Escape from the Law College. Ok, it's a family vacation in Chicago, but it's three days of not-the-pit. For many of you, family vacation conjures idllyic images of picnic baskets and campgrounds, playing "I Spy" in the car and going to see national landmarks in good weather, and playing board games in bad weather.
You've obviously never been on vacation with my family.
While it's true that we ocassionally escape to a lake house with a boat to do water-sport type things, the overwhelming theme of most of our family vacations revolve around food and booze. Hell, we even go wine-tasting up at the lake. As D said to A.J. when he said I should go see the bats take off in Austin "I know my sister, if they're not serving wine at the end, she's not going."
I was up at the ass-crack of dawn, arrived at my gate, and started slogging through some law review stuff (I know, I'm lame) just in time to see some guy have a mantrum because his flight had switched gates and he didn't know where the new one was. He full on calls Northwest to bitch because the woman at our gate told him where the new gate was. He told her she had attitude. I told him he was an asshole (yes, of course I actually told him that). I touched down in Chicago early on Friday morning. I thought about maybe getting breakfast or something, since I'd been up since 5 and it was now 8 local time. Ha. Jabba (my father) wants to go directly to the museum, without passing "Go" or collecting $200, or even a blueberry muffin.
He's a man who frequently types up itineraries for two day trips, Jabba. I cannot tell you how disconcerting it was that he had no specific plan for this little jaunt. And yet, our schedule was not flexible enough to allow for me to eat something before going to the museum. Whatever. I got to see "Sue" and mummies and shit, which made me happy. But, note to the Field Museum: way to hate on the Native American Exhibit. Every other exhibit in yo damn building is all multi-media and has nice pictures interwoven with themed-display cases and video and nice lighting. Meanwhile, you clearly haven't done a damn thing with the Native American exhibit since the 70s when pinning a headdress and a blanket to blank walls was the height of presentation. Fail. I judge you. I even judge you after eating which means you truly have failed.
Once we considered ourselves appropriately cultured for the day, we went shopping. D did not accompany us on this trip, because she was in Toronto, where unbeknownst to her, but knownst to all of us, A.J. was going to pop the question. Thus, I had no female shopping buddy before the arrival of my youngest sister and my stepmother. And also, there was no one to be as annoyed as I was about what happened at Nordstrom's. I'm walking through the cosmetics area, because there are a few items I wish to purchase. A lady with a sample comes up to me and asks if I'd like to test her moisturizer. "Sure." I reply, it smells nice, and hey, it's a freebie. I reproduce our exchange for your benefit:
"So, do you use moisturizer in your daily routine?"
"Um, yeeeeees" (Does it look like I don't?)
"Which moisturizer do you use"
"Clinique three-step, oil-free"
"Oh, well, you might want to make the switch to this. Clinique doesn't have any anti-aging agents in it. This does, and it's time for you to step it up."
FUCK. YOU. BITCH. I do not require anti-aging agents, and I do not need to have my skin/age insulted by some botoxed teenager who weighs twelve pounds. And if you want me to buy your fucking 80 dollar face cream, telling me my skin looks old is not the way to do it. And it's a lie. I may have a lot of faults, but bad skin ain't one of em. Hooker.
It's not too long after this that we decide to go get a glass of wine while waiting on Kentucky Derby and Barely Legal. I notice that I have a voicemail. It's from D. It says "Hey Lola, it's D call me back, I have something to tell you!" I assume this is the "I'm engaged!!!!" phone call. But, knowing D, I decide to play it safe. It's just as likely that the important information is that Miller Lite cans come with French writing on them in Canada or something.
"Soooo, you have something to tell me?"
"Yeah, I got an interview at Younker's for seasonal help!! Isn't that hilarious? Becky (K.D.'s sister) works there!"
My face. It is dead pan. What. the. fuck. That is her big news. *facepalm.*
Dinner was at Fogo de Chao, a Brazillian steakhouse that I totally recommend. You have a coaster that is green on one side, red on the other. Brazillian men in tight pants bring around skewers of meat. If you want some, you flip your card to green. The meat was fantastic. As was the Caipirina I downed with dinner. Hadn't had one of those since I lived in Ecuador. It was as tasty and as potent as I remembered.
Which brings me to my after-dinner activities. Full and oddly turned on, I left the restaurant to meet Shanna, one of my college roomates for a drink (Jabba insisted on "making sure I got in" to the bar. Because I am clearly 14 and going on my first date or something). We drink a couple of $10 martinis and then decide that it's time to get a cheap beer and call it a night (yeah, it's before 10). There is a huge line at Howl at the Moon, so we decide to have our beer at the bar in my hotel. Oh, baby. We knows how to live.
Except, we didn't have beer. We split a bottle of champagne. And made the acquaintance of very nice guy who was in town on business and (I couldn't help but notice) very hot. So much for turning in after the beer. Shanna and I regaled him (or scared the shit out of him) with tales of our friends from college and the correct usage of a dental dam. I remarked that this is probably not what normaly girls talk about when he first meets them. He agreed and I replied "Well, you haven't met Shanna and I." In true classy fashion, we decide that the best way to end the night is not to go out, but to go to the 7-11 across the street, get cheap champagne and beer and have a hotel party. Shanna, none-too-quietly tells me that she is trying to get me laid, which I appreciate. I just don't appreciate it at that volume. Hotel Hottie, showing prescience (and an instant read on Shanna and I) orders Advil and has it sent up to his room. Shanna keeps "secretly" asking when she can leave, so I can get busy (she does this by texting me).
Meanwhile, I am getting text messages on K.D.s phone (mine was dead) from "Badmitton Billy." I have NO earthly idea who that is, and I don't want to know about my stepmother's texting friends and how they may have earned that nickname. Badmitton Billy seems concerned about K.D.s wherabouts. And that's when I look at the calllback number. It's my father. Now I really don't want to think about where he got his nickname (I found out. It's boring. I will leave it to imagination. It's better that way).
4 a.m. Chicago time. I wake up. In Hotel Hottie's room. Normally, I would just enjoy this and maybe wake him up. Today, I am dimly aware of the fact that I am sharing a hotel room with my family. Epic fail. Hotel Hottie snags my number and I sneak in like a teenager after curfew. I really, truly, feel like I'm 16, sneaking in after fooling around with a boy. I somehow avoided waking anyone.
It was the next morning that I got the text from Hotel Hottie, asking me to come back. It's just as well. I apologize for missing his message and he suggests drinks. Which throws me, because I honestly thought I'd never hear from him again.
We're at the aquarium when we all notice missed calls. From D. Barely Legal gets there first. I'll be damned if she gets the announcement before I do. I can hear D ask if I'm around and then for B.L. to put the phone on speaker. Aaaaaaaaaand she's engaged! And A.J. dropped the ring! (I could hear him in the background saying "Come ON!") And we all knew about it and no one blew it. Shocking, I know.
I take stock. While D's being all lovey-dovey engaged in Canda, I am sharing a double bed with my 17 year old sister. Clearly, I must needs have another fantastic night to prove my fabulousness.
Ask, and ye shall receive. I meet up with Emily, for a cocktail party for her doctorate program. This turned out to be lame and we got harrassed by a man on a rickshaw. So, back to my lobby bar we go. No champagne today. Jack Daniels on the rocks for her, and Grey Goose on the rocks for me. Which is how Hotel Hottie finds us after his conference. Emily, God bless her, ducks out shortly after this to meet up with other friends.
Which finds us at the local dive sports bar, heckling the men playing the boxing game. This was truly entertaining. One man, slightly smaller than his buddy, was getting really upset every time his score was beaten, yet, he had to keep his cool for the sake of his female companion. This led to Hotel Hottie and I making up dialogue. Also, a ranking system for how friendly you can be to someone based on their score at boxing. At this point, we "remember" that we never drank the beer from the night before and retire to his room to drink it. Yeah, we got like, three sips in apiece. I don't know how many people go on family vacation and sleeps with the sexy stranger from the hotel bar, but let me tell you: if you haven't tried it, you should. It's weekends like these that remind me how great it can be to be single. Even though he teased me for having to sneak into my shared room like I'm coming home from prom.
Which is what I'm telling the fabulous Amie the next morning over breakfast. She laughs and tells me that her friend, a new reader, has summed me up: "she's funny, but kinda slutty." She's got me there. A girl's gotta have fun, right?
D asks me how the trip was "Well, while you were getting engaged in Toronto, I was getting drunk and lucky in Chicago."
You do things your way baby girl, and I'll do things mine.