Thursday, June 17, 2010

Not So Much

I know I've talked a lot about things I miss from home in these posts- to the point where even I didn't realize there were things I DON'T miss. Well, a recent trip to Chicago* made me aware that there are definitely things, outside of the obvious (weather, etc.), I don't miss! Who knew?

- Sales Tax: I kind of forgot that sales tax exists to be honest. If a soda is $1.49, it's a $1.49 down here. On the other hand, I bought a Sprite Zero in the Newark Airport that was advertised as $1.89 and cost me $2.04. Not a big deal but kind of annoying as I had $2.00 in my hand! It's very nice to not have to add that extra percentage to whatever I buy. Kind of makes paying ridiculous prices from groceries a little bit better.

- Grafitti: Strange, I know, but true. As I was riding the 'L' from O'Hare to Becky's place I seem to have forgotten how much tagging goes on in Chicago. There were colorful marks EVERYWHERE! Granted, some of the tags aren't that bad- almost pretty- but, for the most part, they suck. I forgot how many times we called 311 to have our building sandblasted. As I stood at the bus stop the following day, the city workers were cleaning tags off the structure. I can only recall seeing one tag down here on island and I just noticed it recently. I hope that it stays the only one!

- Paying for Parking: Ugh. I didn't even have a car but seeing those little payboxes everywhere made me remember how much the City of Chicago screws car owners. Places that previously didn't even have meters now have payboxes at them and that's just the beginning. The other day I got to delete my email from the city reminding me that my City Sticker is coming due. What a racket. You mean you want me to pay $100/year to have the 'right' to then pay a paybox or garage? Oh- if I can FIND a spot? And if we had lived in a residential zoned area then we'd have to pay even more for the right to park in front of our own house. That's larceny and I don't miss it!

- Drink Prices: Yikes! I forgot how much drinks cost! It's sad the Illinois law states that if you serve a drink at a certain price during the day it has to sell at that price all day because happy hour is a wonderful thing! Especially places that have all day or late night happy hours! Cheers!(Thank god we don't live in Alaska where friends who worked there last summer said if you charge a price on a day it has to be that price all week!)

- Lack of Bud Light: While I may miss draft beer I don't miss it enough to be forced to drink Miller products. (I'm exempting Coors Light here b/c it's not that bad) I still remember to this day one of my first nights out in Chicago, at Hye Bar, asking for a Bud Light and being told they don't serve AB products. As a native St. Louisan that is basically blasphemy and I was floored! I kind of felt that way again when I tried to order a Bud Light and got shot down. The Southern doesn't even serve Coors Light though and I was forced to drink Miller Light :( Although I do admit the Vortex bottle isn't half bad.

Wrigleyville: Maybe I just hit it on a bad day but it made me feel very, very old. Granted, I'm guessing my soberness did not help my impression. Most everyone in Wrigleyville for the Cubs/Sox game had come directly from the Blackhawks parade and was HAMMERED. Maybe I'm a fairweather Wrigleyville fan and only like it on Cards/Cubs game days? I don't know. All I do know is I wanted out and I never thought I'd be saying that.

McDonalds: True, we have McDonalds on the island but I haven't had it since before we moved. That's 7 months with no golden arches meals. I passed plenty in the airport and in the Chi but never felt the urge to go see if I like it. I think part of it is I want to see how long I can live without it. I mean, I've made it 7 months- I don't think I've ever gone this long without it before- do I ever really need it again? At least until we have kids that can be bribed with Happy Meals I mean.

Extreme Temperature Changes: It was 88 and humid (I heard the Cubs announcer say it was 'oppressive heat' and laughed because I thought it was quite pleasant!) on Friday but Saturday it was rainy and 60. Luckily I packed a pair of jeans and had a hoodie! I don't miss the days of using the AC and the heat in same day!!

While I did discover these things that I don't miss, some of the conveniences I do were made more obvious. My showers were amazing. I'd say they worth the price of my ticket... well, almost. It was very nice to have hot water, pressure and not have to turn it off and on! It was nice to have central air and be able to blow dry my hair without sweating AND to wear my hair down!

One thing that I found odd is I didn't feel as if Chicago is home anymore :( I guess not having a house there is a big part of it and we have a bunch of friends who have moved or are in the process of moving out of Chicago. It was a weird feeling and I don't know how I feel about it. It makes me wonder if I'll feel like St. Louis is home when we visit this summer or if the VI is home home. Things that make you go hmmm....

*Disclaimer: This was a very last minute (as in booked Tuesday and left Thursday) and very quick (as in got in close to midnight Thursday and left at 4:45 AM Sunday) trip. I told only one person in Chicago I was coming b/c I knew it would be impossible to see everybody. That is what August is for :) We will be in Chicago 8/27 - 9/1 and can't wait to see one and all!!