Great Ideas

A few years ago, when Drew and I were trying to work out a marital squabble, I told him, “I’m not trying to be bossy, I just have a lot of good ideas.” I can’t remember exactly if this helped to clear anything up.

Last night, we got back from a whirlwind, weekend, wedding trip to Wisconsin. Ah the alliteration is too easy and so fun! We trekked via minivan with brave, gracious, and flexible traveling companions Uncle Zach and Aunt Christine. 7 bodies, 1 Odessey.

After our trip to Hermann, MO three weeks ago and umpteen trips to Colorado, I am finally wise. My great idea on the way back from Hermann was to bring our grabber tool from home, on the road. The grabber goes where strained arms, twisted backs, and grasping fingers cannot go: t0 the abyss that is the passenger side door cavity. Oakley sits facing backwards in the car and when bored or mischievous, throws his binky, monkey, blanket or toy over to the unreachable depths of the skinny space between his massive car seat and that sliding door. To reach it, one adult must pry themselves out of their sitting position between two booster seat shoulder supports in-between Eli and Andi in the back, and reach basically upside down and over Oaks’ seat. If no back seat riders, the front seat passenger has to unbuckle, climb back and reach over and down…waaaay down.  The pursuit of  Oakley car comfort can be very uncomfortable.

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Eli demos the grabber

Back to my great idea. If we bring the grabber, anyone from front, middle, or back seat can reach the sneaky object without moving their own buns. With a reminder on my phone that went off Friday morning, we grabbed the grabber for the trip. Success… within reach. Oakley had what he needed…retrieved with love and blue plastic.

Madison, Wisconsin was wonderful. As the state capital, it boasts an active populous, bikes and boats galore, and a beautiful and accessible capital square, open to the public on Saturdays.. We walked around the capital in the throng of people (1000s upon 1000s) moving slowly along as if they were in a lazy river: one direction, a slow pace, bumping and pushing at times, who were there for the country’s largest farmer’s market. We had cheese curds from a food truck- obviously.

Our hotel was close to attractions and the bride and groom were thoughtful and considerate hosts- offering a Friday night rehersal dinner hook up and ideas on what to do while in town.Madison is surrounded by big lakes and hosts the University of Wisconsin student population-  lots to do and lots of local fare. Their ceremony was sweet and reception vibrant. We danced til they kicked us out and then went down the street to Ian’s Pizza- it’s a thing in such a college town, to eat pizza with macaroni and cheese on top- so we did.

Back to great ideas. The thing about great ideas is that they come from past experience or a sudden burst of inspired genius. They rise out of the ashes of mistakes or bubble up from a musing. Great ideas can come from anyone and should be grasped and instituted whenever possible. The Wisconsin weddding weekend will from this point forward be referred to as “The Weekend of Gayle’s Great Ideas.”

After swimming Saturday afternoon, Eli was missing a shoe. There had been games and antics in the pool including swimming some laps with your shoes on. Eli came up with one shoe on and the other completely lost. Drew retraced the steps back to the pool but found nothing. That’s when Gayle (GG) had her first great idea of the weekend: “Check the filters”, she said. Indeed- there floated Eli’s black Keen sandal- in filter trap of a hotel swimming pool. Whew! The lost found- Drew and I don’t know if we would have thought to look there. We are so grateful for Gayle’s Great Idea #1. 

Less than 12 hours later, Gayle’s Great Idea #2 struck. Yesterday morning, Steve Osborne (Poppy) was in the hotel breakfast area when Oakley and I came down. Pops said GG had a great idea in the middle of the night: they could fly Oakley home with them on the hour long flight from Milwaukee to KC at 11am that day. Oakley would get to skip the 8 hour drive, arrive home to KC in time to take a nap, and our van would have an extra seat- no back seat smashed adult!

Gayle and Steve were flying Southwest and could just add Oakley as a lap infant. What ensued, were a few harried moments of working out details, moving a car seat, wondering if it could really work. In less than 30 minutes, Oaks was packed up and headed off to Milwaukee in the rental car to fly home! We drove home after a fun breakfast with friends and enjoyed the break from the grabber shinanigans and the extra space. As fun and animated and wonderful of a traveler Oakley is, it was best for him and us to take Geeg up on her great idea! What a gift! 

We got home at 7pm and picked up the happy Oakley, who had taken a 3 hour nap after schmoozing with the flight attendants and enjoying extra bags of pretzels. He yelled “Hi” and blew kisses as he flew home in comfort with his wise and capable grandparents.

For great ideas, we are grateful.

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