Chi town and Wiscaansin

Obviously or perhaps not, yet in the title I refer to Chicago and Wisconsin. I attempted to write Wisconsin as per the accent but my phonetic spelling is probably as bad as my attempt to do the accent itself. Irrelevant to all of the former blurb I am here for work.

The trip started with a really early flight requiring a 3am wake up, so day one was suitably dazed and then confused when I found I couldn’t actually get to sleep at 10pm, having assumed I’d be out like a light. A notable food highlight was a chocolate vegan cake bought for me from Firecakes – go there it’s amazing and the donuts I can tell by reading others reactions were out of the world. Pink Taco’s was our lunch place of choice – immediately in my positive list due to the smiley dancing nature of the beautiful lady who greeted us and sashayed us to our tables – go girl! Food tasty as heck too – especially the fresh guacamole.

Day two involved a drive up to Milwaukee – my first ever time in Wisconsin and all I could think of as I drove up was Colin from Love Actually and his Wisconsin babes! I had a poor image of Wisconsin in my mind as I’d heard the area talked down. Now admittedly due to the nature of our customers being in high end design I was visiting the wealthy part of town down near the lake. It was stunning and so so very green. The homes were varied and stylish in their design, the grass, the trees the greenery it was all so picture perfect suburbs. And the people! Everyone was so incredibly friendly and genuine.

On my way back south on advice I stopped at the Mars Cheese Factory – one of the places in the world that is random as hell yet actually rather cool. I purchased a load of cheese as gifts and ate a turkey sandwich before heading on my way. Sadly I have since left said dairy gifts in my friends fridge so the planned recipients will definitely have the embrace ‘it’s the thought that counts’.

Back in Chicago I was off to stay with a friend who’s recently moved back here from LA. I was delightfully greeted by her boyfriend and his son, ”allo you bladdy wanker’. So welcoming and truly made it feel like Britain, at least Britain in the poor suburbs of London during Victorian England. Except pondering it I’m not sure they’d have used the word ‘wanker’ – hmmm.

In any event we were all starvin’ Marvin so we shortly headed out post our re-union. We went to Cooper Hawks restaurant which is a chain of restaurants linked to a local winery. The evening was exceptionally warm having been 33 degrees all day (91f) and we’re afraid bugs might be out so sitting in seemed optimal. Except in all their restaurant style glory to counteract warmth outside they had felt the best idea was to turn the inside into a giant wall in freezer. As we approached our table I asked ‘I have a serious question even if you may think it’s a joke. Do you have a blanket?. ‘I’m sorry?’ Said RE waiter, ‘well it’s fricking freezing in here so do you have a blanket so perhaps I don’t develop hypothermia?’ I said. ‘We could probably adjust the AC he offered’. ‘ i guess that will have to do’. We sat down and he headed off within seconds my teeth were literally chattering and we had no choice but to head for the great outdoors – the relief is similar to having stepped out of a driving snow storm at -20 into a warm chalet just incredibly back to front.

I had been advised of the tasty and unusual bubbly selection and it did not disappoint – after a tasting of sparkly muscat, red, raspberry and almond I settle on the Almond. Truly it was almond flavored bubbly – like Amaretto and Prosecco had an illegitimate yet very attractive offspring. I simply don’t care what anyone thinks it was delicious. Somewhere into our tasting delights a moth took a fancy to us flying dangerously close to its own death by drowning or disappearance down our throats. My friend was briskly shooing it away when I spotted close to her hand one of the most ugly of spiders. ‘Nooooooo (think the scene in Austin powers with the steam roller) don’t touch it there’s a spider’. She pulled back, we observed and I photographed. ‘You know what I think we might have to brave back inside! That alone is a reason not to move to the mid-west’. Fear not people I am aware this was a dramatic statement – the people in LA are way scary than that spider.

Friday came along and it was the last working day of the week and I was off to meet clients. Which of course in my world means something absurd is imminent.Today it was public choking on an almond. One of the designers in our customer’s store looks supremely young for her near on 70 years. As she was offering around raw almonds to the group I observed that perhaps these were the tricks to her youthful looks, at which point a tiny bit wedges itself in my throat and the choking began. Having moments earlier refused a water I was now resorting to charades in order to indicate that the water would in fact now come in highly useful, as I proceeded to turn red. I sought to make light of the situation with a casual smile. My face was however, possibly more akin to that of a patient released from a Victorian asylum having just been subjected to some form of torture, apologies, medical help. I hoped for a swift recovery post water yet the inability to speak, unusual vision and red face continued. Eventually I had to step outside. Revived I stepped back only for it to start again. Out i go, revived and choking yet again. Maybe 10 minutes later I could speak to try and make light of yet another ridiculous moment in my working life. As I always I think to myself – at least I’m memorable.

That evening we were back for a grill which of course is a BBQ. My friend’s chaps son wanted us to go look at the fire he and his dad had set up on the back path; in hindsight he was unusually keen for us to see the fire. As we got down to the fire poppits (mini fire cracker things) exploded at our feet at volume, in line with explosions of laughter from him and the mastermind behind the activity, his dad. More concerning is that whilst my friends reaction was as one might expect I feel like the activity had passed before I even noticed what had happened in order to be able to react. I fear if I was ever caught in a real cross fire I may still be stood there with a vacant look on my face by the time the police arrived and diffused the situation. I wonder if there’s an app to solve slow reactions?

As a calm to my nerves I was blessed with opportunity to try a glass of $500 Gran Patron Burdeos. It may be smooth and classy and quality but it still tasted like super strong alcohol to me and my only reaction can be the screwed up moron face – like a cross between sucking a lemon, getting a shock and being incredibly cold all at once – maintaining my all time cool demeanor and supermodel good looks.

During the course of the evening the young man of the house whipped out a classic piece of mental warfare on me. Twice in one week this has happened. Those who know me are aware as a rule I’ll take doing my own thing over child/ parenting related activities of a weekend (or any other time). So I was not planning to attend his morning baseball match (is it a match?), rather I was going to the Chicago Botanical Gardens. But then he did it. ‘Hey Emma are you going to come watch my baseball game too?’. Um, now in my mind I’m picturing me flying away on my nimbus 2000 but likewise if you know me I’m not of the nasty witch school and a friendly and fun child can easily win me over. ‘Um yeah I guess I’m coming for the start of the match at least sure, yeah of course’. He got me good, fully stumped me with a perfected act of, I’m going to assume unintentional, emotional blackmail. So this morning I got an introduction to baseball although I still don’t understand. I did enjoy my second morning wake up of Cherry Coffee though – who’d of thought of such a thing and enjoyed sitting back, chatting with friends and relaxing in the warm breeze.

Fear not LA I am bringing some Cherry coffee back with me for us to try and I promise to try and leave my funniest of faces back here in Chicago.

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