Summer in the City, back of my neck gettin' dirty and gritty...
Yeah, that'll be stuck in your head for the rest of the day now. You're welcome.
Anyway, we've done something I've wanted to do for a while now--prove to The Kid that Chicago exists outside of winter!
As you may recall, due to the husband's work schedule, The Kid and I normally venture north during the winter. It's cold, it's dark, and we normally crash on my old friends J and B's futon-like couch. (I don't know what it is--not a couch, but not a real futon. The Kid loves it, though.) Which is all well and good, but there's a whole 'nother side of Chicago that exists when the sun shines.
J and B recently went and had themselves an adorable baby girl, V, and we were invited to the naming ceremony--in July! Yes! A good reason to visit Chicago in the summer! So I loaded up The Kid and my mom (Hi, Mom!) and we hit the road.
We went up the new Chicago-Kansas City Corridor instead of up Hwy 55, and it was a much more relaxed drive. I recommend it. Luckily, we stopped in a town called Peru, Illinois, for the night--lucky, that is, because NASCAR was racing in Joilet that weekend and the third hotel we went to literally had the last rooms between there and Chicago. They had a pool, which, as any parent of a small child knows, is vitally important for everyone's survival if the child has been in a moving vehicle for more than two hours.
The next morning, we made it the Chi-town. I lived in Chicago for almost six years before we moved away, but that was five years ago. I always get a little nostalgic when I go back. At least until we hit gridlock. Then I'm ready to go home.
First stop: The Lake! Now, it may actually be cooler by the lake, but the temps were in the 90s that day, so 'cool' was relative. The Kid had only seen the lake, frozen solid, through the Aquarium glass before--and certainly never done this before:
Note: I remembered to pack his water shoes! Score one for Mommy!
Ah, the crazy times. Really. I lived there for how long? And believe it or not, this was the first time I'd ever gone down to Montrose Beach on a hot summer Saturday.
After The Kid consumed/wore his Spongebob Squarepants ice cream, we headed down to the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Ave. for those who don't know). The Mag Mile is one of the best shopping districts in the nation, plus it's got cool architecture. Our first stop was the bridge over the Chicago River, where The Kid was just positive those were the biggest boats he'd ever seen.
He was fascinated by all the activity going on--right until this flew overhead:
Note the helicopter flying below the top of the building? Note the large, bulbous projectile on the helicopter's nose? Turns out, they were filming Transformers 3 downtown (for like the next month) and the helicopter was getting the aerial shots. I haven't seen either of the first two (I'm the sort of person who reads movie reviews seriously), but I'm kind of curious to see if any of the human specks might be us . . .
Anyway, the Mag Mile was the likes of which The Kid had never seen before. A middle-aged woman was doing disco kareoke all by herself; 'inner-city youth' were doing hilarious choreographed routines, and then there was this guy:
He blew The Kid's mind. For several blocks after we saw the robot guy, The Kid was still trying to wrap his head around whether or not he was a real robot. I hope Robot Guy takes that as a compliment.
Shortly after this shot:
I did one of the craziest things I've ever done--I took The Kid, still sticky from the ice cream and sandy from the beach and sweaty from the walking--into Nieman Marcus and told him not to touch anything. Call me sadistic, masochistic, or just plain nuts, but I did. I even browsed the racks (Oh, it was the world's softest cashmere coat--on clearance for $3,789!) and tried on and bought a sweater (comparatively, on clearance for $44). The Kid found an open space with the husband chairs--well, not really husband chairs, because normal husbands wouldn't be caught dead sitting in those things, but still, the idea holds--and ran in small circles, right in front of the Burbury display. Needless to say, we got exceptionally prompt service from the helpful staff--except from the bouncer posted by the furs. He just glared at us as we kept moving. Because The Kid managed not to take out any displays, we went next door to the Disney store and bought him a Woody doll to go with his Buzz. They're the best of friends now.
We had hoped to go up in the Tower formerly known as Sears after spending quality time with baby V, but then this happened:
and my mommy decided she didn't want to be in a very tall building so much after all. If you look close, though, you can see a rainbow right over the hazy Tower Not Named Sears Anymore way off in the horizon. And, frankly, after gridlock in the rain, I was ready to head back to the hotel.
After the naming ceremony, we headed home, stopping at an antique store along the way and somehow managing to dodge a storm that looked like it was going to flatten Peoria. It was a short, crazy trip, but dang it, it was Chicago in the summer!
The Kid is already asking when we can go back.