Destination Accomplished

My husband had to travel for work this week, and I didn’t like the thought of being left home so I contacted my sisters in Chicago to see if they were wanting some quality Wren time. Okey and I left very early yesterday morning. He headed down to the airport, and I started my drive. We chuckled knowing that he would land on the West Coast before I even approached the middle of the country.

Wren and I made it to our first stop on schedule. I was so proud of my little travel companion. She was doing so well; she was sleeping a lot. We took our time at our first rest stop in Ohio. We also took more time than we intended at our first rest stop.

As we returned to the car, I was juggling the baby, her diaper bag, the coffee and the car keys. I put the coffee down and tossed all but the baby onto the front seat. I shut the door. I heard a beep, the kind that indicates that the car is now locked. What?! I checked every door and the back hatch in vain. I looked hopelessly at my car keys and my wallet and my cell phone sitting on the front seat.

It was cold and blustery, and so back into the rest stop we went. The travel schedule was shattered. I started to worry about when we would arrive in Chicago, but I had to still focus on the task on hand: getting back into the car. The very nice man at the welcome desk called for the tow truck who patrols the toll road, and all we had to do was wait. While I berated myself for letting this happen. While my phone was in the car so I couldn’t even figuratively cry on my mother’s shoulders. While my $2 coffee was getting cold. While thanking God that Wren was still in my arms when the car decided to lock itself*.

I was also upset for not taking my car on this trip, which not only gets good gas mileage but has the feature which will not let itself lock if it senses the keys inside**.

We found ways to amuse ourselves before the tow truck arrived. Since all of the books were locked in the car, I had found a colorful zoo brochure which worked as a picture book. Wren also enjoyed waving as people were coming in, and then saying “buh-buh” as they were leaving.

Finally, the tow truck driver arrived and within a minute, we were back in business.

As we continued to Chicago, we encountered whiteout conditions. Visibility was incredibly low, and traffic was reduced to one lane. It continued to snow off and on until about 15 miles from the Illinois. I am very glad that Wren and I were in a vehicle with all wheel drive. And I can’t help but wonder if God had intervened back at the rest area, keeping us stranded before the initial snowfall and consequently out of harm’s way.

Wren was the perfect travelling companion. She was content to play with her Alix and Sammy dolls. She figured out the sippy cup last week, and that probably saved me some grief along the way. She let me know, though, about ten minutes from my sister’s house that this 10-hour road trip I promised her had turned into a 13-hour road trip. But once we got to my sister’s house, she was happy again. Happy to see her family and happy to be out of that confined space. Me, too.

*I was willing to admit possible human error even though I believed at the time I did not lock myself out. When we got to Chicago, the car decided to lock itself again. That time I had the keys in my hand.

** I have locked the keys inside my car, and the dealership was very confounded. Evidently, I had let the car’s 12-volt battery die at the same time as the key fob’s battery.

Road Trip

This afternoon, Wren and I left for Chicago, Illinois, via Martinsburg, West Virginia. We made the first leg of the journey without a hitch, and we even stopped along the way at Hunt Country Yarns for the first time. I picked up a couple of Cascade 220 skeins (which were kindly turned into balls before I left the shop). Will I be able to turn them into a scarf before we leave on Monday morning? We have only a few adventures planned so we’ll see.

an unexpected extended weekend in chicago

I had the great joy to fly to Chicago to assist my sister Marji in trying on potential wedding dresses.  Her wedding is in June, and we are blessed to have a beautifully talented sister, X, who is going to actually make the dress for Marji.  We visited three boutiques and viewed many, many dresses.  She was able to tune down to what she wanted, but we’re still going over the details.

Marji, Me, Ling Ling & X

I had a wonderful time catching up with dear, sweet souls at Moody Memorial Church and again over brunch across the street at Elly’s Pancake House.  I was shocked to get the phone call on the way back to the apartment to retrieve my suitcase that my flight home was cancelled as the airplane was “out of service.”  I have been rebooked to fly home very early tomorrow morning as every other flight was sold out.  We spent the rest of the day going over more details and reviewing bridesmaid (or is it bridesmatron?) dresses online.

There is just so much to plan for and do, so every minute with the bride counts.

a summary of my time in the windy city

I had an amazing time in Chicago.  I ate out a lot, and I ate a lot.  I definitely recommend Goose Island Brewery in Lincoln Park which has an impressive selection of traditional and inventive styles of crafted beers.  And the food there is remarkable.  We split our plates and had lamb burger with sweet potato fries, duck wontons (yum!), and pulled pork with potato salad.

I was excited to return to Lula Cafe in Logan Square.  Marji and I split our brunch so we could get something sweet (brioche French toast) as well as something salty (breakfast burrito, my absolute favourite thing on the menu).  I also ate at Treat which is an Indian restaurant in Humboldt Park.  I would not recommend bringing small children there because of some of the very odd paintings canvasing their walls.  I wasn’t terribly impressed with my entrée (salmon on couscous), but the appetizers were very savory and everyone else seemed to enjoy their meals (leg of lamb, chicken tiki masala, gnocci).

When I wasn’t dining out, I was feasting in.  My sisters, they can cook!  The eldest sister has a first edition of At Blanchard’s Table:  A Trip to the Beach Cookbook that she created some very tasty sides, main dishes and desserts from.  I am still drooling over the fresh fruit compote.  My middle sister made a pasta dish that made me wonder if we weren’t somehow Italian.  (We’re not.)

I am glad that I packed my running shoes.  I still feel guilty from everything that I indulged myself in, so I’m very thankful for this cooler weather which makes running more enjoyable.

I had a wonderful time with my sisters and their families.  It was also nice to see a lot of friendly and familiar faces at Marji’s birthday party.  The time spent with everyone was good although too short.

No travelling post would be complete without photographs.  Here are some random pictures from Logan Square and Treat:

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the plane that thought it could

Thursday was a “Chicago or bust” kind of day. Here is an excerpt from United Flight #395’s status updates if it had a Twitter feed:

8:30 am Flight possibly delayed or cancelled due to tornado watch.
1:00 pm Tornado watch lifted.
3:00 pm Due to overbooking of passengers, new airplane assigned to fly to Chicago.
3:04 pm Scheduled departure time.
3:12 pm New plane is towed to gate.
3:30 pm Last of passengers are boarded.
3:57 pm Take off delayed due to broken bathroom door; it won’t shut.
4:30 pm Plane backs away from gate and prepares for take-off.
4:34 pm Flight management computer down. Needs remote fix from San Francisco.
4:45 pm Queued up for takeoff.
4:46 pm Delayed due to heavy rains
4:59 pm Queued up on another runway because winds had shifted.
5:13 pm Scheduled arrival time.
5:15 pm Finally en route to Chicago.
5:16 pm Bathroom door slid open.
6:35 pm Actual arrival time.

(All times EST and approximate.)

getting ready for chicago

Shorts or jeans, tee-shirts or sweaters? Will I regret not bringing my raincoat? These are the questions I’m asking myself as I prepare for another weekend get away. I don’t know what to pack because Chicago is just so “temperamental” this time of year!

My sister says I can borrow her clothes if need be, but she’s a few sizes smaller than me so I don’t think it’ll work out. (Poor thing got hand-me-downs and hand-me-ups…) I think I am going to have to suck it up and check in a bag.

Ok, now I’ve got to figure out my accessories.  iPhone or laptop?   Circular needles (my shawl) or straights (more bibs)?  Girl with a Dragon Tattoo or When Jesus Became God?