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Such a Lovely Day for a Boat Ride

Posted Aug 16 2009 12:00am

So my family came up for a visit last weekend (week #3 of out-of-towners).  My parents, brother, and aunt all drove together to Arlington Heights to meet up with me after work on Friday.  We went out to eat that night at the Grand Station.  (Mom’s not a person to stray from her comfort zone, so I chose an American Grille where I’ve taken her before)  It was quite delicious.  Of course I had the cedar plank salmon- which I’ve yet to find a place where I didn’t like it… yum.  I was surprised (and annoyed because I had no idea where to park) when we ran into a huge street festival downtown AH.  I guess it was being thrown in preparation for the Arlington Million which was the next day.  If I had known more about it, I might have found a way to work some of the festivities into the agenda for the weekend.  When it comes to people visiting and wanting to sight-see, I am a serious planner.  And straying from the list of things to do is really not an option I’m comfortable with.

Afterwards, we visited at my apartment for awhile.  I think they were all impressed with my new little home.  As small as it is, I put alot of time to get it together into a cute little space for myself.  They didn’t stay too long- we had a very late dinner and had to be up early in the morning.  We went back and forth about how we were going to be getting into the city.  I was pushing driving and they were pushing for public transportation.  I don’t hate public transportation, but they didn’t realize it doesn’t really drop us off directly in front of our destination.  And with five people, it makes more sense to just pay for parking.  Plus, the weekend metra schedule is pretty scarce in choice of times, so we would have ended up taking the freakin’ 7:30 train.  It is the weekend.  Hell no.  We drove down on Saturday.  View from the Chicago River

First stop was the Wendella boat tour.  It was pretty overcast, which made me nervous.  The tour said it goes rain or shine, but I really had no desire to try to look up at buildings and get a face full of rain.  Luckily, it only sprinkled on us for about five minutes. Wendella Boat Tour

I loved the tour.  So worth it.  Especially since I had scored the tickets on Groupon for half off.  I really am a big Chicago nerd.  And now I am a little more well-informed about some of the buildings along the Chicago River.  And Chicago in general.  Like now I know where Oprah lives…

Shedd aquarium was a spot we made sure to have plenty of time for.  My brother and I were really excited about it.  Or at least I was until we got inside.  One of the bigger Chicago attractions on a nice Saturday afternoon?  Packed.  Hot.  Loud.  And I could barely walk five feet without having a kid run into me.  It was just a little overwhelming.  It would have been twice as much fun to go when it would be less Long Line crowded, say, in the middle of the week.  We did watch the show- which included hawks they were training and three crazy dolphins.  By the time the show was over, we were done.  Loooonnnggg day of walking around and seeing as much as we could get in. 

So what do people always want to do when they come to visit me?  Get deep dish.  So I broke out the Rosati’s coupons and we ordered on the way home.  Because we were having pizza, I absolutely INSISTED on getting some Goose Island 312 to have with it.  I figured my brother and dad would like it.  Marty likes trying the new beers, and dad will try it if it’s a lighter beer.  312 was perfect.  There’s still one bottle left in my refrigerator.  I’m waiting for the best possible time to break it out and enjoy… Yummmm….. Goose Island   I totally love having an excuse (such as houseguests) to consume yummy unhealthiness.  We went to Walker Brothers the next day.  It’s not necessary to go into detail of how good it was.  Breakfast is my favorite meal and it’s a freakin’ pancakes house.  Heaven…  I think the fam had a good time.  I was glad they all finally came up.  My aunt said the last time she was in Chicago, they were just completing Sears Tower.  So she had a lot of catching up to do.  And my dad hasn’t been up since last October.  My mom came up twice since then- once to ride up with my aunt for a weekend and once to babysit me during my wisdom teeth surgery.  Even though she’s been up quite a few times in the last year, she’s the one who’s the most nervous still about aspects of a big city.  I often heard, “I wouldn’t walk here at night if I were you” or “You wouldn’t go here alone, would you?”.  Yes mom.  I would and I have.  But I’m probably not going to tell you that.  There’s not any point in making her worry more than she already does.  She already has enough to keep her from sleeping at night.  Why add another?

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