Rail Cars Reception

On Thursday, Igor and I attended the Annual Rail Car Reception organized by Historic Pullman Foundation. It was a benefit event, and since neither Igor nor I had time to go to Pullman Days this year, I thought I could support Pullman financially and see cool cars simultaneously. So I got two tickets for both of us.

I thought that there would be some programming, but it was literally a reception held in the old cars. It was nice because you could go through three different cars from the late 40s and 50s, but I hoped for more words :).

Also, for some reason, we were almost constantly passed on food (it was mostly finger food, and waiters were walking back and forth with the trays passing us:).

Igor spent a lot of time taking good pictures, but he still didn’t sort them and didn’t share with me, so I will only post the pictures I took

The coolest part was that we could enter all the cabins, and touch everything, and even touch the silverware and menus!

I am not sure I will do it again next year, but it was a very interesting experience!

Uber Crisis

Recently, I often have had trouble getting an Uber ride right away. I first noticed it after the late evening concerts, and I learned that I have to wait or start walking away from the venue or both. But last Friday, I could not get Uber to go to the airport for more than 20 minutes, and then we hit the rush hour!

I had a very interesting conversation with the driver. He told me that the share Uber pays to the drivers is relatively small and does not reflect what the passenger pays. That’s why, he continued, drivers no longer want to pick the airport rides. He said that he is considering becoming a CTA bus driver. He mentioned that the bus driver’s pay used to be very low, but now they are paid $40/hour and have insurance and other benefits. I asked him whether Lift or any cab service would be better, but his advice about getting to the airport was to use the train!
I need to think about it 🙂

Today In The City

(Just realized that my yesterday’s post was left unpublished, so there will be three today :))

I saw on Instagram that the previous two weeks of escorting were brutal. My fellow escorts told me they saw up to fifty antis altogether (in shifts). The clinic requested police presents, but honestly, it was a farce.

Today was relatively quiet; there was only one group of four antis with an amplifier. The shocking part was that the police seemed to protect them, not us.

When a guy on a scooter shouted something in the direction of the amplifier, a police officer gestured for him to stop. When antis were done and packed their equipment, they shook hands with both police officers, and right after this group was gone, police left as well.
But at least it was quiet today, so I can’t complain.

Also, it turned out that today was the 75th anniversary of the CTA celebration, and if I had known in advance, I would plan on taking a ride in the 1920s train car. Unfortunately, I was already on a tight schedule, but I hope it was not the last time in my life.

… and the bridge opening

Pre-Holiday Traffic

As I already said, Friday went completely wrong. Skipping all that was wrong in the morning, I will start at 3 PM.
When I had the exterminator on August 21, he said that he would check the situation with the trap on September 2 (initially, he said – in two weeks, but I told him that I would be unavailable then, so we agreed on September 2).
On August 31, I decided to call and check whether my inspection is scheduled, and it turned out that it was not and that there were no more openings. By then, I knew a mouse was in the trap, and it started to disintegrate.
Finally, after checking all the possible options and redirecting me three times, they told me they could schedule an inspector to come between 3 and 5. I told them that I would need to leave at four at the latest, so could they please make sure that the inspector would come before that?
When nobody showed up by 3-40, I called the company, and they said that the inspector was stuck in pre-holiday traffic and won’t be there till five!
I was desperate – there was no way I could find somebody to wait for an inspector, and I had no time left before the train. Frantically, I called Igor, and he agreed to come to my house after five, although I had already tasked him with three things that had to be accomplished on the same day.
Then I called Uber and was shocked to find out that the usual 30-35 min trip to Union Station is projected to be an hour long, and the wait was about 10-12 min. When the app finally responded that the driver would be there in 4 minutes, I rushed downstairs with such a speed that my Apple watch asked – did you fall?
The train departure time was 5-08, and all along the ride, the projected arrival time was something like 5-04 to 5-06. I called Anna saying I am missing the train; there was one more train three hours later, and Anna suggested I exchange the ticket until it was not too late, but I decided I would give it a chance. The driver was awesome; he used each opportunity to advance in the traffic, at the same time not doing anything risky. We arrived at an unbelievable 5-02, which allowed me not only to make the train but also not to be the last person who jumped in!

And the exterminator came to my apartment at about 5-20, just when Igor arrived. Because I didn’t instruct Igor properly, he didn’t ask about the hole, so the question of what hole to patch remains open.


You know what? They really wait for people! I first noticed it when Boris and I were walking with Nadia to the Jarvis station. I was sure that we would miss the train, but it was still waiting for us when we got up on the platform. I attributed it to the fact that we had a small child with us, and it was Saturday when the trains run less frequently, but I was wrong.

On multiple occasions, the train waited for me when I was close enough to the station so that the train operator could see me from above.. Each time it surprises me and makes me feel very grateful :). Today, there was a train running in the opposite direction, standing at our stop and blocking the view of the street. Granted, the folks on the train could not see me, and they took off just when I was almost on the platform!


Boris flew in on Friday, and it took him almost two hours to get through the immigration. He said there were just two agents for several hundred people. Then, we made a mistake. Or rather, I let this mistake happen.

Since we moved to the city, Boris said that now we do not need to take Uber to the airport because we can take L. I told him it would be a very long trip because you need to get into the city and get out again. Last time, I called Uber because we were fixing things until the last minute.

Now he mentioned it again, and I said – let’s.

Because the inner airport train is still not operating, it took us 30 minutes to get Terminal 5 to Terminal 2. And then – another two hours with all the waits! I told him – at least, it was on the way from the airport, not the other way 🙂

I hope that one experiment was enough 🙂

On The CTA

Life both without the car and attachment to the Metra train schedule is so liberating! Especially since I live the house early enough to hit the rush hour schedule with not-so-crowded trains.

June is the first month when I ordered the CTA monthly instead of Metra monthly (and the first time I have CTA monthly). Since I already had one CTA pay-as-you-go pass on my app, I wondered how they will live together and whether there would be any confusion. I thought I would examine the situation o May 31.
However, it turned out that the monthly pass showed up on May 26 (since I didn’t have a previous monthly). I did not know about that and thought I still have my pay-as-you-go in use and was using it for Anna. it turned out that the app was applying my monthly for the first passenger and then deducting the pay-as-you-go for the subsequent ones. That was a pleasant surprise, and it solves the problem of how I will be taking my out-of-town guests around 🙂

On Indoor Dining Ban And The New Metra Schedule

It’s not because the indoor dining closer hurts Vlad; after all, his place is probably the least vulnerable of all in the city. But in general, I find it hard to agree with the governor on this particular measure. I truly believe (and he himself said it previously) that the infections spike comes mostly from the private gatherings (where nobody enforces anything!) rather than from indoor dining. And I think that the ban on indoor dining will make things worse because there will be more private gatherings, where nobody controls the number of people, mask-wearing and such.

Last week, a day before the governor banned indoor dining in the city, Metra announced that they increase the number of trains on our line, “adding more express trains and addressing the service gaps.” Which was good; as I mentioned earlier, as Metra enforces 1/4 of cars capacity, there were some days when I could hardly find a seat on a train on my way back from the city.

However, I was wondering – more people to the city and fewer places to have lunch? And just when the weather became colder! I was wondering what the situation will be at the train station in the city. I found it out on Saturday when I went for my clinic escort shift: the food court was open, and there were tables and chairs just as they were for the last several weeks: at 6+ feet distance, one chair per table. Which made me realize that the station has effectively become an indoor dining place, and it’s an option when I want to feed Igor 🙂

On the same note: on Saturday, I was leaving pretty early, and I had all intention to grab a coffee at the Palatine Train Station Starbucks. To my astonishment, they were closed, as we used to say, “without any declaration of the war.” It was a chilly morning, and I had to wait till I got to the city to get my first cup of coffee. The ad on the door said: temporarily closed, sorry for the inconvenience, with no reason provided.

I was wondering how long it is going to last, but last night when I checked the Starbucks app, I found that not only this location is open again, but moreover, they now operate insane hours: from 4-30 AM to 8 PM on workdays (Friday till 8-30), from 5-30 AM on Saturdays and from 6 AM on Sundays. Which again signals that the station will be effectively the indoor dining place.

We shall see. Vlad hopes that the ban won’t last long, and I hope the same.