To all (or should I say,"both" ) of my readers: HAPPY NEW YEAR!
What a way to end a visit! Yesterday morning, Prof and Kiddo were reacing the clock to get everything packed and ready to go. On a whim, Prof picked up the phone and called the Chicago Metra System to make sure we had the times right for catching the Southshore commuter from Northern Area 52 to Chicago. Guess what??? We had been looking at the wrong schedule!!! Oh shit! We had missed the first train. Recall, it is 86 miles from our house to the Southshore depot. We had been looking at the weekend/holiday schedule, BUT, Chi/Metra wasn't running that schedule on New Years Eve. It was running it's regular schedule. So, we had missed the first train, and the next one would put Prof and Kiddo into Chicago an hour after their Amtrak train had left Union Station. (Damn the time difference!)
So, Prof called Amtrak to see if she could change her tickets. Bear in mind here, that she had changed tickets on the way here, and it had cost her a bundle, no thanks to a ticket agent who misquoted her $25.00 change fee instead of the real $127.50 fee. She had to borrow the difference from her friend there in the station who had brought them there. So, did we really want to trust this new agent yesterday who said she could change tickets and go today for $26.00? Prof didn't have the money to change them if we got there and they had made another mistake, and neither did I. So our other option was to make a rush trip to Chicago. I have never driven to Chicago. In fact, it has been at least 44 years since I have even been to Chicago. (College field trip during a Historical Geology class), but I was brave enough to try it, if Little Bro and Sistah were up for the ride, so I would have company coming back. They agreed.
We piled all luggage, and people into my ol' minivan and away we went, googled directions in hand. It was a beautiful sunny day in Area 52. Spirits were high, and all was well. The closer we got to Chitown, the foggier it got, but it was still okay. Prof sat in front and navigated with the printed directions. We stopped for a "rest" stop before entering the Toll Road, and I bought a Chicagoland map. We consulted it frequently, and lo and behold in a while, I was pulling up in front of Union Station without a blip or a dent. I think Prof was a little frazzled by my abrupt lane changes, but I used my signal properly and just went with the flow of traffic, even if we were all driving 70 in a 55 mph zone. (But I digress)
Parking in downtown Chicago, in front of Union Station is at a premium or non-existent, so we swung into a no parking zone for a few minutes, unloaded all stuff, kissed, cried, laughed, and said our goodbyes. It was quick and that was probably good for us all. Lil Bro, Sistah, and I then got back into ye ol" mini and took off, this time with Sistah in front to navigate. Ten minutes later we were heading back out of Chitown, retracing out route in reverse. Prof called on her cell and wanted to let us know that they had found their train, it was running on time, and wondered how Dad's nerves were holding out. I did Good! Yeah, rah , Me! Sistah had only visited Chicago once, and was enjoying taking pics out the car window of everything we saw. It was cool. When we hit the Toll Road again, we decided to go back across the top of our state to South Bend. Seem that Lil Bro and Sistah had found some shops on the internet that they wanted to visit. So we did. We found these shops, they did some shopping, and then we started home. When we got out of the city, we decided to stop at a Mickey D's and get a sandwich. Do you know that sometimes a greasy old burger from MacDonalds tastes pretty good. After a filling, unhealthy, supper we loaded back into the vehicle and trekked home.
I was invited to friends for a New Year's party, so I quickly showered, shaved and dressed and took off again. I spent the entire rest of the evening with good friends, ate again, and generally had a blast. I was home and in bed by 1:00 am.
It is now 1:00 pm, I am still in my sweats, coffee in hand, and am sitting here typing this blog, watching it blow and snow! It is a bittersweet time, but I am full of hope. I just know that 2008 will bring great things to me and mine.
I know this how? Because Lil Bro and Sistah are going to HAVE A BABY!!!!!
Ahhhhhh! Life just might be good after all.
Peace to all...