Monday, October 20, 2008

My kind of town!

So, this time last week, I was waking up from a nap in a Chicago-area hotel room.

My flight out was nice. It was on time (this is important) and we actually landed a little early. The descent gave me a slight headache, though, and I am not sure why. It wasn't a full-on migraine, but just enough of an ache to make me just-this-side of miserable. My bags didn't get sent to Pocatello, thank you little eight-pound Christchild of the manger, and came off the plane and onto the carousel just fine.

I found a cab right outside that could drive me to Glenview...... where I promptly got handed a jar of Vaseline and told to bend over. Well, sort of..... The meter at the end read $29.25, and I was told, "Well, it's actually $44.00. It's time and a half because I had to drive to the suburbs....." Excuse me? It took you ten minutes, and I have since discovered that you actually drove a mile and a half out of the way because you turned left off the exit instead of right. Fine, whatever. But I saw no notice that said anything about time-and-a-half and the suburbs. It's a shame a pleasant cab ride had to end that way.

The hotel was nice; it was one of the preferred ones from Corporate Office. We got a fantastic rate, and it could not have been a more comfy, pleasant room. And I'm being truly serious. I'm usually the type that says, "Hey, as long as the pillows don't go too flat, the a/c doesn't rattle all night, and the blanket keeps me comfy, then I am good to go, who cares what chain it is?" This one may cause me to change my mind about that. There was a nice LCD TV, a sofa and coffee table, nice desk, and very comfy bed. The facilities were very nice and spacious; nothing I hate worse than a teensy hotel bathroom.

And the staff was very nice. They were able to answer all my questions ..... for the most part. Apparently there is some miscommunication between Corporate and the shuttle service. They told us it didn't start until 9:00 AM, and we were told at Corporate, "BALONEY! It starts whenever you need it to, and you can tell them we said that!" The breakfast was nice too -- a mix of hot and cold, and the staff was very accommodating. And they had a nice workstation area, which is great for those of us in the stone age still without laptops.

So anyway, let's fast forward to Wednesday. Training was great, I learned a lot, we had fun.... a colleague and I both had flights leaving around the same time -- and he had a rental car! So we decided to head downtown and see the sights. My original plan was to check my luggage, hop on the El and go to Daley Plaza. This way, we could see lots of sights, not just Daley Plaza...... only I was stricken with a sudden case of motion sickness. AARGH!!!! I felt a little queasy at one point on the way in, but it passed pretty quickly. But just a few minutes later, a full attack. Just enough to give me a headache, and make me want to do nothing but nap. My colleague -- one of the nicest people around, by the way -- apologized a million times over, thinking his driving had caused it. Nope, just this weird thing I have.... and hate.

I got to O'Hare, got through security, and headed for the gate. There was a Mickey D's there, and I realized I hadn't had anything since breakfast. So I grabbed something quick and WW-friendly, ate it, and sat to wait on the boarding time. I had about 90 minutes to kill so I read the newspaper, read part of a book, and then.......... Delay.

It had rained all day, and the two flights prior to mine were delayed. For starters, they pushed us back a half-hour (ha.... ha ha ha). With that in mind, I called the office, left a message for my boss to let him know I'd be in even later than planned ... actually, I'd take a half-day vacation and come in at 1:00. I also called the family to inform them -- we have some serious worrywarts in the bunch.

Twenty minutes before we were scheduled to board, they THEN informed us that we were changing gates. Yep. Meaning: more delay. FINALLY, we boarded around 7:30 PM Chicago time ... 90 minutes after schedule. Believe me, the pilots made up some of the delay in the air. There were some pockets of turbulence, enough to make me grip the arm of the seat a couple of times -- and I am thinking the flight attendant thought I was sick when it took me a few extra moments in the lavatory. It was actually a zipper on my pants that got stuck. But it was enough for her to give me a free drink..... which I felt bad about!

Finally, we got in only 40 minutes later than scheduled ..... again, praise be, my luggage was the 2nd one on the carousel! I got back to my car in almost no time and on the road for home. I had already decided that I would drive as far as I could until I got tired, and then I would definitely pull over. About a half-hour into it I was feeling good. Twenty minutes later, I was looking for the first good hotel I could. I was still about 45 minutes from home, but no way could I go any longer. I checked into the hotel, got a nice room, and was asleep in 10 minutes.

The next morning, I checked out and headed home. I had had a long trip and needed to chill before heading to the office. And to see my sweet Maddox --- who was incredibly happy and surprised to see me!

And.... I have decided to save some money and go back to Chicago next spring to see the sights myself, on my own timetable!!! I have to see what I missed!

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