Chicago and May Update

Well to call these last two weeks a whirlwind would be an understatement!
When we last spoke, I had a short week before a free quizbowl weekend in Chicago, and I knew I had two interviews coming up after that.

Well the short week went by quickly and we had tons of fun in Chicago!

Michael and I arrived Thursday morning, checked in to our hotel, and headed to the train station.  One of my favorite things about Chicago is how freaking awesome the public transport is.  You can easily get basically anywhere with trains and busses.  And they are super precisely on time, like woah.  (Coming from New Orleans, this is completely unfamiliar.)

At the train station we bought ourselves 7 day passes (since we’d be there 5 days) and my mom a 3 day pass.  We remembered to bring our reloadable card with us from last year.  To get a new card issued it’s $5, but if you bring your old one, you just pay for the pass itself.  This cost us $28 for each of us, and $25 for my mom ($20 for 3 days, and $5 for the new card).

Then we headed for the Adler Planetarium.  We go to Chicago every year, and in years past have done the Art Institute, Millennium Park, Navy Pier, and architecture river cruises.  Because we know we’re going to keep going back every year, we don’t feel compelled to squeeze every attraction in each time.  This year we decided on the planetarium because we had never been there before.  Left to do: the aquarium and the zoo.

We took a long and leisurely stroll in beautiful weather through Grant Park and the museum district and ended up at the Adler PlanetariumWe remembered to bring our student IDs, so we got discounts to get in ($27 each).  The place is really cool, though a little small.  We saw 3 movies (about 45 minutes each) and every exhibit and this only took about 4 hours.  Perfect for us.  We loved it.

Then we were hungry and so we strolled through the park again and ended up at the Burger Bar.  This place was really good, we had a lovely window seat, and it wasn’t too expensive for being kind of nice ($29 for 2 burgers with fries), and in the heart of downtown Chicago.

And then the work phone calls started pouring in.  I’ll spare you the details, but because these work requests were specifically related to my forthcoming interviews, I of course felt compelled to do them.

We were exhausted after lunch and so much walking, so we took the train back to the hotel.  I worked the duration of the hour-long ride, and felt really bad about it (but happy to have a great cell phone with a great data connection!).

My mom eyeing her first Chicago deep dish pizza.

My mom eyeing her first Chicago deep dish pizza.

My mom arrived that night.  Friday morning we took her downtown and walked around Millennium Park and the art institute’s botanical gardens.  Though we had done these before, they’re beautiful and never get old.  Then she treated us to some DELICIOUS Giordano’s deep dish pizza (a Chicago must!).  Though it takes 45 minutes to make, it’s well worth the wait.  We got a window seat and enjoyed people-watching.

We had to head back to our quizbowl duties, and it had started to rain, but my mom stayed in town and went to the top of the Sears tower, the Chicago Art Institute, and then the American Girl Doll museum.  I had never wanted to go to the American Girl Doll museum, because I loved those dolls and books when I was a kid, and I know since Mattel bought the company out, it’s all gone to hell.  But she was super excited about it, and well, I’m sorry to say she was severely disappointed when she got there.  I think she had built it up so much in her mind, when she discovered it was basically just a glorified store, she headed home.

Friday evening, all day Saturday, and all morning Sunday were filled with quizbowl for us.  Sunday evening, my mom had bought us tickets to see Second City’s Improv All Stars.  I was beyond excited.  As you know, I absolutely love theatre, and I had seen theatre in Chicago in the past, but never improv comedy, which is kind of what they’re known for.  The tickets were $18 each, her treat.  🙂

Unfortunately, getting there was a little bumpy for us.  I’m normally a huge fan of the public transport, but the brown line we needed to take was closed for construction.  There was supposedly a shuttle taking the place of the brown line but we couldn’t find it and we were kind of short on time.  I called an Uber!  We don’t have Uber in New Orleans, so I’m always thrilled when I get to use it.  It arrived super quickly, and took us right to the front door of the theatre, all for only $6, and right in time.  We got great seats and the show was incredible.  Totally worth it.

Monday morning my mom was scheduled to head home, but her flight got delayed and delayed and then cancelled due to bad weather somewhere else.  They rebooked her for the next day.  The bad news is that she had to pay out of pocket to stay another night at our hotel.  The good news is that the hotel let us keep the quizbowl rate ($109 vs their normal $249).

Our flight out wasn’t until that evening.  We had planned to spend the day at the aquarium because we had to check out of the hotel, but since we extended our hotel stay one more day, I was able to work all day–it worked out perfectly.  Our flight was a little delayed, too, but we made it back to Houston Monday evening.

All in all, because the quizbowl event pays for flights, hotels and meals, here’s a summary of what we paid:
$97 round trip flight for my mom
$81 3 train tickets
$29 burgers
$54 2 planetarium tickets
$6 Uber ride

TOTAL: $267 for 5 days of fun in Chicago!

And there you have it.
Here’s our May summary.  Our progress has slowed, but we’re still making progress, and so much else has been going on, I feel okay about everything.

NEW BALANCE CHANGE from last month DEBT (in order from highest interest rate to lowest)
$1,874.57 $236.39 gas card
$2,696.72 $222.36 CC2
$4,892.35 $34.99 CC3
$7,862.69 $98.46 CC4
$7,068.45 -$259.33 car
$5,250.00 $0.00 unsub2
$8,909.37 -$251.18 401k 1
$4,441.66 -$547.18 401k 2
$3,500.00 $0.00 sub
$6,000.00 $0.00 unsub1
$52,495.81 -$465.49 TOTAL

$43,903.63 $1,439.71 401k
$0 $0 emergency savings
$1,621.18 $121.13 tuition savings
$0 $0 dental savings
$45,524.81 $1,560.84 TOTAL

This month´s success was $2026.33.  About the same pace as last month.


Chicago is only the first part of the story… More to come tomorrow.  How are you?
I’m going to eventually catch up on everything… I’ve missed you guys!

9 thoughts on “Chicago and May Update

  1. I have never seen a deep dish pizza like that….It’s enough to make me buy a ticket and fly to Chicago tomorrow. I have never been to Chicago, but hopefully one day I’ll get the chance. Making progress is still good and a few steps forward.


  2. Enjoy Chicago! I absolutely love it there. I haven’t been in almost ten years (I used to live in Michigan) when we went for the King Tut exhibit. I can’t wait to go back.


  3. Pingback: The Exciting Part of the Story | SmashOdyssey

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