Our hotel was luxury itself. Located in downtown Chicago, on Michigan Avenue, the Conrad Hilton was like no other hotel I've been in. They asked us at check in if we wanted a warm towel to refresh ourselves. I must admit I was a bit thrown off by this question-- what was I supposed to do? Wipe my face as I stood there in the lobby? I am sure my confusion and surprise showed on my face as we politely declined.
Saturday morning Ed and I met up with Andrew after breakfast. He was able to show us around downtown a little. We went to Millennium Park, which was beautiful even though the day was overcast. We could not resist taking pictures of "The Bean"
(Inside the Bean)
We then walked down to the waterfront and took in the view of the city and the Lake.
As you can see, the day was overcast and then it started to rain, so we had to change our plans to go on a 2 hour Architectural walking tour. We went on our own little tour of Marshall Fields and then to the Tribune building, and the Oppenheimer gallery of Audubon prints. Andrew did a great job giving us historical facts as we walked past buildings. We then picked Erin up and went back to their apartment.
Andrew has 6 avocado trees going from the pits of guacamole (they are pictured here with one of them). They said that they were intending them as housewarming gifts, but then got attached to them. I think I may try that with our next pit-- E will think it's fun. They also have a ton of books that Andrew has collected for himself and to sell in his used book business. After some beers, we went out for pizza. It was a lot of fun catching up with them, and seeing their place.
On Sunday morning Ed and I went to a diner for breakfast before he dropped me off at the airport. I was still pretty teary-eyed when I went up to the kiosk to check in. The man working behind the counter took note of this, and gave me a little pat on the arm and said,"Are you going to be OK?". I attempted a smile, and assured him I was fine. As I went to pick my seat for the flight, I asked him if he could tell me which of the seats would be loading first, as I only had one carry-on bag and didn't want to check it (if you board later, zone 5 or 6, there is a possibility that the overhead compartments are full and you end up having to check your bag). He looked for me, and all the seats were zone 4, 5, or 6. He then asked me to wait, and stepped into the back area. When he came back he told me to check whatever seat I wanted. When he handed me my boarding pass a minute later, I noticed it said zone 1, and started to tear up in gratefulness(as well as being a little fragile already). He said, "Just have a good flight", and he patted me on the arm and sent me on my way. I then had a chance to look at my actual seat, and it was First Class (I didn't realize at the time that zone 1 is first class). I did lose it then, and had to duck behind a sign to compose myself. So I was able to fly back in comfort as well as feeling blessed by that man's kindness to me.
But I have to say that Sunday was a very difficult day for both of us. It was extremely depressing to get on that plane knowing I was leaving behind a very sad and lonely husband. The only thing getting us through this week is the hope that it's the last one he has to be away.