They're playing at the Bottom Lounge on October 13. I wrangled getting that Saturday off so we could spend the weekend there. I haven't been to Chicago since we took my dad to Wrigley, which didn't involve any walking. Before that, it was a day trip in early December.
And here we come to the point of my story.
My company sponsors a bus trip to Chicago the first Saturday of December for "Christmas Shopping". They hire two charter buses, and for $10, an employee and their guest can ride the bus to Chicago. It's a very good deal. The bus leaves at 8:00 AM and drops everyone off at the corner of Michigan Ave and Chicago around 10:00 AM. You have all day to do whatever you want (the focus is shopping, since you arrive on the Magnificent Mile, but some people go to museums and landmarks).
We were with a friend who had never been to Chicago, so we were really excited about taking her to all kinds of places. This trip would end up being the last straw for me (physically).
We decided to eat as much as possible and visit Shedd Aquarium. I was super excited because I LOVE water and everything in it. I cannot begin to tell you how stoked I was.
We started out by walking to Gino's East.
I forgot there was one on Superior, so we ended up walking to Wells. It was only a mile, so my feet were okay, and I wasn't feeling winded. I was pretty happy about that. When we got there, however, we noticed they weren't open. Cue standing around for a half-hour. After eating, we had to walk back.
By the time we got back to Michigan Ave, my feet were screaming. I'd been walking and standing for a normal amount of time for most people, but I was dead. Instead of taking a bus to the aquarium and taking a chance on standing, we decided to get a taxi. My friend had never been in a taxi, so that was kind of fun for her while I got to rest my feet.
When we arrived at the aquarium, it was 1:00. The line was out the door, all the way down the steps, and almost halfway across the plaza. Oh. My. GOD. We couldn't think of anything else to do, though, since it would have taken us all day to go through the Field Museum (same campus) and the Art Institute (another bus ride). We decided to stand in line and tough it out.
45 minutes later, we were halfway up the steps. My feet felt like they had knives in the arches. I kept trying to shift my weight, but it was no use. Brent suggested I sit on the steps, but we were packed into a weather tunnel, and everyone was squished in. There was no room to sit, and I didn't want to embarrass myself by asking people to make room for me to sit.
We finally got inside, and it was another long wait for tickets. The lobby has benches, but every time someone got up, another person would take their spot.
Once we had our tickets, we walked into the main part of the aquarium, and I managed to nab a seat. Brent went to get me a drink while I sat there like a lump. Our friends decided to go to the Jellyfish exhibit (I told them not to wait for me). Once I "recovered", I hobbled to each exhibit and sat down as often as possible. Honestly, I would have loved to have Brent get a wheelchair for me, but OH MY GOD I WAS NOT GOING TO BE THAT PERSON. That's when I felt defeated. It was official. I could not enjoy a day in Chicago anymore. The trip in September was bad, but we sat down so often that I didn't realize how bad it was. By the time my feet would start to hurt, we were already sitting at a restaurant, or on the L, or on a bus, etc. I wasn't tested like this.
Instead of enjoying the aquarium, I kept my eye out for the nearest chair. As I sat in that chair or on a bench, I thought about how much Brent must loathe me at this point. I had gone from the lively, exciteable girlfriend to an invalid he had to babysit. I am positive that is not how he felt, but I wouldn't blame him if he did. I told him as much, and he just kept rubbing my back and telling me he loved me and wished he could help me.
After the aquarium, we caught a cab back to Michigan Ave and walked to a nearby hot dog place. We sat there until it was time to get back on the bus.
From that trip, I was rewarded with a nasty case of plantar fasciitis. If you've never experienced this particular delicacy, don't. Do everything in your power to avoid it.
Every time I took a step, it was like someone had shoved a hot knife into the arch of my foot. Even while resting, I had heel pain and tightness in my arch. I had to wear a wrap around both feet, and the only shoes I could wear were my extra-wide boots that had support in the most painful areas (it felt like a massage). It was still so bad at Christmas that I could hardly enjoy our trip to Albuquerque. Brent took me to this gorgeous light display at the zoo, something he would normally hate, because he knew how much I'd love it. I kept protesting and begging, stating that I couldn't walk (at this point, my right knee was giving out on me too). He told me we could take it easy and sit as much as possible, which we did. For the millionth time, instead of enjoying something really awesome, I was in pain and wanted to cry because I felt like I was a burden.
That is no way to go through life.
The plantar fasciitis eventually cleared up shortly after New Year's Day. I started this blog on January 18, our second anniversary, with the entry "This is Just Stupid". I haven't looked back.
Which brings us to next month.
Since we are going to Chicago for the entire weekend, I want to spend Saturday and Sunday walking around enjoying things. We haven't made an itinerary yet, but I want to use this trip to prove to myself that I can live a relatively normal life again. I'm right where I was when we first started dating (319), so he's accustomed to this weight. Since this trip is four weeks away, there's an excellent chance I'll hit 311 by then, just one pound over my weight at the doctor's office two days before I flew to Albuquerque for our first date. This is the weight range he's used to and the weight range I was in for 2.5 years, so I'm used to it too.
Additionally, my feet and knees don't bother me anymore, and I have much more stamina. (If you had told me I could run in place for eight or nine minutes at this time last year, I would have laughed in your face.) I'm really excited to see if I can handle walking around the city, standing in front of exhibits, and climbing the stairs for the L.
I'm not sure where we're staying yet. We like the Heart O'Chicago motel for its 1950s kitchy-ness, not to mention the price, free wireless, free parking, and proximity to the Red Line. I kind of want to splurge and get something in the Loop, though. I know we'd be spending another $200 or so, but I really feel like I've earned this. We haven't spent a weekend in Chicago since, well, exactly one year ago, and it was horrible because that was the trip I spent the entire time crying because I was too fat to do every single thing we'd planned - see a pattern? I want to turn that around this year, and that means a treat in the form of a hotel in the Loop - nothing fancy, just something in the Loop. I want a view of the river and skyscrapers and maybe a pool. :)
This got really long. Thank you for sitting through it.