Whenever we go to Chicago, I drive. I lived in the city for years, but sometimes I forget that my husband and the city just … don’t mix. And that’s putting it nicely. More than once he’s been forced to abandon his attempt to parallel park and let me do it instead.
But sometimes I forget this.
Like when I was at BlogHer’s conference and planned to take the train back home on Sunday. This meant walking the mile and a half with my stuff to the train station, getting aboard, and then being picked up at the train station by my husband.
I had received the tip about bringing an extra suitcase, and I did. Sorta. I brought a gym duffel bag, figuring I could hang it around my neck so I’d still have one hand free. Annnnd after the first night, I decided I’d take a cab to the train instead of walking. Since my shoulder was still sore on Friday from my pulling the suitcase that mile and a half the first time two days prior.
On Day 2, I called my husband and begged him to pick me up. There was no way I was making it home on the train. Yikes! Nice husband agreed.
I told him where we were staying, and he promise to pick me up a little before noon. Since there was a Cubs game, he was planning to leave by a little after 10am just in case he hit traffic. I rolled my eyes but said nothing.
At ten, I called him to request that he bring down a couple freezer pops for Problem Solvin’ Mom’s poor sick daughter. And I knew he was on his way. Around 11:10, I called him to ask where he was, as I was now trying to coordinate with a second person.
He was on Ohio. Eek! That meant he was about five minutes away, and I hadn’t finished packing, nor had I gotten my suitcases downstairs. I called the front desk to request help with my bags. Now, here’s a major Sheraton Hotel & Towers fail. It was at least a half hour wait. Seriously, a conference of 1400 people is ending, and you don’t have sufficient bell staff?
Not wanting to inconvenience my husband any further than I had by making him drive to the city, I somehow hauled all my stuff on me and tottered to the elevator, hoping I didn’t run into anyone on my way.
By the time I got downstairs, I realized that I had taken more time than I should have, and my husband was likely to be waiting. Oops. I called him to see where he was.
I’m on South Water Street, but I don’t see the hotel
Well, Honey, that’s because the hotel is on NORTH Water street. Come back across the river.
Five more minutes go by. I call again. Ummmm, where are you?
I’m back where I started. I don’t see a North Water Street anywhere.
Okie dokie. I explain again that it’s one block east of Michigan on Columbus, at 400 north. Right on the corner. Across the street from the NBC Tower.
Five more minutes go by. I swear I think I see him turning right instead of turning left.
Well, I found the NBC Tower, but I didn’t see the hotel. Now I’m in a big circle again. I can’t find it. I’m just going to go home.
No no no no no. He can’t go home. I can’t take this stuff on the train. And he’s right there. So close. If I had less stuff, I’d tell him to stay put, and I’d walk to him. I give him directions from where he’s at again.
Five minutes go by. Poor Steph. She’s just standing here with me and her daughter, waiting for the freezer pops, knowing her ride back home is wanting to leave. And listening to me try to give directions repeatedly to my husband who obviously isn’t listening, considering that he’s on Michigan and not on Columbus.
I can’t find it. I’m driving on Michigan, but I don’t see a North Water Street anywhere. I’m just going back and forth in a circle.
I groan. Really, what part about a block east of Michigan is so hard to understand. Oh, that’s right. It’s really hard to understand when you choose not to listen. I explain again that North Water is a two block street off Columbus. He has to get to Columbus first. I explain how to do that again.
He calls back two minutes later. This time I stay on the phone with him.
I can see where the hotel is, so do you want me to go into the tunnel then?
ARG! That isn’t a tunnel, that’s going under the city. That would be driving straight past the hotel. Again. I calmly explain that he has to turn left at North Water and then just go into the little half circle driveway place.
At this point, I’m trying to figure out why it’s so difficult, as Mr. Weasel was able to pick up that crew with zero problems. And I figured I would have had good karma from helping out Steph! No dice.
Ok, I can see the hotel, but I don’t see you. Where are you? Why can’t I see you? I don’t see a circle place. Are you sure I’m on the right side?
Since at this time I can see his car and in fact his silhouette on the phone — and yes, my eyes are bad enough that I couldn’t see him directly — I figure I’m home free. Until he almost misses turning into the driveway. Almost.
It is now noon. He literally spent over forty minutes trying to find the hotel while being less than a mile away. I gave Steph her Freezer Pops, put my stuff in his car, and sat down. After all, we’re going home. How hard can that be?
I closed my eyes to rest a bit. When I opened them, I asked where he was going. We were on Grand, west of the highway. He’d somehow managed to get lost trying to get back to the highway. Fortunately, with me in the car, it’s a whole lot easier to navigate, and we were quickly on our way. Once on the highway, I was free to again relax and take a little nap between stories of the fun we had.
But next time? I’m drawing directions for him before I leave. Or maybe buying him a GPS for his birthday.
And with that, I promise to be done with any discussion of BlogHer until next year. Promise!