Friday, May 26: Catch-up and Travel Day



I’d started writing this thinking I would do a little synopsis of the year since our last blog, in LA for New Year’s weekend. I sit here a little blank ,realizing it’s hard to summarize. “We’ve been busy” doesn’t seem to cut it. Lots of things are up in the air and/or moving very slowly. People who know us well have commented and complimented us on living pretty complicated lives that are full of ambiguity, and how well we keep our sanity around it. It’s true. We’re used to it.

Dan is still living in Raleigh. My favorite thing to say now about when we might live in the same city again is “we don’t know, and we don’t know when we’ll know.” And that includes when and where. He has traveled a lot already this year – 4 trips to California, 2 to Europe, 1 to Brazil. I haven’t traveled at all – my flight here was the first time I’ve flown since Philadelphia at Thanksgiving. I can’t remember the last time I went 6 months without being in a plane. 2006 probably. I’ve been very busy at work, some volunteer service, and doing my part to keep some long term projects we have moving.

Not having taken any time off besides normal holidays since last summer, I’d decided to take 5 days around this weekend. The original plan was to spend time with our friend Jon in Puerto Vallarta. Turns out flights were ridiculously expensive this time of year, so we’ve put that off. Chicago has been on our list for awhile and that sounded good when Dan suggested it. I’ve only been here once, when I was 16. It was my first big trip, first trip to a city this large, and I loved it. Been a city boy ever since.

We will be here 3 full days, leaving late on Monday (then I still have Tuesday off). We haven’t planned much beyond seeing his oldest niece tomorrow, who lives here. The whole point for me was to have it be as relaxed and unstructured as possible. The last couple of months at work have been wild (for the HR folks reading: a major HRIS upgrade just before Open Enrollment – yikes, which included a 12-days-in-a-row work binge) and I’m in a “I don’t feel like making any decisions” mood.

So with that background, I have no idea what to tell you to look forward to 🙂

Today was just a travel day. My plane landed 30 minutes ahead of schedule; had I been able to text Dan 3-5 minutes earlier he would have waited for me. We took the train from the airport into downtown. We are staying at the Palmer House, a historic 92 year old hotel that has been a Hilton property since 1940. The lobby is beautiful and museum like; will try to remember to get some photos later. Dan’s hotel status got us on the executive floor, with an express elevator and that’s pretty cool: no stopping at every floor on the way up to 23.

It was raining when we got here and most of the evening. Dan was looking for restaurants and couldn’t decide where to go. I reminded him when we were in Philadelphia we went on a sandwich search – 3 different places now as I recall – and Chicago is supposed to be big on “Chicago style” hot dogs and pizza. Why not?

He found this place literally around the corner from the hotel.

 

Can you say “hole in the wall?” It’s practically the definition. We got our food to go and went back to the lounge in the hotel.
The entrance to the lounge off the main bank of elevators.
We’ve been in lounges that had free alcohol before, but never it’s own bartender. Breakfast will be served in here in the morning. They had dinner in here but nothing we wanted to eat. (Bad Americanized Asian food…)
 It’s a decent sized lounge with several seating areas. Since the food had been put away about an hour ago, everyone cleared out and we had it mostly to ourselves.
 Dan went back to the room to get his iPad and my Kindle and we found a nice quiet corner to eat in.
 We asked the guy at the sandwich place to cut each order in half and he obliged. This was the Italian Beef sandwich. Lots of thin, wet beef with hot and sweet peppers. Pretty yummy.
The hot dog. We love a good hot dog and this was excellent.

It’s a little colder than I thought it’d be. I’d checked the forecast and saw highs in the mid-60s to low-70s so still packed only short sleeves. Brought an umbrella – likely going to rain every day except maybe tomorrow – but no jacket.

See the blue dot? That’s me. We are smack in the middle of downtown. Great location. tomorrow we’re just going to walk around and see what we find. I’m guessing there’s a thing or two to do.
Whatever you’re up to this weekend, stay safe and have fun!

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