Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What a Day! New Experiences #26, 141, and 143

I attended a conference in Chicago today that ended about 3:30, which left me with two free hours before I was scheduled to meet up with my friend Amy for dinner. With this incredible amount of free time on my hands and the clearest day in Chicago I can remember in ages, I knew there was only one thing to do: stand on the ledge of the Sears Tower.

It was time to overcome my fear of heights and, quite literally, step out on faith, 103 stories about Chicago in the tallest building in North America.

Now before you point out that the Sears Tower is now the Willis Tower and that today some snotty committee with a strong New York bias declared the new World Trade Center is the tallest building in  the United States, let me just say that I do not care about either of those things, although the news about the Second City once again being the Second City does sort of come into play in this story.

Because it was 3:30, I knew that I had to hustle if I was going to make it to the Observation Deck before sunset at 4:32 p.m.

As I arrived at the Sears Tower, the first thing I saw was the ABC7 news truck sitting outside the building. I immediately wondered if my secret crush Ben Bradley (who is NOT the grandson of Ben Bradlee as I believed for too many years) might be in the near vicinity, but quickly forgot about it as I was so focussed on my goal and on not being nervous, which I was.

I hustled up the Sears Tower and not at all disappointed. Now I remember visiting the Tower when I was a kid, but somehow, it was always a bit hazy and visibility was limited. But not today. Looking southeast, I could see all the way around the curve in Lake Michigan through Indiana and into Michigan. When I looked straight east over the lake, I could see Michigan. Looking north, I'm fairly certain I saw Wisconsin, although there's no sign marking the air border.

Finally, it was time to head over to the west side of the building and face my fear head on. I had survived a faster than a speeding bullet elevator ride up 1,353 feet into the air and I would not be stopped.

And then I saw Ben Bradley. He was obviously there to file a live report about me overcoming my fears, my 100 New Experiences List, and how I was going to squeeze 32 new experiences into the next 7 weeks before December 31st.*

Ben Bradley reporting on my 100 New Experiences. Or maybe that whole World Trade Center vs. Sears Tower thing.

As he filed his initial reports on air, I took some pics and video and then stepped out onto the ledge. I'm telling you, it was truly one small step for this woman and one giant leap for womankind (apologies to Neil Armstrong). Sure, I had some anxiety and needed to take a few deep breaths, but I did it. I also got to see a gorgeous sunset from the ledge.

As I step out onto the ledge. Look at those buildings below me.

 See, I'm really standing ON the ledge. Those are my boots.

 Proof that I did it! New Experience #69. (On the list, it's #26)

Then I walked over to be interviewed by hear Ben file his report about the tallest building in North America decision on Channel 7. When he was done and packing up, I was able to get his attention and tell him what a fan I am. Surprisingly, I was even coherent. He was super nice, introduced himself and shook my hand. So I asked if he'd take a picture with me, to which he said of course.

Meeting ABC 7's Ben Bradley. New Experience #70. (On the list, it's #141)

After we took a couple pictures, I explained that he would be featured on my blog tonight and that he was Experience #70 of my 100 New Experiences this year. He thought that was cool, asked me to tag him, and then said about being Experience #70, "don't tell my wife." If you ever have a chance to meet Ben Bradley, I highly recommend it. He could not be more gracious.

Sunset from the Sears Tower. Not too shabby.

During a completely delightful dinner with Amy at Coco Pazzo (New Experience #71. On the List, it's #143.), I tried three new foods: Octopus, Clams, and Pistachio Mousse (New Experience #15, parts 15-17).

The best part of my year of 100 New Experiences? New friends.

29 New Experiences left to go.

*Ben Bradley was not at the Sears Tower to file a live report on the ABC 7 News about me stepping out onto the ledge, conquering my fears, completing my 100 New Experiences List, or how I was going to squeeze 32 new experiences into 7 weeks. Although, how damn cool would THAT have been? He was there to file news reports on the farce that was the decision about the WTC being taller than the Sears Tower.

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