Monday, February 27, 2012

The Great, The Bad, and the Painful

Mike and I left Friday morning for our Chicago weekend. It started snowing about an hour before we left, so there was a light dusting on the ground. After about 1/2 an hour after we left, the heavy, wet snow began to blanket the ground. We managed to do some letterboxing in southern Michigan and northern Indiana.

One box was hidden in the side of a barn at a museum. The drive and area surrounding the barn was very muddy. Mike offered to retrieve the box, while I stayed in the car. His hands were covered with mud after finally getting the box that was partially frozen in the mud.

We also managed to be first finders on a box inside a library. The library was really cute and had a pony from a merry-go-round by the door. I love seeing smaller town libraries. They have so much character and really provide a snap shot of the community.

When we reached the Chicago area, we discovered that they had received about 4 inches of very heavy snow. Mike agreed to try and collect some cemetery boxes before we checked into the hotel. The cemeteries did not have drives through them. We had to walk through snow and look in bushes for the boxes. We both ended up drenched, but had fun.

After checking into the hotel, we went to Giordano's Chicago Style Pizza. The pizza was fabulous! Mike requested that I figure out how to make the same crust and locate a source for mozzarella cheese. After dinner, we decided to see a movie. We found a theater, but didn't recognize any of the movie titles. Mike decided that we should see whatever was showing next. The movie was called The Artist. It was really slow and predictable. Eventually, Mike suggested that we leave early, so we headed back to our hotel.

The next morning, I had set the suitcase on the floor to get some clothing out. A few minutes later, I caught my little toe on the leg of the suitcase and broke my toe. After hopping around the room for a few minutes, I put on tight socks and forced my foot into a snug sneaker and we headed to the Art Institute of Chicago. We forgot about the time change and arrived pretty early.

Mike and I decided to walk around Millennium Park and looked at the sculptures. We also had time for bagels at a coffee shop across the street. It was so much fun looking around at the architecture and sculpture in the area. After a tasty meal, we headed to the Art Institute.

We hadn't been there in several years, so we really enjoyed seeing everything. We managed to get several photos of some great modern art that I'm planning to use in art lessons with the girls later this week. After a few hours, my foot was really painful, so we drove around Chicago and looked at various points of interest and the lake shore. Mike had purchased a GPS before the trip, so he programed it to take up to the next hotel without getting on a freeway. Let's just say that I'm very glad it was still daylight during our trip.

When we reached the hotel, Mike dropped me off before parking the SUV. I walked into the lobby and realized that all 10 floors were open to an interior courtyard with iron railings on one side of the hallways. I have a terrible fear of heights and was a little nervous about which floor our room was located. We checked in and headed to the glass elevator to go to the third floor. After closing my eyes on the journey up to our floor, I stepped out of the elevator and realized that there were railings on both sides of the hallway with 3 story drop offs on each side. Mike held my hand and guided me to the end of the hall to our room. We opened the door and were hit with a strong smell of smoke...almost like a bonfire smell. Mike called down and asked for a different room, because he has bad allergies.

We were reassigned a room on the fifth floor, directly above the room we had originally. Reliving the seemingly endless hallways isn't fun, so I won't go into further details. It was a tough situation, but I managed to do it. We didn't go out for dinner that night. My foot was badly swollen from walking all day and I didn't want to do more trips down the halls.

The next morning, I couldn't get my foot into my shoes, so I wore one sneaker and extra socks on the bad foot. We had breakfast at the hotel and drove up to a letterboxing event in Lake Bluff, IL at the SILO restaurant. Mike suggested we stop at Walgreens for some aspirin and discovered some men's slippers that look similar to Berkenstocks. The slippers were too large for me normally, but with the swelling and extra slippers, they worked great!

We had a little time before the event, so Mike and I found two drive-by letterboxes in the area. The event was fun! I was nervous about attending an event where we didn't know anyone. We immediately met a lovely couple from Minnesota who invited us to sit at their table. Everyone was so friendly and gracious during the event that I had a great time. Mike didn't have as much fun as I did, but said that it was better than he expected. I managed to get lots of boxes and exchanges and can put some trail-names with faces. There is another event at the end of April and I'll meet up with several of the same people then. It's so wonderful to meet people who enjoy the same hobby!

After the event, we headed back to Michigan. It was after 10 when we arrived, but all the kids were still awake. I really enjoyed our time away, but coming home to my wonderful family was even better.


Martha said...

I love Giordanno's pizza. It's one of the many things I miss about Chicago.

Hope your toe feels better before too long.


Cheryl said...

We are going to spend our 25th anniversary in downtown Chicago in a few weeks. Already bought our tickets to the Art Institute on Groupon!

Sorry about your toe

Karen said...

Martha: Mike suggested that we have a few pizzas shipped to our home next month, so the rest of the family can enjoy a taste. It costs $43/pizza to ship. A little steep for my budget. Maybe we should just plan a day trip with the kids instead.

Cheryl: Have a great time on your 25th anniversary! We love the Art Institute. I could go every month if we were a little closer. Hopefully, you'll have great weather during your trip.