Monday, July 14, 2008

Desperate Measures

Instead of paying over $200 to an expediting service for J's passport, we made a crazy decision on Saturday to just go ahead and drive to Chicago to renew the passport in person on Monday morning. The gas to do this has cost less than the fee from an expediting service, and we stayed at our hotel last night with "points" because J travels quite a bit for work and stays at enough hotels that he generally has plenty of free nights for things like this. It feels good to be driving home knowing that it was worth it...the passport situation is taken care of.

I'm typing this on his laptop in the car as we listen to the third Harry Potter book (Prison of Azkaban) on mp3. We've already read them all, but it's fun to listen to the audio versions read by a Brit. I love the cellular internet card J has for his laptop; it's how I wrote my very first posts on this blog back in March as I was sitting in the lovely courtyard of the W French Quarter. We stayed at the W Chicago City Center last night and, while we generally love W hotels, this one was the least impressive we've been to. Because J has platinum status with Starwood, we got a suite, but it was really just two regular rooms and one of them had a couch instead of a bed. The bed seemed small (I swear it was a full, though J says I'm crazy and it was a queen) and the couch in the other room was terrible. The cushions were the type that sink into the frame when you sit. The lobby was nice, however, and the concierge recommended a place for dinner that ended up being fabulous. It is called Avec and we had a nice bottle of rose and a couple of small plates. If you go there, get the stuffed dates. I know, it sounds strange, but we were seated at the bar right by the kitchen and were watching the chefs prepare the food (that has a whole new meaning now that we are Hell's Kitchen and Top Chef fans) and everything looked so good that we asked a chef what we should order and she suggested the dates. They are stuffed with chorizo sausage, wrapped in bacon and baked in a wood burning oven. Amazing. I never would have ordered such a thing otherwise, but they are fabulous. J had their chicken sausage with greens, cilantro and green goddess dressing. Also delicious.

Why did we only have small plates? Because earlier we were at D.O.C. wine bar and ate some fancy cheeses, dried meats and bruschetta while we tried six lovely red wines there. The wine bar is co-owned by the son of a colleague of mine and it was only a couple of miles from the hotel. Both D.O.C. and Avec had great atmosphere (something that matters a lot to me) and very friendly, competent staff. Overall, a great way to start our anniversary celebrations. This morning, J went to renew his passport and I walked from the hotel to the lake and enjoyed all the sun, breeze, gardens, fountains and people-watching to be had on a Monday morning in summer.

The passport official J spoke to will be putting his new passport in a FedEx envelope this afternoon and he should get it tomorrow, so our Mexico trip is on! Now that the passport situation is resolved, I'll brag a bit more about what we're doing next week. We're flying into Merida, Mexico on Friday and staying overnight there before renting a car and driving to Hacienda Puerta Campeche for a couple of days and then to Hacienda Santa Rosa for a few more days, before returning to Merida and flying home the following Friday. While we are in Mexico, we'll be taking day trips to places like Chichen Itza and Izamal, eating way too much and lounging by the pool (because it's going to be hot).

It's been a week now since our tragedy, and this morning when the garbage truck came to our house it took away with it, along with all of our other garbage, such items as M & T's home study, sonogram pictures of Clio, photos of Lucy that I had developed the day after she was born, the mini DV tape of her birth (I know, I should have just erased it, but I was too upset to care when I threw it away) and baby shower cards. Our house still contains plenty of baby items, but Lucy is fast being erased from our lives. I don't know how I feel about that right now. I haven't yet dealt with the scrapbook pages I worked on for the sonograms and my baby showers, and our computers still have photos of Lucy saved on them, but soon those too will go. It's just too hard to open up "My Pictures" and know that the folders titled "Baby Showers" and "Clio" and "Nursery" are lurking in the corner of my eye, waiting to rub my wound raw again.

I considered renaming the blog, but in the end, "Clio " still has positive connotations for me. While I was calling her Clio, things were hopeful and happy. It's "Lucy" that makes my heart hurt. So, we'll keep Clio for now.


  1. I'm so glad you are going on this trip. Wishing you a wonderful time.

  2. I too hope you have a great time on your trip!


  3. Enjoy Mexico! Glad you're having a great time in Chicago too. Drink some wine for me. :-)

  4. I'm so glad everything worked out passport-wise for the trip! Woohooo!! Your description of what lies ahead sounds Wonderful!

  5. I LOVE the Harry Potter audiobooks! I have all of them, purchased for very little money on eBay. I just wish I could use them in my classroom... the kids would love them, but it probably won't make some parents happy.

    Have a wonderful time!

  6. I'm sorry for your pain...Hope your trip helps keep your mind off it.


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