Grand Prize Weekend

by kelly

Hotel Monaco

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.


In late July, 2005, Paul and I attended my firm’s summer picnic. I was as pregnant as the day was long, and we were generally in the process of preparing for the imminent arrival of our new family member. At the picnic, we were distracted from thinking about our changing family status, however. There was something else to look forward to there – the prize drawings.


Fruit and Wine in our room

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.


Every picnic attendee was allotted the same number of tickets to insert, as we did, into different containers to to win different prizes. Gift certificates, spa treatments, booze (this is Wisconsin), and sports and theatre events.

When the drawing was held, we compared our ticket stub numbers to each prize number that was called out. No winners in there. Nothing. Zip.



Originally uploaded by Koog Family.


But wait. There was one more prize to be called. The “Grand Prize” Рa round trip for two to Chicago on Amtrack, a night at the Monaco Hotel (witha special arrangement for wine and fruit in the room), and a gift certificate to the South Water Kitchen. And the winner was. . . ME! I certainly wasn’t expecting to win, and was quite surprised to hear my name called.


The Yoga Channel

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.


As I waddled up to the front to receive my prize (a lovely assemblage of the gift certificates and several Chicago tourist magazines and maps, in a bag), the place erupted into loud applause and cheering. I wasn’t sure what to make of that other than the fact that I suppose people felt sorry for me in my state of advanced pregnancy and imminent sleepless nights, and figured that I could use the getaway


El Station

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.


We recently noticed the convergence of three sets of circumstances: 1. I can drink wine again; 2. Emma is old enough to be left overnight in the care of a relative; and 3. Paul’s school schedule is clearer now that it’s summer, and all.
So we finally made our reservations, and headed off, last Friday, on our “Grand Prize” trip.


Ann Sather Coffees and Menu Selection

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.


It was a lovely, if short, getaway. We caught the train to the city, avoiding all the traffic. Checked into our hotel and promptly enjoyed the “wine hour” in the lobby. We walked around the Chicago River area for a while before arriving for our dinner reservations and a lovely meal. And when we returned to our room, our new pet-for-the-night, was delivered to us. We named him Fishy.


Street Scene – Belmont Avenue

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.


The next morning, we took the “L” train to our old neighborhood and breakfasted at a place we‚Äôd been a few times before. After the trip north and back, it was time to head Amtrak station and get home again. But all in all, a lovely little trip!

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