In defense of the fanny pack

Six hundred miles later…

Dude, we are totally beat. The weekend was an unqualified success.

Tim ended up taking off the entire day on Friday (even though the mortgage-fiasco closing did not happen), so, after trading vehicles and child with my mother, we left even earlier than I had hoped. Whee!

After a long, rainy drive, we arrived at the immense Hyatt Regency at about 7:30. The drive up Lakeshore was amazing, as always. Tim wanted to take some inner-city Interstate, but I insisted that we drive I-55 to the very end. The lake looked all cold and lonely, and the skyscrapers were all enshrouded in mist. Brr!

We checked into our palatial room, unpacked our stuff and then headed out to River North to meet up with our friend JT from New York.

Backtracking a bit here, the whole reason for going to Chicago this weekend was to attend the Breeders Cup of thoroughbred horse racing. We’re big fans, and I just realized that not everyone who reads this may know that.

Anyway, we arrived at this bar, Brehan’s, about an hour early, so we struck out looking for some dinner. We walked up North Wells, passing some intimidating-looking clubs with velvet ropes and doormen and such. Finally, we were nearing a diner-type place and Tim was starting to try to talk me into burgers, when we came to the front and realized that it was Ed Debevec’s. You know, the place famous for bad service and wisecracking waitresses? No, thanks.

Across the street was Gino’s Pizza or something like that. Huge, just huge! With a line out the door! Then, on the next block, Tim spotted this little sign that said “Carson’s” and was like, ‘We have got to go there. Ribs.’

So we did. And it was pretty fabulous.

We made it back to Brehan’s (where every girl I swear was Mimi Smartypants) and met up with JT. It’s always so great to hang out with JT. He’s so honest and earnest and I totally wish I knew some the perfect single girl for him. Whoever wins his heart is lucky indeed.

We ended up drinking several beers (read: I wasn’t totally wasted, but definitely more intoxicated than I had been for a very long time) and talking about our mutual friends, discussing the next day’s card, etc., etc.

Bizarre incident of the night: When we were settling in at Brehan’s, we snagged a table as this 40-something woman and her male friend left. She was pretty drunk — not stumbling or anything — but she had tons of stuff. It was obvious she had been there since after work, and since it was then about 10, well, you can guess how much she’d been drinking.

Anyway, so she’s trying to gather up all of her stuff and her dolt of a friend is just standing there watching her, and I offer her a hand. I helped her pick up her shoulder bag from underneath the table and made sure her takeout bag was arranged so the food wouldn’t fall out. After some awkwardness, she was finally gone and Tim and I sat down.

About 20 minutes later, she pops up at the table again. Apparently, she’s been in the bathroom this entire time and now she can’t find her purse. She thinks that she left it at the table, but I know for a fact that she had it when she left. Anyway, she’s drunk and the place is pretty loud, so Tim and I humor her by getting up so she can look underneath the table and around it. I started getting a little nervous, because she’s looking all huffy like we took her purse. Great.

About this time, JT shows up and we begin talking to him as this lady continues to look around the bar for her purse. Waitresses get involved, soon some burly-looking guy is looking around too. They eventually realize that she’s pretty drunk and lose interest. But she’s not going away.

So I finally get up, take her elbow, and ask her to help me retrace her steps between the table and the bathroom. She’s mumbling about how her life was in the purse, yada yada, and she might as well kill herself now. Hello! This is fun!

Nothing in either bathroom, nothing around the bathrooms. I’m thinking, ‘Great. Someone stole this woman’s purse and now I’m going to get stuck paying her cab fare home.’ I’m looking in trash cans, hoping that the guilty party just took the cash and dumped the rest. Then, lo and behold! a waitress parts the seas and she has the purse! The drunky left it on the bar! Nothing’s missing! God bless the Midwest!

She leaves, and I can get on with my vacation.

Tomorrow: My emotional breakdown at IKEA.