Day 1: Chicago – Dancing Dawgs

Friday. Woke up this morning at around 4am, this weeks sleep has been more irregular than usual. Our flight wasn’t till 4pm, so I ended up shopping online for 2 hours amassing two thousand dollars worth of merchandise in my cart. No shopstinance to stop me now.

Items included, but not limited to:

Ended up trimming this down to a couple items just under 200 bucks and then watched an episode of Mad Men before going back to sleep at 7am, to wake up again at 10am.

Since there is nothing worse than going to travel and coming back to a messy home, I decided to clean this morning before leaving. Put away the laundry, then went downstairs to tidy up the living room before making myself another microwave eggs, variant. Today toppings included sautéed spinach and mushrooms.

I followed that up by washing dishes, taking out the trash, and by the time I was done, I was ready to head up to meet Jen in South San Francisco. While we were taking separate flights, I coordinated similar timing so that we could head to the airport together on the way there and back. This flight was free for the most part, as I ended up using some of my United Miles that I had accrued when working for a certain Finnish company in 2007.

Once I arrived at Jen’s place through a furry of traffic on 101, we still had an hour before our flight. Ended up catching up on the happenings since our New York trip. We grabbed an Uber to the Airport. Jen had vouchers for Virgin Airlines, whereas all my points are on United, even though they give me grief almost every time I fly with them.

I routinely never travel on holidays as my parents live just 30 minutes away. Shock filled my veins as I caught eye how long security line was. Immediately gasped imagining myself missing my flight and having to call Jen at 2am Chicago time to pick my ass up from the airport. Right as I was reaching the front of security, they managed to divert my line through the TSA Pre line. Completely relieved I make it through in record time.

Being that I have the United Mileage Plus card, I can always board earlier than most passengers. Every time I manage to get the middle seat on a plane I hope for a miracle whereby I’m not squashed or have my personal space invaded. Sadly I end up seated between this incredibly muscular man whose arms couldn’t touch his sides, and a woman who boarded the plane talking louder than necessary on her cell phone and insisted on crossing her legs into my space. It was 4 hours of being elbowed by this gentleman and kicked by this woman. *sigh*

My plane only offered disgusting for pay dinner options without any complimentary snacks, so instead I held out thinking that once we got there, there might be some delightful thing to nosh on. Unfortunately, I hadn’t completely calculated the timing, so by the time we got there it was around 11pm local time.

Jen’s brother Jason picked us up from the airport, along with Jen’s two cousin-nieces that happened to be visiting as well this weekend. While I proceeded to starve, we waded through horrible summer construction traffic. We end up at Superdawg where I spy this incredible sign with one red eye blinking to its own beat:


Can I just say how much I adore everything about this sign? The singular blinking red eye, spelling “dog” with the attempted more ghetto moniker “dawg” and having the hotdogs dressed like Fred Flinstone and Betty Rubble. A fun pop culture melting pot, all wrapped up in a drive thru restaurant sign.

Jason explains that it’s one of the few drive-in places that still exists in the area. I’ve been to Sonic before in California, but I’ve never ended up eating in the car nor ordering via the window, so I can honestly claim that this was my first drive through experience. I murdered the namesake hotdog, which either was insanely delicious or I was delirious from hunger pains, and we headed back to Jen’s parents place in the burbs whereby I get the great honor of staying in her childhood room.

Plopped my bags down and immediately skip around soaking in all the trophies, newspaper clippings and photos of Jen as a wee little one. It’s almost too adorable to handle and I try to tone down the mental “squeeeeee” sound resonating in my thoughts. As she’s catching up with her family in the other room, I’m transported in time to a world in which a younger Jen existed with these belongings. It’s funny that my room at my parents house looked almost exactly like this one, with the SAT books, dried flowers, framed articles, and cutesy things. Life goals were much simpler then. I commit to memory each precious nugget of information.

Jen asks me what I want to do with our first day, and I fumble.

To be perfectly honest, unlike New York, I don’t know a whole lot about Chicago, other than it’s called the Windy City, it’s a the location a Broadway musical is about, and that they filmed Early Edition there. I haven’t yet figured it out. For the most part, I’m just ok with being away from home, I’d be fine with anything.

We decide to play it by ear.

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