Thursday, July 14 2022

a head cold, bison park, and wasting time at the mall

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Thursday. Birds are chirping outside. The kids are starting to wake up. I'm here at the dining room computer clutching this cup of coffee, hoping the next sip of warm, dark liquid is the one that finally kick starts my brain into writing mode.

Sip. I've taken an unplanned break from writing this week, but you haven't missed much. Marissa and I took turns with an annoying head cold. We think it started with Miles earlier this week. It's not always easy to tell when Miles is sick, since whining and drooling are kind of the status quo for a two year old. At first we thought it was a delayed reaction to his first COVID shot. Then we thought it was just a bad reaction from a mosquito bite on his forehead. Finally Marissa woke up with the dreaded throat tickle, and it all became clear.

She tested negative for COVID, but for a head cold this is a strange one. This particular variety features a nagging headache, a drippy throat, and dry-throated sneezes that are so painful it makes us want to crawl into a hole.

"It could be worse," she reminded me. "We weren't sick while putting together the swing set or during Rodney's party."

It's never a good time to get sick. Later today, Marissa and I are driving downtown to set up her tent for the Millennium Park art show. Neither of us feel like we're in top form, but at least today is just the set-up day. Marissa and I will park the rented truck, dump all of our stuff on the sidewalk, and set up the tent like we have dozens of times before. Knowing that some time tonight I'll be back on the couch under a blanket with my favorite head cold cocktail also helps.

That cocktail, by the way, is a warm mug of sleepy time herbal tea with honey, lemon, and a tall shot of brandy. It's best enjoyed with two gel Nyquil pills.

Before I got sick, I took the boys on a spontaneous afternoon adventure so Marissa could peacefully nap on the couch. "How about we go to Sunset park?" suggested Rodney.

"How about a new park?" I asked. "Today let's check out bison park."

Bison park is a new addition to Schaumburg's spring valley nature center. I saw some pictures, but if I had known that bison park had a sprawling jungle gym, a rope tower, and a miniature creek, I would have given the boys more than just a half hour to explore.

Rodney was stunned. He joined the other kids, taking off his shoes and leaving them to the side. He delicately stepped on the rocks, following the trickling stream under a low bridge to a tiny water fall. "Stick your head in it," I laughed. Rodney obliged.

Miles was more hesitant to jump in the water, but he found refuge in the tall rope tower, where he could observe all the other kids running around.


Our block of playtime was up, but we still had some energy to burn. We hopped back in the car and drove to our all time favorite time waster in Schaumburg - the famous Woodfield Mall.


Are American malls a dying institution? I hope not. This mall is a sanctuary for wasting time with kids. Even before I released Rodney and Miles into the play area, they wasted a whole twenty minutes running up and down that little flight of stairs in front of Macy's. We rode the fancy glass elevator to the top floor, then rode the escalator back down to the ground. We shared a smoothie and a warm pretzel. I hung back and let Miles and Rodney lead the way. It was fun watching Rodney take charge, and also watching Miles copy his brother's confident mannerisms.


Just as we were about to cross the parking lot, Miles began to whine. He pointed his little finger at the giant horse statues in front of PF Chang's. "He wants to take a picture, like we did last time," said Rodney like Mile's personal translator. Easy enough.


That's what I got today. The next entry will be next Tuesday, but if you're around, please check out the Millennium Art fair this weekend. Have a great Thursday everyone.