A couple of pictures from one of my early morning runs in Chicago out to the end of Navy Pier. I’ll just say that I like the pier much more in the early morning when no one is out there than during the rest of the day when it is overrun with hordes of people. It very much feels like being at the ocean, and I think that’s a big part of why I liked being in that part of Chicago: it is an interesting blend of midwestern US, big city, and being on the ocean.
I made it home last night with little trouble, although it was close at one point.
We wrapped up the conference yesterday at mid-day. My last presentation went well, and then we bailed, heading for the airport early figuring the sooner we got to O’Hare, the better. We got stuck in traffic just at the entrance to the airport; there was something going on at one of the terminals — we never did hear what, although at one point we heard something on the shuttle driver’s radio that they had the terminal completely closed. After sitting literally motionless for close to an hour in traffic — and thinking how glad we were we had decided to leave early, and watching people walk with their luggage past the stopped traffic as they took matters into their own hands, presumably with the intent of making flights — traffic began creeping forward and eventually loosened up so that we made it to the right terminal in plenty of time. Got a bite to eat, took a nap, and boarded for SLC pretty close to on-time… only to get stuck in pretty much another traffic jam. At one point the pilot indicated we were number 20 in line for take off (weather off to one side of the airport had the place down to a single runway for departures).
We ended up leaving Chicago more than an hour after our scheduled departure, and were faced with a 100+ knot headwind (more info from our ever-helpful crew on the flight deck). I figured that our already relatively tight connection in SLC was history… and it nearly was. We came in on the far end of one concourse and had to get to the other end of another; by the time we got to our gate, they had already closed the door. We were pleasantly surprised, though, that they called down to the ramp, held the plane and sent us dashing through… and somehow they got our bags on board.
Home again, safe and sound. And it feels good to be back. Deb, Li, and Ian were glad to see me. Li was pretty excited to see me this morning when she woke up, and it was fun to get to snuggle a little with her this morning. I went in to work for a couple hours to take care of a couple loose ends, and now I’m off for a couple days of vacation (not counting the weekend) to try to refuel and reconnect with life. I came home to something unexpected: we bought a white 1986 manual Subaru GL wagon for Ian to use. One more step as he grows up; this one feels bigger than most.
I’ve got a couple pix on my phone that I will pull down and post from one of my early morning runs out to Navy Pier.
I head for home later today, and with any luck will be back in my own bed this evening…
It’s been a really full week here in Chicago. Three of the four presentations we’re involved in are now past — I Â have one left that I am leading today — and one of them went well, the others not so much. That’s fodder for another post (or not). At any rate, it has been a good week here in Chicago:
- We’ve been able to connect (or re-connect in some cases) with people we work with and rarely get to talk to face-to-face
- A couple of very interesting sessions at the conference itself
- Great weather, good food (had good deep-dish pizza at Gino’s East on Superior on Tuesday, and a pretty good filet at Shula’s steakhouse last night), and a pretty decent conference facility
Now if we can just make it out of O’Hare on time this afternoon. I was amazed at how quickly we got out of O’Hare when we came in Sunday evening (under 15 minutes between when we stepped off the plane and when the shuttle pulled away from the curb), but I think this will likely be a different story.
I am missing Deb, Li, and Ian. This post from Jeffrey Zeldman’s blog yesterday hit home; I just wonder if the postscript is a noun, a verb, or just an exclamation…
OK, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far. As I alluded to earlier, I really wasn’t looking forward to coming to Chicago. (And in truth, I’ve not really spent much time here in the past aside from a week here several years ago for a coaching license course and being routed through O’Hare on the odd flight to/from the East coast.)
Weather has been quite pleasant, I’m staying about 10 minutes walk from Navy Pier on the lake — which is actually really pretty (and deserted!) early in the morning as the sun is coming up and shining on the city, and we found really good Thai this evening for dinner at Dao Thai on Ohio. Great food, very good prices. Ice cream on the walk home.
Long weekend at the end of a long week…
I’m headed to Chicago later today with several members of my team from work for an annual federal conference. We’ve got several sessions we are presenting and/or participating in, including one where we are demonstrating a new tool we are building. I commented to a friend Friday evening that if this — the upcoming demo — were a home show, we were still at the stage where we were pouring footings for a couple of the new rooms. I’ve spent most of the past couple days framing in the walls, hanging sheetrock (and in some cases, hanging siding directly on the studs), etc. There are a couple of places where we’ve just hung posters over holes in walls, and some of the electrical outlets and light switches don’t actually have wiring running to them. But having said that, we’ve gotten quite a bit done.
I can’t say I’m really all that excited about going to Chicago, particularly at this time of year. I spent a week there several years ago for a soccer coaching license course and it was miserably hot and humid. I’ve also gotten stuck in the airport and/or missed connections there most of the times we’ve been force to fly through O’Hare… we’ll see.
Some random bits from life:
- Deb, Ian, and Li drove over to Boise to see Deb’s family for a couple days, which made for a (wierdly) quiet weekend. I gotten lots done, but miss them desperately and having them gone for the past couple of days will make the trip to Chicago seem even longer.
- Li is going through one of those huge leaps on the language front. Just within the past couple weeks, her language patterns are changing: stringing more and more words together, and everything is so much clearer. Counting to 20, naming body parts (“arm pits”, “eye brows”, “forehead”), helping with everything (“Li help Daddy make coffee?” — I think if she could reach stuff, she’d probably do it herself although she still a little leery of the coffee grinder at first).
- Earlier this week, Ian and I went to Pocatello for a concert. The headliner was Kutless. Incredible show; we’ve long been fans of their music and their ministry and to see them live was very cool. It was a welcome change of pace from lots of work. If you get a chance to see them, by all means do. At the concert, one of the promoters mentioned that another band we love — the David Crowder Band — is coming to this area later this year; that will be another show we definitely want to hit.
- I’ve been working on Neal Stephenson’s “Cryptonomicon” these past couple of weeks (I gave up on his “Baroque Cycle” after a couple hundred pages of the first volume of three; just couldn’t get in to it) when I have the odd minute or two to read. 900+ pages that wander between thriller, math and theory of crypto, comedy, sarcasm, and weird/silly. The shifts in tone are almost schizo at times, but I’ll probably try to finish it. Parts of it have been laugh-out-loud funny… and I need that.
- Summer is getting close to the point where it will start winding down for us; soccer tryouts at the high school level for Ian (his senior year!) and at the junior high where I will be coaching at least one more season begin just ahead of the middle of August.