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reading tiger

More Notes from the Road

1. The Field Museum of Natural History was bunches of fun. I noticed that dinosaurs are smaller than they used to be, though. Also, I am over geeks who are smug in their superiority simply because they believe in evolution.

2. My children travel beautifully, and our plane trips were easy and uneventful. Some children, of course, do not travel nearly as well. We had one of those kids on our outbound flight. The grumpy guy sitting directly behind me bellowed about 3/4 of the way to Detroit, "Throw the kid overboard!" and then chuckled to himself with satisfaction. My response, "I have a different candidate..." was probably too soft for him to hear. Pity.

3. He also complained that the flight (Spirit) "was one of the worst I've ever had." Um, we took off on time and landed on time and there were no particular hassles that I was aware of.

4. I am not quite sure why everyone praises Virgin Airlines (return flight) so highly. It was fine, don't get me wrong, but what puts it at that extra level? (If it's, say, wide seats, I would'n't've noticed b/c I had two small children next to me at all times, which means extra space for my wide ass regardless.) Well, they make a mean PB&J, I'll grant them that.

5. The Ramada Inn in Hyde Park, Chicago, needs a serious makeover. And why aren't there any other accommodations in the area yet?

6. The Staybridge Suites in Okemos are very nice, but they advertise that they are in "city center." Um.

7. My grandparents got to meet the girls for the first time on Monday. They are well into their 80s and unable to travel and my aunt had warned me to expect the worst, so I was surprised at how well they are doing, really. In particular, my grandmother isn't any more dotty than she was through my entire childhood, if you know what I mean. My step-grandfather Bob drifts in and out of lucidity but he was delighted to spend time with my kids and I was reminded that he really is the kinder, gentler version of my long-deceased granddad (who was sweet in his own way, don't get me wrong). We went out to dinner at a very old-school family-style Italian restaurant down the road and everyone fawned over the girls and their manners (!), including another senior citizen who has his own three-year-old granddaughter.

8. That entire neighborhood of Chicago (well, Oak Lawn) was another experience in nostalgic disconcertion. I know how to get to my grandparents' house even though I've never driven and I haven't been in almost 20 years. "Yep, here's the quarry." "This overpass used to be a Howard Johnson's." The entire strip of Cicero seems to have changed over (except for White Castle and Dunkin' Donuts), but I still knew exactly where we were going.

I also knew exactly when we crossed the city line into Chicago. Only one thing changed...

9. I think I lost my retainer in East Lansing.

10. More on Hyde Park later, but it's basically more of the same, heavier on the nostalgia and lower on the disconcertion. I fake-weeped at the sight of Cafe Florian's "thanks for 20 years!" sign. That's where I first met Bill Brent in the flesh -- he was in town for BEA! We ate cake together! Boo hoo hoo! Kind of cathartic, I confess.


You were in Oak Lawn? On Cicero? Holy crap! I live across the street from Christ Hospital!
Oh, wow! I was at 106th and Cicero, just around the corner from the school. Had I known!
As for hotels, there was a long-running attempt to convert the Doctors' Hospital building (on Stony Island) into a hotel, which was blocked largely by NIMBY worried about parking. They eventually voted the area dry, which makes a hotel there financially infeasible.

Instead we're getting a TIF-funded hotel on 53rd (where Harper Court used to be).

My parents used to stay at the Wooded Isle Suites, which are more like a short-term apartment than a hotel.

innerdoggie keeps talking about joining the Quad Club so we can have guests stay there. I admit that the idea of saying "I'll be taking supper at the club this evening" appeals a bit, even if the actual clubbing and eating does not.

It was great to see you and iamnotandrei and finally meet Simone and April: sorry black_pearl_10 had to work.
Wooded Isle Suites, IIRC, was booked (it certainly is now). I poked a bit at some local-ish B&Bs but they were either too expensive or didn't fit our kid configuration.