After 3 months off for family leave, I headed back to work on July 1st. It being a holiday week, there was not much actual work to actually do except to wade through 3 months of email and start catching up on a few training webcasts.
The next few weeks were slightly more productive, and I was starting to get used to my work-at-home office routine again when I was told to attend a training class at our downtown Chicago office for an upcoming upgrade to our corporate software system.
Yeah! A break to the routine!
My 2 class days were pleasant and sunny—perfect weather for commuting! I set my alarm early and scrounged around the closet for a few outfits that actually had zippered pants and shirts with collars! I then dusted off my laptop roller backpack case and filled up my water bottle to be fully outfitted for the journey.
The green-tinted train windows gave a retro look to the city skyline as we approached downtown Chicago.
As we headed into the final mile before the station, lots of trains passed us heading back out to the suburbs to pick up more commuters--
Making my way off the train and out of the station, I marched along with thousands of other “working stiffs” to our 9-to-5 jobs downtown. Fortunately, in the summertime, the walking part of the commute is a wonderful way to get some sunshine and exercise as well as appreciating the beauty of Chicago’s architecture.
The walk across one of the Chicago river bridges is wonderful on a summer day (not so much fun in the dead of winter, though!).
One fun way to get over to Michigan Avenue from the train station is to take the water taxi (I didn’t need to on this day, but they were still fun to watch).
I then passed under the iconic “L” tracks that give the heart of the downtown district it’s name ("the Loop” is formed by elevated subway tracks that circle the very center of the city).
Finally, after about 6 blocks of walking, my office building was in view. Merchandise Mart was the largest office building in Chicago at one time and was owned by the famous Kennedy political family. Today, it houses a mix of interior design/home furnishing firms as well as high-tech companies like mine.
2 days was just about enough time to completely enjoy these daily commutes to the office. Any more than that would have become the mindless, boring routine that I saw on the faces of hundreds of other commuters as they stood at their same spots on the train platform each day, sat in their same seats on the train, and marched the same well-worn path to and from their office buildings. I used to follow that same routine 15 years ago when I worked downtown full-time, but thankfully, no more!
After the couple weeks of leisurely July work and the trip to downtown, it was now time for a vacation! No, seriously!!! I have 5 weeks of paid vacation time to use up before the end of the year, so after my 2 days to downtown Chicago, I headed out for my first week-long vacation. More details on that trip in my future posts!