Last Friday, I drove the kids to Chicago for the weekend. I wanted to see the Giants play the Cubs. I've only been to Chicago once, and I think I was about Satchel's age at the time. It was kind of a big deal since it was the first time I drove them to a city I didn't really know, and we weren't going with anyone or meeting up with anyone.
Jiro, true to form, was excited about the trip and ready to do whatever. Satchel needed a little coaxing.
Our drive started off great. Both boys were chatty and I was able to get them talking about school, their teachers, and even girls! We decided to stop in Sikeston, Missouri for lunch. Warren and I took the boys to Lambert's Cafe on the way back from St. Louis four years ago, and it took Satchel about three years to shut up about it. There was a time that he wanted me to rent a pink Hummer limo and drive him and his friends there for his birthday.
So Satchel was excited to go, and it was funny to see him experience it as a 14 year old vs. a 10 year old. He started off by saying, "I'll have a hamburger." This was a joke since I usually get annoyed when we go somewhere new and (presumably) exciting and they both order hamburgers. But, I really didn't care what he ordered.
At one point he said, "This is the most red neck place ever." I replied, "You didn't used to think that." He then said, "I didn't know many stereotypes when I was younger."
Our food was fast and tasted fine. I really enjoyed the free fried okra. I forgot how expensive it was, but whatever. Too late. As we were packing up, Satchel said, "Everything's better when you are younger. Like garlic fries."
So mission accomplished--we never have to eat there again!
The rest of our drive was fairly smooth. I listened to baseball on the radio and the kids alternated between sleeping and staring at their personal screens. We arrived around 7:30pm.
We stayed in an AirBnB in Logan Square, and it ended up being a great spot. We were able to walk to lots of restaurants and whatnot and it was right by the train station. Jiro's first order of business was eating a Chicago style pizza. We located a Giordano's within a mile and a half and decided to order and then walk over. This helped us orient ourselves to the 'hood, and the pizza was ready when we arrived. It was everything we wanted it to be.
The only thing missing was beer.
We made it back to our abode and crashed.
Saturday was all about baseball and we were all excited. We walked over to the train station and with the help of a nice employee, we figured out what tickets to buy and where to get on and off and all that. The kids made fun of me because I didn't know which buttons to push on the ticket machine.
(Satchel also told me that a 44 year old woman should NOT be taking selfies.)
It was the monkeys' first time on a subway. Despite Satchel's expression in the photo below, they loved it.
When we switched trains, we met some Giants fans. On our second train, the closer we got to Wrigley, the more Cubs fans we met. The train was a sea of blue by the time we arrived.
We picked up our tickets at Will Call, snapped a few pics and then found our (amazing) seats.
For those of you not in the know--the Cubs have been having an incredible season. The best in 100 years. The Giants, three time World Series winners (2010, 2012, 2014) had a strong start to the season, but have been in a major slump since the All-Star break. Well, the Giants came through on Saturday and managed to win the game in a very exciting 3-2 squeaker. I couldn't have asked for a better game, and even the monkeys totally got into it.
I really wished I had bought tickets for Sunday, too, but I knew we should do other things while in town.
We took the train back to our apartment and had some much needed downtime.
Then we went out to a VEGAN dinner at the Chicago Diner and a movie.
On Sunday, our main objective was getting Satchel to Eggsperience for a Tommy Boy skillet. With the help of Uber, we accomplished that goal by 10am.
Next, we walked to Millennium Park to see Cloud Gate. The park was insanely crowded due to the holiday weekend and a jazz festival, so our pictures are less than inspired. It was cool to see it in person.
From there we sought refuge in the Chicago Athletic Association's game room. It features pool tables, foosball, shufflebaord, bocce and chess. All free! After smoking Jiro at foosball, I went for a beer and listened to baseball while they goofed off.
After an hour or so, we went down to the lobby to check out the famous Shake Shack.
Then Jiro's one request--to go to the top of the Willis Tower--needed fulfilling.
This proved to be a Hurculean effort--we were in line for about 4 hours. Thankfully I had the baseball game to keep me occupied and the boys managed to keep themselves entertained.
It was pretty cool once we made it up, but we all agreed it was NOT worth the waiting. We found out the hard way that you can get a City Pass ($98 each) and skip most of the waiting. The pass gets you into five attractions and is totally worth it if you plan to do them all.
From there we attempted to take an Uber to the Furious Spoon, a Ramen place by our apartment, but ended up at a different location. This was the part of the trip where Satchel decided his mother sucked so bad at directions that he had to take over. Fine by me! We did eventually get to dinner, and then back home. We crashed early, and then hit the road home at 8:30am.
Overall, it was a great trip. Maybe a bit on the quick side, but long enough for the monkeys to get a taste of the big city. We definitely made some memories and it was quite fun having the boys all to myself for a few days.