Tuesday, April 12 2022

the best weekend ever 1

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Tuesday.

It's good to be back writing. I missed you all, especially since I took off a little early for Marissa's birthday weekend. On Thursday morning, I had every intention of getting at least one more entry out. But I just went for a long walk around the neighborhood instead. Between looking for a house, packing our stuff, and keeping up with work, my brain felt like a dried up sponge, and I knew there was little hope of squeezing out anything interesting enough to write about. Writing is a great way to wake up in the morning, but so is taking a long, aimless walk around the neighborhood by yourself.

I think I just needed a vacation. I know that, because I just came back from vacation. Marissa and I spent the weekend in Chicago, and we're ready to unanimously call this the best weekend ever. It's going to take a while to unpack, so I would grab a cup of coffee.

Sip. Just a few days before out trip, a new house listing popped up in our MLS alerts. Taking a break from packing our stuff, we crouched in front of the computer to click through the image gallery. We loved the location, but for the house itself it wasn't love at first sight, and I blame the dodgy craft of Realestate photography. Wide angle photos can make average houses seem better, but they can also make amazing houses seem average. Even though we couldn't get a sense of the flow and layout of the house, we couldn't deny it was worth a visit.

After dropping the dogs off in Rockford, we made a detour through Schaumburg. We cruised through the town square, passing the town library and a Lou Malnati's pizzeria. We turned onto a quiet street that intersected the neighborhood. Suddenly, the house we studied in photos stood before us in plain view in the middle of an ideallic cul-de-sac. I gasped. For all the prep work I did, I don't think I realized it was on a cul-de-sac.

Our realtor Jamie parked beside us. That was the first time we met in person, but after all the long talks we've had on the phone, we felt like we were way past introductions. I grabbed my phone out of my pocket and held it up to take a picture. Rodney bolted in front of me and threw his arms in the air. A classic photo bomb.

Jamie let us in through the front door. We thoughtfully stepped through each room. Unlike our other house visits, Marissa's "predator vision" wasn't honing in on mold, water damage, and other painted over homeowner sins. The house was immaculate. Every pipe, cable, and appliance was neatly groomed in its place. And unlike the story told by the online photo gallery, every room flowed naturally into the next. An inviting breakfast bar opened up into a well lit kitchen. A cozy hallway led into a sunken living room with a vaulted ceiling. The backyard was enormous - it just kept going in every direction I looked.

You know you've fallen for a house when you stop looking for problems and start imagining things around you. I imagined I was plating hot breakfast for Miles and Rodney at the bar. I could see our dogs tearing around the backyard with their tongues hanging out. I could see Marissa disappearing into her art studio down the hall.

Things happened pretty quickly after that. We practically bought a house on the drive from Schaumburg to Geneva. By the time we arrived at my parents' house, we barely had time to greet them, and we hurried past them to the computer to finish getting in our offer. An hour later, they accepted our offer. Without hesitation, my dad uncorked a bottle of wine.

The next morning, Marissa and I took the train into the city. We took a long stroll along the river, and we were undoubtedly beaming with that obnoxious we just bought a house glow. Our cup was overflowing, despite the fact that our vacation had barely started.


We had a lot of eating to get too. Our first stop was at a place called The Dearborn. The comfortable, dark leather chairs and sharp decor transported us back to the fifties, only without all the cigarette smoke. A waiter sidled up to our table. "So where are ya'll from?" he asked.

Marissa and I fumbled over our answer. "Well, I guess now we're from here," laughed Marissa.

The waiter brought out a vegetable quiche. A small thing, but I felt proud of the very mature choice to open up the meal with such a mature selection. I could have inhaled a muffin or wolfed down a stack of hot pancakes. But don't let the little pile of fresh arugala fool you - even a vegetable quiche can be pretty decadent. Even a vegetable quiche can hide a lot of fat and flavor too.


The quiche was delicious, but it was time to crank up the gluttony. We stepped things up with a square cut tavern breakfast pizza with ham and goat cheese.


Still chewing my first slice, the waiter set down a plate full of beignets in front of me. They were piping hot - the powdered sugar coating was already melting into a sugary glaze. I paid the ultimate sacrifice to get this picture, burning the tips of my fingers with hot sugar and steam.


Full stomachs, we trudged back to the hotel. Before collapsing into bed and lapsing into a food coma, I flung open the balcony door to get a quick snapshot of the best city in the world.


Balconies like this remind me that I am sort of scared of heights.

That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Have a good Tuesday.