Road Trippin'

This winter Scott and I “hibernated” and took a little time to ourselves. Taking a breather from an overbooked fall calendar recharged us for what are always the busy months going into spring and summer.  Well, it seems spring has arrived. To kick off the week I rose early and drove down to Chicago for the day to check out a new project.  On Friday morning we hightailed it to Charleston for a weekend destination wedding for one of Scott’s oldest friends. While busy, this week has given us some exciting new work challenges, a couple days to soak in the creativity and inspiration of one of my favorite cities and some seriously amusing laughs with our friends.

Let’s start in the Windy City.   Earlier in March my oldest (actually, my first!) friend, Megan, called me to tell me that they had bought a house in the Northern Suburbs of Chicago and asked if I would come down and check it out.   With one day to get in and figure out the immediate priorities for the project, it was  decided that our planning process needed to be set into motion. With a one year old daughter and a house currently in original condition, it was obvious that the sooner we could get access from the current owner to bring tradespeople through the better. For all things that create dust, fumes and large messes we are going to try to contain it to the one month  of “grace” time. Meaning there is one glorious month of new home ownership and current rental overlap. Let the games begin.

There are a couple signs I am getting older. The first being, that in the cold winter months I actually now do the “hibernate” (note above paragraph)  to prepare myself for spring and summer and all that accompanies these jammed packed months.  Another sign might be that my favorite programs are now on public television and public radio (what up, Diane Rehm!). I also enjoy getting up early on Sunday mornings to watch CBS Sunday Morning. The musical intro that kicks off the show gets me so excited that I actually downloaded it as my ring tone (note: getting older).  Making no exception to my newly embraced old lady habits, I made myself two travelers of coffee and hit the road bright and early, switching between captivating programs on NPR and BBC. Thanks to Sirius I was provided with 5 hours of uninterrupted coverage of some of today’s most pressing and not so pressing issues. Next thing you know, I will be citing stories from my Reader’s Digest subscription and sharing my high hopes of winning the Publisher’s Clearing House.

When you take a road trip solo do you feel like when you’re in the “zone” you experience driver camaraderie? I do. In between listening to such burning issues as a woman’s right to choose and to the bird flue I found myself building made up connections with the cars with whom I was sharing the road. Examples being:

a)      The Tailgater: Middle aged woman with fairly conservative bowl haircut  who will. Not. Get. Off. My. Rear.  Her tactic was the “plow”. She did not relent, just kept pushing through at the consistent speed that gives the other drivers no other choice but to veer over into the right lane. Not only is this speed demon sporting a pretty conventionally lackluster hairstyle, she was driving a station wagon. A powder blue station wagon. Filled with wheelchairs. If this isn’t a strong sense of irony, then I don’t know what is.

b)      The Considerate Rebel. My buddy on the open road. His inherent good taste and style was apparent as we were driving the same vehicle. He has just taken his the extra mile by adding some seriously blingin’ rims and tinted windows  (so, looking back on this, I guess I am just assuming my twinsie was a dude). The polar opposite of tailgater, Considerate Rebel would hold back and let me merge when I was fast approaching a slow moving semi.  How thoughtful. We had come so far together, as he showed up early on in my drive, and when I exited at the Northfield exit off I-94 and he kept going and I said goodbye to my pseudo chum.

I rolled in right in time for a quick bite and then we got down to business in the new house. I have to say, I LOVE original condition. First of all, it is a blank canvas and secondly (almost most importantly) you are not paying a higher price for someone's taste. I especially love original condition in the older homes as they typically have some good bones, character and lots of opportunity. I especially, especially love original condition when the client is willing to take some risks, add a little humor and a trait of the unexpected. All things really play nicely in a home that is traditional in style, but with the right approach can be a the perfect place for an active and lively young family to play out their lives.

And, when a project comes with a baby that looks like this....

And two pups that look like this....

It's pretty hard to resist!

After another bright and early morning I headed back to Michigan. I did take the opportunity to stop in a Chicago auction house that I knew was having an upcoming auction on my way out of the city. Also, ever wonder what lies beyond the walls of the antique malls that dot I-94?  After being lured in by some strategically placed billboards, I decided to pull over and take a look. While I did not find anything that I had to have, it was a nice way to break up my drive home. I got home just in time to put my feet up, watch the State game and pack for Charleston. I cannot wait to share some of the photos I took that left me feeling refreshed and inspired!