Tuesday, August 22, 2006

i am back from a whirlwind midwest tour. I left National friday afternoon, on what was supposed to be a quick flight over to chicago. The flight itself was quick, it was the landing and arrival that was a bit weird.

We were, what, maybe 50 feet from the ground, when the plane suddenly rolled a bit. The pilot then pulled up, and we were soon circling o'hare. He said the winds had shifted, and air traffic control wanted us to take another approach.

20 minutes later we did. Only to land and then sit in the penalty box on the tarmac for half an hour. Seems that, as the pilot put it, even though we were 20 minutes late, there still wasn't a gate for us.

Finally landed, got the rental car, which smelled a bit, and headed over the quite OK hyatt rosemont. It's a small-ish hotel about 10 minutes from o'hare, newly renovated, free parking, very friendly staff.

NM showed up on a later flight, and we chatted a bit, before I collapsed and crashed.

we met for an early-ish (love those "ishes" today, I guess) breakfast, and then loaded up the car for the trek to milwaukee.

And that's when I had a fit. On the road. A real, live, smoke coming out of my ears, set jaw, non-hissy fit. Because I realized the "little stink" of the car last night really was a full blown case of "someone smoked here, no one cleaned the car, but they did spray some noxious scent and we've got to sit in it for 2 more hours" stink.

Several phone calls later, we worked out that I would meet with the o'hare hertz manager upon return, and we'd figure something out. All the hertz employee, save one, were fantastic, empowered, and intelligent. The trip ended with a 50 dollar cert, which almost covered the cost of my rental!

The trip to mke was smooth, save our arrival downtown. Seems the town fathers have decided to tear up all the freeways into town, and rehab the roads and bridges. All at the same time. Well, maybe not all, but close to all....but a little backtracking did the trip, and we arrived at the gorgeous Hyatt milwaukee (add sarcasm here), checked in, and then had to swap rooms to that same kind of problem we'd encountered with the car. Interestingly, this non-smoking room contained a notice saying that smokers would be charged a 250 dollar cleaning fee...I'll be curious to see if they nabbed anyone for this.

Anyway, the hotel was fine, nothing great. We made the mistake of trying a local restaurant, lured in by the offer of free wireless. The wireless was fine, the food was lousy, and neither of us finished our martini's. That's the most positive thing I can say.

But we didn't make the trek for martini's. The lure was NM's brother Al's drunken midnight croquet party. Or perhaps it was midnight drunken croquet. Truth is the game started around 1030, and not a soul was drunk. Amazing, considering the amount of liquor Al stocks. I've seen bars with less selection.

A great party, gorgeous weather, and good company made up for the stinky car...our trip back to chicago was quick and uncomplicated. The weather there was gorgeous, too...and we had time to enjoy a bit of the new Millenium Park before the sun set. Of course we made one last visit to Marshall Field's. Field's is still Field's, even though the Macy's signs are up. But the Field's logo will be gone by mid-september.

The weekend ended at the, wait for it... Hyatt Regency Chicago. The club was open, uncrowded, and blah. They were kind enough to make us some decaf at about 9pm. We were kind enough to drink it, or at least some of it. I got about a quarter through my cup, and suddently felt the signs familiar to a decaf drinker who's given high octane in error. A few stomach cramps later, I was feeling a bit better....but wide awake at 230 am.

But minor problems didn't really put a dent in the fun. Taking this little mini break was a great idea. So great, that I'm going to do it again next weekend. This time: austin. Misti's having a housewarming. Mony is in town, Ronda's there, and the fun begins Friday afternoon.


Blogger nm said...

I can't believe you said no one was drunk.

They were drunk, they are just from MKE where everyone is a nice drunk.

I will post pictures!

8:18 PM  

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