Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Open Your Ears And Listen!

Whenever we go to Chicago, I drive. I lived in the city for years, but sometimes I forget that my husband and the city just ... don't mix. And that's putting it nicely. More than once he's been forced to abandon his attempt to parallel park and let me do it instead.

But sometimes I forget this.

Like when I was at BlogHer's conference and planned to take the train back home on Sunday. This meant walking the mile and a half with my stuff to the train station, getting aboard, and then being picked up at the train station by my husband.

I had received the tip about bringing an extra suitcase, and I did. Sorta. I brought a gym duffel bag, figuring I could hang it around my neck so I'd still have one hand free. Annnnd after the first night, I decided I'd take a cab to the train instead of walking. Since my shoulder was still sore on Friday from my pulling the suitcase that mile and a half the first time two days prior.

On Day 2, I called my husband and begged him to pick me up. There was no way I was making it home on the train. Yikes! Nice husband agreed.

I told him where we were staying, and he promise to pick me up a little before noon. Since there was a Cubs game, he was planning to leave by a little after 10am just in case he hit traffic. I rolled my eyes but said nothing.

At ten, I called him to request that he bring down a couple freezer pops for Problem Solvin' Mom's poor sick daughter. And I knew he was on his way. Around 11:10, I called him to ask where he was, as I was now trying to coordinate with a second person.

He was on Ohio. Eek! That meant he was about five minutes away, and I hadn't finished packing, nor had I gotten my suitcases downstairs. I called the front desk to request help with my bags. Now, here's a major Sheraton Hotel & Towers fail. It was at least a half hour wait. Seriously, a conference of 1400 people is ending, and you don't have sufficient bell staff?

Not wanting to inconvenience my husband any further than I had by making him drive to the city, I somehow hauled all my stuff on me and tottered to the elevator, hoping I didn't run into anyone on my way.

By the time I got downstairs, I realized that I had taken more time than I should have, and my husband was likely to be waiting. Oops. I called him to see where he was.

I'm on South Water Street, but I don't see the hotel

Well, Honey, that's because the hotel is on NORTH Water street. Come back across the river.

Five more minutes go by. I call again. Ummmm, where are you?

I'm back where I started. I don't see a North Water Street anywhere.

Okie dokie. I explain again that it's one block east of Michigan on Columbus, at 400 north. Right on the corner. Across the street from the NBC Tower.

Five more minutes go by. I swear I think I see him turning right instead of turning left.

Well, I found the NBC Tower, but I didn't see the hotel. Now I'm in a big circle again. I can't find it. I'm just going to go home.

No no no no no. He can't go home. I can't take this stuff on the train. And he's right there. So close. If I had less stuff, I'd tell him to stay put, and I'd walk to him. I give him directions from where he's at again.

Five minutes go by. Poor Steph. She's just standing here with me and her daughter, waiting for the freezer pops, knowing her ride back home is wanting to leave. And listening to me try to give directions repeatedly to my husband who obviously isn't listening, considering that he's on Michigan and not on Columbus.

I can't find it. I'm driving on Michigan, but I don't see a North Water Street anywhere. I'm just going back and forth in a circle.

I groan. Really, what part about a block east of Michigan is so hard to understand. Oh, that's right. It's really hard to understand when you choose not to listen. I explain again that North Water is a two block street off Columbus. He has to get to Columbus first. I explain how to do that again.

He calls back two minutes later. This time I stay on the phone with him.

I can see where the hotel is, so do you want me to go into the tunnel then?

ARG! That isn't a tunnel, that's going under the city. That would be driving straight past the hotel. Again. I calmly explain that he has to turn left at North Water and then just go into the little half circle driveway place.

At this point, I'm trying to figure out why it's so difficult, as Mr. Weasel was able to pick up that crew with zero problems. And I figured I would have had good karma from helping out Steph! No dice.

Ok, I can see the hotel, but I don't see you. Where are you? Why can't I see you? I don't see a circle place. Are you sure I'm on the right side?

Since at this time I can see his car and in fact his silhouette on the phone -- and yes, my eyes are bad enough that I couldn't see him directly -- I figure I'm home free. Until he almost misses turning into the driveway. Almost.

It is now noon. He literally spent over forty minutes trying to find the hotel while being less than a mile away. I gave Steph her Freezer Pops, put my stuff in his car, and sat down. After all, we're going home. How hard can that be?

I closed my eyes to rest a bit. When I opened them, I asked where he was going. We were on Grand, west of the highway. He'd somehow managed to get lost trying to get back to the highway. Fortunately, with me in the car, it's a whole lot easier to navigate, and we were quickly on our way. Once on the highway, I was free to again relax and take a little nap between stories of the fun we had.

But next time? I'm drawing directions for him before I leave. Or maybe buying him a GPS for his birthday.

And with that, I promise to be done with any discussion of BlogHer until next year. Promise!


Megryansmom July 29, 2009 at 2:54 PM  

Yikes, I am very thankful that if nothing else my husband is VERY good at directions (and um parallel parking too!) I would never had made it walking back to the Orange line Sat afternoon. My bags and I would STILL be in a heap at the corner crying about how I had too much stuff to carry.

septembermom July 29, 2009 at 4:25 PM  

Please don't ask me to parallel park:) It would be a disastrous spectacle for sure! Gratefully, my husband is good in that department. I'm pretty good with directions. If my husband gets lost, he gets really ticked and can drive me crazy. That's why I often like to drive alone:) By the way, your husband would probably love a GPS. My husband does. I'm not too thrilled with the GPS voice commands. They get on my nerves!

Melisa with one S July 29, 2009 at 4:34 PM  

I'm so sorry, but I'm laughing my head off...and SO thankful that Mr. Weasel gave me a ride home. :)

Jeff July 29, 2009 at 7:50 PM  

That's nothing... you should have seen ME trying to navigate Chicago last year. I had to pull into a parking lot to ask the police how to get where I wanted to go.

My favorite part though was the other drivers. More than once I was sitting at a red light and within 1/4 second of it turning green, the car behind me would blow his horn. It became a huge joke after the 4th time it happened. Ya gotta love Chicago!

Jill July 29, 2009 at 9:00 PM  

Michelle I do indeed think it is time for hubby to get a GPS! My husband is horrible with directions too that is why I do ALL the driving.
I would have been sitting there SCREAMING.. maybe then he would have found you.. lol!

Ryan Ashley Scott July 29, 2009 at 9:25 PM  

Haha! That would have been me. I mean, I would have been in your husband's shoes. Sorry hon, I sympathize with his non-city driving. ;)

I am going to Blogher next year and there's no stopping me! Still kicking myself for not getting with it this time around.

Tara R. July 29, 2009 at 9:30 PM  

After being trapped in Thomasville, GA for nearly an hour, my Hubs got me a GPS. It's awesome. I have to try to get lost now just to hear the GPS's sweet Australian accent.

AD July 30, 2009 at 12:06 AM  

OMG, my husband would come a close second!! I have to make him read this one :-)

Cheffie-Mom July 30, 2009 at 11:22 AM  

GPS - great idea! LOL!

Martha July 30, 2009 at 3:45 PM  

Definitely gotta buy that man a GPS and guys think it's cool too ::rolling eyes::
I love Steph at Problem Solvin' Mom - poor thing at a convention with a sick one and very pregnant besides!

H F W July 30, 2009 at 6:58 PM  

Do you think it may have something to do with the fact that you are married and he cannot follow your directions? I ask because my hubs and I have the same issues with directions over the phone with each other, but we never have issues with anyone else. Strange?
I'm glad you made it home.

Jules July 30, 2009 at 9:42 PM  

I just wanted to drop in and say Hi! I am a new follower! Great Blog!


Michelle July 30, 2009 at 10:36 PM  

Megryansmom - think I'd be on that same corner crying with you :) Gotta love those husbands with special talents!

Kelly - Actually my husband OBSESSES over studying maps of places we go (and don't go), even if he won't be driving. That's partly why the Chicago thing cracks me up -- and drives me nuts!

Melisa - I thought about calling you guys and begging him to drive me just to the train station, but I knew there was no way ANYthing else was going to fit in the Weaselmobile!

Jeff - As someone who drives in Chicago, I LOVE going back to MN where I can get my way all the time driving... but only when I'm running late, I promise. I'm 99% of the time a typical MN driver!

Jill - Sadly, he'd probably never use it since he prides himself on knowing where he's going... but his birthday IS tomorrow. Hmmm.

RAS - Get your ticket now! Before they sell out. I actually just bought mine tonight after hearing all the people who'd already bought theirs. Yikes!

Tara - Oooo, you have an Australian accent. cool! My mom has one named Betty, but she has the flat midwestern accent. And mispronounces Victoria (vic-torrr-eee-ya), which cracks me up every time I hear it.

AD - Sure, make him read it so he doesn't feel quite so badly about himself ;)

Cheffie-Mom - You'd think so. Maybe I should buy one and then let him return it.

Martha - I know I know... puking is bad in general, but when you're stuck in a hotel room with limited towels and options, oh I felt badly with her. Fortunately all is well now!

Hyacynth - Possibly. He does seem to close his ears only when I open my mouth.... You might be on to something!

Juls - Awww, thank you! You just gave me warm fuzzies!

The White House July 30, 2009 at 10:39 PM  

Oh! I am sorry to laugh... I had to learn how to parallel park when I lived in Boston. I am however majorly challenged in the area of directions!

Just popped in from MamaKat's!

Michelle July 30, 2009 at 11:04 PM  

The White House - It's ok, I'm over it now and can laugh but soooo frustrating standing outside with me and having someone standing next to me with a sick kid who was waiting for us, too!

Steph at Problem Solvin' Mom July 31, 2009 at 11:24 AM  

LOL, your story was much funnier the second time around (now that I'm sitting down and not dreading a long drive home with my thankfully much better daughter! :)

Thanks again for all your help, it was great meeting you!!

Michelle August 3, 2009 at 9:44 PM  

Steph - I'm glad you can find the humor in it. I felt so badly... and I was so frustrated because we were RIGHT THERE. So great to meet you, too, and I'm glad everyone is healthy now!

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