I realize that I failed in my mission to bring you All Hoff, All Week, but circumstances beyond my control (*cough* Amtrak *cough*) destroyed my dreams of a Wednesday Hoff post.
Enter now my nightmare.
Mr. Jen’s mother, hereby referred to as MIL, had taken the train to Texas for a wedding. Amtrak’s screwy schedule, however, planned to leave her stranded in Chicago for several hours before her connecting train. Mr. Jen would then have been forced to pick her up from the local station at 11pm. “Well,” thought Mr. Jen, with his usual stroke of genius, “Why not make a family day of it? We’ll take Jen Jr. out of school and head to Chitown. If we get there early enough, we’ll be able to take in the aquarium before picking mom up at Union Station. Her train comes in at 2:15, so we’ll be well out of the city before rush hour!”
Great idea, in theory. The reality of this plan was something altogether more horrific.
Driving to our destination went off relatively hitch-less. Except for the part that went something like this:
Mr. Jen: How many Great Lakes are there?
Mr. Jen: I thought there were only four.
Jen: No, there are five. HOMES, remember? Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.
Mr. Jen: Where the heck is Huron?
Jen: I have no idea.
Mr. Jen: Look in the glove box. There’s bound to be a Michigan map in there somewhere, right?
Jen: Okay… [Screaming. Lots of screaming]
Mr. Jen: What?!
Jen: WHY IS THIS IN HERE?! [holds up hand to reveal finger, impaled through the tip by the biggest GD fishhook she’s ever seen in her life]
Other than the bizarre non-fishing related fishing hook accident, everything went pretty well. The aquarium was fun. I saw a Komodo Dragon. Until this year, I’d never actually seen one. Then, I see two in one year. Whatever. And I could watch the sharks all day.
At the aquarium, we get a call. “The train is delayed. It’ll be in at 3:45.” Great, more time at the aquarium!
We leave the aquarium, full of awe at nature’s creature and also hungry for sushi. I gaze wistfully at the art institute– this is the third time in a year that I have been in the city without visiting Un Dimanche Apres-Midi a Ille de La Grande Jatte– but my mission was clear. By now, MIL was chugging into the station. It is also, unfortunately, almost four o’clock and Union Station is teeming with people. We struggle to find a parking spot and haul rear for the Amtrak terminal. Once there, we found that the train was delayed again. Until 5:45.
Have you ever been to Chicago? Have you ever been to Union Station? You know that scene in that movie with the staircase and the shooting and the baby carriage? Yeah, that kind of exciting stuff doesn’t happen. It’s boring. Especially for a child. Especially for my child.
We ended up at a diner. We made that last until 5:45. We went back to Union Station . The train was delayed. You see the theme.
Long story short, the train came at 9. Seven hours later.
By then, full scale blizzard. We bunked down in Portage, Indiana, at the Days Inn that time forgot, where I prayed all night that we wouldn’t be killed by The Hills Have Eyes-esque mutants, and made it home the next day.
That is why there was no Hoff yesterday, or today. Tomorrow, Hofftacular Spectacular will resume, with much gusto.
Now, off to sleep, and never visit Chicago again.