We arrived in Michigan 11:30 on Thursday night, with half an hour to spare for ringing in the new year with my mother and brother. Following that came the late Christmas gift opening, fondue lunch AND New Year's posole, all on the same day. Yesterday was the ceremonial trip to the favorite childhood bookstore for lunch, where I always mean to branch out and get something different, but wind up with the roasted artichoke sandwich because it's just so darn good and I get it at most twice a year.
This morning, I woke up at an inhumane, achingly cold hour to deliver my brother to the train station. I am not used to 5 degrees fahrenheit any more, not that that's actually a temperature I saw too often even in my Michigan childhood. In exchange for the lake dumping snow on us all winter, it tended to insulate us from the worst of the cold. Indiana and Illinois, on the other hand, were on average 5-10 degrees warmer than Michigan most of the time, but had nothing to insulate them from the Arctic air that came howling down the prairie, so we experienced a lot more extremes in temperature, including several single degree days every winter (and what I really thought was unfair was in Illinois, even though there wasn't a body of water to provide humidity, it was humid all summer because corn gives off moisture. So it was skin crackingly dry all winter AND sauna humid all summer). This is all colder than Philadelphia, where it feels like an unreasonable cold snap when the daytime temperatures stay below freezing for a whole week. During one of those periods last winter, I was thinking that I had really lost my tolerance for the cold when it occurred to that maybe I should think about zipping up my coat. And putting on a hat, and gloves and maybe one of those new-fangled scarves, instead of attempting to reenact My Logger Lover. I hadn't lost my tolerance, I had just forgotten little details like the fact that we humans can use cleverly sewn together cloth to protect our skins from the cold.
Today was an interstitial day, before the next round of family comes in the form of B's parents coming down for a visit. We want to see them, of course, but I would be lying if I didn't say I cherish hopes of getting out to see a movie while they're here. After that, we head down through Illinois and Indiana for brief visits on our way home.
These visits are never long enough before we have to climb back in the car. Thank goodness our children are good travellers.