Yesterday was long and tiring, but kinda nice. We got on the road at 530, having to jump the van because I left the dome lights on while packing and arranging the van for the trip. Our family is a little eclectic: I had to unload books, backpacks, two microphone stands and a mic to make room for our stuff for the trip. I was working in the dark, so I left the dome lights on while I went in and out, but I was surprised that was enough to drain the battery. We had a lovely early morning drive, hit the notorious Division Street stoplights just about right, and made it to the center just in time to take my test. I think I did fine, but won't know for 4 weeks. My family dropped me there and headed back to the other end of town to McDonald's for breakfast, then the first round of Best Buy computer dumping (2 per customer per day) After my test, iPastor informed me that he had continued to have trouble starting. As we were in the Cloud, we met Jeff Lee of View from the Cloud for coffee at a different McDonald's. It rocked.
His adorable brown-eyed girl was along, and chatted up my kids.
They left for lakeside adventures, and we dropped the elder kids off at Barnes and Nobel, then headed for Firestone for a quick diagnosis on the van. We had the most pleasant automotive repair experience of our lives there. The mechanics were all pleasant, helpful, had proper hygiene and all their teeth. They told us exactly what the scan would cost, and had us in the bay in about 30 seconds. The final result was that the battery was completely fried, which explained how quickly it drained, so we replaced it and were on our way, happy it wasn't something worse. We hit Best Buy again, then iPastor got to peruse a pawn shop. We attempted to meet a high school friend of mine for lunch, but went to two different Arby's. She mentioned the street number, and I knew we were in approximately the right neighborhood, so I didn't pay enough attention when iPastor drove to the one in the mall. Oh well. I headed back for my test, and the family checked out the local parks system. They wound up at a playground and splashpad. I had checked ahead on the internet, and planned swimsuits for the little ones, thinking the older kids wouldn't be interested if it wasn't an actual pool.
Good thing they dry out quickly.
They picked me up from a slightly more stressful test-this one involved writing short answers regarding case studies-and we met up successfully with Debbie at a comics store, where the natives were becoming restless. We jokingly mentioned that the McD's hadn't had play areas, and she pointed out that the only McDonald's that we hadn't yet visited has a McGym. We headed there to let the kids run off steam and had a great visit.
We then headed home into the sunset. Summer is fading quickly, but it was a nice little half-tank trip that I wouldn't mind taking again. Cheap and painless.
We hit the Willmar Best Buy on the way home, but opted to skip McDonald's until closer to home, so Thing 1 could pick up her schedule.