Mom and Daughter Trip: Heading Off to Chicago. The weather? Yikes!


It’s soon to be the Year of the Dog, beginning February 15 (Thursday).  My mom and I are taking a trip to Chicago for a fun mother-and-daughter week, our initial journey beginning today, so I will just post this note here in case I am too busy to write later from the hotel.

The Weather is Not Cooperating!!

Icy roads today have us a tad concerned about getting to Mattoon this afternoon (we spend the night) for our train travel tomorrow on the Saluki line to Chicago.  We were both up early, early to drop off the dog at the kennels (local vet’s office) before heading to church.  We are in the choir and our director, Paula Ross, wanted everyone there to practice with the children as we were doing a joint number with the kids:  This Little Light of Mine.

She was quite adamant at Wednesday night’s practice about our 8:15 rehearsal time before church at 9 a.m. Being good- girl choir members, we wanted to oblige.

The Dog Drop-off:  A Careful Affair

I had cleared with the vet already concerning the dog. I was to take our Chinese rescue Chihuahua, Little Lao-lao (Old-old), over at 8 a.m. where Sara (a high school girl hired by the clinic) would let me in for drop-off.  She was in charge of kennel duty during the weekend.

However, upon getting up, we saw the roads were quite icy with no hint of warming up.  My mom pulled out her heavy-duty, plastic shoe slip-ons with cleats.  I was the one to tromp around outside onto the back deck, filling up the bird feeders and later making my way to the car to warm it up for defrosting.

Our side street was pure ice but Route 1, which runs in front of us, was slowly clearing off as more and more traffic appeared, albeit a car every 30 minutes at best.

Eventually, it was time to load up  all of Lao-lao’s supplies (1-page instructions on care, food, bedding, pre-cooked frozen chicken tenderloins, supplement food, mouth pet wipes, mouth spray) and the pooch himself. Since Lao-lao is a “special needs” dog, having had a broken jaw and most of his teeth gone, he is a bit more challenging to care for than just a regular canine.  Thus the long instruction sheet and supplies.

IMG_5715 I re-cleated myself and drove over to the clinic, only to find Sara hadn’t arrived yet.

The vet’s parking lot was a sheet of ice so I waited on the gravel entryway before our gal arrived.  This ended up being Christina instead, who works the front desk.  Seems Sara’s dad didn’t want her to drive in the ice as she’d just gotten her driver’s license.  That is understandable but Christina was pregnant and not too happy about dealing with a slippery parking lot to take care of the kenneled critters inside.

I pulled up alongside her, opened my door and told her my plan:  I’d slide her  my mom’s cleated shoe boots so she could at least make it to the building’s door to unlock it.  She’d then slide them back to me so I could carry Lao-lao to the side entrance and back again for his supplies.

During this carefully maneuvering by us humans, the dog decided he wasn’t happy in the car and before I could stop him, he jumped out!  He didn’t get very far as he slipped and slid, finally realizing his escape wasn’t doing him any good, so he just sat, looking pathetic and waiting for me to pick him up.

My mistake was trying to scramble out of the door to catch him before he took off, which he wasn’t able to do, anyway, due to all the ice.  Without the cleats, which Christina still had on, I had a touch-and-go moment where I thought I’d end up like the dog:  flat on my behind, unable to move.

Luckily, I managed to balance well enough to scoop him up but I will say I came mighty darn close to landing on my bum alongside him.

Eventually, Christina and I were safely inside the building with Lao-lao finally settled into his cage.  I carefully clogged and cleated my way back to the car, drove VERY slowly along our slick streets, clomped  into the house at 8:40, and proudly proclaimed, “Hey, mom, I’m back!  We can head off to church!  I’m ready to go.”

That’s when my mom shouted down to me from upstairs.

“Paula called!” she announced.  “Church is canceled.  Too much ice.”

Heading Off at 1 p.m.

The drive to Mattoon should be fine as long as we stay on the main roads and not take our usual fast route through the countryside.  That scenic journey is iffy, winding curves popping up right and left, dips and rises . . .  just too nerve-racking for me!

I’m sure we will make it just fine to the overnight in Mattoon and the morning departure to the train station.

So for now, wishing you Ping An (Peace) and safe travels to all, including those heading home for Chinese New Year holidays across China.

Happy Year of the Dog, Everyone!





About connieinchina

I have been in the Asia region for 30 years as an English language teacher. 28 of those have been spent with the Amity Foundation, a Chinese NGO that works in all areas of development for the Chinese people. Amity teachers are placed at small colleges throughout China as instructors of English language majors in the education field. In other words, my students will one day be English teachers themselves in their small villages or towns once they graduate. Currently, this is my 13th year in Luzhou Vocational and Technical College. The college is located in Luzhou city (loo-joe), Sichuan Province, a metropolis of 5 million people located next to the Yangtze River .
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1 Response to Mom and Daughter Trip: Heading Off to Chicago. The weather? Yikes!

  1. Kate Lindsay says:

    Love the Year of the Dog centerpiece…..and your tale of this morning! Hope you made it safely and enjoy your travels to the Windy City!

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