Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chicago-day 2

Good morning view

After a great morning session with Andrew Wommack, it's American Girl afternoon for us Sarah, Molly, and me.

We dropped Mike and Noah off at the Museum of Science and Industry.  They had a good time, but I have no pictures of it.  After we dropped them off, things got stressful.  The traffic on Lakeshore Drive reminded me that I am not a big city girl, nor do I want to be.  I talked to myself, pedestrians, other drivers, and God, mostly ignoring Sarah, who was singing in the back seat.  I had directions to the parking lot that I knew I had to use so American Girl would validate my ticket.  After much stress, I arrived at the deck and saw a sign that said the parking lot was full!  I started sweating.  I drove around and around the streets of downtown, almost injuring pedestrians who don't seem to follow the traffic lights.  I was keeping up a constant stream of chatter to myself, getting louder and louder.  I entered an intersection when the light was green, and it went from yellow to red while I was still in it, that's how bad the traffic was.  There was a bus barreling down on me, honking the whole time.  The driver stopped just before she would have rammed me, and she showed me one of her fingers and yelled at me.  I showed her all ten of mine and pointed in exasperation at the traffic in front of me and loudly asked her what she expected me to do.  Sarah said quietly, "We don't have to go to American Girl, Mom.  It's OK."  Finally I found a parking deck and pulled in.  The sign said it was $18 for the first 4 hours, and had to be paid in cash.  I knew I didn't have that much cash, but I also knew I couldn't keep driving around looking for somewhere else to park.  I didn't have to pay until I left the deck, so I just hoped that American Girl would validate my ticket.  By this time, I had no idea where the store even was.  I asked somebody, and Sarah (clutching Molly) and I walked there.   

 Sarah was enthralled the moment she walked in.  I was too consumed with the parking dilemma to appreciate it.  While Sarah browsed, I asked the concierge if she would validate my parking ticket.  She told me I parked in the wrong garage.  I told her the right garage was full.  She said they can only validate for that deck, no others.  I told her I had to pay cash for the other deck and didn't have enough.  I was starting to feel a little panicked.  She told me I could use an ATM a few blocks away.  I told her I didn't have my ATM card with me.  I had only brought a credit card in an effort to travel light and not get mugged. She told me I could walk to Walgreens and buy something, and they would give me cash back.  I was hopeful.  I started walking.
 So I'm walking in downtown Chicago, trying to find a Walgreens. The sidewalks are jammed with people.  The streets are packed with vehicles of all kinds (mostly kinds with loud sirens), and there are tall buildings surrounding me.  I'm overstimulated and bothered.  Then the jets start.  Apparently it was Navy Week in Chicago, and the Navy jets were doing incredibly loud maneuvers right above me, flying right towards buildings and going between them.  I don't know when I've ever been so disturbed and frightened.  I'm sure they're going to fly right into a building and it's going to collapse.  Even Sarah is terrified, and that girl just doesn't get scared of anything, ever.
 People on the sidewalks stop and look up, pointing and taking pictures.  Nobody moves.  Finally, I get to the Walgreens. I don't want to buy anything that I have to carry around, so I select a banana. 
 This is the most expensive banana I have ever purchased.  After waiting in a long line to buy it, I ask the cashier if I can get cash back.  She says yes, and I relax for the first time in hours.  But after I swipe my card, she just hands me the receipt.  I asked her how I get cash, and she said I have to use a debit card.  I told her all I had was a credit card and asked if I could buy something and return it for cash.  She said, "Not unless you pay in cash."   I'm pretty sure I started crying then, but I don't remember.  I have a vague recollection of walking down the street, eating a banana that cost more than a pound of bananas at home, and desperately trying to think of how to get cash. 
Only then, when I'm at the end of my rope, do I think to pray.  As I was praying, I opened my camera bag (which I don't keep cash in), and there're not going to believe this...the EXACT amount of cash I needed for the parking deck.  I don't know how it got there or where it came from, but I know God did a miracle for me.  So we enjoyed the rest of our time at American Girl.

Sarah loves the McKenna doll because she's a gymnast.

twirling through American Girl

She rode the escalator up and down several times.  She wanted to buy everything.  It's utterly ridiculous how much that stuff costs, and I didn't buy anything.  I did, however, take Sarah and Molly to tea, which cost more than it would for our entire family to eat dinner at a nice restaurant.

Even the bathrooms were amazing.

The guy who seated us wore a big pink apron as he put Molly into her own little seat.

Reading the menu to Molly.

Sarah loves the idea of tea, but she doesn't actually like to drink it.  She got pink lemonade, declared it too sour and added 2 packets of sugar to it.

There's our fancy little tier of tea food.

Molly liked her tea.

Sarah fed her cookies too.

That happy little face is almost worth it all.

After tea, we did a scavenger hunt.

She made a craft, a belt pouch for Molly.

American Girl is definitely not my thing, but I'm glad I took my girl, because she loved it, and I love her.

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