A winter weekend with the girlie

January 11, 2009 at 11:51 pm (Dating and Girls)

Had a pretty fun weekend.
Yesterday/Saturday we took the trip into Chicago to go to the Field Museum.
The last time I went to downtown Chicago to see one of the attractions there it was to go to the Shedd Aquarium, which itself was fine (if overpriced), but the drive was an absolute nightmare.
So, this time, I decided that if I was actually going to enjoy my day, public transportation would have to become involved.
Thus, the day began with driving an hour to a town a little ways out (through so much snow that LabGirl made the comment that it might be considered stupid) where we could catch the Metra commuter train.

The train took another two hours to get downtown, but that was probably much quicker than it would have taken to drive through the snow, and it was completely stress-free – you can just kick back, read a magazine, listen to tunes, or whatever.
From the train station we then bussed our way to the museum, which took maybe another 20 minutes or so.

Although most of the time it’d take a bit longer, I think I’m liking the public transport method of getting to and around Chicago. It’s not hard to do so long as you pre-plan and have an idea where you’re going (and, in the case of the bus, the driver actually suggested a much better route than I had originally planned by transferring to another bus that it crossed paths with that stops right in front of the museum), there were scant few if any scary people on them, you don’t have to stress out in Chicago traffic, and it’s probably cheaper to boot. I pre-bought a couple of 1-day bus passes (gives you unlimited rides for the day) online which were I think $5.75 each, and round-trip weekend train tickets were $5 a pop. Getting to the train station cost me maybe $5 in gas (if that) and $1.50 to park for the day. In comparison to driving which takes almost as long, forces you to deal with seriously insane traffic, burn through probably 3/4 or more of a tank of gas to get there and back, plus nearly $20 just to park the dang car once you get to the museum park. About the only part I didn’t like was that in the late afternoon when we decided we were ready to go home, there weren’t any trains going back our way for another hour and a half, so we got to sit around bored in the train station for all that time waiting on it. If it was a nicer time of year we probably would have just gone out and explored some of the nearby shopping or something, but yesterday the weather was just too crappy to stay out in it for very long.

The Field Museum is pretty impressive as far as museums go – it’s a hugemungous natural history museum with gigantic displays of animals from around the world, the evolution of life though various stages of the Earth’s development, displays about geology and stones (including a room devoted to the rare sparkly kinds and another room dedicated to jade, which showed some truly amazing artistry applied to it) and a display devoted to meteorites which was pretty darned cool too. There was also areas covering the cultures of the ancient Americas and Africa, and I believe there was also a display about Egypt although we somehow missed it.
It wasn’t what I’d go so far as to say was a fun place to go, but it was definitely interesting and worthy of spending a day around.

We got home later that night, exhausted, and it didn’t take long for us to fall asleep.

This morning I decided to be all nice and help her shovel her driveway – the thing is huge (the garage is well behind her house and the driveway extends all the way out to the street out front) and she hasn’t yet invested in a snow blower (or thrower I guess is the official term now?) but she did have two shovels, so I figured she could use the help considering the probably 6-8″ of snow we got over the weekend – you should see drag marks where the underside of my car plowed through it the night before.
It was exhausting work, and afterwords we decided to unwind by going to Aldeen Park to try out the sleds that have been in the trunk of my car since like early November.
Unfortunately I couldn’t find any photos, but this park is great for sledding – it has a HUGE steep hill which during the thaw season actually serves as a dam, making the park into a sort of make-shift reservior. LabGirl was actually scared to go up on the thing πŸ˜‰ I talked her into it once, but then we spent the rest of our time sledding on the tamer hills, probably giving it an hour or so before deciding the cold was getting to us and we needed to go. LabGirl hadn’t been on a sled since she was a little kid, and I have to say, she seemed to have a blast. πŸ™‚
We went back home and warmed up with some hot cocoa and a blanket while we watched a movie, ending another fine weekend together.

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