Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Last Saturday we loaded up the two biggest kids and high-tailed it to Chicago. Ruby calls it Shamago. Same diff.

We boarded the South Shore train in Scary Gary, Indiana and away we went. The kids were chomping at the bit to get on that train. Their first "real" train ride! Also, they each had a whole candy bar in their bag that they were allowed to eat once the train started moving.

The train ride was just an hour long. Perfect. Calvin and Ruby sat in a seat together and scribbled notes onto tiny note pads and split their Kit Kat and Mounds candy bars right down the middle, so they both got some of each.

Incidentally, how many 5 year olds choose Mounds candy bars from all of the options at Target? It cracked me up. Homeboy is a coconut addict.

As the train whizzed into the station, we stood to grab our bags.

Only my bag was no where to be found.

Let me back up.

Immediately following this picture:

Cory said to me (actually he sort of barked to me) (but really, just a teeny, tiny bark) "Get the kids on the train! I've got the bags."

I turned around and got the kids on. the. train.

He, as it turns out, put his camera back in its special bag, picked up not two but one bag, and followed behind us.

Back in Dreary Gary, my Vera Bradley bag sat alone on the train platform. Inside that bag was all of my stuff, and all of Cory's stuff. Our clothing, our toiletries, our books.


We tried in vain to see if the bag had been turned in at the station, but we never were able to get any answers.

So, we soldiered on.

The kids were so excited and it was only one night.

We could do this.

We had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. This is where you should eat when you want to spend SIXTY dollars on lunch for four people. Have mercy. I will say, the food was surprisingly good. And Cory and I followed the good sense of our children and went halvsies on the Cheesesteak and the Guacamole Burger.

The good news is, we still had our envelope marked "Chicago", and we had budgeted for these high-falutin meals ahead of time. We saved huge money on our accommodations via the generous offer of friends who happen to live right on Michigan Avenue and were out of town for the weekend. Now that's what I call friends with benefits.

We hit up a Walgreens where we bought overpriced tooth brushes and deodorant and socks. I felt so...low-maintenance. So...roll-with-the-punches. So...wildernessy. City wildernessy, that is.

Later that evening, we walked exactly one block to dinner, at my beloved California Pizza Kitchen, but not before posing like "Rock Stars" in the lobby. (Can you tell my kid hasn't been exposed to a lot of Rock Stars in his day?)

Two words: Greek Pizza.

Three more: Roasted Vegetable Salad.

Cory and I spent most of the meal straining our ears to hear the conversation at the table behind us. A particularly annoying girl piqued our interest in a very loathesome way when she ordered her meal, "I'll take the chopped salad, dressing on the side." "Half order, or full order?" "Fine, I'll do the full order. Whatever." She spent the rest of the meal talking about the creators of Facebook as if they were personal friends (maybe they were? doubtful.) and making statements such as, "You think 20 million is, like, a lot of money, but in this day and age, it's totally not."

Her two table-mates never did get a word in edge-wise.

But, hey! Thanks for the entertainment, Spoiled Girl!

After dinner we went to the Lego store directly across the street from Our Apartment.

We were there for over an hour.

We did not spend a dime.

Calvin turned all kinds of heads when he sort of squealed, "This is the luckiest day in my whole Lego life!"

Two different ladies stopped to tell me how "precious" it was.

I had to agree.

Back at the home front, the littles multiplied.

Then, we tucked them all into their City Beds.

Cory and I watched fancy cable TV and listened to city noises and scoured the book shelves of people with very good taste.

Can I just say that I know a person gets me when she leaves me this type of note.
I was in Big City Heaven.

The next morning we did more City Exploring...

in the gorgeous November air.

Calvin tried his dangdest to catch a pigeon.

We visited the legendary bean.

"Hey, isn't that exactly what I wore yesterday?"

"Why yes, yes it is."

And just like that, we were back on a train.

Miraculously, my bag was safe and sound in the Gary train depot lost-and-found.

I am lucky they didn't call the bomb squad in and blow it to smithereens.

Although that would have made for one heck of a story...