The Ten Phases of a Whirlwind Birthday Trip

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My newly minted 39-year-old husband and I headed to Chicago for a night this weekend to celebrate his “Countdown to 40″ birthday (in other words, he turned 39). This whole idea sprouted from seeing that SPG was offering luxury box suite tickets with food and drinks to Chicago Cubs games for just 7,500 points for two tickets. This is an amazing deal, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to see a game at Wrigley and celebrate my husband’s birthday.

However, whenever you are taking such a short trip, you are taking a chance since even a moderate delay or hiccup can have an impact on your already limited time. Naturally, that happened in this case. I’ll post way more details about the cool parts of the trip soon, but in the meantime here are the ten phases of a whirlwind birthday trip for your Saturday evening viewing pleasure (or displeasure).

1. Oh crap, we are running late. Ah! Too much to do in a morning before heading to the airport. Get the kid to school, pack her stuff, pack my stuff, pack the dog’s stuff, do some work, water the plants, did I pack the kid’s blankie?, send out PTA emails, check my real email, oh now we are really running late, fix hair, drop off dog, go, go, go!

2. Wow – we both got PreCheck! Travel is amazing. This is so easy. This was a great idea.  We should do it all the time!

3. Okay the flight is delayed 20 minutes, no biggie. Still excited for getting to Chicago.

4. Oh now the flight is really delayed. Now mechanical with unknown departure time. Now two hours late. Now we missed our dinner reservation. This was a bad idea. What were we thinking?! Stupidest idea ever.

5. Wheels up – we can probably sneak in for the last seating of the night for dinner if we hurry, maybe this wasn’t so crazy after all!

6. Landed – rush to get the car and head to the hotel and dinner before we are left eating McDonalds in downtown Chicago! Hurry, hurry, hurry!

7. Exhale – made it to the hotel and dinner at 10PM with no minutes to spare, but we made it. Cheers!


8. Warm happy buzzed feeling – nice bed in a nice hotel on points after a yummy dinner (and drinks). What could be better?!


9. This was so worth it!

20130504-163320.jpg10. Are we home yet? I’m tired and miss my kid.


Our one night adventure did become questionable as the delay crept on into the evening (and I left out the whole fiasco of getting the rental car), but in the end we made it and had a great time.  I wish we had one more night to relax in Chicago, but we need to get home to our kiddo.  My husband had a great birthday, and miles and points totally made this crazy adventure possible.  We do plan to be gone much longer than a night for his 40th next year!

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  1. Rental car to downtown Chicago? Seems like more trouble than it’s worth. Wouldn’t a few cabs be cheaper by the time pay for the rental car, parking, gas, etc.? Not to mention less stressful.

    • Yes but it was really cheap and we needed a good place to store bags since we went directly from Wrigley to ORD. We went back and forth on transport options for a while.

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