The short version: Hotel was what I expected. Training was what I expected, and exactly what I needed. Time spent with co-worker was what I expected, yet not quite, in many ways. Chicago was as cool as I expected, and I expect to go back someday soon.
The detailed version follows….
Daniel and I left work just after 2pm on Tuesday. A nasty snowstorm had come through the previous night and continued on into the morning, and was supposed to keep dumping snow all day. Turns out that it quit early, so we ended up getting to Chicago (O’Hare, actually, just past downtown Chicago) in just over four hours from Toledo. Not bad. Luckily, Daniel’s taste in music leans toward classic rock and hair bands, so I didn’t have to puncture my eardrums just to survive the trip.
Over the course of the week, we came to discover that we feel quite the same about our respective jobs, and we fleshed out some of our feelings and opinions about our co-workers. It was good to finally feel some camaraderie and reach a consensus about our jobs. We both agreed that the pay is worth all the weirdness, though.
Over the course of the week, we also came to discover more of each other’s nuances and idiosyncrasies than we’d had occasion to notice at work. It’s kind of weird to spend five days straight, just about, with someone whom you’ve only really seen in stretches of about 20 minutes at a time. It reminded me of spending a week with Aaron for the first time, or moving in with him when we got engaged. It was an interesting experience, to say the least. I’m pretty sure he felt the same (especially after he found out that I’m an atheist / Zen Buddhist).
Hotel review, the short version: comfy king-sized bed, average-sized room, very firm recliner, large window, SUPER LAME HEATER. It was either on or off; the temperature dial didn’t seem to do much. And it didn’t shut off until I pushed the OFF button — so, no internal thermostat. It made sleeping through the night quite a challenge. Also, the toilet had weak suction, and would sometimes not take care of business, so to speak. As for the positive: I did make use of the hotel’s fitness center, which met with my approval. The cable selection was also better than the last place I stayed, and the adjoining sports bar was reasonably priced with good food.
(BTW, the long version of the hotel review is on TripAdvisor.)
Neither I nor Daniel ended up meeting with friends from Chicago, unfortunately. However, both Timmay and our training instructor suggested the same things to do in the Millennium Park area in Chicago on Saturday morning: drive around Chicago and check out the skyline, see The Bean (aka Cloud Gate), enjoy the various other sculptures in the park, and check out the Art Institute.
And that’s exactly what we did:
(See the rest on my Flickr.)
Aaron and I totally have to go there together someday soon. And not just because I forgot to take a picture of the spot where the historic Route 66 begins.