After what felt like forever, we are finally BACK from our Chicago trip. The city of wind has always felt like the place I am meant to be. The weather (yes, even in the dead of winter) seems perfect, the city is clean, the people are friendly, the transit is easier to navigate, and sorry, NYC but the pizza is better.
This trip, however, was so hilariously bizarre that we felt like we were in some sort of movie featuring Larry David.
The first foible, was actually pretty terrifying. Saturday morning on our way to my event at The Land of Nod, we hopped off the train at a station that doesn't have an elevator, but rather a very wide set of stairs, or a very narrow escalator. Since we had Eli, a big suitcase (full of swag), and E's heavy stroller, Nate took the stroller up the stairs, and in single file I had the suitcase in front of me, and E behind me with one hand holding each up the escalator. After just a few seconds of the ride up, E started to have a panicked cry and immediately turning around I saw that his foot was stuck in the escalator, between the moving stairs and the non-moving metal wall. His foot was moving along with us, but I could only see the top of his foot! His toes were completely jammed.
Naturally, I freaked out and after what seemed like forever I was able to get his foot free (for the record, he was wearing lace-less Natives that ended up completely destroyed). He and I were both covered in dark black grease and spent a full three minutes hugging and crying at the top of the platform. It was one of the scariest moments of parenting to date! Once the hysteria wore off, it dawned on Nate and I that we were now headed to a play date with our barefoot son, for whom I had only packed one pair of shoes for the entire trip. Nate spent the first hour of my event running around trying to find a pair of shoes for E, and eventually found two pairs at Baby Gap. Two pairs. Remember that for later.
Our next big foible was when we returned to our hotel room at 7pm, Eli and my bladder full to the brim, exhausted and starving and anxious to order some delicious food. The night prior, we had been locked out of our room thanks to a programming error on our rooms key system, needing to have security come reset the lock all together. Surely this seemed like a one-time ordeal, until of course, it happened again. We called the front desk to send up security with the very specific machinery that they had needed the night before (which had taken 30 minutes to repair) -- but of course security showed up empty handed and had to make us wait another 45 minutes to repair the door. Ugh. We ended up getting a free night, plus free internet for the ordeal.
...NOT. Nate ran downstairs to meet our food delivery guy (burgers and fries, if you must know) and on his way back up, the door had reprogrammed itself again. A still furious husband went back down to complain (again), and like thieves in the night, at 9pm we moved all our things and our sleeping toddler into another hotel room. Seriously, UGH.
Most of the rest of the trip was fine and well, I got to eat at my favorite ice cream place, and knock a few items off my Chicago bucket list...
...like going to the famed Ohio Street Beach. Where we lost one of the pairs of shoes Nate had purchased. Oh -- and we also lost the brand new $25 cup holder for our Stokke stroller that Nate bought two days before we left (it was a replacement for one he lost a couple weeks ago). We watched it bounce out the closing subway doors in a jaw dropping fashion.
Then, to wrap up the long list of WTF moments, a rare type of tornado-like storm, called a derecho struck Chicago during our scheduled flight home, and our hotel shuttle drove us through 12" of flooded roads and severe lightening to get us to our flight that was taking off at 1AM after hours and hours of delays. Nothing like seeing hundreds of passengers on other airlines sleeping on cots in the airport to send terrified chills through your bones.
Thankfully, the most important part (my Nod event!) went absolutely AMAZING. More people that I ever expected were lined up before the doors even opened, and I got to meet so many beautiful children and their parents. E had a blast and I am so hopeful we'll have a chance to do more events like this in the future!