I just got back from Evanston, which is near Chicago. It was a short trip and I almost missed the plane to get there! I got stuck in traffic on the way there, couldn't figure out where to park the car and kept driving around in circles, then waited in the wrong line to get my ticket (couldn't print it out because my printer was out of ink) and I waited and waited for soooo long because the two customers at the desk were all-demanding. One was arguing about some odd looking thing that she wanted to take on the plane and the other was a foreigner who was all involved in some discussion about currency or some such... so I got all huffy and started pacing and then when I FINALLY got to the counter she said "You're at the wrong counter. This is Jet Blue. You want South West." "Oh my god," I said. "Oh my god..." And no wonder I didn't go to the right seat--there was no counter! There was so zig-zag maze to a guy at a desk who said "Can I help you?" and I said "Yes, I need a boarding pass..." and he said "Can you give me some space please? Please back up and let me deal with this customer," and he pointed at a hippie looking woman bent over, digging through a dozen looking bags and odd packages. Why the heck did he say "Can I help you?" then??? I only stepped forward for that reason! Anyway, the guy spent forever with her because none of her packages met regulation and they all had to be duct taped and so forth. So by the time he said "next," and I said "I'm going to Chicago," he said "Good luck, you've got 7 minutes." I RAN to security and threw off my clothing and belt, etc. I managed to get through with not one but two pocket knives! Lovely. I also did that on the way back. I didn't do that on purpose, mind you, I just forgot to take them off my keychain.
anyway, when I got to the plane the guy said "Are you Meghan McCarhthy?" I huffed, "Yes." He said "You're one lucky lady." As soon as I sat down the plane took off. I"m not kidding.
So I got to Chicago and the car drove for an hour before I got to the hotel. The water went on and on forever. At first I thought--oh my god, the ocean! How nice! Uh, stupid, It's Illinois. There is no ocean. Yeah, lake Michigan. It was almost 90 degrees on the day I left and I'd come with a winter jacket that I had to lug around. It was really pretty-- there were runners and cyclists going along the water and there were people sitting on the beach. And the city sat behind. There were ferries and I even spotted a ferris wheel.
When I got to the hotel I took a walk to the water.
I noticed that I was in a college town--Northwestern University. There were a lot of pretty buildings.
The day arrived after a restless night of not getting any sleep. I got up at the crack of dawn. I gave my first speech in the auditorium to the little kids and then we did our first rotation of activities. The librarian had come up with a real cool bunch of activities for the kids. In the first room kids made rockets out of tubes and paper and cardboard pieces. This was based on my book Astronaut Handbook and on my webpage where I show how to make your own rocket. In the second room kids did exercises based on Strong Man and the back page that shows how to do exercises. In the third room kids got to make bubble gum based on my book Pop! which is coming out in a month. I heard it was a big mess, but how cool is that? I tried a piece--it tasted like sour lemonade.
I slept until noon today. It was short and fun but exhausting. These things always are!