glad she’s safe, and I hope things quiet down and can be solved without blowing up anything else.