This past week I made a trip out to Illinois to see my parents. I haven’t been there since the summer of 2019, when the three of us drove there to spend time with them as well as do some sightseeing in Chicago. After that very long drive both ways, I signed up for a credit card with mileage rewards, and I was able to use some of the miles I had earned for my ticket to fly there. I was so happy I had made that decision three years ago because the trip was so much nicer – and shorter – than driving!
The main reason I made the trip now is that my mom had broken her leg a few weeks ago. After a few days in the hospital and three weeks in rehab, she is now recovering at home. My youngest brother lives in the area and has been helping out with car rides anywhere she needs to go as well as some household chores. I wanted to check on her and also give him a little bit of a break for a few days.
Here are pictures of Mom and her cat Brandy:
The week went very well. Mom is doing great getting around in a wheelchair and is working on using a walker with the PT who is coming to the house twice a week. We also met with a social worker who helped get her signed up for Meals on Wheels and helped her fill out a healthcare power of attorney form. Her blood pressure has been pretty low, so the doctor reduced some of her meds and had her get a blood pressure cuff and start daily readings. We also did a financial power of attorney and I got her computer and printer working better.
My dad and his wife Carolyn live in the next town over, so I went over to their house on Wednesday evening and visited with them for a couple of hours. They are both doing well. My dad had a heart attack just before the pandemic started in early 2020, but he is feeling pretty good right now. Here’s a picture of them:
It was so nice having a week off work and away from my daily responsibilities. And I was glad to be able to help out my mom at least a little bit. I’m not sure when we have the chance to make another family trip there, so I am really happy that I was able to make this trip work out.
It’s been four years since we made the trip out to Illinois, where both of my parents live. The last time we came Joe and I were engaged and Michael was only 13 and certainly didn’t have facial hair! So it was high time to make the trip.
We decided to leave on a Friday and take two days for the drive. We also decided to take the stick shift, which meant I had to brush up on my driving skills. I’m pretty sure it had been 15 years since I had driven a manual transmission. (It did come back to me for the most part, although I’m still not great at pulling out in first gear.)
The drive itself wasn’t too bad except for a few construction slowdowns and a fair amount of congestion around the Chicago area. It was long enough to make us start thinking of adding a budget category to save up for plane tickets for next time though!
We arrived in the Quad-Cities on Saturday and checked into our Airbnb. It was a cute upstairs apartment in an old house near the Mississippi River. The only problem was it had very few electrical outlets and we kept tripping the circuit in the living room. But it was nice to have a bedroom for me & Joe as well as a kitchen.
Saturday night we met my mom for dinner at the Iowa Machine Shed. Then Sunday we met my dad and his wife for lunch at the Village Inn. It was good to see everyone. I hadn’t seen my mom since that last trip in 2015. My dad and his wife had visited us in Pennsylvania in 2016 for our wedding reception, but that was still a while ago.
Sunday we also went to see Godzilla: King of the Monsters and then got ice cream at Whitey’s. The movie was better than I thought it would be, and the chocolate marshmallow malt was just as good as I remember it.
Monday we took a trip to the Amana Colonies and enjoyed walking around to the various shops they have there. We got treats at the chocolate shop as well as gifts for both our parents. I also got a new candle to burn while I’m working.
Monday night we saw my mom again and then we stopped by my dad’s Tuesday morning before leaving for the Chicago area. All in all, a good first leg.
Stay tuned for Part 2, the Chicago leg of the trip!