Saturday, July 21, 2007

Plane delays, hotels, missed naps and monkeys..

Do not make for a good combination, as we discovered during our recent trip to Chicago.

We were in town to participate at a function for an organization known as Gift of Hope. These folks were responsible for coordinating Jordan's heart transplant from Illinois. We were invited out as a surprise for the staff meeting. Needless to say, it was a unique opportunity to meet key players first hand and thank them personally. I spoke for a few minutes, introduced Jordan, and presented a short pictorial with highlights of the last two years.

From our perspective, Jordan's story was something we lived personally. Each element unfolded in its own dramatic way. Yet, so much happened that we had no knowledge of. Meeting some of the staff at Gift of Hope, as well as some of the doctors and nurses in Rockford, Ill. gave me a chance to learn what happened on the other side of the equation. A lot took place over the course of one night. I walked away with a better appreciation for the hard work performed by so many people, all of which makes the miracle of organ donation, a reality.

But, there was little time for reflection with two monkeys in tow. Despite the amount of travelling we have done recently, this was the first time the two of them had ever stayed in the confines of a hotel.

Even with so many bedding options, a full night of sleep remained elusive.

Yet, even in this strange, new place, some things remained the same. Like breakfast! At the Sunnyside Up Pancake House, Monkey discovered the joys of chocolate smeared pancakes served hot off the griddle.

We continued to practice good oral hygiene. Monkey Jr. and Sr. demonstrate. Brusha! Brusha! Brusha!

And of course, some things never change. Here Monkey has his requisite "Time Out" of the day. As I like to remind him - there are naughty chairs everywhere. Even at the Westin.

My favorite part of the trip was getting a chance to meet up again with Nikki. For those of you new to this blog, Nikki is the donor mom responsible for Jordan's heart. It's been awhile since we've talked in person. Since our last meeting, she's gotten married to a great guy, and had a brand new baby boy - Nicholas. We got a chance to catch up at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

The little ones had a chance to get acquainted and compare cheek size and thigh rolls...

The "older" kids tried out the paddle boats at the Amazon exhibit.

Nikki's son Brandon, has gotten so tall, even Jeff had to stretch to make eye contact.

But then, just like that, our time in Chicago came to an end. We had to get to O'Hare airport to catch our 4:15 plane back home. We drove like mad, split up for maximum efficiency at check in, returned the rental car, got through security (we were flagged at the security gate! Mina and Jordan were both frisked!!!!)

Only, that 4:15 flight never happened. The plane was delayed and we didn't actually board until 7:30. Despite checking all morning on the flight status, it was only after we got through security that we finally were told that the flight was delayed.

Yeah..that would be three hours of time to kill in an airport with two very tired monkeys. Grr..

Just when I was ready to throw in the towel/get plastered at the bar/commit hari kari, Jeff discovered that there was an on-site children's museum!!! Thank God. Their tiredness was quickly forgotten, and hilarity ensued.

They sampled the flight panel.

Took a few slides down the shiny emergency exit.

Jordan commiserated with fellow travellers who also waited out the delay.

While Miss Mina showed off her two brand new teeth - both of which decided to make their appearance simultaneously during the trip. Fun!!

Oh, yeah. Two teeth. Twelve months in the making.

The payoff for all the drama? They both slept till after 9:00 am this morning. Thank you, God.
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