Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Leaving Chicagoland: Reflection & Closure

With the exception of one late night blog from a motel outside Toledo while my 9-year old, two dogs, and an old cat slept soundly (well, maybe not the cat) I really haven't engaged in that much reflection (too painful), but there has been a whole lot of 2nd guessing and too much worrying.

Why did we ever leave Texas? Should we have stayed in Chicago? What were we thinking buying an expensive house in Skokie as the housing market started to tank? And on and on. As much as Illinois is and was a strange and foreign place to briefly live, a few moments stand out.

Many of these are bittersweet, like the excitement and expectation in November 2006 when we stayed in the Embassy Suites downtown and visited the Children's Museum at Navy Pier, first feeling the wind off lake Michigan, taking the news from our realtor back in Austin that we had received two nearly fully-price offers on our house back in Allandale.

Driving through the Skokie and Morton Grove streets for the first time (the mounds of leaves still piled up neatly on the side) noticing how ugly the houses were compared to Texas. The bleakness of split levels. Could we really live here?

The 3-day road trip from Texas in our new Honda van. Christmas in Vernon Hill in corporate apartments.

A year later, having survived our first winter, we would be used to it and we would experience the first amazing Spring in a temperate climate. A Spring that counts, like nothing you would see in Texas. Ever.

The long morning-sick summer of Sam, when I was Mr. Mom. The awful humidity of a Skokie August. My nerve racking first Annual Enrollment. Constantly fighting the PF bugs. Compaq. DL-380G3, DL-380G4, DL-385G1. What, no SMP? Watching state tables, interrupt load, and Intel packet drops. The Black Monday when the Internet went down that I had saw coming on a Thursday morning, helpless with my Ruby statistics monitoring scripts. DL-145s with shitty ILOs. Bill's mysterious lockups.

The bleak sickness (of a another type) of a year ago. The tense days adjacent to the birth of Sam. One too many special education meetings.

Back and forth on Dempster from the Psych unit at Advocate Lutheran to the maternity ward at Rush North Shore. On one of the darkest days my mother in law, praying, convinced that something good would come from all this. And she was right.

The fresh snowfall on the morning we would drive Sam home, greeted by two parking tickets from the village.

And some time in January when we would decide to try to move back East.

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