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Thursday, October 29, 2009

...There's a Chicken In the Car

Chicago Day 2
Part I: Montrose Harbor

I woke up quite a few times the first night, getting used to the noises of the boat and the docks, but the rocking action, it works on babies but it turns out you never outgrow it. You just get too big for a regular cradle and need a sailboat.

A few years back, I couch surfed in New York with another old friend from high school. I was there for three days and two nights, and it rained the whole time. I got back to the apartment one night, and Karl asked me if I wanted to take a shower, and I said, 'Dude, I just took one for four blocks from the subway.'

So it was pissy when I left KC, and it was pissy when I landed in Chicago, but looking out the boat window the next morning, my first thought was, This again?

On my arrival, of course I hadn't packed an umbrella, so I stopped in a 7-11 (QuikTrip hasn't, as far as I can tell, figured out how to get into Chicago, more's the pity. On the other hand, I didn't see a Wal-Mart the whole time I was there, and while economics forces me to shop there, I sometimes fantasize about a world without Wal-Marts and downtown Chicago turns out to be exactly that). 7-11 had umbrellas for four bucks, and I bought one. A four dollar umbrella (I think I've gotten off as cheap as two dollars) works in KC, where you only walk from the car to the door or back to the car. I know, you can walk longer distances in KC, but if it's raining, you'll probably find an excuse.

Being a slow learner, I bought a second umbrella from another 7-11 when the winds of Chicago shredded the first one in less than three hours.

Part II: Field Museum & Stuff

I was told by a Wise Sea Captain to try Sears for an umbrella made for actual weather, and $28 later I had a monster auto-open, auto-close deal that might just survive a low grade hurricane.

I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of the yacht club. I knew it was there, that there were showers, but being a boat virgin in pretty much every way, I had no mental image of the CCYA. It has everything a freeloader sleeping on a friend's boat could want: showers, toilets that are actually hooked up to a sewer system, climate control, high speed internet, etc. I didn't learn about the computer until about five days in, having walked obliviously past it every day. I furtively checked my email for any emergencies, found only one such item and answered it, and then decided I was on vacation from the computer, too.

Anyway, headed with my Lovely Hostess and a couple of her honyocks to the Field Museum, a joint I haven't hit despite this being my fourth trip to Chicago. There's just no excuse for that.

On the way, the Wise Sea Captain showed me the set for the Adam's Family musical that's about to open. But I can't blog the pics because I found out I shouldn't have even taken them. Looks AWESOME. Maybe once the show opens I can share the shot of me with Cousin It and some of the other shots I took without realizing I was poaching.

On the way to the museum, downed a couple of 79¢ cheeseburgers from a BP AM/PM convenience store. Cheap meals are one thing that made this adventure possible. Lamb Shank at Chief O'Neill's, it isn't, but it was calories, and I assume since it didn't kill me it was edible.

The Field Museum is beyond any expectations I could form. I saw Sue a few years back at Union Station, but the Field Museum has her family reunion on display. And that's just a small part of the museum.

I didn't even get to take pictures of the pirate exhibit, since it's not permanent cameras were verboten. The Whydah display, an honest to goodness slave ship turned pirate ship that sank off Cape Cod almost 300 years ago. Amazing stuff, worth the price of admission all by itself even if I couldn't shoot a bunch of noisy, blurry photos with my craptastic pocket camera.

The Field Museum is too big for one afternoon. For one day. We were there almost four hours, I think, and we did maybe a third of it. And I was, honestly, museumed out at that point.

Saw one of my ancestors, the giant ground sloth.

So as the song goes, we went back to the restaurant and had another Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat. Well, actually we did some grocery shopping and my Lovely Hostess made a great meal of chicken, pasta and baby bellas that couldn't be beat. We were supposed to go to the Green Mill next, but I was too tired and debating about whether to admit it.

'I can get you to the Green Mill, good directions to there and back to the boat, but I don't think I can go,' she said.

I allowed that I didn't think I could go, too. At least not go and have any fun. We stopped off at a local tavern for a drink with the Wise Sea Captain and I went back to the boat and went to sleep and didn't get up until the next day. Noon, the next day, as a matter of fact. Not sure what time I actually went to bed since the only clock on the boat was my cell phone, but I didn't sleep so much as hibernate, accustomed to the boats sounds and completely exhausted.

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