As I got up there fifteen minutes or so before they were due, I ducked around the corner to Micomp to pick up a new monitor for Daughter #1's system. She has some new programs which automatically re-set the monitor resolution, and her current monitor (which is a hand-me-down several systems old) can't handle anything but the lowest resolution offered by the installed video card. I love Micomp especially for monitors ... they buy out things like law firms' existing systems when they upgrade, and will have dozens of identical models sitting around, so you can pick and choose which one has the least wear ... and a 17" name-brand monitor will run you about $50, including tax (and, of course, no shipping costs when you pick it up)!
Anyway, after I loaded that into the trunk, it wasn't long before the busses arrived. The Wife dropped us off at home and headed out to her appointments, and after a bit #2 and I went to pick up #1 and run up to Dojo. We lucked out on both of the the trains (not having to wait more than 3 minutes for either), so ended up comfortably early for #1's class (if the trains a pokey, we frequently find ourselves barely making it up there on time).
I was very pleased that after class The Girls wanted to go to Garcia's, a Mexican place up the block from Dojo in Lincoln Square. Garcia's is amazing, offering burritos (as I tell The Girls: "as big as your head"!) that are something like 8"x4"x2" (I suppose they're 8"x3"x3" before spreading out under their own weight) for only $4.00! I don't think I have ever been able to completely finish one of these while still at the restaurant, usually taking 1/3-1/2 home for breakfast. Yum!
Of course, with having "done dinner" we ended up getting home late-ish, and I had to start pulling things together for today's little outing. We'd signed up to exhibit at the Near-North Parents Org.'s "Elementary School Fair" today, and I got the short straw on that due to Daughter #1 having a pen-pal of hers from Texas (who was in town with her family) come over for a visit. Except for a couple of key contacts, the exhibiting was pretty much a bust for us (most of the parents there had kindergarteners and below, and were "shopping" for 1st grade options ... not thinking about tutoring), and so I had a ton of stuff to schlep back home.
When I got home, I found that #1 and her penpal were being perfect little shits to #2 (who obviously wanted to hang out with the older girls), and #2 was all boo-hooey and bummed out. As I had been unable to scope out any parking spots on my way down, I finally convinced her to take a bit of a drive with Daddy ... I hadn't had lunch yet (this was at 3pm), so was wanting to find some food. I'd suggested doing DimSum down in Chinatown, but The Wife convinced me that most places stop that by 3pm, so we had to come up with a plan B. After we got in the car I asked #2 if she'd like to get some pizza, and she said that would be OK, and then, once we got going, I told her that we'd go up to Chuck E. Cheese ... which brightened her day considerably ... she even wanted me to call home so that she could rub her sister's nose in it!
Chuck E. Cheese was, of course (being a Saturday afternoon), a nightmare, jam-packed with the sort of mix that only an "inner city" location can manifest. I kept hoping that the guys who were "packing" wouldn't start a fire-fight while we were still there! Anyway, I got the salad bar, #2 got the "personal pizza", and we blew through $20 in tokens. Oddly, #2 has managed to get quite good at skeeball, being able to hit the 50 point hole with some regularity ... she beat me on most games we played side-by-side. Between us we got about 345 tickets, and that "bought" her a leopard-print metal "lunch box" purse, and some stickers.
On the way home we had an additional "adventure" which wouldn't have been one had I had my maps with me (The Wife wanted me to pick up some books from one of our tutors), and, after much driving around in circles around the neighborhood (nearly a half hour), we got a "miracle spot", more miraculous in that I had to drive nearly 8 blocks in a "butterfly" pattern to get to the south-bound side meter I'd seen while heading north ... and the only reason that it was still there for us was that some "cable car" limo was half-blocking the space outside of Jewel when we got back to it ... I knew there was a meter there, but I don't think it was visible to south-bound traffic until the wedding party got back from their booze run (at which point I was halfway into the space right on the bumper of the bus with my blinkes on). Score bonus points for it beng only a 6pm meter rather than a 9pm one that I'd have to go out and feed again! Yeah, it was a four block walk home, but after running around the neighborhood, I was afraid that we were gong to end up four miles away before I found legal parking.
Anyway, got home, sat down, started typing. I hear rumor that dinner may be ready.