Monday, May 17, 2010

It was windy in the Windy City, and other stuff

Saturday in Chicago was a good time. The boys LOVED the concert and thought it was the best show ever and XRay Girl and I laughed and talked and hung out which always equates to lots of fun.

Since the boys were going to the concert festival and XRay Girl and I were not, we had to have a game plan about dropping the boys off, getting them again and parking in the midterm. According to the concert web site, if we produced a ticket stub, the parking was free. But the web site neglected to tell WHERE the free parking was located, which of course we didn't find out until we arrived. We wait in a looooooooooong line of traffic to turn into the 'event parking' and the guy says to me "$20". I said, "I thought it was free?" And he said, "Oh, the free parking is at Solider Field. Now move on or $20." (He is so not getting my vote for Helpful Parking Lot Attendant of the Year Award!) So I pull ahead to another guy and he gives the worst directions in the history of the world on how to back track to Soldier Field. So we let the boys out with a promise to call them when we knew where the car was and we told them we would meet them where we left them, at the concert's conclusion. Out they went and off we went to find the elusive parking at Soldier Field.

Now Soldier Field is a large place and we could obviously see it and we could figure out which was the parking garage. But with event parking and event road closings, getting there was almost impossible, and we were only armed with directions like, "turn around and go back and when you get to the roundabout turn left and then to to the first non one way thru street and turn at the stop sign and it should be a little bit down on the left." Wha???? And we forgot one little thing: the only way to get free parking was to produce a ticket and our "tickets" had just gotten dropped off VIP style at the concert. Well shit! So, I said to hell with it, got back in line to go back, and pay the $20 for the parking at the arena.

After finally getting parked, we were at the museum complex, meaning we were smack in between the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum, the Planetarium and the Shed Aquarium. XRay Girl and I were going to go the Aquarium. There were about 173 people in line in front of us but we didn't care. What we did care about was the admission price of $29.95+ tax EACH. For that price we could have lobster for dinner rather than look at 'em through a tank so we decided to ditch the fish and walk the lake shore walk to Navy Pier. It didn't look very far from where we were...

Now here I want to say that at times I am the quintessential mother. It comes more from being organized and list making than being a good mom, I think. Before we left home I made sure everyone had gone to the bathroom and we had cell phones charged and the tickets and directions. I packed a box of snacks and a cooler of bottled water and juices. I had a loaf of bread and a package of ham so they could make sandwiches on the way. I also packed a separate cooler of Power Ade for the boys so they could hydrate after the concert. I made sure they had an extra change of clothes in case it rains and a few garbage bags to sit on if they got wet, even though the forecast was, and I quote three different web sites: "a high of 71 and partly cloudy." I made sure everyone had a jacket, and cash. So you could say I was organized.

What I did forget was my own jacket. But it was supposed to be, and I quote three different web sites: "a high of 71 and partly cloudy." And I wore jeans and a t-shirt. And it was cold. Damn cold. It was never partly sunny the entire day. Not a single shine of sun did we see. And as for the 71--- 51 was more like it!

So we walked from the aquarium to Navy Pier along the lake shore route- about 3 miles- and I froze the whole way, and it was my own stupid fault. Then we got to Navy Pier and walked all over it. Finally I couldn't stand it anymore, and I bought a stupid sweatshirt. Thank god it was on sale. It's bubblegum pink and says "Chicago Navy Pier" on the front. XRay Girl, who wore a very light weight jacket, was also freezing, bought one as well, in kiwi green. Oh, yes, weren't we cute in our matching sweatshirts that just screamed "tourists"?

After strolling around Navy Pier, we hadn't done enough walking so we walked the 6 city blocks up Grand Ave to Michigan Ave, aka the Magnificent Mile. We went in a bunch of the shops- including Tiffany's- I LOVE that store! Something about all that jewelry is magical and sparkly! We also went to a shop in Macy's called Lush which sells all natural body products like shampoo, lotions, and the like. The sale associate Kate did all these awesome demonstrations on us of these cool products.

Farrago met us here and declared he was starving so we went for pizza at a place called Pizza Duo which is one of the most famous places in the city to get the infamous Chicago Deep Dish. While we were having dinner, Mac called and said they were ready to go. He said the last band sucked so he and his buddy were sitting in the car and would wait for us. We were just finishing dinner so we paid, and Farrago helped us find the right bus and off we went to collect the kids.

We rode the bus and we knew we were the last stop but the bus just kept going and going and going. I thought when it was the last stop, he would just stop at the last bus stop place thingy. So we were about 1 block from the parking lot and I asked our bus driver if we could just get out where we were because he passed about 47 bus shelters and I was afraid he would turn left when we wanted him to turn right. He asked me where we were going and I told him to the parking lot, one block ahead. Our super nice bus driver dropped us at the parking lot where we left the car!!! He just went 1 block extra since no one else was on the bus but us!***** Is that cool or what?

And we only got lost once, on the way there. XRay Girl is not allowed to read the directions anymore- she skipped an entire line sending the boys into convulsions and me into serious eye rolling mode since I was driving on the Dan Ryan Expressway. But what was cool about getting lost is that we had to go through Chinatown- twice because I was in the wrong lane- and XRay Girl, Mac nor his Buddy had ever seen it before. The boys thought it was the coolest thing ever. Mac said, "OMG, I just saw Jackie Chan" and would point to a guy. Then about 20 feet later he would say, "OMG, I just saw Jackie Chan again" and point to a different guy. He did this for about 3 blocks until we all screamed at him to shut up! But really, it was a riot. They also saw an older Chinese woman and all the jokes about her special powers and herbs and wisdom... oh just imagine two 17 year old boys ...

But it was a very cool day. I'm glad I was able to take Mac and let him have this experience. I like being able to do things like that when I can. Even when, at first, I really didn't want to! Sometimes being a mom is cool!

***** This is the second time in my life that a public bus driver went out of his/her way to drop me off where I needed to be. In summer 1990 I 'lived' in NYC for what was supposed to be a summer but... anyway. My friend and I were going to take a Circle Line Cruise around the city and we were running late and freaking out. The stop for the cruise was near the last one on the route and the bus driver heard us talking about whether we could run for it and still make it on time. She gunned the bus the three extra blocks and dropped us smack dab in front of the Circle Line Cruise Office. We had 4 minutes to spare.


On another note...


Bragger said...

What a fun time! The only time I've been to Chicago was for Sweet Girl's boot camp graduation. Hubby wasn't so much about walking around town. Such a party pooper. Sweet Girl was in uniform and felt conspicuous, so we didn't do much. Next time I'll grab you along the way and we'll have some SERIOUS fun!

Curley said...

Sounds like a great day, even tho I missed seeing and talking to you this weekend. Glad the guys had a good time.

Jacalyn @ said...

Sounds like a wonderful time in spite of everything! Enjoy your sweatshirt! Please stop by my blog as I am having a give-a-way!


Nan said...

Some of the things that happened to you reminds me of why I live in Alaska with only 640,000 people. My nerves couldn't take it anymore.
Take Care