. . . the PERFECT time to visit Chicago!
What? You don't think so? Ha! Just goes to show you what you know! You're probably sitting around somewhere warm, all proud of your stable core-body temperature, like that makes you 'special,' 'right,' or even 'alive.'
Ha! I say again!
I thought January would be the perfect time to visit Chicago for several key reasons.
1. All the 'new' has worn off the Kid's Christmas toys. He's officially bored.
2. I feel like I only leave the house to chauffeur people and go to work.
3. My husband is working every weekend, all weekend.
4. Zen-Master Becca is noticeably pregnant. Being as this is the woman who was physically THERE for the birth of my son, I felt that going to up to pat her belly was the least I could do.
So, I did. I packed up the Kid in what turned out to be sort of a test run for our Big Trip to San Francisco in two weeks, (more on that later), we hitched the Carl Sandburg, and headed north.
Heck, it wasn't even that cold. The high was 17! It's not like Lake Michigan was frozen solid or anything . . .
Whoops. Spoke too soon.
So off we went. The train schedules are always a little bit tricky. They only leave from our hometown very early or late in the evening. We didn't get into Chicago until 10 Friday night, and had to leave at 7:35 Sunday morning. So that gives us one whole day.
January is the perfect time to go see whales! So we did.
I think the Kid thinks he's looking at me through binoculars or something. Note the tent-tunnel behind us. We got to the Aquarium within 20 minutes of it opening. There was a five minute indoor line. When we left at 1:30, that line was 200 yards BEYOND the tent-tunnel.
Which represented Fatal Flaw #1 of my plan: I figured the Aquarium wouldn't be too busy. I failed to take into account that other people--most of Chicago, in fact--would have reached the same conclusions I had earlier. That place was PACKED shortly after we got there.
First things first: Sea Turtles!
Oops. You're not supposed to use flash photography. The sea turtle doesn't like it, dude.
The Kid wanted sharks, and he wanted them NOW. So we found the sharks:
I do think he was disappointed that they were *only* nine feet long. This is the downside of Finding Nemo. All sharks should have Australian accents. Note I'd turned the flash off by now. No one wants to piss off sharks, even smallish ones.
We saw the show, called Fantasea.
I don't want to disparage or anything, but the show was weird. Sea nymphs (also known as trainers wearing incredibly silly outfits) 'guided' our passage into the World of the Sea or something supremely weird like that. Aquarium people, just remember. You are Aquarium People. You aren't Disney, and you shouldn't try.
I mean, seriously. Is this a Renee Magrit homage in the middle of an aquarium show???
Still, the Kid was mostly engaged, as long as there was an animal doing something. He didn't give a whit about Sea Nymphs.
He did like the penguins, and we were close enough that when one of them pooped, he giggled uncontrollably.
Fatal Flaw #2: If the cafeteria worker asks if you want fries with that, she's asking not because she's helping you watch your figure, but because fries are not included. They were damn proud of those fries.
The Kid had been good all week so that I would buy him a 'special' toy at the Aquarium. I was thinking up to $15--two dollars a day of good behavior, rounded up. And you know what he wanted? A jellyfish. To heck with Baby Beluga or the sea otters, or even the sharks. He wanted a jellyfish.
So I got him one.
And the great thing was, this jellyfish came with a whole bunch of other sea creatures. And all of these sea creatures together totalled $3.99. They were just about the cheapest thing in the store. So that's how I got talked into buying Pooh Bear a 'camera.'
That's the kind of Mom I am. I buy cameras for stuffed bears.
After that, we hung out with Zen-Master Becca and her hubby, then wound up driving by our old house on the north side of the city and eating at the Chinese restaurant where my husband and I had our first date. Between pregnant best friends and the trip down memory lane, my mind was boggled.
Which is why we watched Madagascar 2, apparently. That and the Plumpy song. Becca insisted, and you don't say no to a pregnant woman, not when she's got the Kid on her side.
Then we came home, where the Kid loaded all his sea creatures onto trains and puffed around the tracks while I came down with a raging sinus infection.
One day, I'll take the Kid to Chicago when it's above freezing. Heck, given baby showers and the like, it might even be this year!
As long as I don't get the Plumpy song stuck in my head again. Man, that thing is contagious!