We drove up on a Friday night and 'checked in' to our AirBnB place. Apparently an international triathlon championship of some sort was going on and hotels were just impossible to get without paying $1000+ for the weekend. Our AirBnB was a quarter the price and quite nice - the host was out camping so it was just us in a large and surgically clean apartment. We didn't feel like seeing people after working that day (I taught a double load covering for a faculty member out of town) so we had really pretty good Thai food delivered to the apartment and watched Netflix. Chicago apparently also has a service whereby you can have beer, wine, or liquor delivered like takeout (I was joking about it and Ana checked - it exists) but apparently it is still new and kind of buggy - it never came and they never charged us. Might still be worth trying just for grins the next time.
The lake views advertisement was not kidding - picture from Saturday morning
On Saturday one of the more justifiable reasons for being back in Chicago was the second fitting of my new suit. Our math on getting new suits was: convincing an engineering department to hire you for a tenure track job costs them at least a million dollars even if they decide not to give tenure, so we needed suits that one could plausibly ask for million dollar contracts in. I'm not sure my existing suit covers that. For the members of the audience demanding PICTURES NOW (Hi Mom), my handmade Italian suit (I didn't set out for Italian fabric, but that was the one I actually wanted when looking at samples) fits great but the shirts to go with it are not ready yet and my unfitted shirts are kind of comical paired with a fitted suit. You'll have to wait. I think I also need to grow my tie collection a bit for maximum effect. In the meantime, Ana's suit is all set, so why not bother her about that?
Sunday we got up at the crack of dawn to go to a science museum. We'd bought a set of the actually fairly difficult-to-get tickets for the most in-depth tours of their u-boat (one of a bare handful preserved in the world) at the Museum of Science and Industry. We had to buy the tickets months ago. This is in keeping with our strategy of planning recreational events well before we know how busy we'll be so we actually go. This tour begins well before the museum opens to the public.
I was really hoping for a nerdy tour, emphasizing the nuts and bolts operation of the submarine. I may have watched a number of submarine movies, played a number of submarine warfare simulators, including one emphasizing the Type IX u-boat featured in the museum, and may or may not own a reference book named "Submarines of the World". However, the tour emphasized the human aspects of the war and the human stories of the capture of the submarine during WW2. From a professional standpoint, I absolutely agree that emphasizing human stories is a better educational strategy for the majority of people. But maybe the majority of people don't get up really early on a Sunday to go see a submarine? I don't know. After the initial tour, they did let us roam around a little and they had a number of US Navy submarine vets who were quite willing to discuss any and all technical aspects of the design and operation of submarines. Some had strong feelings about the superiority of American sub designs vs. German ones, including some that seemed to me to make engineering sense. The veterans also griped about ways that the boat had been made less authentic in order to show it better to the public by lowering some of the floor and not including as many items in the interior (torpedoes, foodstuffs) as would have been present when it sailed. The boat still featured holes in various places that had been authentically shot by American forces in 1943, so that was intense to see. It was a pretty decent tour overall, but I still want a more technical one that goes over it bow to stern.
After the submarine, we stayed through until the museum closed and saw almost everything. It is a little odd now as an educational researcher and teacher to visit a place designed to teach things. I know some of our graduates work in museums and we definitely felt like we couldn't see things just as exhibits any more - we had to assess them as learning experiences too. We were very impressed by a lot of what we saw there, they had some amazingly informative and engaging exhibits. We were pretty beat driving back, and quite behind on work but overall it was a fun weekend.