Since seeing Nancy was the highest priority, we "checked into" the Nancy & Pete bed and breakfast as soon as we arrived back in town. Getting from Midway to their house did not give us a good impression of Chicago. First, we had to walk more than a mile it seemed like to get from the Midway airport exit to the Chicago El Train entrance. Then, in order to buy our El tickets, we needed to use a machine since there was no one selling tickets. The problem with the machines is that they didn't give change, so you needed exact change and the El employees who were there didn't give change. We had to dig deep in order to find $3 exactly. The ride downtown was fine except for the fact that the El map didn't show which station we needed to get off at to transfer to the Metra trains. Good thing we'd lived in Chicago before! The walk from the El to the Metra was cold... but what was worse were all the rude people walking around. We just felt really uptight by the time we got to train station. We had planned on dropping our packs off in lockers for a few hours and exploring the city. NOPE. No lockers in the Chicago Northwestern Station (aka Ogilvie Transportation center). We are just too used to the conveniences of European train stations after three months of train travel in Europe!
Getting to Nancy's was nice. We picked up some food at the small convenience store across from that station and settled right in. We were both asleep on our own couch by the time Nancy came home!
It was good (as always) to stay at Nancy and Pete's. All of us went about our own lives and intersected only when we weren't busy. We really liked sleeping with Homer and Harry. Harry especially is a very sweet kitty who wants attention. Plus, we gave Henry (aka butterball) plenty of attention. The big events for the weekend included: pizza delivery, a trip to Oak St. and PotBelly Subs with Pete, chinese take away with Nancy's friend, footrubs, Pete going scuba diving in Lake Michigan near Milwaukee, Nancy letting us borrow her car to drive out to Niki and AJs, Tara and Nancy taking long walks around Highland Park, and a greasy spoon - Michael's - before Nancy dropped us off at the house Tara's Mom was working at.
It was great to spend time with Nancy and Pete during Nancy's pregnancy since we figure Tara will be in the same "delicate condition" sometime in the not too far future.
Staying at my Mom's again so soon again after Christmas was nice. We had very relaxing days. The big projects that we undertook were to label some of the old family pictures - just like we'd done at Seth's parents - and to input our address list into Microsoft Outlook's address book. Tara's three page printed address list has really seen better days. It has become nearly six pieces of paper since the pages are coming apart at where they've been folded and unfolded for the past 6 years!
After a few days at my Mom's we did rent a car so that we could see more friends. We wanted to stop by and say 'hi' to Grace, Jeff and their new baby. We also wanted to see if we could see Chris, Kim and their kids. With a car rental for one day, we were able to do both!
Grace and Jeff were busy with first week baby stuff. They were especially non mobile since the baby was wrapped up in a special blanket that glowed. He looked so small, yet so big to think that he was inside of Grace less than a week earlier! We were glad we could run a few errands for them. Buying the "unscented" type of Pamper wipes is a bigger project than one might have thought. We went to three stores before hitting the jackpot at Walmart. Because they were all sold out other places, we decided to buy out Walmart and I'm sure Grace and Jeff will be using the Pamper wipes we bought for months!
Sharing dinner with Chris and Kim was also very nice. We continued our trend of "seeing our friends as parents" since we all stayed home and at together. Carmen's pizza is just as yummy as we remember from college. Mainly we just talked all night - as usual. The big surprise of the evening was that Tara didn't fall asleep! We stayed until about midnight before heading back to Tara's Mom.
The next morning, it was out to buy a book from Crown books in Lake Zurich and then a bit of a rush for Tara to get to the train station WAY, WAY, WAY ahead of the train. When the guy from the car agency guy was driving us from Budget to the Crystal Lake train station, he also told us the sad news about Charlie Platcher stabbing his Mom and her boyfriend. For once I was first to know Wauconda gossip before Michelle could tell me. Especially since I worked at Muncione's with Charlie, Pat and Jim, I was in the know.
When we arrived in Chicago, I had to pop to the dentists to make sure my back-up retainer fit and then it was off to Darren's. Darren wouldn't be home until 7pm, but we dropped our packs with his doormen and headed out towards a massage place we remember from the summer. Massages were NICE and we enjoyed wandering around the neighborhood.
When Darren and Niki got home, we decided to head to a Mexican Restaurant. We should have been pre-warned. Darren did tell us that the last time he was there, he was falling out of his chair after two margaritas. Well, the four of us were definitely falling out of our chairs and having a great time after three pitchers of margaritas. The food was also delicious. It was a very fun time out to dinner. After we got home wasn't as fun for the girls - both of them 'lost their lunch' and were seriously sick from the alcohol. Tara was up 1/2 the night soaking the tub while waiting for the next urge to puke. Niki got hers out of her system early, but couldn't get up the next day to go to work. Good thing we're not drinkers normally!
Thus, it was with headaches and weak stomachs that we made our way to O'Hare for the four-hour flight to Seattle.
|Ease of Journey|
B& B suggestion from Grace is fountainhead - german couple runs it on Maui.