Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I Can Tell That I'm In Chicago 'Cause It's Raining

As I understand it, the weather in Chicago was hot and sunny over the holiday weekend.

Well, as we were elsewhere, I have no way of knowing.

Still, I imagine that it must have been every bit as hot as the Weather Channel made out, because we returned to the apartment to discover that the air conditioning had actually been switched on!

As you may have already learned, the city of Chicago has this little ordinance thingy that requires landlords to supply heat to residential units until June 1 of each year. Well, it is not always possible to switch a building's system back and forth from heating to cooling. In our building, that's meant that they've been running the system in neutral for a while. While the fan has made things a bit more comfortable for those of us on the North side of the building, those poor schmucks over on the South side must have been roasting.

All I can figure is that there must have been some sort of uprising over on that side of the building because the AC had been switched on at least a day earlier than mandated by the city.

Of course, now we'll get a cold snap.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Homestand


We've been back home this holiday weekend and have actually been able to spend a little time with friends and family.

And, this afternoon, SoBoy grilled up some veggie brats and a couple of ears of corn. We sat on the screened-in porch for most of the afternoon.

If it weren't for the fact that we actually have tix for Spamalot, there is no way that I'd be heading back to Chicago tomorrow.

Swear to God.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Good Thing It's Gonna Rain Tomorrow

'Cause....

....today has been a lovely day.

Temps hovered in the low 70s and it didn't rain.

This afternoon, there was a big funeral at the cathedral across the way and I stood on our balcony to listen to the pipes and drums playing "The Wearin' O' The Green".

SoBoy and I both felt like going out for dinner so we walked to a restaurant in the neighborhood and found an outdoor table. Afterwards, we walked up Michigan, crossed at Oak and strolled past Hermes and Barney's and so forth until we got to Rush. We found a table at a bar and chatted for a while before strolling back to the apartment.

Today I realised that I am actually pretty bummed about returning home in a few weeks.

And I'm pretty bummed about feeling bummed.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

About Shoes

As you might have surmised, shoes have assumed a central role in this adventure.

This is not because I am a shoe-freak.

I am, of course, but that isn't the reason.

Fact is, I have chronic foot-related issues and I seem to need a different pair of shoes for every single day of the week.

It's annoying and it really does make packing a bitch and a half!

I am now past the halfway point of this trip and will be returning home shortly. Realizing this has put me in something of a pout. Much as I long to return to my own home, I'll hate leaving SoBoy up here to wrap stuff up. And I was thinking about how difficult it will be to give up the convenience of being able to walk everywhere and not have to rely on a car or public transport.

That is, until last night.

After a day at the Art Institute, shopping in the Loop and walking umpteen blocks after dinner at South Water Street, I limped back to the apartment and comforted my poor tootsies with the promise that, once I do return home from Chicago, I will spend as much time as possible barefoot!


Thursday, May 11, 2006

More About Shopping

I've been seeing a lot of interior furnishings in brown & blue, brown & turquoise or brown & leaf green and in settings that range from traditional to contemporary to mid-20th Century retro to global bazaar.

One of my greatest indulgences is buying household linens - particularly when I travel. It's something that I've done since I was about 12 years old , when I purchased some eyelet dresser scarves in Ontario.

At 15, I acquired a beautiful set of table linens in Switzerland; at 18, pillowcases with crocheted trim that I found in West Virginia; at 21, an elaborately embroidered tablecloth from London.

The great pleasure of such souvenirs is that each use of them evokes fond memories.

The purchase this time? A set of 600 ct cotton Sateen sheets in a nice light blue and pillowcases in dark chocolate brown which will be lovely in our bedroom at home.

As an added bonus, we get to use them while we are still in Chicago, which allows us to avoid sleeping on the abrasive polyester sheets that were furnished with the apartment and which feel something like a cross between sandpaper and velcro!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"Do Not Disturb"

One of the biggest problems that I encounter when I accompany SoBoy on his business trips involves dealing with Housekeeping staffs.

Hotels are the worst, of course - especially the ones that cater to business travelers. They assume that all of their units are and ought to be vacated at precisely the same moment each morning and only returned to at a set time in the early evening.

Now, for those of us who are in town for pleasure instead of business, this presents a problem.

I am NOT an early riser, by any means. Housekeeping at hotels usually start badgering me around 9:30.

Evidently, that "Do Not Disturb" sign means exactly nothing.

It's usually been pretty easy for me to find out from the hotel's front desk what approximate time the my room is scheduled to be done up. Then, I take myself to lunch or something and can return to the room. This is not always the case, however.

The Fontainebleau was the worst. The head housekeeper got very vexed with me every day for a week because I was in the room and not passed out beside the damn swimming pool. She would telephone the room and demand to know what time I would be out of the room so her staff could do it up.

In Orlando, the staff at the Fairmont refused to leave me alone when I told them that I had injured my back and just wanted to take my medication and sleep. No I really didn't need fresh towels or turn-down service. They kept calling anyway and offered/threatened to call a doctor to check on me.

When we first arrived in Chicago, we checked into a suites hotel which offers one all of the comforts of home - provided, of course, that one leaves the unit at the same time as everyone else and doesn't come back til after 6:00 pm. When I asked the desk what time the room was scheduled to be done, they looked at me like I was a lunatic! Evidently (and it took me a week to find this out!), their Housekeeping has anywhere from 9 am to 6 pm to do the rooms. For that entire first week, I had to rise early and vacate the room, wandering aimlessly around Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom's for hours and just hoping that they'd finished by the time I returned. Some days they did and some they did not.

You'd think that switching from a hotel to a corporate apartment would take care of this particular problem. But the agency that leased us the furnished apartment includes Housekeeping as part of the deal. Fortunately, it's only every other week and not daily. But I had the hardest time finding out what DAY they were scheduled for - let alone the TIME! I called the corporate office and the local liaison and they all seemed to have never had anyone ever ask the question before.

SoBoy figured out the scheduled DAY when he came home from work and found that someone had vacuumed around the pile of clothes he'd left on the floor when he left for work. As I was out of town, it took another week of phone tag to find out that the service was scheduled for some time "after noon".

Tomorrow is our scheduled day and the weather looks as if it is going to be perfectly vile. Nevertheless, I shall have to rise early and hit the shops, wandering aimlessly around Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom's until I feel like risking returning home to see if the apartment has been done yet.

I wonder: How many of the people that travel in flocks, up and down Michigan Avenue, are in the same boat as I am? Did they come to the city to shop? Or did they come with a spouse or family member, hoping to have a few days of R&R - only to find themselves turned out onto the streets to shop until Housekeeping has done up their room?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Trapped In Dial-Up HELL!!!!

I haven't been blogging much because I am stuck with dial-up.

(And now I see that half of my posts seem to have fallen down a rabbit hole. Damn!)

Anyway, I'm so used to our wireless setup at home that I hadn't realised that my laptop lacked ethernet capability.

SoBoy picked up an adaptor last weekend but its installation traumatised my poor lappie and the thing went comatose.

I ended up sulking all week til he could restore my laptop to its former self.

Of course, that means that I am still stuck with dial-up.

Which SUX!!!!!

But, at least I can use my laptop again!

Sunday Brunch

After an extensive Sunday promenade around Chicago's Gold Coast, SoBoy and I decided to drop in at Fornetto Mei for Brunch.

The restaurant is attached to the historic Whitehall Hotel, which has hosted the likes of the Beatles, Stones....and Katherine Hepburn (presumably NOT at the same time).

The mushroom/spinach/cream cheese omelettes are yummy and the people-watching from the solarium is first-rate - especially when there's a wedding going on in the neighborhood!

Solarium doubles as wine bar and pizza oven (see photos bottom and next to bottom on linked page), which is pretty and smells good but is likely hot as blazes in the summer!



Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Partly Cloudy With A Chance Of Rain

High in the mid-seventies!

Today has actually been a pretty nice day, weatherwise.

The temperature actually made it past 70 degrees and it wasn't particularly windy.

There were patches of blue in the sky and the rain has held off.

Out on the Lake, I could see sailboats.

And, I ventured out today without a jacket - for the first time!

But....best not to get used to THAT!