It is a lovely morning here in the (not so) Windy City (and why they call it that I've yet to figure out). Slightly overcast but the sun is doing it's best. I've got my coffee (which I'm drinking from a large mug emblazoned with the words "Chicago- The Windy City". And someone really needs to come up with another moniker). The Spouse is sleeping after waking up at 7:30 and realizing it was only 5:30 our time, which is when he usually gets up and hello? he's on vacation. The Child is working a word puzzle and drinking orange juice. Life is good.
The flight yesterday was uneventful, except for 2 things: a) Southwest, while being a very perky sort of airline in general, does this open-seating, group boarding thing. Which means that by the time the C group is called all that's left is middle seats. It also means that if you are in the C group and a family of 3 you will NOT be sitting together. Fortunately, The Child and I were able to snag the last 2 seats together, which was important because she was a little nervous during take-off. Like squeezing-Mommy's-hand-until-Mommy's-wedding-ring-cut-into-the-flesh-nervous. But that pretty much only lasted until she realized that we were off the ground and started oohing and ahhing at all the little stuff below her. (She's only flown one other time and was 4 so she really doesn't remember the experience). And there's something nice about having to be brave for someone else. I was very grown-up about what is to me the most terrifying part of flying. The gin and tonic helped, too. And 2) there were some turbulence. The sort that don't bother seasoned fliers but make someone like me start saying "Hail Mary's" under my breath.
So anyhoo. When the pilot welcomed us to Chicago both The Child and I got impossibly giggly. We hiked to baggage claim, where Jon was going to be meeting us. "How will we know him?" The Child asked? I told her I'd seen pictures and he told me what he'd be wearing plus I had his number in my cell. But as we came down the escalator I saw him right away. And we started waving like little girls and then there were big fat hugs. Anyone watching us would have thought it was a long-lost family reunion not a first time meeting between strangers.
But we're not strangers. And it didn't feel like we were. We have our in-jokes, the little things we already know about each other. Not an awkward moment all evening. Which was pretty much how I'd expected it would be with Uncle Buck but still, it was nice to have that confirmed.
We took the El back to his place, which is, if you don't know, right downtown. He lives on the 49th floor. Hello Chicago! He pointed out the Iwanski's building. He's right above the Chicago River. The evening was mild, the streets far more quiet than I would have expected (because everyone was at the Taste).
We got settled into Jon's superfantastically retro flat and then walked a couple blocks to "the brown gravy place", a Thai joint, for a very nice supper. Then it was back to his building and up to the roof for a 360 degree aerial tour of downtown Chicago. (Really pretty little town they've got here, btw). Then we went back to the flat and had some wine while Jon gave us a little piano recital. Golly, did we feel sophisticated.
After making sure we had everything we needed (note: Hospitality is his middle name), he slogged off to Jack and Steve's, where he's staying this week. (God love him - I'm already thinking that the packet of "Space Noodles" that I brought him (pasta shaped like the Space Needle) is not going to be an adequate host gift).
My little family gathered on the couch-now-folded-out-to-a-very-comfy-bed, looked out the window and kept pinching ourselves. The Child turned on the Food Network and just about plotzed because Gia's travel show came on and she was in...wait for it....Chicago. "That's so appropriate!" The Child exclaimed. Plus, we got some good ideas for eateries.
We all slept the sleep of the righteous and are now bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to roll. The Spouse and Child are going to do a little sight-seeing while Jon and I forage for groceries and go out to Jack and Steve's to make a dinner party for 10. But first I'll have another cuppa. And a bagel.