Things I’ve learned…

OR ‘My trip to Chicago…’

I feel like a “things I’ve learned” post is inevitable, as is a “favorite things” post. As I’m sitting on the Tarmac in Chicago, hoping I can still catch my connecting flight, I figured I’d enlighten you with some of my learned knowledge. Ok, so maybe just some of the things I’ve learned on this Chicago trip. Or an indirect recap of my trip.

1. Yes, I know it’s cliche, but I realized this summer that you do only live once. And while being practical and realistic is generally the smart thing, sometimes you just have to live a little and spend money that should probably have been spent elsewhere (for example, on a flight to Chicago, instead of that “highly recommended” professional conference you were supposed to present at but didn’t really want to go to. Not like I would know what that’s like or anything…).

2. Continuing on. Sometimes you just need to book a ticket and fly halfway across the country to meet a friend and be their guest at wedding. Trust me, you will probably have more fun than you think. And it’s completely ok if you have ZERO idea who the bride and groom are. It makes it more fun that way.

3. And while you’re at that wedding with said friend (of the opposite sex), you are bound to be asked the ‘are you together’ question – whatever form that may take. It’s fine saying “no, just friends” but it’s kind of fun to lie, especially if you may never see some of those people again. It’s also helpful if there is an open bar. It’s kind of fun having a ‘fake boyfriend’ for the night and making up tales of how the long-distance relationship is working out.

4. You don’t always need a plan. I may have decided to stay in Chicago an extra day or two with no set plans. I knew people in the city and said “hey, if it works out lets get together.” Figuring it would work out, I saw nothing wrong with heading into the city early. Nothing worked out until that night and I did spend the day roaming around with my suitcase. While it wasn’t ideal, and you may get odd looks, it’s definitely doable. It might not hurt to know where or with who you can stay with that night though.

However, if four-square is being played in the middle of the road, you should play.

5. Sandals make airport security easy easier. However, sandals are not practical when you’re running between terminals to catch your flight because you HAD to go out of your way and get the sandwich from the highly recommended restaurant. Who would do such a thing?

6. Do NOT get married during football season. I had a great time but it killed me not being able to watch the game.

7. Have fun. Being flexible and able to ‘go with the flow’ are pretty much necessary for that.

Yes, I had a fantastic and not really all that well planned trip to Chicago. I may also have come home with some kitchen towels in my bag. I couldn’t resist!

Next stop: I’m thinking Michigan. I’m in severe need of a Michigan football game fix and a greasy cider mill donut fix.

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Bachelor Pad

Generally when one hears the ¬†phrase “bachelor pad” you picture a guy, possibly some friends, living in an apartment with very few furnishings. Usually what comes to mind is the presence of a large TV, maybe some college paraphernalia (generally from their alma mater), and a lack of seating (or creative seating…a few five gallon pails flipped over, a miscellaneous chair randomly placed).

In other words, when you’re a student, or fresh out of school, you go to your buddy’s place expecting it to be ‘standing room only’ with the TV as a centerpiece.

When you hear of a (generally well put-together) young woman living in her one-bedroom apartment, “bachelor pad” doesn’t jump to the forefront. I’d like to prove you wrong.

See, I’m kind of living the bachelor pad life right now (hopefully only temporary). The only seating I have in my living room is my desk chair. And my bike, if that counts…but it’s not at all comfortable. I did just make my first new TV purchase. Slightly larger than what I needed but it does look good and it is probably the centerpiece of my living room right now (disclaimer: my last TV purchase was a probably a 25″ tube TV. It was at least color). In true Michigan alumni style, the first item to go up on the wall was my Michigan flag (I have my priorities). Yes, I like to prove stereotypes wrong.

I type this as I’m sitting in my desk chair, having just finished watching Sparty beat Boise State (yes, I was hoping that outcome would be reversed). Hopefully I will pick up a (free) loveseat later this week and be able to leave my bachelor pad living behind. I do still need bar stools for my bar-height table though…oh dear.

It’s been fun but I’ll be honest, a comfortable couch wouldn’t be bad. And a place to eat other than my desk would be a plus.

In the meantime…

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GO BLUE! Beat ‘Bama!

hail.

Is it really almost over?

The summer that is. It feels like I just moved to the mitten. And now I’m moving back to Tampa very soon. Overall, it’s been a good summer and I’m bummed to see it end…

I finally did get a paddleboard home and in usable condition. Round 1 of paddleboard transportation did not turn out so well…I don’t think roof racks are supposed to fly off your car, with board still attached. Le sigh cry.

Thankfully the roof rack company made good on their name and reimbursed me. Transportation of paddleboard #2 went much smoother. Possibly because I used a larger car. Or maybe because I used almost one million straps, superglue, and sat on top of the paddleboard while driving. Ok, maybe I wasn’t that crazy, but it was a very long 2 1/2 hour drive from Grand Haven. We won’t discuss how high my blood pressure was.

Needless to say, I’ve been really enjoying it. And would highly recommend the Wet Mitten Surf Shop in Grand Haven (and Traverse City) if you’re looking for one.

I also completed my first sprint triathlon. I loved it…! And promptly signed up for another one. I also completed it on a mountain bike (please kill me) and my next big purchase will be a road bike. I may, or may not have, entertained the idea of opting for a road bike instead of housing once I move back to Tampa. I’m sure I could tow a pop-up camper behind me or something – providing room for sleeping and carrying some clothes. Right?

Don’t worry, I did find a proper apartment to live at (and close to the beach to boot). My brother came with me on the ‘apartment hunting trip,’ mostly to go off-shore fishing with my cousin, but he did look at some places with me. The fishing was successful and we were all able to eat dinner. We also had a fantastic time with family – fishing and riding on the boat.

*Note: I did not play any part in the catching of that grouper. It was tasty though!

And that’s where it is…I leave in less than 10 days. It’s bittersweet. I’ve had a great time up here with family and friends and I’m really sad to see it end…but I know there’s next summer. And I know the summer fun ends in a few weeks anyways…:(

Have you figured out yet that I love the water and being near (and on) it?!