It's weird though, because everything is rearranged and consolidated. Like we were in the living room, and it had a couch from the family room in it! Just sitting there on the living room's rug, like it belonged there. Not to mention the chair from the bedroom.
Then there's this little parlor area, in which they have squeezed the piano. But it's sitting on the family room's rug, which is totally incorrect! Just strange. I lived in their old house from the age of six to eighteen, plus many many visits since then of course. It's very surreal to see them and all of their stuff arranged somewhere new.
I saw my brother and nephew, and we all spent some time on Saturday walking around the city and catching up. Quite nice. After some lunch and more strolling, we returned to my parents' place for awhile. They had bought the kiddo a new train set, which he promptly opened and started playing with.
My poor sister was trying to put it into a figure-eight formation, but it was hard with a baby playing on the tracks. Finally I stepped in and got it into a connected eight, although it still wasn't perfect (there was a piece leftover). But at least the train was in no danger of running out off of the tracks.
Then was the chugging of trains. HOURS of chugging of trains. (This is the new verb for pushing a train around the tracks and making chugga-chugga-cho-cho noises. "Now you chug it," my nephew will instruct.)
It is really incredible how intent he is on this, and how much he loves it. As my sister put it, "It's pretty repetitive. I kept expecting him to lose interest, but he never did. I got kind of bored after an hour or so."
"Try a year and a half," sighed my brother.
I tried to mix things up, make the game a bit more interesting, by making the other toys ride the tracks and climb the hill also. But... "Bulldozers don't say cho-cho," he said indignantly. Then I tried pushing the pine tree around. "That doesn't go on the tracks!" I was having fun, but he was just getting annoyed.
Eventually we sent Will off to be babysat, and everyone met downtown for an outdoor performance by the Chicago Lyric Opera. Not an actual opera, just a number of solos to wet our tongues for the upcoming season. We picnicked in the park first, and it was a perfect night for a concert.
I saw a bunch of cute guys there, but they all seemed to be in groups with other guys. Then I remembered I was picnicking in a park, readying for an opera. Hmm.
The concert was beautiful! The only problem was when fireworks started going off at Navy Pier, and the soloists had to contend with the booming sound coming from both the lake and echoing off the buildings.
When the finale hit, and I don't mean the concert's finale but the fireworks', the booming was overwhelming. You couldn't hear the music at all! Then we realized it had stopped. The audience started clapping tentatively...had the piece really coincidentally ended at the same time as the fireworks? Then the soloist leaned into the microphone to say, "There's more!" They had just stopped the piece in the middle. I don't think I've ever seen that happen before! There was a few moments while the conductor regrouped and made sure everyone was on the same page (literally), then they started up again.
Everyone started clapping. I whispered to my sister, "This isn't ice skating -- you're not supposed to start clapping when somebody falls and gets back up!"
"We're just happy they were able to recover," she whispered back.
"Yes, but you're just going to stir in more confusion." But the performance was able to pick back up, and they finished without a hitch. Even when a fire truck came roaring by with sirens and honking. The dangers of performing an outdoor concert in the middle of a big city, I suppose!