Friday August 23, 2013
It’s our last day in Michigan, and all I wanted to do was nothing. Nothing but crawl under the covers and sprawl out in an actual and comfortable bed for the last time in who knows how long it will be again, and maybe snack on some Skittles or peanut butter brittle which we’re now trying to cram into our backpacks since we didn’t get a chance to eat them while we were here. Know why they haven’t been eaten? (Cause, in my mind, any food like that which I haven’t come across in the last five months was going to be devoured within 24 hours of placing it in my hands) I haven’t had a chance to touch them because I haven’t been home. At all. Unless I’m sleeping or showering. Do you know what I’ve crammed into our last eight days here? 7 dinners out, 5 lunches out, 2 beauty shoots (yup, there was another Mary Kay one I never mentioned), 2 trips to Marshalls, 1 hair cut, 1 round of miniature golf, and 1 sculpture park visit. So on my last day I just wanted to unwind and only worry that everything makes it’s way back in my bag. Which is exactly the opposite of what I did. Not having seen any of my side of the family except a quick lunch with my brother last week, I took another lunch in with my great-aunt and my grandma, and then spent the time I should have been home packing, out for one last drink with Matt and his dad. Looking back though, I wouldn’t have planned my day any other way. Exhaustion fades. I don’t know how many years it will be until I see these people again, and the memories will far outweigh my need to catch up on sleep for one day in my life.
Then were…our evening plans. Which even though I was still just a little more than tired, I had been looking forward to all week. Since neither Matt or I had ever been to a drive-in movie theater in our lives, Matt’s mom and step-dad were going to take us to one in Muskegon. There was only one small snafu. Since the movie is outside, they don’t start until dusk and in Michigan in the summer, that can be after 9 pm. Our flight leaves out of Chicago (a three hour drive from Grand Rapids) at 5 am tomorrow. Add together the travel time and the fact that we need to be there 2-3 hours before our flight to check in, we didn’t see how we’d make it back home from the movie in time to get our things and leave for Chicago. Simple solution: don’t go home. So at 7:30 pm we had the car loaded with all our belongings after I tried to shove 25% more things in my backpack that I came with, a cooler full of snacks and drinks, and a few folding chairs. Yes, this was going to be an experience.
As our Cadillac rolled up to the entrance, we joked and asked Crystal and Jack if they wanted us to duck in the backseat and cover ourselves with blankets to save on the cost of tickets. They just laughed and said it was their treat, although I’m sure with our immanent departure looming, I think Crystal may have gotten the idea to stick us in the trunk instead, claiming it was for cheaper tickets, but then locking us in there until morning and ensuring that we’d miss our flight so that we’d be forced to stay a little longer. Or possibly forever.
Trying to pick out a ‘perfect spot’, which I guess I have no idea where that is in a drive in theater, we proceeded to pull out the chairs and set them up next to a pole housing the speakers for sound. I’m assuming that most people nowadays stay in their car for the movie viewing experience where there’s a radio station you can tune into and therefore don’t even need the speakers. Since as we found out, about 80% of them were not working. As soon as we’d set our chairs up next to a speaker pole, we’d fiddle with the dials and find that either one or neither was kicking out sound. So we’d move and repeat the process until we decided good enough! after more and more cars began to pull in and we’d rather be stuck with an ok speaker than a non functioning one.
Settling ourselves into the seats, Matt and I listened to the faint sounds of Hootie and the Blowfish play on a continuous loop through the speakers as Crystal and Jack were moving around on the opposite side of the car in a very secretive manner. I didn’t think much of it, since strange tendencies seem to come from this family from time to time. A few minutes later, just as the sky was getting dark and announcements were coming out of the speakers, I was presented with..ta da! A birthday chair!
My birthday happened to be the next day, and I was even mentioning to Crystal at dinner that it was too bad I wouldn’t be home on my birthday and wouldn’t get all the decorations of balloons and crepe paper like she did last year for Matt. Little did I know, she’d already planned for this and had balloons and crepe paper in the car, ready to decorate the hell out at least something for me. Such a great mother-in-law!
There were also lemon squares in the cooler awaiting for me where at the stroke of midnight I could blow out candles on top of them. For the moment though, as the sky is getting almost black and the previews are projecting on the screen, I think I’ll enjoy this big bright screen under the stars while I snack on some Mike and Ikes and sip a can of Coke. And maybe rummage through my bag for a pair of socks, because it is cold out here at night!