A Friend is celebrating a birthday next month, and because her favorite band is playing in Chicago she's celebrating up there. And she's invited her friends to join her, though lo they are legion and scattered to the far corners of the earth.
You realize this is a chance to travel while leaving the dog at home to stay with Gary.
Hotel. First, I get to pick a hotel. This means I get the list of hotels off Concierge.com, Jetsetter.com, and fivestaralliance.com, and then I cross-reference only hotels that appear on all three lists to make a Master List, then I look through Google images to find actual traveler images of the hotel rooms at their worst.
I then make a spreadsheet of the finalists with columns detailing the square footage*, price, airline points, and if there is tea or not. And only then do I decide on the hotel I had in mind when I started, and not just because it has a personal motorized watercraft on site. (I don't even know what that means.)
*This time I ruled out two hotels because the rooms were 600 square feet. I don't need a room that big. I'd much rather have a tiny well-appointed room. They both have the same beds and tvs. Why pay for air?
Travel. I am joining the road trip to Chicago, but I'm staying an extra day then flying home. If you again take the Gary discount (in that I'm not paying for his ticket), then the extra night in the hotel almost pays for itself.
Events. Every time I go to Chicago with Gary we spend all our time in museums. I'm planning non-museum events. For example, in addition to hanging out with the Friend and her far-flung friends, I'm sitting front and center for Book of Mormon. Gary said he didn't want to go when it came to Saint Louis, so I just sank the money for Gary's ticket into my own. I thought about going to the Sunday Gospel brunch at the House of Blues, but I've read some bad reviews.
I am liking this so much.