Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Chicago, Chicago

Went to Chicago for some training last week. Reason #2 I put the cruise control in. It worked great just like on the Nashville trip. I thought about going to the Arch on the way... I've yet to go up in the Arch. I ended up leaving later than I had expected, though as I was getting the new car all titled and registered before I left. At any rate, I figured the view from the arch would be better when it's not winter. Leaves and all, you know. Green.

And so it occurred to me during one of my constant ETA recalculations as I got to 370 in St Charles that if I didn't stop anywhere I might get to my destination AT 5:00 pm. Before I thought I'd be hitting the suburbs at about 5:00, but it was looking more like about 4:15. I really didn't go IN to Chicago. The training was in Shaumburg, about 25 miles up the west side suburbs. I pulled in to the parking lot at the Marriott at 5:01. Traffic was fine.

Listened to a lot of Chicago on the way up there, but I switched to Helen Forrest when I hit the suburbs to keep me cool and calm through any traffic snarls. The trip was fairly uneventful. It was my first trip north of St. Louis on I-55, so that was new, and of course I'd never really gone up to the Chicago area anyway.

Shedds closes at 5:00 during the winter, and I didn't even go downtown. My training went from 9-5, and by the time I finished dinner and all it was 7:30 or 8:00. I went to the RAM (Big Horn Brewing Company) both nights. The food was good, the beer was good, and the service was good. So what the heck.

I went to the IKEA store up there for about an hour both nights. Rob-Bob and Kathy had said they had gone and that these stores are rather unique... and I'd heard a story on NPR the other morning about it as well. It was there, and I didn't have anything else in particular to do. I ended up replacing our drinking glasses and tumblers. Ours were big and heavy, and kind of weighed down the dishwaser rack.

Had to drive back Friday night. I left at 5:15, went through friday evening rush-hour in the Chicago suburbs. As I figured it added about 45 minutes to the drive back. I was home at 12:15 am and in bed by 12:30.

Over the weekend we washed curtains and blinds and I re-repaired the water heater. It developed a slow leak again, so I replaced the cheap plastic gaskets with rubber ones. However, it still has a slow leak. Either I need fatter gaskets, or new screw holes closer to them to put the pressure closer in to the gasket. I think the problem is the resin, though high temperature resin, still warps a bit over time. With between the distance of the screws from the middle (where the gaskets are) and the heat, over time I figure it's warped slightly.

Brian is leaving Iraq soon. We'll be seeing him before we know it. I won't say the time flew.... but it did go faster than we expected. I think being able to stay in touch like you can these days helped.

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