Did you hear that? It was the sound of me bashing my own skull against my coffee table. There I was, sipping Bengal Spice tea,...Read More
My Visit To Chicago… So Far
Travel to an unfamiliar place is one of my favorite things! But travel for work never feels like an adventure – instead, it seems like forced isolation, and I always feel quite lonely when the corporate overlords send me to another office for a few days.
But so far, this trip has been pretty low impact, and I get to head home late this afternoon, so I’ve been trying to be (mostly) positive. Here’s quick recap of my experience so far.
Airport/Airplane: The breakfast snack I packed hit the spot: ground lamb with ras el hanout, a sliced cucumber, and a handful of Paleonola. On the plane, I read every word of the new US Weekly fashion issue, then took a nap. On my way out of the airport I bought a salad for lunch, just in case the project mania at the office made people forget to eat, then I walked out the door right to a cab. Thirty minutes later, I was at the Chicago office. Score: Plus (+)
The Chicago Office: I was assigned to a desk by the window – and everyone I met was friendly and grateful I’d come to help with the project. Meetings happened on time, and the work I have to do is totally manageable, not the CrazyTown frenzy I was expecting. Score: Plus (+)
The Hotel: My hotel is just a mile from the office, so when I was free from corporate straits, I walked in the just-sunny-enough mild temperatures. It was fun to be in a city where lots of people are commuting on foot (unlike Austin where almost everyone is in a car. Talking on their mobile.). I saw the Chicago Sun-Times building, which made my hat patter. It’s been heartbreaking to watch newspapers around the country fold, and as much as I love the immediacy of blog publishing, I’ll always be a sucker for the romantic stereotype of a newsroom, buzzing with big headlines and wise-cracking editors. Score: Plus (+)
Dinner: My plan for the evening was this: pajamas, cookbook writing, room service, bed. I was excited to find that the room service at the hotel is supplied by Harry Caray’s Steakhouse. I ordered Italian pork chops. salad with vinaigrette, and spinach with oil and garlic. Score! But when my meal showed up an hour later, I had regular pork chops with applesauce. Disappointed! But the order of pork chops was THREE big chops and the pile of spinach would have fed three people. I washed the containers from my airport breakfast, threw the leftovers in the containers, then packed them with ice in the hotel room ice bucket. Lunch today is solved. (I saw people at the office eating Subway takeout at their desks yesterday, so bringing my packed lunch makes me happy.) Score: Minus(-) that turned into Plus (+)
Sleep: I’ve been underestimating the positive power of my blacked-out bedroom windows at home. I think the average person would say my hotel room was dark, but I was half-awake/half-asleep all night, thanks to the little glowing lights on electronics and street lamps sneaking around the edge of the drapes. In the middle of the night, I put a towel over the clock, but it was too late. My sleep sucked, and I skipped my workout to steal some extra pillow time. Score: Minus (-)
The Shower: It looked promising: one of those dual-head, massaging things, but the water never really got hot enough. Then out of the shower, after I’d dried off, I reached for the itty-bitty, complimentary bottle of moisturizer to soothe my post-flight Sahara-like skin. I blobbed out the creamy stuff, rubbed my hands together, and slapped in all over both of my arms… then I realized it was body wash, not moisturizer. Back into the shower to rinse, dry off, repeat, repeat. Score: Minus (-)
Breakfast: “A complimentary continental breakfast is served on each floor until 9:00 a.m.” according to the brochure in my room. Sadly, it consists of limp-looking fresh fruit, bagels, very fresh-looking pastries (donuts, chocolate croissants), tiny boxes of cereal, and miniature cartons of yogurt.
I can’t bear to go in search of breakfast just now, so I snagged a sad orange that I’m supplementing with pistachios from the hotel room mini bar and one of the pieces of pork chop from last night. This is killin’ me because I know there are amazing restaurants in Chicago, but my in-and-out trip doesn’t allow for culinary adventuring. Score: Minus (-) (Although I just cracked open the orange, and it’s really sweet and juicy, so the minus is a little less negative.)
The Weather for my walk: The predicted high today is 75 – positively chilly compare to Austin’s 101. I’m wearing a sweater for my walk to the Chicago office (!) along with my newly-soled favorite boots and new fuchsia fishnet tights. Score: Plus (+)
So there you have it: overall score is a Minus (-), but that’s mostly because I’m being pouty this morning. The salted pistachios taste pretty good! Hope you the score for your day is mostly Plus(+).
UPDATE 9:45 a.m.: The walk was as pleasant as predicted. Halfway to the office, I thought, “Something smells like cookies…” It’s the Blommer Chocolate Company, making the air outside smell like the inside of a bakery.
UPDATE 12:19 p.m.: I’m on my third and final serving of pork chops and spinach from Harry Caray’s. Enthusiasm for this food is completely gone. Some of my Chicago co-workers went out for food and promised to bring a salad back for me, as I an quasi-chained to my desk until my 3:30 p.m. departure. It is entirely possible eat paleo while traveling, but it’s not always the best dining experience nor is it always what I want to eat. No matter how many times I examine the stuff in the office vending machine, nothing edible appears. I’m really looking forward to my own bed and my own fridge tonight.