Recent episodes of the Long Beach blog have been somewhat open-ended, inviting curiosity of what happened next. Certainly there isn’t anything overly exciting to be written here, but I should at least put a period on the end of those sentences and follow through on the promise of completing each scenario.

The most recent entry entitled RETURN recapped most of my much-awaited trip home to spend time with friends and family for Independence Day. There was plenty of golf and quality time with the parents and a visit to my favorite BBQ restaurant to devour smoked meat and sweet potatoes. We had plans to venture into the City for the Cubs game after our Saturday round of golf. That is where this story begins. Our escapades were enough to necessitate its own blog post.

Dad and I rushed off the course after playing 14 holes at Old Orchard. The course is notorious for slow play and lived up to its reputation on this holiday. We could have squeezed in another hole or two, but here was no way we would complete all 18 and still make our scheduled train. I ended on a birdie and at a point where we could easily trek back to the clubhouse and back home to clean up for the game.

There was much debate as to whether we should drive or take the train. And if we took the train if we should catch the 3:30 or 4:30 inbound choo-choo. Once we reached our destination, would we Uber or take the bus or connect to the red line? We had more time than we needed to make all of those plans. You see, there was no 3:30 train. There were various delays because of overcrowding and mechanical issues on the line, but there was never any 3:30 train on this Saturday. Was the Metra operating the Saturday schedule? The Holiday schedule? No one really knows. So we rushed to the station and arrived at the platform at 3:25… for a train that was never to arrive.

We stood on the platform for the next hour, checking phones, asking Metra employees, and dealing with other aimless suburbanites before eventually getting on the busy train. Approximately thirty different people approached the conductor to ask what side of the platform to stand on for an inbound train and if it was still on schedule.

Its 4th of July. Its hot. Its crabby. The White Sox played at home earlier in the day with the Cubs playing a rare Saturday night game; Both Chicago MLB teams are not usually at home at the same time, especially on a holiday weekend. You say you don’t like baseball, but perhaps you also like not showering and listening to bad music and doing drugs? Good news, the Grateful Dead are playing at Soldier Field, and plenty of Deadheads scraped together enough loose change to buy tickets and train fare and dug their best tie-dye t-shirts from the bottom of the dirty laundry pile. But maybe you don’t like baseball or hippie music… You can also have an enjoyable night in the big City doing touristy stuff and eating fried food and riding the giant Ferris wheel at Navy Pier. In other words, the train was crowded and finding a fivesome of seats together was not possible.

The Cubs defeated the Marlins in what was ultimately a pretty sleepy game. But Kris Bryant did hit two dingers and drove in six runs (SWOON!) and the post-game fireworks display was an impressive production. It was a unique experience to see the Cubs players and families on the field with the explosions in the sky lighting up the iconic centerfield scoreboard, all set to an appropriately patriotic soundtrack. We stayed for the entire show, gathered as a group for a beer at Yak-Zies before studying the logistics for our route home.

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After a can of Daisy Cutter, it became apparent that we needed to hustle if we were to catch our 10:32 train back home. We hailed an Uber and had about twenty minutes to get from Wrigleyville to the Irving Park station. Or friendly, passive driver did a good job getting us to Irving Park before 11pm, just barely missing the train. We ducked into another bar where we befriended other suburban knuckleheads who had failed to catch the train and I enjoyed Not Your Father’s Root Beer and others spun the wheel of drinks at The Unforgettable Lounge. This tavern didn’t even have a sign and their primary attraction to gather customers is simply its proximity to the platform.

We finished our last (?) drink and two baskets of salty popcorn before j-walking through two busy intersections and made it to the station. Where we waited. And contemplated. Was there actually supposed to be a 11:32 outbound train? The interwebs said that there was, but there were no status updates or alerts as to why the locomotive didn’t arrive until nearly midnight. I was tucked into bed sometime after 1am, allowing about five hours of sleep before heading to O’Hare airport Sunday morning. Thankfully catching my American Airlines flight was slightly less anxious than the train fiasco from the day before.

Another previous entry entitled DISCOVERY touched on the idea of making a new acquaintance from across the room. We walked into The Stave behind one another, but took our seats on opposite sides of the establishment. I ordered a few different types of whiskey cocktails, while she sipped on sangria. She was initially seated within my field of view, before eventually moving to another spot where she had better access for people-watching and so she could avoid the (other) creepy guy trying to make conversation. We passed each other in the hallway en route to the bathroom where we exchanged smiles and upon returning, I eventually had enough liquor/courage to say hello.

We didn’t get very far into the conversation before she asked what I did for a living and where I was from when she easily deduced who I was, where I worked, and where I moved from. I was THE Andy, she said. I was the one that stole her job. She had previously been employed by Clayton and had considered coming back, but I slid in and interfered with those plans. So while we had never met, we had certainly spoken on the phone when processing transfer orders or making requests between branches. Small world. I probably owe her a drink or two for stealing her job in the glamorous world of metals.

It was great to be home for a few days and perhaps even better to return to California where there is much to explore, much to be excited about, much to consider. It still doesn’t feel like real life and it is hard to believe that I have been here for nearly eight months. I could begin considering searching for a new apartment and get comfortable in another new home. Or I could continue to take advantage of my surroundings and make for an even more pleasurable routine. The eager anticipation of what might happen next is the best part of waking up every morning.


A zipper, zip, fly or zip fastener, formerly known as a clasp locker, is a commonly used device for binding the edges of an opening of fabric or other flexible material, as on a garment or a bag. It is used in clothing, luggage and other bags, sporting goods, camping gear, and other items. Whitcomb L. Judsonwas an American inventor from Chicago who was the first to invent, conceive of the idea, and to construct a workable zipper. The method, still in use today, is based on interlocking teeth. Initially it was called the “hookless fastener” and was later redesigned to become more reliable.

The bulk of a zipper/zip consists of two rows of protruding teeth, which may be made to interdigitate, linking the rows, carrying from tens to hundreds of specially shaped metal or plastic teeth. These teeth can be either individual or shaped from a continuous coil, and are also referred to as elements. The slider, operated by hand, moves along the rows of teeth. Inside the slider is a Y-shaped channel that meshes together or separates the opposing rows of teeth, depending on the direction of the slider’s movement. The word Zipper is onomatopoetic, because it was named for the sound the device makes when used, a high-pitched zip.

In many jackets and similar garments, the opening is closed completely when the slider is at one of the ends of the tape. The mechanism allows for partial fastening where only some of the tape is fastened together, but various movements and pressures may move the slider around the tape. In many kinds of luggage, there are two sliders on the tape, mounted in opposite directions head to head: the part of the zipper between them is unfastened. When the sliders are located at opposite ends of the tape, the zipper is fully unfastened; when the two sliders are located next to each other, which can be at any point along the tape, the zipper is fully closed. Some jackets have double-separating zippers. When the sliders are on opposite ends of the tape then the jacket is closed. If the lower slider is raised then the lower two sides of the jacket may be opened to allow more comfortable sitting or bicycling. When both sliders are lowered then the zipper may be totally separated. Although potentially convenient, there are often problems getting this type of zipper to start or to separate.

Zippers may

  • increase or decrease the size of an opening to allow or restrict the passage of objects, as in the fly of trousers or in a pocket.
  • join or separate two ends or sides of a single garment, as in the front of a jacket, or on the front, back or side of a dress or skirt to facilitate dressing.
  • attach or detach a separable part of the garment to or from another, as in the conversion between trousers and shorts or the connection or disconnection of a hood and a coat.
  • be used to decorate an item.

These variations are achieved by sewing one end of the zipper together, sewing both ends together, or allowing both ends of the zipper to fall completely apart.

A zipper costs relatively little, but if it fails, the garment may be unusable until the zipper is repaired or replaced—which can be quite difficult and expensive. Problems often lie with the zipper slider; when it becomes worn it does not properly align and join the alternating teeth. With separating zippers, the insertion pin may tear loose from the tape; the tape may even disintegrate from use. If a zipper fails, it can either jam or partially break off.



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