Chicago's John Hancock building at night.
Actually - Cleveland freezes.
It is soooo freaking cold here!!!! We rolled in quite late, and as has now become our norm, all jumped in the pool.
We spent the morning shopping on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
I told Sophia that I would buy her a doll at American Girl, because I had heard that American Girl was popular - and since Sophia was soon to become a real American Girl, I thought it would be a good way to get her enculturated.
Oh my - I didn't know what I was walking into. For those of you who are unaware, American Girl is a company that sells dolls - these dolls have names and life stories. There are other dolls that are supossed to be made to look like different types of girls - so no matter what you look like, there will be a doll that kind of looks like you - although it appears they have missed the mixed race Indo-Chinese market.
I walked into the place with Sophia and felt like we had entered a girls only Best Buy on Black Friday - there were pint sized girls everywhere, clutching even smaller girl dolls in their arms. There were some girls even DRESSED exactly like their freaky looking dolls.
I didn't realize what I had promised to Sophia. This was not just a doll company, this was a cleverly designed consumerist cult that was quickly making a convert of my dear Sophia.
We hunted around for a suitable doll - we found one she liked, and then I looked at the price tag.
And .... I quickly wondered how I could convince Sophia that it would be way cooler for her to buy a clear plastic rubber ball from Target (at a cost of under 5$). But, it was too late - the trap had been set. Sophia was hooked.
I realized that if I buy this doll, my family would probably have to eat less food this month. But, what could I do? I had promised her. Clearly, I should have done some research before telling my daughter I would buy her a doll that cost the same as my first car (a Datsun B-210 - man that was a sweet ride).
So, I trudged on through the alternate pink universe. We then realized the doll needed clothes. Clothes? I need clothes. Dolls don't NEED anything. So, now, we had to hunt down an outfit for this thing. And man did they have choices - there were snowboarding, lacrosse, soccer, a hippie. There was even a doll in a wheelchair and one with some sort of weird orthodontic retainer covering her head. When will this David Lynch film end?
FINALLY - Sophia picked out some white outfit for her doll. We now queued up with other parents and kids - all of whom looked like they could actually afford to be shopping in this place. When we got up to pay, the cashier asked if I'd like to get the doll's ears pierced.
Now - I don't know what a stroke feels like, but I think I might have had a mini one at this point. Everything got cloudy and I felt like the floor was no longer even. After a couple of seconds, my brain cleared up and tried to take her seriously.
Do I want to get the doll's ears pierced? I place this alongside other questions such as:
Would you like to sign up for our zamboni driver's training course?
and .... Are you sure you're not interested in the time-share options in Fallujah at this time of the year?
I tried to restrain myself and politely said - no. Sophia's ears aren't even pierced!!!
After we bought the doll, and now looked forward to not eating complete meals for the next month, we wandered to the back of the store.
This place had a hair salon for the dolls, which lineup was longer than the lineup to buy stuff.
There was a hospital. Not sure what kind of illnesses stalk dolls.
There was a pet store to buy pets for the dolls.
And there was a cafe.
I hated this place. But, now, I'm pretty sure I'll have to visit another one in the near future - or at least start buying their stuff online.
And all because I love Sophia. I hope she can learn that I can express my love in other (more economical) ways.
From there we roamed around a bit more. Bought some more stuff. I bought a pair of Levi's jeans - ON SALE at Macy's.
Then we started the trek onward.
We drove and drove - the only stop we made was at an outlet mall, somewhere in Indiana. We bought some really cheap stuff and then kept going.
If I have time tomorrow, I might pay a visit to the rock and roll hall of fame which is right across from our hotel.
And then .... and then!!!!
The journey will be complete (but the new journey will begin).