andrich invasion – chicago!

WOW.  What a trip.  It had a bit of almost everything:  travel drama, meeting famous athletes,  BYOB, etc…!  I hope that you enjoy reading about the trip as much as we had living it.  Kyle, Kelsey, and Clark know how important chronological order is to me, so, in the famous words of Jackie Gleason, “Away we go!”

Travel Drama #1.  Wednesday Night.

My original flight plan was Birmingham to Chicago.  Sounded easy and simple enough, but NO!  Flight was re-routed from Birmingham to Minneapolis (no extra charge for the stop in Minneapolis or the overnight stay in the Minneapolis airport, LOL!) to Chicago.  The overnight stay in Minneapolis was an “interesting” adventure, so I tried to make the best of it.  The Minneapolis airport at 1:29 A.M. was interesting and very, very deserted.  Anyway.  The next morning I was on a 5:15 A.M. flight to Chicago.  Early but okay with me.  The flight would have been even better if my baggage was with me but, again, NO!  Clark met me at the L and the baggage arrived on Thursday at about noon.  A nap and shower and I was ready to explore Chicago!

Chicago – Day 1 – Thursday

Clark suggested I try Dry Hop for lunch.  I took the L from Clark’s apartment to the Belmont stop on the Red Line.  After about a 15-minute walk, I was there.  A very, very good restaurant call by Clark.

In the early evening, I went to check our group into an apartment that Kelsey had booked for Kyle, Kari, Phillip (AKA Maxx Gruber), and I to stay in during the rest of the weekend.  In the famous words from the TV series Dragnet, “The names have been changed to protect the innocent.”  The location of this apartment was terrific, only a single block from the Belmont station.  Kelsey booked this apartment via an online service named very similarly to “ground B-N-B.”  I think the owner described this location as a condo, but it is NOT a condo.  It really was a large one-bedroom apartment.  Quirky and different but fine for the five of us.  I won’t mention anything about having to dodge the exposed pipes that were hanging below the ceiling…plus, the owner seemed surprised that three sets of keys were needed for our group.  Yikes!

Anyway, back to Clark.  Clark and I walked to dinner and then took the L to Target to do some light shopping.  Very, very important point here:  As Clark pointed out, Chicago is a very pedestrian town with lots of walking, which is okay because Chicago is very, very flat.  I did not see a hill the entire time I was there, but walking is walking.  Shopping at Target was very, very strategic because we had to carry all the items that we bought.  Plus, we then walked 4.8 miles back to Clark’s apartment.  Did I remember to mention that by now my FEET WERE KILLING ME?!

Later on Thursday night, Kyle, Kari, Kelsey, and Maxx arrived.  The humor started almost immediately!  Apparently Kari had packed her suitcase and then someone decided to unpack some of her delicates…Yikes again!  This someone explained how this unpacking occurred, which was interesting but still difficult to understand.

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boston – day 3

okay, day three, it is my last day in boston, so i need to make the most of it.  monday, do you think you can deliver?  good!  it sounds like you are up to the challenge.  the day’s not getting any longer, so let’s get started!

after a solid night of sleep, the city was ours for the taking.  as we strolled to the fields corner metro stop, we munched on homemade egg rolls that vinh’s mother had given us before we dashed out the door.  those things were crispy and warm and gone in no time.  the perfect snack to get our metabolisms going.

we grabbed our charlie tickets and stepped aboard the redline, northbound to alewife.  when i take public transportation in other cities, i always wonder if i look like a tourist.  was i blending in because i was being accompanied (well, more like chaperoned, let’s be honest) by a local?  um, probably not, especially since i was so chatty and upbeat for a monday.  something i noticed very quickly about bostonians is that while they are not necessarily rude, they aren’t really pleasant either, at least to strangers.  i found that my polite “excuse me’s” and “pardon me’s” went unnoticed and seemed to not be appreciated one bit.  this much is true of pedestrians and even more severe for drivers.  i’m convinced no one’s blinkers work and that lane stripes are more like guidelines than actual restrictions.  cars seem to have no regard for those on foot, and the reverse seems to be quite the same.  there was more than just once when i thought i might be nudged into an intersection and made to fear for my life.  as they say, you can take the girl out of the south, but you cannot take the southern hospitality out of the girl.  okay, so maybe it isn’t an actual saying, but right here from yours truly is a first-hand testimony.  tell me it counts for something!

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an american weekend

happy birthday, america!  and let’s give a quick thanks that this year’s anniversary was on a friday.  hellooooo, three-day weekend!

we started the party this year with the 45th annual running of the peachtree road race.  for most of us, this year was our fourth running, and it may have been the best one yet.  the weather was just gorgeous, and the spirit on the streets was high.  personally, i didn’t have the highest expectations for my race since injuring my back in april, but the energy from all the other runners was infectious.  i could do it!

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dc – day 2

saturday morning we lounged around in bed, trying to convince ourselves to get our day going.  we eventually freshened up and made the lovely walk to the eastern market area.  the weather was just GORGEOUS.  i could not get over how beautiful it was, and i counted myself quite lucky that we were able to spend the day outside in the sunshine, catching rays and just enjoying everything around us.

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