Last weekend, I had an unprecedented experience in the long term parking lot. The shuttle bus picked up everyone but me. I don’t know how the driver missed me, I drove right past him on my way in. While I watched him leave the lot I called the main number (I just happen to have it stored as a contact). They were very apologetic and assured me that the next shuttle would pick me up.
Thankfully I’d been smart enough to leave my house at 5:30 am for my 8:00 flight so while I was slightly annoyed at being left behind, there was no danger of missing my flight. I shivered and waited for what seemed like a lot longer than 15 minutes. Finally I saw the lights of the shuttle bus. I watched them bob and weave from one aisle to the next and for whatever reason, my row was passed by, not once – but twice.
I thought for sure the driver was going to turn right and pick me up but he kept going straight. What baffles me even more than the fact that I’d given the dispatcher my location was the fact that it was dark and I was wearing an ivory cape and he still didn’t see me.
For the first time in my life I was glad that I have a loud and rather booming voice. I’m sure I looked like a crazy woman running from the middle of the row toward the shuttle. Trying to wave your arms and shouting “STOP” at the top of your lungs isn’t as easy as it sounds when you’re rolling a giant purple suitcase and the straps of your laptop case and purse keep sliding down your arm.
Surprisingly, he heard me even though my starting point was the middle of a very long row of cars. My fears about looking like a crazy woman were somewhat confirmed by the looks on the other passengers faces; either that or they were just displeased about having their exit to the airport interrupted.
The rest of my trip was smooth and even though my boarding position for my Southwest flight was B15, I still scored an aisle seat in the second row. My bag was the first one on the carousel (that never happens) and I got a cab driver who didn’t need directions to Katie’s apartment.
I should probably mention that the purpose of my trip to Chicago was two-fold. It worked well for my client to meet on a Monday which created an opportunity for me to mix business and pleasure and spend the weekend with my daughter.
I love the fact that my kids and I really like each other and enjoy doing things together. Sometimes it’s hard because we live so far away from each other, but in other ways it makes our visits even more special.
I was anxious to see Katie’s new apartment and to finally meet her roommate Dena. The cabbie found her apartment with no problem. I’d been warned that the neighborhood isn’t “the best,” but I was very pleasantly surprised and thought her building was quite cute and welcoming.
There’s no buzzer, so I texted my arrival and Katie flew out of the front door and into my arms for a big hug.
We spent the morning lounging and deciding what to do. After much discussion and no decisions, we headed to Walgreen’s to buy umbrellas and a day pass for the train. Katie took me to one of her hangouts, a fun restaurant called The Blue Line. Believe it or not I didn’t take a picture of it. I was hungry, it was raining, and I forgot my camera.
After breakfast we spent the afternoon dodging raindrops, running for trains, and laughing about the things you can learn when you eavesdrop. It was fun to get a feel for Katie’s surroundings and simple things like how she gets to work. Now when she calls me and says she’s almost at the train or bus stop, I can picture it in my mind.
Katie had an alumni event to attend on Saturday evening. So I hung out with Dena and prepped for my Monday meeting until it was time to call a cab to meet up with Katie and her friends.
The cab ride downtown was the polar opposite of my ride from the airport. I don’t think the driver took a single breath. By the time he dropped me off at the club, I knew his entire life story as well as his sister’s, and at least one member of his church.
I arrived at just the perfect time, they had just gotten a table for the group. It tickled me to no end that every time someone new arrived Katie put her arm around me and announced, “This is my mom!”
After four years of hearing about Katie’s adventures, friends and coworkers I was finally able to put names with faces. It was a fun night and we kept each other out until 2:30 in the morning. I can’t remember the last time went out, let alone stayed up that late.
Sunday was a lazy day. We slept in and then watched the movie Rent, which is one of our favorites. Katie’s voice was so hoarse from introducing me over the noise at the bar that she couldn’t sing along. After lunch we braved the rain, took in a movie, and picked up some groceries.
Last year I started watching The Walking Dead with Christian, so it worked out perfectly that Katie and Dena wanted to watch the premiere and have dinner at the Blue Line.
In addition to the regular fare, such as nachos, burgers, and beer they also created and served Halloween themed shots and drinks – which went well with the theme of the night. It was awesome to finally have the chance to treat my daughter and her roommate to dinner.
We called it an early night and it was lights out around 10.
The rain and cloudy skies cleared overnight and I hugged my daughter tight and tried not to cry while we said goodbye. I couldn’t help but take the sun peeking through the clouds as a sign that the meeting with my client would go well.
It was a whirlwind and completely wonderful weekend!