Monday, August 23, 2010

Paid Time Off - Part Two

No, you didn’t miss Part One. I’ll get back to it.

Total sidebar with no bearing on the following narrative: Turns out I wore my underwear inside-out today. This is what happens when you get dressed in the dark after having slept squished between your 5-year-old and your husband without access to a pillow for the last half of the night. Now back to the regularly scheduled blog.

Notice I didn’t use the term “vacation”. I did not go on “vacation” this year. I had Paid Time Off (PTO) from the bank. Most of which was spent at home alone with the girls (hence no “vacation”), but we did go to Chicago this past weekend.

Yes, we took our two little girls to the bustling city of Chicago, known for its shopping, tallest building, art museum, universities, and…beluga whales.

Let us not make the mistake of thinking we were going there with anything other than the sole purpose of watching those white “canaries of the sea.” Considering all the hype I gave it, it was destined to fail miserably, but for once in my life, I actually came through.
Beluga’s were a hit and the highlight of the trip, although I was a little concerned when I saw what they had to measure up to once we got to the hotel.
“Hey, there’s a bathtub if we get dirty! And a garbage can!! Our own bed!” Those are actual quotes, by the way. I’m not making that up. And the best, “This is better than our house!”
Thanks, Fairfield Inn and Suites.
Other than the belugas, there was no real plan, so Friday afternoon (after Zoe’s third change of clothes from spilling beverages in her car seat) we walked the Navy Pier, which did not impress the girls, because it was A.) too warm and B.) we had to walk there (except Zoe who enjoyed the lap of luxury in her Jeep stroller the whole trip).

We decided to go to Chinatown for dinner. Kids like chicken and rice (don't they?) and we figured there would be lots of interesting things to look at. It wasn’t until we got on the subway that I vaguely remember my Fodor’s Top 10 telling me to stay away from the South Loop in the evening.
Actually, it was fine. Our main problem was, once we got there, we had no idea where we should eat, so we wandered around aimlessly. Never good for the child we are forcing to walk.
And because we are ignorant, everything looks like a Chinese restaurant until you get up close and realize it’s a grocery or a jeweler or salon. By the time we stopped, everyone was starved.
Guess what…kids are not as fond of chicken and rice when it comes fried with peas and other vegetables. On the other hand, my sesame chicken, despite the fact that it was in a sauce the color of nothing known to the natural world, was a big hit. In fact Morgan proclaimed loudly that she “likes China food.”
On Saturday, the hotel scored big again because they had powdered donuts in their continental breakfast. Then an equally fascinating bus ride to the Museum Campus (if all else fails, throw a kid on public transportation, it's like the Emerald City to them).

We got there pretty early, plus we had the aforementioned Jeep, which meant we got to use the side entrance and didn't end up in the ungodly lines that even the Will Call people had to stand in. And I luckily knew from looking on line that I could cut the 4-D experience out and save $4 dollars a ticket from the lowest price they had posted on the wall. Take that, Shedd!

We spent almost three hours there with no melt downs and only $30 in souvenirs, mostly related to...beluga whales (and one sea lion for Zoe).

Here's the synopsis of the rest of the trip. Potbelly's lunch (awesome PB&J). Subway and long walk to Lincoln Park Zoo (finally something that's free!).

Ride on the endangered species carousel (and there may be a new seal obsession in the family).

Playing on the beach (while watching weird people wade into water - 15 degrees colder than Lake Erie - fully clothed - wtf?).

Even longer walk back to hotel (sneaking past the huge Disney store). Bath (see below). Chicago-style pizza delivered to the room by 9 pm (which is actually 10 pm in Cleveland, so can't be good for the girls' digestion). In the car by 9 the next morning.

"Bath Story" by Morgan

I'm going to make another Jaws movie, but I will have to wait until I'm grown up, because I'm going to need a lot of people to help me and I can't talk to strangers until I'm grown up. And this time there will be five people that get eaten, because it will be the fifth Jaws movie.

This is why Zoe refuses to get in the tub.
Author's Note: Seriously, blogger friends, how can I get my much-loved negative space when I post photos in my blog. It ALWAYS screws it up.


  1. Great post! Sounds like you had a great trip!

  2. You did ALL of this stuff in one weekend? It would have taken me that long to find the Chinese restaurant.