Been following this thread since the very begining
If you like the Remix, buy it or keep on borrowing it and get on the water
Also, you get zero symphathy from me about living in Chicago and no water. Try Oklahoma where I live for a scarcity of kayak water or dealers.
Since you have plenty of free time, why not drive to NOC close to Bryson City NC. They have all makes of kayaks and you can demo there at the store play wave all you want at no cost. They also have used boats for sale. There is free camping around the area
or National Forest camp sites close by. You can also run the Nanty which is a great training run or demo run as well.