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I love movies. Did you know that? I love them, love them, love them. They’re a key escape for me. I’ll go and see those truly awful movies that get released in February so that I don’t have to interact with other humans. I go to see movies that are funny, and ones where shit blows up.

The Parks And Rec star showed off his new body he's been building for his new role in Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy movie.

This post is brought to you by Chris Pratt, who is seriously jacked right now after six months of training to be in some movie called Guardians of the Galaxy. Whatever. I loved him in both Moneyball and Zero Dark Thirty. Small roles, where I gather this one is going to be a bigger one, which I’m very much looking forward to.

But, I digress. This post is actually about my first movie date with two little boys. Remember my plan to get three little boys to come to the house for an overnight so that I can give my best friends a break? Operation: Two at a Time happened today. I did some pre-scoping with the boys who asked to go to a movie, with a snack and stuff. I decided we should go to Monsters University and scoped out a plan with their mum earlier in the week. Okay, not that early. Friday morning. I’d pick them up at 1:10, take their car for the car seats, take them to the movie, and bring them home around 4.

On my way out, I idly though “huh, your phone isn’t in your pocket. Should you go back in and get it?” No… nothing could possibly happen on an outing that short, could it? Apparently, I’m a fucking idiot.

I got to the boys’ house a bit early so I could explain the rules. I’m not a parent, and I don’t have those parenting mojo skills that allow me to be aware of where the kids are at all times. So the rules were as follows:

  1. Hold my hand when we’re in the parking lot.
  2. Make sure I can see you at all times when we’re in the movie theatre
  3. If one person has to pee, we all have to go together, no moaning and complaining.

Infraction of any of these rules meant we’d be going home immediately. The boys agreed to the rules, repeated them back to me, and off we went.

Got to the theatre, get to the automatic ticket machine, and there’s no movie at 1:40. No, it’s at 2:40. Bought the tickets anyway, bundled the kids back in the van and took them to the bookstore. It started to rain, and the gas tank warning light came on. Now, I’ve never owned a car that dropped below 1/4 of a tank of gas. Ever. But it’s not my car and my theoretical understanding of the situation is that you can drive 40-60km with the warning light on. Right?

The kids were awesome at the bookstore. We looked at the lego, played with some toys, I borrowed their phone to tell my BFF that we were going to be an hour late, I read them a book, and off we went back to the cinema. They lined up perfectly for their snacks, we got our seats, and the movie started.

Leo was so transfixed that it took him 48 minutes before he even ate a single kernel of popcorn. At minute 49, Max had to pee. Poor Leo had to let go of his snack (and let me tell you, he had a sweaty death grip on his tube of mini M&Ms) and go downstairs while trying to look at the screen and even Max tried to dilly dally to keep staring. It was pretty awesome.

Side note: there’s some interesting logistics involved in taking two young kids to the bathroom when you also have to pee. I think they may cover that inĀ  parenting school. Leo tried to pick up some spilled M&Ms (from someone else’s tube) that were on the bathroom floor so that he could eat them himself. I almost had a heart attack. There was a lot of telling him how dirty they would be. I may have used the phrase “poop germs” once or twice. Regardless, we got through this particular test and went back to the cinema.

The movie was over shortly after the pee break. Off we went down to the car in the pouring rain and lo and behold, I can’t get the damn thing to start. Can’t even turn the key in the ignition. And did I mention I don’t have my phone with me? And that it’s pouring rain?

If I wasn’t panicking, I would have checked the car for the manual. As it was, I turned the steering wheel to the left and then I turned it to the right and I prayed and swore under my breath and steamed up the windows with my holy crap fest. Back into the movie theatre I went, looking for a pay phone. Called the BFF, but the man of the house (and the primary driver) had gone to Bluesfest. He had the family cell phone, but Holly’s mum was there so she used her mum’s phone to call John while I was on the payphone so that he could come and meet me to turn on his damned car.

Back to the van. Pulled out the manual. Seven minutes of cursing the stupid manual and its terrible index and I found out that you have to “jiggle the steering wheel from right to left”. Not try to move it one way, then the other. Jiggle it. Just a little bit. (there’s a groove!) Kill me now.

Pulled out of the parking lot to head for the BFFs so that Holly could recall John. Passed him getting into the turn lane for the movie theatre as I was pulling out. Kill me. Kill me now.

So, there was some drama, but I made it through. The boys had a good time and they were perfectly well behaved. I had a good time and exercised my aunty skills. All in all, we’ll be doing this again, but next time, I’m bringing my damn phone.

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Holly and I have known each other for just under 17 years. She’s going to be 37 this year and I was at her 20th birthday party. It’s been a long time. My favourite part about hanging out with Holly is how she laughs at my jokes. All of them. But, I digress.

Holly has three adorable children.

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And an amazing husband (who laughs at fewer of my jokes, but whose own jokes are way superior to my own).

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Holly and I started talking about taking a trip together, just the two of us, when she got pregnant with her third child. When he was a year old, we booked flights to go to Chicago together for a girls weekend. A LONG girls weekend. Like, five days/four nights kind of long. Did I mention that John’s an amazing husband? And that those kids are 5, 3 and one year old?

About 10 days before we were scheduled to go away, Holly had to have emergency surgery. Before the surgery we talked about cancelling the trip, or my going alone, or her husband maybe coming with me instead. Holly is a pretty determined woman, though, and she grilled her doctor about the trip and if it was possible and lo and behold, we went.

Because I’m super, um, “organized”, I had an itinerary. But because I’m flexible, I can move the things around the itinerary for weather or other reasons. Holly had a couple of restaurants she wanted to eat at, and we melded the two things together into a truly awesome trip.

We went to a Cubs game in the rain. There were some pretty nasty floods after three weeks of rain in Illinois, so not that many people went to the game. In fact, most of Chicago was shut down when we got there on Thursday.

We shopped. Side note: we both bought bras. My Canadian peeps can weep at the following info: four bras, $90. Yeah, I was pretty giddy, too. Holly actually had a tear in her eye when the first Macy’s we went to only had two that she loved in her size, but we found another Macy’s and she bought more.

We did the Art Institute. Sweet Jesus, that place is big. You’d need a few visits to actually see and absorb the whole thing, I think. We spent three hours there and barely scratched the surface.

We went to Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio in Oak Park, which was a truly lovely L ride from downtown. Now, I live in an urban neighbourhood where a 2000 square foot house is considered to be huge. The houses in Oak Park are ENORMOUS. Like, their front porches are bigger than the first house I owned.

We did a tour of outdoor public art, and we went up to the Skydeck of the Willis (former Sears) tower.

We ate. My god, we ate. We went to great chain restaurants and celebrity chef places (recommend: Little Goat) and this place for brunch where we ate for 90 straight minutes and couldn’t figure out how they make any money at all. I had two of my top 10 meals ever in Chicago.

The people were lovely. The food was yummy. The sights were great. The shopping was good. (Side note: Best shopping experience ever at Nordstrom. Can’t wait til they come to Ottawa.) It was so cold we needed to buy emergency sweaters. Even the pigeons were hanging out next to an eternal flame.

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