Pittsburgh to Chicago is a long and boring haul through Ohio and Indiana, but luckily my son Alex lost his mind at the latter end of the ride, providing some much needed entertainment:
Alex: a coconut is almost a mammal!
Alex: it has hair, and it gives milk . . . all it needs is to have live young;
Mom: what about a heart and a brain?
Alex: Ian doesn't have a brain, and he's a mammal!
but despite the long haul, the high temperatures, and my epic quest to find parking, we were able to rally and cover a lot of ground in the city-- for all the shortcomings of my children, I will give them this: as long as we keep feeding them, they can walk forever . . . even with the addition of "punishment push-ups," which they are consistently doing for various bad choices; anyway, here are a few highlights and lowlights of Day Three:
1) major surprise . . . when it's hot in Chicago, it's a beach town . . . at the shore of Lake Michigan, the skyscrapers abruptly end and the beaches begin . . . and another surprise . . . there were lots of attractive, scantily clad women roaming about (I had imagined the women of Chicago to be stout and solid . . . female versions of the guys in the SNL "dah Bears" skit) and there were loads of people sailing little boats and partying on yachts;
2) the view from the top of the John Hancock Observatory is astounding, but it must eventually get rather mundane, as the girl who ran the elevator made herself an excellent rubber band ball and was having a good time bouncing it;
3) the view from our hotel is awful, as all the rooms at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart are on the interior of the building, but this is karma-- as we were upgraded in Pittsburgh and got the best view in the city-- so things needed to even out (and you can see down into the hotel pool, which is mildly entertaining . . . and if you leave the room, you can look down into the lobby, which is very nice . . . the hotel is a donut within a donut, I think);
5) deep dish pizza at Gino's East is good but very filling (and also really expensive and takes quite a while to make) so though the kids loved it, I much prefer Pete and Elda's at the Jersey shore;
5) nutritionally, I had an especially ugly day: Jimmy Dean sausage and egg sandwich for breakfast, two McDonald cheeseburgers for brunch, a chili dog with onions at Portillo's for lunch, and deep dish pizza with sausage, peppers, and onions for dinner . . . but at least I avoided the deep-fried cheeseburger;
6) there was also some serious nutritional disappoint when we found out that Rick Bayless's two Mexican places that we were dying to visit are closed on both Sundays and Mondays . . . our only hope is a quick breakfast on Tuesday before we head to Iowa.