10:55 AM

The Beloved and I are actually going on vacation this year! Like, we will leave the great State of New Hampshire. We will even leave New England. We're going out to Chicagoland for five days. Why Chicago, you ask? Well, because The Beloved has never been there. And because we have a dear friend who lives in Joliet, IL. No, not in the prison, you naughty children. He bought a house there several years ago and every year comes out to spend a weekend with us. Every year he asks, "When are you going to come out my way." And every year we say something nebulous like, "Oh, soon...."

Last year, I decided enough was enough. My poor friend. I feel awful. So I told him, "Next year. We will come to Chicago at some point in the next year." The Beloved didn't believe I was serious. So I decided that if my darling spouse did not want to come to Illinois with me, I would go alone. Good Lord, I lived in two foreign countries before I married him--I was certainly capable of putting myself on an airplane to spend a long weekend in the Midwest. Well. The Beloved liked this idea even less. "You're leaving me to have an affair! You want to have an affair with him!" Nooooo. I've know him longer than I've known you, sweetie. Think about it for a second. Besides, I really didn't want to go alone--I wanted my husband to get on the stick and come with me!!

Well. Something worked, because we're going.

The last vacation The Beloved and I took was about five years ago. We went to Montreal and Quebec City on our honeymoon. While we've taken time off from work since that time, we've never actually managed a "trip." There are several excuses here: We bought a house, so there's no money; I changed jobs; The Beloved's job is crazy and he has a hard time leaving it behind. Plus, I've recently intuited that The Beloved doesn't like airplanes. I don't know if he's always hated planes or if this is a post-September-11-sort-of-phenomenon. How did I discover this delightful little tidbit? When he asked how long it would take us to drive to Chicago. Hmmmm. I don't think so. Perhaps I can give him half a Valium prior to boarding and he won't even know we got on an airplane.

We also don't tend to do things halfway. If we're going on vacation, dammit, we are going on vacation. This trip does not seem to be an exception. While we are flying coach, we will be renting a car and staying at the Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale--about a half-hour's drive from O'Hare and about 50 minutes away from Joliet. There will be no Holiday Inn for us, apparently. I'm not complaining--if vacation only comes once every five years, I'll take what I can get. The resort features two (2) golf courses (I don't play, but I believe The Beloved once golfed in a former lifetime), a tennis court, an indoor and outdoor pool, two restaurants, two bars and a spa. Now we're talking vacation. I'm wondering if I can convince him to set me up with one of these packages. Hmmm. Well, if he's going to golf, I have to do something.

And, naturally, we will go see my friend. My friend for whom I am supposed to be diligently knitting one of the afghans that is sitting in the corner and gazing at me dolefully from time to time. I should have something done to show him, but I'm just not happy with the pattern I've chosen, which leaves me with the eternal question: To Rip, or Not to Rip? Should I just suck it up and make the damned afghan, or should I start over and try to find a pattern that is perhaps more aesthetically pleasing? Or should I just ignore the blasted thing entirely and work on the baby shawl? That last option is looking more and more likely....Ah, me....

I suppose it all depends on how much luggage we bring and what goes in my carry-on bag. No, I'm not planning on bringing the afghan on the plane with me, although it's always a possibility. I think the last thing I knit on a flight was a baby blanket....but that was before I discovered socks. But I am realizing that I don't have a proper Big Bag to use for my carry-on...and to haul my crap around Chicago and Joliet while The Beloved and I practice being tourists. Do any of you have favorite Big Bags or traveling bags that you'd recommend? It needs to fit the following: A sweater; my camera; my iPod; at least one book; at least one knitting project (likely socks); wallet; sunglasses; etc. I'm thinking it might be time to spring for a Lulu Belle Bag, but am being wishy-washy. However, I have to make up my mind soon, if I want a bag here before we leave on only looks like I'm counting the days. Really.

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