The day started with breakfast at the Blue Plate Cafe. Very uneven and actually a bit disappointing. Service was fair to poor and the food was... OK.
We spent the day back at the house resting or bobbing in the pool. I actually, for the first time in my life, sat down with a game console all by myself. I played harry Potter on Diane's PlayStation 2. It was my first experience just playing a game for that platform. It was interesting and kept me entertained for hours. Diane and Melinda whipped up a lunch for us as well - mostly Sloppy Joe's that my mom made and they reheated, as well as leftovers from yesterday.
We decided to leave about 4 o'clock to try and beat some of the traffic back into the city. The radio kept telling us about the severe weather in the Chicago area and you can hear the crackle of lightning over the AM reception. The traffic on 94 started getting bad. Then it started to crawl. We stopped in Portage Indiana to get gas and pick up Powerball tickets ($240 million!!!). It was still crawling and actually getting worse on I-94. I decided to take US 12 into the city. I just couldn't take the "not moving" part of this and at this rate, it felt like it would be hours before we got home.
US 12 took us through, um, "interesting" areas of Gary, Whiting, and Hammond. When driving to Diane's on Friday, I had noticed that the Skyway had two lanes open going eastbound but only one lane open going westbound. I really wanted to avoid that at all costs. We did, however, get up to a Skyway entrance ramp and saw that the traffic was actually moving pretty well. I decide to get on - and found out that instead of a single lane, they had flipped the configuration over the weekend and we had 2 lanes going westbound. The weather started moving-in as soon as we got to that stupid $2 Toll Plaza. It started to rain. Hard. Winds shook the car. Traffic was crawling again, but we were closer to town now. Once we got to the Dan Ryan, things started to clear-up - both in traffic and weather, though the standing water was pretty bad in many places.
We got to my mom's house after 7pm. I just happen to go inside to, um, "use the facilities" when I noticed that the power was out. Sort of. Most of the circuits were out, but the air conditioning was on, the refrigerator was on, and a few lights worked. The rest of the house was dark. One of the neighbors came over to try to help us figure out what was going on.
That's when we found out the scary part. We found out from a next door neighbor that there were "flames" coming from where the electrical wire entered the house! Thank God it's a brick house! Sure enough, you can see where the insulation was gone on the wires going into the pipe that goes to the electric meter which feeds the house. Calling Commonwealth Edison was a trip - because of the tens of thousands of people without power due to all the storms over the past days, the automated attendant now just tells you to call again later and hangs up! We got mom settled and she felt OK about staying there overnight.
We finally got home after 9pm. We're exhausted. Indy is pissed (she didn't like being left alone for all that time).
Not a great finish to the 4th of July weekend, but we had some good times.
« hide the extended part of this entry