Of Chicago, Family, Music, Cancelled Flights, and Good Attitudes

My oldest son graduated from Moody Bible College in Chicago this past weekend.

Matt walking into the church for Graduation

Walking down to graduate

I went out to visit he and his wife, attend the graduation, and see Chicago minus the freezing temperatures. 

We were out in February – me, his siblings, and his mom and her boyfriend – to surprise him for his birthday (watch the video below the picture gallery below). It was significantly colder back then. Significantly!

Chicago – an overview

I’ve been to Chicago a few times. I spoke for McDonald’s years ago and performed a few house concerts. But visiting my son in February was the first time I wandered the city. 

I always find central libraries interesting – often visiting my own Los Angeles library for books, events, and art. The Chicago Library was similarly awesome! Riding around on the brown line in downtown, pretty cool. 

This trip I made it up to The Lincoln Park Zoo and a park my youngest enjoyed when she was out – Oz Park. On that trip I took pictures of some of the houses I walked by.

Then we made it to Lemmings – a bar near Logan Park, where my son and daughter-in-law live. Note: In February, my pool playing was AWFUL! I didn’t practice between now and then but I took advice from my friend, Julie, and watched a few videos. The difference was nothing short of miraculous. I might even have to practice now… it was enjoyable.

The first time to Lemmings, in February, we also found out they run a late night, Sunday evening, open-mic. I got to perform again this trip – there is video somewhere. The plan is to book a gig the next time I visit with John, the guy running the open mic. I opened with Warren Zevon’s Mutineer. I also played my song, “I Want to Date a Millennial.” Debbie refers to it as my midlife crisis song. The song got a HUGE response from the bar. I guess there are a lot of midlife crisis-es happening there. Go figure!

We also played a game called, “Secret Hitler.” You’ll have to look it up – pretty fun – though the neighbors probably wonder why they hear everyone yelling, “You’re lying! You’re a fascist!!!”

Heading Home

I was scheduled to get home Monday evening but a storm blew in.

Lightning at O'Hare Airport

Lightning at O’Hare Airport

My flight was pushed back – which meant I would miss my connecting flight in Salt Lake. I’d fallen asleep at O’Hare, so when I woke up and realized what was happening, the other passengers were all lined up to make whatever arrangements they needed to make.

I resigned myself to taking longer to get home and avoid the line. As I walked down the terminal, I saw a Delta rep at an empty counter. I approached her and the following conversation occurred.

Me: “Excuse me… is there a number I can call to reschedule my flight. I was on the flight over there and am going to miss my flight in Salt Lake. Or do I have to wait in that line?”

Delta rep #1: “You sort of need to go through that line to see where they can put you.”

Me: “Okay. Well, I am sure I’ll get home eventually. I’ll wait until the line is gone.”

Delta rep #1: “That’s a pretty relaxed attitude. It is sort of nice to see.”

Me: “Far worse things have happened to far better people.” (thank you Amber)

Delta rep #1: “Wow… what’s your name? I can probably help you. Where are you trying to get to.”

Me: “Los Angeles. But you can put me in Italy or the British Virgin Islands if that is all we can do. Let’s play ‘Destination Roulette.'”

Delta rep #1: “What if you end up in Siberia or some place like that.”

Me: “It’s still an adventure. I’m sure I’d have fun!”

At this point, she got me onto an American Airlines flight – direct to LA. No guarantees… the storm was still raging. Another Delta rep showed up and the original rep had to take care of something else. She told her co-worker, “This guy is really nice. Can you finish this transfer for him?” 

Me: “You guys are awesome! I’m betting the best in the airport, right?”

Delta rep #2: “Yes! Let me help you out.”

She then asked her co-worker (rep #1) for a pen. Neither had one, so I reached into my bag, handed them a pen I’d picked up a couple weeks ago at a tech retreat for my client.

Delta rep #2: “Thanks. Let me just borrow it to fill this out.”

Me: “It’s yours!”

Delta rep #2 turned to Delta rep #1: “You’re right. He is nice.” – then to me: “I have you on an aisle seat near the front.”

As it turns out, that flight ended up being pushed back and cancelled. Though, they did get me on a morning flight – again with good seats.

If you know me, I can be snarky and sarcastic when there is bad customer service. But, I cannot blame cancelled flights due to a storm on the airline. If I’m inconvenienced for safety, so be it.

And in the end, the phrase and idea I felt important to focus on was, “Far worse things have happened to far better people.”

Some Chicago pics

In no particular order, here are some things I saw and enjoyed in Chicago.

Matt’s Surprise Birthday Video from February

We (my ex and her boyfriend, Matt’s siblings, and I) all flew into town without him knowing. Jess surprised him first. The rest of us were dispersed around the restaurant. You’ll see when Matt first sees me – after hugging me realizes that everyone else is there.

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