Random Thoughts: The High-Low-High Chicago Edition

First High: Visiting with friends.

On Sunday, we went to visit a college-era acquaintance of mine and her family. (The bright side of social media — she wrote about it here.) We hit the Midsommer’s Day Festival in Andersonville. It was a wonderful stroll through a Chicago neighborhood that we otherwise would not have seen. Kim, her husband John, and her two children were lovely and fun hosts. The children got their faces painted, climbed a wall, and ate french fries and chocolate frozen bananas. I believe her oldest and my two girls have a life-long bond formed in Minecraft.

Katie with face paint.
Katie Cat.

We also spent much time with my friend Erin and her husband Brian. I have dubbed Brian The Angel of Chicago for all the logistical help he gave us. They are both wonderful with our children, and if I had to guess, they have big giant soft spots for Kate especially. We stayed with them Sunday night through Tuesday. Monday morning they absconded with the children at 7 a.m., enabling Dan and me to sleep past 9 a.m. for the first time since we had arrived. They could not have been more welcoming or generous.

Angel of Chicago
Our guide and friend with a sassy M.

The Low:

We lost some stuff, most notably my debit card and — for about two hours — Dan’s phone. He must have gone to put it in his cargo shorts pocket as we were getting off the train on our last day (Tuesday), and he dropped it instead, and didn’t notice until the train pulled away. It was… panic inducing and infuriating, to say the least. Dan leapt into the car (with my phone, from which he had texted, “I am texting from my wife’s phone. If you find this, please turn it into the lost and found.”) The Metra conductor found it, and held onto it until Dan got to Harvard, IL. I mean, he held the train for 20 minutes to return Dan’s phone. He was a hero.

So, Metra, the conductor of the Harvard 5:33 express on Tuesday June 16, went above and beyond to help an out-of-towner. He wouldn’t even accept a cash tip as a thank you.

And, as I mentioned, logistics were tricky. I love the city of Chicago, but driving there is a nightmare, parking is outrageous, and we only navigated the Metra because The Angel of Chicago helped us.

The Other High: Pretty City

The ferris wheel at Navy Pier.
The ferris wheel at Navy Pier. No filter.

Chicago is such a photogenic city. If I had a real camera, I would’ve taken a thousand pictures, half of them at Cloud Gate (aka The Bean) alone.

Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate, aka The Bean, and aside from Legoland, M’s favorite.

All-in-all it was a good trip. It had its ups and downs, and despite two attempts, we never did get through the doors of the Shedd Aquarium. We walked *a lot*, and the children feel they didn’t get to swim enough. Driving home overnight on Tuesday was brutal — because of the phone fiasco, aside from the hour he was at Erin and Brian’s to eat a little dinner and finish packing, Dan was in the car for nearly 14 hours — but worth it to be at home getting organized to return to our regularly scheduled program.

Buckingham Fountain
Buckingham Fountain on low because of the wind.

What city could you spend hours walking around?

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One thought on “Random Thoughts: The High-Low-High Chicago Edition

  1. Paris and Rome are two cities I have spent hours and hours walking and would do so again in a heartbeat. I have been to Chicago but we didn’t walk a lot, we took public transportation during the day for the most part. I wouldn’t mind going again, especially with the kids.

    Oh, and Boston. Spent hours and hours and HOURS walking through Boston over the years and never get tired of it. And Washington D.C.

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