Being the Cheap Bastard that I am, I went in search of one of Enterprise's $9.99/day weekend deals ... each time we get one of these it seems like we have to go farther away ... this time it was at Irving Park and to-hell-and-gone west. However, they said if we got to the Irving Park stop on the Blue Line they could swing by and pick us up (which was a good thing, since it was a good 2 miles beyond that and I don't think we ever saw the Irving Park bus while we were waiting). It worked out OK that Daughter #1 had a half-day at school on Friday, so I swung by to get her at noon, and we hopped on the Division bus out to the Milwaukee stop on the Blue Line and scooted up to Irving Park that way. Once we had the car and were back downtown, we picked up Daughter #2 and were going to swing by the house to pick up The Girls' Dojo stuff and run up for their Friday classes ... however we had an "opportunity" change of plans, as while we were circling around the block (waiting for the driveway to open up enough for us to pop up with the blinkers on), a PARKING SPACE opened up right across from our building! Admittedly, it was about 3:30 at this point (and the Cubs game was still on) but you can not believe what a rare and wonderous thing this is for a Friday evening with good weather in our neighborhood! Anyway, I grabbed the spot and ran The Girls upstairs to negotiate with The Wife.
See, Saturday was going to be "complicated", as The Wife had a couple of appointments to do mid-day, and Daughter #1 and I were heading out to the suburbs for a birthday party (the main reason I'd popped for a rental). What I wanted to know was if The Wife could drop us at Dojo before her first appointment (The Girls have class times noon-ish on Saturdays), pick us up after her second appointment, and still have time for #1 and I to drop them downtown and head out to Maywood. All that seemed plausible, so I ran back downstairs, fed a couple of more bucks into the meter, and decided that we were home for the evening. The Saturday schedule got a bit more complicated when the Mom from the birthday party asked if we could pick up another kid on our way out, however said kid was "on the way", so it just delayed us 15 minutes or so. Things were further complicated by Daughter #2 insisting that we had to go out for brunch ... but we were able to slot that in before The Wife dropped us at Dojo, and the whole insane complicated timed-to-the-minute schedule worked out fine.
Then came Sunday. The Girls and I took the car down to their swimming lessons ... which was, in retrospect, a mistake. The Wife had signed The Girls up for swimming lessons at this health club down by Navy Pier, but they're in classes on either side of another class, so each girl needs to "hang out" for two classes, while participating in one, ending up with a LOT of time in the pool. The club validates the parking, but for only three hours which doesn't give us much "wiggle time" on either end ... as it was, we got out of the parking lot with 5 minutes to spare, but considering that the 3 hours would have cost nineteen bucks, we didn't want to go a minute over! Unfortunately, having the car, we couldn't find any place to stop and get The Girls some lunch, and it was pushing 2pm at this point ... had we taken public transportation, we'd have just gone a block over to a diner they like, but there was, of course, no parking (except the $$$ type) to be had, so we circled and circled down around that area, then checked over in River North, then came up by our neighborhood. At this point we'd spent about an hour looking for a parking spot, and decided that we were going to have to "get out of Dodge" to be able to eat. We swung by the building and managed to convince The Wife to come along, and ran up north to a McDonald's that had a parking lot (and was, conveniently, located across from a Best Buy so The Wife could run an errand). While there, we decided that going out to the park would be nice, and I was suggesting popping into Walgreens to get a frisbee or something to play with ... unfortunately, this brought up #2 wanting to get her scooter (I guess The Wife had promised her that she'd be able to go out with her scooter in some conversation I was not involved in earlier in the weekend), so after much crying and yelling, we ended up running back downtown, getting her scooter, picking up a foam bat and ball for #1, and heading back out.
I'd been suggesting going up to like Montrose, but The Wife opted for the park over by Addision and LSD ... which worked out fine, and provided this amazing picture! They have a migratory bird sanctuary up there, which is pretty much just a large area full of trees and brush that is fenced off and left "wild", which, being undisturbed by various park goers (of both the 2-legged and 4-legged varieties), managed to have this carpet of tiny blue flowers all through it. I got this shot through the chainlink fence, which only hints at the mass of blue that was out there (coming up on it you just assume it's blue plastic sheeting of some sort!). Anyway, Daughter #1 got in her batting practice (she starts softball next weekend), #2 got in her scootering, and after a few hours we came home and found a parking spot only about 8 blocks from home (in a zone that turned into a tow zone at 7am, so I ended up having to move it in the middle of the night).