Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. Please leave any comments there.
Operation Wedding: 1200 Miles in 5 Days
My cousin’s getting married in Chicago. Game on.
We left the hotel before most of the revelers were awake – Number One Son being inclined to rise at 0630, time zones notwithstanding. “Hey, Dad, come look at the sunrise!” Oh god. Right. Sunrise. OK. So, packed and out in short order. We saw some more cousins on the way out – also very early risers, which is another term for “parents of young children.”
Speaking of young children, the imperative in the morning is to get food into Number One Son, so that he can have his medicine, which has been proven to dramatically increase the lifespan of children with his conditions, especially when driving long distances with them in the car. So, we turned on SOBUMD’s magic iPhone, now with the God App divinely installed, fired up Bitchin’ Betty, and found us some grub. There being no handy Waffle House, we turned to a local version – Elly’s Pancake House, in Arlington Heights. Here’s a pic of part of the menu:
Elly's Pancake House. It's THAT good.
Oh my god. This place is everything Dan’s Family Restaurant wants to be when it grows up. They had coffee on the table within 30 seconds of seating us – and I was NOT wearing a visible sidearm, I might add. The food was incredible and enormous and reasonably priced. Elly’s Pancake House. There are three of them, and if the others are as good as this one, I’ll have to try them all. Yum!
Once fed and medicated, we pressed on toward Bowling Green, Ohio. Explaining why we were headed to Bowling Green requires some history.
Where to begin? In the early ‘70s, DARPA and ARPA became the internet, small “i”, and then in the ‘80s Tim Berners-Lee invented HTML, which spawned the World Wide Web on the Internet, big “I”, and then we got to the crazy Dot-Com days of 1999, where some crazy people thought that they could make money by creating a message/chat board for women who were all going to have babies in any given month talk to each other about how it was going. They couldn’t really make any money that way, but that wouldn’t become apparent for several years. The point is that there were a bunch of women who were, in fact, interested in such a board, and the upshot of this is that there are I think 80 or so women who are still talking about how it’s going. Just as PBS and Sesame Street were the great promise of television in the ‘60s, this kind of community building – crossing boundaries of race, income, location, education, orientation, everything – is the great promise of the Internet, and it’s been fascinating to me to watch this community of interest become self-sustaining.
When the original hosting company realized this was not a money-making venture after all, these women packed up en masse and bootlegged the board onto their own systems until they found something else to work with. It is now its own self-sustaining, self-policing community, and I’ve been delighted to be privileged to meet some of the members – pretty much the only things they all have in common are English and babies. The original babies are around 10 years old now – most were born in June or July of 2000; in our case, Number One Son. (Number One Son has 100 mommies, and I only get to sleep with one of them. Hardly seems fair.) He doesn’t really know that he has a hundred mommies, but I do – I’m convinced that The Board, as we call it, is responsible for saving his life at least once. Possibly mine also. Many of the ladies of The Board have also contributed questions to the Friday ManFAQ, for which they have my undying gratitude – and the thanks of a grateful nation.
So, short story long, one of the Board ladies lives in Bowling Green, and another lives within 90 minutes drive of there, and we were heading to Bowling Green to meet them for dinner. (It says something about the Board that one of them was willing to drive her whole family an hour and a half up and another hour and a half back, to meet us at Bob Evans. That’s love, baby.)
Driving there had its moments. Just before we crossed the state line, there was a great billboard: “Indiana Coffee and Chocolate Company – To Dull the Pain of Ohio.” Only in the Great Plains do the actual states gang up and insult each other. You won’t hear Virginia messing with North Carolina, believe me. On the other hand, the clouds through most of Ohio looked like tanks, all the same shape and lined up for battle. Maybe they take that kind of thing seriously.
The other great part of that drive was explaining to Number One Son (and his sisters) who we were going meet and exhorting him to behave. We had explained the bribe before we left home: behave very well this whole trip and you’ll get the Iron Man 2 DVD you want when we get home. Driving to Bowling Green, he asks “Maybe some other time we could come to Chicago under, you know, better circumstances?”
“Better circumst – What? What could be better than a wedding?”
“You know, when I don’t have a movie riding on it.”
Responsibility. Ain’t it a bitch.
We met two of the wonderful ladies of the Board, Shelli and Kirsty, and their families at the Bob Evans, taking pictures and finding out what we’re all like in real life, and what happens When Blogs Collide!
Kirsty tried on the magical fedora, and rocked it.
For the most part, the kids ate at their own tables, and Number One Son ordered himself a plate of corn for dinner. Following a good hearty meal, we sloped off down the street for what was billed as the oldest Dairy Queen in Ohio – where Number One Son made up for the light dinner fare by ordering a banana split. It’s all about managing expectations.
Speaking of managing expectations, the Dairy Queen in Bowling Green may indeed be the oldest Dairy Queen in Ohio – if you told me it was older than Ohio, I might believe you. It’s old. It’s damn old. My arteries hardened just a little as I walked in the door, just from the smell of the centuries of hot oil. They had a coin-operated cigarette machine in the front; I haven’t seen one of those outside of eBay in years.
We See Board People! Kirsty, Julie (SOBUMD), and Shelli
We piled all the kids into a corner for a sugared-up photo op. It was always going to be a success, photos notwithstanding.
Board Kids R Not Bored!
We said our fond farewells and retired to our homes, cars, and hotels. Tomorrow being Monday, I plugged in the Blackberry just in case I needed… OK, do you remember the McGuffin from Thursday night? I plugged in the Blackberry charger in Twinsburg, OH. To the surprise of no one at all, it’s still there.
Next up: Miles 821 – 1200. Destination: Washington, DC.