Here's a rundown of what we did: arrived Saturday in some rain, missed 90/94 and came in through the south side in town. Our hotel was the Hyatt Regency next to where Ft Dearborn once stood. We put our bags in the room, noticed the rain had stopped, and went looking for a place to eat. While doing so we found Millennium Park, which had stuff going on for kids all week in addition to its permanent attractions: a neato chrome sculpture and two spectacular fountains kids can play in.
Sunday we went to Holy Name Cathedral, very lovely, but we had to sprint back to the hotel because Brian had to shepherd a bunch of clients to a ball game. Victoria and I went back to the park and made hats, blew bubbles, painted faces, hung out at the fountain, and listened to The Wild Leopardz. Brian returned and we had dinner with him and two coworkers at a fancy fish place.
Monday Victoria and I rode the double-decker bus on two tours, one was "downtown" and the other "ethnic neighborhoods". We also visited the Field Museum (with Sue the T. rex) and the Navy Pier. The Pier has a bunch of rides but they are all expensive so I said no to everything. That night the conference had a big reception at the history museum so we ate there and talked to some people and checked out the museum.
Tuesday we first set out to redeem our coupons from the bus tour. We went to the Garrett's popcorn place near Daley Center and ate cheddar & caramel mix popcorn while looking at the Thailand exhibit booths on the plaza. Then we walked up to the Hershey's store and got our candy bars. They also had a gimmicky candy factory thing set up where kids spin wheels and light lights and some noises happen and then a bucket is filled with candy. Then some adult--in this case, me--pays $10. Then I had to carry a bucket of kisses around for the rest of this hot day. We looked at a farmer's market, visited the Museum of Contemporary Art, found a couple of playgrounds, then ducked under Lake Shore Dr to walk down the bike path to the Navy Pier. Since we have a COSI membership, entrance to the children's museum there was free. We stayed until they closed; most of the activities were perfect for Victoria. On the way back, we stopped at a theater and watched Shrek III while eating a lot more popcorn. Back at the hotel, Victoria ate a bunch of the kisses and went to sleep. I did, too. Brian came in very late and went to sleep. Then Victoria said she didn't feel good and climbed next to me and after a brief pause threw up on my shirt and my hair. That was disgusting, in case you were wondering. We showered, rolled everything yucky inside a sheet, and went back to sleep.
Wednesday morning she was right as rain. We spent a couple of hours at the beach and as noon approached we went looking for some shade. We just walked around looking at stuff until Brian called to say his meeting was over. We were leaving that hotel, but he came with us as we returned to the beach for a few more hours. Then we walked back to the hotel and retrieved our car to drive to our second hotel, which wasn't very far away. It was a couple of blocks west of the opera house. Victoria and I washed up and we all went out for dinner.
Thursday morning we eventually got on the right bus going the right direction and ended up at Navy Pier. We rented bikes and rode along the lake for half the day, then went back to the beach until it started to get dark and colder.
Friday Brian and Victoria went to Millennium Park and I went shopping. I had seen a Lush store and thought I needed something there, but I couldn't make myself pay that much for soap and left empty-handed. I was having fun looking around stores without my sidekick, though. When Brian called to say they were done at the park and were heading for the pool, I said I'd meet them there but I did not promise to do it at breakneck speed. I finished browsing through Filene's Basement and went to Borders to use up a gift card I've been carrying since two birthdays ago. I found them at the pool, watched Victoria for an hour or so, and then we started driving back to Columbus.
I have this curious coincidence to report. One of the books I picked up was Paul Auster's The Brooklyn Follies. Early on, the protagonist describes his project:
"I called it The Book of Human Folly, and in it I was planning to set down in the simplest, clearest language possible an account of every blunder, every pratfall, every embarrassment, every idiocy, every foible, and every inane act I had committed during my long and checkered career as a man."
I read this in the early afternoon and before the sun had begun to set Brian had come up with a breathtakingly bad marketing idea based on his hatred of dogs and cats. He is certain that a significant population of online consumers share his views. It was a very funny ride home, I assure you.