- Some cities in the Midwest have more country radio stations than they should be allotted.
- Some people think nothing of chit-chatting the day away with a toll taker regardless of how many dozens of cars are piling up behind them.
- Some people are still very confused about the left lane.
- The guy driving a Traverse on the tollway yesterday is a colossal douche. Keep an eye out for him.
After the hall of fame, we checked into our hotel room. Rachel hooked us up with a nice room right downtown. She had some travel points saved up or something. I think it's pretty well established by now that I am not opposed to freeloading. We spent the next hour looking at our combined technology-related devices (two smartphones, two GPS units, a laptop, and an iPad) in an attempt to figure out where to eat dinner. We finally just got in the car (she took the wheel) and drove around downtown to see what we could find. My dear friend has a tendency to believe that stop signs are optional, so I thought I might end up being returned to my husband in a body bag. We finally stopped at a joint called Bar Louie's. It's a chain restaurant and we were sort of trying to avoid that (we wanted to get some local flavor, literally) but we were tired of driving around and besides, it was happy hour and the drinks were cheap. It turned out to be a really good dinner, too. We also found a liquor store and stopped there for supplies. Later, we just hung out in our hotel room and watched TV. I was really tired because I'd only gotten a few hours of sleep the night before and I think I lost consciousness mid-sentence.
Let me just say that the beds at the Doubletree Hotel in Cleveland are awesome. Lots of pillows and the mattresses struck just the right balance between firm and soft. I immediately vowed to live in the hotel forever, or at least stay there until Rachel's credit card was maxed out. Also, I really need room-darkening curtains at home. Also, a room with no dogs in it. At home, it's not the kid who wakes me up. It's the bleeping dogs.
Anyway, we were game for just about anything on Saturday and we found plenty to do. We had an early lunch at a vegan restaurant called The Flaming Ice Cube. It was really good. After that, we went to a little wine and gift shop in an area of Cleveland called Tremont. There was a little dog in the shop. A puggle. I am not a "little dog" person but I was in need of a dog fix and tried my best to befriend her. She was totally over me after the first two seconds and went behind the counter to stand with her two dads. We then walked next door to a candy shop called Lilly's. Rachel had done a bunch of research in advance to find some cool places to go, and I must say she succeeded. Lilly's serves little handmade chocolates, many of which have unusual ingredients (or at least ordinary ingredients in unusual combinations). I tried five different truffles. I mean to tell you that a couple of them changed my life.
Stiff in the gift shop. I've been wanting to read it for a while. I also picked up some souvenirs for my daughter, because I know better than to go home empty-handed. Finally, we ended the day by having dinner at the House of Blues. Back at the hotel, we drank wine and watched Bridesmaids. We briefly considering going down to the pool and/or whirlpool. However, there was at least one wedding going on and we didn't want to walk around in our swimsuits or ride in an elevator next to someone in a tux. Also, we noticed a bunch of young women milling around out front, all wearing tight, short dresses and pink pageant sashes. They were all smoking. We hadn't heard of a smokers' pageant in town, but who knows. We decided to stay in our room and not think about it too much.
Before I knew it, it was time to drive back home. Another ten hours in the car and voila - home again. I found out today that my daughter wore a glittery red Christmas sweater to school on Friday, but I'm trying not to think about it too much.