Friday, June 20, 2008

First Real Chicago Post

I know I know, it's about time. Sorry... to all of you who have been eagerly awaiting this post, me so sorry. For those of you who have not been eagerly awaiting this post, I'm not sorry. Which leaves me feeling confounded. Anyway, enough with my emotions.

Let me start by saying that, right now, my butt hurts. A LOT. I'll explain later.

We left the big Wheels on Friday June 6th. I admit, I was ecstatic. I drove circles around the moving truck as we pulled out of the parking lot. (Litterally. I drove in several circles around the moving truck as Rachel drove it out of the parking lot.) We arrived in Canton, and I got one last Lime Soda at Taggart's before we left early Saturday morning. Saturday's drive was pretty uneventful and fun. I got to ride with everyone for a while and thoroughly enjoyed catching up with everyone on the way. (Not to mention solving a few of the world's problems before actually arriving in Chicago.)

Upon arriving in Chicago, we promptly got lost on the South Side for a few minutes. Luckily, I am fluent in Gang Sign, so I flashed as many as I could out the window while Wendy drapped dew rags from our stereo antennae. We told the moving truck company that the bullet holes were there when we got it.

When we finally arrived at our apartment, four blocks east of Barack Obama's house, I was ready to go. We unloaded the truck in record time (because it was the first time we had ever unloaded that truck) and promptly set about taking things out of boxes and spreading them about the floor. Meanwhile, we were all four blocks east of Barack Obama's house.

Then, we all left the apartment and hit the town. We ate at Giordano's on Rush St. just north of Navy Pier. (About fifty blocks north of Barack Obama's house.)

Here's the gang at Giordano's downtown.  

Then, we walked around in Millenium Park and drove home, (which is just four blocks to the east of Barack Obama's house) to crash on various sleeping surfaces. When we awoke, Carrie, Wendy, Jay, Branden, Rachel, and I walked four blocks west to Barack Obama's house. There were various secret service men parked in various cars outside and five or six media personnel with cameras trained on his shuttered windows. I promptly tackled one of the secret service men just to see what would happen. Turns out, they're pretty tough. But, I think I gave one of them a black eye. Then, we walked the four blocks back home.

Branden stuck around through Sunday afternoon, which was awesome. And Rachel's Mom and Dad came up with Norah. They were kind enough to watch her and bring her up the next day so we didn't have to take care of her while we moved. It was a HUGE help. We hung out with Grandma and Grandpa McCowin for a while and toured the University of Chicago Campus. After a quick tour, and a smash and grab run through the Oriental Institute, we drove past Barack Obama's house, which is only four blocks away. After our tour of Hyde Park, Grandma and Grandpa McCowin took off.

This is a shot of one street to our west.  I just thought the gardens here were really pretty.

The next few days went by in a sort of blur. We basically tried to explore town on foot. On Monday Rachel had a job interview, which she ended up nailing and they told her to apply for the managerial position before offering her the lower job for which she had actually interviewed.

While Rach was interviewing, I went to the bank three times (because I kept forgetting something I apparently needed to open a bank account), then, I went to the coffee shop, to CVS, to the grocery store, Borders and the public library without ever getting into my car. (AWESOME!)

While we weren't walking around town, we were basically putting Norah in cute outfits and taking pictures of her.

About two days ago I started my search for a new bike. The one I have now was reclaimed from the WJU RA closet. (The seat on it is miserable. And no, that's not why my butt hurts right now, but we're getting there.) On our search for a bike, we found this awesome Bike Shop just north of the city called "Nearly New Bikes." We really liked the guy selling the bikes, but couldn't see paying $125 for a used 1965 Schwinn. Even if they are collector's items. I don't collect Schwinns, so why would I want a collector's item? That night however, we found an old Schwinn online for $80. Still a lot, but we figured we'd drive out.

Turns out, the guy who posted the add lived about an hour away from us in a town called West Chicago. When we got there he had multiple bikes out in his front driveway and after talking some, and looking at the bikes, and talking some more, and putting the bikes in the car, and talking some more, and bungeeing the trunk down, and talking some more, and paying the guy, and talking some more, and taking the trash cans back, and talking some more, and then talking a little bit more, we got two old bikes in reasonably good condition, and a seat for Norah, all for $60.

The next day we purchased heavy duty locks for the bikes for $50. So, our locks are actually worth $5 less than the bikes that they lock up. (Interesting I know.)

Which brings us to why my butt hurts. We spent all day yesterday getting the bikes ready. I took the chains off, and oiled them up. I rotated the brakes, and lubed all the lines, I adjusted the seats and handle bars, and bolted Norah's seat to my bike.

Today, we went for it. We strapped Norah into her little bike seat and headed for the Lake Front Path. It was BEAUTIFUL. We biked all the way to down town and ate at a bakery on Monroe and Wabash. (Unfortunately, I think we both kind of forgot that when you bike into Downtown, you have to then bike home.) The trip was ROUGH. First of all, it rained so hard we had to stop and take shelter under some trees just by McCormick Place. Then, before we even got to the 37th street beach, I was pretty much uselessly exhausted. See, Monroe and Wabash is exactly 7.54 miles from our house. (I marked it out a path on Google Earth.) Which means that we biked a total of 15 miles today. It doesn't sound that much until you remember that I haven't ridden a bike for about ten years, and I had about 30 pounds of Norah and kid chair strapped to the back of my bike, and I'm much fatter than I was when I last biked, and I was sopping wet. But overall, the trip was worth it. I might be a little tired now, with a sore rear, but it was fun. We got to see the Lake Front, we saw Buckingham Fountain, we spent too much money on lunch, and we saw all the beaches between our house and the Shedd Aquarium. All in all, a good day.

As soon as we got home, we saw an add on Freecycle for a desk. (Freecycle is a Yahoo group through which you can basically give your stuff away. You just put up a post saying you don't want this or that any more and all somebody else has to do is come by and pick it up for free. Yeah I know. Awesome.) So Rach, Norah and I hauled our throbbing keisters into the car, and drove up to the North Side to pick up a free desk. Now, after hauling it up the stairs, and making chicken and bean burritos for dinner, I'm sitting on the couch with a beer finally posting on my blog. So there you are. We're in Chicago.

Now, I am going to put some donut pillows down on the bed, and go to sleep like Rip Van Winkle.

Thanks for reading.


Allie said...

I laughed, I cried, I celebrated the Eleks! Great post Josh!

Nora S. said...

You should seriously think about writing for a living...Give Norah a hug for me.

Tim 2 said...

I am so very jealous...I used to ride my bike in those areas all the time...walk around...get food...

I really really miss Chicago...I miss walking to the grocery...