[Updated with photos and corrections.]
We had a pretty active week, so it would have made sense to start home from Chicago right after breakfast. Instead, we squeezed in one more attraction. Diamondqueen, the Columbian Exposition addict, wanted to see the Museum of Science and Industry; not for the displays but because the building served as the arts hall for the 1893 World’s Fair and is one of the last two buildings from the fair still in existence.
It was supposed to be a brief visit, with a few snapshots of the exterior, but we had these CityPasses and all…so we all went into the museum. There was plenty to see and do, even for someone not scientifically inclined such as me. We viewed a hand-carved miniature circus, climbed aboard a locomotive, went soaring in a flight simulator of a fighter jet, and watched a chick hatch from an egg. I pooped out in the weather section, where the Hooligans were having a merry time creating tornadoes and tsunamis (okay, not that different from what they do every day). Apparently I used up the last of my stamina yesterday with the long aquarium/Cubs game/Twin Lanterns marathon because I was numb-brained, draggy, and sore. I sat on a bench in the semi-darkness, staring at a video on the upper floor of the atrium, something about lightning, when I realized I couldn’t look, act, or react one more minute.
I told Diamondqueen I was going down to the gift shop, then find a bench nearby where I could sit and wait. She warned me there was still stuff the kids wanted to see and it could take awhile, but I didn’t mind. First I detoured to the south end of the building to take some photos out the back door of the museum building. That end faces the remnants of the north pond from the fair, with the north end of the wooded island in the distance. I tried to imagine the ghostly image of the fair spread before me, or at least some gondolas floating in the water, but my imagination was fried out. I appreciated it for the lovely current scene it was and snapped a couple of pictures.
In the gift shop, I strolled at leisure, although I focused on books about the World’s Columbian Exposition. I studied photos of the building in which I was standing, both exterior and interior, and studied a layout map of the fair to refresh my mind on the orientation of things. I’d moved on to other rows of merchandise when I heard the Hooligans and Diamondqueen, already in the shop and finished with their museum visit.
I wanted a silver charm for my travel bracelet, and I also spotted a two-for-$5 special on big chocolate bars. S.Hooligan noticed some rock candy pops as well. She’d already been whining for some kind of weird ball-shaped thingamajig that Diamondqueen had denied her, so she switched off to the candy, which she knew full well she didn’t like. Undoubtedly S. was as weary and spent as I was, but knowing that didn’t allow me to excuse the ruckus she made as she built up steam to launch into one of her patented screaming fits.
It’s hard to shush a loud, wailing child who has a poor sense of boundaries, an iron will, and a total lack of self-inhibition. S. shrieked and pleaded and sobbed as we headed for the elevator to the parking garage, then backtracked because we wanted a bathroom break before we hit the road. S. went into a rage when Diamondqueen insisted she go to the bathroom. Instead, S. stood outside with me, ranting so loudly Diamondqueen could hear her at the other end of the ladies’ room. No amount of authoritative commanding, heated pleading, demanding, threatening or outright shoving and pinching could subdue S.Hooligan. I went into the bathroom next after S. slugged me for kindly suggesting she come along. Not only did she refuse to enter the bathroom, she’d switched to sobbing, “You’re trying to starve me! You’re trying to starve me!”
By that time, and by the time all of us got loaded into the little red clown car that now also carried several new stuffed animals and a large shopping bag from American Girl Place, Diamondqueen was severely frayed as well. Somehow S.Hooligan quieted once she was belted into her booster seat. Diamondqueen drove around to the front of the museum and got out alone to take her picture, but it obviously held no pleasure for her.
When she returned, I suggested we go to the opposite side of the museum where we’d seen parking that morning when we’d gotten twisted around looking for the garage. I counted on there being a fine view of the museum that included the north pond. Diamondqueen left the car running so we wouldn’t smother in the heat and walked through the shaded, park-like area with her camera. Meanwhile, I broke out the chocolate bars, having some myself and offering a piece to J.Hooligan, for whom chocolate is a major food group in addition to steak and ribs. He made the chocolate sound so irresistible that S. relented and had a piece herself. I suspected she might be hungry, which could have fueled her meltdown, and she did eagerly accept another huge portion of the chocolate. Meanwhile, Diamondqueen appeared to spend some time musing about the scene before her, no doubt trying to conjure up images of her own from the past.
At last we started for home. The bright, shiny Chicago skyline behind us was veiled in haze as we paid our toll and headed south. We made a bathroom break at the first rest stop in Indiana, where S. seemed to be working herself into another froth, refusing to go into the bathroom. However, when I was coming out of the stall, Diamondqueen walked in with S., but I couldn’t tell if S. had agreed to take care of business or not.
We had a late lunch at the same iHop in Lafayette where we’d eaten on our northbound journey. After that, Diamondqueen put the pedal to the metal even harder than before. It was congested around Indianapolis, but otherwise the return drive went smoothly. Easy enough for me to say, of course, since Diamondqueen insists on doing all the driving. We made it home a little after 6:30 Loveland time. When I departed from the Hooligan household, Diamondqueen was sitting on the futon in the family room affectionately rubbing and scratching the dogs, J.Hooligan was drooling over the new video game he’d hoped would arrive by the time he got back, and S.Hooligan was beating her father with Oinkers, her grimy pig puppet. At home, Mom and Rusty rushed to greet me with equivalent bursts of delight and enthusiasm.