The trip was much, much more fun and less stressful than I expected. First Elizabeth, Alex, Justice and I flew to Chicago and drove then to Holland, Michigan, where we spent a week with Elizabeth's family. My family, now, regardless that there is no relationship by blood or marriage. I was so warmly welcomed and loved right from the start.
There is JoLee, Elizabeth's niece, who is about ten years younger than me. She and I had already bonded, since she spent two weeks last year helping me empty my mother's house. JoLee has two wonderful daughters, Daena and Jackie. Daena has a son Damian, who is 9 years old, and Jackie has an 8-month-old daughter named Anabell whom I swear is one of the prettiest and sweetest babies I've ever met. Elizabeth also has an older sister in Holland, Sarah. Our arrival, which coincided with her birthday, was a total surprise.
After a week, Elizabeth, my girls, JoLee and I drove back to Chicago for the World Science Fiction Convention. It was one of the few North American Worldcons where I was not working on the committee, although Justice and Alex put in quite a few hours as volunteers. I didn't see much of the convention at all: the dealers room, exhibits, art show, and Hugo Ceremony was about it. I bought a Harry Potter tapestry at the art show auction. The rest of the time we spent shopping for school clothes for Justice and Alex, and sightseeing around downtown Chicago. We took a boat tour and a bus tour and went to the top of the Sears Tower, none of which I had done before.
The best thing that happened was that Elizabeth and I rekindled our former friendship after the three years I was disowned (mainly for going against the rule that the girls weren't to have cell phones). Elizabeth is in a very bad place right now. Steve is very, very slowly dying of hepatitis and diabetes. He spends all day sleeping and watching TV, has gained tremendous amounts of weight, and is generally grumpy and controlling when he is awake. They are in terrible financial straits, which is why I am paying all of the girls' expenses now except food and board. Steve has finally agreed to apply for Disability, so that may improve slightly.
Okay, that's enough of a trip report. I'll try to catch up on the current situation at home soon.