Now, down by us, the parking spots are metered from 9am till midnight, and you can only put in 2 hours' worth at a time, so on a night like tonight, when she got home early-ish (at 6:30pm), I had to go out at 8:30pm and 10:30pm. Of course, since I typically am up well past midnight on any given night, this isn't usually much of a problem (as long as I set alarms on my phone to remind me to get my butt out there). Another thing about the meters in Chicago is that they're no longer "parking meters" per se, but machines that generate printed receipts with bar codes that the meter readers scan through the windshield. As you can tell from the pic (click for a bigger image), I had to scrape away the snow so that the meter person could see that there WAS a receipt on the dash ... which was the third time that had to be cleaned off tonight - making me guess that we've had a good 2-4" so far. Don't get me started on the cost ... down by us 2 hours of street parking runs EIGHT BUCKS, so having her park the car at 6:30pm means that we're blowing through nearly $20 before midnight.
And don't think that just because the weather's crappy they won't check for the receipts ... when I went out at 8:30pm, I did the meter, then ran down to the corner to 7-11 to get a $1.4 billion PowerBall ticket, and on my way back to the building I passed one of the meter readers. I do wonder how much effort they make to see if there IS a receipt on the dash ... as it was snowing enough that the windshield was covered pretty quickly ... and I wouldn't put it past them to figure it was too much hassle and just write a ticket because "there was no visible receipt" (or am I just being cynical?).
Speaking of that insanely high lottery prize ... I'm really rooting for it to scoot up enough over the next 22 hours so that the cash payout (currently at 868 million dollars) crosses that billion dollar line. Just because. The guy over at 7-11 said he was pretty sure that it would, given the typical ticket-buying patterns of them getting slammed in the hours leading up to the pick. Me, I'm playing my usual one quick-pick ... that keeps the "probability envelope" open with a non-zero chance of winning (or, in the optimistic view, having a number combination that, prior to the numbers getting picked, has no lower odds than the combination that eventually does gets picked). While it is terribly tempting to buy lots more tickets, once you have ONE (putting you in the "able to win" category) each additional $2 wagered only increases your odds of winning by 0.000000003423 (call it 1 in 300 million), which - in most people's view of numerical precision - is pretty much not at all ... making it pretty easy for me to convince myself to leave my wagering at the minimum bet!