Monday, February 28, 2005

Birthday in Wisconsin

I'm sneaking this one in and back-dating it to when it should have been... I've been meaning to post on it for awhile but a lot has happened recently and I didn't get around to it until now.

I had a wonderful birthday weekend. My actual birthday was spent on the road for 8+ hours. I got up early and went to pick up the rental car. I had reserved a "Ford Focus or similar" but when I arrived they had none of those available so I got a free upgrade - to a Ford Mustang!! It was a 2004 and a very nice car to drive. It very much enjoyed cruising the highway at 80 mph! There was a little bit of snow that I drove through to get home, but not too much. We loaded up the car and were able to leave fairly on time. I had hoped to leave at 11am but considered us as leaving on time if we left no later than noon. Since we left at about 11:30, we left pretty much on time.
We drove through Chicago at rush hour unfortunately, but we weren't too delayed by that. Our biggest delay was actually before Chicago, when it took us about half an hour to go 3 miles! Due to construction on the left lane and the right lane being exit only, three lanes went down to one at that one spot, so the traffic was backed up while everyone tried to merge in to the center lane.
Once we got into Wisconsin it was pretty much a straight shot north and an uneventful trip. When we arrived at the town where my aunt & uncle live, we went straight to the high school as my cousin was playing the tuba in the pep band that night for the basketball game. I was able to sneak past the ticket-takers and get into the gym to see her playing her tuba, then my aunt saw me and we went upstairs to the balcony where the band was and stayed there to listen until they were done playing. Then we went back to the house and unloaded the car and waited for everyone to get there.
Since it was also my cousin's birthday (hence the reason I chose that particular destination for my birthday trip) I knew that she would probably spend most of the evening with her friends, and I was right. She and her friends arrived at the house about 20 minutes after I did, the pep band committment lasting only until the beginning of the basketball game. Her friends were nice enough to sing "Happy Birthday" to me, and my aunt had made me a cake which my cousin had decorated, and we had some of that. My uncle stayed at the school to watch the basketball game, so it was quite a while before he got back. My cousin and her friends spent the evening in the basement hanging out and Jon & I went to bed before they came back upstairs.
Saturday Jon & I took another road trip. He and I are both NASCAR fans, and his favorite driver (Matt Kenseth) has his fan club headquarters in Wisconsin. It was 2 hours from my aunt's house, so quite a trek considering how much driving we were already doing that weekend, but we went anyway. We had a good time and very much regretted having forgotten our camera! I didn't get to see my cousin at all on Saturday because we left before she got up and she was gone babysitting before we got back and we went to bed before she got home from babysitting.
Sunday we didn't do much. I talked to my aunt, and Jon talked to my uncle. We looked through some photographs, and my cousin's boyfriend came over to see her and hang out some, so I got to meet him. He is a nice boy, and in training to become a fire fighter so he left when he heard that there was a fire nearby, hoping to be able to get involved with putting out the fire. After watching the weather report on television and checking a few online weather sites, we decided that we should probably get going since they were predicting that snow would start falling soon and we wanted to try and stay ahead of it. So we packed up the car and left. We stopped at a Cracker Barrel for lunch on the way home (Jon had never eaten there, but I assured him that it was much yummy) which delayed us a little since it is a sit-down place, but had no other delays on our trip home. We did, however, defy the sense that a trip home always seems faster than the trip away, since the trip home seemed to take much longer than the trip there. I suppose the time change had something to do with it since it was an hour later at home than it was at my aunt & uncle's house.
We are hoping to go back in late May when the weather will be pretty and Jon is out of school, allowing us to possibly go during the week and see my cousin in either a band concert or a soccer game or both.

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