Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Robin cashed-in her Christmas present on Sunday and Monday this week. On Christmas morning she opened her gift box to find a gift certificate to the American Girl store in Chicago and a "coupon" good for one free weekend in Chicago with Dad.

Robin has one American Girl doll she calls Riley. Isn't it wrong that a new outfit for a doll costs more than a new outfit for the little girl who owns it? I'm assuming that most of you reading this blog have never set foot in an American Girl store and possibly have no idea what "American Girl" actually is. Dolls. Dolls that every little girl between the ages of 5 and 14 think they need to collect. Dolls that cost upwards of $100.00 each. Dolls who have their own store that little girls and their mothers flock to in order to dispense of fist-fulls of cash on new outfits, hair styling and medical attention... FOR THE DOLL! Oh, and lunch or dinner if you get hungry and have an extra pocket stuffed with cash that is just burning a hole. I've never seen anything like it. I had to go find an out-of-the-way bench to sit on in an effort to stay out of the way of the the zombie-like mothers and daughters pushing their way through the crowds to get to the checkout lines with their arms full of boxes.

...anyway, I survived that and the rest of our trip was fantastic!

We arrived in Chicago at about 11:00am Sunday morning via I-290/Congress Parkway. We headed straight for North Michigan Ave to find parking, have a quick lunch and begin our shopping spree. After a yummy lunch at Big Bowl on East Ohio St. We headed for the American Girl store. After spending more than enough time there (for Dad) we hit a few more stores and then decided we should go check into our hotel. We walked about 6 blocks to East Wacker Dr where we checked into the hotel. We were upgraded to a suite without even asking. I guess because it was a Sunday and they had the extra rooms available. Whatever the reason, it was a very pleasant surprise. We settled in, unpacked our things and rested for a bit before heading out to dinner. It had already been a long day with the 3 1/2 hour drive and then shopping the Magnificent Mile.

1492 Tapas Bar was the destination for dinner. Robin is always eager to try new things to eat, unlike her brother who won't think of touching food that he's never heard of. We had a fantastic dinner and after a stop at Starbucks for a nightcap, we got back to the hotel around 10:00pm to rest up for the next day of shopping and sightseeing.

On Monday we did a little more shopping and then headed for Millennium Park to do some ice skating. We got there, took a few pictures and headed over to the ice rink only to find that we were 1 day late. Sunday had been the last day that the ice skating rink was open for the season. Robin was disappointed for a minute until I turned around and noticed the Sears Tower looming in the distance. "Robin, since we can't ice skate today, how about heading to the 103rd floor of the Sears tower"? She instantly forgot about the ice skating and said "really? Yeah"! So off we headed down Jackson St. The views were great because of the nice, clear day. By the time we reached ground level again, it was getting on in the afternoon so we decided to, once again say goodbye to Chicago and headed toward home. I know Robin really enjoyed her weekend. I lost count of how many times she thanked me in the car on the way home.

I'd like to take my son, Jeremy somewhere this summer but I'm having a really hard time trying to come up with a trip that he would enjoy with Dad. Where the heck do you take a 14 year old that he would enjoy going to with his Dad? I suppose, at that age it's just not cool to hang with your Dad anymore.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

SCRATCH -N-DENT...'cept no dent...yet

It's been 2 years and one month. I got my baby brand new. I've kept her clean, oil changed regularly, tires inflated to the exact PSI, fluid levels full and always garaged. Yes, I admit, I drive like an asshole at times, but I know she likes that. She loves the excitemnet of getting me to work on time when I've spent a little too much time blogging in the morning before leaving the house. I truly believe the love affair is mutual. She's sleek, shiny, handles like a true German machine and loves to pretend she's back home on the autobahn, cruising with her sunroof open and CD player blasting something with a colorful dance beat on a hot, sunny summer day.

Ok, she's only a Jetta, but she has great aspirations for when she grows up.

With it being obvious how I feel about her, you can just imagine how I felt when I walked up to get in during my lunch break one day two weeks ago and saw the scratch. Someone had keyed my baby! I can't be sure, but I'm almost positive that it happened in the parking lot at work. This actually made me feel even think that someone I work with may have done this. It almost had to be someone who works there because the parking lot is very remote from any streets. She was parked in a lot that only employees park in and there would never be anyone just walking by. it's just too far from anything else and right next to the building. With over 200 people employeed where I work, there are many I don't know who work on the factory floor, and likely don't know me. For now I prefer to believe it was one of them. As far as I know, I have no enemies at all, at work or otherwise. I just don't want to believe it could have been someone who knows me.

I felt sick. The scratch starts at the front fender, inches from the headlight and goes all the way to the back fender and ends just above the tire. This was obviously intentional. There is even a break in the scratch where the sideview mirror sticks out. Then it starts again on the door and continues back.

I know she can be fixed but at a cost to me. In an effort to keep my insurance rates low, I set my deductible at $500.00 when I took out the policy. The repair estimate came in at $1200.00! Her entire driver's side has to be repainted for the job to be done right. I owe her that much, don't I? She's been so good to me. I know she feels scarred and ugly when she goes out now. I'm sure other cars...newer ones, probably look at her and sneer now. "She's damaged goods, showing her age." I'm sure that's what they are saying as she rolls past them. Bitches.

This will not make me love her any less. In fact, to try and help cheer her up, I'll be taking her to Chicago this weekend. My 10 year old daughter, Robin and I have had a "daddy/daughter" weekend in Chicago planned since Christmas. So, Friday after work I'm treating Jetta to a new set of tires and on Sunday morning she and I and Robin are hitting the freeway and not stopping till we see the beautiful Chicago skyline ahead. By then, I'm sure I'll be ready for another Starbucks and we'll both need to use the potty.

See you all when we return!