Our brief trip to Chicago was jam-packed with action, so I figured, hey, what better way to recount it than in the form of a fake Q&A session with an imaginary reader named Balki from Chicago?
So, how were your flights?
Surprisingly not bad! Thanks to your amazing advice , I was able to pack a well-organized --but not overstuffed-- carry-on bag which kept the kids entertained for nearly the duration of the flight. On both the outbound trip and the return trip, they charmed the flight crew (up to and including the pilot, who played Lo for a good five minutes after we landed in Chicago and we were waiting to de-plane). That is never a bad thing. Something else I learned is that my crippling fear of flying is mitigated by the need to care for and quiet two little people during said flight. It's exceedingly distracting, in the best way possible, such that when the pilot announces that he's making the final descent, you're all, "Already? OH THANK GOD. I didn’t even have time to play Imagine What Could Go Wrong!"
What did you do during your first day there?
We arrived Wednesday afternoon, and that night was my cousin's bachelorette party. (As most of you know, we were in Chicago for her wedding.) The evening involved shot glasses made of ice, margaritas, tequila, karaoke, interpretive chair dancing, a chair dancing injury (not mine!) and, as I vaguely recall, a Teletubby costume. It was, as you can imagine, fantastic. I love my cousins. And my (now married!) cousin's friends.
Was your second day just as fun? Did you scare any gay couples?
Not so much. And yes.
Thursday I was on my own with the kids in the city, and things were going along swimmingly, until T threw THE MOTHER OF ALL SHIT FITS after I committed the grievous error of throwing out his bowl of ice cream before he was finished.
Ordinarily, he'd probably have just asked me for more ice cream, but he was overtired, cranky, in an unfamiliar town, and thus generally insufferable. He therefore began shrieking. The super-awesome high-pitched kind with the purple face and rigid body. This is NEW TO ME, people. I'm not saying he's always an angel; he’s pitched a hissy fit here and there in the past, but this is only the second time he's pulled this level of tantrum...ing. I stood my ground and, since he made himself all but impossible to hold, I ended up DRAGGING HIM BODILY out the door of the ice cream shop (Bobtail, for those of you who may have seen the spectacle of a frazzled-looking woman grimly sitting cross-legged on the sidewalk with one hand on a baby's stroller and the other tightly wrapped around a raging, flailing, kicking toddler for a good ten minutes last Thursday). Oh, and also? We were in an exceedingly gay neighborhood, and these couples kept walking by, all happy and chatty and carefree, and then they’d spot (or rather, hear) the scene, and their faces would shift into expressions of ABJECT HORROR. Basically, I can pretty much assure you that any of them who had been considering adopting a child are now leaning towards a puppy. Or perhaps a houseplant. I COULD SEE THE FEAR IN THEIR EYES.
And that’s when the cop rolled up.
But don't worry! He was just patrolling the neighborhood, saw me sitting on the ground and decided to see if I needed any help. He was really friendly, and T became distracted by the police car. The tantrum ended as quickly as it had begun, but I live in fear of the next one, because that shit was crazy.
Would you like me to tell you the tantrums magically stop?
Yes! Do they?
You’re mean, imaginary reader named Balki.
I apologize. Um, how was the rest of your day?
Oh, the rest of the afternoon was great; the kids and I continued exploring the city, ducking into little shops and playgrounds and meeting new people. Chicago is such a friendly city, and I kept getting pleasantly surprised by just HOW kind everyone was. People came over to ask about my stroller, where I got T’s shirt, if I needed directions…it was hard at first, because I had to break myself of the habit of acting like a skittish baby deer about to bolt every time someone approached. Because the thing is, in New York, if someone’s coming over to you unbidden, it’s usually to: (A) ask you for money; (B) quietly steal your money; or (C) inform you that you are an unholy incarnation of the Antichrist and your iniquities shall be recalled on Judgment Day along with the rest of the sinners in a fiery pit in the bowels of the Fifth Circle of Hell.
(I quickly got used to the sweet Midwestern manners, though, and longed for them when I was back to reality this morning, witnessing what has to be the fourteenth Subway Seat War I’ve seen this calendar year. I’ll bet you that type of thing doesn’t happen in Chicago.)
Thursday NIGHT was even more fun, since I finally, FINALLY got to meet Kristabella!
I’ve been emailing with her and reading her blog for a long time now, so I knew I adored her, but it was so nice to actually sit down with her, and learn that she’s even more hilarious and fun in person, AND forgave me my tardy arrival to dinner. In fact, we got along so well, I made her take me to an all-night convenience store afterward because I’d forgotten to bring a razor to Chicago and my various planned skirt-centric outfits necessitated me acquiring one. I ask you, would you do that to someone you don’t instantly love? I think not.
That IS heartwarming. It makes me want to do the Dance of Joy. What else did you do while you were in town?
Well, J arrived late Thursday from his business trip in Vegas, and things became markedly easier, since I had an extra pair of hands. (I’d flown into town-- and stayed with—my mom for the first few days, but she was involved in a lot of the wedding weekend preparations.) We hung out at Navy Pier on Friday...
Piece on Saturday night...
...and of course, attended the wedding on Sunday.
How lovely! One last question—did you perchance spot a woman with a turtle-shaped knapsack, a snake tattoo on her back, and a haircut that is ALL BUT IDENTICAL to that of Kate Gosselin’s while you were in Chicago?
Yes. Yes, I did.
While we're on the subject of Q&A's, I have a REAL one up in the newest post on my other blog, with brilliant potty-training advice from an actual expert and some my commentors!