To top things off, I still haven't received my new camera, which I was hoping to use for the party and seeing the nieces and all. I went back into my receipt emails, which I hadn't really looked at, and discovered that Dell estimated delivery at May 11th: that it would take them a full month to get it to me. Apparently the reason why they had the cheapest price was because they seemed to actually put the order in to Canon at a manufacturing level. That is, they actually order its manufacture and then pass it on to me, so it's actually being fabricated right now at their request. Maybe that is what allows them to have the lowest price for the thing, but had I been aware of that up front, I think I would have gladly paid someone else an extra $10 in order to get it as fast as any other business would get it to me. I hesitated in making the order, having heard nothing but bad about Dell, and sort of puzzled just to see that they were selling Canon cameras, but that's me: trying to save ten dollars....
Grouse, grouse, grouse.
I probably should do a separate entry on the splendid Monday I spent with Angie and her family, but maybe I should jot down a few thoughts while I'm thinking them, as time has its way of sneaking off. I knew she was feeling a bit wretched through the day, kind of nauseated, and it was like I managed to rally while keeping an eye on her so that I felt great by comparison, I guess. But she and her folks generously treated me to an afternoon at the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at the Milwaukee Public Museum, and then out to dinner at Zaffiro's afterward, which I picked as a good, local, low-key place they should try. The girls were on their spring break from school, and Angie and her folks had them up here for that, for the Art Museum, and for the Zoo, while Chad had to stay at home and hoard his vacation days for their upcoming trip to take the girls to Disney World. It was cool to see her folks again, as I don't think I'd seen them since the wedding, back when I was getting ready to head off to start at Notre Dame. Despite feeling under the weather herself, Angie kept the girls going all day, and we got plenty of time in for conversation as incidental interludes between exhibits, meals and such.
After the Titanic exhibits, which were understandably moving, we went into the Streets of Old Milwaukee exhibit, which I vividly remembered from when I was around Lydia's age, when Mom had us up in Milwaukee for a weekend visit to Uncle Bill one summer, before he married Helen. I actually quite distinctly remember walking down the block on 8th Street, along the Library and toward the Museum, excited to see what there was to discover that day, little knowing I would one day live there and know those streets rather personally. I walked down the same stretch that afternoon on my way to meet Angie and the rest, reliving that memory. So I hoped that it would make an impression on the girls as it did on me, to seem to walk through the streets of history: and they seemed kind of excited by it as they ran from one thing to another, with Lydia rolling her eyes at every dumb joke I made in an emphatic pre-teen way, with Clara being quiet until she would burst with some thought, and Eva just bouncing with the pure energy of being the youngest and for whom just about everything seemed new. We just made it into the Butterfly Garden before it closed for the day, and glanced through some of the rest of the insect displays before heading down to the IMAX theatre to catch the Ghosts of the Abyss showing, which gave us quite a bit more of a vivid encounter with the Titanic and supplemented the artifact exhibition quite nicely. I was most excited for how this show might have hit Lydia's imagination, as she's in that age, being around 10, where such a strong, hands-on encounter with a story like that of the Titanic can really stay with her. Clara might be old enough, too, especially when I recall the impact that living in the history-drenched environs of Washington, D.C. had on me as a first grader, but it was Lydia who especially was catching my teacher's eye through the day.