I was scrolling through my photos and reminiscing on my trip to Chicago last August before traveling to NYC.
Overall, I had a great trip. There were a few rocky family interactions, but lessons learned. I saw extended family, a few friends, one of my favorite bands, my White Sox, and got to eat my favorite foods. Best of all, I got to soak in the city, walking, taking the “L” (elevated trains, it’s what we Chicagoans call it), and enjoying beautiful, mild summer weather.
Even though I moved away and I have a life in Texas now, I doubt I will ever feel as free and as comfortable as I do hanging out in Chicago, whether downtown or in other parts of the city.
I have been working from home for two whole months. As I mentioned in Part 1, there are a lot of things I don’t mind about working from home and staying in a lot more because of the COVID-19 restrictions, although there are things I miss. I am not alone, and I know this from reading articles about the positive habits people are cultivating during this odd time. From drinking more water, getting more sleep and more exercise, baking, and spending more time with family, some people are taking advantage of new opportunities for self-care. When life gives you lemons…
I am no different. I get to see my husband and my cats at different times during the day on my work breaks when I am not half awake or exhausted, which makes me smile. I’ve managed to lose a few pounds from eating what is available at home rather supplementing with whatever snacks I stop off for to get me through a stressful day. Most of days are less stressful simply without the commute. There is less of a feeling that we need to go somewhere or do something, only to get there and be disappoint or wishing we had stayed home.
The things that stress me now are what the future will look like. It’s hard to fathom going to a crowded restaurant, getting on a full plane, or grabbing food at a public place that has been touched and breathed on by other people. I realize this is controversial territory, especially in the midst of the everyone must wear a mask/masks are an infringement on my freedom argument that is raging throughout the United States right now.
I know that this whole situation is experienced differently by each and every person. Some people have lost everything, be it a dream, a home, a business, the safety of being at school or work away from someone who causes them stress or home, opportunities, time with family and friends, and a myriad of things I’m not thinking of. I read more news than the average person, and it is absolutely heartbreaking to read people’s stories of loss, trauma, and devastation. Some people have created opportunities in the midst of chaos, while others have just adapted and are living one day at a time. The scary thing is that no one knows where this goes or how it ends. Will the COVID-19 virus go away, or be around in some form for the foreseeable future? Will we all be vaccinated by force or shunned by society if we don’t get vaccinated? Will the economy continue to collapse or will it recover? Will there be a 2020 Presidential election? Will life ever be so-called “normal” ever again? Your guess is as good as mine.
For now, I am happy to see my family from time to time via ZOOM, in short, manageable doses. I enjoy leisurely walks around my neighborhood. I cherish the painstaking work my husband does on our yard while I help collect rocks, gather supplies, and move bags of mulch and soil so we can have a garden. As anxiety-ridden as I get sometimes, I try to focus on now instead of worrying about if I will ever be able to travel again, or if the world will break out in war over tariffs or the origins of the Coronavirus. Will we ever get to see live music again? Will we ever get to watch professional baseball again?
I can’t spent too much time worrying about these things because the information available causes more confusion than clarity, no matter the sources you read. I try to remain hopeful, and I try to be mindful of the world around me. I’m not without challenges or struggles, but I am much luckier than some. I hope the best for us all.
I heard about Wiseguys – A Chicago Eatery about a year ago but Husband and I were afraid to eat there. We have been disappointed while eating at other places claiming to have Chicago-style deep dish pizza and other items, and didn’t want to be disappointed again. But, we decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a shot.
The verdict… we were pleasantly surprised to each enjoy an Italian Beef with mozzarella cheese last night. The picture does not do the sandwich justice! We were out running errands today and decided to go back and each get a Vienna beef Hot Dog . Husband got a true Chicago-Style Hot dog with mustard, onion, relish, tomato, sport peppers, pickles and celery salt, while I broke the rules and got a Hot Dog plain that I then covered in ketchup. This is sacrilege for true Chicago-style hot dog aficionados, but I’m not a fan of mustard, nor tomatoes or raw onions. However, we both enjoyed our hot dogs immensely. We now have a place to go to scratch our Chicago food itch once in a while. If only we could find a local pizza to fill our void for Chicago Thin-crust tavern style pizza…
We have now lived in Central Texas for 5 1/2 years. In the beginning, everything was new to Husband and I. We left Chicago, Illinois for lots of reasons, mainly though, to get space from complicated families and to start a new chapter of our lives. Husband had just finished his Associate’s Degree, and I was laid off after seven years at my job. We moved here after having visited Austin for 5 days in 2009 and me spending two weeks while Husband spent six weeks in Austin in 2010. To clarify, we now live in Williamson County rather than Austin, though I work in Austin and the difference now is negligible. This place is not what we though it would be, as the shine has worn off.
As much as I like the Central Texas sunny days and winters with little to no snow, I have a long list of things I am iffy about and even really dislike. Bare with me while I rant a little.
Is it too much to ask for people to exist without being passive aggressive? If you’re going to do something and be a jerk about, just own it rather than waving at me about it, like that erases your actions! Maybe Chicagoans and other Northern varieties of people are rude, but at least I know what to do with that. Enough with the fake friendliness! Send it back to California, or wherever it came from. The only good thing about the fake friendliness is that, if you can spot, it will alert you to the fact that this person is probably going to trick you, do a bad job on whatever work you are paying them for, or that you should just avoid them at all costs. I saw this after Husband I dealt with a leasing agent, a real estate agent, a painter, a music producer, a chiropractor, a tile salesperson, and some many others I can’t keep track of. The chiropractor did untold damage to Husband’s back, and good luck finding a way to sue her and actually get paid. The painter and his crew painted our house worse than a group of 12 year olds with no experience. Husband ended up hiring someone to re-texture our walls so he could repaint everything, which costs him double and saved us no time, which is why we hired a painting company to begin with! Oh, and the attorney we hire to get some of our deposit back, couldn’t even get the job done.