Life has been a roller coaster this past two weeks.
The Good: We spent a wonderful 4 days in Chicago during spring break. We visited some of the best museums I've ever seen. The Museum of Science and Industry was spectacular, with the highlight being the tour of U-505. It was amazing to see a piece of WWII history up close and personal like that.
The best part of the trip was the fact that I found the Chicago City Pass. Not only did it allow us to see the sights we wanted to for a discount but it also gave us special privileges. On Good Friday, we went to the Shedd Aquarium. When we arrived, the line to purchase tickets extended for 2 blocks or more. However, because we had the City Pass, we were able to go to another line that allowed us to get into the aquarium within 10 minutes. And the wait at the Sky Deck (Sears Tower) was 1.5 hours for those purchasing their tickets there. We were able to pass to the front of the line - another 10 minutes wait for us. In time alone, we estimate we saved more than 3 hours. I'd definitely recommend looking into the City Pass if you plan on visiting any major city in the U.S.
The weather was superb and we all had a wonderful time.
The Bad: Just prior to leaving for Chicago, my upright freezer died. Not only did I have to throw away a significant amount of food that had gotten ruined, but I was frantically cooking up stuff that only partially thawed and was trying to squeeze still frozen stuff into the small freezer in our kitchen. The freezer had leaked stinky stuff all over the floor in the basement and I had to clean the floor and the inside of the fridge to prevent a nasty, stinky smell when we got home. Bah!
Also just prior to vacation, we found out that Dancing Diva probably has a form of juvenile arthritis called spondyloarthropathy. She had been battling fatigue and joint pain for several months. After exhaustive testing at our general practitioner's office for everything from Mono to Lyme's Disease, we were referred to a rheumatologist, who performed even more tests. Although he was unable to give her a definitive diagnosis yet, she did test positive for the HLA-B27 genetic marker. Since this is a particularly difficult disease to diagnose, we will be watching for additional symptoms and going back to the rheumatologist on a regular basis to follow-up. As a result, DD has had to withdraw from all her dance classes because it had become too painful to continue and the wear and tear on her joints was more than she could afford to risk. I now need to come up with a new moniker for The Girl Formerly Known as Dancing Diva.
The Ugly: TGFKADD returned to school on Monday to the news that one of her classmates had committed suicide over the weekend. It was yet another case of a young person who was not accepted by his peers and teased about his unconventional attitudes and appearance, who found his lot in life to be unbearable. This young man was a friend of a friend and, although TGFKADD never was unkind to him herself, she was shocked and devastated to find out how deeply the teasing affected this acquaintance.
For my part, I am deeply sorry for the family and friends of this young man and am praying earnestly for them to find comfort in Jesus. And for the entire High School, that this experience may serve to teach everyone how to be more accepting and tolerant of our individual diversity. To have them learn that everyone - EVERYONE - has value in the eyes of God and that teasing, bullying and unkindness has no place in this community.
May God forgive all of us for our callousness and unfeeling behavior toward those who are "different"!