Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chicago loves Emily...

...and the feeling is mutual!

But first, a sidenote about my dog.

We had to board the dogs while we went to Chicago, and we don't usually like to board them at the Buckeystown vet because they always come back with some sort of illness (Bordatella, eye infections, ear infections etc.) I think it's a racket, they infect your dogs with a disease so that you'll have to come back and pay them to fix it. Jokes on them though, because I use a different vet! I'm still out hundreds of bucks though, so maybe the joke is on me :-(

Anyway, this time we had to board them at the vet because I have been putting off their shots and they were due for a bunch, so it was board them at a vet where the shots could be given, or don't board them at all. This brought our total from hundreds of bucks to millions of bucks.

Now when I dropped Remy off, his tail was in good working order. When I picked him up yesterday, he was cleaner and had shorter nails, but his tail was certainly not functioning correctly. Whereas it usually stands out at a jaunty angle, waving proudly like a fluffy flag, it now droops down like wilted celery. I have felt it and I don't think it hurts him, but it just hangs there, and when it is called upon to wag, it does so from it's depressingly limp position. I'm not sure what to do, because he doesn't seem to be in pain, but my dog is undeniably different. If I called the vet and said "my dog's tail isn't working", they would probably just laugh at me. So I guess I'll watch him the next couple of days and hope it returns to its previous glory soon.

So back to our trip. It was great! We went up to Chicago on Thursday for one of Will's annual newspaper conferences, and we took Emily along for the ride. She was fantastic on the plane, eating at all the right times (so her ears would pop) and eagerly looking around at all the new people in the meantime. She continued to be great through dinner, allowing Will and I to celebrate our 4th anniversary at Sushi Samba (although I think she is probably the first baby who has ever been to that restaurant), and afterward when we went to get our favorite fat free frozen yogurt at the Maple St. Market.

I had figured that I wouldn't be able to take my usual approach to Chicago with a baby in tow (that is, walk every day until I drop), but once again, Emily was great and happily hung in the Bjorn or sat in her stroller for hours while Tina and I went to all my favorite places. Along the way, we were CONSTANTLY told how good and cute Emily was by complete strangers. Gotta love Chicago! She won over the snooty clerk at the Vosges haut chocolate boutique, and even got a smile from the male sales assistant at Sephora who seemed to really enjoy his employee discount. I know what you're thinking, yes I love to shop at Sephora even though I usually look like hell...I have a thing for buying makeup to keep under my bathroom sink.

We even got to go check out the "Men's Health Urbanathalon" in Grant Park, which is like a marathon but the competitors also jump taxis and climb walls. Poor Will wanted to go SO badly, but he was in conferences all day. I got him a T-shirt and a do-rag though, so that he can be a poser and make people think he was there.

On Saturday, we left the babe with the mother-in-law and went out with the other young conference-goers. It was really nice to be able to do that, and we saw Jack McBrayer while we were out! Yeah, I had to look up his name, but he is in Talladega Nights and 30 Rock, so he counts as a celebrity :-)

The only wrench in our plans came as we were leaving. With a baby and no carseat, it was not a good idea to take a taxi or a hired car (although in retrospect we probably could have gotten one with a carseat) so we relied on the "L" to get around. On the way to the airport, our train got to within 7 stops of O'Hare, then had some technical difficulties. We sat for 20 minutes, but because the doors were open and traffic was screaming by on either side, we couldn't hear the announcements about what was wrong. Finally we got going again, and we made it 2 stops. Then they announced that because of construction, everyone had to get off, exit the station, board shuttle busses, get bussed to the next station, and then board another train and continue from there. With a baby and luggage? When you're anxiously trying to get to an airport in time to catch a plane? When there had been no warning or sign explaining this situation at any previous station? Were they joking?

Sadly they were not.

So we dutifully dragged everything off the train, up the stairs, got crammed onto the bus, dragged it back down the stairs where we were assured a train was waiting for us (by "waiting", they meant "would be here in 8-ish minutes") and then completed our journey at a peppy 6 mph due to the construction on the lines. When we finally dashed into the airport, 2 hours after leaving the city (it usually takes 45 minutes), checked in, got through security, and found our gate, we had time to bold down half a sandwich and then it was time to board. Needless to say, we were fairly beside ourselves. And there's no room to be beside yourself on a plane.

The unfortunate Randalls, who had hired a car and left before us, were actually still in line at the ticketing counter when we got checked in, because United had taken the liberty of cancelling their tickets.

We all made it onto the plane though, the only bad side effect being that we were in terrible moods, and Emily was being whiney and shouty. We finally figured out that it was because she had a soaking wet diaper (we of course hadn't had time to change her before the flight) and once we changed her she just laid there like an angel, looking in wonder at her hands and the underside of the tray table. This gave me a chance to recover from my stress-induced headache as I watched out the window with relief as the land went from flat to wrinkly to mountainy. I even got to see the new FNP building from the air. Our landing was smooth, and our exit of the airport was expeditious, and all in all, things worked out quite well.

Oh, and Emily has a tooth now! What a good teether she is, we've had one or two bouts of fussiness over the issue, but all in all she's been amazing, and it's even more amazing that we were travelling when it came in and she was still her usual happy self the whole time.

So now we have to figure out whether we want to tempt fate again and take her to the conference in Aruba in February. I'd love to go, but it is a longer flight.

I'll post some pictures in a couple minutes when I get them loaded onto the computer. Right now Emily is trying to eat my face and kick the laptop to the floor so I think she's hungry.