The last couple of days have been a blur of frenetic activity. Cyclone Jems hit Chicago (very) late Wednesday night and it's been non-stop ever since.
Jem's plane got in at 11.05pm and I went out to O'Hare to greet her. I could hardly sit still. I was so eager to see her that I got to the Arrivals lounge exceptionally early so the only thing to do was buy a Starbucks - clearly not the best thing for my nervous excitement. I got talking to some ladies from Bermuda who had just arrived and were waiting for their hotel transfer bus to collect them. We had a good chat, all very civil, and then as they left one of them pressed a little pamphlet into my hand and urged me to read it when she was gone. Yes, she was a Bible freak. Always the ones you least suspect.
So Jems arrived, looking remarkably good for someone who had just spent 30 hours traveling the globe, working her way through customs, airport terminals, different airlines, different timezones, and screaming babies all suspended 30,000 feet in the air (which is EXACTLY where I usually like to send screaming babies). I convinced her that now that she was on MY turf, she could relax - no need to pay attention - just identify your luggage and follow me the rest of the way. I took her on the Blue Line as close to my house as we could get, and then we caught a cab the rest of the way. By the time we got back to my place and settled in for the night, there wasn't much night left -it was almost 2.30am. Getting up for work the next day was vicious.
While Jems snoozed away her jetlag and nursed a nasty cold back at home, I was stuck at work trying to get a bunch of stuff done before I could start my own holiday. To cut a long story short, I didn't get it ALL done - but I have come away from the office feeling quietly confident that the wheels will turn well enough in my absence, and I haven't left too much hanging for my colleagues to sort out.
Jems has scored a great new job back home and I was looking for a way to congratulate her on the exciting accomplishment. I needed look no further than "Dirty Dancing", the new Chicago theatre experience that actually had its world premiere in Australia. Indeed the show's producer is Australian, as is much of the cast & crew, including the guy who plays Johnny Castle - the role made famous by Patrick Swayze.
When I told Jems about the theatre tickets I'd bought her as a promotion celebration, she was pretty pleased, to say the least. We have been fans of that movie probably ever since it came out (and that's probably true actually, since the movie just celebrated its 20th Anniversary). I'm not sure if you would enjoy the theatre show if you didn't have a love affair with the movie. It's almost word-for-word accurate, and you can tell who the true fans are around the theatre. People at our performance last night were singing along, and everyone applauded when Johnny announced that "nobody puts Baby in a corner". Iconic line, and an appropriate crowd response. I think the actors even got a kick out of it. And the lift at the end during "I've Had The Time of My Life"? It brought the house down - easily the highlight of the show. But isn't it always?
So this weekend is the Chicago Marathon and for residents and tourists alike, Chicago has turned on some gorgeous weather. Katie is coming into town (last-minute decision to make use of some frequent flyer points) and we're all together until Tuesday morning. It's going to a whirlwind of Cyclone Jems and Hurricane Kate but I would not have this one any other way.
More news to come...