Monday, April 18, 2016


So, last weekend, over the 9/10th, I drove to Chicago, all by myself! I took Thursday off, and despite some rain and flying flakes, made really good time.
  Sad to see the Talbot's outlet store go - 5 mins from my sister's house. I will miss sometimes snagging a great deal on something.
  Spent Fri. am getting a most wonderful massage from my sister! I need more work on my neck
and shoulder though. Sigh. Too far away, for another massage.
  Went to the designer outlet mall. Disappointing for us plus size gals, absolutely nothing in my size.
And still expensive. Did find a pair of sandals, and a ridiculously overpriced costume jewelry necklace at Nieman Marcus - but it good wrapped in a Nieman Marcus box! Dinner was with the
future in-laws at the best Chicago deep dish pizza place. Mmmm....
   I arrived in Chicago with more baggage than I care to admit. One person, one mini-van, 1 suitcase,
1 carry on, 2 bags of shower gifts for attendees, 2 bags of shower gifts for bride-to-be, 1 box of sugar cookies, 1 shopping bag with wine, flowers, Belgian truffles, 1 gift bag for sister. The middle of the van was full!!!!
   So, Friday night, my niece and her intended opened their shower gifts - contained some pottery that I was not going to lug around Chicago all day long! I kept a couple smaller items for Sat.
   Saturday morning, I packed a foldable tote bag with a change of clothes for going out, the two bags of gifts, 1 bag with shower gifts. There was also a bag of snacks - cheese (which I sliced up0 crackers, grapes, nuts.
  Off we went, with my sister driving 5 of us into the city for our first activity. Which by the way,
was changed the day before due to the instructor being ill. Frankly, I think the substitute activity was an ever better hit. The car being parked in a parking garage across the street from the restaurant
where we would eventually have dinner, the Uber driver picked us up and drove us to a little
wine shop. All 10 of us gathered there for making a candle from a wine bottle and imbibing as we
learned and did. They even served little flatbread pizzas for us to munch on, since it was noon.
A great time was had by all and we each left with a wine bottle candle we made.
   We had to scurry since the next event followed immediately and our Uber driver got us to 1/2
block to the building. With traffic heavy and slow, we popped out and hoofed it to the red awning historic building and old elevator with a gate. We found the room and in it was a mocked up
old EL rail car from which we would have an hour to escape - stop the train, defuse the bomb and get off. Well, one of the gals once worked for UBS and bombarded the guy with a ton of questions regarding strategy, working in groups or a single group and communication. Finally, she asked what
the success rate was in getting out. I couldn't believe that it was only 18 percent!
   Into the rail car we went, for the fastest hour in my life. These gals were so quick and smart, and
there was constant activity and calling out clues and figuring out the padlock combinations, and
putting clues together. I admit I was not the greatest of help until near the end. There was one
last padlocked cabinet. I was handed a set of keys to open it. I glanced at the padlock which was a Master, and looked at the first key, and thought this one will fit it and it did, revealing the wire
bombs. The green wire identified, there was one last key to the door of the rail car and we
escaped with 34 seconds to spare! We were ecstatic! we conquered! We did it!
  My head was spinning from the chaos of it all and so we headed to a bar just a few doors down.
It was full. at 4 pm on a Sat. and the place was full and it wasn't the only bar. Eventually we snagged
a table and even near the end enough chairs. Refreshments and some appetizers for everyone. It was
the noisiest place ever. I guess that's what regular folks do in the city - the spend the afternoon in
a bar with friends! who knew?
   My niece opened her gifts and everyone got their shower party favors that yes I had been lugging
around all day.
  From there our next Uber driver got us to the restaurant for dinner - where we met the groom
to be and his dad. My BIL arrived about 40 minutes later - traffic being so heavy.
   We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at a small Cuban Restaurant that was darn near as noisy as the bar
and it wasn't even our table of 15!!! Dinner lasted nearly 4 hours.
   Then it was over to the garage for our change of clothes bags.
   A 5 block walk in a New York minute to the hotel my niece was spending the night at, and a
quick change into clothes.
   We went down to the Hotel Lobby and garnered two tables and several comfy chairs. The other
gals drifted and we all had a night cap. Us, older folks, decided that at this time 12 midnight, we
were too tired to go out after all. My niece said the lounge was just 5 blocks away - but in reality
it was a mile away. We left it to the young ones and headed home.
   I think I crawled into bed at near 2 am, utterly exhausted.
  Thankfully, we slept in Sunday morning and headed out for brunch. 3 people, 2 bloody Marys, 1 Mimosa, 3 coffees, 2 Crab Eggs Benedict, 1 Traditional breakfast (eggs, sausage, toast) and a side
order of bacon and $70.00 later, we were full and headed home for a very leisurely afternoon of
doing nothing.
   My niece and her intended came by late in the afternoon (for dinner, of course!) and told us
that even they didn't make it to the lounge! They just stayed in the hotel lobby and for another round or so of drinks!
   I left Monday morning and had a good drive back.
  What a whirlwind weekend! I think it took all of last week to truly recover. I can't imagine what the wedding weekend will be like! Pure and utter craziness, but goodness in celebrating and family
being together.
   I think I'll try to work in an extra nap or two before hand!

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