Marta is a genius. She’s also a nurse.  These are two things that often surprise people. Especially the lady that was sitting beside us as our plane took off from Chicago to Dallas.  I sensed her surprise when Marta followed the statement “we don’t know who’s playing at the baseball game we’re going to, we just LOVE baseball” with “yeah, I’m starting my new job at MedSurg ICU on Monday. I’m a nurse.”  Quite frankly, I was even a bit shocked.

Our trip started in the Fort Wayne airport, where we joked and laughed (loudly) about our impending journey.  We attracted the attention of a lot of our fellow passengers. It was either the giggles, or the fact that I was changing my socks in the airport. Sorry, kids. That’s just life sometimes.  Somewhere, between the giggles in Fort Wayne, the $5.00 bagels in Chicago, Marta’s long (and messy) nap in the air, and our desperate attempts to hold the airplane together during landing, we finally skidded to a stop at our destination: Dallas TX. Our hosts (who are related to us) greeted us at the baggage claim and whisked us off to their humble abode.

Saturday was our only full day in the Lone Star State, but we found ways to make every moment count. Breakfast at Ikea (AJ, being the big spender he is, treated all of us), mid-morning at Sam Moon’s (where Marta bought a purse), lunch and swimming at Mom & Pop Swanson’s, and a drive into downtown Dallas – a very exciting city. We herded cattle, attended a fancy birthday party, avoided the cops, and visited with Queen Elizabeth – all in a little over an hour. Don’t ask how we did it – I could tell you, but then I’d have to erase your memory.  Next on the agenda was a baseball game. (The one Marta mentioned earlier)  AJ and Corrie had won tickets – so we had a 3-restaurant (FREE) progressive dinner, sweet golden bracelets, and amazing seats.  I believe we brought good luck with us from home, because the Rough Riders (who, I’m pretty sure had had a perfect season… of losses) actually WON the game!  We all learned a lot that evening, like the fact that a baseball is actually 9 innings (not just 7), they keep track of errors (just because), umpires (when provoked) are awesome dancers, Marta is afraid of baseballs, there is no crying in baseball, and we are hilarious. We didn’t learn that last fact (we already knew it), but the guy sitting in front of us seemed to agree – he laughed at just about everything that came out of our mouths. I only lost my phone 3 times that day. That may be a record.

Sunday came too fast, and was not long enough. Period. Church was wonderful, lunch was fantastic and teaching a slap-happy AJ how to play euchre was a trip.  4:00 came with a vengeance and Corrie drove us to the airport to drop us off. A very nice security guard helped us find our gate and we were off for the return trip in no time.  By the time we were back in Chicago, we found dinner (Ice cream and corn nuts. We were on vacation. It’s ok.) and chilled while we waited for our flight.  11:30 we landed. 11:35 we were in the car. 12:30 we were home. 1:00 we were asleep.  Marta, after all of this excitement, started her new job today – on 6 hours of sleep.  She’s a genius. She’s also a nurse.