Today is a combination of relatively last-minute trips into the Loop, firmed up mid-morning with just enough time to catch a 10:57 Metra train inbound.

First stop: near West Side along the trendy Randolph Street corridor, which is now more sushi than sides of beef as in the days when produce and meat markets dominated this area. There are still some food vendors left amidst the upscale dining and I picked my way past sidewalk dining where the next storefront was a meat wholesaler where guys were unloading large pieces of beef from the back of a white Ford panel van. It’s about a 10-15 minute walk to an old colleague’s office from the Metra station but I had stopped first to pick up a Metra schedule for the Aurora train for a Friday trip. More on that later.

Lunch outside is a relief from sitting at the laptop all day Tuesday sending emails and making phone calls. We catch up on each other’s web work and chew on our shared past personalities as much as we chew on our lunch. Let’s say the lunch is way easier to digest.

My next stop is only at 3 PM so after wrapping up around 1:15 PM, I walk back to the Metra station to get out of the impending and then arriving rain and make some calls. The repetitive electronic voice announcing each track is enough to make a Marcel Marceau scream in mid-act. I walk to my appointment.

This one ends with enough time to leisurely walk back to the Ogilvie station and settle in on the 5:43 PM train about 15 minutes early. Nice.

My wife, meanwhile, is on her way back from Washington, DC. She calls me to tell me that our friends at United are going to plop her into O’Hare at 6:55 PM. Obviously, I will not be driving to pick her up so I encourage her to take a taxi and be ready to pay about 42 bucks for the privilege. She wants to know the alternative, so I tell her that I think the Cumberland station will offer her a Pace bus to Evanston, which means riding the CTA Blue Line inbound a stop. She sounds like she’s game to try it and she’s a big girl with a big idea and I suspect she will not take the taxi. Funny how you get to know somebody in a marriage.

What she does actually is to take the O’Hare People Mover, a rubber-tired elevated train, to the remote parking lot where she picks up Pace bus Route 250 - Dempster Street http://www.pacebus.com/sub/schedules/route_detail.asp?RouteNo=250 which originates at the O’Hare Kiss-N-Fly ATS Station. She is actually in progress when she calls to report this but assures me she will at least take a taxi from the Davis Street El station in Evanston.

Despite my having arrived home from downtown, I have enough time to walk the dog and make fish tacos from scratch including making another walking trip to Dominick’s to get some additional vegetables I need and setting the table before she gets home well after 8:30 PM. Her bus trip was almost as long as the flight from DC and indeed, the timetable allows the trip about an hour:

Take PACE BUS # 250
Depart at 07:25 PM:
O’HARE KISS ‘N’ FLY BUS STOP
Arrive at 08:27 PM:
DAVIS CTA BUS STOP
Partway through the trip home, she was doubting the wisdom of this method, but she certainly pioneered an overland route from O’Hare I had never thought of. Perhaps the next time she can try the Conestoga service.