I've been buried in a project that sort of fell to me at the last minute because, well ... nobody else was there to do it. And, while it is a book project (and thereby something that I know a good bit about), it is an art book and the art for the book was nowhere to be found. This is largely due to the fact the the guy who was supposed to be doing this (our erstwhile Art Director) isn't around because of our not having any paychecks in a long time, but he always uses his personal Gmail account for communications, so none of the files I needed to make this thing happen were in the office.
So, I've been having to get back to the artists, to our in-world Gallery manager, and sweeping the artists' various Flickr accounts to assemble this book, and have not made it out of the office all of last week before 8pm, usually later (this due to the files being HUGE, and most of them coming in via e-mail that takes 3-5 minutes to load, then having to save the files, taking another long load time, before being able to do anything with them ... figure 10 minutes of just waiting for downloads for 160-200 files!). On Friday, I didn't make it out of there until just about Midnight. This is where the story gets "interesting" ...
From a comment in the chicago_el community regarding a fatality on the El ...
I left work about midnight on Friday, and just missed the south-bound Purple Line at Davis. So, I waited 15 minutes for the next one. When I got off at Howard there were security people dashing about barking code into their walkie-talkies and when the next south-bound Red Line got to the platform they told the guy not to open the doors. Another Purple Line arrives. Still the Red Line is sitting there with doors closed. Another 10 minutes pass, and the Red Line "backs" out of the station returning to the rail yard. Another Purple Line arrives ... the platform is getting pretty full of people wanting to go south. At this point, I'd been there 45 minutes, and NOTHING has been communicated. Eventually a Red Line comes north but pulls in on the southbound side. They announce that this will be shuttling between Howard and Granville where shuttle buses (no indication of where those would be shuttling to) would take customers.Now, I had been toying with the idea of working all weekend, but The Family cajoled me into coming along on an adventure that The Wife had planned to give The Girls a "big finish" to the summer. Not getting to bed until 3:30 with an early start on Saturday was not my ideal situation, however.
Since I knew the #22 Clark starts up at Howard, and that will get me within a few blocks of my house, I opted to run downstairs and catch that rather than rely on vague shuttle bus options at 1am in the morning.
My CTA adventure was not done, though (although the part of the story dealing with the El is) ... my decision to take the #22 seemed good for the first 2/3rds of the trip, flying down Clark (as one would expect for that hour) until we got to Wrigleyville. It took 3-4 lights to get to and across Addison, as it was a sea of taxicabs looking to pick up drunk Cubs fan who had stayed all night after a Friday game. Just as we were finally moving past Addison there was a BUMP (not a big bump, and I'd just assumed the driver had had to hit her brakes to avoid some idiot running across the street in front of the bus). It turns out that one of the aforementioned taxis had been impatient and whipped through a turn in the intersection and rear-ended the bus.
At this point it was 2am. As I noted, it had felt like the driver had just hit the breaks, so it wasn't much of a collision (we, along with most of the ambient traffic, were maybe going 3mph), but we had to pull up to the curb (right outside the Cubby Bear), and wait for the driver to "follow protocol" with a Fire Engine, Ambulance, and various Police Cars arriving on the scene. Needless to say, this was not where I really wanted to be at 2-something AM. The driver told us that she'd get us on the following bus, but there was no following bus (the Police had blocked Addison southbound to allow in the other emergency vehicles and the next buses just re-routed around us) so we sat there. Eventually the CTA manager folks determined that the bus was functional, and after some more paperwork they sent us on our way. I got home about 3am.
At least now I know what was the start of the delays. I kept thinking that had I made that first train that I'd missed, I'd very likely have been on the Red Line (which I see from the Sun-Times was going southbound) which hit that lady, which would have provided its own set of stories.
Being that it was a holiday weekend, the car rental rates were insane and the best The Wife was able to get was a $25/day deal down at Midway (but she also got suckered into buying duplicate insurance of what our credit card covers ... she got pissed at me when I pointed out the fact, of course). It was a bit like going on a vacation, since we dragged our luggage down to the Loop and got on the Orange Line to Midway, dragged it the mile or so they make you walk to the terminal, and then magically went right to the car rental counters (none of that hassle of checking bags, going through security, getting on a plane, flying somewhere, and finding one's bags for us!). Once we got our car, we headed out west (oh, and I'm glad I was along, or they still might be lost ... I saw very clearly how The Wife frequently has screwed up her trips by driving clear across a state because she took the wrong highway ramp!). Our first stop was Lombard, IL, which is home to the Enchanted Castle ... a favorite of The Girls, although being "in the land beyond O'Hare" and requiring a rental car for us to take them out there. One "improvement" to the E.C. experience has nothing to do with them, but a Culver's has opened up in the same mall, so we were able to go have some decent fast food first (I wish they'd come downtown, but the manager there said they'd looked all over and couldn't find any city locations that they could even remotely afford). Enchanted Castle exists in some middle zone between the Chuck E. Cheese and Dave & Busters experiences, it has a lot of "cool stuff" like an indoor go cart track, bumper cars, laser tag, miniature golf, and bazillion arcade games and claw machines. We blew through one of those closely-hoarded hundred dollar bills of Daddy's (tip money from when I was bartending) in the course of several hours there.
We were watching the clock, because the hotel we were staying at (in the northwest suburbs) had a 4pm check-in time, and we hit the road about 4 to head from Lombard up to Arlington Heights. The Wife picked this particular get-away (in a very nice Sheraton) because it's now the host for a Coco Key indoor water park (part of what appears to be a national chain). Now, I wasn't consulted about this, but if you figure what the weekend daily pass for a family of 4 runs, the hotel (which was quite nice) part of the hotel/park package was about the cost of doing a Motel-6! Of course, had I been consulted, I would have been pissing and moaning about how we can't afford it ... which is probably why I was "kept out of the loop" ... I hope they appreciate it next month when we might not be able to afford groceries. Anyway, The Girls and I hit the water park for a couple of hours while The Wife put down the first couple of Chardonnays of the evening. They had a "lazy river" and I was able to get a double-tube thing and basically use it like a water-borne La-Z-Boy while the offspring were doing the various tubes and slides.
Oh, and not only were we spending money on that, we also were getting together on Saturday night with one of The Wife's oldest friends. Now, The Wife is a pretty hard-core misanthropist, and she doesn't really get along with anybody, and this friend (who she's lived with 3-4 times over the past 35 or so years) has fallen victim to that, as this was the first time they'd gotten together in like six years! We ended up going to a Rosebud Italian place out by Woodfield Mall (again, spending a lot of money that we really don't have to toss around!). Their eldest daughter was with them, having gone from 9 to 15 since the last time we saw them, and, needless to say, our Girls were a bit of a surprise to them, having been 2 and 6 the last time they'd had the pleasure of their company!
The hotel has a sneaky schedule ... as the water park, which one would anticipate opening in the morning, doesn't open until 11am, which is the hotel's check-out time. So, you need to get organized with most of your stuff in the car, rent a locker for your street clothes, and then spend the rest of the day playing locker tag! At least the passes are good all day on the check-out day. The Girls even managed to convince The Wife to go to the water park with them ... even though we had a "costume emergency", The Wife has lost a LOT of weight over the past year or so, and the swim-suit she brought was just hanging off of her ... she ended up borrowing the spare suit that our eight year old (who looks more like a 10-12 year old, truth be known) brought with! I was glad that they'd convinced their Mom to hang with them, as after floating a while, having a bit of lunch, and getting dried off, all I wanted to do was find a comfy chair and nod off ... which I did while watching the Cubs game out in the waterpark lobby for an hour or two.
The Girls I guess whined enough to convince The Wife to convince me to throw some more money at arcade machines. Unfortunately, the arcade there is one that needs a cards, so I couldn't get away with throwing five bucks into a change machine, so another $20 disappeared in the pursuit of prize tickets.
Fortunately, I was able to convince The Wife that there was no "direct route" from Arlington Heights to Midway (after her taking THREE passes past the ramp to the south-bound lanes of I-90 ... they would have been in Madison before she figured out the damn highway!), and that it would make sense to drop off the luggage at home, since we'd be going right past our exit. Once I talked her through how to get to Midway, she even opted to leave me and The Girls at home and take the car back herself ... which was fine by me.
Today, however, I really had to get into the office. On Friday at midnight I'd figured I had 2-3 hours more to do with the stuff I had on hand, and our in-world guy had sent more on to me over the weekend. I couldn't leave at my normal time, as I needed to pick up a prescription at Walgreens, and the one right by us didn't open the pharmacy till 9am, but I got into work by 10:30, pretty much got the book "close to done", and was out of there by about 6pm. It was a much less eventful trip home today ... until Addison, again ... but that was just because the Cubs game was letting out!
That, was pretty much my weekend.