Things always sound so good on paper, don't they. This morning, I needed to head to the South Loop to pick-up a few things from my sister-in-law. I thought that since we would be heading that way, we could make an event out of it, and swing by the Art Institute to both see the lions with Cubs hats on (for the first time!) and to do a quick visit to the museum. There is great street parking behind the museum that makes it easy to park the van and since we were right there and the weather was good, we were all set to go.
Now, anyone who lives in a city and uses a car knows that the parking of that car takes up no small amount of time and effort. This is doubly true if you drive a very large van. Most parking garages are out for me because they are either too short or the turns too tight for it to fit. I have even called places to find out exactly how tall the parking garage is. This is not always successful as people do not always know. Knowing I could park on the street behind the museum is what made this little venture possible.
Until I discover that we can't park on the street. The entire length has chain length along it and very obviously no parking is allowed. So I decided to drive around the block, at least we could drive by the lions with their Cubs hats. TM grabbed my camera and took a couple of pictures as I drove by.
Also notice the 'W' banner hanging there above the entrance. For the two people who might not know what it means, it's the 'win' flag that is flown above Wrigley Field after a Cubs' win.
Then I remembered that the Art Institute has valet parking. I even knew where it was and it just required an easy right turn. So I do that, and optimistically pull-up to the parking guy, "We wanted to go to the museum. Can you park my van?"
"Yeeaah...," he says slowly, "for forty bucks." Inwardly I'm sighing, but not quite ready to give up yet. "But the last time I was down here and I asked about my van, the guy said it would be no problem and the regular price." (Which is entirely true. I also noticed that the valet parking fee had doubled in the interim.)
"Well, it's busy and the lot is pretty full and your van would take up two spots," he replies. (Those must be really small spots, I think to myself, because I park in regular spots all the time without taking up two of them. You would think that valet parkers would be better at driving than this. I do not say any of this out loud because I can tell that I'm not going to get anywhere.) I briefly think about whether the $40 would be worth it, and decide no because it wasn't going to be a long museum trip anyway. I ask about the street parking and it is closed due to a movie or a race or some sort of event that is constantly closing down the city to the people who actually live here. And we drive off.
At this point, L. realizes that she is not going to get to go to the art museum. (L. adores art museums... and looking at artwork... and learning about artists. Yes, my L. is an unusual 7 year old.) Great wailing from the back seat is then heard. Just at this moment, we pass Maggie Daley Park, which K. then decides would make a good alternative activity. I have to tell him the park is out, too, because of the whole parking issue. Now K. (and a few others who suddenly think that park sounded like fun) is upset.
Ahhh... the joys of happy children driving home.
We get home and every goes inside and we have lunch. I decide we are going to have an outing whether it kills us or not and do some quick research. Since L. had her heart set on an art museum, I decide that heading to the Block Gallery at Northwestern is our best bet. It's free, it's close, and it's small, thus leaving us enough time to play at a park as well.
After more parking tribulations, which involved moving the van once to a different parking garage we made it. Which is why we found ourselves looking at a room full of Iranian movie posters from the 1950's. (Some were rather steamy. It was a bit surprising... to me, anyway.) Then we went upstairs and looked at another of the exhibits, which, even though I went through it, I still cannot actually tell you much about it except that they were photographs of a guy in front of famous places and with (possibly?) famous people.
This particular museum, is on the modern edge of things. I knew that, but sometimes they have something that is interesting, so I hoped today would be one of those times. Not so much. Instead it was more edgy than that. At least the very nice man at the front desk of the museum gave me a heads up about what I should not take my children to see. To make the most of my parking fee, I thought it would also be fun to stop into the new music performing arts building at my old Alma Mater. It has a lovely view of the lake, but I'm afraid that I had a more extensive tour of its restrooms than anything else.
Finally we made it to a park, which we had all to ourselves. A little crazy on a pretty nice fall day, if you ask me.
TM, R. and H.