I took Friday off. There are a bunch of tasks that Cora & I need to tackle together, so we thought we would try them while Gwen was in school. (Minds out of the gutter people!)
So, after dropping Gwen off at school and getting our good-bye hugs, we hopped the transit system and headed downtown:
M: Our first stop downtown was a quick potty break at America's public restrooms: McDonald's.
CHASE: Our first planned stop was Chase. There are a lot of things we need to do there: Get Cora on my savings and checking accounts, on the mortgage, and to refinance the mortgage, since we may be able to lower it about a point. Adding her to the account was easy. My mortgage guy was out that day, and so nothing happened there (I didn't have high hopes), but I did learn that if I make an appointment, he will travel to the branch right across the street from my office (both he and I have changed offices since I got the mortgage), so I can do it on my lunch break. We were half way down the escalators when I realized that we didn't get Cora a debit/ATM card on our now joint account. Back up stairs, and that was no hassle, either. So, in 3 to 5 business days, Cora can totally empty our bank account and run off to the Caribbean. (But she would rue that, as a redhead, she would burn to a crisp and become one cute freckle.)
State of Illinois – After the bank, we went to the State of Illinois building. A tad peckish for 10:30, Cora got a hamburger at the Burger King, and then we went to get her Illinois Driver's License. The guy at the front desk went thru all the stuff that she needed to bring, (birth certificate, social security card, Washington license, and two bits of mail with her name on it. We'd checked on line, and it had kept talking about leases, and utility bills, but they took bank statements), and we took a seat to wait for our number to be called. Cora reviewed sign shapes for the written exam, and I tried not to bug her too much. Eventually, her number was called, and she went to one of the windows, and I departed on my errand at the S.o.S.
In Illinois, you need to get a new license plate sticker every year. Mine expires in September. It is September. And I have not gotten my renewal from the Secretary of State. So, next door I go. The 97 year old gatekeeper asked me why I wished to enter their sacred grounds. I explained the situation, and on the third attempt, he correctly entered my plate number into a computer system so old, I was surprised he didn't need to use a punch card. Turns out, that despite the fact that I move 2.5 years ago, got my renewal in the mail last year, and have changed my address on my driver's license and on my taxes, they still had me at the old place, which is why I didn't get my notice.
And I needed to get an emissions test. FOR THE CAR! We all know the fumes I emit from my tailpipe are noxious and certainly NOT EPA approved.
Failing to get my sticker, I returned to the other room, to wait for Cora while she took the driver's test.
Except she was walking toward me.
Turns out, they needed more paperwork from her first marriage to follow the bouncing ball of her last name! Nothing on the website mentioned anything about this. The guy at the front desk who checked the paperwork didn't mention it. So, defeated, we slunk off, but not before a quick stop at a Hallmark store in the atrium to check out the Halloween stuff.
AT&T: Next stop, AT&T to look at phones. I am eligible to upgrade my current Blackberry Bold for a new Torch. And I want to get a family plan going. I promised Callista that I would get Cora a REAL phone. She is currently using a Nokia 1100 phone (as pictured on the right, circa 2003) and I would like to get her off pay-as-you-go and in to the world of texting and the mobile web. And the daughter? We need to get her a local phone number so she can call her friends, text, etc.
There was a blizzard of options, so we fled before we made any final decisions. Also, since it was "buy one get one free" on phones for the girls, they would both need to be involved in making the decision.
Work: Since we were across the street, I took Cora up to my office to meet some of my co-workers, and to see where I spend my days. I like showing her off, what can I say. :-)
Lunch: Since everybody at work was, well, working, next Cora and I went to Infields for lunch. In the basement of the
Marshall Field's Macy's on State Street, it is a never crowded place to grab a bite to eat. Cora had a turkey sandwich served on cinnamon bread (she had it once before and loved it then, too), and I had the chicken Caesar salad. After lunch, we headed home, but not directly.
The Container Store – Part 1: On the way home, Cora and I jumped off the L to do a little recon work @ The Container Store. We checked out some free standing, folding, stackable shelves and some wire racks to add additional storage in the closets. But we heard a "tick-tock" and reboarded the L to get home. Jumping off the train, we raced the clock to get to Gwen's school just as it was letting out. As we rounded the corner, we saw her hit the sidewalk, and start walking toward home (and away from us). We surprised her, and all walked the rest of the way home together.
We then relaxed for a bit, but I then I panicked, forgetting all about the emissions test. So I bolt out the door, leaving Gwen and Cora in my dust.
EPA Test: I know I'm going to be sitting in line for hours. I know it. The line is going to be forever. There is only ONE of these stations anywhere on the north side of the city and that's where I had to go. 4:00 on a Friday.
As I pulled up to the place, I couldn't believe it. No one. No. One. None of the bays are in use. The guys are just sitting around, reading. SCORE! In about 5 minutes, I was out of there with my "Pass" to take back to the State of Illinois building during lunch next week. And it's off to …
The Container Store – Part 2: So, in the Container store, I grab a pair of the java colored folding stacking hutches, and 4 wire stacking shelves, and get home. Gwen is out on her first "play date" to hang out with a friend when I get home. Cora and I open the first of the hutches, and look at it perplexed. The other shelves like we have like this have 3 shelves, why does this hutch only have 2? Because it's a "hutch", stupid, not a "shelf". Duh! Well after some figuring, we figured out that one of the hutches would work, stacked on one of the 3 shelf shelving units. We then attack Gwen's closet with wire shelves on top of shelves to extend the storage higher toward the sky.
The "Episode": Gwen comes home, and well, it's not pretty. She and Cora went off to her room to talk for a while. No details folks. Gwen's fine, but probably (definitely) not going to be spending a whole lot of time with this girl in the near future.
The Container Store – Part 3: To get Gwen's mind off of things, we piled in the family truckster and headed out to return the hutch and get some supper. The exchange went easy. The dinner, was at Uncle Julio's. (HERE is a previous visit) It was a great meal for most of us. Gwen loved her chicken quesadillas. I loved (as I knew I would) my steak fajitas. Cora's vegetable platter? The big portabella was a little spicy for her tastes.
The Condo: Back at the condo, we go the shelves set up, and they look good.
Then, we all crashed. Hard.
Saturday, we ATTEPTED to put floating shelves on the wall.
"Nurse, I need 1,000 CC's of spackling compound! STAT!"