Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chicago! (Skip this post if you don't freaking care about it.) :)

The links are all for extra detail, if you're REALLY interested.

I woke up early Friday morning so I could meet Robbie for breakfast before Jeremy and I left for Chicago. Robbie was supposed to be at my house at 7 and I waited till 7:15 to text him when he didn't arrive. His alarm clock didn't go off and he said he wouldn't make it until 8. With that news, we relocated the breakfast to a restaurant closer to my house to save time (because I didn't want to cancel it altogether.) It was a nice breakfast as Robbie made me laugh like usual and listened to my worries.

Eventually I got back home and left for Jeremy's house. We began a long drive interrupted only by a stop at Mcdonald's for lunch (I know, I said I would never eat there again) and some pretty amazing windmills along the highway in Indiana. Who knew there were so many? Chicago traffic was pretty horrendous and we eventually resorted to a road-trip game. We took turns telling one sentence at a time of a story, taking turns starting the next sentence with the next letter of the alphabet. I believe Jeremy began the first story with, "Aardvark sure is some good eatin, Ma!" It deteriorated from there. We laughed quite a bit and made up several ridiculous stories while making very little progress on the highway.

It turns out my hotel in Chicago was actually well outside of Chicago and that when I say I need help picking out the hotel I'm not lying. It was a nice place but it took a long time to get anywhere from there. We arrived at whatever-time-it-was and got to the room just in time for the power to go out. Actually, the power going out was preceded by a loud whoosh and followed by a wall of rain approaching our window. We watched the storm for some time before deciding that it would last longer than our ability to wait for dinner.

We braved the rain and plugged into the GPS the restaurant Katelyn suggested, Kuma's Corner. With all the lights out for I-don't-know-how-many blocks, it took quite awhile to get there. It was worth it. By the time we parked the rain stopped and the clouds magically disappeared. The normal really long wait seemed to have disappeared with the rain and before we knew it we were seated at the bar. I got a burger called High on Fire and Jeremy got the Led Zeppelin. Okay, I had two hard ciders as well. Yum. I would recommend this place to anyone. The food and the atmosphere were both incredible. And I'm not just saying that because I had my first drink before the food arrived and was therefore rather quickly affected. Check out the website!

After dinner we drove over to the venue, which turned out to be another restaurant/bar with a room in the back for a stage and some people. We were early so we sat outside and I drank while Jeremy "kept his wits about him". He found this necessary because of the large number of gay men gathering near the doors. Jay Brannan, the artist we were going to see, is an openly gay man. Apparently so are most of his fans. Who knew? Oh, thats right, I did.

The opening act was Far From Falling and you should probably head over to their youtube page just so you can see the ridiculous things the lead singer does with his hands while he sings. If you just click on the band name you'll see! I was so distracted by his hand motions, the sheer number of men in the room, and the alcohol in my system that I have no idea what the man was singing about. Honestly. But he seemed really into it, so that's good.

After their set, Jay Brannan came on and it was really nice to actually see him IRL (in real life, for those of you that aren't huge nerds) and not just on a video. However, by that point I was very sleepy (read:intoxicated) and also feeling kind of uncomfortable and out of place. I would have felt out of place in any group that I didn't belong to, not just this particular group. I'm not saying I need to always be in homogeneous groups of people just like me, but I don't want to feel like the only one that doesn't belong either. So, I don't know if I'll be going back to another show. I'll still buy his music, of course, because he has a gorgeous, gorgeous voice.

It was raining when we left and that was the only detail I registered before losing the stay-awake battle for the drive home. I felt like a jerk falling asleep, but I couldn't help it! Inside the hotel I curled up on the bed and announced that I just wanted to go to sleep. Jeremy informed me that I should at least put my pajamas on because he didn't want anything falling out of my tube top in the middle of the night. I followed his advice, not wanting "anything" to fall out of my top either. And then did the responsible thing and washed my face and brushed my teeth too. I was almost asleep before he even got out of the shower.

After breakfast the next morning- No, I have to tell you one thing about breakfast. (I'm trying to skip the not-so-interesting parts because who wants to hear about me waking up in the middle of the night or Jeremy telling me I move too loudly in my sleep or me getting dressed?) During breakfast I managed to drop yogurt on my crouch and had to change my pants. Jeremy exclaimed, "What is WRONG with you?" because I had done something else stupid that morning that I can't remember now. Oh well. Back to the interesting parts!

[Insert commute here] When we got into the city and tried to find a parking place, Jeremy became suddenly and intimately aware of my horrible navigation skills. I became suddenly aware of the traffic-cop-like-people-whatevers vehemently directing both cars and pedestrians in a way that made me fear to disobey. Good thing I wasn't driving. We did eventually find a parking place (apparently it is VERY expensive to park) and took a short hike to Millennium Park. We encountered some kind of Hispanic bike parade, complete with a bike trailer hauling a large speaker spouting some kind of Spanish music and dozens of people all riding and shouting at one another. We continued to encounter this rather loud group of people throughout the morning.

At the park we checked out several of the sights such as the BP Bridge, Jay Pritzker Pavillion, The Lurie Garden, Cloud Gate, and the Crown Fountain. Crown Fountain was my favorite part as we watched the children of all ages and several races all play and splash together in the puddle that stretched between the two rectangles. We ended up taking off our shoes and splashing with the kids too. The cool water felt so nice after the bright, hot sun.

After splashing in the fountain we made our way back towards the car, looking for places to eat lunch along the way. We eventually ended up at a table outside Corner Bakery Cafe. The wind whipped between buildings giving the Windy City an appropriate name. Napkins flew off the tables and birds braved the wind for a chance at food torn from the tables.

We made it back to the car and out of the city, despite my horrible navigation abilities and the GPS losing satellite reception due to the "L" overhead. On the way home Jeremy suggested we stop by Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to see the dunes and the beach. It was strange to see so much sand, sun, and water in Indiana. It was beautiful. The sand though was very, very hot. Even with shoes on. And we decided to walk a trail that took us up and over one of the dunes. Uncomfortable doesn't quite describe it. It was worth the pain to see the Chicago skyline peeking out on the other side of the lake from the top of the dune.

Visiting the dunes required driving in and out of Gary, Indiana, where we also stopped for gas. It turned out to be a sad, scary-looking place, at least to this girl from southwestern Ohio. Jeremy pumped gas while I went inside to get our drinks. I was called "baby" at least three times while inside with such an intonation and accompanied by enough leering to convince me it wasn't just a polite term. I couldn't wait to get back in the car.

Several hours in the passenger seat and an equal amount of exposure to Jeremy's music rid me of that particular desire. After a quick stop at Wendy's and one last stretch of driving in Ohio, I was ready to be out of that damn car and out of the sun. I got both wishes about the same time as the sun was setting when we arrived at his house. He invited me to stay and have a fire on the back porch and I agreed, not quite ready to be in my own car.

We took turns feeding the fire and talking about almost nothing for a couple more hours. It was a nice way to unwind after all that time trapped in the car. Then I went home.

So that is my Chicago story. I probably left out funny or interesting details. I probably bored you with others. But I'm telling the story and you're listening. So there.

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