This weekend, the family decided to road trip up to the city in which The Mister and I spent our first few years of marriage… Chicago (and if you now have Frank Sinatra’s Chicago worming it’s way through your mind, you’re welcome!) Our trip, of course was not without events.
I bade farewell to the Mister on Tuesday morning as he left for the airport heading to Los Angeles for the week. Our plan was for him to fly into Chicago Friday night and we’d have the rest of the weekend to stay and play in the city. Well… you know what they say about your plans and God’s plans. Wednesday morning, I woke up feeling two steps shy of awful. I had only felt this way once before, it was last April and it was when The Mister was in California and I ended up having Strep Throat. This year, same time, same circumstance, same diagnosis. Thankfully, I was blessed with the kindness of a dear friend (and reader!) who came over and spent the afternoon with my girls allowing me to sleep and begin recovery. (Thank You again, Kristine! You are such a blessing to me.)
Just an aside: I’ve been asked if strep throat is just a “really, really bad sore throat??” If it was just a sore throat, I could deal with that. But with it being an infection, I had all of the classic infection symptoms: fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and to be honest, the sore throat was minor. For me, it was difficult trying to care for my children, to feed them, diaper them, while trying to stay on my feet without keeling over or running to the vomitorium at the sight of food. That is what made the illness difficult.
Anyway, losing a day and a half of prep for illness was a challenge but not insurmountable. Friday morning, we ended up leaving about 1.5 hours behind schedule,which would come back to kind of bite me in the end. So, we hit the road in the Swagger Wagon and get about 90 miles outside of home before The Bear needs to make a potty stop. I figure, we might as well eat as it’s close enough to lunch time so we spent about an hour at a popular “PlayPlace,” with the thought that the girls would expend enough energy and sleep a good chunk of the afternoon. The original plan was to picnic at one of the many Rest Areas in Illinois which have these fantastic playgrounds, but the weather was less than cooperative. Back on the road, the girls snoozed until just south of Chicago, in Joliet, despite Mama’s chastising peoples’ driving habits (“Cruise Control People! Learn It! Use It! Love It!”; “Trucker, there is no shame in being passed by a Swagger Wagon, stop playing LeapFrog with me!”, etc) We made one last stop for potty and a mini-stretch and hopped back on the highway for the short jaunt to the city.
Along the route I spied a sign that said “67 minutes to Dan Ryan” and I, foolishly, didn’t believe it. I figured it was left over from Rush Hour traffic. No fewer than two minutes later, my speedometer went from 70 MPH to 11 MPH… and we had 26 miles to go. Guess that 67 minutes wasn’t that far off. Ah, Chicago traffic, how I didn’t miss thee.
I don’t do much driving in St. Louis in which I encounter copious amounts of traffic and you tend to forget that traffic even exists in the insular world of the suburban stay-at-home mom. But as I was sitting there on the Stevenson, I kept hearing this quote from Homer Simpson running through my head: “Gas, Brake, Honk. Gas, Brake, Honk. Honk, Honk, Honk. Honk, Honk, Punch!” Since I had my trusty GPS with me, I decided to bail on the Stevenson and let the GPS re-route me to where I was going. (Just so you know, we are staying with dear friends who have this gorgeous condo in downtown Chicago. Looking out of their windows, you have a great view of the skyline with the
Sears Willis Tower, the River, The Chicago Tribune Building, The Chocolate Building, among others. Gorgeous! And Free. Tee Hee!) However, my GPS is insistent on re-routing me back to the Stevenson and when that didn’t work, wanted to re-route me to the Dan Ryan, which was just as much of a parking lot as the rest of the expressway. Sigh. After many turns and relying on my memory of the grid outline of downtown, we finally made it to the condo.
We left our driveway in St. Louis at 10:30a on Friday morning. We arrived at our Friend’s condo in downtown Chicago at 7:00p Friday night. Traveling where distance is measured in minutes, not miles, with children is not for the faint of heart.